Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Phonemes Count and Phoneme Counts

The English language has 44 phonemes for most speakers*.
.



What, exactly does that mean?

Well, compare that number to the number of phonemes in other languages. For example, some languages in Africa have more than 100 phonemes and the Hawaiian language has only 13 phonemes.

According to some recent phonetic analysis conducted by University of Aukland psychologist Quentin Atkinson, places more recently settled by humans have fewer phonemes.

Very interesting, I thought.

*The number of phonemes for individual speakers in any language varies slightly with different dialects.



Data from an article in The Week.

4 comments:

fr said...

Hi,

The Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition is about to break another record. This year, we received 747 nominations, 50% more than last year! For each of the four categories, we selected 100 blogs, Facebook pages, or Twitter accounts to proceed to the voting phase. Your blog has been included for voting in the language professionals blogs category. Congratulations!

50% of the final score will be based on user votes.

The voting phase starts today, May 17th, and ends on May 29th, 23:59 hours German time. Read more about the voting phase here:

http://www.lexiophiles.com/language-lovers-toplist/time-to-vote-top-100-language-lovers-2011

The results will be published on June 1st .



Good luck!

Jean

On behalf of bab.la and Lexiophiles team

PS: Follow us on Twitter (@babla) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/babla.languages) to get the latest updates on #tll11 and bab.la!

Laura Payne said...

Jean - Thank you. I am honored and thrilled.

MatíasG said...

"According to some recent phonetic analysis conducted by University of Aukland psychologist Quentin Atkinson, places more recently settled by humans have fewer phonemes."

Do they say why?

Laura Payne said...

MataisG - Per the article:

"That linguistic pattern parallels what evolutionary geneticists call the “founder effect”—the tendency of smaller groups to keep narrowing the diversity of a larger population when they move away."

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