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Re: Nqwebasaurus, an African ornithomimosaur

Yeah, I was aware of the fact that they have multiple clicks. I'm having 
trouble keeping up with everyone's e-mails, I must learn to reply as fast as 
everyone else.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Keesey" <keesey@gmail.com>
To: "Dinosaur Mailing List" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 4:29:22 PM
Subject: Re: Nqwebasaurus, an African ornithomimosaur

On Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM,  <tyazbeck@comcast.net> wrote:
> I have no trouble making the trilled 'r' sound; the 'r' sound used by English 
> speakers is not widespread (as you said), at least amongst European languages 
> which make the trilled sound (it involves the tip of your tongue). I suggest 
> you learn how if you want to be fluent in all these languages you mention!

I'd love to, but I honestly just cannot make my tongue do it. It's
like a speech impediment that fortunately doesn't show in my native

> But I read somewhere that the click we are talking about can be heard from 
> quite a distance (it's loud?)

All clicks are loud. That's probably why we use them for calling
animals in the first place.

Also, keep in mind the click languages (including Khoisan, Hadza,
Sandawe, some southern Bantu languages, and one Cushitic language)
have *multiple* click consonants, not just one. E.g., some might have
both our "tsk!" and our horse call, or others.

> and I'm not sure if it is any one of the types you mentioned (for dogs, etc.).

>From what I've read, it's similar to the one we use for dogs, but
articulated further back -- behind the alveolar ridge, about where
your tongue is when you say, "Shhh," or a bit further. The "nq" is
actually one sound, a nasalized click. So air should be passing
through your nose, as for "m" or "n".

Basically, I just say "Nwebasaurus" and throw a little palatal click
in -- I figure that's right or close enough to it. (Anyone out there
speak Xhosa?)

> It's hard to integrate them into words, for sure. You might also want to 
> include Etruscan (extinct) or Nahuatl, the Aztec language (still widely 
> spoken by the remaining Indians in Mexico) as languages with few sounds

*checks phonology charts* Those are not terrible candidates, either!

Although of course I wasn't seriously suggesting that. If we truly
limited ourselves to the overlap of all languages (or even all major
languages), I'm not sure we'd have a whole lot left to work with. The
current system, where the spelling is universal and the pronunciation
is locally adapted, is probably as good as we are going to get.

> (they both omit a vowel, I think.)

You mean out of the "classic" Latin vowels? Yes, looks like Nahuatl
and Etruscan have only one back vowel, while Latin has two. (English
has 3 to 4 back vowels, and 10 to 12 vowels in all, depending on
dialect.) Although Nahuatl has a distinction between short and long
vowels, effectively doubling the number.

T. Michael Keesey