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HELP: Hiksi Tone Spelling--ENTER AND WIN!!

From:JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 17, 2002, 23:24
OK, friends on conlang.  I've given up.  After numerous proposed and
abandoned systems, I am out of ideas for how to indicate tones in the
Hiksi romanization (the native syllabary being a different, simpler
matter).  So I've decided to open it up to the rest of you.  I'm going to
explain the Hiksilipsi tone system briefly, and I invite anyone to give
suggestions on how it could be possibly crammed into the 26-odd characters
of the Latin alphabet. The winner will receive my eternal gratefulness and
kudos on my website.

Here's the goods (this has been posted with little change before):

There are six tones in Hiksi, plus a vowel length distinction that's
relevant.  For short vowels there is a simple two-way distinction: High
tone v. low tone.  For long vowels all six tones come into play:

Low (22)
Rising (24)
Mid (33)
High (55)
High-falling (453)
Low-falling (231)

(The numbers in parentheses indicate the general shape of the tone
contours on a 5-point scale)

All words contain a tone break, before which are "upper" tones and after
which are "lower" tones.  Various morphological processes will move the
tone break and shift the tones from lower to upper, according to these

Short Low     > Hi
Long Low      > Rising
     Mid      > High
     Low-fall > Hi-fall

Criteria for entries:

The ultimate arbiter is my own aesthetic judgement, but elegance counts
for a lot.  Diacritics, silent letters, and just about anything else is
permissible except bringing in characters from other alphabets.  Have fun!

Jesse S. Bangs

"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are
perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in
frightful danger of seeing it for the first time."
--G.K. Chesterton


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Matthew Kehrt <matrix14@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>