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/k/, /c/, /t/ and /q/
March 3, 2011 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Are there any languages that distinguish between the consonants represented in IPA as /k/, /c/, /t/ and /q/?
posted by Dim Siawns to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Don't understand what you mean by including /t/ in your question?
posted by Paquda at 9:02 AM on March 3, 2011


Yeah, /t/ and /k/ feel very different with regards to tongue placement when I say buck naked and butt naked (no aspiration of those consonants before /n/ in my dialect of English).
posted by infinitewindow at 9:11 AM on March 3, 2011


Do you mean, does there exist a language in which all four consonants are distinct phonemes, rather than allophones?
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:16 AM on March 3, 2011


(I don't know the answer, but am interested to find it out and figured a rephrasing might be helpful.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:16 AM on March 3, 2011


> Do you mean, does there exist a language in which all four consonants are distinct phonemes, rather than allophones?

I assume this is what is meant, but it would be helpful to have the poster say so before I do any more research (Gurage, for instance, has /k/, /t/, and /q/ but apparently not /c/).
posted by languagehat at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2011


Looking at the Wiki pages on /c/ and /q/, respectively, the only language that I see both lists is Tadaksahak. The phonology listed on the Wiki page for the language doesn't include /c/ directly, so it might be that Wiki doesn't know what it's talking about, but it's also possible that /c/ is allophonic with /t͡ʃ/ in this language. It might be worth doing extra research to confirm or deny this.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:28 AM on March 3, 2011


(Also, in case it wasn't evident from what I said above, Tadaksahak does include /t/ and /k/ as well.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:32 AM on March 3, 2011


I meant as distinct phonemes, but I'm asking out of curiosity rather than any particular need, so if all occur but with some allophony I wouldn't mind hearing about that either.
posted by Dim Siawns at 10:17 AM on March 3, 2011


If I understand correctly, you're asking whether there are any languages that have alveolar, palatal, velar and uvular voiceless stops in their phonemic inventory. Stops and stop distinctions are really, really common in languages in general and these are four separate places of articulation here...I'd be surprised if there weren't many languages (out of the 7000+ spoken today) that had this 4-way distinction. I'm curious why you're asking (so as to be able to answer your question better/further)?
posted by iamkimiam at 12:28 PM on March 3, 2011


At least one language has all four sounds: Jaqaru (spoken in Peru). Here's a paper on its phonology.

Plenty of languages distinguish between some but not all of these places of articulation.
posted by zompist at 7:37 PM on March 3, 2011


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