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Re: new Unnamed Conlang

From:Tamas Racsko <tracsko@...>
Date:Monday, September 20, 2004, 16:21
On 19 Sep 2004 Andreas Johansson <andjo@FRE...> wrote:

> I believe I've indicated a lack of faith in the utility of such > specifications at all.
In my interpretation, this issue is about to help Rodlox to find a correct phonetical representation for his/her specifications. Unfortunately, we got involved with each other's argumentation instead.
> The question, however, was whether the voiceless uvular fricative > occurs in more well-known languages, which it certainly does.
For me, this is not exactly the question. The question is what extent of the populace is aware of a given phonetical characteristic. In this respect, some features of well-known languages can be less evident than other features of less-known languages.
> Some books give [X] as the value of /x/ after back vowels in > Modern Standard High German
I do not bring into question of your information of standard High German [X], but popular works as Duden's Aussprachewörterbuch do not mention this feature. My Ausprachewörterbuch (3rd edition, 1990) conveys |ach!| as [ax] and not [aX] despite of the fact that it gives detailed allophone inventory for other phonemes, e.g. enumerates four representations of syllable-initial /r/. Therefore a German example for [X] could be informative of experts of High German phonology, but it could be misleading for others, e.g. for those who are informed from Duden.
> I'll have it noted that X-SAMPA thinks that [J\] is a modified > 'j'. The IPA symbol also seems to be based on 'j'.
X-SAMPA thinks also that [J] is a modified 'j': in this respect 'j' means simply any palatal phoneme and the form of 'j' reflects their frequency (j > J > j\ > J\). But in Rodlox's notation this feature is expressed already by modifying letter |y|. Therefore the first, base letter reflects rather other phonetical characteristics. (As for IPA, voiceless pair of [J\] is a simple Latin letter [c] and it has no tight connection with it phonetical value. Both this assignment and [J\] seems to be rather odds and ends then a systematic one. Moreover, Unicode chart says about [J\]: "also archaic phonetic for palatoalveolar (sic!) affricate 02A4 [dZ]", i.e. this letter was invented originally for [dZ].)
> No, but orthographic devices that are not perfectly systematic are > often approximately so. It would a priori be unsurprising if all > all digraphs in -y denoted palatals.
The only reason for |-y| = palatal assigment is Rodlox's notation |jy| for [J\]. On the contrary you seemed to be scheptic about the existence of "Eastern European" palatal fricatives. My proposal for Rodlox -- since he/she gave no exact phonetical assigments -- is that |-y| should mean prepalatal (i.e. alveolopalatal) locus, that is |sy| = /s\/, |zy| = /z\/. This makes possible also the existence of true palatal "allophones" [C], [j\]. (Rodlox's inventory lacks grapheme for [j], it would be a quite extraordinary system which has phoneme /j\/ but /j/ is missing. This can be another counter-argument against |zy| = /j\/.) For the reasons I outlined in my previous postings, and for the symmetry of the orthography, I propose |jy| as /dz\/ (with a possible allophonic representation [J\j\]). This still allows specification >>jy (like "DJoser" in Ancient Egyptian)<< and the orthography remains systematic. (The systematic solution for /J\/ would be rather |dy| even if |-y| would be treated as true palatal marker.)
> Rodlox, however, said it was like in EEan languages when > describing the orthograpy, which certainly _suggests_ he believes > some or other EEan language uses them in the same way.
Rodlox acknowledged my preconception that this was only an Eastern Europish impression: "well...I thought I had seen an Eastern European name written like that...somewhere." My efforts aimed to establish a system that is really Eastern European and could have graphemes like |sy|, |zy|, |jy| (if its orthography would be re-designed). IMHO there are only two possible Eastern European prototypes: 1. Slavic languages having (nearly) full _palatalized_ series, like e.g. Russian, Bulgarian. In these systems, |sy| would be [s'], |zy| would be [z'] and |jy| would be [d'] (if we insist on plosive representation, or [dZ'] if not). 2. On the contrary the above languages have near full palatalized series. The ones with defective series have either palatals or prepalatals. And there are no languages even of this type, where palatal fricatives exist but palatal nasal is missing. However, alveolopalatal fricatives may occur in themselves, cf. Chinese. To return to Eastern Europe, we can find languages where palatal sibillants are realized prepalatally, e.g. Polish. But in Polish common Western Slavic [J\] < [d'] is realized also as a prepalatal affricate [dz\]. Moreover, in Polish (pre)palatals are conveyed often (before vowels to be exact) as digraphs, however their second element is |i|. But if we would re-design the system with |y| instead of |i|, we would get Rodlox-style |syano| [s\anO] 'hay', |zyemya| [z\em'a] 'earth' (original spellings: |siano|, |ziemia|). Therefore I think the best model in this field for Rodlox's system is a variation of Polish where the palatals were lost and the prepalatals retained (except unvoiced [ts\]).
> I originally asked specifically about _Latin_ orthographies, but > good to know anyway.
I do not want to contradict you but I do not remember explicit narrowing for Latin script. After browsing postings I found still general questions as e.g. 18/09: "Since you appear to be familiar with EEan languages, do you know any that uses the digraphs 'sy' and 'zy'?" I did not exlude Romanizations as for myself because Rodlox's source for |sy| and |zy| could be a transcribed Cyrillic text. But to provide you an example from a Latin orthography, I present Uzbek translation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights at <>. Here you can found a word |xususyii|.


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>