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Re: buffer vowel
> Yes the vowels will tend to spread as far as possible. But there is
> still some vowel space that is not used in most dialects.
No. While the vowels we produce do not cover the whole space, any
vowel that we hear will be classed as one of the phonemes.
I use a front [a] for Lojban /a/, and never a back [A], so in principle
that would leave me free to use [A] as buffer. But you would hear my
buffer as /a/.
> Rather than trying to define a specific buffer sound, that mnight be
> difficult for some speakers bvecause unnatural,
Why unnatural? Nothing could be more unnatural than the present system.
> I would prefer to leave it speak speaker dependent.
I know you would, and given the labours you devote to the project,
you have the right to make it how you would prefer it. I am merely
pointing out that this is a respect in which Lojban works differently
from natural language, and hence in all likelihood does not work at
all. By the criterion that that which does not work must be fixed,
the buffer vowel should be fixed. By the criterion that the person
in whose blood the present system is written has a veto over changes
to the system, the buffer vowel should not be fixed.
> Indeed buffering is largely an involuntary reaction to difficult sounds
> and the amount we biffer may vary from time to time based on how much
> we are concentrating on speech.
Phonology is largely involuntary. The buffer vowel is not special in this
> For English speakers, anything in that region you labelled "Y" should
> be fine - high central. Other speakers might need a little different
[Here I ought to read the phonology paper before answering, but
technological trepidity and high phone bills prevent my doing so yet.]
Where does this "for English speakers" come in? What counts is what
Lojban speakers do. Which sounds will a Lojban speaker hear as
the buffer vowel? Put another way, which sounds may be used for
the buffer vowel?
> Length is also important. While Lojban vowel o\phonems have no defined
> length, in practice, the buffer sound is shorter than any vowel,
> whatever the dialect. I have tended in practice to lengthen my hyphen
> schwas when I am aware of buffering, to heighten any contrast.
What matters for our present purposes is principle, not practice. In
practice the rules are flouted left right and centre. Moreover, when I
used the buffer vowel it was not shorter than other unstressed vowels.