The linguist Sally Thomason (see this 2017 post) posted this at Facebook:

It wasn’t so long ago that I learned the word pretendian, which refers to a person who falsely claims Native American or First Nations identity. I just re-discovered, in my Salish-Ql’ispe dictionary files, that there’s a word for that: qlixwi7Ci ‘an Indian wannabe, someone pretending to be an Indian’. Now I’m wondering how many indigenous North American languages have a word with that meaning — or, for that matter, how many Indigenous languages elsewhere in the world have equivalent words. Does anyone out there know?

Good question, but I suspect outside of North America there are not many indigenous identities members of majority populations would be interested in claiming, at least in sufficient quantities there would be a word for it. But what do I know?


  1. J.W. Brewer says

    Feel free to do some googling of your own if you want a non-tabloid source for the recent Australian situation, but I have previously read about it from more highbrow sources.

    Note that there are two subgroups involved in these controversies (both in Australia and in North America and perhaps elsewhere): a) people who do have some modest portion (could be 1/8, could be 1/16, could be less) of “indigenous” ancestry but who have grown up as part of the dominant community, do not look sufficiently visually distinct from the dominant community to have experienced any significant discrimination, etc.; versus b) people who are pure fabulists about their family tree. (In the U.S. we know that some such fabulists started off simply repeating in good faith something they’d heard from a grandparent and not felt the need to independently confirm its accuracy; I don’t know how likely that is in Australia.) In North America, there is often a sharp distinction drawn between the a’s and the b’s, but it’s not implausible that the a’s would be equally resented by the more core/paradigmatic members of the indigenous group for leveraging a modest-but-real connection to the group for their own self-interest.

    In the U.S. there are also non-indigenous racial or quasi-racial identities (although maybe they get counted as close-enough-to-indigenous in certain political circles?) that get falsely claimed, as for example with this lady who was exposed a few years ago where the first account I googled up was from a non-tabloid source.

  2. Mustaʕrib (whence Mozarab) normally means someone who’s become Arab despite not having Arab ancestry – an Arab by naturalisation; but, in the context of Palestine, it can also mean an Israeli secret agent who’s pretending to be Arab for purposes rather more problematic than cultural appropriation.

    Arabic-speakers with no real ties to existing Berber communities claiming Berber identity for political reasons is not unknown, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some circles have a slang term for it; but that’s usually against the background of an assumption that they probably “really are Berber” at least in terms of distant ancestry. That makes for quite a different context.

  3. David Eddyshaw says

    No actual pretense involved, but in Central Alaskan Yupi’k, Yugngalnguq “one resembling a human being (i.e. like a Yup’ik)” means “Asian person.”

    (Political correctness was not a prominent feature of traditional Yup’ik culture. The word for “American Indian” is Ingqiliq “one with (louse) nits.” But then the Athabaskan word for “Eskimo” is etymologically just “enemy” …)

  4. Rodger C says

    I found in my 60s that I was 3% Native American and 3% African, proportions suggestively close to 1/32. Subsequent sleuthing suggests strongly that I’m 1/4 Melungeon. Needless to say, I grew up socially white, and I’m not silly about my ancestry. Its past effect on me consists of what I now see as some odd silences and anxieties on my mother’s side of the family, and perhaps one reason for the strictness of her limits on my behavior. Its present effect consists of feeling how it complicates and enriches my Appalachianness and my relation to the American racial thing in general.

  5. J.W. Brewer says

    Maybe Rodger C should lean into the “quarter-Melungeon” identity, which might tend to either expose widespread popular ignorance of Melungeonity or at least generate interesting anecdotes about what happens when people who are ignorant about Melungeonity try to bluff rather than confess ignorance. Although feeling enriched is probably the most laudable attitude one could have.

    The smallest known ethnic component of my own family tree is Huguenot French, and it well may be <3%.* But at present there is minimal potential careerist advantage and/or social-cachet (from exoticism or otherwise) associated with claiming or overstating a connection to a Huguenot-American identity, so I am not faced with a bad incentive structure.

    *If I dug deep enough I might find an even smaller quantum of Welshness, or perhaps Cornishness, but have not done so.

  6. David Eddyshaw says

    I might find an even smaller quantum of Welshness

    We are a superior culture, rather than a mere genetic group. We welcome all évolués who embrace the higher way of Cambricity. Cambriae est imperare orbi universo.

  7. PlasticPaddy might weigh in with more detail, but my impression is that their eponymous epithet mostly describes soccer players qualified to play for The Boys In Green via an Irish Granny. I can’t think offhand of a term for people like Mícheál mac Liammóir or Patrick O’Brian who fabulate hibernicity.

    I have seen conspiracy theorists alleging that some non Irish-speaking parents who send their children to Irish-medium schools do so for racist/elitist motives. Either the theorists or the parents must be unaware of the ethnic and economic mix of the student body in such schools. In any case the begrudgers seem not to be themselves Irish speakers, so whatever slur they may use would not be relevant to the topic of the post.

  8. I wonder how long the Salish word has been around. Could it be a calque of the English “pretendian”?

  9. Unlikely, since Sally’s Salish-Ql’ispe files are decades old and I don’t think “pretendian” goes back very far.

  10. J.W. Brewer says

    As with Lameen’s example of “Arabs” of presumed if remote Berber ancestry embracing their latent Berberness, I expect (subject to the latest DNA-based analyses that I have not kept up with) that some meaningful quantum of my quite significant quantum of “English” ancestry is made up (40 or 50 or 60 generations back) of crypto-Cymric folks whose Brythonicity was temporarily suppressed via forcible assimilation to the culture of the incoming Anglo-Saxon settler colonialists.

  11. J.W. Brewer says

    And mollymooly gets us back to the issues in some prior threads about the slipperiness of the “indigenous language” concept. The first human languages spoken on the island we now call Ireland were almost certainly not Celtic nor any other sort of Indo-European. Celtic-speakers were merely one or two waves of incoming invaders/conquerors/colonizers ahead of Germanic-speakers. You could hear all about it back in the Seventies if you stayed abreast of the modestly-sized Celtic Fringe of prog-rock:

  12. Hat, Does Thomason give an etymology? If not, can you ask her on FB?

  13. I have asked her and will report back.

  14. David Eddyshaw says

    The first human languages spoken on the island we now call Ireland were almost certainly not Celtic

    The indigenes joyfully embraced our higher culture and were painlessly Assimilated.

  15. Rodger C says

    Son, don’t go near the indigenes!

  16. While a mista’arev indeed, as Lameen suggests, does not pretend to be an Arab for cultural reasons, Israeli Hebrew does have משתכנז mishtaknez which is derogatory for a Mizrahi Jew (or an Arab, much rarer though) who acts Ashkenazi in order to attain higher social status. The connotation is usually “someone who lost/forgot/disowns their roots”, so somewhat of opposite directionality from the example in OP.

  17. David Eddyshaw says


    The /k/ (as opposed to /x/) is interesting. Reanalysis as אשקנז?

  18. It’s Israeli Hebrew, not Biblical 🙂 If a bkp consonant is ever only heard in one form, a new derivation is not going to alternate (cf. lekaxev ‘to star’ and le’afer ‘to discard cigarette ash’). It’s so opaque to a native speaker that I had a long double-take before realizing you had it right.

  19. David Eddyshaw says

    [Answering my own question, sorry]

    Ah, no. Actually, I was wrong. The middle radical would be geminated in Biblical Hebrew, of course. (הִתְקַטֵּל: I was just thinking “hithpa’el” …) So you’d expect /k/ (for /kk/) and not /x/ anyway, even if one was to go all puristic about it.

    Silly question, quite apart from the excellent point you make.

  20. “Mishtaknez” sounds like an Israeli version of “coconut”.

    (Apparently you can now get prosecuted in the UK for calling people “coconuts”, at least if you’re a protester and the people in question happen to be Ministers.)

  21. PlasticPaddy says

    Sorry for not posting earlier. What Molly Mooly said. I would add that the Irish Leitkultur is more of a broad Church than that of most other (North) European countries, possibly because as some other commenters have stated, the Gaels were very much not alone here from the get-go, or because they could not exclude returned emigrants and their children, despite their divergence in speech, clothing style, diet, politics, habits, etc.

  22. The middle radical would be geminated in Biblical Hebrew

    For a triliteral, yes; but Ashkenaz is (being treated as) a quadriliteral here, so you’d expect ḵn. (At least based on analogy and what happens in other Semitic languages; BH apparently doesn’t actually have any hitpael forms from quadriliterals.)

    I love the examples of lekaxev and le’afer, btw. Didn’t realise you could just not do consonant mutation like that.

  23. David Eddyshaw says

    On reflection, I don’t think there even are any hithpa’els based on quadriliteral roots in Biblical Hebrew, so my correction was incorrect too …

    [Hah! Ninja’d by Lameen.]

    … What is “to ninja” in Israeli Hebrew? (I gather the noun is נינג’ה …)

  24. The mother of all Hebrew assimilationist verbs is לְהִתְיַוֵּן lǝhiṯyawwēn ‘to Hellenize (oneself)’, going back 2000+ years. I have seen recent usages as mityaven by people calling themselves that, as proudly secular.

  25. In Arabic, the cognate of hitpael – tafaʕʕala – combines readily with quadriliterals: tabakhtara “he swaggered”, tafalsafa “he philosophized”, tafarnasa “he became French”. Modern Standard Arabic even allows taʔanglaza “he became English”, with serene indifference not only to root structure but to regular phonotactic constraints; but, as far as I know, Classical Arabic has no t-derived quinqueliterals.

  26. The first human languages spoken on the island we now call Ireland were almost certainly not Celtic nor any other sort of Indo-European.

    Exactly; from which it follows that Irish is indigenous to Iceland, not to Ireland. Wake up sheeple!

    (English, of course, is indigenous to Bermuda.)

  27. coconut

    Cf. U.S. oreo, twinkie, apple Indian.

  28. The first human languages spoken on the island we now call Ireland were almost certainly not Celtic nor any other sort of Indo-European.

    Note the careful qualifier “human.” Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

  29. So “apple Indian” is the opposite of “pretendian”? For green apples, one might coin “apple earthling”.

  30. So “apple Indian” is the opposite of “pretendian”?

    Not exactly. I think it means someone who is culturally assimilated to Anglo culture, not someone who claims to be of White ancestry.

    Besides, being quarter-Indian, say, would qualify you in many circumstances (including some legal ones) to call yourself Native American. On the other hand, there is not even such a thing as “quarter-white”.

  31. “someone who is culturally assimilated” — yes, that’s what I meant by “opposite”. I hereby coin the term “opposoid”, which I promise to use henceforth for such cases.

    The opposoid of “Plastic Paddy” is “West Brit”.

  32. When I got my DNA test back I discovered to my delight I have 4% Welsh ancestry. The bizarre bit being that the Welsh ancestry was not on my father’s very English side but on my mother’s Italian side. Implying that at some point in the early 19th century a Welshman came along and impregnated one of my Italian great great great grandmothers. I suppose he could have been a soldier in one of the many armies fighting in Northern Italy at the time, so maybe not that improbable.

  33. David Marjanović says



    oreo, twinkie, apple Indian

    …and in politics watermelon: Green on the outside, Red on the inside. (That’s any Green if you’re at all conservative, except for a few fringe right-wing Green phenomena that are literally extinct – Konrad Lorenz comes to mind.)

  34. “banana” is used in markets where twinkies are banned under Protocol IIc of the Geneva Convention

  35. Twinkies were before the Geneva Convention, and shall be forever more.

  36. It’s not exactly clear who should even count as the first human settlers in Ireland. Do the fomorians count? Maybe no. What about the Tuath De? Probably yes? But the the two groups are interfertile, so….

  37. David Eddyshaw says

    Moot in any case, as Branwen ferch Llŷr reveals that the entire population of Ireland are all descended from five pregnant women, the only survivors of the invasion by Bendigeidfran to avenge the mistreatment of his sister, the eponymous Branwen, by her husband Matholwch, King of Ireland. (A fo ben bid bont …) So something of a genetic bottleneck.

    [The English WP article on Matholwch says “This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. ” Saxon cheek! Actually, it’s bit of a mystery that they haven’t just looked at the Welsh version, which duly references the Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi. It doesn’t come any reliabler than that, now, does it?]

  38. cuchuflete says

    My sons are of part Cherokee ancestry, and either are, or have chosen to appear, indifferent to this segment of their otherwise Mongreloid roots. I attribute this, linguistically speaking, to shoo-fly pie on their paternal grandmother’s side. If they were Welsh or Berber it would all make sense.

  39. From Rebecca Roanhorse, “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™” (2017):

    “It’s just …” You know this is your ego talking, but you need to know. “Did I do something wrong?”

    “No, it was me. You were great. It’s just, I had a great-grandmother who was Cherokee, and I think being there, seeing everything. Well, it really stirred something in me. Like, ancestral memory or something.”

    You’ve heard of ancestral memories, but you’ve also heard of people claiming Cherokee blood where there is none. Theresa calls them “pretendians,” but you think that’s unkind. Maybe White Wolf really is Cherokee. You don’t know any Cherokees, so maybe they really do look like this guy. There’s a half-Tlingit in payroll and he’s pale.

    Translation by David Tejera Expósito, “Bienvenido a su auténtica experiencia india (TM)” (2019):

    —Pero… —Sabes que lo haces por tu ego, pero necesitas saberlo—. ¿Hice algo mal?

    —No, es culpa mía. Tú estuviste genial. Es que tuve una bisabuela cheroqui y creo que el hecho de estar aquí y ver todo esto… Bueno, siento que ha despertado algo en mi interior. Un recuerdo ancestral o algo así.

    Has oído hablar de los recuerdos ancestrales, pero también de personas que aseguran tener sangre cheroqui cuando no era cierto. Theresa los llama « fingindios », pero a ti no te gusta hacerlo. Quizá Lobo Blanco sea cheroqui de verdad. No conoces a ningún cheroqui, así que tal vez tengan un aspecto parecido al del chico. Conoces a un mestizo tlingit del departamento de administración, y es blanco.

    (fingido ‘feigned, false, fake, phoney’ × indio)

  40. Christopher Culver says

    Probably first coined by the outgroup instead of the ingroup, but I have heard “Jafakan”, to describe faux-Jamaicans or faux-West Indians in general, in both the UK (for Ali G types) and in the USA (for Miss Cleo from the 1990s Psychic Readers Network television commercials).

  41. Does Thomason give an etymology? If not, can you ask her on FB?

    She provided a very thorough response:

    I don’t have a complete analysis of the word, because there’s a mystery suffix at the end. (It’s a mystery to me, that is; the late great Dale Kinkade would almost certainly have known what it is.) The root is qel-, meaning `body, flesh’; it goes all the way back to Proto-Salish. The immediate ancestor of the first suffix was -mxw `person’, but a morphologized rule in Salish-Ql’ispe turns m into i before certain fricatives, including (sometimes) xw, and that’s what happened here; so the suffix is now -ixw. (This suffix also goes back to Proto-Salish; the Proto-Salish word for `person’ was *qal-mixw.) So the Salish-Ql’ispe word for `person, Indian’ (that is, specifically an Indian person, not just any old person) is s-qelixw, with the pan-Salishan nominalizing prefix s-. So far so good. Then I’m stumped. There is a productive suffix meaning `pretend to be something you aren’t’, -ey’e(7), and it’s barely conceivable that the -i7 of -i7Ci is a reduced form of that suffix; but that doesn’t work phonologically, because the first vowel of -i7Ci is stressed in qlixwi7Ci, so the suffix wouldn’t be reduced. And anyway, I don’t know what the -Ci would be. BUT, when I checked my complete set of fieldnotes just now, I found a second word meaning `pretend to be an Indian’, and it uses a different formation from the forms with the suffix -ey’e(7): qlixwscu `act like an Indian, pretend to be an Indian’ (as in e.g. Cn es-qlixw-s-cu*t-i `I’m pretending to be an Indian, I’m acting like an Indian’). This word I can analyze fully: qlixw-s-cu(t) `person -transitive-reflexive’. Doesn’t help with the suffix(es) at the end of qlixwi7Ci, of course. Both suffixes -s and -cu(t) are ancient, from Proto-Salish. The -t of -cu(t) is optional in Salish-Ql’ispe because of the rule “Delete everything after the stressed vowel if you want to, but you won’t want to if there’s crucial grammatical information after the stressed vowel.’

  42. Trond Engen says

    That’s a thorough response. And a terrifying language.

  43. Richard Hershberger says

    I once had klezmer music playing in my office as I asked my buddy Brandon Schwarz for recommendations on where to get a good knish. He accused me of being a wanna-be cultural Jew. Can’t a goy simply enjoy a good knish?

  44. David Marjanović says


    Supposedly one of the accents of contemporary London.

  45. Trond Engen says

    “That’s a terrific response,” I set out to write.

  46. @David Marjanović: Geoffrey Pullum wrote about Jafaican twice in August 2011, when it was apparently in the news in Britain. He did not agree that it described a real phenomenon.

  47. Lars Skovlund says

    It seems to me that this sort of word would arise naturally in polysynthetic languages. You’d simply have an infix/postbase/whatever with the meaning ‘pretending to be’ and stick it on the appropriate noun with much less fuss than in less inflected languages (where you have to resort to wordplay or other such inventiveness).

  48. Sally Thomason says

    @Lars Skovlund, “It seems to me that this sort of word would arise naturally in polysynthetic languages” — Yes, and this is why we should all be lucky enough to speak polysynthetic languages!

  49. Sally, I’m wondering about your comment about Dale Kinkade. Surely you have worked on Salish-Ql’ispe more than anyone? If you mean no one is as good as he was at figuring out Proto-Salish, is it really that bad? Is the study of comparative Salish really that dormant?

  50. ktschwarz says

    What sounds do 7 and C represent?

    People writing Interior Salishan languages today, if what’s on the web is representative, go all-out for Americanist notation with its diacritics and superscripts: e.g. N̓səl̓xcin Sq̓yq̓ay̓s (Alphabet Song) in Colville-Okanagan Salish, es yoyotwíl̓šm n̓qelixʷcnm (The Salish Resurgence) in a Spokane-area magazine from 2022.

    (Is English so different, in this particular case? We have the productive prefix “pseudo-”.)

  51. Lars Skovlund says

    The funny thing is I come from a country that has a polysynthetic language within its borders (Greenlandic). It is not commonly taught, and I haven’t studied it explicitly. But I was lucky enough to have one of the world experts on Greenlandic (Michael Fortescue) in a few classes. He used many examples from Greenlandic, as you would expect. But my major was in computer science, and I discovered that someone (also a CS major) had written a textbook that employed automata theory throughout to explain the Greenlandic version of polysynthesis. That was… something else.

  52. jack morava says

    … a textbook that employed automata theory throughout to explain the Greenlandic version of polysynthesis …

    A book to be treasured for all time but to be locked away in hot weather as Myles was wont to say. Can you recall a reference?

  53. 7 is not uncommon for ʔ.

  54. Lars Skovlund says
  55. David Eddyshaw says

    Nora England’s nice grammar of Mam uses 7 for /ʔ/.

  56. J.W. Brewer says
  57. Sally Thomason says

    @Y — I’ve worked more on this particular Salishan language than any other linguist, but I haven’t done much historical work, except for checking for cognates in the most closely related dialects and languages, and consulting Kuipers’ Salish Etymological Dictionary for other languages. Dale Kinkade was by far the most experienced and accomplished historian of the language family, and he did primary documentation on languages in both the coastal and the Southern Interior branches of the family. So unless my mystery suffixes are unique to this language…or mistranscriptions, i.e. my errors, always possible (though I got that particular word twice, from different elders several years apart)…Dale would probably have been able to identify them.

    As for the decidedly nonstandard (for a Salishan language) orthography that I use on FB, I’m too lazy to learn how to put phonetic symbols in email and FB posts. But yes, 7 is a symbol used by quite a few Americanists for the glottal stop. And C is my lazy spelling for a voiceless alveopalatal affricate. Sorry. As with (most?) other Salishan languages, the orthography used by the Salish-Ql’ispe tribes is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, but modified with typical Americanist symbols, like for instance c with a hachek for the alveopalatal affricate instead of the IPA’s t + “sh” symbol combination. (In Salish-Ql’ispe, at least, there’s a phonetic AND phonemic distinction between the alveopalatal affricate and a t + “sh” consonant sequence, which is one reason I’m unenthusiastic about “pure” IPA.)

  58. Stu Clayton says

    The technology is there for embedding audio clips, instead of squabble-glyphs. Or for superposing them. Tap a glyph to make it speak.

  59. Stu Clayton says

    A popup such as the WiPe provides for footnote refs [12]. The missing link (!) is an easy drag-and-drop assembly technique instead of this primitive edit box.

    IPA notation is a blunt spoon with which people scrape at the phonetic coalface.

  60. And C is my lazy spelling for a voiceless alveopalatal affricate. Sorry.

    Don’t apologize — I wish more linguists would use spellings that are easy to reproduce rather than the impossible glyphs most seem so proud of.

  61. David Marjanović says

    (In Salish-Ql’ispe, at least, there’s a phonetic AND phonemic distinction between the alveopalatal affricate and a t + “sh” consonant sequence, which is one reason I’m unenthusiastic about “pure” IPA.)

    In principle, pure IPA does offer a way to write these: [tɕ] vs. [t͡ɕ].

    But I wonder what they actually sound like. Polish is often claimed to distinguish /tʃ/ from /t͡ʃ/ (or the retroflex versions, but actual retroflexes are rare in Polish these days). The contrast between trz and cz is of course real (e.g. trzy “three”, czy “or”/question marker); but they’re both affricates. The contrast is realized in two different ways by different people.

    In one, cz has a single place of articulation as most affricates worldwide do (e.g. English ch), so transcribing it as [t͡ʃ] is actually incorrect if you’re pedantic enough: not only the fricative, but also the stop is postalveolar – the IPA diacritic for “retracted” is an option: [t̠͡ʃ]. The trick is that trz is not like that. It really does start laminal-alveolar, like an ordinary /t/, and then becomes apical-postalveolar; it is the real [t͡ʃ]. If you say it too slowly, you get [t͡sʃ].

    In the other, the difference is simple length: cz is [t̠͡ʃ], trz is [t̠͡ʃː] – but, unusually, the length really is on the fricative, not the stop; and the language goes to great, uh, lengths to avoid having any length contrasts anywhere else.

  62. I just wish Sally Thomason could comment here more often. Like marie-lucie, she has such an impressive understanding of particular western indigenous languages; I feel like I could learn so much from her. And equally, she is such a modest, approachable, and generous expert.

  63. Seconded!

  64. David Marjanović says


  65. Sally Thomason says

    @David Marjanovic — I’m not sure that ligature *is* pure IPA, though: early in this century, when I was working on a paper on Montana Salish phonetics with Peter Ladefoged (who came to the reservation with me to record speakers) and Edward Flemming (who did the acoustic analyses and drafted the paper), Ladefoged insisted on using just the two symbols, no ligature, for the affricate, and I insisted that that wouldn’t work because the consonant sequence differs phonemically as well as phonetically from the affricate. I won the battle but lost the war: if you look at the paper (Journal of Phonetics 36:465-491, 2008…I think Flemming may still have it on his website), the distinction is there, but there’s a period between the two consonants in the sequence, and no ligature on the affricate. Of course, the IPA authorities may have come to their senses since 2008 and at least embraced the ligature for affricates. Or possibly Ladefoged was just more extreme in his avoidance of diacritics than most IPA fans are. And I am happy to say that the two things, affricate and stop + fricative sequence, sound quite distinct in Salish-Ql’ispe (a.k.a. Montana Salish, but I’m getting used to what is now the tribes’ preferred name) — the distinction isn’t as subtle as what you’re describing for Polish: in the sequence, the /t/ is released before the fricative (a very brief release, but easy to hear), and in the affricate, as befits an affricate, the stop is released directly into the fricative. If I were not technologically challenged, I bet I could attach an audio clip here…

  66. David Marjanović says

    I’m not sure that ligature *is* pure IPA, though:

    The official chart says in its 2020 version* (and I remember this from earlier versions): “Affricates and double articulations can be represented by two symbols joined by a tie bar if necessary.” The given examples are t͜s and k͡p. It is not mentioned whether there’s supposed to be a difference in meaning between tie bars** above and below the symbols or whether it’s purely typographic (i.e. “put it below the symbols if the symbols don’t have descenders”).

    * This particular copy is too small. No idea what it’s doing in Wikipedia.
    ** What an odd name.

    The Wikipedia article, which in any case sounds authoritative, says:

    Affricates and co-articulated stops are represented by two letters joined by a tie bar, either above or below the letters with no difference in meaning.[note 14] Affricates are optionally represented by ligatures (e.g. ⟨ʧ, ʤ ⟩), though this is no longer official IPA usage[1] because a great number of ligatures would be required to represent all affricates this way. Alternatively, a superscript notation for a consonant release is sometimes used to transcribe affricates, for example ⟨tˢ⟩ for [t͜s], paralleling [kˣ] ~ [k͜x]. The letters for the palatal plosives ⟨c⟩ and ⟨ɟ⟩ are often used as a convenience for [t͜ʃ] and [d͜ʒ] or similar affricates, even in official IPA publications, so they must be interpreted with care.

    Note 14 is:

    It is traditional to place the tie bar above the letters. It may be placed below to avoid overlap with ascenders or diacritic marks, or simply because it is more legible that way, as in Niesler; Louw; Roux (2005). “Phonetic analysis of Afrikaans, English, Xhosa and Zulu using South African speech databases”.[65]

    …and note 31 mentions “/t͡ʃ/ as distinct from /tʃ/”.

    In short, it seems official enough.

    in the sequence, the /t/ is released before the fricative (a very brief release, but easy to hear), and in the affricate, as befits an affricate, the stop is released directly into the fricative.

    Ah. Perfect. [tɕ] vs. [t͡ɕ].

  67. David Eddyshaw says

    Affricates and co-articulated stops are represented by two letters joined by a tie bar

    Coarticulation is surely different from affrication phonetically?

    Certainly both can be seen in what are single units phonemically, but that seems to mean that the tie bar is being used to smuggle morphophonemics into the phonetics.

    I suppose that it depends on how broad or narrow your transcription is, though.

    And in Resl Life theoretically sequential segments often end up coarticulated to some extent anyway, I believe. “Segments” are convenient illusions/abstractions ….

    Whether or not a stop is “released” cannot of itself answer these questions in the general case, surely, though it may help in particular languages by correlating with morphophonemic distinctions. (Lots of languages have unreleased syllable-final stops as realisations of complete single stop phonemes.)

  68. @David Marjanović: The name tie bar surely comes from musical notation. It’s much more commonly called just a “tie,” but “tie bar” is encountered occasionally, when it is deemed necessary to make clear that the object in question is the curved line symbol on the sheet music, not the musical figure that it, in turn, denotes. A tie connects two (or more) written notes of the same pitch, indicating that they should be played as a single sustained note. Notationally, it is identical to a slur, except that a slur connects two notes of different pitches, to be played with a smooth legato transition between them, and specifically in a single bow stroke on a viol. This means that there is no functional difference between a tie and a slur for players of bowed viols (as well as some wind instruments). If you try to slur together two notes of identical pitch, you just get a tie, which explains the similarity in their notation.

  69. David Marjanović says

    Coarticulation is surely different from affrication phonetically?

    Yes, but they’re hard to confuse, and the International Phonemic Alphabet really only pretends to be phonetic. 🙂

    musical notation

    Ah. I don’t know that well enough in English.

  70. @Brett [ref @DM] The name tie bar surely comes from musical notation.

    I’m not convinced. All my musical dictionaries use tie simpliciter. And using bar would cause confusion with, um … bar [U.K. = measure U.S.] — since the usage of tie is typically to hold _across_ a bar.

    Presumably the IPA usage is not suggesting some sound is ‘held across’ a syllable or a foot(?)

    “tie bar” is encountered occasionally,

    Is it? Not in my ~50 years of reading scores. Googling finds tie _pins_, (horizontal) bar shaped, with a few decorative notes as if on a stave, often with a treble clef sign. (I rather fancy the matched quaver cufflinks — not that I wear ties or starched cuffs much these days. OTOH that splendid drum kit could persuade me …)

    If I wanted to talk about the notation specifically, as opposed to the performance figure, I’d say ‘tie mark’ as opposed to ‘tied note’.

    Wiktionary (but not my dead wood dictionaries) has “A flat bar used as a tie in construction work.” (Seems also to apply to what I’d call ‘sleeper’ in a railtrack.)

    I think this is a strictly within-phonetics usage. Also for a nasal dipthong. I’d guess ‘tie bar’ is either a translation of a technical term already established in some other language; or from a phoneticist who’d misunderstood/mis-applied the musician’s term.

  71. It was called tie-line by Trager and Smith.

  72. J.W. Brewer says

    From this piece about various anti-“Pretendian” activists complaining to some United-Nations-related talking shop:

    ‘”We have some parallel issues, for example, now a burning issue with Finland … they accepted about 70 non-Sami people to be registered into the role of the Finnish Sámi parliament,” said Ánde Somby, who is the chair of the Sami and Indigenous Peoples Law research group at the Arctic University of Norway.’

    But no Sami lexeme for people like that is proffered …

Speak Your Mind