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Cat Japanese

Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:59 am
by LinguistCat
Because of a story idea, I've also been struck by a bogo lang idea that I'm going to need help with. I was going to post this in the sound change quickie thread but I think it would require more than just sound changes, and I don't know enough about historical Japanese to really do this justice, considering even my modern Japanese is intermediate at best. I do understand if people don't want to get involved but since at least the first question I have is more based on ideas for sound changes and "What do you think?"/"Could you see this working?", I'd prefer if people don't just link me to a google search if they have nothing else to say. I can Google the technical stuff more when I have a general idea of what I'm shooting for.

So I know that in Japanese, there is somewhat of a "stereotype" of how cats/cat people would speak Japanese, including the use of cat puns and adding "nya" to the end of sentences to give emphasis, similar to the real life use of particles like "yo", "zo", "wa", etc.

But what would be some sound changes that could actually make it more "cat like" without making it completely incomprehensible to actual Japanese speakers? I was thinking of somehow modifying the pitch accent into maybe a tonal system with maybe 3 or 4 tones (since tone does seem to play a role in cat communication a good deal irl). Also, maybe upping the amount of nasals but not to the point that everything is nasal as that would (probably?) get difficult to understand as a human, let alone specifically Japanese speakers, but I might be totally wrong on that.

I was thinking that at least some of the stereotype could be incorporated since that could be an in story reason for the stereotype to pop up in the first place. But I also don't want it to be just the stereotypical stuff going on linguistically. Like since cats don't actually taste sweet, their equivalent of "amai" could be co-opted to mean something else, maybe sticky? Bland? Or maybe it would be dropped outside of interacting with humans.