Turning Japanese

April 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Here’s a phonology I cooked up in a few minutes that’s pretty much a copy of Japanese, with some of my own touches.


The voiceless labial stop /p/ only occurs doubled; historically, it has merged with /h/ when single. The glottal fricative is [ɸ] before /u/. The siblants /ts dz s z/ are palatalized to [tɕ dʑ ɕ ʑ]. The voiced affricate usually loses it’s stoppage between vowels, becoming either [z] or [ʑ]. The sonorant /r/ is a flap unspecified for lateralness.

I’m thinking of adding /x/ for some flavor/

Basic vowels:

The vowels are pretty simple. The mid vowels are laxed before a syllable final consonant to [ɛ ɔ] and are always lax in diphthongs and triphthongs. The vowels /y u/ do not occur in the same words, participating in vowel harmony.


The chart above shows the cooccurance of the glides with vowels and falling diphthongs. The glides do not occur before homoorganic high vowels.

The maximum syllable is CGVC, where C is a consonant, G a glide and V a vowel or falling diphthong. The glide /j/ occurs with all initials, while the glide /w/ occurs only after velar initials or /m/. Word initial, there may be an open onset. Word medially, there must be an onset, a glide, or both.

Syllable final consonants are severely restricted. Word internally, there may only be a copy of a following voiceless obstruent or nasal /ŋ/ . Long /ss/ > [tts]. These stops obstruent sequences are often realized as a [ʔC] sequence. The nasal is realized as slightly postvelar in this position. Before labials, the nasal becomes labio-velar: [ŋ͡m]. Word finally, the choices are slightly larger: /t k ŋ/ all occur.


Another phonology

April 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

This is a phonology I thought up last night, intended for a close-to-monosyllabic isolating language I’m thinking about making. The consonants are shown below:

There are five simple vowels: /i e a u o/ which may occur short or long. The high vowels /i u/ may occur as glides, yielding both rising and falling diphthongs, as well as triphthongs. These are shown below:

The glides /i u/ are spelled <j> and <w> after a vowel and word initially, respectively.

All morphemes are mono- or bisyllabic. Monosyllables have the form V, VC, CV, or CVC where C is a consonant and V is a vowel or diphthong or triphthong. The initial C slot may be filled by any consonant, though there are some restrictions based on the following V. The labial fricative /f/ may only precede a rounded vowel or glide [u̯]. Before glide [i̯], the sibilant fricatives have all palatalized historically, leaving only /tɕ dʑ ɕ ʑ/. This does not occur before vowel [i].

Codas are much more restricted: only /h t k n ŋ/ occur. The voiceless finals /h t k/ only occur after the short vowels and rising diphthongs. The nasal finals may occur after the short, long, and rising diphthongs. The falling diphthongs and triphthongs only occur in open syllables. The glottal fricative does not surface as an actual coda, but instead lowers the tone of the preceding syllable nucleus. This is written as a grave over the vowel: kiè ‘room’ is /kieh/ [ki̯e˨].

Bisyllabic words consist of a main syllable of the form CV or CVC (limited by the above form rules) and a presyllable of the form (C)V(h, N), where C and V are both extremely limited. Only three underlying vowels occur in presyllables: /e u a/. These are realized [ɛ ʉ a], respectively, except before main syllables containing [i] or on-glide [i̯], in which case /u/ > [ɨ]. Presyllables may be open or begin in a consonant from the following set: /p t k s h m n l/. Presyllables may be open or closed by /h/ or a placeless nasal /N/. After open presyllables, all initials occur. After /h/, an obstruent must be voiceless. After a nasal presyllable obstruents must be voiced or /h/. The nasal assimilates to the following place of articulation.

PNW without PNW

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I have this itching to do a language that has a very pacific northwest-y consonant inventory/sound system, but does not have th agglutinative tendencies of that region. Or perhaps has some of the grammatical features, but in an isolating/less agglutinative body. I might draw something up later today.

Transitive Adjectives

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just found this post over at language log really interesting, and figured I’d reblog it over here. It talks about the development of new adjectives that take NP complements in English. I think I might end up using something like this in P1.

Link here.

P1: A crossroads

April 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

As happens to me a lot, a phonology goes through several stages in the beginning phases of a language. As can be seen from my post last night on some adjustments I’d just made, the phonology is still in a high state of flux. I’ve come to a point where I might be changing a key aspect of the phonology I first posted about, and I’d like some feedback. There are two options:

1) Leave the phonology as it is, plus the changes from yesterday. This would leave coronal harmony in place.
2) Scrap coronal harmony. Move /t̪/ to /d/ and add a voiced labial stop /b/. Also, to compensate further for the lack of coronal harmony, add /ɬ/, perhaps with some kind of remnant coronal relationship with /ts/.

Anyway, if anyone has ideas/feedback about this, I’d really like to here it.

Tiny Little Things

April 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve had a thing for tiny, minimalist phoneme inventories lately. Here are a couple of them. One of these may end up being recruited to serve as the mother for an extremely isolating artlang idea I’m playing around with.

The first one has 10 consonants and 4 vowels, for a total of 14 phonemes

/t k ʔ m n ŋ s h ʋ l e a u o/

Valid consonant clusters number four: /ts ks hl hʋ/. They probably only occur intervocalically. The second inventory is inspired by Lilipu, sort of, and is generally kind of polynesian. It has 11 phonemes, 8 consonants and 3 vowels. I may substitute /e/ for /i/ if i end up using this:

/p k ʔ f s m n l a i u/

This one would have a CV syllable structure. No consonant clusters.

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