[tlhIngan Hol] Sound of o

Will Martin willmartin2 at mac.com
Mon Jun 29 10:55:56 PDT 2020

Well argued.

You’ve convinced me that my previous view was in error. Thanks.

The continued, unresolved issue is that the TKD description of {o} doesn’t match the lion’s share of Okrand’s actual pronunciation in his recordings, which memorably don’t include any glide, and that there is no TKD description that accurately matches the {o} sound that he usually uses (or maybe always uses).

I guess I found it refreshing that Klingon might have had one more alien reminder that English does something that English speakers don’t realize they are doing, like the glottal stop before all syllables we spell starting with a vowel. It’s a cool idea for an amateur like myself with linguistic interests. I’m content to accept that either of the two possible pronunciations of {o} are probably okay, and it’s okay for me to prefer the non-gliding {o}, even if it’s not okay for me to wag my finger at people who use the glided “o”. I can deal with that. I’ve wagged enough fingers for enough years to recognize that in some areas, I really should cut it out. This can be one of those, even if, to my ear, a glided “o” sounds like Klingon with an American accent.

tomayto, tomahto.

The glided version described in TKD is apparently not wrong, even if it’s something Okrand himself doesn’t generally do. One would presume that doing what Okrand actually does also would not be overtly wrong.

Meanwhile, I have a vague memory of previously believing that the {r} should be lightly trilled, but you corrected me, pointing out that TKD said it wasn’t trilled. I don’t have my TKD at hand now, so I can’t check. Now, you suggest that Okrand was wrong when he pronounced {rgh} because he doesn’t trill the {r}.

I still trill it, myself, except for {rgh}, but that’s MY problem.

charghwI’ vaghnerya’ngan

rInpa’ bomnIS be’’a’ pI’.

> On Jun 29, 2020, at 7:49 AM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name> wrote:
> 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.
> -- 
> SuStel
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