question about phonemes
Jouni Filip Maho
jouni.maho at AFRICAN.GU.SE
Wed Apr 2 19:55:51 UTC 2003
Cclaire Bowern wrote:
>The largest inventories usually quoted are from San languages like Xoo and
>!Kung. Clicks + accompaniments + vowels + phonation types + tones adds up
>to well over a hundred (Xoo has something like 86 clicks if you count
>click + accompaniment as one phoneme).
I remember seeing a total figure of 160+ phonemes (incl. c.45 vowel
sounds) for !Xoo.
One of the main reasons why (some) Khoesan languages tend to have
such large phomeme inventories is that it's been a long tradition to
recognise their syllable structures as mainly CV(N); thus potential
consonant clusters become distinct phonemes.
(They clearly have complex sound systems, though the large figures
could be decreased depending on analysis.)
Department of Oriental and African Languages
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