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Re: Proposed phonology for my new language

From:FFlores <fflores@...>
Date:Monday, August 30, 1999, 2:05
Daniel Seriff <daniel.a.seriff@...> wrote:
> > Here it is, at long last...I'm finally putting up here for criticism. > Please feel free to give me any pointers, and definitely tell me about > any inconsistencies and such that may be present. This is my first > conlang project, so it's bound to be a bit clumsy. > > BTW, it's all Kirschenbaum ASCII. > > Consonants: > > [p/b] [t/d] [k/g] [q] > [m/n/N] [*/r/j] > [F] [f/v] [T/D] [s/z] [S/Z] [x] [X/g"] [H] [h] > [l/l^] > > Any problems here? Are there too many fricatives?
Maybe. I'll tell you what I think (constructive criticism): First, why isn't there a /G/ (voiced uvular stop) to contrast with /q/? Not that it's an obligation, but it makes you think. Second: can you pronounce /H/? How do you do it? :) I don't even know where my pharynx is! Then as for the fricatives: /F/ and /f/ are not very distinct and they would merge in most cases. In any case, /F/ is really rare in natlangs. If you keep it, maybe you'd want /B/ to form the couple. /x/ could be accompanied too, but that's not really important... It can be difficult to distinguish it from /X/. Have you thought of allophones before front vowels? (For example, Spanish /x/ tends to become palatal /C/ before front vowels.) If you want to have both voiced and unvoiced uvular fricatives, then you should definitely have /q/ and /G/, since it's strange that fricatives make a distinction that is not made in the corresponding stop. Haven't you thought of affricates, or did you just decide not to have them?
> > Vowels: > > [i] [u] > [I] [U] > [e/Y] > [@] > [E/&.] [O] > [&/&~] [@<low>] > [a] [A/A~]
> > Are the nasal vowels out of place? Should I make more of them have a > nasal counterpart? I haven't decided yet if the nasal vowels offer > phonemic contrast. Suggestions?
I think you should have some more nasal contrasting pairs. *If* you keep it, you should probably have less nasal than oral vowels, since nasality seems to make sounds less distinguishable. That is, maybe only three vowels, /e~ @~ o~/ or the like. Your vowel system is a bit disbalanced in that there's /e/ /E/, but only /O/ with no /o/. Also, I don't see how your 'low schwa' would be different enough from /a/, especially if you reduce vowels. And I would have /y/ to contrast with /i/, given you already have two rounded front vowels /Y/ and /&./. The main thing when designing a phonology is *balance*. If you have a feature somewhere, you should have it somewhere else and your vowel diagram should be more or less symmetric. Of course, there are natlangs that don't follow the rules, but they are few. Some common vowel systems: i u a i u e o a i i" u e @ o a i y u e Y o & a Plus the lax-tense distinction (/i/ vs /I/, etc.) you can add some more vowels like that... Or you can have unrounded back vowels, or retroflexed vowels, or length distinction. Et cetera. :) Hope that helps, --Pablo Flores