The Kovur and Language

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sangi39
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The Kovur and Language

Post by sangi39 » Fri 23 Mar 2018, 22:47

So, on my conworld, Yantas, as well as humans there is also a second sapient species, the Kovur, predominantly occupying a the continents of Hungas, Mistaya and some of eastern Konyur (with some areas of overlap with humans in Konyur and Mistaya).



The Kovur descend from a canine like species in the north-eastern regions of Mistaya, and have retained the protruding snout-like mouth of their ancestors, which extends out approximately 12cm from the eyes. If I can read my own notes correctly, the base of the spine is about 30cm back from the tip of the snout, which might make the Kovur mouth about 22cm in length, as opposed to the 12-15cm(?) of the human mouth.

Canines on Earth do appear to share similar features of the oral cavity (from what I'm able to understand at this point), including a glottis, a larynx, vocal folds, epiglottis, a nasal, oral, and laryngeal pharynx, a soft and a hard palate, and of course a tongue.

The main differences that I can see are that the hard and soft palates are much longer than in humans, with the tongue root situated much further back in the mouth. I might be wrong, but with the tongue root situated so far back, regardless of flexibility, would a canine tongue be "weaker" than the tongue of a human being in terms of the amount of pressure it might be able to put on the passive point of articulation? For example, while palatal plosives might still be possible, would an alveolar plosive be more difficult for a canine, still possessing a tongue like a dog or a wolf, to pronounce consistently? Would fricatives an approximants be more likely to appear at these POAs?

This also brings me to the question of "more mouth = more POAs". If such tongues are considerably weaker in terms of putting pressure on coronal POAs, would a distinction between, say, alveolar and retroflex be feasible? Again, assuming the kind of tongue we see with dogs and wolves now.



Assuming such tongue are "weaker" (whether more flexible or not), how might the Kovur develop stronger tongues? Would the tongue need rooting further forward in the mouth, or could the musculature simply become more, I don't know, rigid? I'd assume a fronted tongue root would allow for greater pressure at coronal POAs, but with the tongue still being quite long, would they still suffer from effects of "floppy tongue", albeit lessened?

I'd assume a more rigid tongue would allow for a greater number of POAs being distinguished, but again, floppy tongue, so for example, alveolar plosives might, for the Kovur, be cross-linguistically quite rare amongst there languages, possibly patterning as if they were ejectives.



Any thoughts would be a lot of help. I've been wanting to figure out what they might sound like for ages, but I honestly quite work out what sort of difference the length of the mouth might make, and what sort of sounds different sorts of tongues might allow them to produce.

... Oh, completely forgot about labials and dentals, since they do have two-inch-long canines and half-inch-long pointed incisors...
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Re: The Kovur and Language

Post by Parlox » Fri 23 Mar 2018, 23:30

Wolves would have a lot of trouble with bilabials. And dentals don't seem feasible to me(sharp teeth + tongue?). Vowels might be pretty different.

Take my ideas with a grain of salt, i know very little about wolf anatomy.
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Re: The Kovur and Language

Post by sangi39 » Sun 25 Mar 2018, 16:13

Parlox wrote:
Fri 23 Mar 2018, 23:30
Wolves would have a lot of trouble with bilabials. And dentals don't seem feasible to me(sharp teeth + tongue?). Vowels might be pretty different.

Take my ideas with a grain of salt, i know very little about wolf anatomy.
I'd had a similar thought about dentals (although I suppose something dental-like could still occur, but with a weaker articulation, and weaker airflow, or even phonemic bidentals?)

Bilabials I assume might be possible, depending on how their lips evolve, but I get the feeling labiodentals might be right out.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.
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