Distinctive names for speech sounds and letters obtained with hyper-coarticulated vowels  

Hartmut Traunmüller

Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (1999): 1125 - 1128
(San Francisco, USA)  

ABSTRACT

The names used in most languages for the letters of the Latin alphabet and for the sounds these represent are marked by a lack of distinctiveness that often makes them fail their purpose. Various auxiliary "spelling alphabets" are used in such cases. No such need arises with the letter names that are used for the Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian and Greek alphabets. Short and yet distinctive names for consonants can, however, be coined with a minimum of arbitrariness by exploiting the coarticulatory effects of conso-nants on vowels. These are analyzed for schwa-like vowels in the permissive vowel systems of NW-Caucasian and Mandarin Chi-nese, and it is shown how they can be utilized to coin names for phones and letters, especially for Turkish.

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