Need help with developing creole

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Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Tue 10 Apr 2018, 23:35

I've limited knowledge of linguistics, but am trying to learn more. Hopefully this is one way to do so. I'm trying to develop a creole derived from two rather different languages. The concept is that political exiles flee to a land and through intermarriage with locals and an armed uprising, their descendants become the eventual rulers. During the course of the two groups intermingling, the languages morph into a creole that is now the common tongue.

I have an idea for the phonologies of the two initial languages. What is the "best" method for marrying them up? It seems as though like sounds would tend to combine, like /ʈ/ and /t/ (am I using the // correctly here?) would combine into a single sound, like /t/. But what about instances of "foreign" sounds, like /ð/ being in one language but not the other? Would it be dropped? Adopted? Changed into something else?

Thanks in advance for any help that I receive on the matter.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by Vlürch » Wed 11 Apr 2018, 00:53

ukfl wrote:
Tue 10 Apr 2018, 23:35
(am I using the // correctly here?)
If both were originally phonemic, yes. So, based on what you described, yes.
ukfl wrote:
Tue 10 Apr 2018, 23:35
But what about instances of "foreign" sounds, like /ð/ being in one language but not the other? Would it be dropped? Adopted? Changed into something else?
Well, sounds like /ɸ β θ ð/ tend to shift to either /p b t d/ or /f v s z/, or something in between (eg. /ɸ β θ ð/ -> /f v t d/), even in one language as time goes on; Finnish apparently used to have /θ ð/ but they became /ts d/ in the standard language and a variety of other sounds in different dialects, while in many English dialects they're pronounced [t̪ d̪].

I don't know much about creoles, but I'd suspect /ð/ would only end up in the creole if it was present in a large number of common and/or important words. If you want to keep it, you could have it as an allophone of /d/ or /z/ or even /r/ or something. Creoles, as far as I know and like you mentined yourself, tend to have a smaller number of phonemes. That could easily lead to there being a lot of free variation; for example, some speakers could pronounce /b d g/ as [β ð ɣ] intervocalically while others always prononuce them [b​ d g], and some never have them as stops and only ever pronounce them as fricatives or even approximants, [β̞ ð̞ ɰ].

Merging sounds at the same point of articulation seems like a good idea, and I think especially with creoles it could make sense to do so irregularly (but maybe that's my internal crackpot speaking, who believes that sound changes are not necessarily regular due to different people perceiving different sounds differently; that's apparently pseudoscientific, though) since there would be extended contact where at one stage a sound could be pronounced differently in the source language from how it's pronounced at a later point in time, or the perception of the sound by the contactees could be different, etc.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Thu 12 Apr 2018, 13:10

Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the information. I'll post up the phonologies for all three soon and see the community can check my work.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14

Creole arose from the situation where the community only had a pidgin as a common tongue, and the children of the community had a need to communicate(and maybe the need of new identification, as language is also pretty much a matter of identification, maybe the need of identification is the real reason Creole arose, as children might speak their mother tongues with their parents), and as a result, Creoles often have a simplified phonology which is the intersection of the mother tongues of the speakers, and a reduced amount of roots(but that does not mean they have a smaller lexicon. Creoles can(and maybe often do so) rely on compound words a lot to compensate the relatively small size of root words), and they often have the following features:
1. the lack of inflectional morphology
2. the lack of phonemic tones on monoysllabic words
3. the lack of semantically opaque expressions
Well, it is not the case that all creoles have all the features, there are creole languages with an inflectional morphology from the source language, and there are also creoles with tones, and there are non-creoles with those "creole" features; besides, after all, a creole is a fully functional language, it is as functional as all other languages.

Creole often draw most of its vocabulary from the superstrate language(e.g. Tok Pisin draws most of its vocabulary from English), wth a considerable amount of substrate words and some grammatical influences from the substrate languages(e.g. Tok Pisin has some grammatical features resembling Melanesian languages), and sometimes phrasal expressions of the source languages can become a single word in the creole(e.g. tasol "only" in Tok Pisin, which is from "that's all" of English).

As for "foreign" sounds, they would replace it with similarly-sounding native sounds, as all other languages.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34

Parent Language 1
Plosives p, b, t, d, k, g
Nasal m, n, (ŋ)
flaps r, (r̥)
Fricatives v, s, (z), h, ɦ
Approximants j, l, w, ʍ
aspirations p, t, k
Vowels i, u, o, ɛ, a
Diphthongs yi, ei, eu, oi, ai, au

Parent Language 2
Plosives p, b, ʈ, ɖ, k
Nasal n
Fricatives s, z, ʒ, x, ɣ
Approximants ɹ, l
Affricates t͡s, k͡x
Vowels I, ɵ, (ə), ɛ, ɔ, a
Diphthongs ɪɚ̯, ɛɚ̯, ʊɚ̯

This is what I came up with, but I'm doubting I'm doing this "right."

Creole
Plosives p, b, t, d, k, g [/t/>/t/ and /ɖ/>/d/] Is it more likely that /g/>/ɣ/ or /ɣ/>/g/
Nasal m, n Does it make sense for the creole to adopt /m/ when one of the parents doesn't have that phoneme originally?
flaps ɹ
Fricatives f, v, ð, s, ʒ, x, h [aspirated p>ɸ>f and aspirated t>ð] Does it make sense for a language with /h/ to also have /x/ or would the sounds merge together?
Approximants l, w, ʍ
Affricates tʃ, kh, dʒ [/t͡s/>/tʃ/ and /k͡x/>/kh/ and /j/>/dʒ/] Do these changes make sense?
Vowels i, u, I, ɵ, ə, ɛ, ɔ, a
Diphthongs yi, ei, eu, oi, ai, au Yeah, I have no idea what I'm doing.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:53

k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14
Creoles often have a simplified phonology which is the intersection of the mother tongues of the speakers, and a reduced amount of roots(but that does not mean they have a smaller lexicon.
Hmmm. Well, I'll need to go back to the phonology I determined earlier and pair down the number of phonemes (am I using that term correctly?).
k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14
Creole often draw most of its vocabulary from the superstrate language(e.g. Tok Pisin draws most of its vocabulary from English), wth a considerable amount of substrate words and some grammatical influences from the substrate languages(e.g. Tok Pisin has some grammatical features resembling Melanesian languages), and sometimes phrasal expressions of the source languages can become a single word in the creole(e.g. tasol "only" in Tok Pisin, which is from "that's all" of English).
This is good to know. Parent Language 1 is the more prominent of the two, so I'm assuming that would make it the superstrate and Parent Language 2 the substrate.
k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14
As for "foreign" sounds, they would replace it with similarly-sounding native sounds, as all other languages.
Would any "new" sounds develop relative to the two parent languages?
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by Vlürch » Fri 20 Apr 2018, 09:11

ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Is it more likely that /g/>/ɣ/ or /ɣ/>/g/
I'd say /g/ since it's a more common and "basic" sound, but you could still have [ɣ] as an allophone; for example, you could have /g/ be realised as [g] word-initally and word-finally but [ɣ] intervocalically. Same thing with /d/: you could have [ð] as an allophone. That'd be more "realistic" given that /ð/ is a rare phoneme, but of course it's your conlang so you can do whatever you want. [:)]
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Does it make sense for the creole to adopt /m/ when one of the parents doesn't have that phoneme originally?
Yes, even if it was simply because it's an extremely common sound and there aren't that many languages without it.
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
flaps ɹ
But that's not a flap; neither is /r/. /ɹ/ is an approximant while /r/ is a trill. I think the word you're thinking of is "rhotics". That said, it would be perfectly normal for a language to have only one rhotic with a variety of allophones; it could be a flap intervocalically and a trill or approximant word-initially, etc.
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Does it make sense for a language with /h/ to also have /x/ or would the sounds merge together?
There are plenty of languages with both. For a creole to have both may be kinda weird, though, but I think it's still reasonable even if it was more likely for /x/ to merge into /h/ or /k/.
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Approximants l, w, ʍ
Just a suggestion, but it would seem more realistic if /ʍ/ merged into /w/ because it's an incredibly rare sound; AFAICT based on Wikipedia and some googling, the only (living) languages in the world that have it as a phoneme are English and Washo, so... yeah. Well, the practically identical /xʷ/ is fairly common, though.
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Do these changes make sense?
What's up with /kh/? Is it supposed to be an aspirated /k/, ie. /kʰ/...? In that case, it wouldn't be an affricate and would be likely to merge with /k/ (or /x/, and then /h/ if you merge those two) especially if you turn /pʰ/ into /f/.
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:34
Vowels i, u, I, ɵ, ə, ɛ, ɔ, a
What's /I/ here? /ɪ/...? It'd be really weird for a creole to contrast /i/ and /ɪ/, especially if neither parent language does. They'd most likely merge, becoming /i/. I also don't think both /ə/ and /ɵ/ being phonemic is very realistic; AFAIK no natural language has both except as allophones or in free variation. A basic /a ɛ i ɔ u/ vowel inventory is extremely common (especially if the /ɛ/ and /ɔ/ can be [e̞] and [o̞] and/or [e] and [o] in free variation or allophonically), and it's also what one of the parent languages has, so it'd be the most logical result in the creole.
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Fri 20 Apr 2018, 13:46

Thank you for the information, Vlürch.

I'm going to change Parent Language 2 so that instead of /ɵ/ it has an /e/. That will help resolve the issue of /ɵ/ and /ə/; besides, I think it would be nice for the creole to have /e/ as a phoneme.

So the new phonology removes /kx/, /ʍ/, /x/, /ɵ/, /ə/. It retains /o/ and makes /ɔ/ and allophone of it. I'm also thinking of retaining most of the dipthongs from Parent Language 1, but not retaining any of the diphthongs from Parent Language 2.


How would the phonotactics change?
Parent Language 1 (C)(C)V(C)(n)/(r)/(s)
Parent Language 2 (C)(n)/(r)V(C)(C)
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Tue 01 May 2018, 21:05

So I found this article regarding creole syllabic structure. I'm reading it over and seeing what I can glean from it that may help determine the new phonotactics for this creole.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/14ff/5 ... 62734d.pdf
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Tue 01 May 2018, 21:42

From the article, it appears that the sonority hierarchy influences consonant clusters, to the point of deleting some sounds that violate the hierarchy (e.g. speak > piki).

So, perhaps the new creole phonotactics would take on the following form:

Parent Language 1 (C)(C)V(C)(n)/(r)/(s)
Parent Language 2 (C)(n)/(r)V(C)(C)

Creole (C)(C)V(C)(C)
Onset must obey sonority, leading to elimination of many of the double consonant sounds from Parent Language 2, i.e. Groti (ɣrɔʈ.i) > Roti (ɹɔt.i).
Final is less restrictive, but generally mirrors the onset, moving from high to low sonority.
EDIT: In instances where consonant clusters share the same sonority, a vowel is inserted between them.

Does this seem reasonable?
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 03 May 2018, 16:10

ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:53
k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14
As for "foreign" sounds, they would replace it with similarly-sounding native sounds, as all other languages.
Would any "new" sounds develop relative to the two parent languages?
I don't think so, I heard that the phonemes are often roughly the intersection of the substrata, e.g. it is going to be reduced, but you can also hear others' opinions.

A way to generate a new phoneme, however, is to borrow from foreign languages intensively after the formation of the creole.

sorry for being late
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Thu 03 May 2018, 16:12

So in determining the superstrate and substrate parent languages, I want to explain my thought process to get feedback from the community. The creole is a result of two disparate groups (racially and ethnically) being more or less forced to join into a common society. The first group is not human, but has physiology very similar humans, similar enough that they share the same set of possible language sounds as humans. This non-human group consists political refugees seeking asylum from the human group, so they begin the process as outsiders, downtrodden, and not in positions of authority politically, economically, or socially. This group is also heavily outnumbered by the human group. However, the non-humans live nearly 3-4 times as long as their human counterparts. It is possible for both groups to interbreed, a prospect favored by the non-human group because of the potential for greater acceptance of their offspring. A hundred years or so after initial integration, apocalyptic-like conditions set in, completely destabilizing or destroying existing social institutions and power structures. For survival, both groups have to come together fully for the common cause.

Hmmmm, I didn't mean for this to be the case, but this sounds very similar to the setup for Defiance ... oh well, pressing on. Don't worry, my orcs are different.

Given the initial power dynamics between the two groups, I'm inclined to say the human language would serve as the superstrate. But would the longevity of the non-human group members override that, especially since the creole would take hold post-apocalypse?
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Re: Need help with developing creole

Post by ukfl » Thu 03 May 2018, 16:12

k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 03 May 2018, 16:10
ukfl wrote:
Fri 20 Apr 2018, 00:53
k1234567890y wrote:
Thu 12 Apr 2018, 16:14
As for "foreign" sounds, they would replace it with similarly-sounding native sounds, as all other languages.
Would any "new" sounds develop relative to the two parent languages?
I don't think so, I heard that the phonemes are often roughly the intersection of the substrata, e.g. it is going to be reduced, but you can also hear others' opinions.

A way to generate a new phoneme, however, is to borrow from foreign languages intensively after the formation of the creole.

sorry for being late
No problem. I appreciate the input regardless.
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