IPA trouble

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AB

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Aug 30, 2003, 4:01:29 PM8/30/03
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Will someone please translate these IPA symbols to plain English?

1. i colon backwards-3
2. e colon backwards-c
3. ae-ligature colon upsidedown-e

Thanks.

Jouni Filip Maho

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Aug 30, 2003, 6:43:36 PM8/30/03
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AB wrote:
>
> Will someone please translate these IPA symbols to plain English?

The colon refers to lengthening of the sound designated by any preceding
symbol.

>
> 1. i colon backwards-3

i colon = a long i-sound, as the -ie- in "yield"

backwards-3 = a type of e-sound, as in "pen"

>
> 2. e colon backwards-c

e colon = a long e-sound, as in the German "Pferd"
(can't think of any English examples, but I'm sure someone can)

backwards-c = an o-like sound, as in "storm"

>
> 3. ae-ligature colon upsidedown-e

ae-ligature colon = a cross between an a- and and e-sound, as in "cat"
or "hat"

upsidedown-e = aka schwa, pronounced as the a- in "aloud"

---
jouni maho

Maria Conlon

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Aug 30, 2003, 8:24:16 PM8/30/03
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Jouni Filip Maho wrote:
> AB wrote:
>>
>> Will someone please translate these IPA symbols to plain English?
>
> The colon refers to lengthening of the sound designated by any
> preceding symbol.
>
>>
>> 1. i colon backwards-3
>
> i colon = a long i-sound, as the -ie- in "yield"
>
[...]

There's a difference in terminology here, I think. The "ie" in "yield"
is, to me, a long 'e' sound -- or possibly, a short 'i'. The long 'i'
sound would be the 'i' in "mile" or "smile."

That's what I learned in school, but that was a long time ago.

Maria Conlon

Aaron J. Dinkin

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Aug 30, 2003, 11:19:28 PM8/30/03
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 00:43:36 +0200, Jouni Filip Maho <jouni...@african.RE.gu.MO.se.VE> wrote:

> backwards-3 = a type of e-sound, as in "pen"

As "pen" is pronounced in the northeast of the United States, or the
southeast of England.

> e colon = a long e-sound, as in the German "Pferd"
> (can't think of any English examples, but I'm sure someone can)

As in "fate" as it is pronounced in Scotland.

> ae-ligature colon = a cross between an a- and and e-sound, as in "cat"
> or "hat"

As "cat" and "hat" are pronounced in the northeastern US and southeastern
England.

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom

AB

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Aug 31, 2003, 12:30:04 AM8/31/03
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Jouni Filip Maho <jouni...@african.RE.gu.MO.se.VE> wrote in message news:<3F512898...@african.RE.gu.MO.se.VE>...

Thanks for your help. But I think the sounds are supposed to be
pronounced together as diphthongs (I'm getting this from an Old
English book). Do they correspond to any diphthongs of Modern English?
The third one looks like it might be the au sound as in "out". I don't
know about the other two.

Sebastian Hew

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Aug 31, 2003, 1:18:56 AM8/31/03
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Maria Conlon wrote:

> There's a difference in terminology here, I think. The "ie" in "yield"
> is, to me, a long 'e' sound -- or possibly, a short 'i'. The long 'i'
> sound would be the 'i' in "mile" or "smile."

Hmm... the long-e sound would be the vowel in 'pear' to me. Short-i is
'pill' and long-i is 'peel', or, at least, that's how I learnt it. The
sound in 'mile' is not a long-i, but an a-i diphthong.

Sebastian.

Raymond S. Wise

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:38:59 AM8/31/03
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"Sebastian Hew" <rada...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:3f5184c6$0$28123$afc3...@news.optusnet.com.au...


I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:

The symbol of an <a> with a macron over it was a "long a" and was used to
represent the diphthong /eI/, as in the vowel pronounced in "bake." No one
told us it was a diphthong.
An <a> with a breve over it was a "short a" and was used to represent /&/,
the vowel in "back."

An <e> with a macron was a "long e" and was used for the vowel /i/ in
"peek."
An <e> with a breve was a "short e" and was used for the vowel /E/ in
"peck."

An <i> with a macron was a "long i" and was used for the diphthong /aI/ in
"type." No one told us it was a diphthong.
An <i> with a breve was a "short i" and was used for the vowel /I/ in "tip."

An <o> with a macron was a "long o" and was used for the diphthong /oU/ in
"soap." No one told us it was a diphthong. The Received Pronunciation for
this is, in ASCII IPA, /@U/.
An <o> with a breve was a "short o" and was used for the vowel /A/ in "sop."
For beginning students this was used to represent the vowel in "cot,"
"caught," and "father": Making a distinction between the vowels of those
words came later, where necessary. (Where I came from, there was no
difference between the vowel in "cot" and that in "caught.") I would expect
the British students to have been taught at first that the /A./ of RP (as in
their pronunciation of "sop") was a "short o" as well.

A <u> with a macron was a "long u" and was used for the vowel /u/ in "soup."
A <u> with a breve was a "short u" and was used both for the vowel /V/ in
"sup" and for the schwa, /@/, in the first syllable of "above," so that
"above" would have been written with two "short u"s. We learned about the
schwa a few years later.

I would be curious to know if any of the younger British readers were taught
IPA from the beginning. I doubt any of the American readers of this
newsgroup were. Some of them may have been taught to use the schwa symbol
from the beginning, however.


--
Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com


Michael West

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:52:18 AM8/31/03
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"Raymond S. Wise" <illinoi...@mninter.net> wrote:

> I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
> following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
> pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
> www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:

> <detail snipped>

That certainly sounds familiar (Chicago suburbs, mid-1950s).
Later, in a high-school speech class, I was told about diphthongs
(by a teacher who pronounced the first syllable as "dip"). It wasn't
until I started reading this news group that I discovered that my
ideas about "long" and "short" vowels were out of alignment with
large segments of the English-speaking community.
--
Michael West
Melbourne, Australia
(Expat Yank)

Sebastian Hew

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Aug 31, 2003, 4:08:22 AM8/31/03
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Raymond S. Wise wrote:

> I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught
> the following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of
> representing pronunciation, although I note that the Century
> Dictionary of 1895 at www.century-dictionary.com used only part of
> this system:
>
> The symbol of an <a> with a macron over it was a "long a" and was
> used to represent the diphthong /eI/, as in the vowel pronounced in
> "bake." No one told us it was a diphthong.
> An <a> with a breve over it was a "short a" and was used to represent
> /&/, the vowel in "back."

What, then, about the vowel in 'bark' or 'bask'? I would have said these
words have the long-a (sorry, I can't give the IPA representation as I'm
not familiar with it), rather than 'bake', which has a diphthong.

Sebastian.


Mike Barnes

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Aug 31, 2003, 5:02:38 AM8/31/03
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In alt.usage.english, Raymond S. Wise wrote:
>I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
>following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
>pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
>www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:
>
>[...]

This native speaker of English doesn't remember being taught any of
that. The only place that I ever came across written representations of
pronunciation was the dictionary. There I figured the systems out by
reference to words I knew how to pronounce. And I still do, for all but
the most straightforward cases.

--
Mike Barnes
Cheshire, England

Raymond S. Wise

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Aug 31, 2003, 5:49:58 AM8/31/03
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"Sebastian Hew" <rada...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:3f51ac7a$0$28118$afc3...@news.optusnet.com.au...


An excellent question, and one I can't answer, because I'm working from a
memory of very long ago. I'm sure that later we learned more vowel sounds.
For example, the /U/ in "book" was represented by two letters, <oo>, topped
with a single long breve. (The online Encarta Dictionary uses that symbol
for that sound.) Sometime I'll have to see if I can locate some elementary
textbooks from that era to see just how long it was before the student was
taught vowels other than the five "long vowels" and the five "short ones."

Raymond S. Wise

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Aug 31, 2003, 6:48:19 AM8/31/03
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"Mike Barnes" <augus...@mikebarnes.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:OJszRZ8umbU$Ew...@34klh41lk4h1lk34h3lk4h1k4.invalid...


Well, that was a reply I would never have predicted. Fascinating.

Jouni Filip Maho

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Aug 31, 2003, 7:05:37 AM8/31/03
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AB wrote:
>
> Thanks for your help. But I think the sounds are supposed to be
> pronounced together as diphthongs (I'm getting this from an Old
> English book). Do they correspond to any diphthongs of Modern English?
> The third one looks like it might be the au sound as in "out". I don't
> know about the other two.

Well, just put the sounds together, and experiment. Unfortunately, I
know next to nothing about Old English.

If you're happy with approximations, then here's a try:

>
> 1. i colon backwards-3

As the diphtong in some pronounciations of "hear".

>
> 2. e colon backwards-c

As the diphtong in some pronounciations of the name "Leo".

>
> 3. ae-ligature colon upsidedown-e

As the diphtong in some pronounciations of the interjection "Paow".

---
jouni maho

Odysseus

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Aug 31, 2003, 9:28:52 AM8/31/03
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"Raymond S. Wise" wrote:
>
> I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
> following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
> pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
> www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:
>
[snip description of 'English' long and short vowels]

That accords well with what I was taught (in Canada, ca. 1970); we
weren't told about diphthongs either. As for the 'classical' or
'continental' long A as in "father", no distinction was made between
that and the short A as in "fat".

--
Odysseus

rewboss

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Aug 31, 2003, 10:09:52 AM8/31/03
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Jouni Filip Maho <jouni...@african.RE.gu.MO.se.VE> schrieb in im
Newsbeitrag: 3F51D681...@african.RE.gu.MO.se.VE...

> As the diphtong in some pronounciations of "hear".

> As the diphtong in some pronounciations of the name "Leo".

> As the diphtong in some pronounciations of the interjection "Paow".

"in some pronounciations"? Very helpful.

If this is Old English, then they're only guesses anyway. They didn't have
tape recorders in those days, so there is a lot of educated guesswork
involved, based on theories about how language changes over time and our
knowledge of dialects, such as the West Friesian dialect still spoken in
parts of the Netherlands.

Not only that, but regional dialects were so different from each other that
people living in villages perhaps 50 miles apart could barely understand
each other. The exact pronunciation is probably not that important -- but,
as has already been suggested, you should just experiment trying to make the
sounds as they are written. Don't do this in a public library, if you do not
wish to be carted off to the nearest lunatic asylum.


Maria Conlon

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Aug 31, 2003, 2:09:17 PM8/31/03
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Raymond S. Wise wrote:
> Sebastian Hew wrote in message

>> Maria Conlon wrote:
>>
>>> There's a difference in terminology here, I think. The "ie" in
>>> "yield" is, to me, a long 'e' sound -- or possibly, a short 'i'.
>>> The long 'i' sound would be the 'i' in "mile" or "smile."
>>
>> Hmm... the long-e sound would be the vowel in 'pear' to me. Short-i
>> is 'pill' and long-i is 'peel', or, at least, that's how I learnt
>> it. The sound in 'mile' is not a long-i, but an a-i diphthong.
>
> I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught
> the following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of
> representing pronunciation, although I note that the Century
> Dictionary of 1895 at www.century-dictionary.com used only part of
> this system:
>
[snip details]

Thank you, Ray. The examples you gave are what I was taught in school.
(U.S.; 1950's.)

I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear idea of
what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the word "schwa"
until well after high school.

Maybe there's a reason why I have a problem with ASCII IPA: the vowel
sounds are represented by the "wrong" letters to my way of thinking
(which is based on the way I was taught).

Maria Conlon


Areff

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Aug 31, 2003, 2:21:44 PM8/31/03
to
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003, Raymond S. Wise wrote:

> An excellent question, and one I can't answer, because I'm working from a
> memory of very long ago. I'm sure that later we learned more vowel sounds.
> For example, the /U/ in "book" was represented by two letters, <oo>, topped
> with a single long breve. (The online Encarta Dictionary uses that symbol
> for that sound.) Sometime I'll have to see if I can locate some elementary
> textbooks from that era to see just how long it was before the student was
> taught vowels other than the five "long vowels" and the five "short ones."

We were taught (beginning in first grade) long and sort "oo" in
elementary school, but we were also taught that the "vowels" were "a,
e, i, o, u, and sometimes y". A "vowel" was a letter of the alphabet
regarded as being used to represent (possibly in combination with
other letters) a vowel sound. For example, I remember being taught
that adding "silent e" to the end of a word ordinarily converted the
(nonsilent) short vowel into the correspoding long one: for example,
'fat' (short a), 'fate' (long a).


Simon R. Hughes

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Aug 31, 2003, 2:23:21 PM8/31/03
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Thus spake Maria Conlon:


> I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
> reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear idea of
> what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the word "schwa"
> until well after high school.

A diphthong is two or more vowels (sounds, not letters) in a row.
That's all. What does a diphthong do? Eh.... It gets pronounced.

And it upsets non-native speakers who have different permitted
diphthongs in their native languages.

--
Simon R. Hughes <!-- Kill "Kenny" for email. -->
<!-- 67 deg. 17' N; 14 deg. 23' E -->

Aaron J. Dinkin

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:06:48 PM8/31/03
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 20:23:21 +0200, Simon R Hughes <a5799...@yahoo.no> wrote:

> Thus spake Maria Conlon:
>
>> I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
>> reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear idea of
>> what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the word "schwa"
>> until well after high school.
>
> A diphthong is two or more vowels (sounds, not letters) in a row.
> That's all.

...in the same syllable. That's important. The word "naive" (as I
pronounce it, anyway) has two vowels in a row, but they're in separate
syllables, so no diphthong. "Knives", on the other hand, has the same two
vowels but only one syllable, so there's a diphthong there.

Jonathan Jordan

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:40:52 PM8/31/03
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"Aaron J. Dinkin" <a...@post.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:cHr4b.318793$uu5.65565@sccrnsc04...

Whereas I pronounce "naive" with a diphthong /aI/ followed by a monophthong
/i/ in a different syllable.

Jonathan


Jonathan Jordan

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:44:43 PM8/31/03
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"Sebastian Hew" <rada...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:3f51ac7a$0$28118$afc3...@news.optusnet.com.au...

In my experience in the UK, "long a" and "short a" are most often used to
refer to the different pronunciations of words like "bask", "bath", "grass",
"chance". I use the "short a", which is the same as Raymond's (though it's
[a] not [&] phonetically), but I take it you use the "long a". I think
Americans tend to call this the "broad a" though I don't know why it's
"broad".

Jonathan


Maria Conlon

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Aug 31, 2003, 4:23:43 PM8/31/03
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Aaron J. Dinkin wrote

> Simon R Hughes wrote:
> > Thus spake Maria Conlon:
> >
> >> I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
> >> reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear
idea of
> >> what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the word
"schwa"
> >> until well after high school.
> >
> > A diphthong is two or more vowels (sounds, not letters) in a row.
> > That's all.
>
> ...in the same syllable. That's important. The word "naive" (as I
> pronounce it, anyway) has two vowels in a row, but they're in separate
> syllables, so no diphthong. "Knives", on the other hand, has the same
two > vowels but only one syllable, so there's a diphthong there.

Even though the two vowels are are not together? If so, I assume it it's
because the second vowel affects the pronunciation of the first.

But then what about a word like "live," the verb? The second vowel, 'e',
doesn't affect the pronunciation of the 'i'. So is that a diphthong?
(In "live," the adjective, it would be a diphthong, right?)

This diphthong business may be more trouble than it's worth, seeing as
how my job doesn't involve language rules quite that esoteric. And even
if it did, I've gotten along without knowing diphthongs for a lotta
years. Then again, maybe I'd be richer had I had known about diphthongs
from the beginning. But as I said in another post, I'm very apathetic
today.

Maria Conlon
Mixed up, too.

Bob Cunningham

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Aug 31, 2003, 4:46:55 PM8/31/03
to

It's also important to understand that the first vowel
*glides* into the second. The transition is gradual and
continuous.

You can see this graphically in my formants for "hayed" and
"hide" at http://tinyurl.com/lsoo . That figure also shows
that my "hid" has a significant amount of diphthongal glide,
which is something I wouldn't have suspected if I hadn't
seen the formants.

You can see a striking illustration of diphthongal glide at
http://tinyurl.com/8hwe in Figure 2, where the formants for
"he" , "who", and "hue" represent the two vowel components
of "hue" and their gliding combination.

Bob Cunningham

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Aug 31, 2003, 4:53:05 PM8/31/03
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On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 20:46:55 GMT, Bob Cunningham
<exw...@earthlink.net> said:

[ . . . ]

> http://tinyurl.com/8hwe

Speaking of nice freebies, I wonder how long it will be
before free tiny URL becomes a fond memory.

Raymond S. Wise

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Aug 31, 2003, 5:23:29 PM8/31/03
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"Maria Conlon" <mcon...@sprynet.com> wrote in message
news:bitl92$cpubn$1...@ID-113669.news.uni-berlin.de...


Do a search for

mplsray diphthong triphthong

and you'll get links to posts I have written on the subject. A diphthong is
ordinarily used to mean a vowel combination--a vowel plus a semivowel, and
doesn't have any direct link to the spelling. The word "I" is a diphthong,
as are the words "O" and "oh."

A glide is a semiconsonant-vowel combination, as in "you" and "wah."

To get more complicated, a "triphthong" is a combination of semiconsonant,
vowel, and semivowel. "woe" and "wye" (the name of the letter "y")[1] are
triphthongs, as are the exclamations "yay" and "yow."

So "Ray Wise" contains a diphthong and a triphthong.

Unfortunately, the matter is complicated by other definitions of "diphthong"
and "triphthong," and posters to these newsgroups have occasionally used
them: digraph and trigraph. This is a matter of spelling: The "ea" in "feat"
and the "oo" of "book" are said to be diphthongs because they are two vowel
letters used to represent one vowel sound. This has also been called an
"improper diphthong" and linguists usually call it a "vowel digraph." A
similar sense of "triphthong" exists, in which the "eau" of "beau" is called
a triphthong because it is three vowel letters representing one vowel sound,
a "vowel trigraph."

I'd advise again using "diphthong" and "triphthong" in the graphic sense,
but it's worth keeping in mind that some people do.

A previous poster mentioned the Great Vowel Shift, which involved a change
in vowels which led to the modern "long vowels" of English. See the article
at

http://icg.harvard.edu/~chaucer/vowels.html


Note:

[1] The French word "ouailles," pronounced like (or close to) "wye" also has
a triphthong. "Le curé et ses ouailles" means "the parish priest and his
flock."

Raymond S. Wise

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Aug 31, 2003, 5:39:28 PM8/31/03
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"Maria Conlon" <mcon...@sprynet.com> wrote in message
news:bitl92$cpubn$1...@ID-113669.news.uni-berlin.de...
>


Do a search in Google Groups archive at www.deja.com of

mplsray diphthong triphthong

and you'll get links to posts I have written on the subject. A diphthong is
ordinarily used to mean a vowel combination--a vowel plus a semivowel, and
doesn't have any direct link to the spelling. The word "I" is a diphthong,
as are the words "O" and "oh."

A glide is a semiconsonant-vowel combination, as in "you" and "wah."

To get more complicated, a "triphthong" is a combination of semiconsonant,

vowel, and semivowel. "yay" and "woe" and "wye" (the name of the letter
"y")[1] are
triphthongs.

So "Ray Wise" contains a diphthong and a triphthong.

Unfortunately, the matter is complicated by other definitions of "diphthong"
and "triphthong," and posters to these newsgroups have occasionally used
them: digraph and trigraph. This is a matter of spelling: The "ea" in "feat"
and the "oo" of "book" are said to be diphthongs because they are two vowel
letters used to represent one vowel sound. This has also been called an
"improper diphthong" and linguists usually call it a "vowel digraph." A
similar sense of "triphthong" exists, in which the "eau" of "beau" is called
a triphthong because it is three vowel letters representing one vowel sound,
a "vowel trigraph."

I'd advise again using "diphthong" and "triphthong" in the graphic sense,
but it's worth keeping in mind that some people do.

A previous poster mentioned the Great Vowel Shift, which involved a change
in vowels which led to the modern "long vowels" of English. See the article
at

http://icg.harvard.edu/~chaucer/vowels.html


Note:

[1] The French word "ouailles," pronounced like (or close to) "wye" also has
a triphthong. "Le curé et ses ouailles" means "the parish priest and his
flock."

John Varela

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Aug 31, 2003, 7:09:10 PM8/31/03
to
On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 20:01:29 UTC, and...@users.sf.net (AB) wrote:

> Will someone please translate these IPA symbols to plain English?
>

> 1. i colon backwards-3
> 2. e colon backwards-c
> 3. ae-ligature colon upsidedown-e

http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/ipachart.html

--
John Varela

Robert Bannister

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Aug 31, 2003, 7:57:02 PM8/31/03
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Michael West wrote:

> Later, in a high-school speech class, I was told about diphthongs
> (by a teacher who pronounced the first syllable as "dip").

I've never heard it pronounced any other way.
--
Rob Bannister

Robert Bannister

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Aug 31, 2003, 8:03:36 PM8/31/03
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Raymond S. Wise wrote:

>
> and you'll get links to posts I have written on the subject. A
> diphthong is ordinarily used to mean a vowel combination--a vowel
> plus a semivowel, and doesn't have any direct link to the spelling.
> The word "I" is a diphthong, as are the words "O" and "oh."
>
> A glide is a semiconsonant-vowel combination, as in "you" and "wah."

More confusion: I can't remember where I was taught this - school,
university, post-graduate course - but I was definitely taught to use
'glide' for what you call 'diphthong'. The reasoning was that none of
these sounds really contain only two vowels, but are a continuous glide
from one sound to the other.


--
Rob Bannister

Michael West

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Aug 31, 2003, 8:17:12 PM8/31/03
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"Areff" <rf...@sparky.cs.nyu.edu> wrote:
> We were taught (beginning in first grade) long and sort "oo" in
> elementary school, but we were also taught that the "vowels" were "a,
> e, i, o, u, and sometimes y". A "vowel" was a letter of the alphabet
> regarded as being used to represent (possibly in combination with
> other letters) a vowel sound. For example, I remember being taught
> that adding "silent e" to the end of a word ordinarily converted the
> (nonsilent) short vowel into the correspoding long one: for example,
> 'fat' (short a), 'fate' (long a).

Me too. Do you think we should form an association,
hire a class-action specialist, and go after the bastards?
Somehow I always knew there was something warped
about them.

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 8:53:42 PM8/31/03
to
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 16:23:43 -0400, Maria Conlon <mcon...@sprynet.com> wrote:
>
> Aaron J. Dinkin wrote
>> Simon R Hughes wrote:
>>
>> > A diphthong is two or more vowels (sounds, not letters) in a row.
>> > That's all.
>>
>> ...in the same syllable. That's important. The word "naive" (as I
>> pronounce it, anyway) has two vowels in a row, but they're in separate
>> syllables, so no diphthong. "Knives", on the other hand, has the same
>> two vowels but only one syllable, so there's a diphthong there.
>
> Even though the two vowels are are not together? If so, I assume it it's
> because the second vowel affects the pronunciation of the first.

Um? The two vowels in "knives" _are_ together. Note that above Simon wrote
that we're using "vowels" to refer to sounds, not letters.

So "naive" contains two vowel sounds that we might rewrite as "ah" and
"ee", yes? And they're back to back, but in two separate syllables:
nah-eev. Now, what's important to notice is that the "long-i" sound in
"knives" consists of _exactly the same_ "ah" and "ee" sounds, only smushed
together into a single syllable. Try it: if you glide from "ah" to "ee"
fast enough, you get something that sounds tolerably like "long-i". That's
what makes "long-i" a diphthong.

The letter <e> at the end of the word, being silent, doesn't merit
consideration.

> But then what about a word like "live," the verb? The second vowel, 'e',
> doesn't affect the pronunciation of the 'i'. So is that a diphthong?

Not at all. The <e> gets excluded again; all we consider is the vowel as
pronounced. The "ih" vowel in "live" doesn't (to a first-order
approximation) change at all between the end of the L and the beginning of
the V; that is to say, it's a single prolonged sound during which the
mouth doesn't move. So it's not a diphthong. (What it is is a
monophthong.)

> (In "live," the adjective, it would be a diphthong, right?)

Yes, because it's the same vowel sound as "knives". Ditto "mind", in which
the same diphthong is spelled with only a single letter.

Mike Oliver

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 8:54:00 PM8/31/03
to
"Raymond S. Wise" wrote:

> A <u> with a macron was a "long u" and was used for the
> vowel /u/ in "soup."

I was with you until this one. The way it was explained to me,
long vowels "say their names", so a "long u" would be /ju/,
the vowel at the start of "university".

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 8:55:57 PM8/31/03
to
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 20:44:43 +0100, Jonathan Jordan <jonatha...@sheffield.ac.uk> wrote:

> In my experience in the UK, "long a" and "short a" are most often used
> to refer to the different pronunciations of words like "bask", "bath",
> "grass", "chance". I use the "short a", which is the same as Raymond's
> (though it's [a] not [&] phonetically), but I take it you use the "long
> a". I think Americans tend to call this the "broad a" though I don't
> know why it's "broad".

If I had to guess, I'd say it's because the vowel [A:] is produced with
the mouth wide open in all directions (that is to say, broad).,

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 9:00:46 PM8/31/03
to

As far as I know, the standard pronunciation for the first syllable is as
it's spelled, namely "diph" (i.e., "diff", i.e., /dif/). However, <gripe
type="personal"> if Prof. Vaux, formerly of Harvard, currently of U.
Wisconsin, creator of the online Dialect Survey, which I put a lot of work
into over the past year to update and expand, would find someone with the
Web savvy to actually put my updates into action, </gripe> we'd soon find
out in which regions "diff" predominates and in which region "dip" does,
if there's a regional distribution.

Michael West

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 9:46:18 PM8/31/03
to

"Aaron J. Dinkin" <a...@post.harvard.edu> wrote in message
news:_Sw4b.241502$Oz4.65423@rwcrnsc54...

If there is, I wonder if it matches the distribution for
"dip-theria" versus "diph-theria."

What were the Greeks thinking of when they put
"phth" at the beginning of words, anyway?

Raymond S. Wise

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 10:08:28 PM8/31/03
to
"Mike Oliver" <oli...@cs.ucla.edu> wrote in message
news:3F5298A8...@cs.ucla.edu...


Well, I remember the "long u" as being the /u/. I noted before, however, how
*The Century Dictionary* ( www.century.dictionary.com ) uses some of the
same "traditional" symbols as those I was taught, and for /ju/, the first
vowel in "bucolic" and the vowel of "few" it has a <u> with a macron. For
the /u/ it has an <o> with a diaeresis.

Raymond S. Wise

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 10:50:48 PM8/31/03
to
"Michael West" <mbw...@removebigpond.net.au> wrote in message
news:3f52a425$0$35355$45be...@newscene.com...


Perhaps they were thinking something similar to what the Klingons were
thinking when they put "tlh" at the beginning of "tlhIngan" ( = "Klingon" in
Klingon ).

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 11:36:33 PM8/31/03
to
On 31 Aug 2003 20:46:18 -0500, Michael West <mbw...@removebigpond.net.au> wrote:

> "Aaron J. Dinkin" <a...@post.harvard.edu> wrote in message
> news:_Sw4b.241502$Oz4.65423@rwcrnsc54...

[regarding the first syllable of "diphthong"]

>> we'd soon find out in which regions "diff" predominates and in which
>> region "dip" does, if there's a regional distribution.
>
> If there is, I wonder if it matches the distribution for
> "dip-theria" versus "diph-theria."

I'd be surprised if it doesn't.

> What were the Greeks thinking of when they put
> "phth" at the beginning of words, anyway?

What were they phthinkhing, indeed.

Steve Hayes

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 12:46:05 AM9/1/03
to
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 10:02:38 +0100, Mike Barnes
<augus...@mikebarnes.fsnet.co.uk> wrote:

>In alt.usage.english, Raymond S. Wise wrote:
>>I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
>>following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
>>pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
>>www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:
>>

>>[...]
>
>This native speaker of English doesn't remember being taught any of
>that. The only place that I ever came across written representations of
>pronunciation was the dictionary. There I figured the systems out by
>reference to words I knew how to pronounce. And I still do, for all but
>the most straightforward cases.

Me too.

And Raymond Wise's unwarranted assumption suddently reveals to me that it is
the basis for some of his innuendoes about "eye-dialect" that have struck me
as offensive in the past.

If he assumes that every native speaker was taught such systems of
representinmg pronunciation, it would be logical to assume further that anyone
who didn't use such systems was guity of using "eye dialect".

So the misunderstanding is cultural, and not linguistic, and perhaps pondian
in the sense that teaching English in the USA in junior schools seems to
involve teaching systems of representing prnunciation, whereas in other
English-speaking countries it probably doesn't.

--
Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk

John Lawler

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 4:12:53 AM9/1/03
to
In article <bitl92$cpubn$1...@ID-113669.news.uni-berlin.de>,
[ "news.uni-berlin.de"?
Tootsie, sind Sie in Deutschland? ]
Maria Conlon <mcon...@sprynet.com> writes:
>Aaron J. Dinkin writes
>> Simon R Hughes writes:
>>> Also sprach Maria Conlon:

>>>> I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
>>>> reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear
>>>> idea of what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the
>>>> word "schwa" until well after high school.

Neither did I. [It's 'shwa', by the way; no 'c', though I often spell it
that way from habit.] Shwa is a letter in the International Phonetic
Alphabet, and I didn't encounter that until grad school. It's just plain
unknown in the U.S.A. Though it's taught in grade school everywhere else.

>>> A diphthong is two or more vowels (sounds, not letters) in a row.
>>> That's all.
>>
>> ...in the same syllable. That's important. The word "naive" (as I
>> pronounce it, anyway) has two vowels in a row, but they're in separate
>> syllables, so no diphthong. "Knives", on the other hand, has the same
>two > vowels but only one syllable, so there's a diphthong there.

>Even though the two vowels are not together? If so, I assume it it's


>because the second vowel affects the pronunciation of the first.

And here is the source of your problem, Tootsie. "Diphthong" and "vowel"
are terms in both phonetics and orthography. Aaron is using them in their
phonetic sense, to refer to sounds, and you're using them in their
orthographic sense, to refer to spelling letters.

When you say the two vowels in "knives" aren't together, you must be
referring to the letters <i> and <e> in the spelling <knives>, not the
vowel phonemes /a/ and /i/ in the pronunciation /naivz/.

>But then what about a word like "live," the verb? The second vowel, 'e',
>doesn't affect the pronunciation of the 'i'. So is that a diphthong?
>(In "live," the adjective, it would be a diphthong, right?)

In phonetics, there *isn't* any second vowel in 'live', the verb. It's
simply /lIv/. Silent vowels are, well, silent. They're not there, so
they don't exist. And yes, the adjective does have a diphthong; /laiv/.

>This diphthong business may be more trouble than it's worth, seeing as
>how my job doesn't involve language rules quite that esoteric. And even
>if it did, I've gotten along without knowing diphthongs for a lotta
>years. Then again, maybe I'd be richer had I had known about diphthongs
>from the beginning. But as I said in another post, I'm very apathetic
>today.

Well, it's Labor Day. You're allowed.

Seriously, the big trick is to keep pronunciation separate from spelling.
Once you learn to do that, it's very simple, since you already know both
how to spell words and how to pronounce them. Given the horrors of English
orthography, there's almost always a big difference between those. If you
don't distinguish it, though, you'll just confuse yourself more.

-John Lawler http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler U Michigan Linguistics Dept
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument,
but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than
the power of sense." -- Joseph Conrad

Raymond S. Wise

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 4:49:04 AM9/1/03
to
"Steve Hayes" <haye...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3f52c3fb....@news.saix.net...


No, Steve, it has absolutely nothing to do with being taught a method of
representing pronunciation.

Imagine a world in which English is ordinarily written as we do here and
now, but where special symbols to represent pronunciation were never
invented. In such a world, the pronunciation of a word (as in a dictionary
entry) would necessarily be represented using "phonetic spelling," that is,
the representation of pronunciation using only the 26 letters of the
alphabet. In such a world, "eye dialect" would still be offensive, because
it would still be used by an author to show condescension when representing
the speech of a character or quoting an actual person. Writing "lissen" for
"listen," "enuff" for "enough," "wimmin" for "women," and "animulz" for
"animals" would still be an objectionable practice when representing
dialogue or when quoting people. And when an author wished to make an
accurate representation of dialectal speech, phonetic spelling would
continue to be acceptable, as in the examples I quoted from writer H. Allen
Smith (with one or two possible exceptions, which I discussed at the time).

The following is from a previous post I made to alt.usage.english . In a
world in which no special symbols to represent pronunciation existed, the
following would still apply:

From
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=uv21ne8ba6ea28%40corp.supernews.com&output=gplain

or

http://tinyurl.com/i0dy


[begin quote from Usenet group]

I use the definition of "eye dialect" which is used in *The Oxford Companion
to the English Language* by Tom McArthur:

From
[xrefer.com]


[quote]


Eye Dialect

[1925: first used in print by George P. Krapp, _The English Language in
America_]. A term for how colloquial usage appears in print; spellings in
which 'the convention violated is one of the eyes, not of the ear' (Krapp).
Thus, spellings like _enuff_ enough, _wimmin_ women, _animulz_ animals,
indicate that those represented as using them are uneducated, youthful,
rustic, or otherwise unlike the readership. In Krapp's definition, dialect
writers use eye dialect not 'to indicate a genuine difference of
pronunciation, but the spelling is merely a friendly nudge to the reader, a
knowing look which establishes a sympathetic sense of superiority between
the author and reader as contrasted with the humble speaker of dialect'.

[end quote]

[end quote from Usenet post]


--
Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

mplsray @ yahoo . com


John Lawler

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 4:39:55 AM9/1/03
to
Steve Hayes <haye...@yahoo.com> writes:
Mike Barnes <augus...@mikebarnes.fsnet.co.uk> writes:
>>Raymond S. Wise writes:

>>>I expect every native speaker of English in this newsgroup was taught the
>>>following about English vowels. This is the traditional way of representing
>>>pronunciation, although I note that the Century Dictionary of 1895 at
>>>www.century-dictionary.com used only part of this system:

>>>[...]

>>This native speaker of English doesn't remember being taught any of
>>that. The only place that I ever came across written representations of
>>pronunciation was the dictionary. There I figured the systems out by
>>reference to words I knew how to pronounce. And I still do, for all but
>>the most straightforward cases.

>Me too.

>So the misunderstanding is cultural, and not linguistic, and perhaps pondian


>in the sense that teaching English in the USA in junior schools seems to
>involve teaching systems of representing prnunciation, whereas in other
>English-speaking countries it probably doesn't.

You're right, it's cultural. I don't know anything about the South African
system, but I'll bet it's plenty different from the USA.

You're wrong, however, in speaking of 'teaching English in the USA in
junior schools'. That doesn't happen. There is some literature and
considerable spelling (a minor sport in the USA), but nothing about the
English language is taught to American students. Evidence of this can be
seen wherever one looks.

Those US students who learn to use dictionaries are confronted with the
system described by Ray for representing pronunciation (which I learned,
too). It was developed first by Noah Webster in the late 1700s and has
been handed down as a precious national heritage in all US dictionaries
ever since. It's a terrible system developed before the introduction of
scientific phonetics in the West, is practically impossible to understand
in detail, and is generally avoided or hopelessly muddled by teachers, who
are also innocent of phonetic knowledge. Most people ignore it when they
use a dictionary.

The IPA, which is based on scientific phonetics, is taught everywhere else
(in non-Anglophone countries, at least) in grade school, and is used in
dictionaries of all other languages to represent pronunciation. But it
wasn't invented here, so we don't use it. Rather like the metric system,
which is (*gasp*) French in origin.

-John Lawler http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler Michigan Linguistics Dept
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:
'We do, doodley do, doodley do, doodley do
What we must, muddily must, muddily must, muddily must;
Muddily do, muddily do, muddily do, muddily do
Until we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.'"
-- Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle"

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 12:12:18 PM9/1/03
to
On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 08:12:53 GMT, John Lawler <jla...@rygar.gpcc.itd.umich.edu> wrote:

>>>> Also sprach Maria Conlon:
>
>>>>> I can't recall hearing "diphthong" much at all except in passing
>>>>> reference. (I hate to admit this, but I still don't have a clear
>>>>> idea of what a diphthong is or what it does.) And I didn't hear the
>>>>> word "schwa" until well after high school.
>
> Neither did I. [It's 'shwa', by the way; no 'c', though I often spell
> it that way from habit.] Shwa is a letter in the International Phonetic
> Alphabet, and I didn't encounter that until grad school. It's just
> plain unknown in the U.S.A. Though it's taught in grade school
> everywhere else.

I'm pretty sure I learned the word "schwa" in grade school in the USA.
(I'm certain that I learned it while I was in grade school, and almost
certain that I learned it from a book aimed at grade-school students,
though I'm not as sure that it was from a book actually used in the
curriculum of the school I went to.)

According to whose decree is the spelling <schwa> incorrect? In my
(limited) experience it's by far the more common, and according to OED
it's older.

Steve Hayes

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 1:35:28 PM9/1/03
to
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 21:50:48 -0500, "Raymond S. Wise"
<illinoi...@mninter.net> wrote:

>Perhaps they were thinking something similar to what the Klingons were
>thinking when they put "tlh" at the beginning of "tlhIngan" ( = "Klingon" in
>Klingon ).

Are you saying that the Batswana are Klingons?

Steve Hayes

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 1:35:29 PM9/1/03
to
On 31 Aug 2003 20:46:18 -0500, "Michael West" <mbw...@removebigpond.net.au>
wrote:

>What were the Greeks thinking of when they put


>"phth" at the beginning of words, anyway?

That it would be amusing to confuse the Russians who pronounce th as f anyway.

And the Poms got their own back by coming up with names like ffrench-Beytagh.

mUs1Ka

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 2:38:50 PM9/1/03
to

"Steve Hayes" <haye...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3f530d25...@news.saix.net...

> On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 21:50:48 -0500, "Raymond S. Wise"
> <illinoi...@mninter.net> wrote:
>
> >Perhaps they were thinking something similar to what the Klingons were
> >thinking when they put "tlh" at the beginning of "tlhIngan" ( = "Klingon"
in
> >Klingon ).
>
> Are you saying that the Batswana are Klingons?
>
>
I'd love to hear one call 66 in bingo.
(assuming Xhosa or similar?)
m.


John Lawler

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 2:35:23 PM9/1/03
to
Aaron J. Dinkin <a...@post.harvard.edu> writes

Well, you're a lot younger than I am (I graduated HS in 1960), so shwa may
well have appeared in dictionaries by the time you went to school. I
guarantee it didn't in my time. And you were in closer contact than I ever
was with Masoretic points before the age of 20. Shwa or sheva or sh'va
are ordinary transcriptions of the name for the point (which appears under
shem in that name) that looks like a colon subscript. Schwa is a
Germanized spelling of it. It *is* more common, I think. But my
impression is that the <sh> spelling is preferred.

-John Lawler http://www.umich.edu/~jlawler Michigan Linguistics Dept
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays - Kipling,
And--every--single--one--of--them--is--right!" 'In the Neolithic Age'

Raymond S. Wise

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 4:42:33 PM9/1/03
to
"Steve Hayes" <haye...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3f530d25...@news.saix.net...
> On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 21:50:48 -0500, "Raymond S. Wise"
> <illinoi...@mninter.net> wrote:
>
> >Perhaps they were thinking something similar to what the Klingons were
> >thinking when they put "tlh" at the beginning of "tlhIngan" ( = "Klingon"
in
> >Klingon ).
>
> Are you saying that the Batswana are Klingons?


No. Marc Okrand, the linguist who invented Klingon, intended to create a
sound which existed in no human language. From what I have read on the
Internet, I take the difference between the Klingon "tlh" and similar sounds
in some of the languages of southern Africa to be the following: The Nguni
languages have dental lateral affricatives while the Klingon sound is a
dental lateral *affricate,* the difference being that it has a plosive
component.

See
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=lateral%20fricative

Bob Cunningham

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 4:50:16 PM9/1/03
to
On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 18:35:23 GMT,
jla...@rygar.gpcc.itd.umich.edu (John Lawler) said:

[ . . . ]

> shwa may well have appeared in dictionaries by the time
> you went to school. I guarantee it didn't in my time.

But "schwa" appeared, with its present meaning in phonetics
and its present symbol, in the 1930s _Webster's New
International Dictionary Second Edition_ (_WNID2_).

It's not in the fifth edition of the _Collegiate_, which was
also published in the 1930s and was an abridgement of
_WNID2_. Maybe they didn't tell the kids about unabridged
dictionaries where Professor Lawler went to school.

"Shwa" is shown in _Webster's Third New International
Dictionary_, and also in _The New Shorter
Oxford_English_Dictionary_ (_NSOED_), but only as a variant
spelling of "schwa". _NSOED_ dates "schwa, also shwa"
"L19", late 19th century.

Evan Kirshenbaum

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 6:05:00 PM9/1/03
to
"Raymond S. Wise" <illinoi...@mninter.net> writes:

> No. Marc Okrand, the linguist who invented Klingon, intended to
> create a sound which existed in no human language. From what I have
> read on the Internet, I take the difference between the Klingon
> "tlh" and similar sounds in some of the languages of southern Africa
> to be the following: The Nguni languages have dental lateral
> affricatives while the Klingon sound is a dental lateral
> *affricate,* the difference being that it has a plosive component.

I'd just like to point out that anybody who's been exposed to field
guides for "unusual" languages, should check out Okrand's _Klingon
Dictionary_. It's a hoot, and mimics the style right down to the
admonition that

The best way to learn to pronounce Klingon with no trace of a
Terran or other accent is to become friends with a group of
Klingons and spend a great deal of time socializing with them.
Very few non-Klingons speak Klingon without an accent.

My understanding is that there's little or nothing in the language
(phonology or syntax) that isn't found *somewhere* in living human
languages, but that he deliberately chose features that would be
unfamiliar to speakers of "mainstream" languages, paying attention to
apparent linguistic universals. The result, I believe, is, unlike
most constructed languages, something that is completely unfamiliar,
but which *could* have been a human language.

--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |In the beginning, there were no
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |reasons, there were only causes.
Palo Alto, CA 94304 | Daniel Dennet

kirsh...@hpl.hp.com
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/


Robert Bannister

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 8:14:43 PM9/1/03
to

M-W and Cambridge International both give 'dif' first, followed by 'dip'
- no preference mentioned. Oxford Compact only gives 'dif'.


--
Rob Bannister

Aaron J. Dinkin

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 9:59:23 PM9/1/03
to
On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 18:35:23 GMT, John Lawler <jla...@rygar.gpcc.itd.umich.edu> wrote:

> Aaron J. Dinkin <a...@post.harvard.edu> writes
>

>>I'm pretty sure I learned the word "schwa" in grade school in the USA.
>>(I'm certain that I learned it while I was in grade school, and almost
>>certain that I learned it from a book aimed at grade-school students,
>>though I'm not as sure that it was from a book actually used in the
>>curriculum of the school I went to.)
>

> Well, you're a lot younger than I am (I graduated HS in 1960), so shwa
> may well have appeared in dictionaries by the time you went to school. I
> guarantee it didn't in my time.

If I'm right about the book I learned it from (which I may not be), it was
a sort of spelling primer - the sort that had some twenty chapters, each
emphasizing a particular theme with twenty words to learn that fit the
theme, which might be "digraphs" or "homophones" or the like. It seemed
pretty old, I think - that is, I think the book I'm thinking of seemed
kind of beat-up, and the layout of the text seemed like it had come from a
previous decade - but this is all from vague memory. I learned "diphthong"
from the same book.

> And you were in closer contact than I ever was with Masoretic points
> before the age of 20. Shwa or sheva or sh'va are ordinary
> transcriptions of the name for the point (which appears under
> shem in that name) that looks like a colon subscript.

(Do you mean "shin"?) That's true, but my school never made a point of
teaching us the names of the masoretic points - if I learned them while I
was in elementary school, it was in outside reading. And I was in junior
high and high school before I made the connection between "schwa" and
"sh'va".

Alan Anderson

unread,
Sep 1, 2003, 10:47:51 PM9/1/03
to
"Raymond S. Wise" <illinoi...@mninter.net> wrote:
> No. Marc Okrand, the linguist who invented Klingon, intended to create a
> sound which existed in no human language.

I don't think that was the case with {tlh}. Klingonist lore says that
the Klingon {Q} sound is the least common, but even it is used in a
natural language.

> From what I have read on the
> Internet, I take the difference between the Klingon "tlh" and similar sounds
> in some of the languages of southern Africa to be the following: The Nguni
> languages have dental lateral affricatives while the Klingon sound is a
> dental lateral *affricate,* the difference being that it has a plosive
> component.

_The Klingon Dictionary_ describes Klingon {tlh} as being like the
Aztec "tl" sound as in "tetl", meaning egg.

Pat Durkin

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Sep 1, 2003, 11:07:35 PM9/1/03
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"Alan Anderson" <aran...@netusa1.net> wrote in message
news:24f07aba.03090...@posting.google.com...

When this thread started, I was reminded of how my nephew told me the
Tlingit Indians pronounce their name : Klickit. He spent over a year in
the Ketchikan, (Southeast Alaska) area.


Raymond S. Wise

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Sep 1, 2003, 11:22:04 PM9/1/03
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"Evan Kirshenbaum" <kirsh...@hpl.hp.com> wrote in message
news:znhoup...@hpl.hp.com...

> "Raymond S. Wise" <illinoi...@mninter.net> writes:
>
> > No. Marc Okrand, the linguist who invented Klingon, intended to
> > create a sound which existed in no human language. From what I have
> > read on the Internet, I take the difference between the Klingon
> > "tlh" and similar sounds in some of the languages of southern Africa
> > to be the following: The Nguni languages have dental lateral
> > affricatives while the Klingon sound is a dental lateral
> > *affricate,* the difference being that it has a plosive component.
>
> I'd just like to point out that anybody who's been exposed to field
> guides for "unusual" languages, should check out Okrand's _Klingon
> Dictionary_. It's a hoot, and mimics the style right down to the
> admonition that
>
> The best way to learn to pronounce Klingon with no trace of a
> Terran or other accent is to become friends with a group of
> Klingons and spend a great deal of time socializing with them.
> Very few non-Klingons speak Klingon without an accent.
>
> My understanding is that there's little or nothing in the language
> (phonology or syntax) that isn't found *somewhere* in living human
> languages, but that he deliberately chose features that would be
> unfamiliar to speakers of "mainstream" languages, paying attention to
> apparent linguistic universals. The result, I believe, is, unlike
> most constructed languages, something that is completely unfamiliar,
> but which *could* have been a human language.


I read that the way Klingon divides up color is different than the way any
human language does, that is, it violates the rules concerning color which
Joseph H. Greenberg found when he tried to identify language universals. I
can't find Greenberg's rules concerning color on the Internet, but the
Klingon color words are given at the following Web site:

http://www.klingonska.org/ref/color.html

Evan Kirshenbaum

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Sep 1, 2003, 11:13:56 PM9/1/03
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"Pat Durkin" <durk...@nothome.com> writes:

> When this thread started, I was reminded of how my nephew told me
> the Tlingit Indians pronounce their name : Klickit. He spent over a
> year in the Ketchikan, (Southeast Alaska) area.

That's /klInkIt/ ("klink-it"). I was just in Ketchikan.

--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |Your claim might have more
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |credibility if you hadn't mispelled
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |"inteligent"

kirsh...@hpl.hp.com
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/


Steve Hayes

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Sep 1, 2003, 11:44:38 PM9/1/03
to

When I read that last night, I was tired and had a headache, so I thought
I'd better take a look at it in themorning.

I've just looked at it again, and my conclusion is that you and I will never
be able to comunicate with each other. Any attempt at explanation will lead to
further misunderstanding, and will simply muddy the waters further.

I give up.

Steve Hayes

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Sep 1, 2003, 11:44:39 PM9/1/03
to

I wasn't taught *any* system of representing pronunciation, nor was I ever
taught to use a dictionary, other than learning the alphabet.

In primary school we were taught English composition and spelling and
elementary grammar. In secondary (high) school we did parsing and sentence
analysis, most of which I have forgotten. I know we had to do things like
"subject, preduicate, object" and say that this word is an adjective that
modifies (or was it "qualifies"?) such and such a noun. I quite enjoyed it at
the time, and maybe it helped me to improve my written English. But systems of
representing pronunciation were totally absent.

Evan Kirshenbaum

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Sep 2, 2003, 12:01:49 AM9/2/03
to
"Raymond S. Wise" <illinoi...@mninter.net> writes:

> "Evan Kirshenbaum" <kirsh...@hpl.hp.com> wrote in message

> > My understanding is that there's little or nothing in the language
> > (phonology or syntax) that isn't found *somewhere* in living human
> > languages, but that he deliberately chose features that would be
> > unfamiliar to speakers of "mainstream" languages, paying attention
> > to apparent linguistic universals. The result, I believe, is,
> > unlike most constructed languages, something that is completely
> > unfamiliar, but which *could* have been a human language.
>
> I read that the way Klingon divides up color is different than the
> way any human language does, that is, it violates the rules
> concerning color which Joseph H. Greenberg found when he tried to
> identify language universals.

Well, that wouldn't be "phonology or syntax", would it? :-)

> I can't find Greenberg's rules concerning color on the Internet,

The reason is probably that (to the best of my knowledge) Greenberg
didn't work on color terms. That was Brent Berlin and Paul Kay.

> but the Klingon color words are given at the following Web site:
>
> http://www.klingonska.org/ref/color.html

No, that's perfectly consistent. Berlin and Kay's findings (which
have been modified slightly in subsequent years) is that all languages
have at least two basic terms. If there are two, they divide the
space into roughly "dark" and "light". The third will carve out a
space somewhere in "red". The fourth and fifth will be roughly
"yellow" and "green", but might be in either order. The sixth will be
"blue", the seventh "brown", and the remainder ("pink", "purple",
"orange", "gray", (and perhaps others)) can come in any order.

According to the page you point to,

There are only four distinct words for different colors (including
black and white) in Klingon

the other two are red and a color that encompasses green, blue, and
yellow. This last is nearly perfectly consistent with a Berlin and
Kay Stage IIIa language--close enough that he must have had it in
mind:

At Stage II a third category emerges which we call RED. RED
includes all reds, oranges, most yellows, browns, pinks, and
purples (including violet). WHITE and BLACK continue to segment
the middle range hues...

At Stage III the reduction in scope of WHITE and BLACK continues
and a new category emerges. This may either be GREEN or YELLOW.
GREEN normally includes English yellow-green, greens, blue-greens,
blues, and blue-purples; it may, however, include only greens plus
yellow-greens and tans or light browns... We designate the
addition of the GREEN category at Stage III as Stage IIIa. If the
Yellow category is added at Stage III the extension is always into
light greens and light browns or tans. This development is
designated Stage IIIb.

So just allow it to shade a bit more into yellow than yellow-green and
you've got a Stage IIIa language. Berlin and Kay list eight Stage
IIIa languages: Bagirmi, Hanunóo, Ibibio, Ila, Mende, Poul, Somali,
and Tanna Island.

Homeric Greek is classified as a stage IIIb language, with the four
basic terms being (if I transcribed their phonetics correctly)

/lEukOs/ [WHITE] snow, water, sun, metallic surface, bright,
shining, brilliant, clear
/glaukOs/ [BLACK] eye-color, willow, olive, sedge
/EryTrOs/ [RED] red, blood-color, copper color, wine or nectar
/xlO:rOs/ [YELLOW] green, yellow tints, young leaves, honey sand.

They base their analysis on Capell, who notes "Whenever a color is
definitely specified, as in /kyanOs/ 'dark blue', it is usually a
metaphorical transfer: /kyanOs/ is the lapis lazule first of all."
That is, there were other color terms used, but they don't meet the
test of being "basic".

--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |The mystery of government is not how
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |Washington works, but how to make it
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |stop.
| P.J. O'Rourke
kirsh...@hpl.hp.com
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/


Michael West

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Sep 2, 2003, 12:30:10 AM9/2/03
to

"Evan Kirshenbaum" <kirsh...@hpl.hp.com> wrote:

> Homeric Greek is classified as a stage IIIb language, with the four
> basic terms being (if I transcribed their phonetics correctly)
>
> /lEukOs/ [WHITE] snow, water, sun, metallic surface, bright,
> shining, brilliant, clear
> /glaukOs/ [BLACK] eye-color, willow, olive, sedge
> /EryTrOs/ [RED] red, blood-color, copper color, wine or nectar
>