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Ygyde and philosophical languages

From:James Landau <neurotico@...>
Date:Friday, January 17, 2003, 18:13
>> Andrew Nowicki wrote: >> AN> A perfect language should be easy to pronounce, >> AN> easy to understand, and easy to learn. >>Unfortunately, these three things are not absolute measures. A Mandarin >>speaker finds any language with any inflection at all troublesome to >>learn, but speakers of European languages have no trouble with simple >>inflectional systems. OTOH, speakers of most European langs finds tones >>impossible to manage, yet they are second nature to Mandarin speakers. > > Agreed. As Teoh said, what's good for one isn't good for all, so I doubt >you'll get agreement on this. But some things are more appropriate than >others. I imagine most people in the world would not find a tonal clicking >language to be easy to pronounce.
They probably wouldn't! Especially if they had to make the clicks simultaneous with the vowels the way so many real click languages do. But taking away the tones (recognized by speakers of many Asian languages) and taking away inflections (recognized by speakers of Indo-European languages or, say, Navajo) are not the same thing. You could express just the same things with exactly the same meanings if you created a language without tones rather than with tones. But if you dropped the inflections, you'd fundamentally change the semantics of the language. Things would be freed from having to indicate whether they took place in the present or the future, whether they were single or multiple, etc. which could change the whole worldview behind the new language. It would also be possible for less to be expressed if there weren't enough words like "yesterday" or "sometimes" or "constantly" to translate the whole range of meanings used in inflectional languages. If instead of simply "inflection" (in the sense of suffixes and prefixes), you say "indication of tense, voice, mood..." then the change is even more drastic and the language becomes expressively limited.
>Imagine if you have problems distinguishing |y| from |i| in Ygyde. This >will be the case for perhaps the majority of the world's people, who make no >such distinction in their own languages. Some interesting homophonies >exist:
I'm going to guess that you mean the "y" in Ygyde, similar to /I/, rather than the IPA /y/ like the German "ü" sound, since "ü" and "i" don't sound much alike to me but immigrants often use "i" for "I", or vice versa. The sounds sound fairly crisp and in fact I used them both to increase syllable power in a unambiguous language project I was trying once, but you could choose to avoid them because while they're in the process of getting used to English I've heard about immigrants mispronouncing the English words "sheet", or "beach", or "peace".
>And your pronuciation of |o| as the vowel of "all" or "saw" is just as bad. >I'd change that to the vowel of "know" or "ode".
Definitely! That vowel sound is clearly distinguished from any other vowel in the inventory.
> But if it's the same as in >"saw", most people would consider that the same as the vowel of "hot". And >then you've got even more trouble.
I interpret the "all" or "saw" vowel sound as meaning it has that "w" glide at the end -- like the sound people make at something disappointing. (Or, come to think of it, something really cute . . .) Like the vowel sound in "port", just without an R after it. "Hot", on the other hand, mind be interpreted as a pure /a/ . . . like you scream when you put your hand on the stove and it's accidentally turned on. I remember being taught when I was 9 than the Russian letter "o" sounds like the "o" in "pot", from a book (probably one of my parents' "German/Danish/Norwegian/whatever for Travellers" guides from Berlitz), so when reading Russian I went around pronouncing as "o" as indistinguishable from "a". After I continually heard the "o" in "hope" instead whenever I would get to hear actual Russian spoken, I finally realized I had gotten it all wrong. It was such trouble trying to relearn it whenever I was reading Cyrillic characters (which at least I hadn't had to do very often).
>backward = curved >captain = economist >fat = spicy
"What do you do for a living?" "I'm an ataca." But it still wouldn't be as bad as North vs. South America.
>Then there is the matter of definitions. A great number of your defined >words are not very clear, or even inaccurate. > >"vomit = verb outer food" is a very good definition. > >"cross = noun religious shape" is almost ridiculous. The shape of a >cross is far too common to be restricted to religious use, which is what is >happening here.
Actually, if I saw it, I'd think it would mean any geometric shape that has religious significance attached to it. Like a mandala would be a "religious shape" (mandalas are what come immediately to mind, in fact).
>"bluxberry = noun cold middle food" is particularly interesting. I >don't think there's anything especially cold about bluxberries, and I don't >understand why they'd be "middle".
Well, he defines a fruit from a shrub as a "middle food" and a fruit from a tree as a "top food", so I think it has to do with this food being lower than fruit from the treetops. Cold? Probably has to do with the popularity of freezing blueberries, but it could just as well be frozen cranberries.
>"hockey = noun slippery disk" sounds more like a gasket or a flat >bearing.
Sounds to me like this should refer to the <i>puck</i> rather than the hockey game. "angel = noun attractive religious craftsman" makes me think that you don't have the slightest idea what an angel is, except that it's somehow "religious". Anything closer to "mxssenger of God" would be perfect.
>Imagine if we had a root word like |ta| meaning "tall". It might go well >with |gu| "animal" as |guta| "giraffe", but it wouldn't be very useful with >|si| "food".
Si-ta? I think that would mean "tall food". :)


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>