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Why ћ and ħ are different from ℏ

I noted some time ago that the Serbian letter ћ is different from the Maltese letter ħ. The Serbian ћ is Cyrillic, and its upper case equivalent is Ћ, whereas the Maltese letter ħ is based on the Latin h, and its upper case equivalent is Ħ. Also they are pronounced completely differently, the Serbian Ћ/ћ is phonetically /ʨ/, a bit like English "tch", and the Maltese Ħ/ħ much more like a heavy English "h" (the Maltese H/h without the cross stroke is much softer).

Indeed, the IPA symbol for the Maltese sound is simply /ħ/, using the Maltese letter; it's found in several other Semitic languages - Arabic ḥa (isolated ح, initial حـ, medial ـحـ, final ـح) and traditional Hebrew ח (though apparently that tends to be pronounced more like /x/ by modern Israelis). I'm glad to see that some of the more obscure Caucasian languages have it too: ҳ in Abkhaz, xI in Avar, xъ in Chechen, хь in Kabardian. And a couple of African languages as well, according to Wikipedia: ḥ in Kabyle, one of the Berber languages of Algeria; and simply x in Somali. And finally a couple of Romance languages/dialects: g/gh in Galician, and j in Cuban Spanish.

This is all completely different of course from ℏ, which is Planck's constant divided by 2π.

I hope that is clear.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
Did you come back from Cyprus with some of those funny mushrooms again?

Oh and the õ in Estonian is pronounced euw and the rest of the country insist that Islanders (that's us on Saaremaa) can't pronounce it at all. Least wise we don't - much.
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
This is all completely different of course from ℏ, which is Planck's constant divided by 2π.
Bother! You beat me to it!

Have you seen "A Random Walk in Science"? One of the jokes there, reprinted from the Russian "Physicists Continue to Laugh" (and there's a book I'd love to see - at least if it has cartoons with short captions, like my Russian beer book), is about a student at his viva:

Supervisor: In the equation "E = hν", what is h?
Student: Planck's Constant.
Supervisor: Very good. And ν?
Student: The length of the plank?

(Astonishingly, this joke is translated directly from the Russian)

Edited at 2007-11-13 10:13 am (UTC)
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
Jellied els
When you say a "heavy" English "h", in what way is it hardened? Towards the /x/ in loch?

I remember when I first realised that the Polish "ł" was a variant on the English "w". A light bulb flickered on, regarding a geolinguistic continuum from exclusively light els in Cardiff to the dark-elled heart of Cockney London. And it explains why my Welsh wife hears east Oxfordshire pronunciation of a certain British newspaper as "Doily Mao".
Nov. 13th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
It was bad enough when I found the wikipedia entry on the n-umlaut in Spinal Tap - which also referenced a language in which n-umlaut really existed ;)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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