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

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 15, 2006, 11:22
[Massive snippage ahead]

Quoting Benct Philip Jonsson <bpjonsson@...>:

> Xriçten Talman (Christian Thalmann) isnerq: > > --- In, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote: > > > >> Anyway, do others also have such a hard time finding personally > >> pleasing phonologies? I find it awefully difficult. > > > > 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. > > I'm the quintessential phonology nerd. Indeed my conlangs > seldom and only with an effort develop beyond a phonology.
I might not be quite quintessential (maybe "sexessential"? :)), but I'm definitely a phonology nerd too. I can spend unlimited time crafting the phonology and morphology of a language, but syntax tends to bore me (which, unfotrunatly, tends to lead to boring syntax :(), and I find lexicon-building very slow work. I'm afraid I just can't use random word generators, partly because they get horrid to write (one for Tairezazh, frex, would need to throw in dental stops with higher frequency than velar ones, or the resultant vocabulary would just sound wrong, and so on for umpteen different variables), partly because I feel a need to mentally meld form and meaning together in my head. It's not that I think form should *fit* meaning on some absolute sense (except for onomatopoeia) - Meghean ['anja] and Steienzh [zEd_dl_d=], both meaning "girl", are hardly very similar - but just that I need to find a combination that feels "right" in the context of the language.
> Kate skrev: > > > > I do, although for me it's more about how the language looks than how > > it actually sounds. Since I create most of my languages for stories, > > how the language looks in transliteration is important to me. (And I'm > > picky about the transliteration not being too inaccurate or ambiguous, > > too.) I probably spend more time trying to balance what I consider > > interesting and pleasing with what's sensible and pleasing in > > transliteration. > > > > What I wonder, is does anyone have the same problem when it comes to > > morphology, syntax, etc? Sometimes I end up tossing a whole language > > because I don't think it's elegant enough, enough though there are at > > least ten different reasons that doing that is silly. > > > > Oh yes! I often find myself ending up with too elegant (i.e. too > regular) morphology and syntax, or even worse with what IMNSHO are > too bland phonology and syntax (i.e. too Standard Average European.)
Those are problems I experience too. Tairezazh, in particular, is insanely regular - not only is the frequency of regular inflections too high, but the irregularities themselves are too regular! Luckily, Meghean's spelling is rather quirky ... As for SAEness, my languages show plenty of that, tho not without some quirks. Sapir, IIRC, said that SAE languages have a tripartite tense division past~present~future; this isn't all that true of actual European languages, but it's very true of my Klaishic family! Meghean, as a conscious reaction against this, goes the other way, with a TAM system that is chiefly concerned with aspect, secondarily with mood, and hardly at all with tense per se.
> Like you I'm picky about transcription/transliteration/Romanization. > I have some ingrained peeves, of which "|h| digraphs should preferably > be used only to indicate aspiration and/or voiceless sonorants, and > *not* as a fricativizer, even less as a palatalizer and *absolutely > not* as a random modifier" is the chief one.
I've always liked using -h for fricativization - witness Meghean, where the letter is *only* used to indicate fricativization and phonologically related processes (such as [s]->[h], or, my favourite, [S]->[hj]). Andreas


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpjonsson@...>