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the fruits of your advice

From:Jonathan Knibb <j_knibb@...>
Date:Saturday, July 12, 2003, 17:57
I posted a couple of weeks ago asking about consonant phoneme
features, and the consensus seemed to be that anything goes when
you're inventing an inventory. So, without further ado, I beg leave to
present the all-new consonant system of Telona (that name *has* to
change soon...). Monospaced fonts at the ready:

               coronal         non-coronal
           dental  alveolar  labial    back
stop        t d      c J\     p P      k P
fricative   s T      S C      W f      x h
sonorant    D n      r l      - u_^    - i_^

In each pair, the left-hand phoneme is 'strong' and the right-hand
phoneme 'weak'. This correlates, more or less, with a fortis/lenis
distinction, at least in the stops and fricatives, on top of any place
changes. Note that the front / back distinction is neutralised for
non-coronal weak stops (phoneme /P/), and that there are no
strong non-coronal sonorants.

The basic form of a syllable is (C)V(C); either of the consonants may
be weak or strong. In the citation forms of words, an initial
consonant must be strong and a final consonant weak, although they may
undergo weakening, fricative mutation or sonorant mutation, triggered
by an adjoining affix or clitic (to be developed :).

For phonological purposes, the off-glides /u_^/ and /i_^/ are treated
as consonants, but are restricted to coda positions. Weak consonants
predominate medially, but strong consonants may occasionally appear
intervocalically, as well as in certain clusters.

Consonant clusters occur in a significant minority of words, formed by
the coda consonant of a non-final syllable plus the onset consonant of
the following syllable. The allowed clusters are as follows:

weak sonorant + weak stop / weak coronal fricative
weak sonorant + strong sonorant
weak fricative + strong sonorant (homorganic clusters disallowed)
strong fricative + strong stop ('homocoronal' clusters disallowed)

There's no change to the vowel inventory. For those who haven't yet
committed it to memory :), the vowel phonemes are /i e a u o/, with /a
u o/ considered [+back]. The initial syllable of a word may contain
any vowel, but subsequent syllables may contain only /i e a/. In the
context of an initial-syllable back vowel, subsequent /i/ and /e/ are
pronounced [1] and [@] respectively, and the initial consonant of the
word is labialised (if susceptible to this).

Whaddya think? I'll put the thing into LANGMAKER as soon as I have a
chance and churn some actual words out for road-testing.


[reply to jonathan underscore knibb at hotmail dot com]
'O dear white children casual as birds,
Playing among the ruined languages...'
Auden/Britten, 'Hymn to St. Cecilia'