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 Post subject: /ç/ vs. /x/ in German
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:02 pm 
Lebom
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I know the general rule is /ç/ after close/front vowels and /x/ after back vowels, but it seems either can be used after the /ai/ diphthong, apparently dependent on the <ch>'s positioning. Is that characterization correct?

Eichmann gives us /ˈaɪxˌmɑn/, and Östereich give us /ˈøːstəʁaɪç/.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:23 pm 
Avisaru
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Dunno where you got that Eichmann pronunciation from, it is also pronounced with a soft ch. (Check on Wikipedia)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:06 pm 
Lebom
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I got Eichmann's pronunciation from Dictionary.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:08 pm 
Sanno
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Well, it's wrong. Maybe they based the transcription on the Yiddish pronunciation?

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
I know the general rule is /ç/ after close/front vowels and /x/ after back vowels, but it seems either can be used after the /ai/ diphthong, apparently dependent on the <ch>'s positioning. Is that characterization correct?

Where positioning actually comes into play is in the form of a morpheme boundary. The diminutive suffix -chen always has /ç/ regardless what vowel precedes it. So, for instance, Frauchen "mistress [of a pet]" has [ç], not [x], because it's Frau#chen whereas a word like rauchen "smoke" has [x] because it's rauch#en.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:31 pm 
Lebom
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in my experience, dictionary.com has been bad for a very long time. Right now there's a link near the bottom for The Oldest Words in the English Language. Really, guys? Im not even gonna bother clicking to see what they mean by that and at what point does an "oldest English word" become a totally ordinary proto-Germanic word or Greek or Latin. I prefer Wiktionary and insome cases even Wikipedia, even though they dont usually list pronounciations, because thewy do provide keys to the IPA readouts for each language and usuall indicate if it's irregular.

m-w.com seems generally more reliable, even though i thik theyre the same company that owns dictionary.com & thesaurus. com .

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:56 pm 
Smeric
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linguoboy wrote:
Well, it's wrong. Maybe they based the transcription on the Yiddish pronunciation?


As a native speaker of German, I can confirm that it is wrong. In Yiddish, it would be right, though, because Yiddish always has [x] and never [ç]. But of course, Eichmann is not a Yiddish name!

Quote:
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
I know the general rule is /ç/ after close/front vowels and /x/ after back vowels, but it seems either can be used after the /ai/ diphthong, apparently dependent on the <ch>'s positioning. Is that characterization correct?

Where positioning actually comes into play is in the form of a morpheme boundary. The diminutive suffix -chen always has /ç/ regardless what vowel precedes it. So, for instance, Frauchen "mistress [of a pet]" has [ç], not [x], because it's Frau#chen whereas a word like rauchen "smoke" has [x] because it's rauch#en.


It's not the morpheme boundary. Forms like Frauchen are strictly speaking not correct because the diminutive suffix -chen triggers umlaut (as in forms like Mäuschen or Schlösschen from Maus and Schloss, respectively). So the correct form would be Fräuchen, though I never heard that one, and Frauchen without umlaut is commonplace in colloquial German. (Herrchen is correct because /e/ is already a front vowel and thus umlauts to itself - the umlaut rule simply adds the feature [+front] to the vowel, and if is already there, nothing changes.)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:03 pm 
Avisaru
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The British definition from Collins given on the linked page (which uses IPA) does give the transcription /ˈaiçman/. I don't see /ˈaɪxˌmɑn/ anywhere on that page, actually. The Random-House-based transcription is "ahykh-mahn"; presumably whoever designed Dictionary.com's non-IPA transcription system either didn't know or didn't care about the distinction between the German ach-laut and ich-laut, so both are represented by "kh". I don't really know of a good way of indicating the distinction in this kind of re-spelling system anyway.

In addition to being used after front vowels, /ç/ is also used (at least in textbook German, the only kind that I have any familiarity with) after consonants (the main contexts where this is relevant are /nç/ and /lç/) and after vocalized "r".


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:52 pm 
Lebom
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Oh, it appears that the "kh" pronunciation is for the "English" name Eichmann, which is a bit silly since English, outside of a few dialects, does not havge that sound, but I see the ç now and it's under a separate entry for the German name.

Quote:
I don't see /ˈaɪxˌmɑn/ anywhere on that page, actually.
The /x/ consonant appears when you press the "IPA" button next to the "kh" entry.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:40 pm 
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Merriam-Webster is owned by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. while dictionary.com is owned by IAC (InterActiveCorp)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:06 am 
Sanno
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WeepingElf wrote:
It's not the morpheme boundary. Forms like Frauchen are strictly speaking not correct because the diminutive suffix -chen triggers umlaut (as in forms like Mäuschen or Schlösschen from Maus and Schloss, respectively). So the correct form would be Fräuchen, though I never heard that one, and Frauchen without umlaut is commonplace in colloquial German. (Herrchen is correct because /e/ is already a front vowel and thus umlauts to itself - the umlaut rule simply adds the feature [+front] to the vowel, and if is already there, nothing changes.)

If the "correct" form doesn't actually exist in the world, then what exactly makes it "correct"?

What you're doing here is overgeneralising an historical rule. At some point, the rule by which -chen triggered umlaut ceased to be universally productive. Once that has occurred, a new analysis is required to explain the synchronic data. Frauchen isn't the only exception. One of my linguistics professors, a native speaker of a northern variety of Standard German, said Schuhchen with no umlaut. Duden lists it, and it's not in any way qualified as not belong to the ordinary standard language.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:04 am 
Avisaru
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Austrian German doesn't have [ç], just stick to [x] and you're fine. Austrian German - best German.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:20 am 
Avisaru
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Pabappa wrote:
Quote:
I don't see /ˈaɪxˌmɑn/ anywhere on that page, actually.
The /x/ consonant appears when you press the "IPA" button next to the "kh" entry.


Oh, I see! I missed that button. Yeah, that seems like it's just a mistake then. (The separate entry with /ç/ is from a separate source--the Random-House-based entry does say "German ˈaɪxˌmɑn" which is pretty bad.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:56 pm 
Sanno
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Io wrote:
Austrian German doesn't have [ç], just stick to [x] and you're fine. Austrian German - best German.

My first thought was that maybe Eichmann was a native speaker of a variety without [ç] and they were advocating a family pronunciation, but I checked his bio and he spent the first seven years of his life in Solingen, so that seems dubious. Moreover, Austrian dialects may lack [ç], but the majority of educated speakers I've known from there used it when speaking Standard German. (Switzerland is a different story.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:54 pm 
Smeric
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linguoboy wrote:
WeepingElf wrote:
It's not the morpheme boundary. Forms like Frauchen are strictly speaking not correct because the diminutive suffix -chen triggers umlaut (as in forms like Mäuschen or Schlösschen from Maus and Schloss, respectively). So the correct form would be Fräuchen, though I never heard that one, and Frauchen without umlaut is commonplace in colloquial German. (Herrchen is correct because /e/ is already a front vowel and thus umlauts to itself - the umlaut rule simply adds the feature [+front] to the vowel, and if is already there, nothing changes.)

If the "correct" form doesn't actually exist in the world, then what exactly makes it "correct"?

What you're doing here is overgeneralising an historical rule. At some point, the rule by which -chen triggered umlaut ceased to be universally productive. Once that has occurred, a new analysis is required to explain the synchronic data. Frauchen isn't the only exception. One of my linguistics professors, a native speaker of a northern variety of Standard German, said Schuhchen with no umlaut. Duden lists it, and it's not in any way qualified as not belong to the ordinary standard language.


Fair. We are dealing with an old rule here that is falling out of use. And of course, what is "correct" in a language is not what some prescriptive grammarian jotted down a century ago but what people actually use. I have been fooling around with languages and linguistics for long enough to realize that, though I am sometimes misled a bit by my leaning towards diachronics.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:15 pm 
Smeric
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Io wrote:
Austrian German doesn't have [ç], just stick to [x] and you're fine. Austrian German - best German.

I don't know where you get that information; if you check this map, most of Austria is cleary in the [ç] territory. [x] in this position is more typical for Switzerland.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:27 am 
Avisaru
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>I don't know where you get that information

From spending time in Austria, talking and listening to Austrians. When discussing recipes with the mother of my friend i said Essig with ç and she replied "ah, that's such a German pronunciation, we say ['ɛsɪk]"


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:33 am 
Avisaru
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Io wrote:
>I don't know where you get that information

From spending time in Austria, talking and listening to Austrians. When discussing recipes with the mother of my friend i said Essig with ç and she replied "ah, that's such a German pronunciation, we say ['ɛsɪk]"


I would interpret that statement as saying Austrian German doesn't have [ç] in words ending in -ig, not that it doesn't have [ç] in general. The pronunciation of "-ig" with [ç] in standard German is exceptional to begin with; "-ig" words are not prototypical examples of the [ç] sound (it gets replaced with [g] in the inflected forms like "ige", "iger", "igen", and if I remember correctly, according to some really artificial rule that was at one time considered standard, at least for stage speech/singing, it is "supposed" to get replaced with /k/ in "-iglich" words to avoid the repetition of the sound [ç] in subsequent syllables). And ['ɛsɪk] is not the same thing as ['ɛsɪx]


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:26 am 
Avisaru
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Well, you can interpret it as you wish, it was just an example, another is [ˈmʏnχn̩] for Munich, another toponym is Kirchbichl [kxɪrχbɪχl]/[kxɪrxbɪxl] alternatively with [ɪɐ̯]. I should add though I'm mainly familiar with how Tiroleans speak and even when they speak Standard German the accent is very strong.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:10 am 
Smeric
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It helps if you talk about specific varieties of Austrian: most speak Central Austro-Bavarian, while Tirol, Carinthia, and western Upper Styria of Austria speak South Austro-Bavarian, which preserves more archaic features. Vorarlbergerisch is a High Alemmanic language and thus not closely related to the other two.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:33 pm 
Smeric
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Io wrote:
Well, you can interpret it as you wish, it was just an example, another is [ˈmʏnχn̩] for Munich, another toponym is Kirchbichl [kxɪrχbɪχl]/[kxɪrxbɪxl] alternatively with [ɪɐ̯]. I should add though I'm mainly familiar with how Tiroleans speak and even when they speak Standard German the accent is very strong.

Well, if you look at the map that I linked to, you'll find that Tirol is exactly the one area in Austria where some people have {x] here; so it's not the typical Austrian realisation of ch, but one limited to a specific area in Austria.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:41 pm 
Smeric
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hwhatting wrote:
Io wrote:
Austrian German doesn't have [ç], just stick to [x] and you're fine. Austrian German - best German.

I don't know where you get that information; if you check this map, most of Austria is cleary in the [ç] territory. [x] in this position is more typical for Switzerland.

Danke für den Querverweis, ich kannte nicht diese Seite.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:07 pm 
Smeric
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Bitte sehr!
I hope you don't mind the correction:
jmcd wrote:
Danke für den Querverweis*1), ich kannte nicht diese Seite nicht.

*1) Most people would say für den Link normally.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:54 pm 
Avisaru
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mèþru wrote:
It helps if you talk about specific varieties of Austrian

Huh, I could also specify the exact locations of most of the speakers I've listened to but that wouldn't help me when I make half-valid sweeping generalisations.


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