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Re: buffer vowel
>That's a reasonable justification for anything-goes. I think the reference
>grammar presentation should make this much much clearer, though, since
>it gives the misleading impression (a) that it is not the case that
>anything goes, and (b) that lojban phonology is like natural lg phonology.
And how is this unlike natlang phonology? In real life, if I were to talk
to you in English, and even in my facsimile of British English, I would
almost certainly violate standards of phonology in a variety of ways. This
does NOT mean that "anything goes" - I cannot pronounce 'g' as 'd', 's' as 'l'
'r' as 'n' all at once without one of us getting pretty screwed up %^). On
the other hand, if I had a lisp, and substituted 'th' for 's', and also
substituted all of the American English differences from RP, I suspect that
you would still find me quite understandable.
In short, you can "get away with" regular shifts in the phonology and still
be understandable. We merely have defined that a certain range of shifts
associated with the buffer, are not only understandable but by prescription
The ranges of sound variation permitted by Lojban's flexibility are almost
certainly less than that tolerated my English speakers in a highly diverse
ethnic community of mostly non-native speakers.