Hi. In the previous video we have seen that these phonetic things like place of articulation, or manner of articulation are not just nice ways to describe the way in which people produce consonants. But they actually really play a role in language, they play a role when children acquire their language, they play a role when people make speech errors, and they play a role in organizing the set of consonants in an individual language. Such a set of consonants can typically be organized in a nice rectangular table. And that's the rows and columns corresponding to our place and manner of articulation. And I'm going to discuss these issues more with my students Inge and Marten. >> So my first question is about this table but then from the perspective of language change. So we saw in the last module that all languages change and that maybe we spoke something very different 10,000 years ago. So if we spoke differently 10,000 years ago, did we also use different sounds in a certain language? >> Yes, we can be quite sure about that. We can, it's absolutely sure that we did because many aspects of language change all the time. And consonants and actually also vowels are definitely among them. So the particular way in which consonants are produced or which consonants a language has definitely changes over time. So 10,000 years ago, our forefathers definitely had a different set of consonants. >> Okay, now that's something that's strange, because you've also said earlier that there's no way that we know how people spoke 10,000 years ago, because there's no record. Because language is fleeting so how do we know that the consonants have changed? >> Yeah right, well, okay, so here I admit we don't really know in a sense that of course we don't have recordings of people speaking 10,000 years or even 300 years ago. So we don't know how people spoke, we just know that they must have spoken differently because languages change all the time. And that cannot have been different 10,000 years ago either. >> So what sort of evidence do we have for that? >> So, we can figure out certain things about how languages sounded. At that time, at some point, 10,000 years ago was too long ago. >> Mm-hm. >> But some point in the past, we can figure it out. And there are several methodologies for that. One is by language comparison, so if you have other languages which are related to our language, we can see what consonants they have. English is related to German and Dutch, English has a word night, which has two consonants, an N and a T. But German and Dutch have a third consonant, they say nacht, both of them say nacht. So there is this consonant chuh, there. Because it's two other languages, which have that sound, that is an indication that maybe English had that sound as well, at some point in its inventory. And fortunately in English we have another kind of dimension for that, other kind of evidence for that I should say, and it's spelling. The wonderful, beautiful thing about English is that it has this very conservative spelling. Spelling didn't change or at least didn't change all that much in the course of the past few centuries. But the sounds probably did. So how do we spell the English word, night? Well, we spell it with G-H. There's G-H in the middle. A G-H in the middle exactly at the point where these other languages have a chuh sound. And it's not very strange to think that maybe G-H was a way to write a chuh kind of sound in English as well. So by looking at the spelling, and by comparing to other languages, we can discover that probably English had at least one more consonant a few hundred years ago. >> Okay, so then we've established that there is change, in fact? And we established how we can investigate that, but what I still don't really understand is why would that change? >> Yeah, right, yeah, it's, that's an interesting question. It is a difficult question but we do have an answer or at least a big part of an answer to that question. And, it's important here to distinguish between two kinds of factors. The first factor is an internal factor, internal to the language. It's something which just happens to a language if you leave it alone long enough. Certain things start changing, in particular also pronunciation starts changing. We're going to talk much more about this later on in this MOOC, in the fifth module I'm going to explain more about how this happens and even why this happens, but for now I can say one factor which probably plays a role there is language acquisition. The fact the children have to learn the language of their parents, and when they do so they don't typically make a completely perfect copy of the language of their parents. They change it a little bit. But again, we're going to talk much more about this in the fifth module of this MOOC. >> Okay, so this was internal change, right? But what about the external change then? >> Yeah, right, so what do you think external means? >> Yeah, it reminds me of the fact that languages sometimes borrow words so they come from other languages. >> Exactly. That's exactly what it means, is that's exactly another, the, the other important factor. Languages are in contact with each other. I said if we leave a language alone long enough that sometimes happens. So language might be spoken on an island and not, there might not be a lot of contact with other languages. But through the history of mankind people typically have known other people speaking other kinds of languages. And they might have borrowed words. And integrated them into their language. And interesting thing here is that this has happened to English as well and actually it has involved the same chuh sound we were talking about just before. Because sometimes English speakers want to speak German or at least they want to say certain German words or they want to say certain German names, like you might be a music lover, and you might want to speak about the famous German composer Johann Sebastian Ba-. And then there is something there which you have to pronounce. A German would say Bach. But English doesn't have this chuh sound anymore. >> So I guess an English person would then use the consonant from the consonant table that is closest to this sound? So this, that would be. >> That would be a K, right, yeah. So and actually that's, notice that this is actually a new piece of evidence, an interesting new piece of evidence for exactly the existence of these features, for the fact that these dimensions, phonetic dimensions, play a role in the language system. People have to say a sound and they take the one which is closest. What does closest mean? Well, it means closest in the table. What does that mean? Well, it means it's the sound where you have to change the fewest of these parameters, in this particular case, you have to say chuh, but you don't have it, you don't have it in your system. You take something which is really close. Well, a chuh you'll make at the velar place of articulation, you'll make it in the back of your mouth. Just like the kuh, the only difference between a chuh and a kuh is the manner of articulation, the particular way which the airstream is modified so kuh is an explosion chuh is like frication. You make a little bit of noise by making some obstruction in the same place of your mouth. So what people do is they, they somehow they can calculate what is the closest what is the most similar sound, and they do so according to our phonetically-defined features. >> Okay so, this reminds me of Hawaiian, which we talked about in the previous video. Because Hawaiian has only a very small set of consonants, right? >> Right. >> So that would be very interesting, if they borrow words. They would have to be adjusted. >> Yeah, that's, that's, that's right. So they, they, they have to take the consonant which is closest, but actually they have very few consonants, so the thing which is closest might be actually quite far away sometimes for them. There's a famous example. Hawaii obviously is a part of the United States. So they borrow a lot in Hawaii. And they borrow a lot of English words with their little consonant set. Well they don't have a T, we have seen they don't have a separate T. Their T is actually pronounced like a K. Actually, also their S is sometimes pronounced like a K. So, it's, it's quite well known that Hawaiian word for Christmas is Kalikimaka. Well, that is almost unrecognizable for us as Christmas but Kaliki is Chri- right? So, the K is there, the R of Christmas is changed into an L, Kali. And then ki, so this ki, that's the st of Chri-st-mas, right? So st all together is turned into a k. So these changes might be actually quite big in an individual language if they don't have a lot of choice. But still, you can calculate that this is still the closest sound in their particular system. >> Mm-hm, okay. >> I'm quite sure that your language has borrowed words from some other language as well. If you don't speak English it definitely has borrowed words from English. If you do speak English, well English has borrowed words all over the place for instance from French, or from German. What do you do with sounds in those other languages in your language when you borrow those words? This is something I invite you to discuss on our forum, and in the next video we're going to do some field work, we're going to look into the consonant systems of the languages of our informants.