Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Vowel length near-minimal pairs in Tirelat

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 3:40
I've been looking through the Tirelat vocabulary (which is still in a
bit of a disorganized state) and making note of the patterns of long and
short vowels. Some of these may be a matter of documentation errors as
the language underwent quite a few changes, but others seem to be correct.

Short: ċiki "heel", fiki "thread", zikki "grateful"
Long: iiki "young", ziiki "to arrive"

Short: dev "rabbit", žev "fruit"
Long: reev "world"

Short: ċil "noun", nil "bird", sil "page"
Long: žiil "fox"

Short: ċam "phrase", pam "mouth"
Long: faam "clover", fraam "banana"

Short: giri "turn", miri "great", škiri "meerkat"
Long: viiri "sugar glider", žiiri "pretty"

Short: ŕan "chin", xtan "salt"
Long: daan "lion", saan "foot"

Short: lom "shadow"
Long: łoom "flower", room "mountain"

And at least one apparently genuine minimal pair!

Short: zimi "pie"
Long: ziimi "green"

A couple of other likely minimal pairs exist, involving words originally
borrowed from Jarda (e.g., kiim "apple" vs. kim "three").

So it looks like vowel length (and not stress) is distinctive. But
there's a complication: an unwritten schwa sound in some words, which is
always unstressed. E.g.:

dbaxa /d@'baxa/ "to resist" (not /'d@baxa/)
knagi /k@'nagi/ "brass" (not /'k@nagi/)
tezn /'tEz@n/ "transparent plastic ball for gerbils" (not /tE'z@n/)
zgaki /z@'gaki/ "similar" (not /'z@gaki/)


ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>