LINGUIST List 5.175

Thu 17 Feb 1994

Sum: Nasals

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Nick Reid, Sum: Labiodental nasals

Message 1: Sum: Labiodental nasals

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 11:52:05 Sum: Labiodental nasals
From: Nick Reid <>
Subject: Sum: Labiodental nasals

I had so many responses to my query about (firstly uvular nasals and then)
labiodental nasals, that I figure it's easier to post a summary than reply
to all individually. I was trying to find a sample word from a language
that has a phonemic labiodental nasal, ideally one that occurred say
intervocalically and maybe even in contrast with bilabials or dentals. I
had assumed that because this sound had a distinct symbol, that there must
be a phonemic labiodental nasal out there somewhere.

It seems I was wrong. I received numerous examples from;

INFATUATION (English casual speech) `infatuation'.

EMFASIS (Spanish), `emphasis'

Xhosa & Zulu
imfene `baboon'
imvubu `hippopotamus'

anfora 'amphora'

enveten 'stubborn'
anfall 'attack'

and several other languages, all involving homorganic nasal fricative

Geoff Pullum informed me that "Althought the IPA created a special symbol
just in case, it is common knowledge among phoneticians that this was a
policy mistake. No language has ever been found that has a phonemic
labiodental nasal."

I guess you all knew this too huh?

thanks for all the responses


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