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Re: Euphonic phonology (Was: 'Nor' in the World's Languages)

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 9, 2006, 16:02
On Wed, Aug 09, 2006 at 06:32:16PM +1000, Yahya Abdal-Aziz wrote:
> Christian Thalmann replied: > > > > Not at all, I absolutely love making phonologies. Disappointingly > > (?), I usually end up with rather simple vowel systems, and no > > hard-to-pronounce consonants. But maybe that's just the recipe for > > pleasing phonologies? It seems to work for Quenya, IMHO the > > hallmark of pleasing phonology.
> Generally, I'd go along with Christian here. I tend to avoid > difficult consonant clusters or fine vowel shadings, for reasons both > of euphony and simplicity. I like my vowels to have a high degree of > allophony or free variation, which limits the total number of vowel > phonemes possible; and for consonants, I don't find using three sets > of contrasts, eg voice, retroflexion and aspiration, to distinguish > two phonemes terribly practical. These are all personal preferences, > and have nothing to do with what phonemes the world's speakers do use, > and everything to do with my own background and the biases that > creates.
[...] That's interesting. Generally, I avoid consonant clusters as well, but I'm a sucker for fine vowel distinctions and fine consonant constrasts. My favorite vowel distinction is [E] vs. [e] vs. [@\]. I suppose it's a consequence of my L1, which distinguishes between nasal and non-nasal vowels, has much less tendency for vowel reduction compared to English. It also has a 4-way consonantal distinction, e.g., /n/, /d/, /t/, /t^h/. After I started learning Russian, though, I'm less afraid of consonant clusters. Russian has a LOT of them... and many of them are extremely hard to pronounce, at least for me. I think if I ever get to creating a descendant lang of Tatari Faran, I'll introduce a lot of clusters. It's not that hard: you just drop a bunch of random vowels, just like Russian did, ;-) and let the consonants collide. In the process, you get some merging and simplification (e.g., voicing/aspiration assimilation, etc.), so it should be possible to get a unique sound flavor to the resulting lang. I did try a similar process with Ebisédian -> Tamahí, but (for other reasons) the resulting lang wasn't up to standard so I abandoned it. (Ebisédian is almost completely VCVC..., but Tamahí has syllabic consonants.) T -- Don't hide in the closet; wear yourself out.