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Refining Minza

From:Herman Miller <hmiller@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 3:15
Since the topic of revising languages has come up, I thought it might be
a good time to review some of my recent work on Minza. I've been keeping
a few different versions of the language, but eventually the plan is to
pick one of them and incorporate any features from the other versions
that I prefer. The set of distinctive phonemes is probably one feature
of the language I can settle on without much trouble, so I'll start with


A typical Minza variant has a set of consonants something like this:

p b         t d  (tʃ dʒ)  k ɡ
   m           n            ɲ/ŋ
       f v   s z    ʃ  ʒ   x ɣ
             ɬ l

Additions: Minza B adds ç (C) and ʝ (j\). Minza D replaces the
post-alveolar ʃ (S) and ʒ (Z) with retroflex ʂ (s`)and ʐ (z`), and adds
retroflex ɳ, ɭ, and ɬ̢ (i.e. a retroflex voiceless lateral fricative).
Minza E and Minza F add a palatal lateral ʎ (L). Minza G, in addition to
the retroflex series (but without the laterals) adds a whole set of
palatalized consonants. Typical Minza versions have either ɳ (J) or ŋ
(N), but not both.

Some versions of Minza have had other affricates, like /ts/ or /dz/.
I've been leaning towards considering [tS] and [dZ] as sequences of
phonemes /t/ + /S/, /d/ + /Z/. Other than that, the final Minza
consonant chart will probably look very similar to this. [N] and [J] may
turn out to be allophones. The velar fricatives are not very distinctive
and may end up merging with some of the other sounds (most likely /f/
with /x/ and /v/ or /N/ with /G/). The retroflex sounds keep wanting to
come back, and I may end up either splitting the post-alveolar
fricatives or replacing them with retroflex ones.

Vowels: Here are some typical Minza vowels and diphthongs:

i  ʉ  u    iə   ʉə   uə
ɛ  ɵ  ɔ    ɛi   ɵʉ   ɔu
a          ai        au

Most Minza variants have a similar set of vowels, with the addition of æ
and ɒ in Minza G. The diphthongs are more variable. Vowel length is
distinctive in some but not all versions of Minza. I think, though, that
diphthongs are more typically Minza-flavored than long vowels, so I may
be replacing all long vowels with diphthongs.


Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...>
Herman Miller <hmiller@...>