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How to minimize "words" (was "Re: isolating conlangs")

From:Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...>
Date:Friday, February 23, 2007, 5:20
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...>
Date: 23-Feb-2007 03:52
Subject: Re: How to minimize "words" (was "Re: isolating conlangs")
To: Constructed Languages List <CONLANG@...>

On 23/02/07, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
> > > Orthography: I'm a little stymied by orthographical problems, too. >
Two^H^H^Hthree^H^H^H^H^Hfour! things I forgot to mention: 1. I'm looking for a way to represent the unvoiced dental fricative T, the velar stop N, the glottal and uvular stops, various palatals (as opposed to palatalised consonants) and maybe several retroflex consonants such as retroflex t. The way I see it: I have a choice of thorn, theta and edh for T; enye (The "Spanish n") and eng would seem to be logical choices for the palatal and velar stops, respectively, and maybe an underline would do for the retroflex consonants? Does anyone have more than rhotic, and if so, how do you represent it? The main problem I see is that C could become seriously overloaded: one system I have considered using involves "c" for /ts/, c-caron for /tS/, c-dot for the palatal plosive and c-cedilla for the palatal fricative; does anyone (else) think this could be seriously confusing? I am open to using "x" for the velar or uvular fricative, but whichever I represent with it, what about the other, and what could I use to avoid writing "ks" at the end of words? As far as possible I should like to resist the "Klingon approach" of using capital letters to denote separate sounds, as this is orthographically ugly (as one can imagine, a beautiful orthography was no issue in the transcription of Klingon!). I don't object to using q and Q, (respectively for the glottal and uvular stop) though, for some reason (!). (If you want to persuade me, attempt to persuade me that this will increase the orthographic similarity to Bantu, hint!) I would also like to be able to use some single letters for affricates (the ones I envisage using are /ts/ /tS/ /tT/ /cC/ and maybe /kx/ /qX/. Any ideas? 2. I'm toying with the idea of getting rid of Finnish's neutral vowels and adding /M/ and /7/, and maybe /E/ /V/ and some variation on /@/ (all in X-SAMPA) as well. How about u-tilde, o-tilde (as in Estonian and Voro), and e-umlaut for /@/? If you have /E/ and /V/ in your language, how do you represent them? 3. Tone: I'm also toying with tone. I have an idea that I could use an acute accent for high tone on vowels w/o umlauts, and a circumflex for high tone on vowels w/ umlauts - but what if, instead of two-tone (high and low) system, I want to have a three-tone (high, mid, and low) or more complicated system? I'm intending to use a tone transcription like that of Vietnamese, in which one writes the tone of the lexeme in isolation, without accounting for down-drift, etc. (Tones like "high-falling, "rising" are present, but only on syllables w/ long vowels/diphthongs, and therefore can easily be accommodated by writing a different accent/tone mark on each vowel.) 4. Oh, and I almost forgot, Vallian has /consonant gradation/! I always miss this in descriptions of Quenya, and I'm learning Finnish, so (especially since I've never seen a conlang w/ consonant gradation before) I put it in Vn! It's a lot more complicated that F, though, and somewhat inspired by Saami, et al.; whereas F has grades like: pp ~ p mp ~ mm p ~ v for stops, Vn also grades all geminate consonants (to single) and sequences of consonant + j/k/v to palatalised/aspirate/labialised consonants: ll ~ l tj ~ ty pk ~ ph rv ~ rw As Vn lacks /d/, the well-known alternation t ~ d becomes t ~ r, as in some F dialects; also, Vn abhors sequences of rhotic + vowel (+ vowel) and rhotic (and some other combinations), so before -V(V)r, t- changes to T- instead of -r- Finally, unlike in F, where s + stop prevents consonant gradation, in Vn /s/ does NOT stop gradation; since combinations like /sr/ are as impossible in Vn as in F, however, when -st- gradates, it undergoes (depending on dialect) assimilation to -ss-, metathesis to -rs-, or metathesis or -ts-. Jeff PS As an aside: I've talked about palatalised, prenasalised, labialised, and aspirated consonants; Wikipedia reports that there are also languages which have post-nasalised (bn) and pre- and post-stopped nasals (pn, mp). I'm not aware of any language that uses pre-palatalised or pre-labialised consonants. Anyone? Also, are there any languages that use pre-fricativized consonants? I.e., given a language in which "pam" could be a word, but not "pram" (because of a restriction on consonant clusters in initial position) are languages any words in which "spam" could be a word, despite the aforementioned restriction, due to pre-fricativized consonants? Jeff -- Now, did you hear the news today? They say the danger's gone away But I can hear the marching feet Moving into the street Adapted from Genesis, "Land of Confusion"


Damian Yerrick <tepples@...>