LINGUIST List 11.168

Wed Jan 26 2000

Qs: Places of Articulation,Sumerian Etymology

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  1. Jorge Guitart, Coronal and Dorsals or Frontals and Posteriors?
  2. Pascale Hesse-Didier, Etymology of ana-ku (Sumerian)

Message 1: Coronal and Dorsals or Frontals and Posteriors?

Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 19:17:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Jorge Guitart <>
Subject: Coronal and Dorsals or Frontals and Posteriors?

Two questions: 1. How crazy are the following notions. 2. Why?
The consonants traditionally classified as palatal (such as the palatal
lateral and the palatal nasal and the voiced palatal obstruents in Spanish
(e.g. the third sound in maya (spirant or fricative) and the third in 
inyeccion (plosive or affricate, or the palatal affricate in Hungarian as 
opposed to the palatoalveolar affricate in the same language) are treated
by speakers of different
languages as Coronal as if the blade were the principal articulator
except that physically the consonantal
obstructions is not done with the blade but with the anterodorsal part of
the dorsum, and so they are dorsal. In other words, they are Dorsal
physically but they are
Coronal mentally. If they are coronal, then the vowel [i] with
approximation to the same area, is also Coronal, and that would explain,
for examplen why posterodorsals like [k] become coronal before [i]
diachronically and synchronically.
Either that, or, instead of Coronal and Dorsal there are two features
[Frontal] and [Posterior] for buccoligual sounds, or sounds made with the
tongue in the buccal cavity. [Frontals] are
produced in the frontal region of the mouth which starts at the lips
(there are labiofrontals in some languages) and end at the end of the
region whose upper limit is the hard palate. [Posteriors] are produced in
the posterior region of the mouth whose upper limit is the soft palate. 
The principal articulator of the posterior is the posterodorsum, but but
Frontals the principal articulator could be the apex, the blade, or the
anterodorsum (the latter is the case in the traditional palatals such as 
those mentioned above). There can be of course Posterio-Frontal
coarticulations, as in the case of velarized /l/ in English. 

NB: the anterodorsum is the front part of the dorsum and the
posterodorsum is the back part of the dorsum. (see Catford, a Practical
Introduction to Phonetics, OUP, 1988.)

Frontal and Posterior are unary features. (The other Place unary features
continue to be Labial, Radical and Glottal).

The binary features HIgh and Low continue to apply to the position
of the dorsum in general but are no longer exclusive of a unary feature
Dorsal since this feature no longer exists. These features apply only to
nonAnterior Frontals and to Posteriors. Within non-Anterior Frontals High
distinguishes between alveopalatals and palatals; within Posteriors it
distingues between velars and uvulars. The feature Back is probably
superfluous but I am not sure. The feature Low is of course good for
vowels only.

+ - Round continues to depend exclusively on Labial.

Jorge Guitart 
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Message 2: Etymology of ana-ku (Sumerian)

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 23:02:58 +0100
From: Pascale Hesse-Didier <>
Subject: Etymology of ana-ku (Sumerian)

Dear Subscribers,

i am looking for the etymologie and origin of the sumerian word for "I", ana-ku.
Does it have anything to do with "Anakim" (Genesis) ? (and with "An" and "Ki"?)

Thanks in advance for your answer,

Pascale Hesse-Didier
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