North-south / front-back
Thread poster: Daniel Frisano

Daniel Frisano
Local time: 20:07
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Nov 15, 2017

This is something that I have been wondering for some time.

It seems that within the European-Mediterranean language space, the further you move south, the lower certain sounds are articulated. Hard "g" is purely velar in English, French or Italian, then slips a bit down the throat in Spanish and Greek, and further down in (standard) Arabic with its rich inventory of uvular and pharyngeal sounds.

Conversely, moving north, certain vowels sounds seem to move up the mouth, what with German umlaut-ed vowels (and equivalent French and Dutch "u") and of course the Nordic ø.

There must be some environmental reason for this. Any ideas? Articles or references?

Does the same phenomenon appear in Slavic languages? The typical "-ić" termination in Serbian seems to be articulated a bit behind Russian "-ič".


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

North-south / front-back

Advanced search

SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search