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Re: Maximal flexibility with self-segregating morphology

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 16:10
On Mon, Sep 8, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...> wrote:

> Rather than using any pair of vowels to mark the end of a word, what > about having classes of vowels, with particular class pairings being > reserved for boundary-marking, but leaving other pairing free for use > internally? The classes don't have to based on harmony, but that seems > a natural choice. Rather than all vowels except the last harmonizing > with the first in a word, you could have all vowel pairs being > harmonious or all disharmonious except the last. This also opens up > more freedom with affixing, because the internal vowels of a word > won't have to change to re-harmonize with the new initials or new > terminals provided by affixes.
In languages with vowel harmony, it's usually the affixes whose vowels alter to harmonize with the root, not vice versa. The reverse would be an interesting experiment; how would you handle multiple affixes? The last suffix or the first prefix determines the harmony pattern of the whole word?
> Thus, you can use any single vowels you > want internally, and you can use some types of vowel sequences.
Or maybe, as Larry suggested, use diphtongizable vowel sequences as your final pairs and non-diphthongizable pairs as the initial/medial pairs. Or vice versa. That is, any pair that includes one of /i/ ~ /j/ or /u/ ~ /w/ is allowed in one position, and other pairs that include neither of those are allowed in the other positions. If you have the usual 5-vowel auxlang/fauxlang system, that would give you 16 diphthongs and 9 non-diphthong vowel pairs; or 6 and 14 if you rule out sequences of two instances of the same vowel (/aa/, /ee/, /ii/), or diphthongs with the vowel and semivowel allophones of the same phoneme (/ij/ /ji/ /uw/ and /wu/). -- Jim Henry