Re: Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

From: Hans Åberg <>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 11:30:48 +0200

> On 10 Oct 2016, at 03:13, Doug Ewell <> wrote:
> Denis Jacquerye wrote:
>> Regarding the superscript q, in some rare cases, it is used to
>> indicate pharyngealization or a pharyngeal consonant instead of the
>> Latin letter pharyngeal voiced fricative U+0295 ʕ, the modifier letter
>> reversed glottal stop U+02C1 ˁ or the modifier letter small reversed
>> glottal stop U+02E4 ˤ.
>> ...
> Sounds like good material to include in a proposal.

I think that IPA might be designed for broad phonetic transcriptions [1], with a requirement to distinguish phonemes within each given language. For example, the English /l/ is thicker than the Swedish, but in IPA, there is only one symbol, as there is no phonemic distinction with each language. The alveolar click /!/ may be pronounced with or without the tongue hitting the floor of the mouth, but as there is not phonemic distinction within any given language, there is only one symbol [2].

Thus, linguists wanting to describe pronunciation in more detail are left at improvising notation. The situation is thus more like that of mathematics, where notation is somewhat in flux.

Received on Mon Oct 10 2016 - 04:32:00 CDT

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