Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

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DesEsseintes
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Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 19:17

Sōkoan Revisited - A Scratchpad

Welcome to my new Sōkoan Scratchpad! Herein I am going to be posting some stuff on a conlang I worked on around 4 or 5 years ago and have recently revived.

Sōko... wha?

Sōkoan was my first proper attempt at conlanging, and the main influences were Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent, Sanskrit and Mandarin Chinese. For quite a while, it was the conlang as far as I was concerned, which paralysed me because I could not make permanent decisions. Although I have now rejected many of my original ideas about the language, especially as regards the phonology, the overall conception, typology and "feel" of the language remain pretty consistent with what I initially set out to do. Now that Híí is the conlang*, I'm hoping I'll be able to develop Sōkoan without losing sleep at night.
(*and therefore permanently stuck in limbo...)

Sōkoan is a highly agglutinative, topic-prominent, strictly SOV language that would feel very well at home in the Northeast Asian sprachbund, perhaps somewhere midway between Korean-Japonic and the Tungusic languages.

I don't really care much for alt-history and such, but I guess I would place my Sōkoan archipelago somewhere to the east of Hokkaido, far enough to make it pretty isolated, but not too far to make a migration of people into the archipelago via Korea and Japan implausible. Disclaimer: I have no particular interest in discussing or pursuing further this aspect of Sōkoan.

In the next post, I'll start a little outline of the language itself.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Thu 20 Jul 2017, 19:21

Sōkoan Phonology

Bits of this revised phonology have been posted here and there on the forum in the last few months, but here I'm bringing it all together.

The Consonants

Sōkoan used to have non-sibilant alveolar fricatives, as well as emphatically aspirated affricates at all PoAs. At times there were also laterals and prestopped nasals. All of these have been removed.

/m n (ŋ)/ m n ġ
/p t t͡s t͡ʂ k/ p t c ċ k
/b d d͡z d͡ʐ g/ b d z ż g
/ɸ s ʂ x~h/ f s ṡ h
/β~β̞ ɾ ɣ~ɰ/ v r ġ

- voiceless stops tend to be aspirated in word-initial position
- /ɸ/ only occurs morpheme-initially
- /x~h/ only occurs morpheme-initially except for a limited set of words with intervocalic geminate /xː/; the [h] realisation is a feature of cultivated speech registers
- The following consonant segments can be geminated: the nasals, voiceless stops and affricates (but /pː kː/ are rare), voiceless fricatives (except for /ɸ/), /g/ and /β/
Edit: The consonant inventory expanded after this initial post. See here for the updated inventory.
The Vowels

Contrary to the consonant inventory, the vowel inventory has grown since my original conception.

/o ɑ a ɛ e/ o ŏ a ă e
/u ɯ ɨ i/ u ŭ ĭ ı

Here, have two tables!

Code: Select all

← back     front → 
o   ɑ   a   ɛ   e
u   ɯ       ɨ   i 

Code: Select all

← front     back → 
i      ɨ      ɯ  u
  e              o
     ɛ
         a    ɑ
As the tables indicate, Sōkoan vowels distinguish four to five degrees of backness, where rounding patterns as an extra degree of backness. Backness is a major factor in Sōkoan vowel harmony.

Height is also important, and in Sōkoan phonology, the vowels are grouped according to height as follows:

High: u ŭ ĭ ı
Mid: o e
Low: ŏ a ă

The following diphthongs are attested so far:

/oʊ̯ oɪ̯ aɪ̯ eɪ̯/ ou oı aı eı
/uʏ̯ ɯɪ̯ ɨɪ̯/ uı ŭı ĭı

Phonotactics

Sōkoan syllable structure tends to be fairly simple, with a preference for CV(C) syllables. Zero onset is permitted word-initially. Closed syllables typically end in a nasal or the first element of a geminate consonant. Word-finally, the number of permissible codas is somewhat greater: any of m n t v r ġ may end a word.

Vowel length is contrastive in the initial syllable of a morpheme. Long vowels are indicated by writing the vowel twice.

My next post will be on vowel harmony. In the meantime, here are some sample Sōkoan words:

ătĭımmıra
bŏnaınga
ċŭrŭvvı
gŭŭma
naı
- eye
nara - 1. face; 2. day
nıırĭrĭvo
Last edited by DesEsseintes on Mon 24 Jul 2017, 07:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 05:47

Ah, Sōkoan. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat.
道可道,非常道
名可名,非常名
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 05:49

Lao Kou wrote:Ah, Sōkoan. Pitter-pat, pitter-pat.
Pitter-pat? [O.O]
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 06:32

Heartbeats. Always had a soft spot for Sōkoan.
道可道,非常道
名可名,非常名
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 12:19

Lao Kou wrote:Heartbeats. Always had a soft spot for Sōkoan.
[:D]
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 12:25

Sōkoan Vowel Harmony

Here are some topics on vowel distributions and harmony in Sōkoan.

Merging of Unstressed Low Vowels

The low vowels ŏ a ă merge in non-initial syllables into a unless the immediately preceding syllable is the initial syllable and contains a vowel of the same quality. Therefore these forms are permissible:

nănă
ŏssŏ

Whereas nănŏ wouldn't be, as the unstressed ŏ would shift to a.

A similar principle applies to the vowel o. o normally does not occur in non-initial syllables unless the first syllable is also o. Therefore ono ona are valid morpheme forms, while ano is not.

High-Vowel Harmony

A high vowel normally agrees in backness with a preceding vowel within the same morpheme. This harmony is therefore progressive. Some typical examples include words such as oggu nŏŏċŭrŭv bĭmĭ gımıne.

Many suffixes are subject to this harmony.

Note, however, that there are exceptions. There is a 'strong /i/' phoneme that resists harmony. It is found in many suffixes, such as the common noun ending . It forms a diphthong with a preceding vowel as follows:

u ŭ ĭ ı + ı → uı ŭı ĭı ıı
o ŏ a ă e + ı → oı aı aı eı eı

An example of this in action is the root - eye which forms the noun naı. The form is still found in many compounds, such as nŏzıtte - eyelid.

Strong /i/ following a consonant is also very common and is a part of many suffixes. One such is the suffix -vvı, which was seen in the preceding post in the word ċŭrŭvvı.

To be continued... Questions, comments, etc. are - of course - welcome.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by Micamo » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 13:45

Would you say this language is a... Snōkoan?
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 02:36

Micamo wrote:Would you say this language is a... Snōkoan?
Vănĭlla flavour? [:)]

I'm considering adding /j/ y to the phonology. This phoneme would only occur morpheme-initially and would give me words like yŭŭ.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by Frislander » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 21:02

DesEsseintes wrote:
Micamo wrote:Would you say this language is a... Snōkoan?
Vănĭlla flavour? [:)]
Only got this on a second look [xD] Good one mic!
I'm considering adding /j/ y to the phonology. This phoneme would only occur morpheme-initially and would give me words like yŭŭ.
I say maybe yes, although perhaps it could appear-word internally as an allophone of <ġ>, maybe in front-harmony words?

Also, could I make a small phonetic suggestion, that you change /ɨ/ to /ʉ/? Because it just feels a bit cramped to have both /ɨ/ and /ɯ/, and also fits better with the rounded /ʉ/ alternating with the also rounded /u/ in the vowel harmony.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 04:21

Frislander wrote:could I make a small [...] suggestion
Yes! Please do! I love suggestions. [:)]
I'm considering adding /j/ y to the phonology. This phoneme would only occur morpheme-initially and would give me words like yŭŭ.
I say maybe yes, although perhaps it could appear-word internally as an allophone of <ġ>, maybe in front-harmony words?
I'm definitely using y and I'll be posting an update to the phonology soonish to reflect this and other changes. However, y will not pattern as an allophone of ġ because it does not occur before front vowels at all. ġ does occur before front vowels.
Also, could I make a small phonetic suggestion, that you change /ɨ/ to /ʉ/? Because it just feels a bit cramped to have both /ɨ/ and /ɯ/, and also fits better with the rounded /ʉ/ alternating with the also rounded /u/ in the vowel harmony.
The contrast between /ɨ/ and /ɯ/ is one of my favourite things about Sōkoan and I don't want rounding to be a pervasive feature, so I won't be changing /ɨ/ to /ʉ/. A quick search on SAPhon suggests /i ɨ ɯ/ are distinct in several South American languages, although none distinguish /u/ as well. Regardless of attestation, I'm keeping this feature.
Spoiler:
It also has to do with the fact that I speak Russian and Mandarin Chinese, and therefore don't find it difficult to distinguish these sounds.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 04:38

Phonology Update

I'm expanding the inventory to the following:

/m n (ŋ)/ m n ġ
/p t t͡s t͡ʂ k/ p t c ċ k
/b d d͡z d͡ʐ g/ b d z ż g
/tʰ t͡sʰ t͡ʂʰ/ tġ cs ċṡ
/ɸ s ʂ x~h/ f s ṡ h
/β~β̞ ɾ ɣ~ɰ/ v r ġ
/j/ y

/o ɑ a ɛ e/ o ŏ a ă e
/u ɯ ɨ i/ u ŭ ĭ ı
/oʊ̯ oɪ̯ aɪ̯ eɪ̯/ ou oı aı eı
/uʏ̯ ɯɪ̯ ɨɪ̯/ uı ŭı ĭı

So what has changed?

Firstly, I've added the glide y. It only occurs morpheme-initially. It does not occur before a front vowel, as ye yı merged with e ı at an earlier stage.

Secondly, I've added the aspirated alveolar stops and affricates tġ cs ċṡ, which are pronounced with strong aspiration and are always geminate when they occur intervocalically or as the second part of a cluster.
Last edited by DesEsseintes on Sun 23 Jul 2017, 06:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by qwed117 » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 04:58

DesEsseintes wrote:Phonology Update

I'm expanding the inventory to the following:

/m n (ŋ)/ m n ġ
/p t t͡s t͡ʂ k/ p t c ċ k
/b d d͡z d͡ʐ g/ b d z ż g
/tʰ t͡sʰ t͡ʂʰ/ tġ cs ċṡ
/ɸ s ʂ x~h/ f s ṡ h
/β~β̞ ɾ ɣ~ɰ/ v r ġ
/j/ y

So what has changed?

Firstly, I've added the glide y. It only occurs morpheme-initially. It does not occur before a front vowel, as ye yı merged with e ı at an earlier stage.

Secondly, I've added the aspirated alveolar stops and affricates tġ cs ċṡ, which are pronounced with strong aspiration and are always geminate when they occur intervocalically or as the second part of a cluster.
the aspiration is, least to say, interesting. I think I like the aspirate orthography.

Edit: is this one of those fancy vowel-less inventories? [:P]
Spoiler:
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 06:19

qwed117 wrote:Edit: is this one of those fancy vowel-less inventories? [:P]
Oops. Let's fix that.
Edit: Edited in the vowels and diphthongs. The inventory looks so big now, even though it isn't really that big: 24 consonants, 9 monophthongs, and 7 diphthongs.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 12 Aug 2017, 05:52

Yay, a Sōkoan thread! I've literally been looking forward to this for years! [:D]
DesEsseintes wrote:For quite a while, it was the conlang as far as I was concerned, which paralysed me because I could not make permanent decisions.

[…]

Now that Híí is the conlang*, I'm hoping I'll be able to develop Sōkoan without losing sleep at night.
(*and therefore permanently stuck in limbo...)
Hmm, I know this feeling all too well.
DesEsseintes wrote:Bits of this revised phonology have been posted here and there on the forum in the last few months, but here I'm bringing it all together.
Lots of good stuff going on with the phonology and orthography, as expected from an Esseintial language.

Looking forward to seeing more whenever it's ready!
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by DesEsseintes » Sat 12 Aug 2017, 06:22

Yay, shimofeedback! [:D]
shimobaatar wrote:Yay, a Sōkoan thread! I've literally been looking forward to this for years! [:D]
Aww [<3]

Here's a snippet about Sōkoan:

So I've added y as outlined above, and I already mentioned how ă + ı → eı. Now, since y elides before front vowels, this happens: yă + ı → eı. So that's a neat little merger, and makes me quite determined to have yă(ă) be a common auxiliary verb or copula with many forms in eı-. These little things make me happy.
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Re: Sōkoan Revisited - Esseintial Scratchings

Post by Davush » Sat 12 Aug 2017, 11:18

I really like the look of Sōkoan, I have always had a soft spot for Korean-Japonic languages, and some of their features usually end up in my conlangs. I think you managed to capture this aesthetic very nicely while maintaining a very unique feeling to the language. I think adding /j/ is a good addition, I love words like yŭŭ and yǎǎ. [:D]
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