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A guide to small consonant inventories
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Author:  2+3 clusivity [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Nortaneous wrote:
dental thibilant allophones


I see what you did there.

Author:  kodé [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

cromulant wrote:
kodé wrote:
Not really that strange: if /d ɗ/ is really /t d/ on the level of abstract features, then you get /b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k/, which is completely reasonable.

/b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k/ is indeed less weird...but I have not seen that cited as Karajá's plosive inventory anywhere, and it seems to be a pretty well-documented language.

I mean in terms of an abstract set of plosives, you could analyze it as having a two-way phonation contrast in dentals and alveo-palatals. /t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/ are really just symbols here for the two contrastive elements of the two sets. That the phonation contrast is realized as "voiceless vs. voiced" for alveo-palatals but "voiced explosive vs. implosive" for dentals. This is really an issue about abstract versus surface representation.

Author:  cromulant [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

kodé wrote:
cromulant wrote:
kodé wrote:
Not really that strange: if /d ɗ/ is really /t d/ on the level of abstract features, then you get /b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k/, which is completely reasonable.

/b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k/ is indeed less weird...but I have not seen that cited as Karajá's plosive inventory anywhere, and it seems to be a pretty well-documented language.

I mean in terms of an abstract set of plosives, you could analyze it as having a two-way phonation contrast in dentals and alveo-palatals. /t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/ are really just symbols here for the two contrastive elements of the two sets. That the phonation contrast is realized as "voiceless vs. voiced" for alveo-palatals but "voiced explosive vs. implosive" for dentals. This is really an issue about abstract versus surface representation.


/b t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ k/ may or may not be a useful analysis. It really depends on the phonological behavior of those segments, the way they pattern. You can't just look at an inventory and make a prima facie determination that it needs a tweaking because it's too weird.

Author:  cromulant [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

And as it turns out, the phoneme they are calling /d/ does pattern with /b/ in at least one setting:

wikipedia wrote:
/a/ is nasalized word initially and when preceded by /h/ or a voiced stop: /aθi/ → [ãθi] 'grass', /ɔha/ → [ɔhã] 'armadillo'; this in turn nasalizes a preceding /b/ or /d/: /bahadu/ → [mãhãdu] 'group', /dadi/ → [nãdi] 'my mother'.


It's not /ɗ/ that does this.

Author:  Pogostick Man [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Nortaneous wrote:
Nasalization only of /a/ in Karaja is interesting -- /a/ is apparently always nasalized in Iau, which otherwise has no nasality whatsoever anywhere in it.

Seems like /a/ likes nasalization. Someone on the board posted about rhinoglottophilia happening in Avestan, and it was only around /a/, IIRC.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Done through G.

I'm not gonna put in a whole new column for it, but one of the twelve consonants in Fas is a bilabial trill. And there are two languages in this batch with no velars: Gimi (which shifted /k g/ to a fortis and a lenis glottal stop) and Girawa, where some dialects preserve /k/ and some have /ʔ/ instead. (Two go one way and three go the other, but I forget which way is which.)

Pogostick Man wrote:
Someone on the board posted about rhinoglottophilia happening in Avestan, and it was only around /a/, IIRC.

viewtopic.php?p=1050945#p1050945

Author:  Richard W [ Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Nortaneous wrote:
Nasalization only of /a/ in Karaja is interesting -- /a/ is apparently always nasalized in Iau, which otherwise has no nasality whatsoever anywhere in it.

According to the Wikipedia article, it also has /ə̃ õ/. My guess is that history has created a lot of odd correlations that haven't been broken by language contact and that these foul up the extraction of phonemes. A list of allophones might clean the picture up.

Author:  cromulant [ Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Nortaneous wrote:
Going through all the organized phonology datas on SIL PNG --


Been checkin' out this nifty resource (thanks!). Just me or are very few PNG consonant inventories not < 12 consonants?

Author:  Nortaneous [ Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

cromulant wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:
Going through all the organized phonology datas on SIL PNG --


Been checkin' out this nifty resource (thanks!). Just me or are very few PNG consonant inventories not < 12 consonants?

It's just you. So far, I'd estimate it at about a tenth.

Author:  ---- [ Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Found a bunch more (really long list inbound); cf. Berkeley University:

Akuntsú: /p t k kʷ ʔ m n ŋ w j ɾ/
Akurio: /p t tʃ k ʔ m n w j ɾ/
Andoke: /p t k b d ɟ ɸ s h ɲ ɾ/
Apalaí: /p t k ʔ s z ʃ m n w j ɾ/
Apiaká: /p t k ʔ s h m n ŋ w j ɾ/
Arára: /p t tʃ k m n ŋ w j ɾ l/
Araweté: /p t tʃ k ʔ d h m n w j ɾ/
Arikapú: /p t tʃ k ʔ h m n w j ɾ/
Asuriní do Tocantins: /p t k kʷ ʔ s h m n ŋ w/
Avá-Canoeiro: /p t tʃ k kʷ ʁ m n ŋ w j ɾ/
Barasana-Eduria: /p t c k b d ɟ g h w ɾ/
Cabiyarí: /p t̪ t tʃ k ʔ h m n w j ɾ/
Carib (French Guiana): /p t k ʔ s h m n w j ɭ/
Carib (Venezuela): /p t k s m n w j ɾ/
Chané Chiriguano: /p t tʃ k kʷ β s ʝ m n ŋ ɾ/
Izoceño Chiriguano: /p t k kʷ gʷ mb nd ŋg β s ʝ ɾ/
Desano: /p t k b d g s w j/
Gavião do Pará: /p t tʃ k kʰ h m n w j ɾ/
Guajá: /p t tʃ k kʷ ʔ h m n w j ɾ/
Ingarikó: /p t k ʔ s m n w j ɾ/
Iquito: /p t k kʷ s h m n w j ɾ/
Jamamadí: /b t d ɟ k ɸ s h m n w ɾ/ (possibly the same language as Jarawara)
Jarawara: /b t ɟ k ɸ s h m n w ɾ/ (h is reported as being nasalized on the Wikipedia article)
Júma: /p t k ʔ g h m n ŋ w j ɾ/
Kanoé: /p t ts k β x m n ɲ w j ɾ/
Karapanã-Siriano: /p t k b d g s h w j ɾ/
Karitiâna: /p t k s h m n ɲ ŋ w ɾ/
Katukína: /p t tʃ k b d dʒ h m n ɲ l/
Kaxuiâna: /p t tʃ k ʔ s h m n w j ɾ/
Kokama: /p t ts tʃ k x m n w j ɾ/
Krahô: /p t ts k kʰ h m n ŋ w j l/
Latunde: /p t k ʔ β s h m n w j l/
Macuna: /t k b d g s h w j ɾ/
Makuráp: /p t tʃ k m n ŋ w j ɾ/
Nukak: /p t c k ʔ b d ɟ g h w ɾ/
Oro Win: /p t̪ʙ t k ʔ β s m n w j ɾ/ (I've heard this language mentioned on here before but apparently it makes the cut)
Panará: /p t k ʔ s h m n w j ɾ/
Parakanã: /p t tʃ k kʷ ʔ β h m n ŋ ɾ/
Parkateje : /p t k ʔ h m n w j ɾ/
Pisamira: /p t tʃ k b d g β ʝ h ɰ/
Pemon: /p t k ʔ s m n w j ɾ/
Sabanê: /p t k ʔ ɓ ɗ s h m n l/
Sanumá: /p t ts k tʰ s h m n w l/
Tanimuca-Retuarã: /p t k ʔ b d s h w j ɾ/
Tatuyo: /p t c k b d g h w j ɾ/
Taushiro: /t tʃ k kʷ ʔ x h n ɲ w j ɾ/
Umotína: /p t k z ʃ ʒ m n w j ɾ l/
Waimaha: /p t k b d g h w j ɾ/
Waorani: /p t k b d g m n ɲ ŋ w j/
Wayana: /p t k h m n w j ɽ/
Yabarana: /p t k s h m n ɲ w j ɾ/
Yameo: /p t k s ʃ m n w j l/
Yanomami (Venezuela): /p t k tʰ s ʃ h m n w j ɾ/
Yãroamë: /p t tʃ k x h m n ɲ w ɾ/
Yekwana: /t tʃ k ʔ s h m n ɲ w j ɾ/
Yukpa de Irapa: /p t tʃ k ʔ s ʃ m n ʋ j ɾ/
Yurutí: /p t k b d g s h w j ɾ/

Several of these have identical inventories to each other, but I've included them for completeness. You can remove the duplicates if you want, or do whatever with these.

In general they're pretty boring as far as inventory goes, but there are a couple I think are especially strange. Taushiro has no labials, Umotina has /z/ but not /s/, Cabiyari, despite the small inventory, distinguishes dental and alveolar stops, and Avá-Canoeiro has a uvular consonant, which is really unusual for the area. The Amazon is weird.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

thanks -- have to make the most of the limited connectivity I have, so I'll add those tonight and update tomorrow

Author:  cromulant [ Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Why do small consonant inventories and simple syllable structure tend to go hand in hand?

Author:  Pole, the [ Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Theta wrote:
Found a bunch more (really long list inbound); cf. Berkeley University:

[dupa]

Several of these have identical inventories to each other, but I've included them for completeness. You can remove the duplicates if you want, or do whatever with these.

In general they're pretty boring as far as inventory goes, but there are a couple I think are especially strange. Taushiro has no labials, Umotina has /z/ but not /s/, Cabiyari, despite the small inventory, distinguishes dental and alveolar stops, and Avá-Canoeiro has a uvular consonant, which is really unusual for the area. The Amazon is weird.

Hmm, I did a little stats on that and that's the results:

I divided the consonants into a few groups regarding how frequently they appear:

The top twelve — appearing in at least one in three languages

/t k/ — 100%
/p/ — 91%
/w/ — 86%
/n ɾ/ — 79%
/m/ — 77%
/j/ — 74%
/h/ — 67%
/s/ — 53%
/ʔ/ — 44%
/tʃ/ — 33%

Actually, one of the 57 languages use the exact top 12 inventory. Its name's Kaxuiâna.


Rare phonemes — found in at least 10% of the sample

/b d/ — 26%
/ŋ/ — 21%
/g/ — 19%
/ɲ kʷ/ — 16%
/l/ — 14%
/β/ — 12%


Very rare phonemes — found at least twice in the sample

/ʃ ɟ/ — 9%
/x ts/ — 7%
/c ɸ ʝ / — 5%
/tʰ kʰ z/ — 4%


Extremely rare phonemes — foundly only in one language each

/ʋ ɽ ʒ ɗ ɓ ɰ t̪ʙ dʒ ŋg nd mb gʷ ɭ t̪ ʁ/

Author:  Cúlro [ Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

cromulant wrote:
Why do small consonant inventories and simple syllable structure tend to go hand in hand?

I recall one explanation: if the language allows codas, then consonant clusters can arise at syllable boundaries, which are likely to simplify and give rise to new consonants, enlarging the inventory. The argument was basically then that the situation of non-simple syllable structure and small consonant inventory is unstable, and likely to change to a larger inventory.

Author:  cromulant [ Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

That makes a lot of intuitive sense. My two 6-consonant phonologies ended up evolving into a 17- and a 19-consonant system for that very reason.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

updated

Author:  Chengjiang [ Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Cúlro wrote:
I recall one explanation: if the language allows codas, then consonant clusters can arise at syllable boundaries, which are likely to simplify and give rise to new consonants, enlarging the inventory. The argument was basically then that the situation of non-simple syllable structure and small consonant inventory is unstable, and likely to change to a larger inventory.


Indeed. I note that, on the other hand, the converse appears not to be true: Simple syllable structure does not imply a small consonant inventory. Southern Africa in particular has plenty of languages (mainly Bantu and "Khoisan") that allow only (C)V syllables and have massive consonant inventories.

Author:  Cúlro [ Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Well there's no reason for the converse to be true - the theory is that simple simple syllable structure prevents the consonant inventory from growing by providing fewer environments (fewer clusters) for new consonant distinctions to form, so consonant inventories of any size should be stable when combined with simple syllable structure.

In fact, perhaps we might expect Bantu, Khoisan and Kabardian style massive consonant inventories with CV syllable structure to be the end result of this process - if a language with a small inventory loses its simple syllable restriction, then clusters form, simplify into new phonemes, and after a few cycles of this the result would be a large consonant inventory and simple syllable structure again (because the clusters have simplified to new phonemes).

Diachronics challenge: provide sound changes from Rotokas to Kabardian :wink:

Author:  R.Rusanov [ Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

over a sufficiently long time span anything is possible.

Author:  Ketumak [ Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

I nominate this thread for the L&L Museum.

Mods please note.

Author:  Chengjiang [ Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Ketumak wrote:
I nominate this thread for the L&L Museum.

Mods please note.


Seconded.

Author:  Cedh [ Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Chengjiang wrote:
Ketumak wrote:
I nominate this thread for the L&L Museum.
Mods please note.

Seconded.

Nomination accepted.

Author:  Chengjiang [ Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Nortaneous wrote:
/p n/ also imply /m/.


By this, do you mean "the presence of either /p/ or /n/ implies /m/", or "the presence of both /p/ and /n/ implies /m/"? I ask because Arapaho has /b/ and /n/ but no /m/, in which case the statement only holds true if it's the "both" version and only if /p/ specifically means a voiceless bilabial stop and not just any bilabial stop.

Theta wrote:
That was the most spectacular thing about it to me--if some men really do get rid of *all* instances of [k], then for some speakers the language has no unvoiced plosives, unless you count affricates.


Aren't there certain Australian languages whose sole plosive series is always realized as voiced? I realize that the more common situation is to have a single plosive series that is realized as voiceless in some environments and voiced in others, but I thought there were a few where they were always voiced. That might just be an artifact of the analyses I've read, though.

Author:  KathTheDragon [ Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

Chengjiang wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:
/p n/ also imply /m/.


By this, do you mean "the presence of either /p/ or /n/ implies /m/", or "the presence of both /p/ and /n/ implies /m/"? I ask because Arapaho has /b/ and /n/ but no /m/, in which case the statement only holds true if it's the "both" version and only if /p/ specifically means a voiceless bilabial stop and not just any bilabial stop.

The latter.

Author:  Nortaneous [ Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: A guide to small consonant inventories

There are some Australian languages where the only plosive series is realized as voiced, yes.

Wikipedia lists aɾiakɾe for k-less men's speech, so either that's an error or there are still voiceless stops there. It may be that some /tʃ/ are retained too. Anyone have a PDF of The Amazonian Languages?

Arapaho is the only language here with a labial plosive, /n/, and no /m/, but its only labial plosive is voiced. Are there languages with /p n/ and no /m/?

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