LINGUIST List 6.524

Fri 07 Apr 1995

Disc: German Affricates

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  1. "Ellen L. Contini-Morava", German affricates
  2. Alexis Manaster Ramer, German Affricates

Message 1: German affricates

Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 08:05:12 -German affricates
From: "Ellen L. Contini-Morava" <>
Subject: German affricates

According to William Welmers (African Language Structures, U.
California Press 1973), the 1957 President's address to the LSA,
by W. Freeman Twaddell, was entitled simply "[c(with hachek)]?",
and went into the same issues that are being discussed here now.
Welmers' own treatment of the topic (ibid. pp. 53 ff.), from the
point of view of the fieldworker, is also illuminating. His
point, well known to structuralist phonologists, was that sounds
that are audibly indistinguishable may have several different
phonemic interpretations, and he offers examples of different
solutions for different languages, with rationales.

Ellen Contini-Morava
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Message 2: German Affricates

Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 09:42:58 -German Affricates
From: Alexis Manaster Ramer <amrCS.Wayne.EDU>
Subject: German Affricates

Let's not get confused, folks: the question of what the sounds are is
distinct from the question of how they are analyzed at a particular
level in a particular theory. If you believe in both phonemes and
underlying representations, for example, there are probably cases
where underlying /t+S/ is phonemic /tS/ in some varieties of German
and in some positions in all and in all positions in some varieities
of Polish, for example. In pointing out that the phonetic distinction
is audible, I was of course concerned with the phonetic facts, not
with any possible analysis at hypothetical deeper levels. Now, some
of those who have written in deny the possibility of hearing the
contrast. I am prepared to demonstrate it and teach people to hear
it either by phone or in person, for the cost of the phone call or
airfare and accomodations. No, really, it is not that hard, alkthough
of course I do the unfair advantage of having been to the contrast
born. I would add that if someone really cannot hear it that does
not mean much, since there are lots of people who cannot hear all
the tonal distinctions of, say, Cantonese (I am such a person), and
yet no one would deny that they are phonetically real. But I do
think the afficates are easier: if you are an English speaker but
are familiar with German, compare the way English speakers typically
render somehting like tsunami with the German z.

I would add that syllabification is not crucial here, since in Polish,
for example, the two-segment /t+S/ between vowels syllabifies the
same as a one-segment /tS/, that is, with the fllowing vowel.

The real question regarding forms like entscheiden and Wirtschaft
is whether they have the same sound as tschuess.

Alexis MR
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