The Language Sounds That Could Exist, But Don't

Tom Scott
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The International Phonetic Alphabet: one sound for each symbol, and one symbol for each sound. Except for the sounds we can't make. Pull down the description for the references! MORE LANGUAGE FILES: ruvid.net/group/PL96C35uN7xGLDEnHuhD7CTZES3KXFnwm0
Written with Gretchen McCulloch and Molly Ruhl. Gretchen's new book, BECAUSE INTERNET, is available now:
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Gretchen can be found at lingthusiasm.com/
Harbeck, J. (2009). Presented at the 30th annual Editors’ Association of Canada conference, Toronto, June 6, 2009.
Algeo, J., & Pyles, T. (2004). The origins and development of the English language (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Nicolaidis, Katerina (2005). "Approval of new IPA sound: the labiodental flap". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 35 (2): 261.
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Published on


Sep 2, 2019




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Comments 4 210
Tom Scott
Tom Scott 4 months ago
And that's it for this run of the Language Files! Thanks to co-authors Gretchen McCulloch and Molly Ruhl, and animator Stephen Houston-Moore. And to answer the question that'll get asked ten times in response to this, these videos and comments get scheduled weeks in advance so I don't have to worry about actually being online when they launch.
The Xello -
The Xello - Month ago
100th comment
Die grauwe
Die grauwe 2 months ago
Great channel tom ! Ive learned a lot. And Please make a video about beatbox. Cuz they who mastered the skill are not from planet earth. See beatbox television on youtube and no im not a sponsor haha but just a regular guy. See ya
Vagabond Wastrel
Vagabond Wastrel 2 months ago
The K trill sounds a lot like a sound you hear in korean.
SelectorOfSouls 2 months ago
velar trill is very possible. just gargle while holding a K sound. easy.
The Senescent Sunfish
I’m in a band , we make music , we would appreciate f y’all took a listen
Bob Coco
Bob Coco Day ago
Something's missing on there: the BeatBox chart.
Matias Olazabal
4:55 I think I can do it, it sounds too much like a gr tho
Chris Rosenkreuz
Chris Rosenkreuz 2 days ago
dang, those linguists were cunning
MrExquisite 2 days ago
How about subharmonic singing? This could actually resemble a glottal trill :D
Daniel Moolman
Daniel Moolman 2 days ago
Technically all of the glottal sounds are possible so long as you choke properly.
Donatello Viado
Donatello Viado 2 days ago
It would not be convenient, but I was immediately able to perform what I believe to have been a velar trill utilizing my tongue as you suggested. (Perhaps it is removed still as not everyone is capable?)
Donatello Viado
JustDapper For me, it felt like the tip of my tongue was being used-that's so interesting that it felt entirely different for you!
JustDapper Day ago
I too was able to make a sound that to me appears to be a velar trill. Did it feel like you were using the very base of your tongue?
SpiderMonkey boss
Maybe I'm missing something, but I can make a Velar Trill (I think). It takes more air than I usually use to talk, but I can put my tongue in the "k" sound position and force the fleshy part behind my palate to vibrate by forcing the air to flow over my. It sounds a bit like a blender.
Stargazer 4 days ago
I can do a glottal trill. I have friends who are linguists/etymologists and have confirmed that it is a glottal trill and not uvular. I guess I'm a freak.
Angel Dust The Porn Star
5:59 Obviously we need to update this to include "UWU" Text.
Aviral pp
Aviral pp 5 days ago
Hey.... Can anybody tell why the box of pharyngeal plosive is half shaded and half white??
Andre Ribeiro
Andre Ribeiro 6 days ago
The title is basically clickbait
Edward Doernberg
Edward Doernberg 6 days ago
those possible but6 unused sounds would be a great way to differentiate a constructed language.
Anon Mason
Anon Mason 6 days ago
Only humans make charts that show all the fart sounds that come out of all their holes.
Wełłs 6 days ago
You should do a part 2 where you make the sounds that are possible but don’t exist yet
Jonathan Kozlowski
Tried the trill... Started purring.
The Kris
The Kris 7 days ago
That impossible sound seems like it would sound similar to the glottal-like sounds of the alien in the movie, "Enemy Mine." I can mkae that sound as well. I wonder what it actually would sound like.
Anarchy Antz
Anarchy Antz 8 days ago
Who doesn't love a good vowel shift....
ebiljebus 8 days ago
1:14 - I thought the goal of IPA was to cram as many hops as possible into a beer in order to make it incredibly bitter and disgusting?
Luke Gibson
Luke Gibson 8 days ago
So I've never been able to do the R trill sound, but I just did the K trill
Clay Bailey
Clay Bailey 9 days ago
Who pays you to keep doing this??
Liana Sive
Liana Sive 10 days ago
Nobody: Not a soul: Me: *I kjære meant just kidding for twenty hours*
Jacob the Propagandist
Why do some boxes have one white and one grey?
KaozLP Pino
KaozLP Pino 12 days ago
A velar trill is possible, its just just very hard so you can’t really use it in words
Nathan Gehman
Nathan Gehman 12 days ago
In what world is "hiccup" spelled "hiccough"???
Gemmatale 12 days ago
you ever just see a video title that makes you go “what??? what”
E030E03 13 days ago
try pronouncing nhjl in one syllable
Red Fair
Red Fair 13 days ago
wait are you supposed to spell hiccup as hiccough
Vaughan MacEgan
Vaughan MacEgan 13 days ago
The "ough" is a special case as the great vowel shift occurred and the pronunciation of that changed the "ough" sound, some to the way it was before and some afterwards. It had nothing to do with the Irish monks giving the English an Alphabet. It the same as 'blood' and 'good' rhyming before the great vowel shift and different afterwards. No biggie. Just as an interesting thought why didn't you try and recreate what these impossible sounds would be using a computer and a DAW with some audio processing it wouldn't be too hard to do assuming you really do understand what you are talking about.
Java 14 days ago
emo with added spices
*Me making a Velar Trill* KKGKHHH
¡Hola! this is me!
Could someone please link me a chart of the IPA extensions because no matter how much I scour the web for one, I cannot find it
The Poxh
The Poxh 16 days ago
u so british I now need some tea
Emyr Derfel
Emyr Derfel 16 days ago
So, in the *extremely French* accent used in 'Allo 'Allo, isn't the initial consonant of "Rrrrrenee" a Velar Trill? Or have I got my mouth geography wrong. My forename and surname both contain an Alveolar Tap. I've been wrongly addressed for a decade since moving from Wales to Manchester.
skagus ii
skagus ii 16 days ago
as for the velar trill, for some reason i can roll my tongue “backwards.” it curls basically to the side and trills when i inhale, but in the far back of my mouth, where i make a “k” sound. probably doesn’t count but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Romanian Germany
Romanian Germany 17 days ago
For the Trill, that other R is the German pronounced R. It's rolled rather than with your tounge your uvula.
Trysta 17 days ago
it's possible to roll a G. it's like gargling, but with air
Vncnet 17 days ago
its 2am why am i watching this
David Coleman
David Coleman 17 days ago
We don't get a montage of him trying each of the possible phonemes?
Christian Marcol
Christian Marcol 18 days ago
I must be tweaking cause I swear I can do the Velar Trill
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