16

Yoon Mi Oh's 2015 thesis (pages 44-45) provides estimates of the number of syllables for various languages, gathered by taking the 20,000 most frequent words in a corpus of each language and counting the different syllables that show up. Ordering them by increasing number of syllables: Japanese: 643 Korean: 1104 Mandarin: 1274 Cantonese: 1298 Basque: 2082 ...


13

In Old and Middle English, the two sounds commonly written with 'a' were much more similar, being short and long versions of the same vowel: to a considerable degree they alternated depending on whether they were in an open or closed syllable. During the Great vowel shift, the long vowels in most dialects of English went waltzing round the mouth to end up ...


12

That Akkadian word-final -u is the Nominative case ending, the other case endings being -a for Accusative and -i for Genitive. Thus, the case forms of the noun bētu 'house' are: Nom.: bētu Acc.: bēta Gen.: bēti Exactly the same case endings are still present in Literary Arabic (Modern Standard Arabic), although in most spoken Arabic dialects they are ...


12

The linguists describing the language. As user6726 mentioned, phonemes are a theoretical construct. We can't actually take quantitative measurements that prove that this is a /k/ and this is a /t/, unlike in e.g. articulatory phonetics. So there are some linguists who claim Mandarin has only two vowels /ə a/, and some who claim it has five, /i y u ə a/, and ...


11

This question is a bit complicated. -ity is not really a productive suffix in English; it is the English outcome of the Latin suffix -itas. In the transition from Latin to Romance the sound represented by the letter “c”, if followed by a high front vowel, becomes first /ts/ and then, in French and in the French and Latin loan words in English, /s/. So there ...


9

The specific process that you are referring to is called "Velar Softening".


9

No. The use of a ‘characters writing system’ (I take it you mean something not simply alphabetic) does not restrict the number of distinct syllables. Even if you look at Yoon Mi Oh's list there's no reason to assume this. The gap between Cantonese and Basque isn't all that great and Korean uses an alphabet. The list is also fairly biased, for example many ...


9

Linguist's choice One sense in which someone decides what the phonemes of a language are is when a linguist describes a language and proclaims what the phonemes of the language are (usually in some publication). Linguists use all sorts of logic to arrive at their list, and many linguists don't even subscribe to the concept "phoneme". Using the term ...


9

Phoible is a useful database for phonological questions containing more than 3000 inventories for more than 2000 languages They have just 19 inventories with a /ʀ/ (i.e. with a phonemic uvular trill). Additionally, 2 inventories with a /ʁ/ (i.e. a phonemic voiced uvular fricative) have a [ʀ] as an allophone. In some of these, [r] is given as an allophone, so ...


8

There is an opposition between /ʒøn/ in "jeûne" and /ʒœn/ in "jeune" but the opposition between ø and œ is clearly not productive anymore. addendum #1: as you said, the opposition exists between closed syllables (/vœf/ "veuf") and open syllables (/vø/ "vœu") addendum #2 : by the way /œ/ is sometimes the way French ...


8

Syllable-initial Latin "Xl" clusters, where X is a consonant, regularly become "Xi" in Italian. Examples: platea -> piazza ('square') clamare -> chiamare ('call') flumen -> fiume ('river') glacia -> ghiaccio ('ice') blancus -> bianco ('white') As you surmise, these went through a stage of /ʎ/ (like Spanish <ll>)...


7

One page further (p. 587), Huehnergard gives as one of the changes from Proto-Semitic to Old Babylonian: Common Semitic *ḫ and *x̣ merged to ḫ (Huehnergard 2003):      *ḫamisum > ḫamšum ‘five’; *saḫānum > šaḫānum ‘to be warm’;      *x̣apārum > ḫepērum ‘to dig’; *rax̣āṣ́um > raḫāṣ́um ‘to wash’. The reference is to the author's 'Akkadian ḫ and ...


7

Terminologically, I think you are interested in the number of "distinct syllables" in a language. "Syllabic phoneme" means, approximately, "vowels", but also syllabic consonant (as exist in some languages), and with the provision that the sound has to be contrastive and not allophonic (for instance, you would not count with [ə] ...


7

There is a very good reason for thinking that this is coincidence. The reason is that a language has the same number of syllables whether it is written or not, and whether it is written with one form of script or another. Mandarin has the same number of syllables whether it is written in characters or Pinyin. The only way the pattern could be significant is ...


7

In some cases, I do think there's a causal link here. However, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, and Thai have very different writing systems, so I wouldn't group them all together as "characters". (Japanese is a syllabary plus logograms, Mandarin is pure logograms, Korean is an alphabet, and Thai is an abugida.) Focusing on Japanese specifically, ...


7

The distinction between French open-mid and close-mid vowels is often neutralized or unstable in certain positions. The distribution of the sounds also varies in some cases between dialects, so it's a pretty complicated situation. You're right that in general, close-mid vowels, including ø, are associated with open syllables and open-mid vowels, such as œ, ...


7

The shift of classical Persian ān to ūn is a feature of Tehran dialect (Tehrūnī), and of many other forms of colloquial Persian. It is an example of “labialization”. This phenomenon is widespread in languages of the world; we have it in English when we write “all” but pronounce it like “awl”.


7

I don't know Persian, however I have some knowledge of linguistics. The example given seems to be linked to a shift in register (different use of language in different circumstances). The formal form is 'greater effort'; the informal form is 'lower effort' / more relaxed, which here is a shift from the higher pitched 'a' sound to the lower pitched 'u' ...


7

TL;DR: The difference between the two pairs is substantial. Native speakers intuitively use phones so not to get trapped into the adjacent phoneme. The differences between [ʃ ʒ] and [ʂ ʐ] are pretty much noticeable. To give you a taste, check this YouTube video. It is spoken mainly in Ukrainian, and there are several [ʃ], like in пішов ("went") (...


7

The background assumption is that there are rules of diphthongization where tense vowels /ō ē ī ū ǣ / become [uw, iy, ay, aw, ey], the latter being written various ways in contemporary transcriptional practice, esp. using "j" for "y" in the IPA. When a vowel is laxed, you get [ɔ ɛ ɪ ʊ æ] though for lax /u/ the derivation and outcome ...


7

If you mean "was there a separate phoneme *s̠ separate from *s", almost certainly not. Current reconstructions explain the data very well with only a single sibilant *s, and I haven't seen any theories that add another one (or any reason why it would be necessary). If you mean "was PIE *s pronounced [s̠]", though… We don't (and can't) ...


6

Since you tagged this "phonology" rather than "phonetics": There are a few different ways of representing the second syllable of words like "mirror" in rhotic dialects. Some people treat it as a combination of a vowel /ə/ and a consonant; other people treat it as a syllabic resonant /ɹ̩/. (The same goes for the second syllable ...


5

The ending of the nominative singular -u, -un, -um is visible in Akkadian, Arabic, and Ugaritic. It was probably spoken in other languages (e.g. Ancient South Arabian, Ancient Aramaic), but not visible because of the consonantal script.


5

First, it's worth noting that phonemes are entirely theoretical constructs. There's no objective, quantitative measurement someone can make to determine whether something is a phoneme or not; it's entirely at the discretion of the person writing the theory, based on what makes the theory more explanatory and elegant. This also means that phonemes are ...


5

it's the X-SAMPA symbol for schwa. X-SAMPA was a system for representing the IPA using only ASCII. Now that unicode has become so ubiquitous it's largely obsolete, but you do still occasionally come across it


5

This book seems to answer your question in great detail. From the Amazon description: This scholarly treatise designed for linguists and typographers contains comprehensive statistics of conjunct consonants of the Sanskrit language, sorted by alphabet and by frequency with quotations from original Sanskrit texts. The linguistic statistics prove which ...


5

It is questionable whether there is such a thing as "assimilation of manner" in the same sense that there is assimilation of place. Assimilation of place traditionally refers to wholesale shift in POA as represented in the IPA charts, to t → p, p → k and so on: columns of cells identify a "place". "Manner" cross-classifies rows ...


5

Affricated realization of /t/ is characteristic of (certain varieties of) London speech (Cockney). Wells (1982: 31) writes: A common allophone of /t/ in a London accent is a heavily affricated [ts], thus [tsɑɪʔ ~ tsɑɪts] tight, [ˈpʰɑːtsi] party. To an American ear, as mentioned above, this evokes the stereotype of effeminacy, if the speaker is a man; but in ...


5

IMO it is more about where you go and less about what the degree is. In general, the more linguistics you know, the better you will be positioned to do this kind of work. A basic undergraduate degree where you learn the essentials is all that a lot of field workers have, but unless you're associated with SIL and get special training, it is unlikely that you ...


5

In Pashto (Indo-Iranian), the word for ‘blind’ does begin with /ɽ/ and is also written with ‘ڑ’ in some scripts, though most widely accepted scripts use ړ. blind: [ɽʉ̃n] (it's also pronounced with [ɻ])


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