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Old Starrish

From:Jim Grossmann <steven@...>
Date:Sunday, February 9, 2003, 2:09
This is interesting;  I've never heard of anything exactly like this.   My
only suggestion is that you work out the musical notes by actual singing,
and not just on paper.  Otherwise, persevere!


(Original Message)

Hi out there,

A couple months ago I heard about this list through
another list I'm on, and thought "wow! there's a whole
list of people out there who are inventing languages
too! I have to join that!" So now I have.

I'm currently a linguistics student at the University
of British Columbia. I think I first started
inventing a language when I was about 10 or 11. I
don't know how many languages I've thought of since
then that I hope to work on some day, but my main
project is:

A language (provisionally called "Old Starrish", since
I haven't invented enough of it to know what its
speakers call it) in which the consonants carry all
the lexical and grammatical meaning, and vowels convey
flavour and expression, somewhat like tone of voice
does in english. So the word itself, including
grammatical information, would be just a string of
consonants, such as /rttb/, and speakers would insert
various vowels in various positions depending on how
it was to be "flavoured". Possible pronunciations or
/rttb/ would include [artatbi], [retitob], [irattubi],
and many others.

I'm still working out the restrictions on what
consonant combinations were allowed at the beginning
and end of a syllable, but this much I know: more than
two consonants, or two identical consonants, were not
allowed at the beginning or end of a syllable.

Also, each of the 12 vowels in this language was
associated with one of the twelve notes of the musical
scale, so everything said in it automatically had a
tune associated with it, and although it was not sung
in everyday speech, any speaker would be able to
convert a spoken sentence into its sung version.
Poetry was not really separable from composing songs,
since it involved making pieces where the vowels gave
emotional content appropriate to the piece and also
gave a pleasing or fitting melody by their associated
pitches. (I hope that made sense.)

Rachel Klippenstein