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Three vowel grades

From:David Stokes <dstokes1@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 24, 2002, 18:05
Greetings all,

I have been a list member for a while, but I went "no mail" when I moved
a year ago and have not been posting. I looked in on the Yahoo list from
time to time to keep up. But I'm back now and working on languages again.

I need some help with a project. I'll state the basic question, then

I need three vowel grades. Something like tense/lax but I need three of
them and most of the distinctions I can think of only give two. Does
anyone have a suggestion?

Here's what I'm doing.

The parent language has 4 tones: rising, falling, high and low.  Rising
and falling form the core of the word with high and low mostly in the
affixes. High and low follow from the others, with High before falling
and after rising, low before rising and after falling. There are 4
vowels, i, u, a, o, which can each take all the tones.

The child language, which is what I am working on now, is losing the
tones. I would like to spread out the vowels so that I can have maybe 12
vowels total.

Rising will be the most stressed, so maybe the 'pure' vowels i u a o for
it. Falling is the next most stressed, because it is in the word roots.
High and low are least stressed, and could fall together since, for the
most part, they follow from the other two. I was thinking about
something like the English lax vowels for them.

I'm not wild about rounding, which is the other distinction I know about.

So send me your ideas, maybe you can clue me into something I don't know
about (not hard to do). There are several dialects so maybe I'll use
several suggestions. If anyone knows about real world languages that
have lost tones I'd be happy to learn about what happened to them.


David Stokes

Ampiros sernost sharusae, vi at Enfors Vilandenae, vi je tais zhangoln.
The Empire's greatest strength is not the Iron Army, but its language.


Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>
taliesin the storyteller <taliesin@...>
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>