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Re: New/revised language: Phonology

From:Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 19, 2001, 22:51
--- In conlang@y..., Andrew Chaney <adchaney@M...> wrote:

> An eth or thorn is notoriously hard to produce on a mac.
True, I never get those to display correctly. I wish someone would implement unicode for MacOS 9.x someday. =P
> >> Why not use one and the same diacritic everywhere? /e/ could be {ê}. > > I was trying to avoid suggesting a systematic distinction along lines of > tenseness or length or other feature. I was trying to avoid implying > distinctions that are not made (at least not consciously) by the language's > speakers.
You can do that in the native script as much as you want -- but the ASCII transcription will invariably be read by real-life humans, so it should be geared towards ease of reading. With your current encoding, readers other than you will unforgivingly mispronounce your vowels, which is usually not what you want. Just consider how Tolkien had to fight for his pronunciations -- he even introduced that ugly final -ë into his otherwise visually pleasing orthography -- and he used the canonical vowel transcription, unlike you. I have the same dilemma in Obrenje. The native script uses letters that simply don't have classical Latin analogons, but make a lot of sense in Obrenje phonology. I tried to choose the most intuitive substitute. For example, the Obrenje letter that I transcribe as {c} is pronounced /s/ before /i e j/ and /h/ or /x/ otherwise. I chose {c} because most European languages use that letter for an alveolar before front vowels and a velar otherwise. {c} used to be /x/ in proto-Obrenje. There also was a voiced counterpart /G/ which has become /z/ before /i e j/, and completely mute otherwise. I represent that letter with {x}, since {x} can be pronounced /z/ in English. So all in all Obrenje has a pretty non-standard writing system, but at least tries to strike a compromise between readability and "tradition". The system is pretty intuitive and very appropriate to the phonology of Obrenje once you've understood it. The interested reader can find aforementioned under
> That having been said, I probably will go back and rework the vowel > romanization.
Good. =)
> But I'm sticking with [x] for /T/.
Ah, well... to each his own... -- Christian Thalmann