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Syllable structure - HELP!!!

From:John-Emmanuel <jokerhand@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 6:46
I am currently appealing to everyone's creative and artistic abilities :D
I have finally polished the phonology and blends/diphthongs for my upcoming
conlang, and started creating a few roots and designing the grammar (at
least for nouns so far).  However, I want to create a syllable structure
that doesn't have too many big consonant structures, but at the same time
doesn't sound like Japanese or a Polynesian language.  (I have nothing
against them, of course, but I prefer the, well, Elvish sounds ;)

Consonants:  Nasals:  M, m, N, n;
Stops:  p, b, t, d, k, g;
Fricatives:  f, v, T, D, s, z, s, ç, x, h;
Approximants:  R, r, j, W, w, L, l
(M, N, R, W, L are voiceless versions of their lowercase counterparts)
(T, D sound like th as in THing and THen, respectively)
(ALL voiceless consonants are aspirated)
(z is rare, and usually only found in borrowed words)

Vowels:  a, e, é, i, o, ó, u, y (rounded i), ö (rounded é), @ (schwa)
(using Tolkien's orthography - for Quenya at least)
(y and ö are not common)

Diphthongs:  ai, au, eu, éu, oi, ói

Blends:  Start:  stop/fricative -(ç, x, h) + approximant
End:  vocalic (i.e. R, r, L, l) + nasal/stop/fricative/lateral
(the only exception is an alveolar obstruent followed by a lateral i.e.
t/d/T/D + L/l)

There are other blends possible of course, but the above are the only ones
that are present in roots.  A blend has a MAXIMUM of two consonants in it.
And blends are way less common than single consonants.

If a voiced follows a voiceless consonant (or vice-versa) then the voicing
reverts to that of the second consonant if possible EXCEPT at the beginning
of words, where if either are voiceless, then BOTH become voiceless.
e.g.  -rt > -Rt; -Ld > ld; dr- > tr-; pw- > pW;

The penultimate syllable is stressed ALWAYS.  However, I am rethinking this

As I HATE capital letters, my romanisation goes a little like this:
T and D are replaced by th and dh respectively.
e.g.  Tal > thal;
Seeing as h stands alone ALWAYS, a h next to a consonant devoices it.  Thus
M, N, R, W, L become mh, nh, rh, wh, lh OR hm, hn, hr, hw, hl.  If such a
consonant is next to a vowel, then the h goes between the consonant and the
vowel, otherwise it follows the consonant.
e.g.  Lon > lhon;  foRt > fohrt;
Also, a j before any vowel except i and y can be written as i
e.g.  fjord > fiord;  pjen > pien;
Finally, if you wish, since adjoining consonants have the same voice
qualities (if possible), you may be able to leave of the h if no confusion
would arise.
e.g.  fohrt > fort pronounced [foRt]

So basically, what are your ideas?  Should I stick to monosyllabic roots, or
should ones like VCVC be possible?  Should roots only end in vowels,
consonants, or both?  And how should I combine roots?  I have spent many a
sleepless night on this problem, and have yet to come up with an
aesthetically pleasing solution.  So I make a call to arms brother (and
sister) conlangers to smite this evil beast! :)


p.s.  a few roots:  lhis- or lhisa-: love
sin- or sina-: beauty
john-: create (pronounced like yawn, but with a voiceless n)
(I had to have SOME humour in my conlang ;)


Clint Jackson Baker <litrex1@...>
taliesin the storyteller <taliesin@...>
Bob Greenwade <bob.greenwade@...>