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

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Thursday, August 10, 2006, 13:16
Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
>I'm the quintessential phonology nerd. Indeed my conlangs >seldom and only with an effort develop beyond a phonology...
In _that_ aspect you're certainly not alone.
>I think one has to distinguish between a phonology -- or any >aspect of a language or anything else for that matter! :-) -- >being pleas*ing*, pleas*ant* and mellifluous, since they >may not coincide: if you *want* a harsh-sounding language >then [XR=S] is a pleasing, if unpleasant, sound, and too >much mellifluency may be unpleasant (both qualitatively >and quantitatively: I once tried a language without >obstruents, but it turned out neither pleasing nor pleasant! :-)
Wait... are you claiming that there exists some sort of objectiv pleasantness which is separate from both pleasingness and mellifluousness? Please elaborate. -Obstruentlessness sounds steep, but I'm attempting to diachronically develop a language with only /t k/ (plus non-phonemic affricates), and even those rare...
>What about the *other* meaning of 'phonology'?(*) how many >of us enjoy making up historical sound changes and groups >of interrelated languages. I quite like the way a rather >limited arsenal of plausible sound changes applied in different >order and proportion can create quite diverse effects.
Oh, definitely. I tend to favor what I think is called "evolutionary phonology", i.e. tracing the origins and demises of "major" distinctions - the small changes like vowel-juggling and partial mergers are neat too, but ultimately I find them less interesting. Currently I'm (among other things) trying to outline the development of a distant relativ of uwjge, which has all kinds of bizarrities, like four different glottal stop phonemes. Actually, that phonology is currently pretty much nothing else than glottal stop weirdness... (Note to self: figure out how the recent discovery of proto-uwjge 3rd (ejectiv?) stop series fits in there.)
>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. > >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.
Hmm... sort of seconded. I used to dislike palatalizing <h> too, but once I realized where it comes - /s/ + /x/ -> /S/ - it's not all that bad, at least when limited to voiceless sounds; the lack of a *good* Latin letter for /G/ makes the issue possibly even worse for voiced ones.
>I also tend to prefer >diacritics over digraphs or IPA for practical transcription -- the >latter because IPA is hard to write by hand and lack capitals(*) > >(* Note to wouldbe nitpickers: I do know about the African >orthographies' IPA capitals. They are mostly even worse!) > >-- >/BP 8^)>
FWIW, I think at least the capital eng (the one that does not look like an N variant) looks nice. John Vertical