tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Mon Feb 04 00:02:34 2002

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Re: Alphabet

>>>I have not checked your math, either.  Have you deducted the syllables 
>>>just won't work?  For example, 'ow', 'uw and 'Iy' are "impossible."
>>>Actually, I didn't take those into account, but are you sure that {ow} is
>>>not valid?  I mean, is there an Okrandian source?  Finnish has that
>>>particular diphthong, although it is admittedly hard for beginners to
>>>distinguish from a long o.  Since Klingon doesn't have a long o, it seems
>>>that paricular difficulty wouldn't exist.
>According to TKD, on the top of page 17, no Klingon words have {ow} or
>{uw}, since they would sound the same as {o} and {u}. However, I'm not
>aware of any prohibition on the sound {'Iy'}. peHruS, was there some reason
>that you included {'Iy'} here (other than the fact that no words that we
>know use that sound)?

Interesting.  ow and o are phonetically distinct, although not phonemically 
distinct in some languages; that is, the exact sound, or phone, is 
different, whereas the range of sounds accepted by the ear/brain as being 
the same sound, or phoneme, is often the same.  As I previously mentioned, 
in Finnish they are distinct phonemes, in English (and apparently in 
Klingon) they are not.

As an example for those unfamiliar with the phone/phoneme distinction, the 
words 'cot' and 'caught' sound to different to most people from the east 
coast (of the US), whereas in other parts of the country they sound the 
same.  Even though someone from the east coast would pronounce these 
differently, and anyone from the east coast would hear the difference, 
people from other parts of the country would hear it as the same sound, 
because in thier own dialect they pronounce it as the same sound.  Of 
course, if you're intently listening for the difference, you can usually 
pick it up, even if you can't reproduce it yourself.  (Sorry for the 
anglocentrism here; I don't know of any examples in any other languages.)

BTW, a quick glance at page 17 of the TKD indicates that Iy is, in fact, 
acceptable; at least, it is listed among the diphthongs.  A quick check of 
my electronic dictionary shows: lIy, mIy, rIymuS, SonchIy, vIychorgh, wIy.

>- taD


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