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Re: Major update of gjax-zym-byn

From:Jim Henry <jacklongshadow@...>
Date:Sunday, July 31, 2005, 21:46
John Quijada  wrote:

> I like the new gzb orthography -- much easier to read than all the > digraphs with -x and -q.
I wanted to do this earlier, but it took me a while to come up with a Unicode mapping that suited me. I wanted letters that were not _too_ dissimilar to my handwritten orthography, to minimize the cognitive dissonance of having to read and write in two different orthographies. Then I had to get my conversion script to avoid mangling English words with letter sequences that look like gzb-ASCII digraphs.
> Some of your vowel orthography strikes me as a > little funny -- any reason you don't use diaereses/umlauts? It would free > up other letters to be used for more standard sorts of values.
Hm. For instance, u-umlaut for /y/ freeing i-circumflex for ... what? What specific improvements do you have in mind? I'm open to suggestions, but I want to keep a rough correspondence between the Unicode version and my handwritten orthography.
> I never examined your number system before. I am very pleased to see that > the basic set of roots rests on primes. I wanted my number roots to be > based on primes but I couldn't get the system to work logically. I like > the way you've solved the problem.
I enevntually found that I couldn't get the primes-based system to work well for larger numbers. It works in theory, but in practice pausing to factor largish numbers in order to find out how to express them slows me down. I'll generally express numbers up to about 21 with prime roots and their compounds, and composite numbers higher than that with base-10 compounds.
> I also like your extended set of affixes well beyond Esperanto. Some of > your affix categories give me an idea or two for future revisions of > Ithkuil.
Thanks! A few features of gjax-zym-byn (notably the "experiencer" case postposition, which isn't really described very well in the current grammar) were taken from Ithkuil. I just realized that the semantics document still doesn't list all of the suffixes added in the last couple of years. I'll add them next time I do an update.
> Would love to hear some sound files. The measured use of clicks and > ejectives and your phonotactics must make for a fascinating-sounding > language.
Maybe eventually I'll get a microphone and some sound recording software. I'm much more fluent in the written than the spoken form of the language (the uvular stop, and the affricates followed by /y/, give me the most trouble; the clicks and ejective are pretty easy). I suspect the large number of unusual diphthongs might cause some people trouble at first, but by this time they don't present a problem for me.
> Any particular reason that stress and tone aren't > phonologically relevant? I can understand tone, but it seems like you > could do something interesting with stress (here I go naturally thinking > about morpho-phonological efficiency again...!)
Tone wasn't phonologically relevant because I figured this would be difficult enough with the exotic segmental phonemes, and I didn't trust myself to keep tones distinct. With the current phonotactics, tone isn't really needed either; I have hundreds of potential one-syllable roots not used yet, and I don't anticipate adding hundreds more root words of great enough frequency to require monosyllables. I recently started experimenting with pronouncing the question particles (zoqn, noq, srem) with rising-falling tone, but I'm not sure if I will make that part of the official definition. It won't distinguish them from other words with the same segmental phonemes but a different tone. Stress isn't relevant because the vast majority of root words are a single syllable. The number of available two-syllable roots is huge enough anyway that I don't see any reason to make stress significant to distinguish otherwise identical roots. Since all verbs and adjectives are at least two syllables, I suppose I could do something with stress there; but that would require finding something else I want to inflect verbs/adjectives for. At this point I've attained enough fluency in the language that I don't think I'll be making any more major changes to the parts of the grammar that I have already learned to use. Parts of the grammar that I've worked out theoretically, but haven't used enough yet to apply them automatically, are still subject to change; and there are several areas that still aren't defined yet at all. And there are parts of the language that I have worked out in my actual usage, but haven't gotten around to describing much in the web site documents (for instance, argument structures for verbs of thinking, feeling and saying). Some aspects of the grammar are documented only in the lexicon entries for the relevant grammatical particles. I've experimented with different ways of stressing words as I read aloud, and seeing which sound more natural. I'll try to abstract some patterns and describe them.