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Re: CHAT: a conlang of my very own :) (was: Re: unsubscribing)

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Sunday, June 2, 2002, 19:45
En réponse à Stephen DeGrace <stevedegrace@...>:

> > True true... :P You know, for my English orthography, > I couldn't get one that satisfied me in enough > particulars _until_ I started adding deliberately > perverse or "non-sensible" features :). >
Hehe, I remember when I was webifying the grammar of Reman, I found the orthography much too boring (even more phonemic than Spanish is, except that it doesn't mark stress :)) ), and decided to twick it up a bit. I just added the grave accent, which mostly serves to disambiguate homophones (like |ì| the definite article and |i| meaning "he, him", or |è| meaning "is" and |e| meaning "she, her") and when used is always put on the stressed vowel of polysyllables, and added |q|, which unlike other Romance languages that have it is not always followed by |u| :)) . It is used rarely, mostly with function words and numbers that had QU in Latin (like |qi|: who :)) ).
> > French is interesting to me, tho, in that at least the > way I was taught to speak it :P, some sounds, like > plural endings, may or may not be pronounced, but it > makes better sense to represent them in spelling with > a rule as to when you do and don't pronounce them than > to require you to represent them when you're supposed > to say them and pack them away when you're not, at > least _I_ think.
Hehe, if you've read my "defense" of the French orthography, you must know that it's exactly my position on this problem :)) .
> > I think there may be a real difference between > languages in how well suited they are for more > phonemic representation, and that a conlang could be > designed to try and explore the point (as no doubt > many do already, deliberately or otherwise). The > buggerdly thing about it is that I have the feeling > that you'd almost really need to have the language > _first_ and design the orthography _after_ to really > enjoy the full effect, which is kinda hard to do... :P >
I try to do it a bit by first writing the language with the IPA only, but I get tired very fast and imagine an orthography quite soon :)) .
> > Ya, that's what I was thinking. There's nothing > _invalid_ about these features in a language at all, > and they don't seem to make people not able to speak > it :P, but they make, in my opinion, purely phonemic > representation possible (obviously!!) but less > desirable in some respects than a system that embodies > something about the language's "way of thinking about > itself".
I agree heartily.
> > Well, there's no question in my mind that Gaelic and > French have hideous orthographies that could be > improved ::ducks:: ;).
Well, I personally find the Gaelic orthography extremely aesthetic :)) . So in my opinion any improvement would more likely destroy this aesthetics that it has found and is not desirable. I personally decided not to write French according to what the last orthographic reform asks on grounds of aethetics too: the main result of this reform is to get rid of many circumflex accents, a point with which I completely disagree!! I find the circumflex accent so nice, I will never stop using it! :)) .
> > Thank you ::bows:: ;) It's interesting you picked up > on that, because that was exactly what was in my mind > when I came up with this system. Its predecessor used > more "latinate"-looking diacriticed letter, and on the > whole didn't fit my artisitc sense of the language's > pseudo-logic the way I wanted it to :P. Plus, the > Scandinavian-lloking letters are cool :). >
Yep! Though until now the nicest-looking Latin derived alphabet I found is the Uncial form used for Gaelic. It's just so nice that I derived the Maggel alphabet from it, adding features I like from Arabic, i.e. the ligatures and the fact that some letters connect to the next one, some don't (and some even forbid a connection when there could be one :)) ).
> > > > And now it looks like Old Dutch! I like it even more > :))) . > > Ploes, it haez dhe aedvaentaej oev byying moec yzyyr > tu toeyp :P. Dhe tu skripts ar aektyuaely kloss > relaetivs, aldho dhe daygraefikael verzhoen myutaated > aewaay froem byying ae woen-tu-woen traenzlitoeraaxoen > oev dhe "manograefikael" vrzhoen :). >
Hehe, it's easier to me to read this form than the "manograefikael" one :)) . Probably the fact that I'm surrounded with Dutch anyway :)) .
> > could I otherwise arrive at such atrocities as > |ueisbfi| ['eZvI]: > > beautiful?!! :)))) (and note that it is an example > of perfectly regular > > orthography!!!!! :)) Exercise: try to parse this > example and cut the written > > word into polygraphs - to help you, note that this > word is composed only of > > digraphs and single letters - that correspond to the > different spoken phones. > > Note that there is no letter belonging to two > digraphs at the same time. But > > there is another trick :)) ) > > Huh. Dunno what the ' is - stress on the first > syllable? what?... I'll pretend that since I don't > know what it is it can't be important and ignore it.
You were right anyway :)) . I use mostly X-SAMPA, but use the common modifications: /&/ for ae-ligature, /'/ for primary stress and /,/ for secondary stress.
> ;) Digraphs and single letters, huh... okay, hmm, how > about that the <is> makes the [Z], the bf makes the > [v] (those kinda make sense :) ), the terminal <i> > makes the [I], this leaves <ue> for the ['e] bit, > which the locals might call a "silent u" - maybe it > gets pronounced sometimes <g>. Or maybe the u is > keeping the e from getting pronounced like something > other than [e], maybe [E] without the u. > > How'd I do? :) >
Hehe, I had said there was a trick, and you fell in the trap :)) . But I must admit the trick is so awful that it was nearly unfair not to give you more indications :)) . So we have |ueisbfi| for ['eZvI]. You were right for |ue|. It's a digraph which most often (i.e. unless an irregularity makes things difficult :)) ) is to be read [e]. |e| alone has a lot of pronunciations, but none is regularly [e] (it can be [E], [@], [eI], [i], unpronounced at the end of a word, but not [e]). You were also right for |i| being pronounced [I]. It's a normal pronunciation of unstressed |i|. But as I expected you stumbled upon the consonants :)) . OK, let's not make you wait longer. It's actually |sb| which is [Z] and |if| which is [v]. Now you don't understand anymore. The order of letters was |isbf|, not *|sbif|! Indeed, and I didn't make a typo. The point is that |i| in front of a consonant is often used silently as a mark to change the value of that consonant (it's often a change in voice, like |f|: [f] becomes |if|: [v], but not always, like |l|: [l] becomes |il|: [r] :)) ). But the peculiarity of this |i| is that in order not to be read as a full vowel, it is often put on the front of consonant clusters, even if the letter it actually modifies is the last one of the cluster!! :)) . So here the digraph |if| was cut in two to leave place for |sb| :)) . I admit it was tricky, especially since |is| for [Z] and |bf| for [v] kind of make sense indeed :)) . But |is| is normally simply [z], and |bf| is not a possible digraph (AFAIK :)) . Don't be sad of making this mistake. As I told you, the othography of Maggel is *not* supposed to make sense! :)) (indeed, the bit I told you about |i| being moved in order not to be mistaken for a full vowel is not even always followed. For instance |himidu| is pronounced ['CE~mptU], the [t] part being represented by |id|, which is *not* separated despite the fact that it makes cluster with the previous |m| - the [p] appearing in the pronunciation is purely phonetic and due to the meeting between [m] and [t] -. I told you this orthography elevated irregularity to the rank of an art :)) ) Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>