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Re: Conworld language sound inventory

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Sunday, January 27, 2008, 15:06
On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 14:07:36 +0100, Geijss Streijde wrote:

>I am working on my own conworld, and am in the process of making >languages for this world. For the ancestor languages of the draconic >languages, I'd like to hear what you think of this sound inventory. > >*Old draconic* >_Vowels_ >Single vowels >[i] = /i/ >[E] = /e/ >[a] = /a/ >[o] = /o/ >[u] = /u/ >[@] = /y/
Phonemically perfectly fine. Phonetically, [E a o] seems a bit uncommon in natlangs, I could understand the imbalance a bit better if it were [E A o] or [e & O] but usually you have either [E O] or [e o]. Still, good for flavor, it's not really implausible or anything.
>Diphthongs >[&i] = /ei/ >[Ai] = /ai/ >[oi] = /oi/ >[ui] = /ui/ >[Vu] = /ou/
The last one looks kind of out-of-the-blue, or like it's miming Dutch. Or maybe it's a former [@u] on its way to [Au]?? Eh. Go with it if you want to.
>_Consonants_ >Single consonants >[f] = /f/ >[s] = /s/ >[x] = /g/ >[p] = /p/ >[t] = /t/ >[k] = /k/ >[n] = /n/ >[N] = /m/
Quite far remoovd from the "standard" sonorant inventory of /m n r l j w/. Or do some of those pop up as allophones of something else? You have difthongs ending in [i] so I'd expect at least a [j] somewhere. Then again, worse things are kno'n to happen (Rotokas etc). There's a long way from "improbable" to "implausible".
>Allowed consonant clusters >[sx] = /ks/ (Start of syllable only) >[ks] = /x/ >[pt] = /pt/ (End of syllable only) >[Nk] = /mk/ (End of syllable only)
IMO treating /ks/ as if it were a single consonant is overdone... and the rest of the cluster inventory looks kinda random too. But again not implausibly much so. I would however be tempted to add at least a *little* symmetry into it; final /nt/ comes into mind first. And maybe /ks/ is underlyingly //kt// with /t/ assibilating after /k/?? The [sx] seems still out of place. Not sure what might be an advisable course of events. I read on ZBB the other day about some Amerind (Algonquian, IIRC?) language where s > xs universally, thru s` or something I suspect, so some similar explanation might suffice to leave it as it is (indeed, I had independantly done something similar in my first conlang), if you don't want to add some more similar clusters such as [sf]. Have you considered what can happen between syllables? Is, say, [tafNa] a possible word? How about [taxsxa]? [taiptksa]? []? John Vertical