吳實錄

Annals of Wu

漢藏緬語々言研究ㄟ博客
a sinotibetoburman linguistics blog
2014-09-17

Nonstandard IPA – φ And η discussion - phonology

In general, I'm a big fan of not being too strict about what gets counted in phonetic/phonemic transcriptions. My use of IPA is conditioned by years of Siniticists not doing much better in terms of reaching the standard. You will find /ᴇ/ and/ɿ/ in much of what I've written, and I'll surely continue to use them. Well, /ᴇ/ at least.

Today I found something confusing. I was reading through 绍兴方言研究 edited by 寿永明 and came across two glyps that I've never seen in any variation of IPA before today.

First is Greek φ, not to be confused with IPA ɸ which is also used in transcriptions. In the typeface of the book, they are visually quite distinct. I have no idea what sound this φ is representing. I first thought it might be /ɤ/ since I didn't see that used elsewhere at first, but I quickly found instances of /ɤ/ on the same page as \φ\ so I know it's not that.

The second glyph is also from the Greek section of the Unicode tables: \η\. This is also visually quite unlike /ŋ/ since the IPA velar nasal has a left hook, while \η\ does not. Just going by Greek, it might be /ɛ/, which I don't see elsewhere. That's my best guess based on the environment it's showing up in. This seems the most likely.

Phi on the other hand seems to denote breathy voicing. What would normally be written /ɦm/ in other sources corresponds with instances of \φ\ here. That makes some sense. <A> is used in place of <ᴀ> here as well, so my best guess is that the typesetter didn't have proper access to IPA glyphs and had to use alternatives in their place.
  1. 寿永明. 绍兴方言研究. 2005. 三联书店上海分店. 上海

Leave a comment




About

A semi-academic linguistics blog about Sinotibetan, previously focused primarily on Wú, a Sinitic language spoken in the Yangtze Delta region. Topics now include historical linguistics, documentation, language rights, sociolinguistics and learning materials, as well as acting as the dev blog for Phonemica from time to time.

I'm a linguist based in Asia, working on documentation and historical development of Sinotibetan. In addition to academic research, I'm heavily involved in Phonemica, an organisation that promotes crowd-sourced preservation of local languages.

I'm currently in the field, so getting in touch isn't easy. However you can try to email me at the following address and I'll respond as soon as I'm able:

yhilan.ko@gmail.com
© 2009-2017