I've made posts about the phonology in the past, but my conlang Fyrthir has an interesting property: almost all consonent phonemes, including sonorants, come in voice and unvoiced pairs. I'd like to make use of this somehow in the morphology, but I'm not quite what to use it for. Specifically, what I had in mind was some sort of derivational process. The first idea I had was rather obvious: opposites. However, this has a number of problems. 1) opposite words sound too much alike, and in whispered speech would be hard to distinguish (though like in English, the voicing distinction is more complex than a simple +/-voicing alternation). 2) for many, if not most, words it's not exactly clear what the opposite would be. What, exactly, is the opposite of "horse" for instance? 3) there are multiple kinds of opposites. This is especially problematic with verbs. For instance, "undo" doesn't mean sitting still, or "not-doing" but rather reversing an action such that the state of affairs are restored to their original. Untangle does not refer to the set of actions which are not members of the set of "tangle" but rather to an action which reverses the process of "tangle."
My second thought was that the voicing alternation might refer to some sort of literal-figurative distinction. For example, red<->angry, or green<->envious, to use two examples from English. I dunno how this would work in practice, but it might be interesting to play around with. The only problem I see here is what I call the Lojban problem in engelangs. In Lojban, we have attitudinal particles which mark metaphorical or non-literal utterances. The problem with this is that metaphorical statements are constructed identically to literal statements in natlangs is precisely what gives them their literary character. If we're writing poetry, it seems odd to have a grammatical feature that all but shouts THIS IS METAPHORICAL. On the flipside, these "metaphorical" readings could be lexicalized in really fun ways, that might add a lot of character to the language.
Finally, I suppose there is no reason why each lexical class (e.g. nouns, verbs, etc.) should utilize this feature either at all, or in the same manner.
Do you guys have any other ideas? I'd be really curious to hear what you all think.
My conlang is .