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

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Thursday, August 10, 2006, 2:53

Dirk Elzinga writes:
> On 8/8/06, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote: > > [snip] > > > > Anyway, do others also have such a hard time finding personally > > pleasing phonologies? I find it awefully difficult. > > Reading over Philip's reply to Henrik's question, I realized that > there are a number of ways to understand the word "phonology". As a > practicing linguist (it's what puts bread on the table), I tend to > think of the subject in different terms than most people around here > seem to do. So when I say that I find it difficult to create a > pleasing phonology, I do not mean that I find it difficult to come up > with an inventory of sounds that I like, or even to design suitable > rules for the realization of these sounds in context. Rather, the > rules themselves need to fit together in a consistent and pleasing way > that isn't always obvious until you try them out together. >...
I actually meant all of the aspects. I'm not sure where I get stuck, but I always get stuck in the long process of finding the sounds, defining possible sound combinations, defining sandhi/mutations, etc. and finally, what you say, making the overall system behind it 'nice'. And for the mere sound, I cannot predict early enough how the final language will be like when working towards it from single sounds or even local sequences of sounds. Anyway, Benct mentioned pleasing, pleasant, and mellifluous: I was asking whether you manage to fit the phonology to your personal taste, whatever that is. E.g. I discard most designs because I think they are boring, thus not pleasing. OTOH, it is very hard to define what I find boring -- the mere existence of a vowel systems as boring as /a i u/ or /a e i o u/ is not boring to me. Yet, in contrast to other posters, I find Quenya sounds boring (and unpleasant).
>... > where stress would fall has taken quite a while. Now Miapimoquitch > sounds "right", at least with respect to the interaction of stress and > lenition. > > This is the kind of thing I thought of when Henrik posed his question;
Definitely this was part of my quesiton, yes. And it's interesting where you got stuck there.
> I've been wrestling with this (and other phonological issues) for > quite a while now, and it is this part of the game which I find > particularly challenging (and rewarding).
Ah! I tend to get annoyed when the phonologies just don't work out well. Often I feel any further tinkering only makes things worse. Not very rewarding. This feeling seldom comes up for grammar issues for me. **Henrik


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpjonsson@...>