Introduction and Þēwthàj Phonology
|From:||Kevin Athey <kevindeanathey@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 26, 2005, 19:38|
Hello, all. I'm more or less new to CONLANG, and I'm entirely new to
posting, so I'll introduce myself first. I'm Athey. I have an
undergraduate degree in linguistics, and I'm pushing towards dropping the
prefix in that clause. I have been making up languages for literally longer
than I remember. When I visit my mother's home, I still periodically find
notebooks filled with languages I don't remember making, dating from
elementary school. None of them are actually good, of course, but they make
interesting and rather introspective reading.
I have several conlang projects cooking right now. I'd like your input on
the one I'm most proud of. (My non-languisticky friends are sick of me
talking about it.) The name of this beast is Þēwthàj. The
transliteration scheme may seem a little unwieldy at first, but the
alternative romanization is atrocious. (Tho1taq4)
I'll toss you all the phonology, now.
Þēwthàj has, very roughly, bilabial, apical, laminal, velar, and
glottal places of articulation. It has a full set of oral stops, a set of
fricatives not including the glottal, and a set of glides not including the
velar (/h/ is counted as a glide for sonority reasons). The "velar
fricative" is actually uvular and the apical glide sounds like a
pharyngealized dental lateral in onset position. There is also /s/ between
/þ/ and /ş/ and a nasal stop which is bilabial in onset position and
either homorganic (to the following consonant) or coronal in coda position.
The chart with my preferred transliteration looks like this:
p t - ţ c '
f þ s ş j -
w l - y - h
All syllables must have an onset, which is either a single consonant, or an
oral stop plus a glide (excluding /ty/ and /ţl/, but including all the
combinations with /'/). A coda may not contain an oral stop. In
coda-position, /l/ is written |r|, and /m/ is written |n| to more accurately
represent pronunciation. /h/ is actually [x] in coda position, but this is
not rendered orthographically.
In underlying form, Þēwthàj has three vowels, differentiated by height.
I have rendered them /i/, /e/, and /a/. Before most codas, they are
central. However, the combination /iw/ is pronounced [u:], /iy/ is [i:],
/ew/ is [EU], and /ey/ is [EI]. /i/ is fronted to [I] before /h/, and there
are a couple other trivial allophonic variations of the vowels, but that
Þēwthàj also has tonal distinctions. Syllables are either "clipped" or
"full". All clipped syllables are open and have a low  tone. Clipped
syllables must always be followed by a full syllable. Full syllables are
normally closed, although those with the vowel /a/ may also be open. Full
syllables have four possible tones: mid , high , rising  and
falling . There is very simple tone sandhi whereby 33+35 becomes 3324,
33+33 becomes 3322, 35+55 becomes 3544, 55+55 becomes 5544, and 42+2 becomes
All true roots, excluding inflections, are either a single full syllable
(most roots) or a clipped syllable followed by a full syllable (a few
roots). The few inflections that exist are all clipped syllable prefixes.
As you may see, this can lead to a certain amount of homophony. Most actual
words are bimorphemic or even trimorphemic, as in Chinese. There are even
quite a few true roots which cannot occur free and are no longer even
That is all for now. Tell me what you think.
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