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September 30th, 2009


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alishenai
08:19 pm - the sound th
Would it be acceptable if I use "dh" to represent both the "th" sound in "this" and "that" instead of using the Islandic symbol "ðto represent the later pronunciation? cos I thought that instead of having two seperate symbols to destinguish between the sounds I could instead create rules like "dh" is pronounced like the "th" sound in "this" at the beginning of a word or if it follows a particular vowel, and is pronounced like the "th" sound in "that" when it appears elsewhere in a word.


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Comments:


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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC)
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For me, the "th" in "this" and "that" is identical... what's the difference for you?

Do you pronounce one of them unvoiced, like the "th" in "thick" or "thin"?

Regardless of that, though how you write your conlang is up to you. You don't have to use IPA symbols in the orthography. (Though when you talk about the phonology, using IPA can be a good idea when you're explaining what sounds they are, and/or how the sounds correspond to written letters.)
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From:malkhos
Date:September 30th, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
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Really? Identical? Pronounce the words and pay careful attention to what your tongue does.
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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 02:53 pm (UTC)
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They seem identical to me at the phoneme level, and even trying to listen for subphonemic/allophonic variation, I can't really tell...

What's the difference for you?
(Deleted comment)
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From:malkhos
Date:September 30th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
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When the th in this is pronounced, the tongue strikes the back of the upper teeth, when the th in that pounced, the tongue strikes the back of the lower teeth. Technically one is a voiceless dental fricative, the other a voiced dental fricative.
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From:gwalla
Date:September 30th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Not in my mouth. It's the upper teeth for both. If I touch my tongue to my lower teeth, I don't get a fricative at all; it doesn't seem to alter the airflow much, and I get a [h] sound of sorts.

The "th" is voiced in both "this" and "that" in every dialect I know of. The unvoiced dental fricative shows up in "thick" and "thin" (but is also pronounced with the upper teeth).
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From:hkitsune
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
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That might be an effect of coarticulation. The sound in [I] (this) may be a bit further front (see IPA chart) than [æ] (that), but in general the amount it's moved isn't very much and they're not phonemically distinct in any case.
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From:pne
Date:October 1st, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
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Your description makes it sound as if the manner of articulation influences whether a sound is called "voiced" or "voiceless"... which is not my understanding of how those labels are used.

(And FWIW, the tongue is behind my upper teeth in both words.)
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:September 30th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
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I don't hear or feel any difference either. They're both a voiced "th" sound.
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From:ankewehner
Date:September 30th, 2009 11:37 am (UTC)
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Considering English represents both sounds with "th" and has rules in what sound combination that letter combination is pronounced which way, I don't really see the problem?
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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
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English [...] has rules in what sound combination that letter combination is pronounced which way

It does? I thought it was lexically determined (or in other words, you just have to memorise which words have the voiced spelling).

Also, I can't think of a rule that would (could) tell you that "this" and "thin" don't start with the same sound; the letter combinations are nearly identical.

(It's easier if you go by word class/part of speech, since the voiced pronunciation is mostly restricted to pronouns and conjunctions, rather than verbs or nouns - though it sometimes crops up there, too, e.g. in "mouths" or "bathe".)
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From:nekokaze
Date:September 30th, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
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It's lexically determined. Though there are tendencies.

Old English, however, was fully rule-based... It was actually a very similar rule, too. The voiced form was found between vowels and voiced consonants, the voiceless elsewhere. (Same with s/z and f/v, for that matter.) With a lot of vowels dropping off we get our modern system.
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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 12:15 pm (UTC)
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Ah, hence life/lives, roof/roofs (pronounced "rooves" at least occasionally), and why "mouthe, bathe, house [verb]" have a voiced consonant -- the extra vowel in the verb and (I suppose, originally) in the plural?

Edited at 2009-09-30 12:15 pm (UTC)
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From:nekokaze
Date:September 30th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
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And wreathe and teethe, yes. Originally the e was pronounced as part of verbal inflection.

But yep.
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From:4pq1injbok
Date:September 30th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
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Another one of the tendencies is that initial <th> is /D/ only in function words: articles (the), personal pronouns (thou, thee, thy, thine; they, them, their(s)) the demonstrative system (this, these; that, those; there, then, thus, ...), subordinators (though), perhaps others I'm not calling to mind. Lexical words always have /T/.

One imagines these words were usually weakly stressed in earlier stages of English and so somehow fell within the scope of the voicing between voiced segments rule, but I don't know the details.
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From:4pq1injbok
Date:September 30th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
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Which you mostly said, whoops. Overlooked that line.
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From:ankewehner
Date:September 30th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
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My bad, thanks for the correction.
From:christinaathena
Date:October 1st, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
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There's a rough rule. If it's between vowels (including silent "e"), it's /D/, otherwise it's /T/, with a few exceptions, mostly grammatical words. "Mouth" as a verb should really be spelled "mouthe" to be consistent, but, alas, it is not.
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From:scotrid
Date:October 9th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
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The biggest exeption is "smooth" because it's always voiced, whereas for "house" and "mouth" it depends on what part of speech it's serving as (or may be just plain optional, depending on idiolect).
From:alishenai
Date:September 30th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)
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On second thought I could just use "dh" to represent the sound "th" as there really isn't that much difference between the pronunciations "this" and "that."
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From:n_true
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
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Not just "not that much", but actually none whatsover. :)
At least not phonemically.

You were thinking of the difference between "this" and "think", as others already pointed out.

And yes, sure you can choose to represent the voiced one by "dh" and the voiceless one by "th"; after all, that's how these phonemes are written in Albanian.
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From:hkitsune
Date:September 30th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Just a quick point: You don't create orthographies that distinguish pronunciation, but rather phonology, and if the sounds are the same (phonologically), representing them by one symbol is perfectly fine. If they are different sounds (phonologically) it's also okay. However, having two symbols for one phoneme is a really bad idea.
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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
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However, having two symbols for one phoneme is a really bad idea.

Yes, orthografees orthographies like thoze those never work; native speekers speakers never get uced used to they're there their inconsistencies.
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From:hkitsune
Date:September 30th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
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You get a gold star for pointing out an exception. As if it meant something.
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From:pne
Date:September 30th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
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Just saying that no more than one symbol per phoneme is a nice ideal, but not all that common in "real" languages.

Especially if the writing system was not custom-made for that language but inherited from another language (e.g. Latin wondering what to do with C K Q which seemed to represent the same sound).

Or sometimes even if the writing system was made for the language but sound changes have made formerly-distinct sounds collapse (e.g. Japanese with its di/zi, du/zu, and wo/o mergers).
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From:4pq1injbok
Date:September 30th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Distinguish orthographies = writing systems broadly from romanisations = scientific systems of transcription. If you mean to create a romanisation, and this appears to be the original poster's aim, then your point is good.


But orthographies generally aren't so clean. For natlangs there are various levels of depth in (fundamentally phonemic) scripts, from overprecise i.e. making more distinctions than phonologically exist, to deeper than the phonology itself, for instance writing related forms the same even where there's morphophonological processes (sane, sanity; electric, electricity -- Chomsky and Halle in fact argued in The sound pattern of English that English orthography "nearly perfectly" represents this layer. Not to suggest these things are confined to English, far from it.)

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From:n_true
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:15 am (UTC)
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It might be a bad idea for a conlang... but given that this is what happens in most written languages anyway, it would make a conlang look more realistic if one wants to have it that way.

So if the creator wants his language to look natural, an orthography that represents a phoneme (say /k/) with two graphemes (say <c> and <k>) is actually quite a good idea.
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From:nuvujaq
Date:September 30th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
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The orthography of one of my conlangs and in the orthography of some dialects of another conlang, I use to represent /θ/ (<th> in "thin"). It looks nice, saves using any 'special' characters and avoids confusion with <th> which represents /tʰ/ ( in "tore").
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From:nuvujaq
Date:September 30th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
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s/I use to represent/I use < dh > to represent/
From:christinaathena
Date:October 1st, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
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Surely that depends on the language. If it distinguishes /T/ and /D/ on a phonemic level, it might make sense to use different representations. If they are allophones, the same representation would work.

On the other hand, some languages fail to make distinctions in writing that are made in speech.

My Classical Kasshian, in its native script, fails to distinguish /ti~tSi/, /di~dZi/ ([tsi] and [dzi] are used for /ti/ and /di/ in some dialects), /ki~çi/ and /n~N/. Fortunately, /ti/, /di/, /ki/, and /N/ are all rare, especially /N/. My romanization *does* distinguish them, however, using ti~chi, di~ji, ki~çi and n~ng' (ng' to distinguish /N/ from /Ng/, which is ng)
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From:pne
Date:October 1st, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
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On the other hand, some languages fail to make distinctions in writing that are made in speech.

A common case of this is vowels in languages that use the Roman alphabet; for example, Italian distinguishes between open and closed e and o in speech but not in writing. (So venti venti is "twenty winds", for example; written the same but pronounced differently.)
From:christinaathena
Date:October 1st, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
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Also, "acceptable" to whom? I wasn't aware that there was a Conlanging Academy ;-)

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