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Underwater languages (was Re: Newbie introduction)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 1, 2003, 14:13
Apollo Hogan <apollo@...> writes:

> On Mon, 30 Jun 2003, [iso-8859-1] Jörg Rhiemeier wrote: > > > Apollo Hogan <apollo@...> writes: > > > > > I would be delighted for any comments, criticisms, complaints, insults, > > > etc. (insults only as long as they're conlang related). > > > > I have looked at all of them, and they all look very promising. > > No matter how sketchy they are, I like them! No need to be so humble. > > I have noticed that there are quite a few ergative languages among them. > > Your troll language, for example, sounds wonderfully "trollish", with only > > back consonants and such. > > I think I am just a bit too entranced by the 'exoticness' of ergative > languages (to my poor indo-european mind). I like the bizarre and exotic, > so I try to put something strange in each language.
Yes, there is nothing wrong with ergative languages, of course. It is a good thing to put something "exotic" into a conlang. Many beginner conlangers create languages that are just like western European languages, while in reality, the diversity of human languages is astounding.
> > I have a question about your Oloi conlang. What kind of people are the > > "sea-dwelling folk" that speaks it? Are they human sea-nomads with boats, > > or some sort of amphibious race? Is the language designed to be spoken > > underwater? I have noticed that the language lacks obstruents. > > Is this perhaps because they don't come out well underwater > > (I don't know which sounds come out best underwater, but I assume that > > vowels work better than sonorants, which work better than obstruents)? > > I am asking this because I am also considering a (dialect of a) language > > spoken by (in my case human) sea-nomads. > > The language is mean for an amphibious-type race (scales, fins, etc.) > I actually just started with a name and tried to make the language fit > the name. I have no idea about the acoustic properties of different > sounds underwater. Actually, that would be interesting to investigate > to construct a 'realistic' language for an underwater-dwelling people.
Sound travels very well underwater (and it is about three or four times as fast as in air, thus foiling directional hearing in humans, though an aquatic creature could be able to hear directionally underwater), but the human ear works less well. The biggest problem that humans face who try to speak to each other underwater are the inevitable bubbling noises. I am intending to do some experiments on that matter when I find the occasion for it. Aquatic creatures will be better adapted for underwater communication, and it is anyone's guess what kind of language they speak (see the ongoing discussion about dolphin languages).
> I'd be curious to see your language when it comes out.
This will take some time. I am currently working on the protolanguage of the family the language belongs to. BTW, the name of the language (as for now) is "Macaronesian" and the family is named (provisionally) "Quendic" or simply "Q". Jörg. ______________________________________________________________________________ UNICEF bittet um Spenden fur die Kinder im Irak! Hier online an UNICEF spenden: