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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:57 am 
Osän
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This thread will mostly be about designing a phoneme inventory, but there wasn't enough room in the title for that.

Anyway, the vast majority of the phonologies I've seen recently have been very Standard Average European. I'm not a big fan of SAE phonologies (although I'll admit that they're a lot easier to work with than non-SAE phonologies in a lot of cases), so here's a guide on how to leave that box.

First, we have to define SAE. Wikipedia gives a list of traits, but I have to add some to more accurately describe the sort of phonology that I'm talking about. (I realize that some of these, especially the tone thing, don't actually apply to real-world SAE, but they do to the conlang equivalent.) I'll bold my additions.

Also, if I missed any conlang examples, tell me and I'll add them.

  • absence of phonemic opposition velar/uvular
  • phonemic voicing oppositions (/p/ vs. /b/ etc.) as the only distinctions between sounds with the same POA and MOA
  • initial consonant clusters of the type "stop+sonorant" allowed
  • no initial velar nasal
  • a wide variety of allowable clusters that, except for those that contain a sibilant and a stop, all adhere to the sonority hierarchy
  • only pulmonic consonants
  • no phonation or secondary articulation contrasts on vowels
  • at least three degrees of vowel height (minimum inventory i e a o u)
  • lack of lateral fricatives and affricates
  • two series of coronals
  • lack of a tone or register system
  • at least two of each of the following type of consonant: fricative, nasal, liquid, semivowel

I might also cover uncommon consonants (e.g. the bilabial trill), although I'll probably leave clicks to someone who can better cover them. Clicks are much easier to learn from Wikipedia, though.

So, from there, we have a rough idea of how the goal can first be approached: figure out how to realistically avoid SAE characteristics. Obviously I'm not saying that every one of your conlangs should avoid each of these features, but if you end up hitting all of them and you're not consciously trying to make a Euroclone, I'd advise rethinking your inventory. (Another thing that I'd have to advise against, after reading over some of these conlang inventories, is excessive regularity. Don't pull a Somali or a Dahalo, but don't be afraid to leave realistic gaps in your inventory.)

Anyway, here we go. A lot of this will just be my speculation, so correct me where I've gotten things wrong.

1. Absence of phonemic opposition velar/uvular

That may appear to be self-explanatory, but uvulars can be a bit tricky to handle. Essentially, they're like velars, only more so; gaps in uvular series are even more common than gaps in labial or velar series. The uvular nasal almost never occurs contrastively*, voiced uvular fricatives are uncommon, and holes in uvular stop series are frequent: Georgian only has /qʼ/, Avar has only two short uvular consonants, Uyghur has /ʁ/, and Chechen, one of the few languages with both uvulars and a large vowel inventory, is missing /ɢ/. According to WALS, it's slightly more common for a language to have uvular stops and continuants than only uvular stops, and a bit over three times more common for a language to have only uvular stops than only uvular continuants.

/ɢ/ is uncommon for articulatory reasons; see here. One point not mentioned on that page, however, is that, in addition to losing their voicing for greater ease of articulation, /g ɢ/ can drop a different feature toward the same end and lenite, as probably happened in Uyghur.

Uvulars tend to lower surrounding vowels (see: Quechua, German), and my distinctly unscientific impression is that, for this reason or something related to it, languages with uvulars will tend to have fewer vowels than languages without them. (Arabic and Quechua have three, many North American langs with uvulars have four, etc.) I also think languages will generally only add an uvular series once they already have four other consonant series (i.e. /p t c k/), although I've seen a lot of languages with incomplete palatal series (most commonly no stops, as in Ket and some Semitic languages, but a fricative gap is also possible, as in Nivkh**) and a mostly full uvular series.

How to derive uvulars, you ask? If vowel harmony-related alternation is any guide to diachronics, Uyghur derived them from velars around back vowels. There's also the pharyngealized velar route that I think Arabic took.

There are also some North American langs that, instead of velars and uvulars, have prevelars and postvelars, but I'm not sure what the difference is so I won't say much there. They tend to have very incompete prevelar series, though.

Uvulars are a somewhat areal feature, and ~17% of the languages in WALS have them.

* The only language I can find where it does is Greenlandic. Any other examples?
** However, Nivkh /s z/ pattern as palatals in stop-fricative alternation. The consonants that pattern with the dentals are /r̥ r/. Yes, trills pattern as fricatives in Nivkh. I want to see this done more.

Natlang examples: Aymara, Chechen, Greenlandic, Nivkh, Uyghur
Conlang examples: South Eresian, Kannow
Sound samples: French, Quechua

2. Phonemic voicing oppositions (/p/ vs. /b/ etc.) as the only distinctions between sounds with the same POA and MOA

As originally formulated, this is easy to avoid: just don't add a voicing opposition. But it's not that simple; in SAE inventories, there is usually a distinction between voiceless and voiced plosives and, somewhat less commonly, between voiceless and voiced fricatives. This is reasonable enough. According to WALS, 61% of languages have a voicing contrast in plosives and 35% have one in fricatives.

But what else can you do?

Most obviously, you can have only one series, as in Finnish*, or have some other sort of fortis-lenis distinction, as in English (aspirated vs. unaspirated), Nuxalk (aspirated vs. ejective), or, less realistically, some German dialects** (affricated vs. lenis). But it's also possible to add other series:

• Ejective
Ejectives were mentioned above, but I'm going to go ahead and mention them again; they occur in 17% of WALS, although they tend to be strongly areal features. I've seen them used in a few conlangs, although I don't think there are any so far with ejective fricatives.

Gaps in ejective plosive series tend to be toward the front of the mouth; many languages have no /pʼ/, and some don't have /tʼ/. I don't think I've ever seen a natlang with only /kʼ/ (langs without /pʼ tʼ/ tend to have other ejective consonants, like /tsʼ/ or /qʼ/), although I'm sure it's possible, and I've seen it pulled off in at least one conlang inventory. (Klgapixo, I think it was called. This was several years ago, though, and I'm almost certain it's dead.)

Ejectives can also co-occur and pattern with glottalized (i.e. creaky-voiced) resonants. I think this is generally associated with North American languages, but 24% of langs in WALS with ejectives also have glottalized resonants.

Ejective sonorants and voiced ejective stops are impossible, although homorganic voiced-ejective clusters ([dtʼ] etc.) are attested in Taa, otherwise known as ǃXóõ. Ejective retroflex stops are very rare, although this might just be a statistical glitch. Note, however, that implosive retroflex stops are unattested, so maybe something is going on there. Ejective affricates are very common in languages with ejectives, and I'd guess noncoronal affricates are more common as ejectives than as non-ejectives.

A three-way distinction between unvoiced unaspirated, aspirated, and ejective consonants seems to be reasonably common in natlangs and popular in natlangs, more so than the North American two-way aspirated/ejective distinction.

Natlang examples: Archi, Dahalo, Gwich'in, Kabardian, Nuxalk, Tlingit
Conlang examples: Kannow, Na'vi, Sentalian, South Eresian,
Sound samples: Hausa, Zulu

• Implosive
Implosives are about as common as ejectives (13% of WALS), although they're much more areally concentrated; most langs with implosives are in Africa or China.

Gaps occur in the opposite pattern to implosives, although probably more so; I'd guess /ɠ/ is less common in langs with implosives than /pʼ/ is in langs with ejectives. Voiceless implosives occur in only a few languages, and those languages always have voiced implosives, except for (iirc) one where a voiceless implosive can occur as an allophone of an ejective. The voiced retroflex implosive is unattested, although that might be a statistical anomaly.

I think implosives mostly occur in languages with at least two other series, although I've seen things that are close to counterexamples: Vietnamese has five unaspirated consonants, two implosives, and only one aspirated consonant. (The other aspirated consonants shifted to fricatives.)

Wikipedia claims implosive fricatives and affricates are "extremely unusual", but I haven't been able to find any attestations of them.

Diachronically, these can be developed from voiced stops in a chain shift (I can't come up with any examples, but voiced stops in some languages are realized as slightly implosive) or clusters of a voiced stop and a glottal stop.

Natlang examples: Owere Igbo (contrasts all of /pʰ p ƥ bʱ b ɓ/), Sindhi, Tsou
Conlang examples: Proto-Vdangku
Sound samples: Sindhi

• Long (fortis?)
I'm not sure if this is attested outside Caucasian languages, but it's fairly common in them. There's probably some other articulatory thing going on, but I don't know what it is.

Natlang examples: Akhvakh, Avar, Lak
Conlang examples: ???

• Alternate phonation: (note: I'll deal with phonation on vowels separately)

• Slack voice
And now we get into alternate methods of phonation***, which I've never seen even touched in conlangs. (However, note that they're very uncommon, especially on consonants.) Slack voice involves holding the glottal opening slightly wider than in modal voice, but not as much as in breathy voice, with which I'm not sure if it's ever contrasted. Slack-voiced consonants tend to give the following vowel a slightly breathy quality, and in fact, this is the primary distinction between slack-voiced and stiff-voiced consonants in Javanese, and between slack-voiced and modal consonants in Wu Chinese.

Natlang examples: Javanese, Wu Chinese
Conlang examples: ???

• Breathy voice
These are mostly known as the 'voiced aspirates' in Proto-Indo-European and many Indo-Aryan languages, although they can be hard to work with since there's only one attested language that has them without aspirates. Breathy voice, or 'murmur', is holding the glottal opening slightly wider than in slack voice, but not as much as in voicelessness. These tend to lower the tone of surrounding vowels; this is their main distinguishing feature in some Bantu languages, and Punjabi lost breathy voice altogether and developed tone from them. Gujarati has contrastive breathy voice on both vowels and consonants.

These might be easier to develop than other nonmodal phonations; [ɦ] is commonly realized as breathy voice on a nearby vowel, so it could be developed from there, and then maybe transferred onto consonants. In my conlang Hathe, I developed breathy-voiced vowels from ɦV sequences, as in the name of the language: [a̤ðə].

Note that, in Zulu, one of the very few languages to contrast /h ɦ/, /ɦ/ is the breathy-voiced version of /ɦ/.

Natlang examples: Sindhi, Urdu, Zulu
Conlang examples: ???
Sound samples: Gujarati, Hindi, Sindhi

• Stiff voice
I'm switching directions of openness here; stiff voice involves holding the glottal opening more closed than in modal voice. Wikipedia claims Thai contrasts stiff-voiced stops with voiceless and aspirated stops, although on the page for Thai phonology it says those are actually just voiced stops. This might also be the third series in Korean.

Natlang examples: Javanese, Korean?, Thai?
Conlang examples: ???
Sound samples: Thai?

• Creaky voice
On consonants, this most frequently occurs on resonants as part of a glottalized series that also includes ejective stops. I don't think creaky-voiced stops are attested, although I could be wrong.

Natlang examples: Haida, Halkomelem
Conlang examples: ???
Sound samples: Hausa

• Mixed voicing
A mixed-voiced consonant is one where the voicing changes midway through the articulation of that consonant. Voiced-aspirated consonants are attested in Taa, along with voiced-ejective consonants (however, I think both of these are analyzed as clusters), and voiceless-voiced consonants are attested as allophones of voiced consonants in Tanacross.

Natlang examples: Taa, Tanacross
Conlang examples: ???

• Nonexplosive stops
Two nonexplosive bilabial stops, one voiced and one glottalized, are attested in Ikwerre. I know nothing about them. Here's the Wikipedia page.

Natlang examples: Ikwerre
Conlang examples: ???

• Secondary articulation / articulation modification:

• Palatalization
The most common. Usually contrasts with velarization, as in Russian and Irish. I shouldn't have to see much. Surprisingly underrepresented in conlangs, and where it does exist, it's usually to form another POA (i.e. /p t tʲ k f s sʲ x/ or /p t kʲ k f s xʲ x/) instead of another dimension (i.e. /p pʲ t tʲ k kʲ f fʲ s sʲ x xʲ/).

Natlang examples: Hausa, Irish, Russian
Conlang examples: ???

• Velarization/pharyngealization
I'm grouping them together because I've never seen them contrast. However, velarization usually contrasts with palatalization (an exception is Gilbertese, which contrasts velarized and plain /m p/, but has no secondary articulation contrast anywhere else), whereas pharyngealization can contrast with no secondary articulation, as in Arabic. There's no such thing as a velarized velar; it's possible that there could be a case where pretending they can exist would be useful for analysis, but usually that's just done as palatalized vs. normal, or, as in Irish( /p pʲ t tʲ k c/), analyzing palatalized consonants as taking up a whole different POA.

Also, note Ubykh, which patterns pharyngealized labial stops with rounded nonlabial stops, and languages like Arabic and Chilcotin, where uvulars pattern as pharyngealized velars.

Natlang examples: Arabic, Chilcotin, Gilbertese, Irish, Marshallese, Russian, Ubykh
Conlang examples: ???

• Labialization
Otherwise known as rounding. Can be used either as another dimension or as another POA or two; languages can distinguish labialization only on velars, only on velars and alveolars, only on velars and glottals, etc.

Labialized labials, unlike velarized velars, are possible, possibly because labialization usually involves a rounded offglide and some degree of velarization. Contrasts with both palatalization and velarization in Marshallese, although the only contrast in velars is normal and labialized. Labialized consonants can be realized allophonically as having simultaneous labial closure, or even a subsequent labial trill.

Some labialless American languages have something very similar to labialization, but that involves cupping the tongue instead of moving the lips. I can't remember what it's called, but it's apparently also attested in some dialects of British English on /ɒ/.

Natlang examples: Ikwerre, Lezgian, Proto-Indo-European
Conlang examples: Continental Kett, Kannow

• Simultaneous labial closure
Patterns with, and varies allophonically in some languages with, labialization (with one exception: there are languages with /tʙ̥/ but no analogous velar consonant), and doesn't contrast with it AFAIK. Mostly found in Africa, although the most famous example is spoken near Papua New Guinea.

Natlang examples: Ewe, Yoruba, Yeli Dnye
Conlang examples: Insular Kett (note that /p/ comes from /k͡p/, and is pronounced as such in some conservative dialects)

• Apical vs. laminal coronals
If you really want to do the palatalization-as-separate-POA thing, this is an alternative; according to The Sounds of the World's Languages, Bulgarian /t tʲ/ are normally realized as, respectively, apical and laminal alveolar. (Wikipedia analyzes them as /t tʃ/, but note that, according to SWL, laminal stops are more likely than apicals to be affricated.) Basque contrasts apical, laminal, and palatalized affricates and fricatives.

Natlang examples: Bulgarian, Basque, Dahalo
Conlang examples: Gadaye, although I write the laminals as palatalized alveolars
Sound samples: Mid-Waghi

• Whistled sibilants
Attested in some Bantu languages, most notably Shona, which appears to contrast non-labialized and labialized versions of them. Whistled dental clicks are apparently also possible, though I'm not sure how they'd be pronounced.

Natlang examples: Shona
Conlang examples: Enzielu

* I'm not sure how likely it is to have this and not have phonemic gemination.
** Actually, I don't know if there are any to make that contrast that don't have an unaffricated fortis series.
*** If anyone knows the diachronics behind any of these, post them. I can't think of any.

More later. (Holy fucking shit, I started this post at around 5:30pm. It's 2am now.)

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Last edited by Nortaneous on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:41 am 
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Cool information. Inspires me to get to work on something.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:06 am 
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Good fricking gods, that's some sticky-deserving material. Good job!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:04 am 
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Nice, my conlang got a mention :D

I haven't made a new phonology in a while... almost tempted to do it again.

The other thing you forgot to mention is an R/L contrast, which is the norm in SAE and much rarer outside of Europe. If you want a language with a less Europeany feel, a quick cheaty way would be to take one of these sounds out. I've currently only got one conlang, Panceor, that distinguishes them (it's the most SAE-like, to the point where I was lambasted for it when I posted its phonology back in 2004 when I made it – see, we've never changed...). Dialectal Sentalian (ie Rempocian, Facurian and Dotolian) does have the distinction, actually, gaining an /r/ from standard Sentalian's /z/ or /ʋ/.

Anyway, personally I never include things like stiff voice or slack voice because I don't actually know how to pronounce them. So I can't be bothered with them.

Initial /ŋ/ is another one that I don't think any SAE language allows, by the way. It's allowed in both Panceor and Sentalian (probably a bit more frequently in Panceor... in Sentalian /ŋ/ and the ejectives are relatively uncommon consonants).

Erm, what else? I used the dialects of Sentalian to transform it from something that is relatively un-SAE (although still nothing too crazy – as I say, the ejectives are relatively rare) to something very SAE-like, but in different ways. My aim for the intonation of Sentalian (and currently most of the dialects) is to have rising intonation on statements and falling intonation on questions, the opposite of European languages. That's perhaps a bit simplistic, though.

Umpát and Yaufulti, which are my other two active conlangs, are the ones with more minimal phonologies. Umpát's was provided by roninbodhiwhatsit, but I gave it a few SAE consonant clusters (like /skr/) along with plosive-plosive and plosive-nasal clusters, and then a stress/reduction system which makes it end up not being like SAE.

Yaufulti's original phonology was a hodge-podge of different consonants without much rhyme or reason:
p t f s ʒ x ɣ l ɫ j
but I deliberately tried to subvert a couple of the expectations of SAE and conlangers in general, like a three POA plosive contrast (a favourite myth that conlangers like to trot out), and a total lack of nasals in the language. A couple of odd contrasts were thrown in too, such as two phonemically voiced fricatives, one of which is in a pair with a voiceless one (the distinction is often neutralised, because of intervocalic voicing), and a velarisation contrast on the Ls. The syllable structure is usually CV, but could have a coda L of either sort. But it has to have an onset consonant.

Then there were only four vowels: i u æ ɑ. The idea with the vowels was then to create a very strict stress pattern, with primary stress on the beginning of the word and secondary stress every third syllable after that, creating a sort of dactylic rhythm. Confusingly, the high and low vowels then do different things, because any vowel can be followed by /i/ or /u/ in the same syllable. This means that /ii/ is a long [iː] and /uu/ is a long [uː]. So /i u/ distinguish length but /æ ɑ/ don't – then the idea is that the latter two lengthen in a stressed syllable, while the former two don't. But long /i u/ attract stress and break the dactylic pattern. Anyway, then the 3rd syllable of the word, ie the one before a following stress (and actually even if it isn't followed by a stress this still happens) gets reduced vowels: [e o ə] for /i u ɑ/, but /æ/ just drops out.

Then there's the three consonant processes: consonant harmony (of POA, which only affects the following consonant; and affected consonants can't affect the next consonant), voicing between vowels (except next to /æ/ or a reduced vowel), and palatalization before /i/. Basically just to mix it all up a bit. This creates a few more odd contrasts; at some stage during the language we get a contrast between [β] and [v], and [b] and [bv], for instance.

Anyway, the Western variant of Yaufulti was made as a more reasonable variant; it has /k/ instead of /x/ and /n l/ instead of /l ɫ/, and /ɛ/ instead of /æ/. And the voicing is more regularly intervocalic. Basically I did it because Eastern Yaufulti can be tiring to type with the extra characters. But it makes the thing look like Japanese (but with <l> rather than <r>), which is strange. I also did it because I wanted to incorporate /n/ into the consonant harmony. Mwa ha ha. Anyway, I hope that's sufficiently non-SAE.


Edit: made it small because it's less relevant and more self-absorbed stream of consciousness.


Last edited by finlay on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:34 am 
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Good fricking gods, that's some sticky-deserving material. Good job!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:40 am 
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Not bad at all. Some notes, though:
Palatalization is present in a wide swath of languages, including Bulgarian and most of the Slavic languages, though it's less pronounced in languages like Slovene and Serbo-Croatian where only certain consonants are distinctly palatalized.
As a note, I have one language currently active with a palatalization distinction, and one of my past languages employed a velar/palatal system similar to Irish.

Also, I do a similar thing to finlay: I don't include things in my languages unless I definitely know how to pronounce them. That's why I have minimal voicing distinctions.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:22 am 
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Thank you for this well written guide.

http://kneequickie.com/kq/Europe has a bit more info about the phonologies ... things to avoid if you dont want your conlang to sound European, or to follow if you do. Though the list is almost identical to what you used above.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:10 am 
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vampireshark wrote:
Also, I do a similar thing to finlay: I don't include things in my languages unless I definitely know how to pronounce them.


I'm the same, and to be blunt I don't get too hung up on whether my phonologies are "too European" or not. It's like panicking because you know there are crayons in lots of exotic colours but don't know how to draw with them.

Which is not to say, however, that the original post isn't useful.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:25 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
• Long (fortis?)
I'm not sure if this is attested outside Caucasian languages, but it's fairly common in them. There's probably some other articulatory thing going on, but I don't know what it is.

Natlang examples: Akhvakh, Avar, Lak
Conlang examples: ???

Is this something different than length/gemination in say Finnish or Japanese?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:33 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
• Mixed voicing
A mixed-voiced consonant is one where the voicing changes midway through the articulation of that consonant. Voiced-aspirated consonants are attested in Taa, along with voiced-ejective consonants (however, I think both of these are analyzed as clusters), and voiceless-voiced consonants are attested as allophones of voiced consonants in Tanacross.

Natlang examples: Taa, Tanacross
Conlang examples: ???


My German has /t/ /dt/ /d/ from unvoiced to mixed to fully voiced :/

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:40 pm 
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finlay wrote:
Anyway, personally I never include things like stiff voice or slack voice because I don't actually know how to pronounce them. So I can't be bothered with them.

Same, although creaky and breathy voice are pretty easy. if you want nonmodal voicing on consonants, keep in mind that it's generally realized mostly on the vowels, even if it appears on consonants at a phonemic level; for example, a prefix /t̬/ (writing a slack-voiced stop as voiceless with the voiced diacritic) added to a word /asa/ would produce something like [t̬a̤sa].

Actually, if you want to get specific about it, I'd guess it'd be much more likely to be realized on only part of the vowel; such things generally are, even for things like nasality. They reduce the distinctions between vowels, so they're only realized on part of the vowel to maintain the place contrast.

Quote:
Initial /ŋ/ is another one that I don't think any SAE language allows, by the way.

I'll probably cover that in the section on phonotactics. That should be in the next post.

<pedantic>Also, Albanian is generally considered SAE, isn't it?</pedantic> Although Albanian is very non-SAE in its phonotactics...

Qwynegold wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:
• Long (fortis?)
I'm not sure if this is attested outside Caucasian languages, but it's fairly common in them. There's probably some other articulatory thing going on, but I don't know what it is.

Natlang examples: Akhvakh, Avar, Lak
Conlang examples: ???

Is this something different than length/gemination in say Finnish or Japanese?

Yes. Finnish geminates are analyzed as sequences of two identical consonants, so "tullee" is /tulleː/, not /tulːeː/, and Japanese geminates are analyzed either as in Finnish or as a sequence of a chroneme, called the sokuon and written <Q>, and a consonant, so "kitte" is /kiQte/. Whereas In Avar and Archi, long consonants can appear word-initially (Avar /ʃːib/, Archi /χːˤelmin/), whereas I can't see any examples of word-initial consonant clusters. I'd guess that's why they're analyzed as single consonants.

Darkgamma wrote:
My German has /t/ /dt/ /d/ from unvoiced to mixed to fully voiced :/

Examples?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:11 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
finlay wrote:
Darkgamma wrote:
My German has /t/ /dt/ /d/ from unvoiced to mixed to fully voiced :/

Examples?

"Stadt" which I, for some wierd reason, contrast with "statt"
EDIT: Also, my <d>s devoice to /dt/ in compounds and /t/ in roots...
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Great thread!

That thing about double versus long consonants I don't get. Is there an actual phonetic difference, or are they just analysed differently by tradition?

I thought my own conlang would be very European, but it seems to be doing okay according to the list:
- has uvulars
- no initial stop+sonorant clusters (actually neither stop+sonorant nor initial clusters at all)
- four degrees of vowel height
- not two series of coronals, more like four

For most of the others, I don't think I'd be able to pronounce them, which is kind of a problem. Well, I could manage clicks or whistles, but they're pretty rare, aren't they? And they just sound weird. :P

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
Quote:
Initial /ŋ/ is another one that I don't think any SAE language allows, by the way.

I'll probably cover that in the section on phonotactics. That should be in the next post.

<pedantic>Also, Albanian is generally considered SAE, isn't it?</pedantic> Although Albanian is very non-SAE in its phonotactics...

Is it? It's definitely European, but being European technically isn't enough to put one into the Average European category.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Darkgamma wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:
finlay wrote:
Darkgamma wrote:
My German has /t/ /dt/ /d/ from unvoiced to mixed to fully voiced :/

Examples?

"Stadt" which I, for some wierd reason, contrast with "statt"
EDIT: Also, my <d>s devoice to /dt/ in compounds and /t/ in roots...
Bad [bat] but Badeanzug [bad͡tənaut͡suk]

Hmm. That's interesting. Do you have sound clips? Also, how would you pronounce "Städte"?

Chuma wrote:
That thing about double versus long consonants I don't get. Is there an actual phonetic difference, or are they just analysed differently by tradition?

Wikipedia: "Strong phonemes are characterized by the intensiveness (tension) of the articulation. The intensity of the pronunciation leads to a natural lengthening of the duration of the sound, and that is why strong [consonants] differ from weak ones by greater length. [However,] the adjoining of two single weak sounds does not produce a strong one […] Thus, the gemination of a sound does not by itself create its tension."

tl;dr: they can contrast with geminated consonants

Quote:
- four degrees of vowel height

How does that work?

Quote:
- not two series of coronals, more like four

That can be European also. One of my conlangs (Proto-Kett) has four coronal series and what I'd consider to be a rather SAE inventory.

Quote:
For most of the others, I don't think I'd be able to pronounce them, which is kind of a problem. Well, I could manage clicks or whistles, but they're pretty rare, aren't they? And they just sound weird. :P

Yeah, they both only appear in Africa. (Also, I'd say the easiest are simultaneous labial articulation and creaky voice. The first should be trivial and all you have to do for the second is imitate any female country singer. :P )

finlay wrote:
Nortaneous wrote:
<pedantic>Also, Albanian is generally considered SAE, isn't it?</pedantic> Although Albanian is very non-SAE in its phonotactics...

Is it? It's definitely European, but being European technically isn't enough to put one into the Average European category.

It's included in the sprachbund, apparently.

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Last edited by Nortaneous on Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:11 pm 
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oh right, it's not something you just made up.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Yay, I'm mentioned twice! :D Shouldn't be too surprised, though, SE is pretty far from being SAE. It'd probably be better if you linked url=http://glottoclast.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/south-eresian-p honology/]here[/url], though, since my forum topic is incredibly out of date whereas the blog post is only slightly out of date... (shut up, I change shit a lot :P)

Also, an idea of something quite European: /l/ contrasting with /r/ or another rhotic.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:44 pm 
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Risla wrote:
Yay, I'm mentioned twice! :D Shouldn't be too surprised, though, SE is pretty far from being SAE.

Yeah, it's more like... Standard Non-Amazon South American? (SNASA? eww.)

On that note, anyone have any conlangs representative of other natlang sprachbunds?

Quote:
Also, an idea of something quite European: /l/ contrasting with /r/ or another rhotic.

Modified the last rule to cover that also.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:47 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
Risla wrote:
Yay, I'm mentioned twice! :D Shouldn't be too surprised, though, SE is pretty far from being SAE.

Yeah, it's more like... Standard Non-Amazon South American? (SNASA? eww.)

On that note, anyone have any conlangs representative of other natlang sprachbunds?


My Aeruyo's* phonology could be seen as similar to Japanese and Korean, if that counts for anything. Until I changed it from voicing distinction to aspiration distinction. Oh, and it always had an l/r distinction. And ... it's stress accent (I know Japanese is pitch-accent, don't know about Korean). So ... maybe not so much.

* makes me laugh, as the term Aeruyo derives from a gentive, meaning I have created a double genitive.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:19 pm 
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Nortaneous wrote:
Risla wrote:
Yay, I'm mentioned twice! :D Shouldn't be too surprised, though, SE is pretty far from being SAE.

Yeah, it's more like... Standard Non-Amazon South American? (SNASA? eww.)

On that note, anyone have any conlangs representative of other natlang sprachbunds?

I tend to pull phonologies out of my arse, so not really*. Personally I get the impression that a lot of people making tonelangs will make something reminiscent of Chinese and/or Vietnamese (complex contour tones with monosyllables and isolating morphosyntax), and I've seen a few of those on here...

*Panceor and some of Sentalian's dialects are SAE-ish, at least phonologically (you should note that <c> in Panceor is /st/, which is very SAE-ish, while Sentalian and/or some of the dialects have features I stole from Dutch); Sentalian is rather European grammar-wise, though (it does have evidentiality, but I don't use it much and I'm thinking of either expanding it greatly or deleting it entirely, but I do have the space of the dialects to play around with if needs be; it also doesn't have passives, but it does have case marking and stuff like that. In other ways it's very much based on what I know of Japanese syntax); Panceor has very un-SAE morphology, however, and not many consonant clusters; Umpát has some SAE features but doesn't really feel much like an SAE lang to me – but you'd better be the judge of that; Yaufulti's phonological processes weren't based on anything. I gave myself half an hour to come up with the original outline of said processes when I did it as a speedlang challenge, basically. It has relatively similar grammar to Sentalian syntax-wise, but I've tried to aim for something much more agglutinating and veering towards polysynthesis (I've started incorporating adjectives as bound morphemes recently, which helps this a bit).

tl;dr: there are influences from other languages, particularly Japanese, which is still the only non-European language I've studied properly, but I've never tried to go for one particular sprachbund or language as an influence. I've been considering it, though.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:11 pm 
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This is kind of not really that big of a thing but I've noticed that SAE languages really don't ever have back unrounded vowels.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:12 pm 
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I'm surprised there was no mention of Advanced vs. Retracted tongue root.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:13 pm 
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Theta wrote:
This is kind of not really that big of a thing but I've noticed that SAE languages really don't ever have back unrounded vowels.
English has /V/.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:16 pm 
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/ŋ/ occurs initially in Irish Gaelic and Welsh, although it isn't very common in either since I believe it can only come from mutations of other consonants. Celtic seems pretty far off from the European norm in general, in both phonology and grammar.


I didnt know about the page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_Average_European until now. I will add that to the KQ page soon.



Quote:
This is kind of not really that big of a thing but I've noticed that SAE languages really don't ever have back unrounded vowels.
Estonian has /7/, and the Russian ы is at least kind of the same since it's central unrounded.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:17 pm 
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TaylorS wrote:
Theta wrote:
This is kind of not really that big of a thing but I've noticed that SAE languages really don't ever have back unrounded vowels.
English has /V/.

/ɑ/ isn't uncommon, either. Non-open(mid) back unrounded vowels aren't found in SAE, I think.

ETA: And Estonian (with /ɤ/) and Celtic languages (some with /ɤ, ɯ/) aren't counted as SAE languages.

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