New Tonal Conlang idea

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KpTroopaFR
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New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 21:29

This was a bad concept, topic over.

So this is my first shot at a tonal language, might not be good.

Phonemes

IPA - Romanised
p - p
b - b
t - t
d - d
c - tt
ɟ - dd
m - m
n - n
r - r
f - f
v - v
s - s
z - z
ʃ - š
ʒ - ž
x - x
ɣ - xj
h - h

a - a
e - e
i - i
o - o
u - u

Tones

á - á
é - é
í - í
ó - ó
ú - ú
à - à
è - è
ì - ì
ò - ò
ù - ù
rising-falling a - â
rising-falling e - ê
rising-falling i - î
rising-falling o - ô
rising-falling u - û
aː - ā
eː - ē
iː - ī
oː - ō
uː - ū
ã - ã
ɛ̃ - ẽ
õ - õ
œ̃ - ũ
Edit: changed ũ's pronounciation to /œ̃/, which I hope now is like french "brun"
Words are (CV)(CV)CT (where T is a tonal vowel) : https://1drv.ms/w/s!AgaQHFJZTsCagRKc0kfP5ke6mege

There's also a writing system, which I'll show later.

Thoughts ?
Last edited by KpTroopaFR on Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:34, edited 2 times in total.
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Evynova
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Evynova » Tue 03 Jan 2017, 22:42

I think you posted in the wrong section of the forum haha!

I see you're not taking risks with the phonology and tones, they're very basic: a simple voiced-unvoiced distinction and the exact same tone system as Mandarin Chinese. I like the idea of nasal vowels, but is there a particular reason why nasalised /e/ and /u/ become /ɛ̃/ and /ʌ̃/? Everything else is so ordered and symmetrical, why do these 2 particular vowels make an exception?

I have two other questions, regarding the tone system. Firstly, why do tones only affect the final vowel of a word? You either use tones on vowels, or you don't at all. What I mean is there is no single language out there that marks tones on specific vowels and not on all, especially not with a contour tone system like the one you chose. Secondly, are nasalised vowels also tonal? You didn't specify that in your post and once again, there is no reason why nasalised vowels should not receive tones if the others do.
Spoiler:
Nasal vowels are not very common compared to oral ones, but some languages do in fact nasalise every vowel of their inventory, and if they are tonal, they also apply tones to the nasalised vowels. For example the Navajo language which, I'll give you that, only has low and high tone. The Paicî language uses high, mid and low tone but also applies them to nasalised vowels.
Anyhow, good luck with your conlang :)
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Davush » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 00:44

You haven't given us any indication how your tones work, so it is difficult to comment on it.

For example, do the acute and grave accents represent high-level and low-level tones? Or do they represent rises and falls? Or something else? Does the macron only indicate length, or also tone?

What exactly is a 'tonal' vowel and how does it differ from a 'non-tonal' vowel?

The wikipedia page might be a good place to start so we can understand what you are trying to describe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_(linguistics)
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by GrandPiano » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 06:20

Evynova wrote:the exact same tone system as Mandarin Chinese.
Not exactly. Mandarin has a falling-rising tone, not a rising-falling tone. And like Davush pointed out, they haven't explained what tones the other diacritics represent.

/ɣ/ <xj> is an interesting choice. Why did you choose <xj> and not, say, <g> (since you don't appear to have /g/).

And as Evynova pointed out, this should have gone in Conlangs rather than Teach & Share. One important question: Are you aiming for naturalism?
:eng: - Native
:chn: - B2
:esp: - A2
:jpn: - A2
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Frislander » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 13:07

I also have a question as well: can nasalisation and vowel length coexist with tone (there' no natlang I know which doesn't allow tone on long and nasal vowels, and if anything long vowels are likely to make more tonal distinctions)? I ask because your given orthography does seem to indicate not.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:00

Evynova wrote:I think you posted in the wrong section of the forum haha!

I see you're not taking risks with the phonology and tones, they're very basic: a simple voiced-unvoiced distinction and the exact same tone system as Mandarin Chinese. I like the idea of nasal vowels, but is there a particular reason why nasalised /e/ and /u/ become /ɛ̃/ and /ʌ̃/? Everything else is so ordered and symmetrical, why do these 2 particular vowels make an exception?

I have two other questions, regarding the tone system. Firstly, why do tones only affect the final vowel of a word? You either use tones on vowels, or you don't at all. What I mean is there is no single language out there that marks tones on specific vowels and not on all, especially not with a contour tone system like the one you chose. Secondly, are nasalised vowels also tonal? You didn't specify that in your post and once again, there is no reason why nasalised vowels should not receive tones if the others do.
Spoiler:
Nasal vowels are not very common compared to oral ones, but some languages do in fact nasalise every vowel of their inventory, and if they are tonal, they also apply tones to the nasalised vowels. For example the Navajo language which, I'll give you that, only has low and high tone. The Paicî language uses high, mid and low tone but also applies them to nasalised vowels.
Anyhow, good luck with your conlang :)
1. I just think /ɛ̃/ fits a nasalised e better (altough I hesitated with giving it to a nasalised i, like in teh french "in"), same for /ʌ̃/, which I hope is like the french "un" (I'm not too good with IPA symbols for vowels).

2. For the tones only affecting the final vowel, well I just thought it was easier to represent, and words have a nice ring to them like that.

3. I consider nasalised vowels as tones because I just thought having vowels with tildes + acute/grace/circumflex accents looked like too much.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:05

Davush wrote:For example, do the acute and grave accents represent high-level and low-level tones? Or do they represent rises and falls? Or something else?
Just like my IPA chart says, they represent high and low tones.
Davush wrote:Does the macron only indicate length, or also tone?
Length. But long vowels can't get tones so I consider it as a "tone-like sound", because in music some notes are longer than others.
Davush wrote:What exactly is a 'tonal' vowel and how does it differ from a 'non-tonal' vowel?
A tonal vowel is a vowel with a tone and a non-tonal vowel is a vowel without a tone.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:10

GrandPiano wrote: /ɣ/ <xj> is an interesting choice. Why did you choose <xj> and not, say, <g> (since you don't appear to have /g/).
Good point. I just thought <j> after a letter represents voicing, just like <h> sometimes represented voicelessness (is that how you say it ?)
GrandPiano wrote:And as Evynova pointed out, this should have gone in Conlangs rather than Teach & Share.
Dang. I usually put my new conlangs in T&S. Sorry.
GrandPiano wrote:One important question: Are you aiming for naturalism?
Absolutely not. That's what I like when making conlangs : something no one has ever seen before, to "surprise" people in a way, just like Vaku's voicing rule.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Evynova » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:19

1. I just think /ɛ̃/ fits a nasalised e better (altough I hesitated with giving it to a nasalised i, like in teh french "in"), same for /ʌ̃/, which I hope is like the french "un" (I'm not too good with IPA symbols for vowels).
I also speak French and /ʌ̃/ is not the same as the French /un/. [ʌ] is the /u/ sound in the word cut in a Standard English pronunciation. You can do whatever you want with your language's phonology of course, but if you are aiming for realism, you should find a way to explain why nasalised /u/ turned into a /ʌ̃/
2. For the tones only affecting the final vowel, well I just thought it was easier to represent, and words have a nice ring to them like that.
Once again, the choice is yours but if you intended to make a naturalistic conlang, you should consider using tones on every vowel. You can of course simplify the tone system, after all, the vast majority of tonal languages only have a high-low tone distinction.
3. I consider nasalised vowels as tones because I just thought having vowels with tildes + acute/grace/circumflex accents looked like too much.
Unfortunately, nasalisation on its own is not a tone: you just allow air to escape through the nose as well as the mouth, which changes the way the vowel sounds, but does not affect the pitch. As I explained in my first post, tonal languages that also use nasalised vowels also apply tones to those, there's no reason why they shouldn't receive tones, they are still vowels. Some Asian languages have "creaky voice" to be a tone, but creaky voice alone isn't. It just means regular /á/ and creaky voiced /á̰/ are two different vowels.
You should have a look at the Vietnamese alphabet: maybe the diacritics they use to express tones (they also use creaky voice) will inspire you. There's no problem with accumulating diacritics on letters, if they actually indicate something useful. I will also add some African languages, which are tonal, do not indicate tones in their alphabet: they need to be memorised (just like how we need to memorise where stress is in an English word).

PS: I've just seen you didn't aim for naturalism. Then ignore what I said about what's more realistic and what isn't ^-^
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:23

I've made new words where tones can be on every vowel, but I've limited to one tone per word, not sure if that's a good idea, it's my first shot at tones.
Nasals and longs are not tones, granted, but can't get tones, because I'm not fond of stacking diacritics. If there's an alternative, tell me.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:26

I've made new words where tones can be on every vowel, but I've limited to one tone per word, not sure if that's a good idea, it's my first shot at tones.
Nasals and longs are not tones, granted, but can't get tones, because I'm not fond of stacking diacritics. If there's an alternative, tell me.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Frislander » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:28

KpTroopaFR wrote:
Davush wrote:For example, do the acute and grave accents represent high-level and low-level tones? Or do they represent rises and falls? Or something else?
Just like my IPA chart says, they represent high and low tones.
You call that list an IPA chart? I appreciate you using the IPA but a chart also groups phonemes into rows and columns based on phonological features.
Davush wrote:Does the macron only indicate length, or also tone?
Length. But long vowels can't get tones so I consider it as a "tone-like sound", because in music some notes are longer than others.
Now this is highly unnatural: do you really mean to say that your vowels with a rising-falling tone are shorter than long vowels without tone? That is pretty much impossible from an articulatory standpoint.

Further, even your appeal to music (which is not a good idea anyway, since linguistic tone is nit the same thing as musical pitch) falls down: longer notes still have a pitch, the length doesn't somehow prevent the note from having a pitch, which is what you have here.
KpTroopaFR wrote:2. For the tones only affecting the final vowel, well I just thought it was easier to represent, and words have a nice ring to them like that.
At that point you might be better off calling it a pitch-accent language.
3. I consider nasalised vowels as tones because I just thought having vowels with tildes + acute/grace/circumflex accents looked like too much.
Just because it looks like too much on a page and don't like it means you need to find another romanisation, not that nasalosation and tone aren't compatible. E.g. I'd suggest using -n for nasalisation, or use ogoneks like Athabaskan languages, which frequently cooccur with tone-marking accents.
Evynova wrote:I see you're not taking risks with the phonology and tones, they're very basic: a simple voiced-unvoiced distinction and the exact same tone system as Mandarin Chinese. I like the idea of nasal vowels, but is there a particular reason why nasalised /e/ and /u/ become /ɛ̃/ and /ʌ̃/? Everything else is so ordered and symmetrical, why do these 2 particular vowels make an exception?
Actually I'd expect there to be some discrepancy of quality with the nasalised vowels. Vowel systems where there is a nasal vowel for every oral vowel are actually comparatively rare, I find, and ones wheere the quality exactly matches as well are rarer still.
I have two other questions, regarding the tone system. Firstly, why do tones only affect the final vowel of a word? You either use tones on vowels, or you don't at all. What I mean is there is no single language out there that marks tones on specific vowels and not on all, especially not with a contour tone system like the one you chose.
Actually there are, it's just they're frequently called pitch-accent languages. Lhasa Tibetan I think is one which is called tonal and does restrict the domain on tone, though only to the first syllable.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by KpTroopaFR » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:33

Frislander wrote:
KpTroopaFR wrote:
Davush wrote:For example, do the acute and grave accents represent high-level and low-level tones? Or do they represent rises and falls? Or something else?
Just like my IPA chart says, they represent high and low tones.
You call that list an IPA chart? I appreciate you using the IPA but a chart also groups phonemes into rows and columns based on phonological features.
Spoiler:
Davush wrote:Does the macron only indicate length, or also tone?
Length. But long vowels can't get tones so I consider it as a "tone-like sound", because in music some notes are longer than others.
Now this is highly unnatural: do you really mean to say that your vowels with a rising-falling tone are shorter than long vowels without tone? That is pretty much impossible from an articulatory standpoint.

Further, even your appeal to music (which is not a good idea anyway, since linguistic tone is nit the same thing as musical pitch) falls down: longer notes still have a pitch, the length doesn't somehow prevent the note from having a pitch, which is what you have here.
KpTroopaFR wrote:2. For the tones only affecting the final vowel, well I just thought it was easier to represent, and words have a nice ring to them like that.
At that point you might be better off calling it a pitch-accent language.
3. I consider nasalised vowels as tones because I just thought having vowels with tildes + acute/grace/circumflex accents looked like too much.
Just because it looks like too much on a page and don't like it means you need to find another romanisation, not that nasalosation and tone aren't compatible. E.g. I'd suggest using -n for nasalisation, or use ogoneks like Athabaskan languages, which frequently cooccur with tone-marking accents.
Evynova wrote:I see you're not taking risks with the phonology and tones, they're very basic: a simple voiced-unvoiced distinction and the exact same tone system as Mandarin Chinese. I like the idea of nasal vowels, but is there a particular reason why nasalised /e/ and /u/ become /ɛ̃/ and /ʌ̃/? Everything else is so ordered and symmetrical, why do these 2 particular vowels make an exception?
Actually I'd expect there to be some discrepancy of quality with the nasalised vowels. Vowel systems where there is a nasal vowel for every oral vowel are actually comparatively rare, I find, and ones wheere the quality exactly matches as well are rarer still.
I have two other questions, regarding the tone system. Firstly, why do tones only affect the final vowel of a word? You either use tones on vowels, or you don't at all. What I mean is there is no single language out there that marks tones on specific vowels and not on all, especially not with a contour tone system like the one you chose.
Actually there are, it's just they're frequently called pitch-accent languages. Lhasa Tibetan I think is one which is called tonal and does restrict the domain on tone, though only to the first syllable.


No, I meant the IPA chart I use when conalnging.

But anyway, I might as well give up on this and try again when I have more knowledge on the subject. This topic is over.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Davush » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 14:40

I realise you might want to rethink this, but just for clarification, simply giving us the vowels with an acute, grave and macron doesn't actually tell us much about their tonal value.

Those diacritics are a kind of IPA 'shorthand' for various tonal values, which are better described in the first instance using the 'full' forms, i.e. a˥ a˦ a˧ a˨ a˩, etc. For example, if you say you have a high tone and a low tone, what are their relative values? Tones are usually assigned on a scale from 1-5 (in Chinese languages), with 5 being the highest pitch and 1 the lowest.

So, a high-level tone might have a pitch of 55, and a low level tone might have a pitch of 22, or 11. The number system allows you to show contours as well, a rising tone might start at pitch 3 and rise to pitch 5, which can be notated as 35 or ˧˥. In a system like Chinese, you can't really have a 'non-tonal' syllable if tone is so integral to the syllable, in which case your 'non-tonal' (or neutral tone, whatever you want to call it) might have a pitch value of say 33, which is in between high (55) and low (11).

Pitch accent is somewhat different, and could be something you might want to consider.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 15:39

Even though it seems you abandoned this conlang, I like the idea of only final vowels being tonal. There are definitely natlangs that have tones only at the right edge of the word. If nasalized vowels cannot occur at the end of a word, that would be a trivial reason to not have nasalized tonal vowels. The same goes for length. If you would elaborate on the idea, I would really like to read more about it.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Evynova » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 15:41

Frislander wrote:Actually there are, it's just they're frequently called pitch-accent languages. Lhasa Tibetan I think is one which is called tonal and does restrict the domain on tone, though only to the first syllable.
Not at all! There are two types of tones: contour tones (rising, falling, etc) and register tones (high, low, mid). Pitch accent could be mistaken with a simple low-high register tone system, but it's very different in the way it functions, as the change in pitch only affects the so-called stressed syllable while tone normally affects every syllable of a word.

I have also quickly read about Tibetan and they say that tone doesn't matter in polysyllabic words, while the first syllable keeps it. Having tone exclusively on the final syllable of a word, however, seems very implausible, unless the language works backwards. But as he said, he isn't focused on naturalism, so that shouldn't be too much concern for him.
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 15:50

Evynova wrote: Having tone exclusively on the final syllable of a word, however, seems very implausible, unless the language works backwards.
WTF excuse my French! There are a lot of languages that restrict tone to a domain at the right edge of the word. See for example the general pattern in Kairi (PDF)
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Frislander » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 21:49

Evynova wrote:
Frislander wrote:Actually there are, it's just they're frequently called pitch-accent languages. Lhasa Tibetan I think is one which is called tonal and does restrict the domain on tone, though only to the first syllable.
Not at all! There are two types of tones: contour tones (rising, falling, etc) and register tones (high, low, mid). Pitch accent could be mistaken with a simple low-high register tone system, but it's very different in the way it functions, as the change in pitch only affects the so-called stressed syllable while tone normally affects every syllable of a word.
I know what pitch-accent is: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=75&start=11720#p245330
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Frislander » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 21:54

Creyeditor wrote:
Evynova wrote: Having tone exclusively on the final syllable of a word, however, seems very implausible, unless the language works backwards.
WTF excuse my French! There are a lot of languages that restrict tone to a domain at the right edge of the word. See for example the general pattern in Kairi (PDF)
wow, I love that PDF, Cred!
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Re: New Tonal Conlang idea

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 04 Jan 2017, 22:15

I do to. It's mostly a summary of older descriptions, but it helped me through some dark times [xD]
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