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Re: Wofir aka The Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Saturday, September 9, 2000, 2:27
On Fri, Sep 08, 2000 at 12:00:50PM -0400, Roger Mills wrote:
> Interestingly, when Kash was born, it had diphthongs /ay, aw/ at least in > word-final, and the syllabary had special symbols for them. Then it changed > to alphabetic writing, with a rule forbidding two vowel symbols in a row, so > /ay, aw/ had to be written "ayi, awu", and for a while were pronounced as > two syllables. But I LIKE diphthongs, so they've been creeping back in, and > now we need a spelling reform.......Simple enough to eliminate all y's > before/after /i/, since that's entirely automatic; but some cases of > /#wu.../ or /...uwV.../ arise from *b or maybe *v. So for the moment, the > Committee is still in a stew.
[snip] Hmm, interesting. To tell you the truth, I've always thought about y and w as vowels, not so much as consonants: the "soft-breathed" versions of i and u, respectively. (If you pronounce them in a way that rhymes, that is.) In fact, my conlang currently, tentatively differentiates between (1) soft-breathed vowels (so a soft-breathed i is pronounced like y, etc., for each of the 9 vowels), (2) "normal"-breathed vowels (pronounced with preceding glottal stop if at the start of a word), and (3) "hard"-breathed vowels, pronounced as if there was a "h" sound before the vowel. I'm thinking of dropping this distinction, though... since I already have way too many dimensions in my vowel phonology anyway. Right now, I have 9 basic vowels with these dimensions: (1) nasal/non-nasal (2) long/short (3) three tones/pitches (4) breathing, as described above (I called it "glottalization", not sure if that's an appropriate term). I originally even considered diphthongs, but threw that out 'cos it made it totally unwieldy. That still leaves about 324 different vowel realizations, perhaps minus breathing after consonants (since the breathing of a vowel after a consonant would have to assimilate with the consonant). That's WAY too many possibilities than I'd like to deal with. T