The Typology of the Gutturals

(in press) “The Typology of the Gutturals,” in Proceedings of the Conference on Back(ing), Paris, Sorbonne – Nouvelle.

(submitted), with Adrienne Mayor and David Saunders, “Making Sense of Nonsense Inscriptions Associated with Amazons and Scythians on Greek Vases,” to Hesperia.

From a talk presented at:
Back(ing)
Glottal and Guttural Patterns in Onsets and Nuclei
(Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, 2 – 4 May 2012)

1. General Remarks. The “gutturals” or “back” sounds are one of the last frontiers of phonology. We are not even certain of the number of points of articulation that are possible in the back of the mouth, that is at the posterior margin of the oral cavity and “beyond,” that is, the various pharyngeals, adytals or epiglottals, and laryngeals. The phonetics of these sounds have been studied, but not fully understood, in part because of a general failure to distinguish points or zones of articulation in a consistent way (note Alwan 1986) so that these points may be linked to their acoustics. The phonology of these sounds, both as it is exhibited among these sounds and with other articulations is also understudied. As a consequence historical studies of languages that have such sounds, for example Afro-Asiatic, or might have had them (Proto-Indo-European) are plagued with uncertainties and competing hypotheses.

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