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There isn't one IPA representation that would be appropriate for all Semitic languages. Proto-Semitic emphatics were probably ejective while pharyngealized is more accurate for languages like Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, and (Biblical) Hebrew. The nice thing about historical linguistics is that it's common to deviate from IPA in transcription so that you could use the transcriptions system at our article on Proto-Semitic. But I guess it would depend on what you plan on doing. — Æµ§œš¹[aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 16:10, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks – could you explain what exactly the IPA-symbol ˁ stands for? Does it generally stand for any kind of emphatic co-articulation, i.e. for both velarization and pharyngealization? Dan Pelleg (talk) 23:19, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
ˁ or ˤ (if I understand correctly, the two are interchangeable) stands for pharyngealization. The character is a superscript version of the symbol for the voiced pharyngeal fricative/approximantʕ. As Watson explains in The Phonology and Morphology of Arabic (2002) Arabic's emphatics have a secondary articulation of [+pharyngeal] (or [+guttural]), and that a non-primary feature tends to have less constriction and to involve more movement than a primary stricture. Thus, it differs from coarticulation as [w] has for many languages. Also, at least for Arabic, pharyngeal constriction in emphatics occurs in the upper pharynx while in the pharyngeals it is in the lower pharynx.
If you want a diacritic that represents either velarization or pharyngealization (since there is little phonological difference), ̴, a tilde through the consonant is the official IPA diacritic, but I don't like it because it's hard to see on any consonant other than l. — Æµ§œš¹[aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 23:36, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks again. Whereas I always encounter ˤ as indicating pharyngealization, when the ˁ symbol appears here it often seems to refer more vaguely to any emphatic co-articulation, which is kind of unsettling to my sense of precision. That's what made me wonder if it officially denoted any "emphatic-ness". But if it doesn't, I feel we should go for uniformity and prefer ˤ, since it more clearly resembles ʕ, and if several variants of co-articulation apply to one grapheme, they should all be accurately listed, e.g. if the emphatic Arabic Ṣad and Ṭāʼ are sometimes velarized and sometimes pharyngealized, then their pronunciations should respectively be given as"[sˤ] or [sˠ]" and "[tˤ] or [tˠ]". What do you think? Dan Pelleg (talk) 12:57, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
The exact pronunciation of this phoneme in the Arabic language needs to be added to the article. Simply including the IPA symbol with no further explanation is inadequate. Badagnani (talk) 21:33, 7 April 2008 (UTC)