tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue Feb 05 15:13:59 2002

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Re: Alphabet

> >peHrus:
> >>>I have not checked your math, either.  Have you deducted the syllables 
> >>>that
> >>>just won't work?  For example, 'ow', 'uw and 'Iy' are "impossible."
> >
> >Sangqar:
> >>>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.)

I've run into an interesting variation on this concept with my fiancee. She's 
originally from Philadelphia, while I'm a native Virginian. She's fascinated 
that I actually pronounce "where" and "wear" differently. She thinks it is 
charming that I jet a puff of air when I say "where", but I don't when I 
say "wear", and yet she cannot bring herself to do the same.

She lives her life with context alone telling her the difference between "wh" 
and "w". This is similar to the Klingon regional differences between {m} and 
{b} or between {n} and {D} as described in KGT (I think) and to a lesser degree 
in TKD.

I also remember my philosophy professor who grew up in Georgia swearing that 
there was no difference between "pen" and "pin". Even when pairs of students 
would show him that we could pronounce the two words distinctly enough that we 
could tell the difference, he declared that we were conspiring to pretend to be 
able to tell the difference when really they were just the same word. He could 
not hear the difference.

I tried to explain to him that "pen" was a sound between "pin" and "pan", but 
when I said "pin, pen, pan", he heard "pin, pin, pan".

> >- taD
> -Sangqar


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