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Title: Aspects of consonant description in the nineteenth century, with special reference to the ancient Indo-European Languages, Sanskrit, Greek and Latin
Author: Dove, Elizabeth Constance.
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis is intended as a contribution to the study of the history of phonetic knowledge in the nineteenth century; in particular it aims at identifying some of the processes through which physiologists and philologists, i. e. Indo-European comparativists, came closer to each other and shared some of their learning. The thesis offers a detailed analysis of specific aspects of the pronunciation of consonants in the ancient Indo-European languages, Sanskrit, Greek and Latin, as described by nineteenth century European scholars. It concentrates on three specific aspects of the subject, `gutturals, `aspirates' and W. The term `guttural' (throat-sound), borrowed from Hebrew grammar, was used by most scholars throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth for sounds we now know as `velar', `uvular', `pharyngeal' or `glottal'. The gradual recognition of the cardinal points along this continuum by nineteenth century scholars is discussed, together with their precise place of articulation. Palatal sounds, both the phonetic sounds formed at the hard palate and the ca series of Sanskrit consonants, are also discussed. The term `aspirate' was used by various nineteenth century scholars for the aspirated stops of Sanskrit and Greek, and by some scholars also for fricatives. There were differences of opinion as to the exact pronunciation of the Greek and Sanskrit aspirates; some scholars regarded them as aspirated stops and some as fricatives, while yet others regarded them as stops followed closely by a fricative, whose nature again was disputed: either a homorganic fricative or an h. There were also those who regarded the h element as an aspirated, or delayed, onset to the following vowel. The nature of h also caused controversy. There were those who regarded it as a full `letter', and those who saw it as merely one of several possible initial vowel sounds. This argument was influenced by the fact that in written Greek h appears as a superscript diacritic, the spiritus aspen, which has a corresponding spiritus lenis, regarded by some scholars as a glottal stop. There seems to have been no doubt that the voiced Sanskrit h was a full `letter'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available