[tlhIngan Hol] Sound of o

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Mon Jun 29 04:49:38 PDT 2020

On 6/28/2020 11:04 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> The issue at hand is whether Okrand wrote that description accurately, 
> intending it to be pronounced as the glide between two sounds that a 
> linguist would recognize in a typical American pronunciation of the 
> word “oh” that rhymes with “mow”, or if he was merely making sure that 
> you would never use the “o” sound in “pot”, which is the Klingon {a} 
> sound.

No, the issue at hand is that TKD says *ow* is indistinguishable from 
*o* and *uw* is indistinguishable from *u,* but *aw, ew,* and *Iw* are 
said to be different from *a, e,* and *w,* and are described as 
diphthongs, even if that word isn't used.

Maybe *o* and *ow* are a single phoneme in Klingon — they don't 
distinguish between the monophthong and diphthong vowels. Maybe 
word-final *o* is different from word-internal *o.* Maybe the text of 
TKD is just plain wrong and Klingons would pronounce *no* exactly the 
same way you say it in Italian, [o]. Maybe *o* is always a diphthong and 
Okrand just mispronounces it sometimes.

I don't know what the correct answer is. I just know that it's not as 
simple as "Klingon *o* is [o]. End of story." If Klingon *o* is just 
[o], the text of TKD must be explained in that context.

> Meanwhile, in recordings of Okrand speaking Klingon,

Which, some have argued, he pronounces with an American accent. For 
instance, he uses an untrilled *r* when he says *rgh,* which isn't 
described in the dictionary. He has himself said he doesn't necessarily 
follow his own instructions in pronunciation.

> there is no second vowel sound in {o}.

Except sometimes there is.


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