What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
Post Reply
Ehesh
rupestrian
rupestrian
Posts: 18
Joined: 06 Sep 2017 00:36

What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Ehesh » 17 Sep 2017 22:30

I have ony ran into liquids into nasals an liquids as syllabic consonants /l r m n/ I believe there are other examples but I'm not sure

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4493
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 18:32

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Creyeditor » 17 Sep 2017 22:54

All consonants occur as syllabic, though it is not always clear if syllables in itself are universal. Stops and fricatives are syllabic in Nuxálk and some Berber dialects. Mandarin Chinese has syllabic fricatives. I think the likelyhood of being syllabic is dependent on sonority, so you could posit a scale like the following (decreasing likelyhood for syllabicity).
vowel > liquids & nasals > fricatives > stops
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 6192
Joined: 20 Oct 2013 01:57
Location: Toma-ʾEzra lit Vṛḵaža

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Ahzoh » 18 Sep 2017 01:11

Generally sonorants (which include nasals and approximants) are syllabic (they also tend to be voiced). You could have fricative vowels too.
Image Ӯсцӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image Šat Vṛḵažaẇ (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]

User avatar
KaiTheHomoSapien
greek
greek
Posts: 583
Joined: 15 Feb 2016 06:10
Location: Stanford, California

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 18 Sep 2017 05:07

Sonorants are the most common, but a few languages do have syllabic fricatives:

PIE apparently had syllabic laryngeals (which were probably velar or some other kind of guttural fricative).

Mandarin is sometimes described as having syllabic fricatives with the so-called "buzzing" consonants.

I don't know much about the Salishan languages, but I believe they are fairly extreme examples of syllabification of just about any sound (even stops).
Don't live to conlang; conlang to live.

My conlang: Image Lihmelinyan

User avatar
Thrice Xandvii
darkness
darkness
Posts: 3829
Joined: 25 Nov 2012 10:13
Location: Carnassus

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 18 Sep 2017 08:03

Syllabic stops seem super-weird to me. Does anyone have a good example language that uses them that might also have recordings in it? I'd love to hear/see what that would be like.
Image

User avatar
DesEsseintes
cleardarkness
cleardarkness
Posts: 4651
Joined: 31 Mar 2013 12:16

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by DesEsseintes » 18 Sep 2017 11:21

Thrice Xandvii wrote:Syllabic stops seem super-weird to me. Does anyone have a good example language that uses them that might also have recordings in it? I'd love to hear/see what that would be like.
The Wikipedia page on Nuxalk has plenty of examples.

Iyionaku
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1624
Joined: 25 May 2014 13:17

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Iyionaku » 06 Dec 2017 11:50

You can find an audio example on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFnrp-cUTLQ

I haven't really heard a syllabic stop, though.
Wipe the glass. This is the usual way to start, even in the days, day and night, only a happy one.

User avatar
eldin raigmore
fire
fire
Posts: 6232
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 18:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by eldin raigmore » 06 Dec 2017 21:27

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
18 Sep 2017 08:03
Syllabic stops seem super-weird to me. Does anyone have a good example language that uses them that might also have recordings in it? I'd love to hear/see what that would be like.
Alternate transcriptions are probably possible; and this probably doesn't apply to every 'lect of English;
but, in my 'lect of English, there's a syllabic voiced stop in < probably >;
[ pɻɐˈ b= bliˌ ]

User avatar
Frislander
runic
runic
Posts: 3112
Joined: 14 May 2016 17:47
Location: The North

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Frislander » 06 Dec 2017 22:53

A better example of syllabic fricatives than Mandarin is Miyako Ryukyuan, e.g. Ogami dialect pstu "person and kff "make" (the former is cognate with Japanese hito).

User avatar
Pabappa
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 198
Joined: 18 Nov 2017 02:41
Contact:

Re: What phonemes occur as syllabic consonants in natlangs

Post by Pabappa » 24 Dec 2017 23:48

I can believe in syllabic fricatives, and have used syllabic /s/ in a major conlang, but I don't believe in syllabic stops. I imagine the stops of Nuxalk must be either aspirated or ejective, with no simple unreleased form. Therefore it would be acoustically impossible to hear the difference between a stop followed by a voiceless schwa and a stop in isolation.

Put another way , a true syllabic consonant should be symmetrical: it sounds the same coming and going. A stop with an audible release is not symmetric unless it is also preceded by something audible, which would then make the stop the border between two syllables.

Also, a syllabic consonant can bear stress and tone. The Mandarin syllabic fricatives are excellent examples, since they can have different tones.

I'd have to hear a clip, but I'd assume the sound in "probably" is best analyzed as a geminate stop, or a stop with delayed release, but not a syllable.

So what's goin on in Nuxalk? Those are extrasyllabic stops, just like the ones in Greek/ pt-/ words, and arguably rare english words like "tmesis", and french words like /pneu/.
Image

Post Reply