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An aesthetic question

From:Shreyas Sampat <nsampat@...>
Date:Tuesday, June 5, 2001, 12:46
Okay, I have a problem.

In my conlang Nrit, all the five cardinal vowels can be nasalized.
Now, this is bad, because I cannot comfortably pronounce nasal high vowels;
they seem to want to fall to lower adjacent vowels.  It's also been
observed that nasals tend to be lower anyway.

So, do I simply allow the high vowels to have totally different quality
when nasalized, or shall I conflate /i~/ and /e~/, as well as /o~/
and /u~/?  This would reduce my vowel inventory from twenty to sixteen (a
vowel can be long, nasal, both, or neither), which doesn't overjoy me, but
does rather clean up my orthography. (And perhaps it gives me the
opportunity to use e` and o` to mark long nasal i and u instead of i`i` and
u`u`, though some would be irregularly spelled just for the fun of it.)

Also, what effect do these have on adjacent consonants?  I'm starting to
see a possibility of surrounding nasality turning voiced stops into nasals
and that sort of thing. (This would in fact solve a problem of mine; long
ago I had decided not to have an /N/ phoneme, but if /g/ in a nasal
environment was rendered as /N/ phonetically, that would be okay).
Imaginably, that creates the opportunity for very interesting inflection
phenomena (whole patterns of plurals have nasal endings, so this yields
patterns like haru~d, haru~dde, haru~ddsa, haru~dva, haru~nnu~n (or maybe
haru~nnu~...), haru~nne~n, haru~ndzi~n, etc.  How wonderful...), where
there's all kinds of nasal mutation.  That, in combination with all the
other combination rules, would make Nrit a holy terror to learn, but it
does have a certain elegance to it.

Thinking more deeply, it also allows cool phones like nasal sibilants.
Good lord.  There goes my hope of ever pronouncing this monstrosity.

Good afternoon,


Tom Tadfor Little <tom@...>
Tom Tadfor Little <tom@...>irregularities
Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>