Abbildungen der Seite

words beginning with a vowel, and the two forms of the final consonant are undoubtedly felt to be the “same” sound in exactly the same sense in which the English vowels of bad and bat are felt by us to be identical phonetic elements. The Upper Chinook d exists only as a mechanical variant of t; hence this alternation is not the same psychologically as the Sanskrit sandhi variation -t: -d.

Individual variations and such conditional variations as we have discussed once cleared out of the way, we arrive at the genuine pattern of speech sounds. After what we have said, it almost goes without saying that two languages, A and B, may have identical sounds but utterly distinct phonetic patterns; or they may have mutually incompatible phonetic systems, from the articulatory and acoustic standpoint, but identical or similar patterns. The following schematic examples and subjoined comments will make this clear. Sounds which do not properly belong to the pattern or, rather, are variants within points of the pattern are put in parentheses. Long vowels are designated as a ; n is ng of sing; 0 and 8 are voiceless and voiced interdental spirants; x and y are voiceless and voiced guttural spirants; 'is glottal stop; ' denotes aspirated release; e and o are open e and o.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

We will assume for A and B certain conditional variants which are all of types that may be abundantly illustrated from actual languages. For A:

1. € occurs only as palatalized form of a when following y or i. In many Indian languages, e.g., ye = ya.

2. e is dropped from 2-position when this vowel is final. Cf. such mechanical alternations as Eskimo -e: -z-t.

3. o is dropped from u-position when this vowel is final. Cf. 2.

4. 9 occurs only as labialized form of a after w or u. Cf. 1. (In Yahi, e.g., wowi 'house' is objectively correct, but psychologically wrong. It can easily be shown that this word is really wawi and "feels” like a rhyme to such phonetic groups as lawi and bawi; short o in an open syllable is an anomaly, butɔ' is typical for all Yana dialects, including Yahi.)

5. n is merely n assimilated to following k, as in Indo-European.

6. b, d, g, v, 2, 8, y are voiced forms of p, t, k, s, s, 0, a respectively when these consonants occur between vowels before the accent (cf. Upper Chinook wa'pul ‘night': wabu'lmax 'nights'). As the voiced consonants can arise in no other way, they are not felt by the speakers of A as specifically distinct from the voiceless consonants. They feel sharply the difference between p and p', as do Chinese, Takelma, Yana, and a host of other languages, but are not aware of the alternation

P: b.

And for B:

1. Long vowels can arise only when the syllable is open and stressed. Such alternations as ma''la: u''-mala are not felt as involving any but stress differences. In A, ma'la and mala are as distinct as Latin "apples” and “bad” (fem.).

2. 'is not an organic consonant, but, as in North German, an attack of initial vowels, hence 'a- is felt to be merely a-. In A, however, as in Semitic, Nootka, Kwakiutl, Haida, and a great many other languages, such initials as 'a- are felt to be equivalent to such consonant + vowel groups as ma- or sa-. Here is a type of pattern difference which even experienced linguists do not always succeed in making clear.

3. w and y are merely semi-vocalic developments of u and i. Cf. French oui and hier. In A, w and y are organically distinct consonants. Here again linguists often blindly follow the phonetic feeling of their own language instead of clearly ascertaining the behavior of the language investigated. The difference, e.g., between aua and awa is a real one for some languages, a phantom for others.

4. I arises merely as dissimilated variant of n.

5. p', t', k' are merely p, t, k with breath release, characteristic of B at the end of a word, e.g. ap-a; ap'. This sort of alternation is common in aboriginal America. It is the reverse of the English habit: tame with aspirated t (t'eʻim) but hate with unaspirated, or very weakly aspirated, release (heit).

6. f, 0, and x similarly arise from the unvoicing of final v, 8 and y; e.g., av-a: af. 2 and s also alternate in this way, but there is a true s besides. From the point of view of B, s in such phonems as sa and usa is an utterly distinct sound, or rather point in the phonetic pattern, from the objectively identical as which alternates with az-a.?

The true or intuitively felt phonetic systems (patterns) of A and B, therefore, are:

? If B ever develops an orthography, it is likely to fall into the habit of writing az for the pronounced as in cases of type az-a: as, but as in cases of type as-a: as. Philologists not convinced of the reality of phonetic patterns as here conceived will then be able to "prove” from internal evidence that the change of etymological v, 2, 8, y to-f, -e, -6, -2 did not take place until after the language was reduced to writing, because otherwise it would be "impossible” to explain why -8 should be written -2 when there was a sign for s ready to hand and why signs should not have come into use for f, 0, and x. As soon as one realizes, however, that "ideal sounds," which are constructed from one's intuitive feeling of the significant relations between the objective sounds, are more “real” to a naive speaker than the objective sounds themselves, such internal evidence loses much of its force. The example of s in B was purposely chosen to illustrate an interesting phenomenon, the crossing in a single objective phoneme of a true element of the phonetic pattern with a secondary form of another such element. In B, e.g., objective 8 is a pool of cases of “true s" and "pseudo-s.” Many interesting and subtle examples could be given of psychological difference where there is objective identity, or similarity so close as to be interpreted by the recorder as identity. In Sarcee, an Athabaskan language with significant pitch differences, there is a true middle tone and a pseudo-middle tone which results from the lowering of a high tone to the middle position because of certain mechanical rules of tone sandhi. I doubt very much if the intuitive psychology of these two middle tones is the same. There are, of course, analogous traps for the unwary in Chinese. Had not the Chinese kindly formalized for us their intuitive feeling about the essential tone analysis of their language, it is exceedingly doubtful if our Occidental ears and kymographs would have succeeded in discovering the exact patterning of Chinese tone.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

which show the two languages to be very much more different phonetically than they at first seemed to be.

The converse case is worth plotting too. C and D are languages which have hardly any sounds in common but their patterns show a remarkable one to one correspondence. Thus: C:

¿ a €


[ocr errors]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Languages C and D have far less superficial similarity in their sound systems than have A and B, but it is obvious at a glance that their patterns are built on very much more similar lines. If we allowed ourselves to speculate genetically, we might suspect, on general principles, that the phonetic similarities between A and B, which we will suppose to be contiguous languages, are due to historical contact, but that the deeper pattern resemblance between C and D is an index of genetic relationship. It goes without saying that in the complex world of actual linguistic history we do not often find the phonetic facts working out along such neatly schematic lines, but it seemed expedient to schematize here so that the pattern concept might emerge with greater clarity.

An examination of the patterns of C and D shows that there is still a crucial point that we have touched on only by implication. We must now make this clear. We have arranged the sounds of C and D in such a way as to suggest an equivalence of "orientation" of any one sound of one system with some sound of the other. In comparing the systems of A and B we did not commit ourselves to specific equivalences. We did not wish to imply, for instance, that A's was or was not "oriented” in the same way as B's, did or did not occupy the same relative place in A's pattern as in B's. But here we do wish to imply not merely that, e.g., C's p corresponds to D's p' or C's h to D's h, which one would be inclined to grant on general phonetic grounds, but also that, e.g., C's w corresponds to D's v while C's b corresponds to D's B. On general principles such pattern alignments as the latter are unexpected, to say the least, for bilabial ß resembles w rather more than dentolabial v does. Why, then, not allow B to occupy the position we have assigned to v? Again, why should D's j be supposed to correspond to C's y when it is merely the voiced form of $? Should it not rather be placed under š precisely as, in C's system, b is placed under p? Naturally, there is no reason why the intuitive pattern alignment of sounds in a given language should not be identical with their natural phonetic arrangement and, one need hardly say, it is almost universally true that, e.g., the vowels form both a natural and a pattern group as against the consonants, that such stopped sounds as p, t, k form both a natural and a pattern group as opposed to the equally coherent group b, d, g (provided, of course, the language possesses these two series of stopped consonants). And yet it is most important to emphasize the fact, strange but indubitable, that a pattern alignment does not need to correspond exactly to the more obvious

« ZurückWeiter »