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Rubaga Orthog. Part 1

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Sunday, July 21, 2002, 0:18
Hi all,
I've been working on a slightly different approach for my Rubaga pages,
and have something I'd like comments on. I'm starting with the one of
the more straightforward parts, the consonants.
I was going to wait til next week, but it seems there's a lull in the
action, so I'm posting now.
I hope it's readable -- I don't know how to get Outtake Espresso to used
monospace without using HTML.

Jeff J.
  Rubaga Orthography Sketch, Part 1

1. Introduction
Rubaga (or Rubada, Rubadhe, etc.) has a number of dialects, none of
which is "standard". There are also corresponding variations in the
written form. What I've chosen is a more or less central (or neutral)
dialect and orthography.

One thing to note is that, Rubaga having a moderate amount of Maggelity,
the pronunciation of a letters depends on its environment, which may
include preceding and following words.

Another thing to note is that a strictly accurate phonetic description
using X-SAMPA would be unwieldy and hard to read, so I'm compromising
by using the symbols for less common phones where these are simpler,
and by substituting approximately similar phones, and in some cases
merging 2 phones. Specific instances may be noted where appropriate.

2. Alphabet
A version of the Roman alphabet is used in writing Rubaga; any of the
      A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U X Y Z
may occur. However, what I'm presenting here has only
      A B C D E F G H I L M N O P R S T U Z.

    Rubaga doesn't have a separate set of lower-case letters; while
    using upper-case when naming letters, I'll generally use English
    conventions in examples. I'll also use English punctuation, and a
    hyphen with enclitics.

The vowel letters are           I E A O U,
and the consonant letters are   P T C B D G F S H Z M N R L.
There are 3 additional symbols:
      ' (which I'll call the "hard" mark),
      ^ (the "firm" mark), and
      ` (the "soft" mark),
which act somewhat like letters.
A hard or firm mark after a vowel letter is written over that letter,
while a soft mark _before_ a vowel letter is written over that letter;
otherwise, the marks are written as individual letters. In examples,
I'll use acute, circumflex, and grave diacritics for hard, firm, and
soft marks, respectively.

     The terms "soft" and "hard" are probably not what you think, and
     will be explained later.

3. Pronouncing Consonants
First, I need to explain some terminology. These terms can be used in
2 distinct contexts:
    1)  in reading/pronouncing some written text (and also in writing
        down a spoken text, or utterance),
    2)  in deriving a correctly pronounced utterance (or appropriately
        written text) from citation forms.
In this sketch, and the next one, I'll deal with the first context,
starting with indivicual words in isolation.

One way that a consonant can vary is in point of articulation. The
terms I'm using are:
    _fronted_, whenever the consonant letter is followed by I or E,
    _rounded_, whenever the consonant letter is followed by U or O,
    _lowered_, whenever the consonant letter is followed by A,
and _neutral_ otherwise.

Another way that a consonant can vary is in manner of articulation.
The terms are:
    _soft_, when the consonant letter is preceded by the soft mark `,
        a vowel letter, or R,
    _firm_, when the consonant letter is preceded by the firm mark ^,
and _hard_, otherwise.
There is also a 4th category, _phrase-initial_, which duplicates
either the hard or soft form, but isn't relevent until later.

Note that this allows for a lot more variation than actually occurs.
The firm pronunciation applies only to B and G.
The lowered and neutral pronunciation are the same, except for soft C
and soft G.

3.1. Consonant Phones
For reference, these are the phonetic symbols used for consonants.

                    |  stop   fricative nasal  trill  later. aprx.
                    | VL  Vd   VL   Vd    Vd  VL   Vd    Vd    Vd
    bilabial        | p   b    h_O        m
    labiodental     |          f    v
    labiodent.+pal. |          f_j  v_j
    apicodental     | t   d    T    D     n               l
    apicodent.+lab. |          T_w  D_w
    alveolar        |          s    z         r_0  r
    retroflex       |                         r`_0 r`
    palatoalveolar  |          S    Z
    palatovelar  or
    palatal         | c   J\   C    j\    J                     j
    velar           | k   g    x    G     N
    labiovelar      | k_w g_w  x_w  G_w   N_w                   w
    uvular          |          X    R
    glottal         |          h

I'm using the interdental fricatives [T] and [D] here instead of the
much more common * flat dental fricatives, since I don't know the
X-SAMPA for the latter (* more common among Rubaga speakers, that is.
Correspondingly, the alveolar fricatives [s] and [z] tend to be
strongly grooved). The uvular fricatives [X] and [R] are used here
instead of the somewhat more common uvular trills [R\_0] and [R\].

    The voiceless trills [r_0] and [r`_0] are tentative inclusions.

I'm using [h_O] for the voiceless rounded bilabial fricative (I was
using [p\_w] before). The palatal approximant [j] is used for the
palatal lateral [L], and the labiovelar approximant [w] is used for
the labiovelar lateral [L\_w], since these mergers are very common.
Finally, I'm using [w] as a substitute for the bilabial approximant
(or voiced rounded bilabial fricative) [B_o] as well.

    I'm not really sure that the bilabial approximant (or voiced
    rounded bilabial fricative) should have the same phonetic symbol
    as the labiovelar lateral, but I'm also not sure that [B_o] is the
    correct notation for the former (perhaps [B_O] or [w_o] ?).

3.2. Consonant Mapping
And now I can show how the consonant letters map to the consonant
phones. The column sub-headers are F=fronted, R=Rounded, L=Lowered,
and N=Neutral. The row headers are the letters. The entries are
phonetic symbols.

       | Hard                 Firm             Soft
       | F (1)  R (2)  L/N    F    R    L/N    F      R      L   N
     P | pj (3) pw (3) p (3)
     T | t_S    tw     t                              T_w    T   T
     C | c      k_w    k                              x_w    X   x
     B | bj     bw     b      v_j  w    v      v_j    w      v   v
     D | d_Z    dw     d                              D_w    D   D
     G | J\     g_w    g           N_w  N      j\     G_w    R   G
     F | f_j    h_O    f                              h_O    f   f
     S | S      sw (3) s (3)                   S
     H |                                       C             h
     Z | Z      zw (3) z (3)                   Z
     M | mj (3) mw (3) m (3)
     N | J  (3) nw (3) n (3)
(6)  R | rj     r`w    r`                      rj (1) r`w(2) r`  r`
     L | lj     lw     l                       j  (4) w  (5) l   l
    1.  but the [j] disappears before [i], [I], and [e]
 what about between [r] and [E]?
    2.  but the [w] disappears before [u], [U], and [o]
 what about between [r] and [O]?
    3.  written as if soft (i.e. no hard mark)
    4.  but [l] before [i], [I], [e], and sometimes [E]
    5.  but [l] before [u], [U], [o], and sometimes [O]
    6.  Some speakers use [rj\] for [rj] and [r`G_w] for [r`w], but
        this is indicated by writing RG.

You'll observe that each consonant phone, except for [w] and [j], can
be written only with 1 specific letter.

3.3. Consonant Clusters
The possible syllabic onset clusters are the consonant + [j] or [w]
given in the table above. A consonant + L or R also forms a cluster
*when not preceded by a vowel letter*.

3.4. Special Rules
A vowel + hard mark + R may be pronounced either as long vowel + R or
as vowel + geminate R. The sequence HR is pronounced as a geminate
voiceless trill ([r_0:] or [r`_0:]).

Where an instance of a word ends in soft mark + E or O + consonant,
the variation in point of articulation of the final consonant is
specified by the E or O.


JS Bangs <jaspax@...>