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The broad phonological characteristics of languages

asked 2015-07-14 06:28:58 -0500

Hi there,

I have a feeling that there is term for the characteristic prosody and phonology of a language - that which makes Hebrew 'Hebrew-y" or French "French-y". Capturing this would enable you to produce a concatenation of syllables with an intonation pattern such that it sounds very much like French but is meaningless.

This film represents an example with English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt4Df...

My recollection is that it's something like "global language environment" or "linguistic habitat" but I could be completely wrong.

Can anyone suggest any contenders?

Very many thanks

David

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answered 2015-08-05 19:50:10 -0500

wtsano gravatar image

As far as Phonology is concerned, I believe the term you are looking for is 'phonotactics', which refers to the study of how the phonemes of a given language can be arranged.

For instance, the word 'strengths' /strɛŋgθs/ contains two consonant clusters, /str/ and /ŋkθs/, but they are not interchangeable (regardless of whether its meaning is affected), meaning /ŋkθsɛstr/ —or anything starting with /ŋkθs/ or ending with /str/, for that matter— is not an acceptable word.

Other constraints such as sonority scale (which types of consonant may come before/after each other) will also play a role in determining the sequence of phonemes in a cluster.

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Asked: 2015-07-14 06:28:58 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 14 '15