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Yemls Phonology (long)

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Wednesday, June 6, 2001, 8:58
Hi all,
I've been trying to write up the Yemls info, but I'm not satisfied with it.
Here's the first part of what I have so far. IGWS, comments welcome. TA,


1. Yemls Phonology

1.1. Phonetic Symbols

First of all, here are the phonetic symbols used in describing how
Yemls is pronounced. Note that they don't always correspond to commonly
used ASCII-IPA transcriptions. Also note that this phonetic description
is only approximate (since there is room for free variation) and that
some of the point-of-articulation terms in particular can't be taken
too strictly.

1.1.1. Vowel Phones

            | front              back
  high      | [i]                 [u]
  mid-high  |   [I]              [U]
  mid-low   |       [E]        [O]
  low       |         [&]    [A]

Note that even though symbols normally indicating rounded vowels are
used, the vowels here are not necessarily rounded.

1.1.2. Consonant Phones

                |  stop      affricate fricative nasal liquid approx.
                |  Vl.  Vd.  Vl.   Vd. Vl.  Vd.   Vd.          Vd.
  bilabial      | [p]   [b]                       [m]          [w]
  labiodental   |                      [f]  [v]
  dental        | [tH]  [d]                       [n]    [l]
  alveolar      |                      [s]  [z]
  alveo-palatal |           [tSH] [dZ] [S]  [Z]   [N]
  palatal       |                                              [j]
  palato-velar  | [cH]  [y]            [C]
  velar         | [kH]  [g]            [K]  [G]   [q]

The notation [H] indicates aspiration.
Dental may be either apicodental or alveolar.

1.1.3. Other Notational Symbols

Braces { } enclose transliterations.
Brackets [ ] enclose phonetic transcriptions.
Slashes / / enclose phonemic transcriptions.
An apostrophe ' indicates that the following syllable is stressed.

1.2. Phonemes

1.2.1. Syllable Structure

Yemls has 12 consonant phonemes and 4 vowel phonemes; since each
syllable is (C)V, there are 52 distinct syllable values.

1.2.2. Vowel Phonemes

The vowel constrasts are higher vs. lower and front vs. back, giving
the vowel phonemes /I/, /E/, /U/, /O/. For the specific pronunciations
of these, see starting at 1.4.1. Vowel Mapping below.

1.2.3. Consonant Phonemes

            | stop       fricative  nasal  liquid
            | Vl.  Vd.   Vl.  Vd.   Vd.
  "labial"  |      /b/   /f/        /m/
  "coronal" | /t/  /d/   /s/  /z/   /n/    /l/
  "dorsal"  | /k/  /g/   /x/

The specific phonetic value of a consonant phoneme depends on whether
the following vowel is front or back, and possibly other factors. For
the specific pronunciations, see starting at 1.4.3. Consonant Mapping

1.3. Orthography

Yemls is written using a syllabary and is transliterated using one
letter per syllable.

1.3.1. Syllabary

The transliteration for each (phonemic) syllable is:

       | /I/  /E/   /U/  /O/
  null |  e    E     o    O
  /b/  |  p    P     b    B
  /f/  |  v    V     f    F
  /m/  |  w    W     m    M
  /l/  |  l    L     r    R
  /t/  |  c    C     t    T
  /d/  |  j    J     d    D
  /s/  |  x    X     s    S
  /z/  |  i    I     z    Z
  /n/  |  y    Y     n    N
  /k/  |  k    K     q    Q
  /g/  |  g    G     a    A
  /x/  |  h    H     u    U

The phonemic value of each letter (the inverse of the above) is:

  A /gO/  a /gU/    N /nO/  n /nU/
  B /bO/  b /bU/    O  /O/  o  /U/
  C /tE/  c /tI/    P /bE/  p /bI/
  D /dO/  d /dU/    Q /kO/  q /kU/
  E  /E/  e  /I/    R /lO/  r /lU/
  F /fO/  f /fU/    S /sO/  s /sU/
  G /gE/  g /gI/    T /tO/  t /tU/
  H /xE/  h /xI/    U /xO/  u /xU/
  I /zE/  i /zI/    V /fE/  v /fI/
  J /dE/  j /dI/    W /mE/  w /mI/
  K /kE/  k /kI/    X /sE/  x /sI/
  L /lE/  l /lI/    Y /nE/  y /nI/
  M /mO/  m /mU/    Z /zO/  z /zU/

1.3.2. Stress Marking

Unusual stress is marked with an apostrophe {'} before or after?

1.4. Phonetic Processes

1.4.1. Vowel Mapping

The main phonetic processes applying to vowels are dipthongization and
vowel reduction. Otherwise, /I/, /E/, /O/, and /U/ respectively tend to
be [I], [E], [O], and [U].

1.4.2. Diphthongization

Phonetically, the V (i.e. null consonant) syllables combine with the
vowel of the preceding syllable to produce diphthongs. In careful
speech, this is limited to syllables within the same word. The
following table gives the approximate phonetic values for these
combinations. The columns are for the V syllables and the rows give the
vowel phoneme of the preceding syllable.

       | {e}   {E}   {O}   {o}
   /I/ | [i:]  [j&:] [jA:] [ju:]
   /E/ | [EI]  [&:]  [&O]  [EU]
   /O/ | [OI]  [AE]  [A:]  [OU]
   /U/ | [wi:] [w&:] [wA:] [u:]

1.4.3. Consonant Mapping

The following table gives the phonetic values for the consonant
phonemes. If an entry has 2 forms, the first is the usual value, and
the second is an assimilatory value. Consonants in the third group have
variants conditioned by the following vowel, while those in the first
group don't vary significantly between front and back versions. Of
particular note are the consonants in the second group, which are
"historically" conditioned; the values are now distinct enough so that
the vowel itself need distinguish low vs. high.

       | front      back
   /b/ | [b], [p]   [b], [p]
   /f/ | [f], [v]   [f], [v]
   /m/ | [m]        [m]
   /l/ | [l]        [l]
   /t/ | [tSH]      [tH]
   /d/ | [dZ]       [d]
   /s/ | [S]        [s]
   /z/ | [Z]        [z]
   /n/ | [N]        [n]
   /k/ | [cH]       [kH]
   /g/ | [y]        [g], [q]
   /x/ | [C]        [K], [G]

1.4.4. Vowel Reduction

The vowel for {b, c, d, j, q, t} may be reduced or devoiced under
certain circumstances. The vowel for {a, f, i, m, n, r, s, u, x, z} may
be reduced, devoiced, or eliminated under certain circumstances. When
the vowel is eliminated, the consonant phone duration is that of the
syllable. None of these can occur if the syllable is stressed, or if
followed by a V syllable. There are other not yet determined factors
which inhibit vowel reduction as well.

The vowel for {m} is eliminated before /m/ or /b/, or before a pause.
The vowel for {n} is eliminated before /n/, /t/, or /d/, or before a
pause. Before /k/ or /g/ or before a pause, {a} becomes [q].

The vowel for {r} is eliminated before /t/, /k/, /b/, /d/, /g/, or /l/,
or before a pause.

The vowels for {z} and {i} are eliminated before /b/, /d/, or /g/, or
before a pause. The vowel for {s} is eliminated before /t/, /k/, or
/b/, before a pause, or before [s]. The vowel for {x} is eliminated
before /t/, /k/, or /b/, before a pause, or before [S]. The vowel for
{f} is eliminated before /t/, /k/, /b/, /d/, /g/, or /f/, or before a
pause. The vowel for {u} is eliminated before /t/, /b/, /d/, or /x/, or
before a pause.

1.4.5. Consonant Assimilation

Elimination of the vowel may cause consonant assimilation.

  {s} [sb]  ==> [sp]
  {x} [Sb]  ==> [Sp]
  {f} [fb]  ==> [fp]
      [fd]  ==> [vd]
      [fdZ] ==> [vdZ]
      [fg]  ==> [vg]
      [fy]  ==> [vy]
  {u} [Kb]  ==> [Kp]
      [Kd]  ==> [Gd]
      [KdZ] ==> [GdZ]

1.4.6. Default Stress

Word-stems of 1 syllable are stressed only if suffixed or lengthened.
Word-stems of 2 syllables are stressed on the penult. Word-stems of 3
or more syllables may be stressed on the antepenult if the vowel of the
penult can be dropped, otherwise the penult is stressed.


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>