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Language that uses [t] (or [k]?) in formal settings and [k] (or [t]?) in in informal
18 votes

There are a few Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian and Samoan that don't contrast [t] and [k] i.e. [t] and [k] exist as allophones of /t/. The language you're looking for seems to be Samoan where /...

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What is the longest word without a vowel in any language?
13 votes

There's a word (a sentence actually) in the Canadian language Bella Coola (aka Nuxalk) that only consists of obstruents (no vowels at all) and is longer than the Czech word you mentioned in the ...

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Are zzz's associated with sleeping outside of english-speaking cultures?
Accepted answer
12 votes

ZZZ: Zzz is an onomatopoeic representation of snoring. It was commonly used in media where sound effects were not an option, notably in comic books. That’s where it got its association with sleeping, ...

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Words in English which elided medial 'g' or 'v' (or initial 'h' before 'l', 'n', or 'r')
9 votes

All the following information comes from Christopher Upward's The History of English Spelling: Words that lost initial ‘h’: OE hlaf ModE ‘loaf’ OE hlud ModE ‘loud’ OE hlædder ModE ‘ladder’ OE ...

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Do any languages contrast [r] and [r:]?
7 votes

According to Wikipedia, Slovak does contrast /r/ and /rː/, but the Journal of IPA on Slovak says that the geminated /r/ (i.e. /rː/) is considered an allophone of /r/ because there are no minimal pairs ...

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Are there traces of lost PIE laryngeals in Sanskrit?
6 votes

As far as I'm aware, yes. One of the origins of the Sanskrit voiceless aspirate is a PIE cluster of PLOSIVE + LARYNGEAL. I know only one word that illustrates this: पृथ्वी pṛthvī́ ('earth') > PIE *...

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Are there languages with consonant clusters that include consonants that never occur alone?
5 votes

In many dialects of Pashto, xʷ only occurs in clusters. It only occurs in clusters (mostly before [r ~ ɾ] and [l]). It never occurs alone and contrasts with x (and xw in some words) for example /xre/ ...

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Is there any word in other languages that begins with the urdu alphabet ṛē (ڑ‎)?
5 votes

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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Which languages have different words for "maternal uncle" and "paternal uncle"?
5 votes

Pashto (Indo-Iranian) also has separate words for maternal uncle and paternal uncle: paternal uncle: تره maternal uncle: ماما And Urdu: paternal uncle: چچا maternal uncle: مامو (or ماما)

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Does any living language contrast /kʷ/ and /kw/?
4 votes

Just because a language contrasts two sounds, doesn't mean there should be minimal pairs (cf. English /h/ and /ŋ/). The IPA uses a plain w to symbolise the [w] sound (war) and a superscript ʷ for ...

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ʃɔː can you pls help me what word is this po?
4 votes

/ʃɔː/ is the IPA transcription of the word 'shore' in non-rhotic accents. Sometimes 'sure' is also pronounced as /ʃɔː/. /ʃ/ is called 'voiceless postalveolar fricative'. It is the shhh sound present ...

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Is there a British English language minimal pair for the schwa and the 'long schwa?'
3 votes

In addition to forward - foreword, there are: Upton /ˈʌptən/ and upturn /ˈʌptɜːn/ As @Janus said in a comment, you could create minimal pairs, as in: afterwards /ˈɑːftəwədz/ and after words /...

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Do any languages contrast [r] and [r:]?
2 votes

According to A Course in Phonetics by Peter Ladefoged and Keith Johnson, Icelandic also contrasts [r] and [rː]. They also give a minimal pair and a spectrograph: [sauːra] ‘wound’ [saurːa] ‘sore’ (...

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Are there languages that disallow initial vowels and lack glottal stop?
2 votes

There's an Australian language Lardil that has both of the features the OP is asking for: there's no phonemic glottal stop, in fact, there are no glottal consonants each syllable starts with a ...

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Is there a term for a sequence of letters which can be divided into words in multiple ways?
2 votes

I think that's called oronym. In recreational linguistics, an oronym is a pair of phrases which are homophonic. When pronounced without a pause between words (internal open juncture), phrases which ...

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Are there any languages with the equivalent of "both" for three items?
1 votes

In Pashto, درې واړه [ˈd̪reˑ.wɑ̟̈ɳə] exactly means ‘both for three items’. (It can be used for both humans and inanimate objects.)

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What causes a glottal stop after some silence before a vowel?
Accepted answer
-1 votes

In a comment, Janus Bahs Jacquet wrote: Your vocal cords usually close when they’re not in use (to close off access to your windpipe and prevent things getting into your throat). Pronouncing a vowel ...

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