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From:Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>
Date:Sunday, August 18, 2002, 4:13
In my main conlang, Asha'ille, (which is also my first), I have several
more uses for the apostrophe than English does. I'm developing separate
symbols for each use in the language's native script, but I don't know what
to do when I use ASCII. Let me explain the various apostrophe uses I have...

Type 1: Asha'illen contractions are not used as in English for normal forms
of words, such as "can't". Apostrophes-as-contractions only exist when
someone wants to record what the speaker actually said, such as when we
write "'specially" when what the speaker meant was "especially".

Type 2: The most common use of an apostrophe is to join a word to something
modifying it. For example,

jhelle   /ZEl/    good
geir     /gi:r/   more

There also exists the particle "geir'" which must be attached to another
word -- for instance, "geir'jhelle", which would mean "more good" or
"better". There can only be one apostrophe per word, so

t'       /tE/     and

*t'geir'jhelle ==> t'geir jhelle

even though "geir jhelle" is still considered a single unit.

Type 3: Another use is in subordinate clauses, where the clause is surround
by what I think of as verbal parentheses. During normal use, the opening
verbal parenthesis attaches to the first word of the clause with an
apostrophe of Type 2. However, when talking abstractly about the verbal
parentheses, as in a grammar book, the parentheses are written conjoined by
a Type 3 apostrophe:

ves'     /vEs/    <opening of a clause whose action is concurrent to the
main clause's>
kes      /kEs/    <closing of said clause>

ves'shavpahr John kes            <-- Type 2 usage
<while> talked John <end while>

But in a dictionary entry or grammatical discussion, one would talk about
the <while></while> pair as "ves'kes". Everyone understands that this is
not a modifier-attachment word but rather a pair of words. I don't think it
would be better to do a "ves/kes" construction because the ' belongs with
"ves'" -- the word "ves" doesn't exist.

This all probably sounds confusing, but in practice it's really not so bad.
I don't think about it at all anymore when I'm writing my language, so a
native wouldn't have undue difficulty either. I mean, English's spelling is
far less logical and yet native speakers get it right for the most part.

So far I've been using the standard ASCII apostrophe ' for all three types
of usage. I've tried ` and - but the former looks kinda weird and the
latter I just can't stand. (Nevermind that the hyphen is used extensively
in the parent language of Asha'ille for Type 2 usage. :)  Should I just
keep using an apostrophe in all three cases, use something different for
Types 1 and 3, or work on converting the world to Asha'ille's native script? ;)


PS - This is my first time using X-SAMPA for IPA (and I'm still on shaky
ground with IPA in the first place). I tried as best I could to pick the
right symbols by comparing what I was saying to the sound files at


Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Barbara Barrett <barbarabarrett@...>