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Phoneme winnowing continues

From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Sunday, June 1, 2003, 1:47
Well, Okaikiar has just lost the D/T and S/Z distinctions, since it
had no other pairs of phonemes distinguished only by voice.  I
decided that the distinction just doesn't matter to the Okaikiarar(*) ear,
much the way aspiration doesn't matter to that of an English-speaker.

I was hoping that the merger of these phonemes in my lexicon would
result in some homophones, but alas, they were apparently already
underrepresented as minimal pairs.  Only one homophone resulted -
the word "mazan" meaning both "to want" and "to stab", which
I decided I didn't want, so I changed the "want" version to

Anyway, I'm down to a syllable inventory size of only 864.
Which seems low to me, but I guess it compares favorably to e.g.
Japanese, which has less than 50 basic syllables according to the kana,
and even allowing for the modifiers that turn fricatives
into stops or prevent a consonantal sound change, has well
under 100.

Plus, it's still a little large for a fully syllabic writing system.

Work continues. :)


Okaikiarar = "one who speaks Okaikiar"
Okaikiaran = to speak Okaikiar
Okaikiar   = proper name for the language Okaikiar; from O- spatializer +
kaikiar    = speech
kaikan     = to speak


JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
John Cowan <cowan@...>