Re: A BrSc a?
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, May 1, 2002, 18:59|
At 4:44 am +0200 1/5/02, Kala Tunu wrote:
>Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:
>(b) it puts a constraint on the number of root morphemes and will probably
>mean compounding more often than natlangs - and that runs counter to
>ok, so why not first consider languages with a finite register of root words,
>which you certainly have already perused?
>arabic triconsowhatever, hebrew
>shoresh, common sinojapanese kanjis, sumerian epigraphy, etc. may give you an
>idea of the needed number of root words. japanese is around 3000 (1845
>+ the ones you need know to read specialized literature),
3000 might be OK, but...
>sumerian is around
750 is certainly too few - compounding will certainly be needed even
forsome quite common concepts.
>them needed to express these langs. then you could expand the number of CVCv
>roots by making them C(S)VCv: |tuat|, |kien|, |luop| etc. that would certainly
>double the number of root words. or else,
But that's starting to change the phonology of the language (as well as
making root-words longer); it's for that reason that I'm now experimenting
with syllabary idea - which I suspect I had never really abandoned since I
thought it up in my late teens :)
>tell pleremes from cenemes with a "signal" such as a reserved vowel or
>semi-vowel or whatever else.
Well, the scheme was remarkably simple:
- pleremes are written CVC (pronounced CVCv where _v_ is unstressed vowel,
determined by a rule of vowel harmony)
- cenemes are written C (pronounced Cv).
But, as I said, that's now coming under review.
>maybe determining the grammar first may help you
>fix the required number of primary roots: "con-tain-er" vs. "bowl",
>"hunt-ed-one" vs. "prey", etc. it's amazing how many useful compound words
>nouns like "species", "building", "tool", "master", "content",
>can yield. however,
This is very fine if you want to devise a language with a relatively small
set of root-words; but compounding will run counter to the aim of brevity
and compactness. This was IMO one of the weaknesses of Speedwords.
>The present ideas are, however, _experimental_. As our politicians are so
>of saying: "At this stage, nothing is ruled in and nothing is being ruled
Thanks - it interests me at least :)
Returning again to BP Jonsson who
at 5:08 pm +0200 28/4/02 wrote:
>Please allow me to propose:
> /i/ /u/
> /e/ /A/
That central, high vowel is still bugging me a little, altho it got a
reasonably positive reception on the list.
The recent thread on "PIE sister-langs" and the mention of Etruscan
reminded that Philip's scheme above is that Etruscan! I had only: /i/,
/e/, /a/, /u/. In borrowings from Latin, Latin /o(:)/ is rendered /u/.
In the probably related language found on Lemnos, only the values /i/, /e/,
/a/ and /o/ are attested. It has been assumed what the Lemnians
represented with the letter O was the same phoneme as the Etruscan letter V.
It has been observed that the height of the back of the 'vocalic
quadrilateral' is shorter than that of the front, i.e. there is less space
for different phonemes to 'sit comfortably' than there are for front ones.
Indeed, it has been suggested that this is reason /u/ has a tendency to
move forward to a high _central_ position or to a high front position; cf.
ancient Greek, French, Welsh, Lowland Scots & Ulster Scots, Swedish etc.
(In some the phoneme has also become unrounded, e.g. Welsh where it is 
in the north and [i] in the south, or modern Greek where it is [i]; but
other still keep a rounded vowel.)
I believe four-vowel systems are found in some other languages. Yes, it
would be perverse to have no /a/. But I wonder if the Lemnian/ Etruscan
model is acceptable?