Allophones of "e"

Arabus

Senior Member
Arabic-Aleppo
#1
Hello,

The letter transcribed e seems to have two allophones or sounds, one of them being closer to [æ] than the regular sound of e.

The open sound [æ] seems to occur in certain words. Sometimes the two sounds seem to alternate in one word (e.g. the word defter pronounced [deftær]).

I don't know if these two sounds alternate freely or if there is some rule for them. I assume that they are free variants since they are transcribed by the same symbol in the alphabet.
 
  • Serafim.

    New Member
    Turkish
    #3
    Even if there is one letter stands for E in Turkish alphabet , in fact there are two kind of "e" vowel in Turkish language and they are not similiar to Arabic أ sound or english "a" as in "cat" at all. However Azerbaijanis distinguish two type "e" in their alphabet.

    If e exists in a clossed syllable we call it opened e as in Sen (you). If e exists in an opened syllable we call it clossed e as in "sekiz"(se-kiz =eight). They sound like french é and ê.
     

    Black4blue

    Senior Member
    Turkish/Türkçe
    #4
    We never sound /e/ like /æ/

    Defter - these /e/ sounds both the same /e/
    Completely wrong.
    Most of the e letters in Turkish are pronounced as /ɛ/.
    And we rarely pronounce it as /e/ like what Serafim said.
    And yeah, it gets like /æ/ sometimes before the letter r.

    Hope it helps.
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    #5
    Thank you all.

    I am pretty sure that Truks do prounounce e as [æ]. In Syria people are taught to pronounce Turkish e always as Arabic a (which sounds [æ] by most speakers); but English references say that Turkish e sounds [e]. I think though that Black4blue is right when he says that it is rather pronounced [ɛ].

    I think that Turkish e was originally pronounced [æ] (as it is obvious from the Arabic and Persian loans in Turkish; for example, defter is pronounced [dæftær] in Arabic). This is also the reason why people in Syria are taught to pronounce Turkish e as [æ]. The raising of Turkish [æ] to [ɛ] (and then possibly to [e]) must be recent, since it is still incomplete.

    The rule
    Serafim gave sounds reasonable, although it does not explain [dɛftær]. The rule Black4blue gave sounds better, but it must be expanded to include at least /n/ (I am sure sen is pronounced [sæn]). I have to be careful listening to see if it also includes /l/ and /m/.

    Teşekkür ederim.
     
    Last edited:

    Serafim.

    New Member
    Turkish
    #6
    Dear all,

    The vowels e in defter are pronounced just like e in "SEN" since the both syllable in def-ter are clossed syllable which fits exactly in the formula I wrote above. There is not æ sound in Turkish. Æ is a very rude to turkish ears as well.
     

    Eline0909

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    #7
    Rallino explained this in march 2009, under the title pronounciation in Turkish.

    My opinion is that, there are two diffreent pronounciations of e but I would say that majority of Turkish people do not really attach importance to this and I am even sure that many of them are not even aware of this subtle difference.
     

    maxguncel

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    #8
    It said to myselft many times defter, sen and the other words with e in Turkish but they all sound the same. I think you're making it difficult.

    /æ/ sound in the word cat has noting to do with the sound in the word defter.
     

    Eline0909

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    #9
    It said to myselft many times defter, sen and the other words with e in Turkish but they all sound the same. I think you're making it difficult.

    /æ/ sound in the word cat has noting to do with the sound in the word defter.
    Try with evet!

    Some people use open e in the first syllable, some closed. But most of the Turks use closed e. I do not think you have ever thought of it because the diffrence is subtle and it does not happen every day.
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    #10
    I think Black4blue got it right. /e/ sounds [æ] before /r/ and /n/. This is not uncommon in languages.

    It would be written this way in transformational phonology:

    /ɛ/ ----> [æ] / ____ {/r/, /n/}
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    #11
    It is natural for Turkish speakers not to realize the difference, because these two sounds are one phoneme (letter). In Arabic, however, /ɛ/ is a different phoneme from /æ/. So the alternation between the two sounds strikes heavily on the ears of an Arabic speaker.

    On the other hand, the sounds of Turkish a and e ([æ] as Arabic speakers are taught) are two variants of one phoneme in Arabic; so confusion between the two is common for an Arabic speaker learning Turkish.
     

    macrotis

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    #16
    I think TRT (Turkish Radio Television) news reporters may help more than I can. Here you can choose to watch or listen online TV or radio broadcasts.
     

    Black4blue

    Senior Member
    Turkish/Türkçe
    #18
    I agree with maxguncel. There's no æ sound for e in standard Turkish.

    I pronounce all of them with the same e sound.

    That or to a funny effect.
    Let me tell you how to realize the difference easily.
    Try to say "geliyorum" few times and then while you're saying it, stop at the end of "gel-". You will see how close the e in geliyorum is.
    Then do the opposite one. Try to say gel (normal gel) and then suddenly add "-iyorum" after it. You will again see how open the e in gel is.
     

    Black4blue

    Senior Member
    Turkish/Türkçe
    #19
    Bunun dışına bir şeyi tekrar söyleyeim. Türkçedeki e harfelerinin çoğu /ɛ/, /e/ değil. (Bu söylediğim æ sesiyle ilgili değil, o konuda daha sonuca varmadık) Bu site de dahil bazı yerlerde yaptığım düzeltmeleri yanlış sanıp tekrar e'ye çeviriyor ponetik alfabeyi bildiğini sanan bazı kişiler. IPA'daki (uluslararası fonetik alfabe) /e/ sesi Türkçedekine göre daha, hatta bayağı bir kapalıdır. Almanya'ya göçmenlerimiz e'leri hep kapalı söylerler ya, işte /e/ sesi odur.
    Aradaki farkı daha iyi anlayabilmeniz için Youtube'da german alphabet yazıp çıkan videoları izlemenizi öneririm. A, be, tse ... derken e'leri (/e/) nasıl kapalı söylediklerini göreceksiniz.


    Æ konusuna gelince; r'den önceki e harflerinin Türkçe'de æ'ye dönüştüğünü düşünüyorum hala. Mesela okulumdaki bir öğretmen r'den önceki e'leri açmıyor, "yeter" dediğinde ilk e'yle ikincisini aynı şekilde söylüyor, gerisi gülme krizi. :D
    Avusturya Almancasında da kelimelere (mesela lernen) bakarsanız onların da kapalı e ile söylediklerini ve Türkçeye ne kadar zıt olduğunu görürsünüz.
     

    Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    #20
    There is general rule for when and how to pronunce each e.

    Most e's are closed apart from the rule below:

    In the same syllable, if the e is follwed by: r, l, m or n. The "e" is open.

    Ex:

    Sen, the "e" is followed by "n", therefore pronunced: sæn.

    Let's make it accusative:

    Seni, the syllables are: Se-ni, the "e" is not follwed by an "n" in the same syllable. Thus: closed.

    There are a few exceptions of course. For instance the word "renk" is pronunced with a closed n, although it is follwed by an "n". But I'm guessing this rule can still help you out.
     

    Arabus

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Aleppo
    #21
    Thanks. So this is a combination of the rules Serafim and Black4blue mentioned.

    I can't say anything about renk, but one thing that comes to mind is that the n in this case may be velar rather than frontal. Also renk is double-closed. I don't know which is the reason.
     
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