Re: IPA Null Consonant

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sun May 25 2003 - 13:02:34 EDT

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    From: "Chris Jacobs" <>
    > > Can someone advise me how to represent a null consonant in phonetic
    > > notation using Unicode ?

    I forgot to speak about a convention used in French dictionnaries to denote what is called an "aspirated h" that is normally not pronounced, but specifies that the following vowel must not be linked with the final consonnant sound of the previous word:
    we use parentheses: /(h)/.

    If the h is never pronounced we omit it from the phonetic string, or if the h is always pronounced (we say "aspirated" despite the French h is most often expirated in mosts regions, however the normal pronunciation is very "soft" and the h is nearly not vocalized...)

    The same is true for final e vowels that are normally not pronounced when followed by a word starting with a vowel sound: /(e)/. When this occurs, it simply disappear completely and directly replaced by the first vowel of the next word. Sometimes, when the (e) occurs in the middle of a word between two consonnants, it just means that its pronunciation is most often unheard in rapid speaches, like in the word "appelé", often pronounced like "applé", so we note it /ap(e)lé/ to mean that this sound is optional and avoided in the common speach.

    When both sounds are consecutive /(e)(h)/ because words are next to each other, or when the aspirated h follows a nazalized vowel, the aspirated h becomes pronounced /eh/, as in "une halle" /uneha:l/, or "un hâle" /~uhâ:l/ or "un haricot" /~uhaRicô/.

    Note: sorry for the approximate symbols used above in /phonetic strings/.

    So, could this null consonnant you need be noted /(h)/ or simply /()/ (i.e. an empty pair of parentheses) if the aspiration is never pronounced ?

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