LINGUIST List 5.220

Thu 24 Feb 1994

Sum: Lateral fricatives

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  1. MARC PICARD, Lateral fricatives summary

Message 1: Lateral fricatives summary

Date: Wed, 23 Feb 1994 13:21:11 Lateral fricatives summary
From: MARC PICARD <PICARDVax2.Concordia.CA>
Subject: Lateral fricatives summary

 A couple of weeks ago I asked whether lateral fricatives were
considered to be [+strident] or [-strident].I received lots of references
and information on various languages that have these segments but the most
pertinent responses were the following.
 Jason Johnston wrote:
Chomsky & Halle _The Sound Pattern of English_ at p.317 say 'Nonvocalic
laterals, which are often strident, are found in various widely scattered areas
of the globe: the Caucasus, Africa, and among the languages native to the
American continent.
 Also at p.329, they say 'Strident liquids, which are nonvocalic
(see Section 3.1) are found, for example in Czech [...] in which strident
and nonstrident [r] contrast; in Bura and Margi we find contrasts of
strident and nonstrident [l] (Ladefoged, 1964).'
 Ladefoged himself, in _A Course in Phonetics_ (1975), has a table
on p.246 which lists lateral fricatives as [+strident].
 But then Steve Seegmiller noted that
At the beginning of Halle and Clements' "Problem Book in Phonology" there
is a list of distinctive features with their articulatory correlates and
a brief description of the sound classes that they characterize. Under
"strident/nonstrident" they say, in effect, that the sibilants, the
labiodentals, and the uvulars are strident and everything else is
nonstrident (including, by implication, laterals).
 There were a couple of other references to Peter Ladefoged's
A COURSE IN PHONETICS but since there were important differences between
the three editions, I decided to ask him personally, and he replied:
My problem with a direct answer is that I do not use the feature Strident.
I prefer Sibilant, which is nearly the same, but is defined as the
property of fricatives that have energy made by a jet of air striking
an obstacle.
 In sum, the jury's still out, I guess. But maybe I can aske the
question another way: if interdentals are taken to be the achetype of
[-strident] fricatives, and alveolars are the archetype of [+strident]
segments, which of these two are lateral fricatives closest to in terms of
frequency?
 Anyway, many thanks to all the others who took time to reply
(Larry Trask, Cheryl Zoll, Jack Rea, John Kingston, Martin Ball).

Marc Picard
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