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From:Marcus Smith <smithma@...>
Date:Saturday, April 22, 2000, 4:06
This is the phonology for the conlang I've been slowly developing (or at
least it's the most recent incarnation).


High: i, y, u
Low:  e, a, o

/y/ is unround, high, central (IPA barred-I), the rest as in Spanish.  They
may all occur long or short, and there are no diphthongs.  I only gave
high/low distinction because I have not discovered any rules that operate
on differently on the "low" vowels.  That is, e, a, and o all behave the
same so far.

Aspirated Stop: p, t, k
Unaspirated: b, d, g, ' (' = glottal stop)
Fricatives: f, s, x, h
Nasals: m, n, ng
Glides: j, w (j = palatal glide)
Lateral: l/r (r = alveolar flap)

Except for the glottal stop, each consonant may be geminate.

/l/ and /r/ are in a sound symbolism relationship.  /l/ is typically found,
but /r/ may be used to show negative connotations of all sorts.  For
example, _tele_ is the verb stem for "speak" but it can be used as _tere_
to show clumsiness of speech such as stuttering, grasping for words, etc.
So _keteele_ (phonological lengthening, see section on pitch-accent)  "he
speaks" but _keteere_ "he speaks (haltingly/stuttering/in an irritating
manner)"  Using /r/ in a person's name is highly insulting, and therefore
is a common feature in conversations between "tough" young males, usually
in their teens through late 20's.  Some words that are inheirently impolite
may only occur with /r/, and because of this there are near minimal pairs
suggestive that /l/ and /r/ are separate phonemes: _birtytum_ "clumsy
person, oaf" vs. _bilty_ "type of fish" (I don't know what kind yet, but
people eat them).  (These words are in no way related).


Words start at a low pitch, and gradually raise until reaching the peak
syllable.  Pitch remains high on every remaining syllable (usually only
one).  Determining the peak is done by the following rules:

1. The peak is either the ultimate or penultimate syllable, whichever is
heavier, if tied, on the ultimate.
2. The peak must be heavy.
3. If both syllables are light, the vowel of the penult lengthens and
becomes the peak.
4. The peak may not be on the initial syllable, disyllabic words peak on
the final syllable.

In questions, the peak must remain on the stem, it cannot drift onto
derivational or inflectional morphemes.


The syllable template is (C1)V(C2).  Within a root and derivational
morphology, syllables divide as CV.CV.  The sequence CV1.V2C is impossible,
and in such situations, the vowel closest to the stem deletes: CV1.C in the
case of prefixes, CV2C in suffixes.  Inflectional morphemes divide into
syllables at the boundary, so it is possible to have CV.VC or VC.VC.

C1 may be any consonant word initially, but is mildly restricted after
another consonant: the glottals ' and h may not occur after C.  When this
happens, the glottal disappears, and the preceding C geminates.

V may be any vowel, either long or short.  However, if the preceding C is
an alveolar obstruent, /i/ deletes, and /u/ fronts and de-rounds to /y/.
If the deletion causes a sequence of three C's, the middle one deletes,
unless it is /s/, in which case the first C deletes.

C2 may be any consonant word finally, but is severely restricted before
another consonant.  Before another C, C2 must be unaspirated or assimilated
to a following homorganic stop, e.g., ts > ds, td > dd, dt > tt, tk > dk.
Note that this is not a restriction on codas, because this does not hold
word finally, or in codas followed by a vowel, a situation found at the
inflection-stem boundary.

The sequences iy and uw become ii and uu, respectively, before consonants.

Nasals always assimilate to a following consonant.

Short fricatives and short unaspirated stops may optionally voice
intervocalicly.  Oddly enough, the word _hidu_ "to exist (inanimate
subject)" cannot voice.  Maybe some others do too, but I haven't found them

Any suggestions for improving the system?