Phonology Choice

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GizmoLangs24
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Phonology Choice

Post by GizmoLangs24 » 13 Mar 2019 01:06

Hello! It's me again! >:)

So I am working on a new conlang, which I want to be another "practice" conlang, so I am going to try some different things. Naltal (my first one) was, as expected, quite bad, but I feel like it helped a lot in terms of the process.

My questions is this: Is there any sort of rule of thumb you should use when deciding on phonology? I realize that it is your own conlang, so you can pick whatever sounds you want, but I wonder if there is a combination of sounds that would be bad to pick (there probably is).

I'll include the phonology I would like for my next conlang, so that i can get some guidance on that in the process. ;)

/p b t d k g/ <p b t d k g>
/m n ŋ/ <m n ng>
/f s ts h/ <v s c h>
/l j/ <l j>

/i u/ <i u>
/a e o/ <a e o>

I'll be around!

-Gizmo-

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Zekoslav
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Re: Phonology Choice

Post by Zekoslav » 13 Mar 2019 10:26

Well, there's some "phonological universals", rather tendencies which languages follow (but there's likely going to be one which breaks at least one of them).

A good overview of some of the tendencies can be found on WALS (it deals with more than just phonology). I'm not quite confident that I've memorized them all, so I'd rather not say anything too specific.

As for your conlang's phonology, it's extremely orderly and I don't think anyone would dare to say it's unrealistic. In fact, it's probably attested in a natlang somewhere. No comment. [:D]
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Creyeditor
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Re: Phonology Choice

Post by Creyeditor » 13 Mar 2019 19:59

Your phoneme inventory does look okay. I like the lack of /r/ and /w/. That's a nice idea. The addition of /ts/ also makes it nicely non-Englishy.

I just want to remind you (and people in general) that a phonology is more than a phoneme inventory. It also includes phonotactic restrictions (e.g. what is a possible syllable? what is a possible word?) and phonological alternations (e.g. nasal assimilation or final devoicing). Sometimes you might also want to include morphophonological processes (e.g. German Umlaut or Hungarian Vowel Harmony).
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sangi39
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Re: Phonology Choice

Post by sangi39 » 14 Mar 2019 13:10

My general rule of thumb, both for phoneme inventories and phonologies as a whole, is, roughly, "can I make sense of it?". For example, if there is a gap in the phoneme inventory, is that somewhere you might expect a gap (like, lacking /p'/ from an otherwise "full" set of ejectives). Annoyingly, I think a fair bit of that comes from just looking over different phonologies over the past decade or two, so it sort of follows the lines of "looks familiar enough", and anything "odd" or "unexpecting" could be sorted out by (regular) sound changes if I gave it some thought (or just "I've seen that sort of gap before".

Zekoslav's suggestion of using WALS is a good one, and I'd recommend trawling through Wikipedia as much as possible as well. What I tended to do at one point, if I wanted to add in a phoneme to an inventory, was to see what other sounds it tended to occur with (if I wanted to add, say, /kx/, were there any other sounds that tended occur alongside it, or any patterns, e.g. other affricates, did it contrast with certain other types of velars, etc.).
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