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Unrealistically unbalanced phonologies

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Thursday, January 11, 2007, 3:50
Lars Finsen wrote:

> It's interesting that we all want our words to feel right. Words are > surely not merely arbitrary symbols but shaped by something inside us, a > process that acts when a language is developing too. I have some > Urianian words developed from IE with regular shifts, but which I don't > like. I think a real population of speakers would have exchanged them. I > am thinking to put in some more Gaajan substrate words in their place. > Anyhow the question is: Is this right-feeling only related to shape, or > do we have an undiscovered inherent semantism inside us, and will we be > able to express *everything* once we discover it?
It's more than just that -- a word can be "right" for one language but less "right" (even "wrong") for a different one. Each language has a style that has to be followed, even if it's not explicitly defined. Many Jarda words don't fit well into Minza, and I've been replacing them with Nimrína words. A couple of Tiki words are even starting to make their way into Minza (the katamari language -- it rolls up anything it can catch). Other Jarda words are being modified to sound more Minza-like. But the words I've been replacing (some from Jarda, even some from Lindiga which was the main basis for early Minza) were right at home in their original langs. The one case where I've been successful in using random numbers to influence vocabulary is Zharranh. There I made all the individual words by hand, but randomly assigned meanings to them. Jaghri was also somewhat successful, but the role of random numbers was more limited in that language (only assigning the initial letter and placing it in alphabetical order within a small range).