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A new discovery near Urtalkas - phonology

From:Rik <rik@...>
Date:Thursday, August 29, 2002, 8:18
But firstly, for those wondering where Urtalkas actually is, here are some

Okay then. Some facts about the writing system. It resembles the writing
system used by the Telik language family (to state the obvious, I'm typing
this in Ga, so we're looking at the modern Telik alphabet). For reference, a
diagram of language families can be found at this link:

The language uses 27 separate letters. 8 letters appear to be vowels: a, a',
e, i, o, o', u and u'. In line with other suggested phonology solutions,
Prof. Canhe has assigned the following sounds to each letter:

a - open back unrounded - A
a' - open front rounded - a
e - open mid-front rounded - E
i - close front unrounded - i
o - open mid-back rounded - o
o' - open front rounded - &
u - close back rounded - u
u' - schwa - @

These vowels also appear together in the following combinations: ai, ei, oi,
ui, a'e, ie, o'e and u'e. Here, Prof. Canhe suggests the letters are
pronounced as dipthongs, the first 4 gliding towards /i/ while the second 4
glide towards /E/. (Other systems insist that these vowels should be
pronounced separately)

Nobody has ever come up with a reasonable consonant system. After examining
many hundreds of example texts, Prof. Canhe proposes a radical solution -
that combinations of consonants are used to produce unique sounds. In her
system, the letter resembling c does not have a sound of its own, but rather
is used in combination with other letters to produce a full compliment of 26
consonant sounds.

To start with the less controversial mappings:

f - labiodental unvoiced - f
v - labiodental voiced - v
s - alveolar unvoiced - s
z - alveolar voiced - z
h - glottal - h

We also have 4 combination letters, which Prof. Canhe assigns to intermediate
fricative sounds:

fc - dental unvoiced - T
vc - dental voiced - D
sc - postalveolar unvoiced - S
zc - postalveolar voiced - Z

The following stops are not disputed:

p - bilabial unvoiced - p
b - bilabial voiced - b
t - dental unvoiced - t_d
d - dental voiced - d_d
k - velar unvoiced - k
g - velar voiced - g

Again, we have 2 combination letters accociated with these stops: kc and gc.
Using the above rationale, we should assign intermediate stop sounds to these
combinations. However, Prof. Canhe says that their positions within words
would mitigate against such a conclusion: the words are a lot easier to
pronounce if these 2 combinations are given fricative sounds. Thus:

kc - uvular unvoiced - X
gc - uvular voiced - R

The last 8 consonant sounds are assigned as follows:

m - bilabial nasal - m
n - alveolar nasal - n
nc - velar nasal - N
r - alveolar tap - 4
rc - alveolar trill - r
y - palatal approximant - j
l - dental lateral approximant - l
w - voiced labio-velar approximant - w

nc and rc are asigned unique sounds, in line with Prof. Canhe's model.

In conclusion, Prof Canhe claims that this system allows us to pronounce the
example words as follows (which I have to say is a lot easier than other
proposed systems):

1. saltso'vo'eslaqu'ppwa'zcik - sAlts&v&-EslA?@ppwaZik
2. laspwa'zcikaqu'msikzcleksincan - lAspwaZikA?@msikZlEksiNAn
3. lasksincanlaqepgvcusa'bkleso'es - lAsksiNAnlA?EpgDusabklEs&-Es
4. losdzcanaqu'pswo'gvcusa'bgwiteifc - lOsdZAnA?@psw&gDusabgwitE-iT
5. oltsqlubeifcyaqu'pgvcusabseifc - Olts?lubE-iTjA?@pgDusabsE-iT

Next post: root words.



daniel andreasson <danielandreasson@...>