It is intended to be the primary language of a cluster of space habitats (well, each habitat would have its own dialect naturally, sometimes quite divergent, but I'm keeping things simple for now), somewhere in the fourth or fifth millenium.
The speaker's ancestor would have picked English as a common tongue, but it would usually not be their native language. More precisely, I'd expect English to be a native language for about 30% of them. The rest would have a sufficient command of the language; the language would thus show influence from various superstratums (superstrata?) but no creolization.
Basically, I'm following this approach:
1. Pick a dialect of English that would be likely to be chosen as a lingua franca.
2. Apply a series of changes removing most of the salient features of english (clusters, large vowel inventory, and so on), so as to produce a result that would be plausible, and aesthetically pleasing (to me, anyway).
I have a good idea of what I'd like to in step 2, but not so sure about step 1.
The obvious choice is, of course, General American. I can't really think of any good reason to pick another dialect. Some variety of British English might have a chance, but even in Europe people try to imitate American English rather than RP. But, if you have any objections, I'd be interested in them.
But, since we're not building space habitats any time soon, I need to project General American a bit into the future, before I do what I please with it. And here, not being a native speaker is a major bother.
Do any of you have suggestions on what changes to implement ?
A few specific questions:
- Should I introduce the NCVS? So far I did, but I have doubts. And I'm worried about the specifics. Should I have: [æ] > [ɛə] or [ɪə]
- And how about the cot-caught merger?
- The pin-pen merger?
Any ideas? I'm open to all suggestions.