Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

4 phonemes, was: Another phonological extreme

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Saturday, July 22, 2000, 12:12
There is'nt a limit for perfection... or is there?

However it be, I'm working on a 4-phoneme system.

It seemed surprisingly simple and easy at first.

Deep level -

C: k n
V: V1, V2 (probably _a_, _i_)

Syllable structure: (k/n)V(n)

Then various vowel combinations contract to produce combinations /wV/
and /jV/. Then the consonants and glides develop as follows:

kw /p/
kj /t/
k /k/

nw /m/
nj /n/
n /l/

w /v/
j /s/

The result is:

Surface level -

C: /p t k m n l v s/
V: probably /a i u @/

The vowel contraction scheme might be something like the following:

V1V1 /ji/
V1V2 /ja/
V2V1 /wi/
V2V2 /wa/

_in_ (+ C/#) /@/
_an_ (+ C/#) /u/

However, there is a problem with _nj_ and _nw_. I have to either
prohibit some surface vowels before /s/ and /v/ (which IMO has no
justification in terms of the surface system as such), or introduce
more complex rules about syllabification (like _Vn.jV_ not equal to
_V.njV_). I don't like the latter alternative either, since it
resembles introducing a deep-level glottal stop.

I still feel that some simple trick is possible that will solve
this problem... any suggestions?