LINGUIST List 6.472

Thu 30 Mar 1995

Disc: German Affricates

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. ursula.doleschal, Re: 6.460 German Affricates
  2. Alexis Manaster Ramer, Re: 6.460 German Affricates

Message 1: Re: 6.460 German Affricates

Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 11:47:44 Re: 6.460 German Affricates
From: ursula.doleschal <ursula.doleschalWU-WIEN.AC.AT>
Subject: Re: 6.460 German Affricates

As to the recent postings on German affricates I wonder what the criteria
are in order to posit a one- or two-segment solution. So far rather strange
(to my mind) suggestions have been made: "you can hear it", "the affricate
does not occur word-initially". Can some phonteists inform us, what are the
usual criteria in their science? (Since I will not have the time to read
through the relevant literature, but still find this an interesting
question, the more since German is my native language).

I always thought that one criterion should be the possibility of separate
release of the plosive and fricative parts, as has been illustrated by
David Powers for morphologically complex words (I am repeating his
examples, inserting a morpheme boundary "-"):


By the way, in my pronounciation putting a syllable boundary between the t
and S of _entscheiden_ sounds very, very weird, in fact I syllabify
en$tS..... Note that this verb is not very transparent to native speakers
of German. In the more clearly separable cases of Wirt-schaft and
fort-schritte, a syllable boundary between the 2 morphemes indicates to my
mind something like a spelling pronounciation, not occurring naturally.
(Naturally I would put the syllable boundary within the affricate).

As to German /ts/ , I think it is even harder to find contexts of separate
release what may be due to spelling norms: The spelling pronounciation of
e.g. _Katze_ would be kat-tse as far as I can see.

As a last remark, tS can occur quite frequently word-initially in
colloquial German (not only in tschu"ss), by way of syllable apocope as
_Entschuldigung_ becoming _Tschuldigung_ (cf. en-tscheiden above).

Ursula Doleschal
Institut f. Slawische Sprachen
Wirtschaftsuniv. Wien
Augasse 9, 1090 Wien
Tel.: ++43-1-31336 4115
Fax: ++43-1-31336 744
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: Re: 6.460 German Affricates

Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 09:32:18 Re: 6.460 German Affricates
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: Re: 6.460 German Affricates

Richard Desrochers and David Powers seem to me to miss the point
about the distinction between one-segment affricates and two
segment sequences of stop+fricative. Distributiuonal and
etymological arguments are irrelevant if the distinction is
audible (whether there is a contrast in the language in question
or not). Now, let us agree to write [ts] and [tS] for single
segments and [t-s] and [t-S] for sequences. Then, French has
[tS] in foreign words like Tchekoff, German has [ts] written z
and [tS] written tsch (which does occur initally in tschuess),
Polish has a contrast of [t-S] and [tS] initially and medially
(in final position, I think it is neutralized, except in
hypercorrect pronunciation), some English speakers seem to have
[tS] in hit'ya but [t-S] in hits'ya, otherwise English has [tS]
but [t-s] (compare hitch vs. hits), except that some Am. English
speakers very clearly have [ts] in some foreign, notably
Yiddish, borrowings.

I think this is like the velar nasal (let's write it [N]) vs.
[Ng]. Whether some language or dialect has one or the other
or both are things once can hear, WHATEVER the etymology or

It seems to me that you can also hear the distinction between
a long vowels and two vowels, so that Hopi has what sounds to
me like two vowels whereas Czech has long vowels. Again, the
phonetic facts have little if any connection with distribution
or etymology.

Alexis MR
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue