LINGUIST List 9.423

Fri Mar 20 1998

Disc: Short Diphthongs

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


Directory

  1. Norval Smith, Re: 9.411, Disc: Short Diphthongs
  2. John R. Rennison, LINGUIST List 9.355: Message 1: short diphthongs

Message 1: Re: 9.411, Disc: Short Diphthongs

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 13:26:14 +0100
From: Norval Smith <Norval.Smithlet.uva.nl>
Subject: Re: 9.411, Disc: Short Diphthongs


Paul Johnston qutoes as a former case of an opposition between a short
and a long diphthong the Scots contrast between short /EI/ and long
/ae/, which he says now contrast in final position. If I am not
mistaken final /EI/ is in fact also long. However I agree that this
does obscure the situation.
 Probably better is the Scottish Standard English opposition
between short /i/ and long /ae/, which as SSE does not have /pEI/ for
'pay' but /pe:/, is clearer. However there is also an unclear
situation in SSE with pairs such as /vaetl/ 'vital' and /t itl/
'title' indicating once again that these two are in a state of
near-phonemic opposition.
 In fact even better is the SSE (also Scots, but in different
lexical items) opposition between short and long / u/ and /^:u/ in
pairs of words such as 'house' (noun) and 'house' (verb), or /l^ud/
'loud' and /l^:ud/ 'allowed' in accordance with the general Scots
Vowel Length Rule (Aitken's Law). Here there is no significant
difference in quality to confuse the issue. So speakers of SSE at
least are aware that they use two different sounds in words like
'five' and 'nine' while no such awareness is present as regards the
two variants of 'ow'. One speaker of SSE even suggested to me that we
really needed two different spellings for the two sounds /^i/ and
/ae/. This is probably another indication that while we do not need
two underlying units for the back diphthongs, we probably do for the
front ones, both in Scots and in SSE.

Norval Smith
 
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Message 2: LINGUIST List 9.355: Message 1: short diphthongs

Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 14:31:39 MET-1MEST
From: John R. Rennison <johnling.univie.ac.at>
Subject: LINGUIST List 9.355: Message 1: short diphthongs

There are short/long contrasts in the diphthongs of most Bavarian
dialects of German and in Moore (a Gur language of Burkina Faso). In
Bavarian they are all lexical (i.e. first vowels of word stems), and
are lengthened by isochronic lengthening. In Moore many (most?) are
derived by the processes of U-umlaut and A-umlaut.

Perhaps the problem with a moraic analysis lies with moras. I have no
trouble analyzing diphthongs with alternating length in Government
Phonology: there is a single contour melody which is attached to one
vs. two skeletal points. There is also a third possibility: two
(monophthongal) melodies and two skeletal points. The fourth logical
possibility (2 melodies, 1 x) is impossible as the representation of a
diphthong -- it would have to be a monophthong.

I'm afraid I don't know where the problem lies.


John Rennison
Dept. of Linguistics, University of Vienna

Inst. f. Sprachwissenschaft e-mail: johnling.univie.ac.at
Berggasse 11
A-1090 Wien Fax: +43 1 3155347
Austria / Europe Tel.: +43 1 3103886/32

 http://www.univie.ac.at/linguistics/personal/john
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