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DISC: phonological system of Adain

From:Aidan Grey <grey@...>
Date:Thursday, March 14, 2002, 20:51
  Follows is a discussion of phonological patterns in Adain (formerly known
as Sephas). And in case you wonder, no, it is not an anagram of my name! It
derives from _adan_ 'people' and the adjectival/language suffix -in.

Basic phonology:
Stops: p, t, c, b, d, g (as in IPA)
Fricatives: f, th /T/ , ch /x/, v, dh /D/, gh /G/, h
Nasals: n, m, ng /N/
Liquids: l, r (tap or rhotic), lh (as Welsh ll), rh (as Welsh rh)
Sibilants: s, sh /S/
Semivowels: y, w
Vowels: in my best guess for ascii IPA rendering
Simple: @, a, e (late), E (bet), I (lip), i (leek), o , u (boot), C
(reversed c of IPA), U (book), & (at)
Diphthongs: aw, ew, ow, aj, ej, oj

    vowels (both simple and diphthong) are long or short. The distinction
is represented orthographically by geminate consonants or clusters
following a short vowel in stressed syllables. Unstressed syllables are
always short.

  Consonants are mostly as above, with the following exceptions: /N/ as n
(allophonic). /w/ as u. /f/ and /v/ occassionally appear in transliteration
as ph or bh.
   Vowels get more interesting. Here is a chart that explains, with the
orthographic representation along the left edge (hopefully the formatting
will remain):

          Short     Long
a        @          a
e        E           e
i         I             i
o        o            ow
u        U           u
au      C           aw
eu      U           ew
ai       E            aj
ei       I             ej
oe      U            oj
ae      &            /aj/ or /ej/ (dialectal variation)
ao      E            ew
y        @           @ (or wedge /^/ ?)

A couple minimal pairs:
  son /sown/  vs. sonn /son/
  taov /tewv/  vs. taovra /tevr@/

here's the part I'd like the most comments on (is it realistic? Do I make
sense? anything else?)

Words normally retain the characteristic length of their stressed vowel
throughout declension or conjugation. In the case of a long vowel or
diphthong preceding a cluster (due to derivational or inflectional
processes), this should result in a short vowel (and sometimes it does.
However, in general, the long vowel transforms into a diphthong, preserving
length visually if not entirely phonemically. For example, the verb
_ser_  /ser/ 'flow' becomes _saerra_  /s&rr@/ in the future conjunct (in
-ra). This transformation turns front vowels and j-diphthongs (except oe)
into ae and all others into ao.

Syllable structure:
    (cluster or consonant +) vowel or diphthong (+ continuant)
    two vowels consecutively are not allowed, and are separated by a glide
or /v/

    Permitted initial clusters
      stop + liquid
      unvoiced fricative + liquid
      s + unvoiced stop or liquid
      stop, l, or h + y

    Permitted medial clusters
      nasal + stop
      nasal + liquid and liquid + nasal (permitted clusters depends on
relation to tonic syllable, which I haven't yet fully analysed)
      liquid + fricative or sibilant (with l+h>lh, r+h>rh)
      unvoiced stop + s (< voiced stop + s, all unv. stops + s > fricatives)
      h + nasal or liquid (with h+l or r > lh, rh)

    no final clusters allowed (only gemination). No clusters of more than 2
phonemes allowed.



Aidan Grey <grey@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Aidan Grey <grey@...>