#1
Old 05-03-2003, 04:35 PM
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Vowelless words

Do you know of any, other than:

NTH - as in "To the nth degree"
SH - an urge to silence
CWM - a shallow valley

?
#2
Old 05-03-2003, 04:36 PM
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rhythm
#3
Old 05-03-2003, 04:43 PM
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http://domin.dom.edu/depts/gslis/stumpers/faq.html

Brrr: The sound of shivering
Crwth: An ancient stringed musical instrument
Cwm: A cirque (a steep-walled mountain basin shaped like half a bowl)
Grr: The sound of a dog
Hm: An interjection expressing assent
Hsh: An interjection used to urge silence
Nth: adjective pertaining to an indefinitely large number
Phpht (pht): An interjection used to express annoyance
Psst (pst): An interjection used to attract someone's attention
Shh (sh): An interjection used to urge silence
Tch: An interjection expressing vexation or disgust
Tsk: An exclamation of annoyance
Tsktsk: To utter tsk
Tst: An interjection used to urge silence"

Notice no Y's included.
#4
Old 05-03-2003, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by daniel801
rhythm
That one where the "...and sometimes Y" rule applies. There's lots of those: CRY, TRY, etc.
#5
Old 05-03-2003, 05:05 PM
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Ng: a surname.

Wff: a proposition in formal logic.
#6
Old 05-03-2003, 05:07 PM
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"cwm" and "crwth" aren't actually vowelless. They're just foreign words, in a language (Welsh) in which "w" is a vowel.
#7
Old 05-03-2003, 05:17 PM
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If we are going to exclude words used in the "American" language that have foreign origins and/or influences, then we aren't going to have too many words from which to choose, are we?

Sorry, typical self-centered ugly American syndrome at work here. Assuming everyone here is US...

So, AWB what are the rules here? Languages? timelines? cultures? etc.
#8
Old 05-03-2003, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by slipster
Ng: a surname.
Suzee Vlk, of whom I learned when she appeared on Jeopardy!

I once knew a man named Edward Srp.
#9
Old 05-03-2003, 06:25 PM
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Syzygy
#10
Old 05-03-2003, 06:37 PM
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Vlk means 'wolf' in Czech and Srp means 'sickle' in Serbo-Croatian.

Guess what: in some Slavic languages, l and r can function as vowels. They're called "vocalic l" and "vocalic r". The vocalic l and vocalic r also existed in Sanskrit, where they're classed as vowels, not consonants. These go back to Proto-Indo-European. So those names don't count as vowelless. They only look that way. English, in fact, also has vocalic l, in words like [i]bottle, trouble.[/b] The final vowel sound is made in the l position. There is no other vowel sound except that made by the l forming a syllable of its own.

Syzygy obviously isn't even in the running.
#11
Old 05-03-2003, 06:46 PM
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Why?
#12
Old 05-03-2003, 06:49 PM
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Why what?
#13
Old 05-03-2003, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by t-keela
So, AWB what are the rules here? Languages? timelines? cultures? etc.
Basically, words that can be used in Scrabble: non-proper (uncapitalized), non-hyphenated, non-contraction. On the inclusive: English names of foreign letters, English names of foreign currencies; Welsh, Scottish, Irish, American, and Australian words.
#14
Old 05-03-2003, 07:05 PM
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According to some theories of speech perception (cite), it might very well be impossible for words to exist without vowels (in speech, that is, spelling is a different game).
Only utterances with vowel sounds in them can be recognised as words. I don't know whether they would make an exeption for things like '"shh", or just say that that wouldn't be a word.
#15
Old 05-03-2003, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mangetout
Why?




"Jomo Mojo: Why what?"

That's why...who's on first


Why = Y AWB What letters are considered vowels? I've heard y & w count as vowels in some cases.
#16
Old 05-03-2003, 07:29 PM
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"Y" is a vowel when it makes a vowel sound. See words like "cry", "try", "tryst."

What is a vowel? Well, according to Merriam-Webster:

Quote:
one of a class of speech sounds in the articulation of which the oral part of the breath channel is not blocked and is not constricted enough to cause audible friction
"W" is only a pure vowel when it makes the "oo" sound, as in "cwm." In American English, there is no word I can think of in which "w" is a pure vowel. However, letters such as "w" and "y" when treated as consonants, are really semi-vowels, or glides.

I'm sure Jomo will be in soon with a technically precise distinction.
#17
Old 05-03-2003, 11:44 PM
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pulykamell explained it so well, I can't think of anything to add. Just remember, MaryEFoo, that things like vowels and consonants are sounds. The letters of the alphabet used to spell them are irrelevant in linguistics; you have to look at the sounds and ignore the letters. Then you will understand what a vowel is and what a consonant is.
#18
Old 05-03-2003, 11:45 PM
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I appreciate the M/W input. Perhaps I should have been more specific? What constitutes a vowel according to the OP's recent ruling.

"Basically, words that can be used in Scrabble: non-proper (uncapitalized), non-hyphenated, non-contraction. On the inclusive: English names of foreign letters, English names of foreign currencies; Welsh, Scottish, Irish, American, and Australian words."

If we include all the countries listed and the vocabularys thereof, the words included in the list should be interesting.

Was Canada included? They are UK related...right? or are they more closely linked to France...
#19
Old 05-04-2003, 12:09 AM
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Incidentally, I've never seen "cwm" used unquoted in a sentence. Oh, sure, I've seen "You know, 'cwm' is a word," but I've never seen "Let's go to the cwm." Has anybody ever heard "cwm" used unquoted in the USA?
#20
Old 05-04-2003, 12:23 AM
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There was a bluff we used to climb on outside Ottawa named the western cwm after the rather more famous western cwm by that big hill over in Nepal... So when I was living there we used it all the time, pretty much exactly in the sentence ``So, shall we head to the cwm''. Of course, Ottawa isn't in the USA exactly, but it's only a couple of hours drive away. Does that count?
#21
Old 05-04-2003, 05:19 AM
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In Cantonese, and common family name is "Ng", which is romanized in Mandarin as "Wu"
#22
Old 05-04-2003, 05:39 AM
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Is "¡xo" a word, or just a letter? It's from that African "clicking language" (Bushman?).
#23
Old 05-04-2003, 06:13 AM
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As Scrabble champion of the universe, I'm pleased to find a question I actually know the answer to. What everybody else said plus:

-mm
-pht
-brr
-phpht

...and a whole bunch of other words with y.
#24
Old 05-04-2003, 06:18 AM
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Somewhere along the line, cwm was respelled for the non-Welsh as quim. As quim, its main use is as a euphemism for vagina. "Let's go down to the quim" has quite a different meaning.
#25
Old 05-04-2003, 01:46 PM
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AWB: I posted "rhythm" based on the fact that the y has a short sound. Cry and try, etc., have long y sounds. Maybe this is off base, but I thought the short/long sound had something to do with whether the y was considered a vowel.
#26
Old 05-04-2003, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by daniel801
AWB: I posted "rhythm" based on the fact that the y has a short sound. Cry and try, etc., have long y sounds. Maybe this is off base, but I thought the short/long sound had something to do with whether the y was considered a vowel.
No. The letter y does not stop functioning as a vowel when it is making a "short" vowel sound any more than does any other vowel. For example, the i in with is still a vowel even though it is not a "long" vowel sound.
#27
Old 05-05-2003, 06:50 AM
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"Strc prst strz krk" = "Put your finger through your throat" in Slovakian.
#28
Old 05-05-2003, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sternvogel
Suzee Vlk, of whom I learned when she appeared on Jeopardy!

I once knew a man named Edward Srp.
In the languages of those names' origins, the sounds represented by "l" and "r" are vowels.
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