Sorry for the delay in replying to this!
On Mon, 24 Jan 2005, David Stifter wrote:
> Can you explain why your teacher considered dental to be a crap
> position? That sounds curious. Just from my personal experience with
> languages I never had that particular sentiment!
I think he meant it wasn't very efficient for communicative purposes - it
doesn't produce a particularly high-energy sound or one that has very
distinct peaks in its spectrum, so it's not a terribly good return on the
investment of a tongue gesture. There might be other reasons to do with
the acoustic transitions between dental sounds and their neighbours - it's
been a while since I did phonetics though, so I can't comment accurately.
>> 3. I still want to produce a sound which is as similar as possible to
>> 4. I'll produce [h], that way it'll be a voiceless fricative which
>> sounds pretty similar but there won't be any need for that tongue tip
> By that reasoning, I guess, you could arrive at /h/ from any stop.
Yes. You can arrive at the glottal sounds [h] and [?] (a glottal stop)
from just about anything - consider [t] > [?] in English, [k] > [?] in
Hawaiian, [r] > [h] in Brazilian Portuguese, [s] > [h] in Spanish...
> But is it so likely? I mean, interdental /th/ seems to be a rather
> stable sound in many languages: English and its earlier stages have
> had it for at least 2500 years, Greek for about 2000 years.
These are good points. Perhaps the Irish fricatives never moved away from
the precise position of the corresponding stops (which we agreed could be
particularly unsuitable for a fricative) before the radical shift to [h]
etc; if they'd become something like the English or Greek sounds, they
would have lasted a lot longer, maybe.
Tom Pullman ¦
Darwin College ¦ Whenever I speak Tlingit
Cambridge ¦ I can still taste the soap
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