How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!)

Museum for the best conlanging and conworldery threads. Ask mods to move threads here.
User avatar
Skomakar'n
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1273
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:05 pm

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Skomakar'n »

finlay wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_language
The Piraha phonological inventory on wikipedia highlights something I think is pertinent here: Piraha is often claimed to have "no nasals", but as Wikipedia points out, you could reanalyse it as having "no velars" instead, because it has [k g] and [m n] all as allophones of something or other. I think both analyses are very misleading because the language phonetically has both sounds, and it's just in phonological/theoretical terms that it doesn't have one or the other.

I thought the tilde marked a nasal vowel... Especially since the Wikipedia page says an alternative spelling is "Pirahán". S:
Online dictionary for my conlang Vanga: http://royalrailway.com/tungumaalMiin/Vanga/

#undef FEMALE

I'd love for you to try my game out! Here's the forum thread about it:
http://zbb.spinnwebe.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36688

Of an Ernst'ian one.

Astraios
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 2974
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:38 am
Location: Israel

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Astraios »

Nasal consonants.

User avatar
Aurora Rossa
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1138
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2003 11:46 am
Location: The vendée of America
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Aurora Rossa »

finlay wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_language
The Piraha phonological inventory on wikipedia highlights something I think is pertinent here: Piraha is often claimed to have "no nasals", but as Wikipedia points out, you could reanalyse it as having "no velars" instead, because it has [k g] and [m n] all as allophones of something or other. I think both analyses are very misleading because the language phonetically has both sounds, and it's just in phonological/theoretical terms that it doesn't have one or the other.


Yeah, and that reminds me of the debate over how many vowels the Northwest Caucasian languages have. From what I have read, they actually have a full set of vowels phonetically speaking but linguists analyze them as only two vowels.
Image
"There was a particular car I soon came to think of as distinctly St. Louis-ish: a gigantic white S.U.V. with a W. bumper sticker on it for George W. Bush."

User avatar
Skomakar'n
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1273
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:05 pm

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Skomakar'n »

Astraios wrote:Nasal consonants.

Ah. Doesn't sound too implausible to me, if a language never had/lost its initial nasals, and nasals elsewhere yielded nasal vowels and then disappeared..?
Online dictionary for my conlang Vanga: http://royalrailway.com/tungumaalMiin/Vanga/

#undef FEMALE

I'd love for you to try my game out! Here's the forum thread about it:
http://zbb.spinnwebe.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36688

Of an Ernst'ian one.

User avatar
ná'oolkiłí
Lebom
Lebom
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by ná'oolkiłí »

Astraios wrote:Nasal consonants.

The point's moot— "Pirahã" isn't their endonym.

User avatar
finlay
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3600
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:35 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by finlay »

Skomakar'n wrote:
Astraios wrote:Nasal consonants.

Ah. Doesn't sound too implausible to me, if a language never had/lost its initial nasals, and nasals elsewhere yielded nasal vowels and then disappeared..?

Piraha has one phoneme that is [n] initially and [g] (or something phonetically weird) medially. To say it's one or the other, and that therefore it carries all the characteristics and features of one but not the other, is unhelpful. And we should remember that it is this exact fact that keeps us from analysing [h] and [ŋ] as one phoneme in English, although I suspect that in Piraha there is evidence because the two alternate or something.

And as far as I know, it doesn't have nasal vowels either, because as someone else says, it's an exonym. They're known for having only 10 or 11 phonemes.

User avatar
MisterBernie
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 439
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Oktoberfestonia

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by MisterBernie »

finlay wrote:Piraha has one phoneme that is [n] initially and [g] (or something phonetically weird) medially. To say it's one or the other, and that therefore it carries all the characteristics and features of one but not the other, is unhelpful. And we should remember that it is this exact fact that keeps us from analysing [h] and [ŋ] as one phoneme in English, although I suspect that in Piraha there is evidence because the two alternate or something.

Now, if I had a time machine I would go back to a few hundred years earlier and see if the distribution was something like
/b/ = [m] initially, [b] elsewhere
/g/ = [ŋ] initially, [g] elsewhere
Because symmetry is awesome.
Constructed Voices - Another conlanging/conworlding blog.
Latest post: Joyful Birth of the Oiled One

Ollock
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 523
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:04 pm
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Ollock »

MisterBernie wrote:
finlay wrote:Piraha has one phoneme that is [n] initially and [g] (or something phonetically weird) medially. To say it's one or the other, and that therefore it carries all the characteristics and features of one but not the other, is unhelpful. And we should remember that it is this exact fact that keeps us from analysing [h] and [ŋ] as one phoneme in English, although I suspect that in Piraha there is evidence because the two alternate or something.

Now, if I had a time machine I would go back to a few hundred years earlier and see if the distribution was something like
/b/ = [m] initially, [b] elsewhere
/g/ = [ŋ] initially, [g] elsewhere
Because symmetry is awesome.


Buuut ... allophony is synchronic. Native speakers usually don't know the details of their language's historical development.
George Corley
Producer and Moderating Host, Conlangery Podcast

User avatar
MisterBernie
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 439
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:46 am
Location: Oktoberfestonia

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by MisterBernie »

Ollock wrote:Buuut ... allophony is synchronic. Native speakers usually don't know the details of their language's historical development.

What I meant with that was that if we could do a diachronic analysis of Piraha, the synchronic situation might make more sense. Personally, I don't really care whether [g]-[n] is /n/ or /g/ or /ŋ/, but how that allophonic contrast came to be would be interesting for me.
Constructed Voices - Another conlanging/conworlding blog.
Latest post: Joyful Birth of the Oiled One

Ollock
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 523
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:04 pm
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Ollock »

MisterBernie wrote:
Ollock wrote:Buuut ... allophony is synchronic. Native speakers usually don't know the details of their language's historical development.

What I meant with that was that if we could do a diachronic analysis of Piraha, the synchronic situation might make more sense. Personally, I don't really care whether [g]-[n] is /n/ or /g/ or /ŋ/, but how that allophonic contrast came to be would be interesting for me.


Hmm, yes, yes, that makes sense.
George Corley
Producer and Moderating Host, Conlangery Podcast

User avatar
brandrinn
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:59 pm
Location: Seoul
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by brandrinn »

Guys about the nasal vowels: vowels are phonetically nasalized after glottal consonants. So whether it's an exonym or not, it still fits Piraha phonotactics, and yes Piraha words do have nasal vowels phonetically.
[quote="Nortaneous"]Is South Africa better off now than it was a few decades ago?[/quote]

User avatar
Herr Dunkel
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1088
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:21 pm
Location: In this multiverse or another

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Herr Dunkel »

Ollock wrote:
Buuut ... allophony is synchronic. Native speakers usually don't know the details of their language's historical development.


For some wierd reason, Serbian kids can make pre-Slavic-Palatalisation sounds... And retrace [ɔØ] to [ lØ], when [ɔØ] < [ lØ] happened in the fifteenth (?) century.
And they sometimes can replicate nasal vowels :? What the Angstscheiße?

(It's not true allophony but it's a historical development. Srsly how can they retrace their linguistical roots 1k+ years back)

EDIT:
brandrinn wrote:Guys about the nasal vowels: vowels are phonetically nasalized after glottal consonants. So whether it's an exonym or not, it still fits Piraha phonotactics, and yes Piraha words do have nasal vowels phonetically.


Isn't that rhinoglottophilia?
sano wrote:
To my dearest Darkgamma,
http://www.dazzlejunction.com/greetings/thanks/thank-you-bear.gif
Sincerely,
sano

Rodlox
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:02 am

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Rodlox »

finlay wrote:Piraha has one phoneme that is


If Piraha turns out to be a European (or IE) language or creole, I will be surprised. Pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.



(rampant speculation) On the other hand, maybe its just older than all the other IE creoles in its neck of the Americas. (/rampant speculation)
MadBrain is a genius.

User avatar
finlay
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3600
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:35 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by finlay »

Rodlox wrote:
finlay wrote:Piraha has one phoneme that is


If Piraha turns out to be a European (or IE) language or creole, I will be surprised. Pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.



(rampant speculation) On the other hand, maybe its just older than all the other IE creoles in its neck of the Americas. (/rampant speculation)

:| It's called a tangent. They happen a lot here. In this case I brought up Piraha because it illustrates the folly of calling a phoneme by one label or another and then proclaiming that a language "doesn't have" any phoneme that fits the description of the other allophone. The basic sense was that normally we wouldn't say that Icelandic has /g/, but the contrast between the two velar plosive phonemes, usually marked /k kʰ/ for Icelandic, bears a lot of similarity to that between /g k/, and in many ways, the aspiration contrast corresponds to the voicing contrast in other languages like French, and we would call them lenis and fortis (weak like g and strong like k) to emphasise this point. ie Icelandic's /k/ corresponds to /g/ in other languages (and this is upheld by the orthography – same for Chinese Pinyin although Icelandic's orthography is historical and Pinyin is invented)

Rodlox
Avisaru
Avisaru
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2005 11:02 am

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Rodlox »

finlay wrote:
Rodlox wrote:
finlay wrote:Piraha has one phoneme that is


If Piraha turns out to be a European (or IE) language or creole, I will be surprised. Pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.



(rampant speculation) On the other hand, maybe its just older than all the other IE creoles in its neck of the Americas. (/rampant speculation)

:| It's called a tangent.


I know. I just typed down what I thought of when I saw the juxtaposition...that, combined with either in this or the prior European Phonology thread, about how not all European languages/conlangs seem particularly European. that gave me the idea that maybe Piraha was an extreme form of that.
MadBrain is a genius.

User avatar
finlay
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3600
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:35 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by finlay »

if only :P

Plusquamperfekt
Lebom
Lebom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:33 am

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Plusquamperfekt »

Once I wanted to create a Germlang based on Modern High German, but with a third consonant sound shift, ejectives and tones... :?

User avatar
WeepingElf
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1630
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:00 pm
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by WeepingElf »

Plusquamperfekt wrote:Once I wanted to create a Germlang based on Modern High German, but with a third consonant sound shift, ejectives and tones... :?


I once attempted a Germanic conlang based on Modern High German with a third consonant shift (though not with ejectives and tones), but it never went far.
...brought to you by the Weeping Elf
Tha cvastam émi cvastam santham amal phelsa. -- Friedrich Schiller
ESTAR-3SG:P human-OBJ only human-OBJ true-OBJ REL-LOC play-3SG:A

User avatar
Skomakar'n
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1273
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:05 pm

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Skomakar'n »

Plusquamperfekt wrote:Once I wanted to create a Germlang based on Modern High German, but with a third consonant sound shift, ejectives and tones... :?

Scandinavian languages have tones (pitch accent and stød are tones, and I don't care if anyone disagrees!)!
Online dictionary for my conlang Vanga: http://royalrailway.com/tungumaalMiin/Vanga/

#undef FEMALE

I'd love for you to try my game out! Here's the forum thread about it:
http://zbb.spinnwebe.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=36688

Of an Ernst'ian one.

User avatar
WeepingElf
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1630
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:00 pm
Location: Braunschweig, Germany
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by WeepingElf »

Skomakar'n wrote:
Plusquamperfekt wrote:Once I wanted to create a Germlang based on Modern High German, but with a third consonant sound shift, ejectives and tones... :?

Scandinavian languages have tones (pitch accent and stød are tones, and I don't care if anyone disagrees!)!


Some German dialects are also pitch-accent languages, with two contrasting pitch accents called Stoßton and Schleifton. A nice minimal pair is found in the sentence

Sie liebte den Seher sehr. 'She loved the seer much.'

In this sentence, Seher has Schleifton and sehr has Stoßton, otherwise the two words are pronounced the same.

I have been inspired by this in Old Albic, which also has such a system.
...brought to you by the Weeping Elf
Tha cvastam émi cvastam santham amal phelsa. -- Friedrich Schiller
ESTAR-3SG:P human-OBJ only human-OBJ true-OBJ REL-LOC play-3SG:A

User avatar
Ser
Smeric
Smeric
Posts: 1542
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:55 am
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by Ser »

brandrinn wrote:
Serafín wrote:But brandrinn claims there's "many", what are other examples?

Hungarian once had this distinction as well. That's why <s> and <sz> are the opposite of what you'd expect in modern Hungarian. I think some other Romance languages also had this feature, but I'm not sure how to find out.
In the case of the Spanish in central and northern Spain, Old Spanish /dz̻/ merged with /ts̻/, and /z̺/ with /s̺/. Then this new /ts̻/ became a fricative /s̻/ opposing the inherited /s̺/ only in place of articulation: /s̻/ vs. /s̺/. Then they underwent dissimilation and became modern /θ/ and /s/.

I know something similar happened in French, where the Old French of Paris had its /ts̻/ and /dz̻/ deaffricated to /s̻/ and /z̻/, merging with the preexisting /s/ and /z/. The old /s/ and /z/ could have been laminal as well like the fricative component in the old affricates, or not, having some apical-laminal distinction for some time before merging. No idea what it's usually thought to have happened.

In Spanish at least, it's well known because of how names of places in Nahuatl were transcribed: Nahuatl has [s̻], so at first, they started to be transcribed with ‹c/ç, z› /s̻/, but once the dissimilation happened and this [s̻] became [θ], places started to be transcribed with ‹s› /s̺/.

User avatar
johanpeturdam
Sanci
Sanci
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:32 pm
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia, originally: Funningur, Faroe Islands
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by johanpeturdam »

Skomakar'n wrote:Faroese has been a little nicer to it, keeping it initially before back vowels and /ø/, but getting rid of it in most intervocalic and final positions, usually by turning it into some other sound such as /v/ or /j/. It has usually become /dʒ/ before front vowels (except for /ø/), but also /j/ in some positions (generally in the same place as where Icelandic does it). It is generally kept before other consonants, though, such as the clusters /gv/ and /gd/ (but */gj/ is /dʒ/).

<gøta> /ˈgøːta/
<skuggi> /ˈskʊdʒɪ/ -› <skugga> /ˈskʊga/
<dagur> /ˈdɛavʊr/ -› <degi> /ˈdɛjɪ/, <dagar> /ˈdɛavar/ (I may be wrong about <degi> and <dagar>, though)
<eg> /ɛː/

Eg fleyg hagar í gjár.
/ɛːØ flɛi̯j ˈhɛavar ʊi̯ ɔɑr/ (I think)
I flew there yesterday.


Sorry to burst your bubble, we are just as bad as the Icelanders:

<gøta> /ˈkøːta/ (most dialects of Vágar, North Streymoy and Eysturoy preaspirate the t giving: /ˈkøːʰta/)
<skuggi> /ˈskʊtʃːɪ/ -› <skugga> /ˈskʊkːa/
<dagur> /ˈtɛavʊɹ/ -› <degi> /ˈteːjɪ/, <dagar> /ˈdę:aɹ/ (Note: ę is used in Faroese transliteration, but I'm not exactly sure what for. I asked my phonetics teacher, and he said it was some sort of lowered vowel... so it should probably be /ɛ:/. ǫ is used in a similar fashion.)
<eg> /eː/

Eg fleyg hagar í gjár.
/eːØ flɛi̯ːj ˈhę:Øaɹ ʊi̯ ɔa:ɹ/ (Corrected)
I flew there yesterday.

/ð/ went through the same changes, so <g> and <ð> are in many places homographs, especially word-finally and inter-vocalically. Which leads me to believe, that Faroese probably somewhere along the road experienced a sound shift similar to the Irish /ðˠ/ -> /ɣ/ one (or how it was, I can't find the post it was posted in). I'll have to ask about it closer though.

The preaspiration of non-geminated plosives in Faroese is as I said limited to a relatively small area of the Faroes (still it's present in roughly 1/4 of the population's dialects). I also think the 'intensity' of the pre-aspiration varies since sometimes I almost hear a sound more similar to /ˣt/ instead of the 'standard' /ʰt/. The pre-aspiration of geminated plosives is present in all of the islands so <-tt(-)> <-pp(-)> and <-kk(-)> are /ʰt:/ /ʰp:/ /ʰk:/ are everywhere.

I think that was all, I might have forgotten to comment on something, and if so, I'll comment on it later.
Ungur nemur, gamal fremur
Da giovani si impara, da adulti si applica

User avatar
finlay
Sumerul
Sumerul
Posts: 3600
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 12:35 pm
Location: Tokyo

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by finlay »

johanpeturdam wrote:
Skomakar'n wrote:Faroese has been a little nicer to it, keeping it initially before back vowels and /ø/, but getting rid of it in most intervocalic and final positions, usually by turning it into some other sound such as /v/ or /j/. It has usually become /dʒ/ before front vowels (except for /ø/), but also /j/ in some positions (generally in the same place as where Icelandic does it). It is generally kept before other consonants, though, such as the clusters /gv/ and /gd/ (but */gj/ is /dʒ/).

<gøta> /ˈgøːta/
<skuggi> /ˈskʊdʒɪ/ -› <skugga> /ˈskʊga/
<dagur> /ˈdɛavʊr/ -› <degi> /ˈdɛjɪ/, <dagar> /ˈdɛavar/ (I may be wrong about <degi> and <dagar>, though)
<eg> /ɛː/

Eg fleyg hagar í gjár.
/ɛːØ flɛi̯j ˈhɛavar ʊi̯ ɔɑr/ (I think)
I flew there yesterday.


Sorry to burst your bubble, we are just as bad as the Icelanders:

<gøta> /ˈkøːta/ (most dialects of Vágar, North Streymoy and Eysturoy preaspirate the t giving: /ˈkøːʰta/)
<skuggi> /ˈskʊtʃːɪ/ -› <skugga> /ˈskʊkːa/
<dagur> /ˈtɛavʊɹ/ -› <degi> /ˈteːjɪ/, <dagar> /ˈdę:aɹ/ (Note: ę is used in Faroese transliteration, but I'm not exactly sure what for. I asked my phonetics teacher, and he said it was some sort of lowered vowel... so it should probably be /ɛ:/

You're the one who speaks the language... you tell us! Look up the IPA or something.

User avatar
johanpeturdam
Sanci
Sanci
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 9:32 pm
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia, originally: Funningur, Faroe Islands
Contact:

Re: How to Design a European Phonology (in Interesting Ways!

Post by johanpeturdam »

finlay wrote:You're the one who speaks the language... you tell us! Look up the IPA or something.


But I'm no phoneticist (or phonetician, or how it's called) either.

In any case, I'm gonna go with /ę/ actually being /ɛ/. (Although it might just as well be /æ/, especially, if it's based on E caudata from Old Norse manuscripts.)
Ungur nemur, gamal fremur
Da giovani si impara, da adulti si applica

Post Reply