Sounds and symbols

Sanja   Monday, November 08, 2004, 11:24 GMT
I wonder if there is any other language, other than my native, where each sound is represented by one symbol and every symbol represents only one sound. Does anyone know?
Reggie   Monday, November 08, 2004, 11:40 GMT

There are only 5 full vowel sounds like the alphabet


They sound the same in 99.99% of cases, their sound doesn't change regardless of the context, but of course like most things in life there are a "few" exceptions but only a few.
Sanja   Monday, November 08, 2004, 11:54 GMT
In my experience, Spanish is not 100% phonetic ("s", "z", "c", "ss" can sound the same; "j" and "g" as well etc.). But is there any language where only one symbol can represent only one sound and the other way around? My native language is exactly like that.
Reggie   Monday, November 08, 2004, 12:25 GMT
Yeah I was ony referring to the vowels.
Easterner   Tuesday, November 09, 2004, 08:40 GMT

Hungarian is one such language, although we have a letter ("ly") which is pronounced the same as "j", but has been preserved in orthography, due to historical reasons. Otherwise the "one sound, one symbol" principle is followed, although some symbols consist of two letters ("cs" for "ch", "sz" for "s", "zs" for "zh", etc.) but they are always pronounced the same. On the other hand, as I know, this is also true of some other East European languages: Czech, Slovak, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Finnish, etc. I strongly think this is so with Turkish, Armenian and Georgian as well, although the latter two are written in a non-Roman script.
vincent   Tuesday, November 09, 2004, 13:06 GMT
Sanja, in esperanto there's the same as in your language. Also in turkish, aymara, euskera and many more
Sanja   Tuesday, November 09, 2004, 16:20 GMT
OK, thanks everyone.
Yes, Easterner, as you know we also have symbols which consist of two letters ("lj" and "nj"), but of course they are always pronounced the same.
Tom   Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 00:06 GMT

Don't you de-voice your endings in Hungarian?
In Polish, "kod" is pronounced the same as "kot", which violates the symbol-sound correspondence ("d" can be pronounced [t] when at the end of a word).
Sanja   Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 16:06 GMT
In my language every symbol corresponds with exactly one sound and the other way around, there are no exceptions. Of course when people speak fast you can mishear some sounds, but if they pronounce the words carefully you can see that all the sounds correspond with their written symbols.
Easterner   Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 16:27 GMT
Tom said: >>Don't you de-voice your endings in Hungarian? <<

Typically not. Quite the reverse actually, because in compound words, when one component ends with a voiceless consonant and the next one starts with a voiced one, the last consonant of the first component becomes voiced as well. This is called "partial assimilation", and is not indicated in spelling.
Reggie   Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 22:46 GMT
What's your native tongue Sanja?
Sanja   Friday, November 12, 2004, 15:56 GMT
To Reggie: Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian.....whatever.
Mi5 Mick   Sunday, November 14, 2004, 05:10 GMT
"The Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian languages used to be known collectively as the Serbo-Croatian language. However, because of political and geographical reasons, the three dialects are now considered separate languages. I am expanding this page to include all three, because the languages are very similar. They mostly vary in vocabulary, and not so much in grammar. These three languages are actually more similar to each other than the three main forms of English are (American, British and Australian.) "

How true is this?
Easterner   Sunday, November 14, 2004, 21:11 GMT
Completely true. There is some justification for speaking of Serbian and Croatian as separate languages, because of differences in cultural background and vocabulary, but what is called Bosnian is an in-between variety which is pronounced more like Croatian (a little more palatal), while the vocabulary is closer to that of Serbian (you can see this if you compare the vocabulary lists at the webpage you have referred to). There are three ethnic groups in Bosnia (Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats), but they hardly differ at all in the way they speak, only in their cultural and religious background.
Ed   Monday, November 15, 2004, 00:02 GMT
In Bulgarian, the ending are always devoiced.

"b" becomes "p", "v" - "f", etc. That's why people freak me out when they call me Ed-ou-arT, instead of Ed-ou-arD