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The World Pidgin

From:Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>
Date:Friday, June 16, 2000, 3:17
This is a recent "project" I've been doodling on with help from Dan
"Alomian" (don't know if he subscribes to CONLANG; he should). If Dan is
reading, he may notice some changes that making as I write now.

THE WORLD PIDGIN (it's native name is just around the corner...;)

As my main interest in linguistics is phonology, it is that part that I've
put most consideration (I wouldn't call it "work") into. One should always
start with the phonology anyway, or so I think.

An important aspect of the phonology is that it's hardly ever _absolute_,
but much rather _relative_. That is, phonemes are given "ranges", instead of
"values". The main concern in pronunciation for a speaker of the language is
to make sure the values in his own phonology are kept well discernible. If
you don't follow what I'm saying, you'll see after a while.


There are five vowels:

/i/       /u/
  /e/  /o/

- The good old five-vowel system present in just about any IAL you see
(though I originally wanted just three vowels).

I'll leave vowel ranges out for a while (I'm more concerned with consonant
ranges, and I'm not all too good with vowel-phonetics anyway ;).

Four diphthongs can be made from those, /au ai ei oi/.

There are two approximants: /j w/; closely related to /i/ and /u/.

Now on to the consonants...

Six plosives: /p t k b d g/ (no surprises there ;)
Two nasals: /n/ (syllabic), /m/ (initial only)
Two sibilants: /s S/ (both syllabic)
One rhotic/lateral: /r/ (syllabic)
Two fricatives: /f x/ (initial only)
Two affricates: /tS dS/ (initial, combinations of phonemes /t d/
                         and /S/)

The ranges of the plosives are:
/p b/: bilabial or labio-dental
/t d/: dental, alveolar, post-alveolar, retroflex
/k g/: velar, uvular

Differentiation between "fortis" and "lenis" plosives (e.g. /p/ ~ /b/) can
be made in the following ways (format: fortis - lenis):

* unvoiced - voiced (aspiration irrelevant)
* aspirated - unaspirated (voicing irrelevant)
* unvoiced - voiced fricative (fortis aspiration optional)

Voicing is irrelevant in the pronunciation of syllabics. The fricatives /f
x/ _must_ be unvoiced.

/n/: initial - anything except bilabial
     final - any position (normally assimilates following consonant)
/m/: bilabial

/s/: dental, alveolar
/S/: post-alveolar, retroflex

/r/: any lateral approximant or any rhotic (including the approximant
      rhotics, as in English, Mandarin, Turkish, and more)

/f/: bilabial, labio-dental, labio-velar
/x/: velar, uvular, pharyngeal, glottal


The plosives /t d k g/ and the sibilant /s/ can combine with /w/ for /tw dw
kw gw sw/.
All plosives and /f/ can combine with /r/ for /pr br tr dr kr gr fr/. Those
two types of combinations are "initial combinations".

/j/ cannot combine with /i/, or /ai ei oi/. /w/ cannot combine with /u/ or

/k g x/ cannot precede /i/.

Syllable model:

{C} [V] {SF}

{} optional
[] compulsive

C consonant or initial combination
V vowel or diphthong
SF any syllabic can be final

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