Losam wrote:For the first question, thank you for the answer. I think that is the reason when a native speaker try to learn a foreign language for the first time, maybe have a problem to reproduce the sound.
This is a very well-documented phenomenon known as "language transfer
" or "linguistic intereference".
Losam wrote:I made a mess with this question. I wanna mean: the number of phonemes or vowels sounds in English it's a key or make other languages a little bit easily to understand (when we talk about vowels)?
As I said, yes and no. Vowels are messy and complicated. It doesn't matter if Language A has more vowels than Language B if the vowels don't line up in any coherent way.
To take one example: In American English, /uː/ is pronounced further forward in the mouth than cardinal [u
] (the /u/ of other languages, such as Spanish and German). My ex complained that when he taught German in Kansas, "They could pronounce ü
, but they couldn't say u
to save their lives." What he meant was that the /uː/ in his students' speech was so far forward that it sounded closer to Standard German /yː/ than Standard German /uː/. So the increased number of vowel phonemes in their dialect was of no real use in helping them to learn to speak German correctly,
Losam wrote:About the clicks, I wanna know if they are useful or make any sense. Because is something that I really don't accept the idea of it in a language (no offense).
This statement makes no sense to me at all. It's like saying, "I really don't accept the idea of coriander in cooking." No one's forcing you to use coriander in your food, but people around the world will continue to cook with it regardless. (And if you try to leave it out when you follow their recipes, it will have consequences.) Is it somehow less "useful" to them because you don't like it?
Losam wrote:Talking about the fifth, I saw the symbol "ʌ" in a different place than the "normal" place of it (near of "ɔ" according to IPA Chart). For example: the ":" means when a consonant or a vowel is prolonged, right? So, In some languages, I saw a pair of vowels, one short and your partner, long, in a vowel chart.
Yes, the triangular colon (ː) marks length.
One thing you have to keep in mind about IPA symbols, however, is that they're not always used to represent phonetic values. When a symbol between slashes, it represents a phoneme
, which will have a range of possible realisations. Some of these may be quite close to the phonetic value of the symbol, some won't.
For instance, the actual value of /uː/ in a particular person's speech could be something like [ʉʊ̯̈]. But it's simpler to write /uː/ and it makes comparisons between different varieties easier.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons