Mark Yong wrote:
I guess the reason I gravitated towards -iƆⁿ
was because it is actually quite difficult to consistently nasalise a triphtong like –iau
(well... at least for me, anyway!
Amusingly, a (strongly even) nasalized –iau
plays a role in quite an important story from my childhood, related to my growing linguistic awareness.
As some regular readers of the Forum may recall, my maternal grandparents are non-Penang Hokkien ("Amoyish") speakers. One day, my maternal grandmother was talking about ginger, and called it (of course) "kiuN1". I was about 9-10 I guess, and (in a nice way!) could sometimes be a cheeky brat, so I decided to tease her. "KiuN, kiuN, kiuN? Ha-mi si kiuN???", I said, in a teasing tone, emphasing
the nasality. She was quite amused, and replied just with "KiauN, kiauN, kiauN? Si-mi si kiauN???" She got her own back by not only emphasising the nasality, but also emphasising the -a- (i.e. really s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the triphthong).
I suddenly realised: "Oh, there's nothing intrinsically
'nice sounding' or 'weird sounding' in any sounds. I think 'kiuN' sounds funny, but she equally thinks 'kiauN' sounds funny, and there's no reason to think that she or I have a more correct view of things!" [In fact, thinking back, I believe I even "realised" that - if anything - 'kiauN' sounded a lot more peculiar than 'kiuN' (particularly if one emphasises the -a-)!] I look back at this as one of my earliest "linguistic insights"