Author Topic: Ejectives  (Read 23505 times)

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Offline HawkPidgeon

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Ejectives
« on: December 21, 2009, 03:27:00 am »
So the ejectives (kx, px, tx) are equivalent to k', p', and t', but when I listen to the word "skxawng", it sounds more like "skawng".

Has anyone figured out the proper way to pronounce the ejectives of Na'vi?
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Offline Brainiac

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 03:29:17 am »
So the ejectives (kx, px, tx) are equivalent to k', p', and t', but when I listen to the word "skxawng", it sounds more like "skawng".

Has anyone figured out the proper way to pronounce the ejectives of Na'vi?

just 'eject' them even more than usual, I think. Make sure there is a barely audible pause between your ejective and your next letter.
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Offline HawkPidgeon

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 03:51:14 am »
Yeah, that sounds about right.

Irayo
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Offline Brainiac

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 03:54:40 am »
oeri pivängkxo :)
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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 07:44:40 am »
just 'eject' them even more than usual, I think.

Um.  Sort of.  :)  Here's the intro to the glottal stop and ejectives I posted over on Facebook:

I can't help but wonder how many people are led to a more serious study of language by things like Na'vi, Klingon before it and even Tolkien's elvish languages before that. Who else but a devoted fan of Star Trek is going to learn how to pronounce Klingon's lateral affricate consonant? And who else but a fan of the Na'vi is going to learn ejectives? Ejectives are quite common in native languages of the Americas. Perhaps some current Na'vi fan will move on to an endangered language like Navajo or one of the Mayan languages.

I've never had difficulty with ejective consonants. Unlike lateral affricates, which involves sounds that don't occur in my native English, ejectives I've always considered a very strange arrangement of sounds that English already has (though not all my language-oriented friends agree, and find them difficult). Let's start with the glottal stop.

We don't write a glottal stop in English, but it's there. Any time you say a word starting with a vowel after a pause, we put in a little prop glottal stop. The only real time it occurs anywhere else is in the word "Uh-oh". It's that catch in your throat between the "Uh" and the "Oh." Plenty of languages do use the glottal stop in the middle and ends of words, and when they're written with the Latin alphabet, an apostrophe is usually used. So, if English were spelled like Navajo, it'd be: 'uh'oh.

Like Navajo, Na'vi can put a glottal stop in the middle of words. In fact, the word Na'vi itself has an internal glottal stop. None of the English spoken in the film pronounces the word correctly, even when one of the Na'vi-speaking scientists says it, but when Eytukan says the word, you can really hear the glottal stop at the end of the first syllable: na'-vi. From the word list: ke'u "nothing".

*Most* of the time, ejective consonants are written also with the glottal stop apostrophe, as in Navajo at'ééd "girl". But for some reason Frommer chose to use an 'x' for this, perhaps as a reminder to the actors — often in sci-fi and fantasy languages, apostrophes are used as decoration, and don't mean anything.

In any case, ejective consonants are made by closing the glottis as for a glottal stop, then pushing out one of the consonants /p, t, k/ just using the air in your mouth, then releasing the glottis for the following vowel sound. Notice that this isn't just a consonant followed immediately by a glottal stop, rather, the consonant is articulated *at the same time* as the glottal stop. This is what gives it a popping sort of sound some people confuse with the clicks of a language like !Kung.

Here are some sound samples:
kx - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a0/Velar_ejective_plosive.ogg
tx - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Alveolar_ejective_plosive.ogg
px - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Bilabial_ejective_plosive.ogg

I hope this helps a few people along.
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Offline Sarkath

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2009, 07:46:15 am »
Thank you sir for reposting this over here :)

Offline Eywayä mokri

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2009, 07:47:37 am »
I read it on FB, but it's nice to have it here too. ;)
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Offline Tirealì'u

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 10:38:32 am »
Oh good, I think I've been doing it right, then. :-)

Offline Seze

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 12:40:03 pm »
Frommer gave a brief explanation of ejectives in this interview. Its nice to hear them in action...


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Offline HawkPidgeon

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 02:47:14 pm »
Very nice explanation. That was incredibly helpful. Thanks very much.  :D
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Offline omängum fra'uti

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2009, 09:29:53 pm »
That explanation actually helps a lot!  Other explanations I've read focused on the ejective part of it - saying the letter by pushing the air out rather than breathing it out - but when I tried to follow the description it was either clumsy, or indistinguishable from the regular consonant.

The key for me was pointing out that "uh-oh" has a glottal stop, and that the ejective is just a consonant spoken during a glottal stop.  In fact, I've heard people pronounce it as uht'oh which is putting an ejective in the middle.  From there suddenly I had something familiar to relate it to, and suddenly it's effortless and I can immediately notice the difference in sound between the two.
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Offline Tiri

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2009, 07:00:35 am »
Frommer gave a brief explanation of ejectives in this interview. Its nice to hear them in action...

Great interview, although the link is slightly wonky. ;)  I've been looking everywhere for the "ma" reference and it's in here as well.  Irayo!

Offline Skxawng

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2009, 10:05:58 am »
< Moved to the pronunciation sub-forum >


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Offline wm.annis

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2009, 02:04:45 pm »
One human language that features ejectives prominently is Navajo.  I had forgotten about this web site.  It has a Navajo (or "Diné") to English glossary — with a sound file for each word!

http://www.lapahie.com/Dine_Bizaad.cfm

If you look under the "T" and the "K" letters (there's no "p" in Navajo) you can get a bunch of examples of those ejectives, which in Navajo are written with apostrophes, not x, so t' = tx and k' = kx.

Here's a nice one — http://www.lapahie.com/Sounds/too.wav — but I think they mic'ed the informant too hot or too close.  Some of the sound samples are distorted.
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Offline Java

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2009, 08:14:47 pm »
So every time I come across a tx,px, etc I can immediately know that it's a glottal stop?

Offline Ta'Ite Eywa

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2009, 08:44:49 pm »
So every time I come across a tx,px, etc I can immediately know that it's a glottal stop?

Pretty much, there's doesn't seem to be an actually letter x in Na'vi other than it being after k, t or p to mark that stop.
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Offline Txur’Itan

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2009, 09:09:57 pm »
nope,

But the letters/sounds which exist in Na'vi are here. For now, at least this seems to be the best reference.

http://www.learnnavi.org/navi-phonetics/#consonants
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Offline Ta'Ite Eywa

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2009, 09:17:56 pm »
nope,

But the letters/sounds which exist in Na'vi are here. For now, at least this seems to be the best reference.

http://www.learnnavi.org/navi-phonetics/#consonants

AH!!!!! Finally I'm understanding the ä sound. I've gotten about 20 different ways to say it from 20 different languages and I didn't know which one it was!

skxawng-a tutee-ti skxawng l<ei>u
Stupid girl is stupid
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Offline Txur’Itan

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2009, 12:44:03 pm »
nope,

But the letters/sounds which exist in Na'vi are here. For now, at least this seems to be the best reference.

http://www.learnnavi.org/navi-phonetics/#consonants

AH!!!!! Finally I'm understanding the ä sound. I've gotten about 20 different ways to say it from 20 different languages and I didn't know which one it was!

skxawng-a tutee-ti skxawng l<ei>u
Stupid girl is stupid

frapo       n<ìr><m>ume             fra'u         nìNa'vi            täftxu'lì'u.
everyone was just now  learning   everything Na'vi language word weave

frapo       n<ìr><m>ume fr<ol>a'u nìNa'vi täftxu'<ay>pam.
everyone was just now    learning   Na'vi   word sounds

Eywa ngahu ma tsmuke.
Eywa be with you my sister.

modified.

The grammar police have spoken to me...

ngah<ei>u is not allowed.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 08:37:19 pm by vidvamp01 »
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Offline Veryth

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Re: Ejectives
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2009, 05:14:09 pm »
For anyone looking for more auditory references of ejectives in human languages, this was fairly helpful:

http://www.phonetics.ucla.edu/index/sounds.html#Anchor-Ejectives-47857
http://www.phonetics.ucla.edu/course/chapter11/navajo/navajo.html

Audio seems a bit clearer than the other one that was linked.

 

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