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brz reloaded!

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Sunday, September 25, 2005, 20:48

Ray and I have recently (and are still) discussing a briefscript/
loglang hybrid that goes under the provisional name `brz' (ask
Ray why that name, he suggested it).  Here's a brief sketch of
my ideas about it.


This is all Ray's ideas, with my only modifications concerning
the orthography.

The language has 16 phonemes, written with the following letters:

j g l z ñ d µ b p m t n s r k h

To each of these 16 phonemes is a 4-bit pattern assigned, running
from 0000 to 1111 in the sequence given above.

How is this pronounced?  You certainly have realized that this
looks like all consonants, and actually, each phoneme has a
consonantal value followed by a vowel.  The vowels are inserted
according to an automatic rule that is described below.
The phonemes are realized thus:

Bits Letter Pronunciation

0000 j      zero followed by a front vowel
0001 g      [k]  followed by a back vowel
0010 l      [l]  followed by a front vowel
0011 z      [s]  followed by a back vowel
0100 ñ      [n]  followed by a front vowel
0101 d      [t]  followed by a back vowel
0110 µ      [m]  followed by a front vowel
0111 b      [p]  followed by a back vowel
1000 p      [p]  followed by a front vowel
1001 m      [m]  followed by a back vowel
1010 t      [t]  followed by a front vowel
1011 n      [n]  followed by a back vowel
1100 s      [s]  followed by a front vowel
1101 r      [l]  followed by a back vowel
1110 k      [k]  followed by a front vowel
1111 h      zero followed by a back vowel

When looking closer at this chart, you will notice some regularities.
The second half contains the same consonant values as the first half,
in reverse order.  In fact, a bit pattern and it's one's complement
(i.e., what you get when you flip all the bits) have the same
consonant value.  The frontness is indicated by the least significant
bit of the phoneme: 0 gives a front vowel, 1 a back vowel.

The consonant values of the first half of the chart are not
assigned arbitrarily.  The odds are obstruents, the evens are
sonorants.  The systematic becomes clear in the following chart:

0000  zero   0001  [k]
0010  [l]    0011  [s]
0100  [n]    0101  [t]
0110  [m]    0111  [p]

There are four vowels, namely [E], [i], [O] and [u].  Whether
the vowel is high ([i], [u]) or low ([E], [O]) is indicated by
the most significant bit of the *following* phoneme.  A 0
gives a high vowel, a 1 a low vowel.  If there is no phoneme
following, the vowel is high.
For example, /dt/ is pronounced [tOti] because the bit pattern
is {0101 1010}.  The LSB of /d/ is 1 -> back vowel.  The MSB
of /t/ is 1 -> low vowel.  The low back vowel is [O].  The LSB
of /t/ is 0 -> front vowel.  There is no following phoneme
-> high vowel.  The high front vowel is [i].


Morphology of brz is self-segregating, if I made no mistake,
at both the morpheme level and the word level.  The length
of a morpheme is indicated by the number of consecutive 1s
at the begin of the morpheme, plus one.  (This is the same
rule as in Plan B.)  So, the morpheme length can be told
by the first phoneme:

Phoneme Bits Morpheme length

  j     0000  1
  g     0001  1
  l     0010  1
  z     0011  1
  ñ     0100  1
  d     0101  1
  µ     0110  1
  b     0111  1
  p     1000  2
  m     1001  2
  t     1010  2
  n     1011  2
  s     1100  3
  r     1101  3
  k     1110  4
  h     1111  5+

If the first phoneme of the morpheme is /h/, the sequence of
consecutive 1s extends to the next phoneme.  For example, a
morpheme beginning with /ht/ is six phonemes long.  This way,
you can have infinitely many morphemes.

A word consists of one root followed by any number of suffixes.
There are no prefixes.  I don't know yet if compounding is
allowed, but if yes, a special morpheme is inserted between
the roots to indicate that the second root belongs to the
same word.  Otherwise, a root marks the begin of a new word.

Roots are morphemes with at least five phonemes, i.e.,
morphemes beginning with /h/.  Thus, all words begin with
a back vowel.


The syntax of the language is strictly head-initial, left-branching.
A predicate precedes its arguments.  (More to be determined later.)

That's it for now.




R A Brown <ray@...>