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Re: Cwendaso vowel combinations (was: Re: Syllabic consonants (was: Re: Beek))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 22:24
>The Cambride Linguistics series is excellent, and has a book on Typology. >Check it out at Also consider >anything from Oxford University Press, though I can't find a typology >title at the moment. Wait, scratch that: > has one.
*Thank* you! I will look into these when I get the chance. It's simply amazes me what my education didn't include -- and it's frustrating, too. I cannot really countinue constructing any of my languages until I have read something on typology, since I am nearly entirely ignorant of typology. *Very* frustrating.
>I think your examples can be generalized with the following rules:
Thanks for generalizing the rules for me. I was go through the data and do that myself, but you beat me to it.
>For collisions of two vowels: > >1) With two vowels of unequal height, the lower vowel becomes the nucleus. >The other vowel is reduced to a glide (onset or coda), with front vowels >uniformly becoming [j] and back vowels [w]. >2) With two vowels of the same height, the first vowel is reduced to a >glide as above and the second becomes the nucleus. >3) With two identical vowels, the vowels are simply coalesced into one. > >For collisions of three (or more?)
Or more? You mean that I'm going to have to run tests of all the diphthongs colliding with *each other*, too? I'm running out of suffixes and prefixes as it is. Everything can't begin or end in a vowel! :-)
> vowels the middle vowel is (or: >vowels are?) dropped, and the remaining vowels interact as outlined above. > >There's only one problem: > > <pare> --> <paryu> 'to live' 'I live' > >This one really should be <parew>, for consistency, as /e/ is the lower >vowel.
Maybe the language doesn't have the [eu] diphthong. Or maybe I should learn to pronounce [eu] as a diphthong :) (It has a very funny sound to it and feels funny in my mouth.) I suppose that it would be entirely possible for the language to have diphtongs that show up across morpheme boundaries that never occur in a root, wouldn't it? [eu] could be one of those.
> > <indumo> --> <indumow> 'to speak' 'I speak' > > > > Does that look better spelled <indumow> or <indumou>? > >I much prefer <indumou>, and actually I think that <pareu> is better than ><parew>, which I wrote above. I like <w> for onsets and <u> for codas, for >no particular reason.
I like the <ou> spelling better because it looks less like English.
> > I am going to need some suggestions from some of you as to how /au/ should > > combine with the vowels, because it doesn't seem to want to do so as neatly > > as /ei/ did. For the purpose of this excercise, I have created the suffix > > -aug, used to form the past passive participle. > > > > <khedi> --> <kedyaug> > > <pare> --> <paryaug> > > <uma> --> <umaug> > > <indumo> --> <indumoug> > > <bukhu> --> <bukhwaug> > >These don't follow the rule that I tentatively gave above, whereby the >middle vowel should be dropped. Following that rule would give, >respectively <khedyug>, <pareug>, <umaug>, <indumoug>, <bukhug>. But >those don't really feel right, either. Perhaps /a/ is treated differently >in these rules, or perhaps there are merely ad-hoc exceptions. That would >certainly be naturalistic! In any case, you'll certainly need to >complexify the process to get good results with /aug/.
I'll just have to go over the data that I have and decide whether to go with the ad-hoc exceptions or to stick to the rules (or make a different rule to acount for the behavior here.) The different possibilities could also be differences in regional dialect, I've known for a long time, for instance, that the names/words <Loarlei> and <Amalei> are pronounced <Loarlyeyi> and <Amalyeyi> in some dialects and <Loarleyi> and <Amaleyi> in others, with the diphthong being split into two syllables. But I *will* have to decide what the standard pronunciation is in Two Springs Village, since that is where the story mostly takes place.
>It might be more natural for V + /a/ to act exactly like V + /au/--why >should the onset care if it's in the same syllable as a coda? That would >give the results that you originally showed above for /aug/. But to be >consistent, that would mean that /indumo + eis/ becomes <indumweis>, not ><indumois> as you showed--and other such changes.
I really like <indumois> better than <indumweis>, so I expect that I will either have to create a rule that causes this to happen, or just leave it as one of those strange little things that languages sometimes do. An explanation would probably be better.
>If you wish to preserve the original ideas for both, you probably need to >stipulate the front and back vowels behave differently, or some such. Of >course, complete consistency is not a requirement.
I know that consistency isn't required. I have to keep reminding myself not to make my phonological inventories completely symmetrical, since that isn't exactly naturalistic. I ended up adding both /T/ and /D/ to Cwendaso's phonological inventory yesterday. (I had been considering it anyway.) I felt that I had to add them both because it was /D/ that I wanted to use, but I know that it is unlikely for there to be a voiced sound in a language in the absence of its unvoiced counterpart. Is there any way around it? Fortunately, all this work on vowel combinations has given me the solution to a (rather serious) problem that I just recognized as I was writing this message. One of my important characters has the Cwendaso name <Jostei>, with that <j> being an affricate. However, I realized, after the work I had been doing yesterday making up a bunch of words and all, that /d_Z/ just doesn't *feel* like it should be a part of the Cwendaso phonemic inventory. But <Jostei> is the character's name, and it is much, much too late to change that. However, there is a way that I can get around it. <Jostei> is actually a Trehelish-ization of a Cwendaso name. If the Cwendaso language doesn't have the /d_Z/ phoneme, it can certainly have a /dj/ sequence. As a matter of fact, it would make sense for it to. It would come from an underlying /diostei/ and be realized as <Dyostei>. Trehelish does have a /d_Z/ phoneme, and speakers would almost certainly interpret the <dy> as <j> and pronounce it accordingly. So problem solved. Whew!
> > All this vowel interaction is really making me appreciate a language like > > Latin where the parts of speech have to fulfill certain requirements as to > > what form they can take instead of them all looking like each other. Latin > > morho-phonemics are certainly much simpler than this. Not that I'm not > > having fun, but it's going to be a bear to remember to apply all these > > phonological rules when I assemble words. > >Eh, if you can boil it down to a few general principles, as I tried to do >above, it's not so hard. Much easier than remembering a few dozen >individual cases :).
hic, haec, hoc huius, huius, huius, huic, huic, huic hic, hac, hoc nauseum... Until I read up on typology, I won't know what sort of choices are open to me as far as morphological structure, and then I'll still have to make the choices. However, I do know that the system of case endings is not going to be as hopelessly complex as Latin's -- for one reason because I don't think that I plan on having grammatical gender in this language, just logical gender, with quite possibly no required agreement except in the pronouns and on the verbs (at least for 3rd pers. s.), and possibly an animate/inanimate distinction, but probably not. I may very well give it more cases than Latin has (Cwendaso already has nom. It obviously needs an acc. I gave it an instrumental yesterday. I plan on giving it a dative, but didn't create the dat. sing. yesterday because that would have meant a vowel-initial suffix. With those cases, it doesn't make sense not to have a genitive case. I happen to like locatives, so that will be added. There will be no vocative case; an entirely different (and entirely bizarre) construction is used instead of a case ending when directly addresing a person -- if the person has the right sort of name. I may think of more cases that I would like to include before I'm done, but this is a minimum.) Ooooops. I forgot that Cwendaso has 4 grammatical numbers: singular, paucal, plural, and multal. That complicates the matrix a bit. Maybe more than a bit. This language better agglutinate or something or it's going to end up with more inflectional forms than anyone would reasonably want to deal with! At least it doesn't have 5 different noun declensions. If you can decline one noun, you can decline 'em all (aside from morphophonemic phenomena like the ones we've been discussing above.)
> > Well, honestly, I think that I've done enough work (or is it play) > >I think it's play, and quite fun play at that. I've enjoyed helping you! >Please do keep posting.
Oh, I will. When this message came in, I had my notebook open and was beginning to theorize about what happens when a diphthong meets a vowel (in that order.) I'll post whatever I come up with. Isidora