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A BrSc a?

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, April 19, 2002, 19:00
After two positive responses and no negative ones following my email on
15th April outling some current ideas on BrSc phonology & orthography, I'm
encouraged to continue working on this revised system.

One thing Dirk pointed out was that there was no /a/.  This is not because
I dislike the sound or want to drop it - quite the reverse, in fact.  I was
not happy at finding no place for it and wondered if anyone would comment
on its absence.  Well, someone did.

There seem to me, without abandoning the vowel harmony system inherent in
Dirk's syllabary suggestion, there are three possibilities:

Scheme (a)
Not to get worried by lack of /a/, and keep the 4-vowel scheme outlined on
the 15th, namely:

      FRONT     BACK
HIGH  /i/       /u/
LOW   /E/       /O/

The low vowels might optionally be as low as [{] and [Q].

Scheme (b)
This is Dirk's original scheme and which, personally, I prefer.   That
means we have a high, central vowel [1], like the north Walian
pronunciation of Welsh {u}, the Romanian î (i-circumflex) or Russian bI,

HIGH  /i/       /1/      /u/
LOW   /e/       /a/      /e/

Here the front & back low vowels would be expected to range from [e] to
[E], and [o] to [O] respectively.  The very low [{] and [Q] should be

The only thing that holds me back is that high, central vowel.  So many
languages (including English, which is quite widely spoken  :)    lack the
sound.  I don't know of any constructed IAL that includes it.  Would its
inclusion be unacceptable in a conlang that had, as one of its aims, the
possibility of being used as an IAL?

Scheme (c)
This is really a modification of the (b) which might make it make
internationally acceptable.  As /a/ is, in fact, lower than /e/ and /o/, we
could have the 'high central' vowel lower than /i/ and /u/; we could have
/@/, the shwa so beloved by anglophones.  This would give us:
HIGH  /i/       /@/      /u/
LOW   /e/       /a/      /e/

Although /@/ occurs much more frequently than /1/, it is still absent from
very many languages, including some widely spoken ones such as Spanish.  Is
this scheme acceptable in an IAL?

Comments will be very much appreciated.




Levi Tooker <nerd525@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
And Rosta <a-rosta@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
BP Jonsson <bpj@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>