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Another question about language naming

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Saturday, March 16, 2002, 3:41
Since we're discussing language names, here's something that's been on my
mind recently. Most of my languages in recent years have used the
language's name for itself also as the English name. So in the middle of a
sentence, something like "Gjarrda" or "Tirelhat" will come up, which is not
only foreign to English phonology but also isn't clear how it should be
pronounced in the first place (since you have to know the romanization for
the particular language). But we don't see things like "Deutsch" or
"Nihongo" in English sentences; we refer to them as "German" and
"Japanese". You'll see the occasional language with non-English sounds or
combinations, like "Tlingit" or "Xhosa", but those are less common.

Another thing that tends to happen with conlangs is that the native names
change. I changed Jarda to Jarrda, which was later respelled as Gjarrda,
and had to rename all the web pages. Tirelat changed first to Tirehlat,
then Tirelhat, and now it's Tirylhat. Having a fixed English name, even if
it goes out of date, would be useful for documentation and searching.

So I'm thinking that Gjarrda in English should just be called Jarda, and
pronounced in the obvious manner as ['dZAr\d@] (instead of ['J\arda]). It's
not clear what the name for Tirylhat should be, but ['tI48Kat] isn't an
option in English! I might settle for Tirethlat, or not bother trying to
represent the lateral fricative and just use the original name Tirelat.

The question is how far to go in Anglicizing conlang names. I used to be in
the habit of spelling the long [i] sound as "ee" in English representation
of words like "Zireen" and "Neesklaaz". After switching to "i" for a while,
I compromised, and now typically use "ie" for this sound. On the other
hand, a word like "Zirien" risks being mispronounced as a three-syllable
"zi-ri-en". So does it make sense to go so far as "Zireen" to avoid the
chance of misinterpretation? Or would conlangers, who tend to be more
familiar with languages than the average English speaker, assume this is
meant to be pronounced [zire:n]?

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


Padraic Brown <agricola@...>
And Rosta <a.rosta@...>