The Unahoban Language
|From:||Jim Grossmann <steven@...>|
|Date:||Monday, September 16, 2002, 11:53|
Apologies in advance for any defects in my criticisms and comments; others
may have made these points already, or made them better than I did, or
avoided my mistakes.
a) I'd use "vowels" instead of "vocals." The term "vocal" could be taken
to mean "sonarant" which includes glides, nasals, and liquids along with the
b) Strong and weak vowels: I like the terminology: "strong" vowels
metaphorically overpower "weak" ones by making them disappear.
c) But what happens when two words in a compound respectively end and begin
with strong vowels? For example, what if the order of roots were "uru +
ilhe"? Do you insert a consonant, or simply permit the sequence of
syllabic vowels, or do something else?
d) As for consonants, what clusters does your language permit, if any? Are
there long (geminate) consonants?
e) Pronunciation: A small point: I assume that you meant "aspirated"
rather than "aspired."
f) I'm not familiar with the terms that you use to describe some of the
I don't know Spanish, alas. I don't know what you mean by "close" vowel
here. Is a close vowel rounded or high?
g) I don't understand your description of "ae." Is it "a" as in English
Vowels possess their quality because of the posture (form) the mouth.
Putting one's mouth into the form of an "a," and producing a voice at the
same time, creates nothing other than the vowel "a". When we produce "e,"
which I assume is like the accented "e" in "Jose'," our mouth is in a
different posture (form) than it is for "a." Hence my confusion.
We can produce something like "e" with our mouths open; in fact we make "e"
with the mouth open when we we shout words, cheer, or sing rock-n-roll. But
the tongue still has to be raised higher for an open-mouthed approximation
of "e" than it is for an "a."
How does one assign gender to an adjective that modifies groups of nouns
that stand, respectively, for masculine beings, feminine beings, and/or
What's the gender of the Unahoban word for "small" in the Unahoban phrase
for "small men and women"? (This isn't a big problem: there's no law
against repeating the adjective. "small-masc. men and small-fem. women.)
TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD
Strictly speaking, perfective is an aspect and imperative is a mood.
SO FAR SO GOOD: I HOPE TO SEE YOU ELABORATE A GREAT DEAL ON SYNTAX,
ESPECIALLY COMPLEX SENTENCES.