Re: non-phonetic language (was: Re: hello)
|From:||Estel Telcontar <estel_telcontar@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, September 18, 2003, 0:17|
Oops! I sent this just to Heather by accident, but I meant to send it
to the whole list.
--- Heather Fleming ha tera a:
> I've had two suggestions of a "musical notation" type system. I
> suppose in theory it could work, but it would be very awkward to use,
> as while I'm not sure exactly what their minimum threshold for
> distinguishing pitches is (the species being my friend's, although
> I'm helping work out the conlang), but they go considerably beyond
> tones, semi-tones, and even quarter-tones. I think an eighth of a
> tone is probably enough to make a distinction. Plus, the vocal range
> is quite wide, probably at least four to five octaves. When you
> consider that most of those individual pitches have semantic or
> function content (barring a certain range used for echolocation), it
> gets pretty unwieldy! It might have possibilities though.
Hmmm. Now I'm interested in this problem. I'm going to see if I can
sketch a possibility, just for the challenge of it, even though you've
indicated that a writing system isn't needed by your friend's
If we use eighth tones, that means 48 notes per octave
If we use 5 octaves, that means a total of 240 notes.
Having 240 symbols is not impossible - it's in the size range of some
syllabaries, I believe - but it is a bit of a memory load.
Then, let's say there can be up to 6 notes at a time.
I've thought of 3 possibilites:
1. Have a symbol for each note, and stack (or cluster) the symbols for
all the notes that are produced at one time.
2. To reduce the number of symbols: have symbols for the 48 different
notes of an octave, and distinguish them by prefixing an octave tag to
each one. Have a staff-like set of 5 lines. If 6 notes are at the
same time, the top one goes in the space above the top line, the
second-highest one goes between the top line and the next one down, and
3. Again, use 48 symbols for the subdivisions of an octave. In this
system, there is a four-line staff. Notes in the top octave go above
the top line, notes in the second-highest octave go between the top two
lines, and so on. If there are multiple notes in the same octave, they
are written close together, sequentially in the same space between the
lines. Enough space is left between one group of notes and the next
group of notes that it's clear which group of notes each symbol is
Personally, I like the second option best.
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