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 Post subject: Wakeu
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:56 pm 
Sanci
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I have finally decided to create a Wakeu thread here on the ZBB. In this first post, I shall - not very surprisingly - deal with phonology. I'll focus on two features - the dark-light contrast, and the three-moraic morphemes.

The dark-light contrast

Wakeu has a rather limited phoneme inventory. I have nevertheless tried to through some interesting (or not so interesting...) stuff into to this limited phoneme inventory. Namely, a contrast between light (palatalised, "front") and dark (velarised or "back") consonants. The full consonant inventory looks like this:

pʲ pˠ t k <p pw t k>
bʲ bˠ j ɰ <b bw y w>
mʲ mˠ n ŋ <m mw n ng>

The above phonemes can be divided into "light" - pʲ t bʲ j mʲ n - and "dark" - pˠ k bˠ ɰ mˠ ŋ - ones.

There is also a couple of coronal phonemes, that are neutral to the light-dark opposition:

l <l>
r <r>

Wakeu has an underlying 5-vowel system - with /i/, /e/ and /a/ counting as front vowels, and /o/ and /u/ as back vowels.

The opposition between light and dark consonants is only apparent before front vowels. It is neutralised before back vowels. Typically, the consonants there take the "dark" realisation.

Three-moraic morphemes

Most common morphemes are made up of a 3-moraic foot. There are three kinds of feet:

(1) /CVːCV/ <CVCV> (Ex: <kala> kaːla "can")
(2) /CVCːV/ <CVCCV> (Ex: <kalla> /kalːa/ "shall", "must")
(3) /CVCVː/ <CVCVV> (Ex: <paraa> /paraː/ "stone")

Primary stress falls on the syllable containing the penultimate mora

Many words are compounds, made up of two (or occasionally, three or more) feet. In a typical, "headed" compound, the head morpheme is placed first, and the modifying morpheme is placed last. Only the last morpheme will retain its primary stress. What happens with the first morpheme (that has lost its stress) is that it is reduced from three to two moras.

The distinction between the three kinds of feet is thus neutralised in unstressed morphemes - all unstressed morphemes will have the form /CVCV/.

CVːCV + CVːCV -> CVCVCVːCV
CVCːV + CVːCV -> CVCVCVːCV
CVCVː + CVːCV -> CVCVCVːCV

This can lead to some homophones (though I have no examples off the top of my head right now).

There are some resources on Wakeu available:

An online grammar

A dictionary

It remains to see how much time I have to spend on this thread...


Last edited by Ngohe on Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:32 pm 
Smeric
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Looks interesting. I, for some reason, have only just now joined the CBB, in spite of being here for the better part of a decade, and I've just seen Wakeu. I like what I see so far. I tend to like languages with fairly simple phonologies - not that this is ultra-simple, but it qualifies, and I really like your dictionary.

Any chance you could put some sound-recordings up? I have a feeling it would sound interesting. The stress and moraic pattern reminds me of Swedish and the consonants remind me of something I was looking at yesterday ... which may have been somewhere around Micronesia or New Caledonia (or maybe I was looking at Wakeu itself).

Ngohe wrote:
pʲ pˠ t k <p pw t k>
bʲ bˠ j ɰ <b bw y w>
n ŋ <m mw n ng>

The above phonemes can be divided into "light" - pʲ t bʲ ʝ mʲ n - and "dark" - pˠ k bˠ ɣ ŋ - ones.

Not clear. The phonemes I've put in red only appear once. I'm guessing j=ʝ and ɰ=ɣ, and I'm guessing that mˠ is "dark", but you should be consistent with phoneme symbols.

Edit: Looking more at your grammar, I'm seeing quite a Polynesian influence. Nice! I'm thinking about island languages too. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:46 am 
Sanci
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Sorry, I made some mistake with the phonemes :P Fricatives and glides are in free variation: /ʝ~j/ and /ɣ~ɰ/. And /mˠ should be among the dark consonants.

The grammar is influenced by Polynesian languages - which was my main focus of attention a few years ago when I started conlanging. The secondary articulation in consonants is influenced by Micronesian languages.


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:20 am 
Lebom
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The phonology looks great. But there seem to be a few gaps e.g. no "dark" counterpart to /t/, and no fricatives at all (is Wakeu inspired by Australian Aboriginal languages?). Is there a reason these sounds did not develop? Or has the language lost them?


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:46 am 
Sanci
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I have been thinking of adding one or two fricatives - probably /s~S/ and /x~h/ (which could fit into the light-dark pattern). But I have not decided anything yet. Occasionally I have used fricatives in some loanwords in some TC's.

The dark counterpart to /t/ should be /k/.


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:57 am 
Avisaru
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Linguist Wannabe wrote:
The phonology looks great. But there seem to be a few gaps e.g. no "dark" counterpart to /t/, and no fricatives at all (is Wakeu inspired by Australian Aboriginal languages?). Is there a reason these sounds did not develop? Or has the language lost them?


He said it was inspired by Polynesian languages--where fricativelessness is commonplace.

There are languages all over the world without fricatives, in Australia, New Guinea, Oceania, the Andaman Islands, and South America. Proto-Dravidian was fricativeless. It's really not that remarkable.

I'm guessing Marshallese is a strong influence, and perhaps the language Imralu was trying to think of. Yet this is interestingly different from Marshallese, notably with /t k/ filling in the color opposition themselves instead of having their own pairs.

Ngohe wrote:
I have been thinking of adding one or two fricatives


Arg, don't. (Except, do if you really want to). They'd seem out of place; grafted on. Granted, I don't know if I'd feel that way if Wakeu had fricatives the first time I saw it.


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:09 pm 
Sanci
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Here is the first part of a short story I am writing in Wakeu. (Note that not all words in the story are listed in the dictionary)

I suppose the language can be characterised as Polynesian-Micronesian crossbreed. I don't think I'm going to include /s/ or some other fricative in the foreseeable future. At least not as distinct phonemes - they could possibly occur as allophones of some other phoneme(s).


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:12 am 
Sanci
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I uploaded a lesson - or at least a beta version thereof - some things may be changed/fixed. Possibly more lessons will be coming.


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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:08 am 
Smeric
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I think Gilbertese was the language this reminded me of.

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Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific
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 Post subject: Re: Wakeu
PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:33 am 
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There has been some development of the language. Most notably, I have been working on a writing system, which basically works like this:

(1) Every consonant, and every long vowel, is written by one grapheme. This means that a typical root will contain three graphemes.
(2) For most consonants and long vowels, there are several possible graphemes they can be written with. The preferred spelling is lexically fixed for each word. There are "minimal pairs", which are romanised the same way, but which are written with different characters in the "native" writing system:

ImageImageImage - talai (image)
ImageImageImage - talai (celebration)

(The "t" is written by different characters.)

Note that I'm still a newbie when it comes to font creation, so the graphemes might not be the most beautiful. Hope I can work on the until they get the right "feel".

Here is more information on the writing system.


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