LINGUIST List 13.63

Fri Jan 11 2002

Qs: Sound Patterns in Langs, Gen'l Phonetics: z>h

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  1. Yuri Tambovtsev, Sound patterns in languages of different morphological structures
  2. Remy Viredaz, General phonetics : z > h ?

Message 1: Sound patterns in languages of different morphological structures

Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 00:07:47 +0600
From: Yuri Tambovtsev <>
Subject: Sound patterns in languages of different morphological structures

Dear colleagues, I wonder if you know how to get texts of North
American Indian languages of incorporating morphological type in the
electronic form? Or aboriginal Australian languages? I'm feeding in my
computer somestories of the Sweet Grass Cree collected by
L. Bloomfield. I was surprised how similar it sounds to Mansi (Vogul)
of Siberia. I wonder if anybody could tell me if the Sweet Grass Cree
language is agglutinative or incorporating? My aim is to detect the
similarity of sound distribution in the languages of different
morphological word structure. I failed to find the data on the
phonemic occurrence of North American Indian languages. I wonder if
there were any publications on those?
Actually, I'm Looking forward to hearing from you about any
incorporating language in the elecronic form.

The other subject that I'd like to discuss is the sound pictures of
world languages. Why it is important to compute the phonemic
frequencies of occurrence in a language. Every language has this or
that unigue sound picture. One can intuitively feel that language "A"
is different from language "B" hearing the sound picture of a
language. The phonemic frequencies of occurrence create this or that
sound mosaic of a language. We can compare world languages with each
other after we obtain the sound picture of every world language. Now
linguists believe that there are about 4000 or 5000 languages in the
world. However, unfortunately, there are only 120 data on phonemeic
frequency of occurrence I that I could collect for world languages.
Many of them we computed in Novosibirsk (Russia). This is why, I urge
world linguists to join our group of phoneticians who investigate the
sound picture of world languages. The data on frequency of occurrence
of phonemes and phonemic groups have been published in my 3 books in
Russian. One can find the references in the third book: Nekotorye
teoreticheskie polozhenija tipologii upor'adochennosti fonem v
zvukovoj tsepochke jazyka i kompendium statisticheskih harakteristik
osnovnyh grupp soglasnyh fonem. - Novosibirsk: Novosibirsk
klassicheskij institut, 2001. - 130 pages. I'd like to go on
studying the frequencies of phonemic occurrences of less known
world languages. 

This time I took up the Ngaanyatjarra language which is an aboriginal
language of Australia. Could anyone send me the phonemic system of
Ngaanyatjarra? I need especially the system of Ngaanyatjarra
consonants. In the Linguistlist I read a lot of interesting
discissions on different matters but never on phonostatistics. I
wonder how one can foresee the labial consonants being distributed in
different world languages. One should bear in mind that languages are
different in all aspect. I wonder if labial distribution is the same,
no matter how different languages may be. This is why I took the
Aboriginal Australian language of Nunggubuyu and Hanga of Ghana and
compared them to Japanese and 120 other world languages. The results
are rather unexpected, at least for me. I wonder where I could publish
them in English?

Those linguists who are interested or could help may write me to my
email address 

Looking forward to joint efforts.

Wishing you a Happy 2002 year, 
Yuri Tambovtsev
Novosibirsk Ped.University
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Message 2: General phonetics : z > h ?

Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 20:38:02 +0100
From: Remy Viredaz <>
Subject: General phonetics : z > h ?

Various languages in different parts of the world have
undergone a conditioned change s > h. But :

(a) are there languages where there has been a general,
unconditioned change s > h ?

(b) are there languages where z (as voiced counterpart of s)
has changed to voiced h or any similar sound, and under
what conditions ?

(c) among the languages in (b), is voiceless s maintained
or is it changed to h ?

Thank you all for any help.

R�my Viredaz
1, rue Chandieu
CH - 1202 Gen�ve
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