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Musical language phonology

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 14:22

The recent discussion of musical conlangs led me to think about a musical
language that can also be spoken.  The language (let's call it X-4 for the
moment) has seven phonemes transcribed a, b, c, d, e, f, g; these can be
realized as the seven steps of the diatonic scale, but also pronounced as
the sounds [a], [b], [c], [d], [e], [f], [g].  There are thus two vowels
/a/ and /e/, and five consonants /b/, /c/, /d/, /f/, /g/.  This is a tiny,
unnatural, but perfectly workable phoneme inventory for a spoken language;
by the same time, the letters have the usual muscial note values such that
the language can be sung or played on just about any musical instrument.

A syllable in X-4 consists of maximally a consonant followed by a vowel
and another consonant (e.g., /baf/).  The consonants may be missing, such
that /ed/, /da/ or /e/ are valid syllables, too.  There is one constraint:
a zero-onset syllable may not follow a closed syllable, e.g. /dacad/ can
only be syllabified /da-cad/, not **/dac-ad/.

This is all I have so far.  Comments welcome.

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René Uittenbogaard <ruittenb@...>