Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Tirehlat romanization

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 25, 2001, 0:07
I've been going back to Tirehlat recently, and among other things I've been
refining the Tirehlat script (Velika, with the stress on the second
syllable). I'm in the process of converting my Tirehlat materials over to
using the Velika script, and I'm getting accustomed to reading it. I've
also been rearranging the characters in the Velika font to make it easier
to type directly in Velika. But I don't suppose anyone else has the time or
interest to learn the Velika script, so I'm going to have to come up with a
romanized version. Here are the basic sounds of the Tirehlat phonemes
(ignoring for now the allophonic variations):

Consonants                         post-               Vowels
          bilabial dental alveolar alveolar velar      front central back
stop        p  b    t  d                    k  g        i y           u
affricate                   ts dz   tS dZ
nasal          m       n                      (N)*      E     @       O
trill                      r_0 r
fricative   f  v    T  D    s  z    S  Z    x  G        a
lat. fric.                  K  K\
* original /N/ has merged with /m/ in Tirehlat, but the letter for /N/
remains in use for foreign names.

The Velika script has a character for each phoneme of the Tirehlat
language, including stress (although the stress mark, a circle above the
letter, is unwritten when the stress falls on the first syllable of the
word). There are also distinct characters for the semivowel allophones of
/i/, /y/, and /u/. (The version on my web page is a bit out of date. I'll
be putting up a new version within a few days.)

The original Tirehlat script used the Roman alphabet with diacritics, which
don't reproduce well in email. Recently, I've been using a variation of
Czirehlat spelling, which works out well since I recently took a number of
features from Czirehlat and borrowed them back into Tirehlat.

Czirehlat spelling
Consonants                         post-               Vowels
          bilabial dental alveolar alveolar velar      front central back
stop        p  b    t  d                    k  g        i ui/iu*      u
affricate                   tz dz   cz cg
nasal          m       n                       q        e    (e)**    o
trill                       hr r
fricative   f  v    f* v*   s  z    sz j    x  y        a
lat. fric.                  hl l
* these Tirehlat sounds are not found in Czirehlat
** [@] is an allophone of /e/ in Czirehlat

To adapt this spelling to the needs of Tirehlat, I added <th> and <dh> for
/T/ and /D/, changed the velar fricatives to <ch> and <gh>, so that I could
use <y> for /y/, and added <e-breve> for the Tirehlat /@/. But this system
has a couple of problems with it: for instance, <thl> is ambiguous between
/Tl/ and /tK/. So in romanized Tirehlat I've been spelling /tK/ as <tl>,
/pr_0/ as <pr>, and so on. But I don't like that extra complication. I'm
thinking of redesigning the Tirehlat romanization to something a little bit
less idiosyncratic and easier to read, something like this:

Consonants                         post-               Vowels
          bilabial dental alveolar alveolar velar      front central back
stop        p  b    t  d                    k  g        i y           u
affricate                   ts dz   ch j
nasal          m       n                      (ng)      e     ë       o
trill                       rh r
fricative   f  v    th dh   s  z    sh zh   x  gh       a
lat. fric.                  lh l

Of course one problem with this scheme is that the name of the language
would be spelled "Tirëlhat"! Overall, though, this looks like it would be
more easily readable. I can't think of any spelling that makes more sense
for /T/ and /D/, unless I use <þ> and <ð>. I might keep <tz> for /ts/. I
looked at a few other languages for ideas on how to write the tricky
sounds, but I didn't find anything that really looks much better.

            ts  dz  tS  dZ  S   Z   x   y   @
Albanian    c   x   ç   xh  sh  zh      y   ë
Chinese     c   z   ch  zh  sh  r   h   ü   e
Esperanto   c   dz  cx  gx  sx  jx  hx
Hungarian   c   dz  cs  dzs s   zs      ü
Latvian     c   dz  c^  dz^ s^  z^  h
Polish      c   dz  cz  dz* sz  rz  ch
Turkish             ç   c   s,  j       ü

There's certainly a good case for using <c> as the spelling of the /ts/
phoneme, especially since the relationship between /ts/ and /tS/ (= <ch>)
is analogous to <s> / <sh> and <z> / <zh>. But I'm not sure if I could get
used to spellings like <pica> = "pizza". Spelling /y/ as <ü> looks fine,
but the accented /ý/ would be a problem (<ü> with an acute accent is
available in the standard Windows fonts, since it's needed for Pinyin, but
it's not in the ISO 8859-1 character set.) So I'll probably leave <ts> or
<tz> for /ts/ and <y> for /y/.

Another problem is that /@/, which formerly was always unstressed, can now
be stressed. If I write it as <ë>, there's no easy way to put a stress mark
on top of it. But I don't want to use a digraph for it, since ordinarily
it's a short, unstressed vowel that practically disappears in some contexts
in rapid speech. Perhaps I can go back to the old way of writing epenthetic
schwas (which are unwritten in the Velika script) with an apostrophe. (So
for instance, "Velika" would be written <v'lika>.) But there are phonemic
schwas at the end of words like "paghë" (baboon) and "vihrë" (mother).
Perhaps I could use <ê> for the stressed /@/ in words like "têma" (mole,
the animal).

For comparison, here's the relay text and the Swallow Song in the
Czirehlat-influenced spelling, followed by the proposed new romanization.

miri tuli jënaja

padariz më desa u chuiri iut.
lirkarin ja chuiriz,
 të megarin më kuanaadri,
 të tagarin ja nusuz.
më takki iut,
 teptarin më rev ja nusuz.
taka vë rev jadharin më lëvor namaz szë sera.
i hradhatin na le më luchi tuli më manta u rev,
 të lupatiz ke, më luchi tuli.

tegla jëlana

zikijaz, së tegla zikijaz,
kotaz më jemi nallu, më jemi raga,
yaki fali jëmogu, yaki kavi jënyk.
më jevëtzin dalatan za czakni rëruba,
ju më zavár vë kinéj, ju më nirik vë marat.
të më rihlëniem sza mifsiniem së tegla jëlarakai.
tagatazai no dalatazai? makanui...
sinda makanukai, hretavakai.
czë më rënora ni vuzimaz më mech...
i tikrinuz da, akini kota mi...
sinda makanui, ispa më mirivit.
juvi, juvi së szuru balatai na tegla,
tunukaz hle miavijahr, tha narán.

miri tuli zhënazha

padariz më desa u xuiri iut.
lirkarin zha xuiriz,
 të megarin më kuanaadri,
 të tagarin zha nusuz.
më takki iut,
 teptarin më rev zha nusuz.
taka vë rev zhadharin më lëvor namaz shë sera.
i rhadhatin na le më luxi tuli më manta u rev,
 të lupatiz ke, më luxi tuli.

tegla zhëlana

zikizhaz, së tegla zikizhaz,
kotaz më zhemi nallu, më zhemi raga,
yaki fali zhëmogu, yaki kavi zhënyk.
më zhevëtsin dalatan za chakni rëruba,
zhu më zavár vë kinézh, zhu më nirik vë marat.
të më rilhëniem sha mifsiniem së tegla zh'larakai.
tagatazai no dalatazai? makanui...
sinda makanukai, rhetavakai.
chë më rënora ni vuzimaz më mex...
i tikrhinuz da, akini kota mi...
sinda makanui, ispa më mirivit.
zhuvi, zhuvi së shuru balatai na tegla,
tunukaz lhe miavizharh, tha narán.

languages of Azir------> ---<>---
hmiller (Herman Miller)   "If all Printers were determin'd not to print any  email password: thing till they were sure it would offend no body,
\ "Subject: teamouse" /  there would be very little printed." -Ben Franklin


BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
BP Jonsson <bpj@...>