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Re: Needed: Fresh eyes for phonology

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 27, 2002, 23:12
At 6:55 PM -0600 03/26/02, Peter Clark wrote:
>-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- >Hash: SHA1 > > With all this talk regarding the most beautiful of >phonologies, I thought, >"Hey, time to look at Enamyn's phonology again." It was at that point that I >realized that Enamyn is really Tolkienesque. Judge for yourself: > >Plosives: /p b t d k/ >Nasals: /m n/ >Fricatives: /f v T s S x/ >Laterals: /l K/ >Trill: /r/ >Approximate: /j/ >Affricates: /ts tS/ > >Vowels: /i E a o M/ (/M/ represents unrounded /u/, and I am thinking of >de-rounding /o/ to /7/...) > > Please note that I am not aiming for the most beautiful >phonology. If I >were, /tS/ would be right out. (Of course, the careful reader will note that >absence of /g/ and of all voiced fricatives, save /v/ :) > I've gone over the IPA chart numerous times, and I cannot >think of what >could be added, subtracted, included, whatever. Possibilities considered and >rejected: Palatization (too much like Russian), velarization (I don't hear >the distinction well enough), pharyngealization (too much like Klingon), >implosives and ejectives and clicks and retroflexes (ridiculous for the >language), etc. > I don't know. Maybe someone will see a pattern in there. >Maybe not. Maybe >I'm just crying over a beer (except I don't drink beer--wine yes, beer no) >and need someone to tell me that my little language will grow up just fine. >:) Comments welcome.
I think it's too early to tell what the *patterns* are, since you just have an inventory of sounds. (As for the absence of voiced fricatives, if you ditch /v/, you can introduce a process of intervocalic voicing for fricatives.) Something else to think about is to limit the distribution of the sounds you do have. For example, you might introduce a phonotactic constraint which would prevent all but /t,d,s,l,L,r/ from appearing in syllable codas (following a vowel within a syllable); that is, forms like /, /, and /.ka.pit./ would be legal, but forms like /, /, and /.ka.tip./ would not be. Or limit syllable codas to fricatives, etc; there are other possibilities. (BTW, this is one way that Quenya does look a lot like Finnish -- there are similar (though not identical) coda restrictions.) Or you could start creating some vocabulary and see what patterns emerge. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga Man deth swa he byth thonne he mot swa he wile. 'A man does as he is when he can do what he wants.' - Old English Proverb