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Gnumin Phonology Sketch

From:jesse stephen bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 18, 2001, 4:56
I don't do this often, but I'm posting a phonological sketch on the
conlang I'm working on now, tentatively titled "Gnomin", pronounced
[g_Numin], with a nasally released [g].

This is my first attempt at a large phonology-conlang, as all of my
previous projects have had pretty small sets of phonemes.  Counting
maximally, there are 99 phonemes in this lang, though I'll be giving a
less gigantic description here.


There are five different types of consonant articulations: voiceless,
aspirated, ejective, voiced, breathy voiced (murmured), and
nasal-released.  In the bilabial series these are [p p_h p' b b_h b_m].
(The symbol for breathy voiced [b] should really be [b] with superscript
heng, but we'll use [b_h] in this message.)

These stops occur in four places of articulation: bilabial, alveolar,
velar, and uvular.  The uvular series is defective, as it does not contain
any voiced sounds.

There are seven additional sounds, [s l m n N j w].

The consonant structure is (C)(S)V(S/N), where
C = any of the stops discussed above
S = [s l j w]
N = the nasals [m n N]

A peculiarity of the phonotactics is that the S sounds [s l j w]
assimilate with the features of the stop preceding them.  Thus, combining
[p_h] with these, we get
[ps_h pl_0 pj_0 pw_0]

The aspiration of the [p] is pronounced following the [s], and the
inherently voiced approximants are devoiced as a feature of the
aspiration.  When an ejective combines with an S sound, the entire cluster
is ejective, i.e. release of glottal closure does not occur until after
the S sound.  Frex, /p's/ is [ps'], with the whole sequence [ps]
pronounced as an ejective.

The uvular series is defective in this respect, to as [q'] cannot occur
with any following sound.  (If you want to know why, try to say [qs']).


Vowels are quite simple.  There are only three qualities [i u a], which
also occur long [i: u: a:].  The short vowels might wind up being somewhat
laxed, to [I U @], though I'm not sure about that yet.

I'm not sure if I explained that well, but I'm open to
comments/suggestions from anyone.

Jesse S. Bangs

"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are
perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in
frightful danger of seeing it for the first time."
--G.K. Chesterton