Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

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Brun Ugle
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby Brun Ugle » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:27 pm

Argh! I ordered it, or I thought I did, but the other books I ordered came, and that one didn’t. And now I find that that book seems to have been set aside in some corner of my shopping cart and not ordered at all. I have no idea how that happened though, because I put it in my shopping cart along with some other stuff and clicked the checkout button, so what could have happened? And if I didn’t actually order it, why didn’t I notice? It was the most important book in the order. I guess I have to try again now, but it looks like I won’t be starting to read at the beginning of October with the rest of you.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby jonm » Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:34 am

I'm rereading the first two chapters now and enjoying doing all the experiments. Looking forward to discussing. Was thinking of posting something next Saturday, October 3rd, to get things going. Does that timing sound good?

Brun Ugle wrote:Argh! I ordered it, or I thought I did, but the other books I ordered came, and that one didn’t. And now I find that that book seems to have been set aside in some corner of my shopping cart and not ordered at all. I have no idea how that happened though, because I put it in my shopping cart along with some other stuff and clicked the checkout button, so what could have happened? And if I didn’t actually order it, why didn’t I notice? It was the most important book in the order. I guess I have to try again now, but it looks like I won’t be starting to read at the beginning of October with the rest of you.

Sorry to hear that, Brun Ugle! While you wait for your book to arrive, there are a couple ways you could legally read online. And this is for everyone who hasn't received their book yet or just can't get hold of the book for whatever reason.

The first thing you could try is previewing the book on Amazon. You wouldn't be able to read the whole book that way, but we're starting with just the first two chapters, and the preview might show you those two chapters in their entirety. That worked for me a month ago, but when I try it now, certain pages are restricted.

You can also borrow the first edition of the book here on the Internet Archive if you sign up for an account. You can borrow for an hour (and renew for more time) and read in your web browser, or you can borrow for two weeks with Adobe Digital Editions. I don't know too much about the second option, but I just tried the first option, and it works great.

(Regarding copyright: My understanding is that every digital copy that the Internet Archive lends out corresponds to a physical copy in their collection that isn't circulating at the same time. They say it's the digital equivalent of how libraries have traditionally worked. But there's a lawsuit underway now, so the question isn't settled.)

With that option, you'd be reading the first edition, but the first and second editions are pretty similar. I'm not aware of major differences in the main text. Some of the illustrations are slightly improved in the second edition, and the list of items for further reading is expanded. (In the first two chapters, the only difference I notice at a glance is the part of figures 3 to 7 that illustrates the initiation of airflow.)

Hope everyone who's interested in participating will be able to, even if you don't have a physical copy of the book or if it's still on the way.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby Deinonysus » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:19 pm

I may be a bit ahead of the game so no pressure to anyone who hasn't started reading, but I've spent a very little bit of time studying isiXhosa and I've also read up on the languages of southern Africa, so I have a few thoughts on chapter 2.

Catford mentions four kinds of stops with different types of initiation in 2.6: pulmonic stops, ejectives, implosives, and clicks. As it just so happens, isiXhosa has all four types of stops, so if you want to hear how a native speaker makes these sounds, you may want to check out the free audio to Teach Yourself Complete Xhosa, which can be found here (you will need to sign up for a free account).

The unaspirated p, t, and k are ejectives, and the unaspirated b is an implosive. And of course there are many clicks, which are represented by c, q, and x (alongside other letters for different manners of articulation).

isiZulu also has all four types of stops. It has fewer clicks than isiXhosa but does have an additional implosive g which isiXhosa lacks.

Catford spells Xhosa without the h, which may be an older spelling. The h indicates that the 'x' click is aspirated. He also references the 'Bushman' and 'Hottentot' languages. These are outdated and potentially offensive terms that refer to 'Khoi-San' languages. That itself is actually a bit of a kitchen-sink grouping that consists of at least three separate language families and two isolates. It basically is used to describe any African click language that is not a Bantu language. The Bantu languages include Zulu, Xhosa, and Swahili.

'Hottentot' refers to the Nama, or Khoekhoe, language, or more broadly the Khoe language family it belongs to. It is the most spoken "Khoi-San" languange with about 200,000 speakers in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. 'San' is Khoekhoe exonym used to refer to basically all of the other non-Bantu ethnic groups of the area, and I believe that's what Catford meant by "Bushman".

The first of the two San language families is Tuu; it includes the !Xóõ language, which is famous for having the most phonemes of any language in the world. The second is the Kx'a language family; it includes the Ju|'hoan language which can be heard in The Gods Must Be Crazy.

There are also two isolates outside of these families; I suppose they would be San languages by virtue of not being Khoe languages.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby tangleweeds » Sun Sep 27, 2020 10:13 pm

I was reading along happily last night, doing all the exercises, until I got to 2.4 Glottalic Initation and I hit a wall, where couldn't figure out what I needed to be doing. So I'm guessing this isn't anything I would normally be doing speaking English? I'm going to come back to it during my next quiet analog period, maybe late tonight or tomorrow, and try again. I might have just been tired, having smoothly sailed through everything prior to that.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby Deinonysus » Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:41 pm

tangleweeds wrote:I was reading along happily last night, doing all the exercises, until I got to 2.4 Glottalic Initation and I hit a wall, where couldn't figure out what I needed to be doing. So I'm guessing this isn't anything I would normally be doing speaking English? I'm going to come back to it during my next quiet analog period, maybe late tonight or tomorrow, and try again. I might have just been tired, having smoothly sailed through everything prior to that.

There are certainly no ejectives in English, that is correct.

You may find this thread helpful:

Exercises to learn to produce ejectives?

In fact I think that thread was jonm's inspiration for creating this very study group.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby galaxyrocker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:50 am

Deinonysus wrote:There are certainly no ejectives in English, that is correct.



So, randomly interjecting into this thread (though I've been lurking and might pick up the book on payday), but I actually do use [k'] in my idiolect for word final /k/. Though I realize it's not standard and is something fairly unique to me, I just thought it was interesting to mention here.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby jonm » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:47 am

Deinonysus wrote:I may be a bit ahead of the game so no pressure to anyone who hasn't started reading, but I've spent a very little bit of time studying isiXhosa and I've also read up on the languages of southern Africa, so I have a few thoughts on chapter 2. [...]

Thanks for all this great information, Deinonysus!

Chapter 2 introduces a lot of sounds that will be new for many people, and I think it helps to hear about languages that use them, so that even if the sounds are unfamiliar, they're grounded in the real world and not just theoretical. So cool that languages like isiXhosa and isiZulu have all four kinds of stops. I'd really like to try learning one of them someday.

Deinonysus wrote:He also references the 'Bushman' and 'Hottentot' languages. These are outdated and potentially offensive terms that refer to 'Khoi-San' languages. That itself is actually a bit of a kitchen-sink grouping that consists of at least three separate language families and two isolates.

Thanks for mentioning this. It definitely sounds like both those terms should be avoided.

And I didn't realize that "Khoi-San" is such a catch-all term. And it sounds like "San" on its own is something of a catch-all term too. Very interesting to read on Wikipedia about these groupings and the different communities and languages that are included in them.

Deinonysus wrote:
tangleweeds wrote:I was reading along happily last night, doing all the exercises, until I got to 2.4 Glottalic Initation and I hit a wall, where couldn't figure out what I needed to be doing. So I'm guessing this isn't anything I would normally be doing speaking English? I'm going to come back to it during my next quiet analog period, maybe late tonight or tomorrow, and try again. I might have just been tired, having smoothly sailed through everything prior to that.

There are certainly no ejectives in English, that is correct.

You may find this thread helpful:

Exercises to learn to produce ejectives?

In fact I think that thread was jonm's inspiration for creating this very study group.

It was indeed! :)

tangleweeds, glad to hear about the happy reading up to that point, and it makes perfect sense that section 2.4 is where things seem to suddenly get more challenging. I imagine other people will feel that way too. Because up to that point, we're working with sounds that exist in English, even if we're doing unusual things with them: breaking them into the basic components of initiation and articulation, or inhaling instead of exhaling. But then sections 2.4 and 2.5 are about ways of initiating airflow that don't involve the lungs, and for many people that will be totally new.

So please don't worry! We can definitely give these sections some attention and kind of troubleshoot them. I'll try to post a follow-up to this soon, and please let us know if there's a particular sticking point.

Definitely a good idea to check out the thread on ejectives, and it might help to take this section slower than the previous ones and to circle back to previous experiments if necessary. I'm thinking in particular about how, if it doesn't feel like ejectives are coming together in experiment 13, it could help to revisit experiments 11 and 12.

And I'll just mention, these are some of the more challenging sections in the book. It won't just stay this challenging from here on out.

And while I think these sections will be well worth the effort even for people who aren't studying languages that have these sounds, that doesn't mean that everything that follows depends on totally mastering this part. It definitely doesn't. I think you learn a lot just from trying all the experiments, even if some things still end up feeling a little difficult.

Anyway, I think this is a place where reading and discussing as a group will be very helpful.

galaxyrocker wrote:So, randomly interjecting into this thread (though I've been lurking and might pick up the book on payday), but I actually do use [k'] in my idiolect for word final /k/. Though I realize it's not standard and is something fairly unique to me, I just thought it was interesting to mention here.

Hi galaxyrocker, random interjections very welcome! :) And of course if you decide to pick up the book, that would be very welcome too. Interesting to hear that you do this with word-final /k/. So it's definitely an ejective, with the glottis closed? I ask because some English speakers release word-final stops with a small puff of air but with the glottis open. But I can imagine an idiolect where word-final /k/ is realized as an ejective [k'], and actually, I think I might do it on occasion. And is it only on word-final /k/ and not word-final /t/ or /p/?
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby galaxyrocker » Mon Sep 28, 2020 1:26 pm

jonm wrote:Hi galaxyrocker, random interjections very welcome! :) And of course if you decide to pick up the book, that would be very welcome too. Interesting to hear that you do this with word-final /k/. So it's definitely an ejective, with the glottis closed? I ask because some English speakers release word-final stops with a small puff of air but with the glottis open. But I can imagine an idiolect where word-final /k/ is realized as an ejective [k'], and actually, I think I might do it on occasion. And is it only on word-final /k/ and not word-final /t/ or /p/?


Yep, pretty certain it's a [k'], with the glottis closed. At least, everyone I've ever asked also seems to think so too. As for the other word-finals, I tend to drop syllable-final /t/ (and /d/ sometimes too), but /p/ might sometimes be realized as [p'], though not regularly as it is with [k']. That said, I'm also weird in that I realize /ɪŋ/ as [ɪŋg] in single-syllable cases (so 'sing', for instance, is [sɪŋg]), though this doesn't happen with multiple syllable cases, where /ɪŋ/ is [ɪn]
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby Deinonysus » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:20 pm

galaxyrocker wrote:
Deinonysus wrote:There are certainly no ejectives in English, that is correct.
So, randomly interjecting into this thread (though I've been lurking and might pick up the book on payday), but I actually do use [k'] in my idiolect for word final /k/. Though I realize it's not standard and is something fairly unique to me, I just thought it was interesting to mention here.
Duly noted! I hereby correct my statement to: there are no phonemic ejectives in English, but there's no one stopping individual English speakers from using them.
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Re: Reading Catford's A Practical Introduction to Phonetics

Postby tangleweeds » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:57 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: Hahahahahaha!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
I was following the instructions in the other thread about using the internal gesture of singing very high then low to move the larynx, and was feeling happy that the right thing seemed to be happening in there. So I reached up with my hand to feel my larynx moving, and it moved so much so fast that I recoiled, yanking my hand away as though I'd accidentally grabbed a toad, then caught myself sorta panting in horror. "Agh, it moved!"
:lol: :lol: :lol: Hahahahahaha!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

So, progress! I can do it now, even though I had no idea what was even possible there! :lol:
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