West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

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Herra Ratatoskr
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West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08

This is the first part of a sketch of the standard contemporary form of West Saxon (natively <Wessaxisc> /wɛs.ˈæks.ɪʃ/), the conlang spoken in my alt-history version of the Kingdom of Wessex which retained independence from (Norman) England until the late 1600s, and then regained it in the early 20th century.

West Saxon is a West Germanic language descended from the West Saxon dialect of Old English (called Old West Saxon in the alt-history), and is a sister language of English.

These posts will represent my attempt to compile literally years worth of evolving, sometimes contradictory, notes into the bare bones start to a reference grammar. Any feedback, both on the ideas contained within, and on the presentation would be appreciated. Especially useful would be letting me know when things seem confusing, or where you wished I went into more detail. Hope you enjoy!

PHONETIC INVENTORY
Consonants
Standard West Saxon has a total of 33 consonant phonemes. Voicing is contrastive in stops, affricates, and fricatives (except for the lateral fricative / ɬ / and the palatal, velar, and glottal fricatives). The consonant system is summarized in the table below:

Code: Select all

+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
|            | LABIAL  | DENTAL  | ALVEOLAR  | POST-ALV  | PALATAL   | VELAR   | UVULAR | GLOTTAL |
+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
| STOPS      | / p b / |           / t d /               |           | / k g / |        |         |
+------------+---------+---------------------------------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
| NASALS     | / m  /  |           / n /                 | / ɲ /     | / ŋ /   |        |         |
+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
| AFFRICATES |         |         | / ts dz / | / tʃ dʒ / |           |         |        |         |
+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
| FRICATIVES | / f v / | / θ ð / | / s ɬ z / | / ʃ ʒ /   | / ç /     | / x /   |        | / h /   |
+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
| LIQUIDS    | / w /   |         | / ɫ /     | / ɹ /     | / j ʎ /   |         | / ʁ̞ /  |         |
+------------+---------+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+---------+--------+---------+
Monophthongs
Standard West Saxon is quite rich in monophthongs, with a total of 15 in stressed syllables (in the most commonly accepted analysis), as well as three inflectional "schwa" vowels, They distinguish 5 heights, roundedness, and a front-back distinction for tonic vowels. Schwa vowels only distinguish two heights and are all pronounced in the center of the mouth. West Saxon's vowel inventory is as follows:

Code: Select all

+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
|          | F-URND | F-RND | CENTRAL   | B-URND | B-RND |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
| HIGH     | / i /  | / y / |           |        | / u / |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
| MID HIGH | / ɪ /  | / ʏ / |  / ɨ ʉ /  |        | / ʊ / |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
| MID      | / e /  | / ø / |           |        | / o / |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
| MID LOW  | / ɛ /  | / œ / | / ə | ɐ / |        | / ɔ / |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
| LOW      | / æ /  |       |           | / ɑ /  | / ɒ / |
+----------+--------+-------+-----------+--------+-------+
In addition, there is also a phonemic length distinction, with all vowels having long equivalents. Some use this to justify doubling the count of West Saxon monophthongs to 30, but most instead consider the length to be an allophone of /ɹ/ and /ʁ̞/ before dental, alveolar, and post-alveolar consonants, and of /ð/ before voiced consonants. This can be seen most commonly in alterations found in verbs whose stem ends in <r>. For instance, the verb <werje(n)> (meaning "to protect") has a first person present form <werje>, pronounced /wɛɹi/, but has a first person preterite form of <werde>, pronounced /wɛːd/. Most analyses treat it as having an underlying stem of /wɛɹ-/ in which the final /ɹ/ is realized as /ː/ before the dental suffix.

Diphthongs
Contemporary West Saxon has a large number of diphthongs (15 in total) combining 8 possible onsets and 7 possible codas. Like monophthongs, diphthongs can come in long varieties when followed by a /ɹ/, /ʁ̞/, of /ð/ realized as /ː/. West Saxon’s diphthongs are summarized in the following table.

Code: Select all

+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
|    |   -j   |   -w   |   -a   |   -ɥ   |   -ɔ   |   -ɛ   |   -u   |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| ɪ- | / ɪj / | / ɪw / |        |        |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| ɛ- | / ɛj / | / ɛw / | / ɛɑ / |        |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| ɔ- | / ɔj / | / ɔw / | / ɔɑ / |        |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| œ- |        |        |        | / œɥ / |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| æ- | / æj / |        |        |        |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| ɑ- |        | / ɑw / |        |        |        |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| j- |        |        |        |        | / jɔ / | / jɛ / | / ju / |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
| w- |        |        |        |        | / wɔ / |        |        |
+----+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
Weak N/R
In quite a few of the coming paradigms there will be either an "n" or an "r" written in parentheses. These letters will sometimes drop off depending on the sounds that follow them, much like the "n" at the end of English’s indefinite article, the final "n" in those German dialects subject to the Eiffler Regel, or the mobile nu of ancient Greek.

In West Saxon, Weak N is dropped when followed by a nasal consonant, /ɫ/, /ɹ/, /ʁ̞ /, or a voiced fricative. Weak R is dropped much more frequently, being dropped whenever the following word begins with a consonant sound of any kind. At the end of an utterance Weak N and Weak R are retained.


Next Time: West Saxon's Orthography
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Nachtuil » Sat 28 Jul 2018, 00:09

I am interested to see where this goes. I hope to see an update at some point :) Orthographically I am interested in how you'll go about it and how much you'll derive from historical Old English for everything else. Will the spelling conventions have been "reset" in the last few centuries (like Dutch) or be very historical?
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Ælfwine » Sat 28 Jul 2018, 03:26

Playing with a couple myself, I am very much a fan of well made germ-langs.
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 28 Jul 2018, 10:58

"v. 0.0.1"

Woah, I've been caught in a time-eddy and transported back to 2005!
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 06:23

Should be posting an update soon. I've got the consonants worked out, now I'm trying to figure out how to get the vowels documented. I'm almost there (I think).
Salmoneus wrote:
Sat 28 Jul 2018, 10:58
"v. 0.0.1"

Woah, I've been caught in a time-eddy and transported back to 2005!
v. 0.0.1 of this grammar sketch. The language itself is probably on v 6.x at this point.
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » Sun 29 Jul 2018, 12:27

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Sun 29 Jul 2018, 06:23
Should be posting an update soon. I've got the consonants worked out, now I'm trying to figure out how to get the vowels documented. I'm almost there (I think).
Salmoneus wrote:
Sat 28 Jul 2018, 10:58
"v. 0.0.1"

Woah, I've been caught in a time-eddy and transported back to 2005!
v. 0.0.1 of this grammar sketch. The language itself is probably on v 6.x at this point.
But,
Spoiler:
if you re-wrote the grammar sketch, surely that would be v. 0.0.1 of itself too? I get how to have version numbers of a language, because a language is a concept that persists through many depictions, but how can you ever have a later version of a specific document? [unless you define documents of a certain type as all being different instantiations of the same platonic document - but since this is 0.0.1, you're clearly not doing that - so what's the difference between two different grammar sketches of west saxon and two very substantially (since '0.0.1 suggests up to three orders of magnitude of difference!) different versions of the 'same' grammar sketch of west saxon?)
Sorry, bad 'philosophy graduate' habit there... but seriously, it's great to see that WS is still going. As I've said before, I've always found it intriguing and fruitful.
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Egerius » Mon 30 Jul 2018, 22:09

I'm definitely subscribing.
I saw an older version of this on the ZBB and directly took some inspiration from it for my own Wínlandisch [ˈwæɪ̯nˌlandɪʃ] (Gothic -> “West Saxon” -> “English”), but I'm stuck in between Old and Middle Wínlandisch and didn't pick it back up since 2015 or so…

Anyways, I'd like to see more (particularly stuff on dialects and sound changes)!
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by shimobaatar » Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
This is the first part of a sketch of the standard contemporary form of West Saxon (natively <Wessaxisc> /wɛs.ˈæks.ɪʃ/), the conlang spoken in my alt-history version of the Kingdom of Wessex which retained independence from (Norman) England until the late 1600s, and then regained it in the early 20th century.

West Saxon is a West Germanic language descended from the West Saxon dialect of Old English (called Old West Saxon in the alt-history), and is a sister language of English.
Looking forward to hearing more about all aspects of this! Was Wessex conquered (not sure if that's exactly the right word) by England similarly to how Scotland was? How did it regain its independence?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
These posts will represent my attempt to compile literally years worth of evolving, sometimes contradictory, notes into the bare bones start to a reference grammar.
I admire your perseverance!
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
Standard West Saxon has a total of 33 consonant phonemes. Voicing is contrastive in stops, affricates, and fricatives (except for the lateral fricative / ɬ / and the palatal, velar, and glottal fricatives). The consonant system is summarized in the table below:
If possible, could we see at least some of the sound changes leading up to contemporary West Saxon from Old West Saxon? It'd be interesting to see how some of these consonants became phonemic!

This is nit-picky, but I only count 32 consonants in the chart. Maybe I miscounted?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
Standard West Saxon is quite rich in monophthongs, with a total of 15 in stressed syllables (in the most commonly accepted analysis), as well as three inflectional "schwa" vowels, They distinguish 5 heights, roundedness, and a front-back distinction for tonic vowels. Schwa vowels only distinguish two heights and are all pronounced in the center of the mouth. West Saxon's vowel inventory is as follows:
Sorry to nit-pick again, but while you said that there are 15 monophthongs in stressed syllables and three "schwa" vowels, I count 19 vowels in the chart below. Are there really four "schwa" vowels, /ɨ ʉ ə ɐ/? In either case, what more can you tell us about them?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
In addition, there is also a phonemic length distinction, with all vowels having long equivalents. Some use this to justify doubling the count of West Saxon monophthongs to 30, but most instead consider the length to be an allophone of /ɹ/ and /ʁ̞/ before dental, alveolar, and post-alveolar consonants, and of /ð/ before voiced consonants. This can be seen most commonly in alterations found in verbs whose stem ends in <r>. For instance, the verb <werje(n)> (meaning "to protect") has a first person present form <werje>, pronounced /wɛɹi/, but has a first person preterite form of <werde>, pronounced /wɛːd/. Most analyses treat it as having an underlying stem of /wɛɹ-/ in which the final /ɹ/ is realized as /ː/ before the dental suffix.
All stressed vowels can be long? Because of my experience with German, I'd assumed that length was already part of the distinction between, for example, /i ɪ/. I like that length comes from consonants, though.
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
Contemporary West Saxon has a large number of diphthongs (15 in total) combining 8 possible onsets and 7 possible codas. Like monophthongs, diphthongs can come in long varieties when followed by a /ɹ/, /ʁ̞/, of /ð/ realized as /ː/. West Saxon’s diphthongs are summarized in the following table.
There are as many diphthongs as there are stressed vowels? Wow!

For /ɛɑ ɔɑ/, I assume that the low components are non-syllabic?

Also, if I didn't count wrong earlier, is /ɥ/ supposed to be the 33rd consonant above?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 20 Jul 2018, 23:08
Next Time: West Saxon's Orthography
I really like the look of this language so far!
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22

First of all, sorry this has taken so long. This has been the most miserable section to write, and it's nowhere near as good as I'd like it to be. I've scrapped and rewritten this a number of times, and feel like I'm giving up on it at this point rather than putting out as polished a product as I'd like. What I'm saying is... tear this apart. Please. I think I've managed to wring everything out of my head onto the page. I just don't know if I've got something comprehensible to other people. Okay, enough pre-emptive apologia, onto the post

ORTHOGRAPHY
Standard West Saxon Orthography is, like its sister language English, a complicated beast. All 26 letters of the Latin alphabet found in English are found in West Saxon, though <q> is only found in loans. In addition, the letters <þ>, <ð>, and <æ> are also used, with <þ> being used intervocally and <ð> used in syllable codas. The use of <æ> is now confined to existing as a variant of <a> used before <sc>, <j>, and <c> when it is representing /tʃ/, and before <j> when part of the diphthong /æj/. For a time <æ>’s use was more widespread, with <a> used for descendents of Old West Saxon short /a/ and <æ> for descendants of Old West Saxon short /æ/ and the short diphthong /æa/ (which merged with /æ/ towards the end of the Old Period). This usage continued for centuries after the two sounds had merged (in most dialects) during the early Middle West Saxon Period.

West Saxon spelling is quite conservative and convoluted, with some spelling conventions dating back over 800 years. As a result, while it is (generally) possible to work out the pronunciation of a word from its spelling, you can't work out its spelling from its pronunciation.

CONSONANTS

Code: Select all

+--------------------+
| STOPS              | 
+----------+---------+
| SPELLING | IPA     | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES/EXAMPLES                                
+----------+---------+
| < p >    | / p /   |  <pinn> /pɪn/ "pin"                                                
+----------+---------+
| < pp >   | / p /   | <clyppen> /ˈkɫʏp.n̩/ "to hold"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < b >    | / b /   | <barn> /bæːn/ "baby"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < bb >   | / b /   | <crabbe> /kʁ̞æb/ "crab"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < p >    | / b /   | following < m >  <camp> /kæmb/ "courtyard/lawn"                               
+----------+---------+
| < dt >   | / t /   | geminate / t / (only found in verbal endings) <riedt> /ɹɪt/ "he/she/it rides"    
+----------+---------+
| < d >    | / t /   | followed by <st> (only found in verbal endings) <riedst> /ɹɪtst/ "thou ridest" 
+----------+---------+
| < t >    | / t /   | <tuon> /tun/ "town"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < tt >   | / t /   | <zitten> /zɪt.n̩/ "to sit"
+----------+---------+
| < d >    | / d /   | <doa> /dɔɑ/ "doe"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < dd >   | / d /   | <bedd> /bɛd/ "bed"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < t >    | / d /   | following < n > <minte> /mɪnd/ "mint"
+----------+---------+
| < c >    | / k /   | <cool> /kɔwɫ/ "cool/chilly"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < ch >   | / k /   | word initially (only found in a few loans) <chor> /kɔʁ̞/ "choir"
+----------+---------+
| < ck >   | / k /   | <buck> /bʊk/ "buck"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < k >    | / k /   | <kyng> /kʏŋ/ "king"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < q >    | / k /   | found only in loans <Iraq> /ɪ.ˈʁ̞æk/ "Iraq"
+----------+---------+
| < g >    | / g /   | <good> /gɔwd/ "good"
+----------+---------+
| < gg >   | / g /   | <vrogge> /vʁ̞ɔg/ "frog"                                                  
+----------+---------+
| < k >    | / g /   | following < n > <zinken> /zɪŋ.gn̩/ "to sink"                                  
+----------+---------+

+--------------------+
| NASALS             |
+----------+---------+
| SPELLING | IPA     | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES                                
+----------+---------+
| < m >    | / m /   | <muos> /mus/ "mouse"
+----------+---------+
| < mb >   | / m /   | when found word finally <lomb> /ɫɔm/ "lamb"                         
+----------+---------+
| < mm >   | / m /   | <hamm> /hæm/ "village"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < n >    | / n /   | <nuo> /nu/ "now"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < nd >   | / n /   | when found word finally <lond> /ɫɔn/ "land"                          
+----------+---------+
| < nn >   | / n /   | <monn> /mɔn/ "man"                                
+----------+---------+
| < nj >   | / ɲ /   | <njod> /ɲɔd/ "need"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < cn >   | / ŋ /   | when found morpheme initially <cnoun> /ŋon/ "to know"             
+----------+---------+
| < gn >   | / ŋ /   | when found morpheme initially <gnaun> /ŋɑwn/ "to gnaw"    
+----------+---------+
| < n >    | / ŋ /   | when followed by < k > or < g >  <zingen> /ˈziŋ.gn̩/ "to sing"
+----------+---------+
| < ng >   | / ŋ /   | when found word finally <rhing> /ɹiŋ/ "ring"                         
+----------+---------+


+--------------------+
| AFFRICATES         |
+----------+---------+
| SPELLING | IPA     | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES                                
+----------+---------+
| < dj >   | / dz /  | <djo> /dzɔ/ "the (FEM.SING.COM)"                                                  
+----------+---------+
| < tj >   | / ts /  | <batje> /bæts/ "I improve"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < c >    | / tʃ /  | followed by <i>/<e>/<æ>/<ue>/<uy> <cælk> /tʃæɫk/ "chalk"                 
+----------+---------+
| < cc >   | / tʃ /  | geminate (i.e. shortening) / tʃ /                
+----------+---------+
| < ch >   | / tʃ /  | <churen> /ˈtʃɔw.ɹn̩/ "they chose"                                               
+----------+---------+
| < cj >   | / dʒ /  | <ecj> /ɛdʒ/ "edge"                                                 
+----------+---------+


+--------------------+
| FRICATIVES         | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES
+----------+---------+
| < f >    | / f /   | adjacent to an unvoiced sound or word initially  <fat> /fæt/ "what"
+----------+---------+
| < ff >   | / f /   | <offrin> /ˈɔf.ɹɨn/ "to offer"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < f >    | / v /   | between voiced sounds <ofer> /ˈɔɑ.vɹ̩/ "over"                            
+----------+---------+
| < v >    | / v /   | <vader> /ˈvɑ.dɹ̩/ "father"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < þþ >   | / θ /   | <moþþe> /mɔθ/ "moth" 
+----------+---------+
| < th >   | / θ /   | found only in loans <therpij> /ˈθɛʁ̞.pi/ "therapy"
+----------+---------+
| < ð >    | / θ /   | when not / ː / or silent <muoð> /muθ/ "mouth"                         
+----------+---------+
| < þ >    | / ð /   | <buoþe> /buð/ "both (NEUT)"                                                  
+----------+---------+
| < ð >    | / ð /   | when between two voiced sounds <halðen> /ˈhæɫ.ðn̩/ "heroes"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < s >    | / s /   | <stoan> /stɔɑn/ "stone" adjacent to a voiceless sound or word finally in non-inflectional syllables                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < ss >   | / s /   | <masse> /mæs/ "(church" mass"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < lh >   | / ɬ /   | <lhoaf> /ɬɔɑf/ "loaf"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < s >    | / z /   | <riesen> /ˈɹi.zn̩/ "to rise" between voiced sounds                            
+----------+---------+
| < z >    | / z /   |  <zoone> /zɔwn/ "soon"                                                
+----------+---------+
| < c >    | / ʃ /   | <benc> /bɛnʃ/ "bench" when following < n >               
+----------+---------+
| < sc >   | / ʃ /   | <scip> /ʃɪp/ "ship"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < sh >   | / ʃ /   | found only in loans <shampoo> /ʃæm.ˈbu/ "shampoo"                             
+----------+---------+
| < zj >   | / ʒ /   | <zjofen> /ˈʒɔɑ.vn̩/ "seven" only found morpheme initially                    
+----------+---------+
| < cj >   | / ʒ /   | <zencjen> /ˈzɛn.ʒn̩/ "to singe" when following < n >                             
+----------+---------+
| < h >    | / ç /   | <zliht> /zɫɪçt/ "slight" when following < i >/< e >                       
+----------+---------+
| < hj >   | / ç /   | <hjo> /çɔ/ "she"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < h >    | / x /   | <douhter> /ˈdox.tɹ̩/  "daughter"                                               
+----------+---------+
| < h >    | / h /   | <helpen> /ˈhɛɫ.pn̩/ "to help" word initially (allophone of / x /)              
+----------+---------+

+--------------------+
| LIQUIDS            |
+----------+---------+
| SPELLING | IPA     | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES                                
+----------+---------+
| < w >    | / w /   | <water> /ˈwɑ.tɹ̩/ "water"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < l >    | / ɫ /   | <ale> /ɑɫ/ "ale"
+----------+---------+
| < ll >   | / ɫ /   | <all> /æɫ/ "all"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < r >    | / ɹ /   | <rieden> /ˈɹi.dn̩/ "to ride"                                              
+----------+---------+
| < rh >   | / ɹ /   | <rhing> /ɹiŋ/ "ring"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < rr >   | / ɹ /   | <ocerren> /ɔ.ˈtʃɛɹ.n̩/ "to turn away/repent"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < j >    | / j /   | <jear> /jɛɑʁ̞/ "year"
+----------+---------+
| < lj >   | / ʎ /   | <liere> /ʎɛɹ/ "boneless cut of meat" also before a diphthong sound with an initial /j/                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < r >    | / ʁ̞  /  | <rund> /ʁ̞ un/ "round" when adjacent to only back vowels                                                  
+----------+---------+
| < rh >   | / ʁ̞  /  | <rhoof> /ʁ̞ɔwf/ when adjacent to only back vowels                                                  
+----------+---------+
| < rr >   | / ʁ̞  /  | <durren> /dʊʁ̞n/ "they dare" when adjacent to only back vowels                              
+----------+---------+
| < wr >   | / ʁ̞  /  | <wrieten> /ˈʁ̞i.tn̩/ "to write"                                                  
+----------+---------+


+----------+---------+
| MISC Characters    |
+----------+---------+
| SPELLING | IPA     | ENVIRONMENT/NOTES                                
+----------+---------+
| < qu >   | / kw /  | <quarter> /ˈkwæː.tɹ̩/ "quarter" found only in loans                              
+----------+---------+
| < x >    | / ks /  | <Wessaxe> /wɛs.ˈæks/ "Wessex"                                                 
+----------+---------+
| < r >    | / ː /   | <berd> /bɛːd/ "beard"                                       
+----------+---------+
| < ð >    | / ː /   | <deaðbedd> /ˈdɛːɑ.bɛd/ "grave" when followed by another voiced consonant        
+----------+---------+
| < ð >    |   -     | <zingeð> /ˈziŋ.gə/ "they sing" word finally after a schwa < e >                 
+----------+---------+
VOWELS
There are three types of vowel graphemes in West Saxon: Short Vowels, Long Vowels, and Diphthongs. These terms are, in a sense, centuries out of date, as all three groups can represent monophthongs and diphthongs depending on its orthographic environment, and the re-introduction of vowel length is a relatively recent development in West Saxon, and applies to all three groups equally. Nevertheless, the groupings are still useful as the members of each group undergo group-specific transformation in orthographic environments that are grammatically significant.

One thing to make sure to remember is that when these descriptions talk about consonants and vowels, it’s speaking orthographically. A doubled consonant counts as two consonants, even though it may be pronounced identically to its single equivalent. A silent final <e> still counts for the purposes of determining if a preceding syllable is considered open, even if the <e> is no longer pronounced.

Short Vowels
By default, a short vowel is usually pronounced as a lax monophthong, and as a diphthong when it is lengthened. A short vowel is lengthened when it appears word finally in a stressed syllable, or if it is followed by a single consonant grapheme followed by another vowel (including a silent final <e>). A short vowel is also realized as lengthened if it is followed by a cluster of <s> and a voiceless stop and then another vowel. Ultimately this goes back to a period when open syllable lengthening was a productive force in West Saxon, where short vowels became long when they didn’t have a coda consonant in their syllable. Due to syllabification rules, the s+stop clusters would be an indivisible part of the following syllable’s onset, assuming there was a vowel to act as a nucleus for the s+stop cluster to glob onto.

In addition to the Lengthened context, the short vowels also Long context which dates to an even earlier time when they were followed by a cluster of a nasal or liquid and a homorganic voiced nasal, liquid, or stop. In most cases these vowels were shortened again, but with a few clusters the length was retained. For non-high vowels the result of this lengthening was identical to the lengthening from being in an open syllable. For the high vowels <i>/<y>/<u>, however, these vowels became either their tense equivalents (if followed by a nasal) or a separate diphthong if followed by an <r>.

A summary of these realizations is in the chart below. The clusters that give a long pronunciation are also given as a reference. N.B. that if a lengthening homorganic cluster is followed by another consonant, then the vowel preceding it is shortened back to its default pronunciation.

Code: Select all

+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| SPELLING  | DEFAULT | LENGTHENED | LONG (NASAL) | LONG (R) | CLUSTERS      | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < i >     | / ɪ /   | / ɛj /     | / i /        | / (j)ɛ / | (mb,nd,rl,rn) | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < y >     | / ʏ /   | / œɥ /     | / y /        | / (j)ɔ / | (mb,nd,rl,rn) | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < u >     | / ʊ /   | / ɔw /     | / u /        | / wɔ /   | (mb,nd,rl,rn) | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < e >     | / ɛ /   | / ɛɑ /     | / ɛɑ /       |    -     | (nd,ng)       | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < eo >    | / œ /   | / (j)ɔ /   | / (j)ɔ /     |    -     | (nd,ng)       | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < o >     | / ɔ /   | / ɔɑ /     | / ɔɑ /       |    -     | (nd,ng)       | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
| < a | æ > | / æ /   | / ɑ /      | / ɔɑ /       |    -     | (nd,ng)       | 
+-----------+---------+------------+--------------+----------+---------------+
Long Vowels
The long vowels are the reflexes of long vowels in Old West Saxon, which underwent diphthongization (and later re-monophthongization in some cases).

Earlier, long vowels were shortened when followed by two or consonants (including then geminate consonants), except clusters of s+stop when followed by another vowel. So, for instance, the uninflected form <heast> "violent" is pronounced /hɛst/ with its feminine inflected form <heaste>, pronounced /hɛɑst/.

Earlier in West Saxon, all stressed long vowels underwent diphthongization (including high vowels which usually became /ij/, /yɥ/, and /uw/ and later re-monophthongized). When followed by a nasal consonant, /ɹ/, or /ɫ/, however, the high and mid-high vowels developed a schwa off-glide, much as the mid-low and low long vowels did. The results of these are the nasal colored and r/l colored variants found below.

Code: Select all

+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| SPELLING | DEFAULT | SHORTENED | NASAL COLORED | R/L COLORED |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < ie >   | / i /   | / ɪ /     | / i /         | / (j)ɛ /    | 
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < uy >   | / y /   | / ʏ /     | / y /         | / (j)ɔ /    |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < uo >   | / u /   | / ʊ /     | / u /         | / wɔ /      |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < ee >   | / ɛj /  | / ɛ /     | / ɛɑ /        | / ɛɑ /      |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < ue >   | / œɥ /  | / œ /     | / (j)ɔ /      | / (j)ɔ /    |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < oo >   | / ɔw /  | / ɔ /     | / ɔɑ /        | / ɔɑ /      |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < ea >   | / ɛɑ /  | / ɛ /     | / ɛɑ /        | / ɛɑ /      |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
| < oa >   | / ɔɑ /  | / ɔ /     | / ɔɑ /        | / ɔɑ /      |
+----------+---------+-----------+---------------+-------------+
Realizations above that have a (j) at the beginning trigger palatalization of the preceding consonant if possible and is absorbed by it. So, for instance, the word <huer> "pleasant" is pronounced /çɔʁ̞/

Diphthongs
Original diphthongs "checked" (monophthongized) in similar environments to when long vowels were shortened (except that the s+stop+vowel exception for shorting was no longer in effect).

The <wi> and <we> diphthongs are a bit of an exception to this, as they originally diphthongized off of their original pronunciation of w+vowel when followed by multiple consonants or a single consonant at the end of a word. For instance, the adjective <cwik> "alive" is pronounced /kɔjk/ when uninflected, but in its inflected feminine form <cwike> is pronounced /kwɛjk/ (note the lengthening of /ɪ/ to /ɛj/, as it's in an open syllable). When followed by a nasal, <r> or <l>, <wi> and <we> never undergo any kind of transformation.

Code: Select all

+-----------+--------+---------+
| SPELLING  | OPEN   | CHECKED |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < ij >    | / ɪj / | / i /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < ei/ej > | / ɛj / | / e /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < ai/aj > | / æj / | / æ /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < iu/iw > | / ɪw / | / y /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < eu/ew > | / ɛw / | / ø /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < au/aw > | / ɑw / | / ɒ /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < uw >    | / ʊw / | / u /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < ou/ow > | / ɔw / | / o /   |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < wi >    | / wɪ / | / ɔj /  |
+-----------+--------+---------+
| < we >    | / wɛ / | / ɔj /  |
+-----------+--------+---------+
Inflectional / "Schwa" Vowels
These inflectional vowels are (I hope) pretty self explanatory.

Code: Select all

+-----------+-----------+
| SPELLING  | IPA       | NOTES/ENVIRONMENT                              
+-----------+-----------+
| < eð >    | / ə | ɐ / | Predominantly found in verbs                   
+-----------+-----------+
| < e >     |     -     | when word finally                              
+-----------+-----------+
| < es >    | / (ə)z /  |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < es >    |   / s /   | following / p /, / t /, / k /, / θ /, or / f / 
+-----------+-----------+
| < i >     |   / ɨ /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < u >     |   / ʉ /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < we >    |   / u /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < je >    |   / i /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < ij >    |   / i /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < en >    |   / n̩ /  |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < ne >    |   / n̩ /  |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < er >    |   / ɹ̩ /  |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < re >    |   / ɹ̩ /  |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < el >    |   / ɫ̩ /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
| < le >    |   / ɫ̩ /   |                                                
+-----------+-----------+
Weak N/R
In quite a few of the coming paradigms there will be either an <n> or an <r> written in parentheses. These letters will sometimes drop off depending on the sounds that follow them, much like the "n" at the end of English’s indefinite article, the final "n" in those German dialects subject to the Eiffler Regel, or the mobile nu of ancient Greek.

In Standard West Saxon, Weak N is dropped when followed by a nasal consonant, /ɫ/, /ɹ/, /ʁ̞ /, or a voiced fricative. Weak R is dropped much more frequently, being dropped whenever the following word begins with a consonant sound of any kind. At the end of an utterance Weak N and Weak R are retained.

Next Time on West Saxon: Nouns.

When will that be? No man can say....

(also, this will be revised when I've gotten some feedback, but I didn't want my dislike of it to hold things up any more)
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:51

This will be a bit quick. Feel free to ask for any clarification on this stuff.
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
Looking forward to hearing more about all aspects of this! Was Wessex conquered (not sure if that's exactly the right word) by England similarly to how Scotland was? How did it regain its independence?
The West Saxon king had technically been a vassal of the English king since the early 1300s and in the middle 1600s the West Saxon King was deposed and Wessex integrated into England. There was much outrage at this and the king's son was re-instated as "High Earl of the West Saxons", though technically Wessex was still a part of the Kingdom of Great Britain (think somewhere between Wales and Scotland before the Act of Union, in terms of independence). By the early 1900s nationalism was rising in Wessex and in 1922 the independent kingship was re-established and Wessex regained an independent foreign policy (though it is still has a close relationship with Great Britain).
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
If possible, could we see at least some of the sound changes leading up to contemporary West Saxon from Old West Saxon? It'd be interesting to see how some of these consonants became phonemic!

This is nit-picky, but I only count 32 consonants in the chart. Maybe I miscounted?
Sound changes will come eventually, but focus on those have kept me occupied for a long while. I'm trying to get other stuff done before I come back to it. And you didn't miscount, I did (whoops).
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
Sorry to nit-pick again, but while you said that there are 15 monophthongs in stressed syllables and three "schwa" vowels, I count 19 vowels in the chart below. Are there really four "schwa" vowels, /ɨ ʉ ə ɐ/? In either case, what more can you tell us about them?
Sorry for the confusion. The four vowels in the center of the chart are the schwa vowels that don't appear in stressed syllables. /ə/ and /ɐ/ are variants on the same phoneme and are in free variation. I think I handled this poorly, I'll probably find some way to redo this.
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
All stressed vowels can be long? Because of my experience with German, I'd assumed that length was already part of the distinction between, for example, /i ɪ/. I like that length comes from consonants, though.
Yep, that's a peculiarity of West Saxon. I'm letting it have some weird features, relative to other Germanic languages. Just wait until I get to grammatical animacy and its optional clusivity.
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
There are as many diphthongs as there are stressed vowels? Wow!

For /ɛɑ ɔɑ/, I assume that the low components are non-syllabic?

Also, if I didn't count wrong earlier, is /ɥ/ supposed to be the 33rd consonant above?
Yep, it's diphthong-tastic. Yeah, the /ɑ/ is non-syllabic (in fact in some environments those diphthongs are realized as /jɑ/ and /wɑ/). /ɥ/ is only found as an off-glide, so that doesn't work as a get-out-of-screwup for my miscount.
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 06 Aug 2018, 04:02
I really like the look of this language so far!
Thanks
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by shimobaatar » Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
First of all, sorry this has taken so long. This has been the most miserable section to write, and it's nowhere near as good as I'd like it to be. I've scrapped and rewritten this a number of times, and feel like I'm giving up on it at this point rather than putting out as polished a product as I'd like. What I'm saying is... tear this apart. Please. I think I've managed to wring everything out of my head onto the page. I just don't know if I've got something comprehensible to other people. Okay, enough pre-emptive apologia, onto the post
No worries at all! Sorry to hear this has been giving you trouble. I'll do my best to be of some use.
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
CONSONANTS
Whoa, there's initial /ŋ/?

There is no example for <cc>, as far as I can tell.

Just to clarify, how is <s> pronounced word-initially?

The example word for <lj> is written as <liere>.

I have to say, I quite like the word for "grave".
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
Short Vowels
Regarding the long (r) pronunciations of <i y> and the lengthened/long (nasal) pronunciation of <eo>, what do the parentheses mean, exactly? That is to say, when is the /j/ dropped, and when is it not?

(This was answered below.)
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
Earlier, long vowels were shortened when followed by two or consonants (including then geminate consonants), except clusters of s+stop when followed by another vowel. So, for instance, the uninflected form <heast> "violent" is pronounced /hɛst/ with its feminine inflected form <heaste>, pronounced /hɛɑst/.
Not really relevant to the language, but I assume "two or more consonants" was meant?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
Realizations above that have a (j) at the beginning trigger palatalization of the preceding consonant if possible and is absorbed by it. So, for instance, the word <huer> "pleasant" is pronounced /çɔʁ̞/
If palatalization is not possible, what happens? Is a Cj cluster formed, or is the /j/ simply omitted (hence the parentheses)?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
Original diphthongs "checked" (monophthongized) in similar environments to when long vowels were shortened (except that the s+stop+vowel exception for shorting was no longer in effect).
Could you perhaps clarify what you meant by that last parenthetical bit?
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:22
The <wi> and <we> diphthongs are a bit of an exception to this, as they originally diphthongized off of their original pronunciation of w+vowel when followed by multiple consonants or a single consonant at the end of a word. For instance, the adjective <cwik> "alive" is pronounced /kɔjk/ when uninflected, but in its inflected feminine form <cwike> is pronounced /kwɛjk/ (note the lengthening of /ɪ/ to /ɛj/, as it's in an open syllable). When followed by a nasal, <r> or <l>, <wi> and <we> never undergo any kind of transformation.
So, to make sure I understand, when not followed by multiple consonants or a single consonant word-finally, <wi we> were treated as if they were instances of <i e> that just happened to be preceded by <w>, instead of as diphthongs <wi we>?

Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:51
This will be a bit quick. Feel free to ask for any clarification on this stuff.
Thanks for your responses.
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:51
Sound changes will come eventually, but focus on those have kept me occupied for a long while. I'm trying to get other stuff done before I come back to it. And you didn't miscount, I did (whoops).
No rush!

Also, in regards to the number of phonemic consonants, in the original post, /h/ is listed as a phoneme, but in the orthography post, it says that [h] is an allophone of /x/.
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:51
Sorry for the confusion. The four vowels in the center of the chart are the schwa vowels that don't appear in stressed syllables. /ə/ and /ɐ/ are variants on the same phoneme and are in free variation. I think I handled this poorly, I'll probably find some way to redo this.
Ah, OK. You could say that the phoneme /ə/ is realized as [ə~ɐ].
Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 01:51
Yep, that's a peculiarity of West Saxon. I'm letting it have some weird features, relative to other Germanic languages. Just wait until I get to grammatical animacy and its optional clusivity.
Definitely looking forward to it!
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 17 Aug 2018, 12:30

The orthography section all seems to make sense to me (although it helps that my own english-influenced germanic language has or had many similar rules*).

My stylistic comment is that you sometimes get quite colloquial, and in ways that aren't valid in my dialect (like 'glob on to' and 'diphthongise off of'), but that's a style issue only, so...

So, there's no trisyllabic laxing, then?




*thanks, I think I just solved a problem I've had for ages. The answer is very simple!
Spoiler:
I was torn between using final -e for schwa, and using it as 'silent e' (and presumably using -a or maybe -è for schwa). But of course, I could just use -e as schwa after a double consonant, but as silent e after a single. This means I can't do certain fun things with -e after a double (involving changing syllable boundaries) but that doesn't saddn me too much. I'm not sure I'll do this yet, but it seems the best solution I've found so far...
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Fri 17 Aug 2018, 16:34

shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Whoa, there's initial /ŋ/?
Yep. That's actually one of the oldest "oddball" features of West Saxon still in the language.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
There is no example for <cc>, as far as I can tell.
Whoops. Here's one <wrecce> /ʁ̞ɛtʃ/ "exile/outlaw/fugitive". I'll add that in a little later.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Just to clarify, how is <s> pronounced word-initially?
As /s/, but it is only found in loanwords (all native words voiced initial /s/ to /z/, except when part of an s+stop cluster). I'll add that too.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
The example word for <lj> is written as <liere>.
Also whoops. That part will have to be tweaked to fix that, but until then have <ljornin> /ˈʎɔː.nɨn/ "to learn" as a proper example.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Not really relevant to the language, but I assume "two or more consonants" was meant?
Yep, I'll fix that typo later.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
If palatalization is not possible, what happens? Is a Cj cluster formed, or is the /j/ simply omitted (hence the parentheses)?
A Cj cluster is formed. The parentheses is actually to show that sometimes the /j/ is absorbed into the preceding consonant, palatalizing it, and thus not showing up in the surface realization.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Could you perhaps clarify what you meant by that last parenthetical bit?
Yeah, that bit was kind of crap. I'll rework it a bit and get back to you.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
So, to make sure I understand, when not followed by multiple consonants or a single consonant word-finally, <wi we> were treated as if they were instances of <i e> that just happened to be preceded by <w>, instead of as diphthongs <wi we>?
The thing is, /wɪ/ and /wɛ/ really wouldn't be considered diphthongs, but a sound change made them become diphthongs under certain circumstances. Maybe it would be better to just explain the etymology behind this, as I realized I forgot to mention one other requirement of this realization. Ok, so round about 1750 in a number of dialects (including Standard West Saxon) /wɛ/ and /wɪ/, when preceded by a consonant (I forgot to mention this stipulation) and followed by a consonant that wasn't /ɫ/ /ɹ/ shifted their stress to the /w/, vocalizing it to /ʊ/, with the following /ɛ/ and /ɪ/ becoming an off-glide. The /ʊ/ then height-harmonized to /ɔ/ before /ɛ/, but a little while later /ɛ/ raised to /j/ (/ɪ/ shifted to /j/ too). So by 1850 you had /ʊj/ and /ɔj/ as realizations of earlier /wɪ/ and /wɛ/. Later, in Standard West Saxon these two merged into /ɔj/, though in some dialects they are still kept separate. Given the complications of surface realization with my orthography, it's kind of tough to write out all the rules in strictly orthographic terms. I love how complicated my orthography has gotten. I hate having to actually describe it.
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Also, in regards to the number of phonemic consonants, in the original post, /h/ is listed as a phoneme, but in the orthography post, it says that [h] is an allophone of /x/.
*blinks* D'OH!
shimobaatar wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 04:13
Ah, OK. You could say that the phoneme /ə/ is realized as [ə~ɐ].
Yes. That would definitely be a logical way of saying that.
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by Herra Ratatoskr » Sat 18 Aug 2018, 04:49

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 17 Aug 2018, 12:30
The orthography section all seems to make sense to me (although it helps that my own english-influenced germanic language has or had many similar rules*).

My stylistic comment is that you sometimes get quite colloquial, and in ways that aren't valid in my dialect (like 'glob on to' and 'diphthongise off of'), but that's a style issue only, so...

So, there's no trisyllabic laxing, then?
Glad that things are making sense (and I agree with the tone issue; when I have a more final version it will be more formal). There actually is a very limited form of trisyllabic laxing, but it's only when a stressed syllable is followed by two consonants and two other syllables and stopped being productive pretty early on.

And glad to hear that I was of help on your issue.
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Re: West Saxon Grammar Sketch v 0.0.1

Post by spanick » Mon 08 Oct 2018, 20:45

Just got around to this. I need to take more time to go through the orthography section. Any updates on grammar? ;)
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