But not for me.
First, let's discuss Rahfatge. Rahfatge is a language I've been working on since about 2005, on and off. Originally, it was a Germanic language called Rahim, using hand-crafted sound changes and a mass spreadsheet of Proto-Germanic words. I've decided to shy away from this, and start fresh. This is for a fantasy story I've been working on (oldbies might remember my Races of the Falling Mountain post from years, years ago.)
Background information aside, this post details the orthographs they of the Raitgnoecht dialect of Rahfatge. deft-Oyghber sercys Raitgnoecht (the Cathedral of Raitgnoecht), specifically. The institution is highly important as it was the founding location of the printing press; its orthography, therefore, is the most common and accepted form in Rahfatge.
* [dəft‿ˈøːvbɚ sɚɕ‿ˈrːæjʨnøxt].
Vowel inventory and orthography
The alveolar-palatal set is specific to Raitgnoecht; other dialects use a postalveolar or palatal series. /ɣ/ used to exist (in other dialects, it still verily does), but has changed in this dialectal to /f/ (or /v/), depending on environment. As a note, /ɨ ə ɚ/ are purely atonic vowels; /ɛ/ lowers to /æ/ when lengthened.,
So, how do we marry this with a writing system? Vowels are easier to start with. Using six letters, transcribed as <i e a o u y> represent the six core vowels: [i y e a o u ]. [œ] is represented with the digraph <oe>. <H> is used with varying uses; with <ih uh>, it prohibits a long vowel if the constraints would allow it (among other things, to be discussed later); with <eh oeh ah oh>, it represents [ɛ œ æ ɔ] (though remember, [æ] only exists if its long, not short).
Short vowels can be represented in a myriad of ways, other than the simple pure ones I've shown so far.
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Now, long vowels have two basic ways of being represented. In monosyllables, or on the word's final syllable, a final <e> after a single consonant (but not orthographical cluster) forces the vowel long.
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Within the boundaries of a consonant, there are other means to represent a long vowel. The following is the full list of long vowel spellings:
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The three unstressed vowels [ɨ ə ɚ] are represented much more simply; these vowels only exist when unstressed. After the stress, <i> represents [ɨ], and word-finally [y]. [ə] is spent <e>, but only in unstressed syllables. Likewise, [ɚ] is <er> in unstressed circumstances, but sometimes <re> (more often in borrowings, however.)
I'll talk about diphthongs later.
Consonant inventory and orthography
The plosives are rather straightforward: <p b t d k g> represents their phoneme-sake. The fricatives affricates deserve a little attention: [ʦ] is writtesn rather plainly, <cs>. [ʣ] is written <gz>, <gs>, or <ds>; <ts> and <dz> are never used for the affricates; [ts] and [ʦ] do contrast with one another. [ʨ] is written <tge> word-finally, as well as <tg> + a front consonant. [ʥ] is represented (unsurprisingly), <dge> word finally, and <dg> + front consonant; the final e, in this instance and most others, will force a long vowel; e.g., <edge> [ˈeːʥ] and <ehdge> [ˈeʥ].
The fricatives, [f v], are written <f> and <v>, except in the condition of gh plus a consonant; if this consonant voiced, it is [v], if not, it is [f]; [ɣ] broke down into a labio-dental fricative and assimilated accordingly. [θ] is written <th>, but appears in extremely limited circumstances in this spelling: At the end of a word, or at the beginning of one but followed by a consonant. In between vowels, <th> is [ð], and in the beginning of a word, provided that there is no consonant following. In other conditions, <dh> will suffice for [ð]. [θ] does not contrast in between vowels in a word, but does across word boundaries (i.e., <bethen> [ˈbɛðən] and <beth en> [ˈbɛθ‿ən]).
[s] and [z] should be straightforward; <s> before a voiceless consonant, at the beginning and end of a word, and written <ss> between vowels. [z] is written <z>, <s> between vowels, and before or after a voiced consonant. [ɕ] is written <ce> at the end of a word (also marking the length of the previous vowel, unless otherwise suppressed; or <sc> plus a front vowel; or <stc>, otherwise. [ʑ] is written <ge> at the end of a word; <zg> plus a front vowel; and <zdg> otherwise. <c> + front vowel, or <g> + front vowel is sporadic in whether its 'hard' or 'soft.'
[x] is spelt <ch> in all instances. <h> exists word-initially, and sometimes between vowels (though not always). [m n] are straightforward; [j] is written <j>, and [w] can be spelt <w> or <ou>, depending on the origin of the word.
Lastly, [r] is written <r>, and [ʀ] is written <rr>, <rh>, or <r> after a back vowel. [l] is written <l>.
Any questions, thoughts, etc.? Bitchings about the preponderance of this, and how English-ly it is? Come on. I know you want to.
Coming soon: Native orthography and allophony. Perhaps also a spot of grammar.