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A reply concerning Tech (what else?)

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Monday, August 23, 1999, 12:15
In response to Christophe (I lost the original post so I can't quote it, so
I'll just wing it from here):

Yes, Tech actually has literally hundreds of phonemes.  Probably around
three hundred consonants.  But there is a real history on how so many phones
appeared.  The proto-language had quite a few consonants, with
voiceless/voiced/ejective stops and affricates in many locations (labial,
dental, hiss sibilant affricate, hush sibilant affricate, retroflex, lateral
affricate, velar, uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal), with stop/affricates in
fortis (geminated) and lenis, as well as spirant and nasal mutations (that's
the three mutations of Welsh).  Combine all this with palatalized (Russian
"soft" consonants), labiovelarized, and even labiopalatized distinctions, so
multiply that number by four, then add your lateral, rhotic, and semivowel
liquids... what a mess :(

I'll get into that another time.  The Techians intentionally controlled
their language so that it would be difficult to pronounce as well as
difficult to learn.  They pride themselves on having such a formiddable
speech, which is used by many as a secret code (like the US Marines used
Navajo as a code during WWII).

Oh yeah, and Techia will come complete, with everything from a history to a

Now on to the other things: The "SaxLang" that you referred to I just came
up with an hour or so ago.  Of course any ol' musical instrument (wind
instruments obviously work together since they're connected to the mouth)
would do, but the saxophone is quite loose when it comes to sound quality.
A trumpet or trombone would work very well, especially the latter since it
has infinite pitch ability.  And something I didn't mention -- some
consonants are possible, of course not as many as vocal speech, but
percussive attacks with the tongue, teeth, even lips and throat, are used in
playing.  With string instruments (bowed and plucked), various attacks on
the strings change the sound quality, as does location of bowling/plucking,
as a strike near the bridge has a thinner, more "front vowel-like" quality
than striking toward the center of the string.  (If you play exactly halfway
between the fretting of the string and the bridge, you get a "square wave"

Okay I'm getting way ahead of myself now... but anyway this could be a
future project.  Also, the didgeridoo (that long wooden pipe played by
Australian natives) has the capability of communication (and I think it is
used as such by the aborigines); though it only plays one pitch, it has a
great deal of timbre range.

It is good to be back; now maybe I'll get something done for once...


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