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If Tech was written in Arabic script... (long post)

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Friday, May 3, 2002, 1:17
The Elves of Techia still don't have their own native script yet. :(

So I'm using Arabic and Syriac for the time being, since Tech is after all a
highly distorted Semitic language in a lot of ways. Now if you're not
familiar with the Arabic consonantal script, this post may confuse you a
bit, but there's lots of places on the web to learn the |abjad|. It's in my
opinion the most fluid and elegant system of writing in the world, and I am
neither a native Arabic speaker nor a Muslim.

So here are the tentative conventions to be used for Tech, and I also use
additional characters found in Persian, plus a letter for /v/ used in French
and English loanwords into Arabic. All values are given in X-SAMPA.

This could be considered a formal proposal for Tech in Arabic script, as
well as the basic phonology.

1) alef /?/ represents the glottal stop, and it also represents the low long
vowels: /a:/, /E:/, /O:/ and /@:/ (< *a@, *E@, *O@, *@@) as well as the
falling diphthongs /i@/, /u@/. A hamzeh is written above or below alef when
it is to indicate a glottal stop and not a vowel lenghtener. A maddeh is
written above to indicate an initial glottal stop + low long vowel (a double
alef in other words). The wasleh indicates an elided initial glottal stop
(no break between words).

2) beh /b/. Under lenition, becomes veh /v/ below.

3) peh /p/, a Persian addition. Under lenition, becomes /f/ below. The rare
ejective /p_>/ is the second value; it lenites to an implosive /b_</.

4) teh marbuteh (heh with two dots above): the feminine suffix, with the
value zero, /h/, /t/ or /T/ depending on the initial of the next word. The
preceding vowel can be any unstressed short vowel (/@/, /I/ or /U/).

5) teh /t/. Under lenition, becomes theh /T/ below.

6) theh /T/. Lenition of /t/ above.

7) jeem /dZ/. Under lenition, becomes zhay /Z/ below.

8) cheem /tS/. Under lenition, becomes sheen /S/ below. Non-ejective.

9) hah /X\/ (voiceless pharyngeal fricative).

10) khah. Has two phonemic values: /x/ (velar), the lenition of /k/ below,
and /q/, /qX/ or /X/ (uvular). Three dots over the letter will most likely
indicate the velar form.

11) daal /d/. Lenited form below is /D/.

12) dhaal /D/. Lenited form of /d/ above.

13) reh /r/. Two values: the normal trilled /r/, and the retroflex flap
/r`/, which comes from Nostratic /r'/.

14) zay. In Tech, the value is /dz/ which lenites to /z/.

15) zhay. The lenited form of /dZ/ above; also found in loans mainly from
French and English.

16) seen /s/.

17) sheen /S/, but it has a second value /K/ or /tK/ (the voiceless lateral
fricative/affricate). Don't know how I'm to mark the lateral form.

18) saad. Its Tech value is /ts_>/ (alveolar sibilant ejective), which
lenites to a voiced implosive /dz_</. In Arabic words, it's a pharyngealized

19) daad. Its Tech value is /tK_>/ (alveolar lateral ejective), which
lenites to a voiced implosive /dl_</. In Arabic words, it's a pharyngealized

20) taa. Its Tech value is /t_>/ (dental ejective), which lenites to a
voiced implosive /d_</. In Arabic words, it's a pharyngealized /d~/.

21) zaa. Its Tech value is /tS_>/ (postalveolar ejective), which lenites to
a voiced implosive /dZ_</. In Arabic words, it's a pharyngealized /D~/.

Note: The preceding four consonants are always pronounced with their Arabic
values in the Ma`ou dialect, which is always written in Arabic script.

22) `ayn /?\/ (voiced pharyngeal fricative).

23) ghayn. Has two values in Tech: a voiced velar fricative /G/ (lenition of
/g/ below), and a voiced uvular stop/affricate/fricative: /G/\/, /G\R/ or
/R/. Three dots above the letter may mark the former.

24) feh /f/, lenition of /p/ above, and found in many loans from Arabic,
French and English.

25) veh /v/, lenition of /b/ above, and found in many loans from French and

26) qaaf. Has two values, a velar ejective /k_>/ and a uvular ejective
/q_>/. Both lenite to voiced implosives, /g_</ and /G\_</.

27) kaaf /k/. Lenites to /x/ above.

28) gaaf /g/. Lenites to /G/ above.

29) laam /l/. Has two values: the dental lateral /l/ (fricative or
approximant) and its retroflex equivalent /l`/. The allophone of a velar
lateral, [5], occurs in various situations.

30) meem /m/. Has an allophone of [F] (labiodental nasal) before /f/ and /v/
and when lenited.

31) noon. Has two values: dental /n/ and retroflex /n`/. The palatal nasal
[J] and velar nasal [N] also exist, but usually as allophones, since the
phonemic /N/ is rare (and indicated by a digraph noon-gaaf).

32) heh /h/. May have a voiced allophone [h\].
33) waaw /w/, also marks long /o:/ and /u:/ and the diphthongs /au/, /@u/,
/eu/ and /iu/.

34) alif maqsureh (dotless final yeh). Has the value of a final /E:/ and is
found in Greek loans ending in eta and Arabic loans as well.

35) yeh /y/, also marks long /i:/ and /e:/ and the diphthongs /ai/, /@i/,
/oi/ and /ui/.

The vowel marks:

1) fatha = /a/ and /@/. Under umlaut, /a/ can become /{/ (fronting) or /Q/

2) damma = /o/ and /u/; both can be fronted by umlaut to /2/ and /y/.

3) kasra = /e/ and /i/; both can be backed by umlaut to /7/ and /M/.

4) sukun = no vowel, or an ultrashort ("schwa") vowel of some sort. The
following consonant is not lenited.

5) shaddah = doubles (fortifies) the consonant, cancelling automatic medial

6) fathatan, dammatan, kasratan (doubled vowel markers) indicates final
nasal vowels /a~/, /o~/ and /u~/. Found in certain noun cases and adverbial
forms as well as some Arabic loans: /marX\@ba~/ "hello, welcome".

The numerals are the Indo-Arabic forms as used by Arabic speakers; the
special forms used in Persian and Urdu are not used. This creates a bit of
confusion as Tech uses base-20 expressions for numbers from 20-99 (as Welsh
or Georgian does).

The question mark is reversed and the comma is inverted, as in Arabic.

*whew* End of proposal. Probably will be changed in the future.



Shreyas Sampat <shreyas@...>