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Math, another auxlang, hadwan numbers & stress, and regional English

From:Muke Tever <alrivera@...>
Date:Monday, April 2, 2001, 6:44
Oh, and here, a question to begin with, in case yall get lost halfway

What are the tendencies of sound change in bi- or otherwise multi-lingual
communities?   I mean, say, do they tend to undergo the same changes
together, or do they evolve independently?  Might this depend on the
prestige level of one of the languages?  Etc.?

> From: Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...> > Subject: Re: Verb order in Montreiano > > (Conlangs as educational impetus toward learning real-life langs so you > can understand where the conlangs are coming from! Too bad I'm not going > into foreign-language education or I could use conlang stuff. I'm at a > loss as to how one to incorporate conlangs into math classes.)
This reminds me of something I read in a book on an auxlang (Ehmayghee chah, I believe it is) I got from yon library. (This appears on the back cover. The whole setup looks like something out of the fifties, but it's dated 1992...) "The world adopted the ten arabic numerals and the decimal system but neglected to standardize the names of the numbers. Now" (glyphs for the name of the language are here) "corrects this omission in such a neat and elegant manner that its numerical nomenclature should be universally adopted at once. It is so simple and logical that one wonders why it hasn't been done before! Only fourteen phonemes are needed to cover the entire gamut of numbers. Ten distinct vowels, three consonants and _soo_ for the decimal point. The units begin with G, decades with J, and higher orders with Z. The ten vowels are (in order) ay, ee, eye, aw, ow. ah, eh, ih, a (as in cat) and oh. Thus, in its entirety -- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Gay Ghee Guy Gaw Gow Gah Geh Gih Ga(t) Goh 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Jay Jhee Jigh Jaw Jow Jah Jeh Jih Ja(t) Jo 1000 Million Billion Trillion (in order by 1,000s) [infinity sign] Zay Zee Zigh Zaw Zow Zah Zeh Zih Za(t) Zo" Now, doesn't that make you just want to run out and do your own conlang's math system better? He says elsewhere that the number system is so great, that especially people who work with "foreign telephone operators" would find it very useful; this leads me to believe he is from another planet, where they have magic lossless phones. (Three times at least every day I have to deal with people calling the lab and asking for '*garble*cia?' or somesuch...) [The lang's one of those a priori languages of the 'philosophical' variety where phonemes do obscure categorizations. Also presumably there's supposed to be a tape with the book, but not here, and with the wonderfully phonetic spellings like those above I deduce it's impossible to pronounce. Especially with comments like how "it pays no attention to other niceties such as euphony". It has some interesting-looking illustrations of one-handed input devices in the back, though...</OTcriticism>] Okay, Hadwan numbers: 1 winos /wInUs/ 2 zowô /dzUwu:/ 3 straiis /strajIs/ 4 kicôr /kItsu:r/ 5 fink /fINk/ 6 hwis /xwIs/ 7 hifcen /hIftsEn/ 8 oscô /Ustsu:/ (or possibly ossô / 9 niwin /nIwIn/ 10 zisen /dzIsEn/ Since general morphology is as yet undeveloped, I have no way yet to make things like ordinals or whatever. 'Ll have to work on it.
> But seeing this made me want to ask: In what order do people like to > settle on grammatical features (whether or not said features are later > revised)? I confess I've gone roughly from _Describing Morphosyntax_ and > Rosenfeld's Language Construction Kit: deciding on > agglutinating/isolating/whatever, basic word order, deciding whether > adjectives are verblike or nounlike or both or neither, etc. (Which is > why I double-took when I saw your message, because word order is > something I decide on really early.) But my eyes have been opened to the > possibility of other ways of doing things. :-) Enlighten me?
I personally generally discover these things as I need them. That is, I don't set out to fix all the little points of grammar (as I do, and probably shouldn't, with vocabulary, say) but rather I discover rules as the language's tendencies dictate. Er, yeah.
> From: Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...> > Subject: Re: european roots, etc. > > > Possibly an average of dialects. > > Of course, they can't get everyone's right. AHD4's pronunciation key > > <>, frex, marks the vowel in
> > with one sign, 'pot' with another sign, and the vowel in 'caught, paw,
> > h[o]rrid, hoarse' with another. But for myself I have one vowel in
> > pot, caught, paw', and another in 'for, horrid, hoarse'. > > I have one in "father, pot, caught," a slightly lower vowel in "paw," and > another in "for, horrid, hoarse."
I have a *longer* vowel in 'paw', but I don't set out to produce any qualitatively different vowel in 'paw' (or 'pawed') than in 'pot'.
> 'Sokay, it's enlightening. I wish American English dictionaries would > use the IPA (now that I've learned most of the symbols I run across > frequently). I've never figured out where they get their various systems.
It's probably harder for them to invent their American phonemic systems than to IPAize anything. The Oxford English Dictionary uses the IPA, FWIW.
> From: Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...> > Subject: Re: Blandness (was: Uusisuom's influences) > > > I finally concluded that the feature that made the monologue > > so boring was the unvarying rhythm. Polish has uniform penultimate > > stress, and (at least in this case) so-called "syllable-timed" rhythm. > > Spanish, of which I hear a good deal more than Polish, is likewise > > syllable-timed, but the location of the stress does vary considerably. > > Er...where can I find a definition of "syllable-timed" rhythm?
Syllable-timed basically means that syllables are (basically) the same length. The opposite is 'stress-timed', like English, where stressed syllables are, in addition to merely being stressed, are also longer than unstressed ones. This is one reason why English people speaking Spanish words can sound funny even if they have all the actual phonemes right. Or vice versa. One of our teachers (from Mexico, I think) was talking about a ['dO.n@t], and had trouble getting understood until someone picked it up ('donut')... and he's like "that's what I said, you want I should say ['dO::::w.n@t]?"
> I had pitch-accent perfectly regular in Chevraqis but the regularity > started bothering me and I think I may well switch to irregular accents > (marked somehow for ease). Or something. :-) > > How have other people handled stress/accent?
With great evil. >:) Nah, stress in Hadwan is predictable for the most part. I don't know quite _how_ to vocalize the rules for it yet, but they're there and they're pretty regular. ER, okay, well, the 'generic' stress on a word is placed on the last syllable of the root, or on the first suffix. However, most suffixes cause the stress to fall towards them *anyway*, and in some words the stress is 'fixed', which basically means the stress fell and doesn't have an opportunity in its whole declension to go back. Foreign stress rules always confuse me, though. I'm used to assigning Latinate stress to unfamiliar words, which gets you basically nowhere reading, oh, Greek or Russian or pretty much anything that isn't Romance itself. I had a question, and I forgot it.
> From: "Scott W. Hlad" <scott@...> > Subject: Re: General American (was "y" and "r" (Uusisuom)) > > As the pronounciations vary so widely when does it cease to be a > pronounciation or accent issue and become a dialectical issue. My > sister-in-law (from Tennessee) will routinely say that she is "fixin' to > make supper," whereas I would say "I'm just about to make supper." > > Could American have dialects under the dillusions of accentation? If I'm
> to lunch here, do please pass the ketchup (or is it catsup?).
I think the majority of differences is accent, and after accent regional word choices, but even there, usually the alternate word is in the other's lexicon anyway. (Cf. the great amazing dancing 'what to call the soft drink' problem, where some say 'pop' and some say 'coke' and some say 'soda' and some, and some....) Of course this is all IME... people (around here, anyway) seem to be more likely to notice someone's odd pronunciation of <oil> than their grammatical constructs...
> From: Frank George Valoczy <valoczy@...> > Subject: Re: General American (was "y" and "r" (Uusisuom)) > > > My vocabulary is more confused than anything else, but I run afoul of > > things like soda vs. pop, pail vs. bucket, and cringe with my sister "to > > nuke [food item X]," apparently meaning "to microwave"; I grant that she > > and I have become somewhat blasé about the North Korean nuclear threat
> > South Korea (where most of our relatives live), but.... > > that's interesting. I also have such word preferences, like I prefer pop > over soda, bucket over pail, etc. As for nuking something, I generally say > 'take [food item X] to Chernobyl...'
Well, personally I can't call it 'pop' at all. In fact usually I just say 'drink', although I guess if pressed I'd call it by name, or by 'soda' in the generic. <Nuke [food X]> is familiar but not an everyday term compared to 'microwave'.
> From: Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> > Subject: Re: "y" and "r" > > Yoon Ha Lee wrote: > > <laugh> I went through a similar phase in spelling!...driving many of
> > email and snail penpals nuts in the process. But "grey" has always > > looked nicer to me than "gray," > > I believe both spellings are considered accepted in American English. I > tend to use both spellings more-or-less randomly.
I think I use 'gray' as a color and 'grey' for everything else (say, in names, titles, metaphors...). When I'm feeling whimsical I type 'græy'...
> From: Daniel44 <Daniel44@...> > Subject: Re: Uusisuom's influences > > I think there is a HUGE difference between 'y' and 'u' and indeed between > the 'oo' in 'boot' and 'foot'. It's a question of pronouncing these words > correctly.
You see a difference, and I see a difference, because our native language has a phonemic distinction between them. (Minimal pair, I say, 'soot' and 'suit', or 'put' and 'poot'.) However, on a purely phonetic basis _they're not that far apart from each other._ For example, one of my imaginary native Hadwan speakers might have trouble with your 'y' and 'u', [u] and [U] being allophones for him. *Muke! --


Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>