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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Discussion Details

Title: Re: 16-2712, Phonology, Mysterious /s/
Submitter: Dinha T. Gorgis
Description: [Re: LINGUIST 16.2712, Phonology: Mysterious /s/

Dear researcher,

Standard Arabic prohibits both s+C and V+s+C. Not only this, but it prohibits consonant cluster formation save at word-final position in case the speaker wishes to pause whereby only a CC is allowed. And this expains the failure of Arabs learning English to produce CCC and CCCC clusters at all word-positions.

Assyrian, as spoken today, permits s+C (whether voiced or voiceless), though genetically related, e.g. /spa:y/ 'good or well'(with noticeable loss of aspiration, like English); /smo:qa/ 'red' (with a devoiced m). I believe it is a matter of habit formation; never biological and never universal!

Prof. Dinha T. Gorgis
Hashemite University,
Date Posted: 29-Sep-2005
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Genetic Classification
LL Issue: 16.2806
Posted: 29-Sep-2005

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