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Revising my consonant inventory

From:Nick Scholten <nick.scholten@...>
Date:Thursday, August 9, 2007, 10:41
The past couple of days I've had quite some ideas. A part of this is, after
I revised the allophony in the vowel system of Kitanic, I figured maybe my
consonant inventory could use some work also. The language currently makes
these distinctions (er, how do you make this comprehensible in monospaced
text... I'll just make a list). It uses only 3 POA's: bilabial, alveolar and
velar. So, the phonology (in X-SAMPA):

unvoiced stops: p t k
unvoiced fricatives: p\ s x
voiced fricatives: B z G
nasal stops: m n N
alveolar lateral fricatives: K and K\
alveolar lateral approximant: l

possible clusters:
initial: tK ts ps ks
medial: ml nl Nl, Bl zl Gl, mp nt Nk, + finals.
finals: p\k xp xk, p\N xm, Bm zn GN.

besides clusters it's basically CV(C) but words can start in vowels.
Possible last phones are: p t k, n m N, p\ B x.

to add vowels: /a [A] E I i o [O] u/ + /ai [AE] Ei [E:] oi [OE] au [AO] Eu
[EO] IU [IO]/ (the allophones occur in unstressed sylliables)

On clusters: I thought that, with consonant clusters, languages allow
different ones between vowels and at the ends of words. Then I read
something about the whole onset and rhyme thing which didn't mention such a
thing at all. Is it true that all possible rhymes can appear either between
vowels or in a final position?

Anyway, on to my real issue. I'm stuck on what to do with this. I feel that
it's too regular, and frequently when I'm trying to make up words [h] and
[j] and voiced stops keep showing up. Also, I think the phoneme inventory is
too small, and is so regular it forces me to use sounds I don't like much
anyway. The changes I would like to make:

adding: /h/ /j/ /w/ /?/ /5/ or /L\/ or both as allophones. Adding a
voiced/ejective/aspiration distinction in stops or a combination of those.
Palatalization. Maybe /X/ and /S/ or /s`/. I'm not sure if I want a rhotic,
maybe /r/ is a good idea but I'm unable to pronounce it.

losing: the voice distinction in fricatives, and losing bilabial maybe
replacing it with labiodental, maybe /x G/ also. /K\/, maybe /p/ also.

I know that the choices you make for a sound system are largely subjective,
but I want it to be somewhat realistic. I have no idea whatsoever what
consonant clusters are realistic, which is the main reason I'm asking these


Herman Miller <hmiller@...>