(Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
User avatar
LinguistCat
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 188
Joined: 06 May 2017 07:48

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat » 11 Jun 2018 19:22

LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
I'm trying to understand how morae work. If I'm understanding it correctly, then a basic syllable such as V or CV are 1 mora, or a light syllable, while something like VV or CVV or even CVC in some languages are 2 morae, or a heavy syllable. I'm guessing this is the basis for stress in a word? What if a word had, say, a total of 4 morae (like CVV.CVV) or something, would they both be stressed?

Also, why do something languages treat a CVC syllable with a coda sonorant as heavy, while those with an obstruent coda are light?
I only really know Japanese but I was just recently looking at pitch accent stuff. Aside from a few dialects that have word level pitch accent, most dialects have specific rules about how pitch is treated based on the pitch accent certain sets of words had at an earlier stage of the language. But to simplify a lot and not bring in recent borrowings or anything like that...

The second part of a 2 mora syllable is considered unable to accept the tone drop - whether it is a second vowel, the syllabic nasal, or the doubling of the consonant of the next mora. So, if for other reasons the tone drop would normally be on that "defective" mora, it moves back to the main mora in the same syllable. For your example of two heavy syllables in a row, it's a little harder because it's likely it would be a compound word, which have their own rules, but tend to leave the accent to the second part of the compound. The most likely pitch accent would be either unaccented or CVV.CV'V with the apostrophe marking where the downstep is.

User avatar
Omzinesý
runic
runic
Posts: 2653
Joined: 27 Aug 2010 08:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý » 11 Jun 2018 19:33

LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
I'm trying to understand how morae work. If I'm understanding it correctly, then a basic syllable such as V or CV are 1 mora, or a light syllable, while something like VV or CVV or even CVC in some languages are 2 morae, or a heavy syllable.
You are right.

Languages are called syllable-timed or mora-timed.
In a syllable timed language, you try to pronounce both CV and CVC equally heavy, i.e. spend equally long time pronouncing them (I guess that's not acoustically correct but a model of understanding it).
In a mora-timed language, you pronounce the two-moraic syllable more heavy than the one-moraic syllable.
LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
I'm guessing this is the basis for stress in a word? What if a word had, say, a total of 4 morae (like CVV.CVV) or something, would they both be stressed?
It can be the basis for stressing in a language, it doesn't have to be. There are different stressing rules in different languages. They can be based on morae or not. Japanese, for example, is called a mora-timed language but the concept of stress cannot even be utilized in describing in.
LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
Also, why do something languages treat a CVC syllable with a coda sonorant as heavy, while those with an obstruent coda are light?
Mora is a theoretical, instrumental concept of describing a language. So the answer to your last question is just that languages do what they do and descriptions have to accept it.

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4477
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 11 Jun 2018 21:33

LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
I'm trying to understand how morae work. If I'm understanding it correctly, then a basic syllable such as V or CV are 1 mora, or a light syllable, while something like VV or CVV or even CVC in some languages are 2 morae, or a heavy syllable. I'm guessing this is the basis for stress in a word? What if a word had, say, a total of 4 morae (like CVV.CVV) or something, would they both be stressed?

Also, why do something languages treat a CVC syllable with a coda sonorant as heavy, while those with an obstruent coda are light?
Just wanted to add: Mora-based stress is often something like: stress the rightmost heavy syllable. In other cases you can have something like: stress the syllable that containts the third mora from the right (Latin, IIRC). Mora are often also handy for describing tone languegs (especially, but not exclusively in Africa). If you have falling and rising tones only on heavy syllables, this can be reformulated by saying that each mora is either high or low toned, yielding the same result.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

wintiver
sinic
sinic
Posts: 219
Joined: 09 Oct 2012 03:37

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by wintiver » 12 Jun 2018 01:19

I am trying to orthographize a conlang, specifically its vowel system without using digraphs. Right now I am using the IPA characters because I don't know what else to do. I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

The vowel system is:

i ɯ u
e ɤ o
ɛ ʌ ɔ
a

There is a length distinction on all vowels. There is a high versus low tone distinction in the language as well. I'll take any suggestions at all. I'm sort of stalled out here. Thank you for your time.

User avatar
Pabappa
sinic
sinic
Posts: 246
Joined: 18 Nov 2017 02:41
Contact:

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » 12 Jun 2018 01:42

Im not sure that syllagble counting rule is common. In Japanese the syllabic nasal counts as a mora because it originated from a syllable. But so does the checked syllable, so I dont think Jap[anese is an example of counting nasals & stops differently. both are moraic. If presssed I'd guess that languages that treat them differently do so because they evolved differently. e.g. if Japanese had retained its ancient prenasalized stops, we could have a contrast today between Japanese /n.d/ and /nd/, and perhaps even /n.nd/. I think the nasal mora is pronounced as a nasal vowel in some environments, such as before /j/. Thus Japanese /n.ya/ does not resemble /nya/. likewise /ju.n.ichiro/ does not sound like /junichiro/.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 3230
Joined: 12 Aug 2010 01:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 12 Jun 2018 03:08

wintiver wrote:
12 Jun 2018 01:19
I am trying to orthographize a conlang, specifically its vowel system without using digraphs. Right now I am using the IPA characters because I don't know what else to do. I was wondering if you had any suggestions.

The vowel system is:

i ɯ u
e ɤ o
ɛ ʌ ɔ
a

There is a length distinction on all vowels. There is a high versus low tone distinction in the language as well. I'll take any suggestions at all. I'm sort of stalled out here. Thank you for your time.
I would have said:

/i ɯ u/ <i ï u> OR <i eu u>
/e ɤ o/ <e ë o> OR <e eo o>
/ɛ ʌ ɔ/ <ä~e̥ ë̥ ǫ~o̥> OR <ea ao oa>
/a/ <a> OR <a>

You could also replace the central vowel digraphs <eu eo ao> with <ŭ ŏ ă>.

On the other hand, you could treat the mid-open vowels as the default and have something like:

/i ɯ u/ <i ï u> OR <i iu~ŭ u>
/e ɤ o/ <ei ëï ou> OR <ei eu~ŏ ou>
/ɛ ʌ ɔ/ <e ë o> OR <e eo~ă o>
/a/ <a> OR <a>

Similarly, you could have the mid-close vowels marked as if they were close vowels, and treating them as some sort of default, giving something like:

/i ɯ u/ <ie ïe uo> OR <í ŭ ú>
/e ɤ o/ <i ï u> OR <i ŏ u>
/ɛ ʌ ɔ/ <e ë o> OR <e ă o>
/a/ <a> OR <a>

I think generally it's up to you, though, and what sort of aesthetic you're going for, the phonotactics of the language (if vowel clusters are a thing, then if you choose to use digraphs, you might have to find a way to disambiguate, say, /e.u/ from /ɯ/ if the latter is written <eu>) as well as your own feelings regarding diacritics.
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.

User avatar
LinguistCat
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 188
Joined: 06 May 2017 07:48

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat » 12 Jun 2018 03:24

Pabappa wrote:
12 Jun 2018 01:42
Im not sure that syllable counting rule is common. In Japanese the syllabic nasal counts as a mora because it originated from a syllable. But so does the checked syllable, so I dont think Japanese is an example of counting nasals & stops differently. both are moraic. If pressed I'd guess that languages that treat them differently do so because they evolved differently. e.g. if Japanese had retained its ancient prenasalized stops, we could have a contrast today between Japanese /n.d/ and /nd/, and perhaps even /n.nd/. I think the nasal mora is pronounced as a nasal vowel in some environments, such as before /j/. Thus Japanese /n.ya/ does not resemble /nya/. likewise /ju.n.ichiro/ does not sound like /junichiro/.
If there is a difference between moraic N and checked syllables, it's that most checked syllables are from compounding and compound words have their own rules regarding accent. The second vowel in a series (C)VV is also moraic but they rarely take the accent in Japanese either. In fact there's a rule for that diachronically that if a series of vowels resulted from losing a consonant between them, and the second mora would have carried the accent, the accent shifts to be between the two vowels. When something carrying the pitch drop gets reduced, the accent likes to shift to the left. Or maybe the accent shift happened and causes things to reduce. Either way, there's a connection there. ETA: At least that's what I've been reading while looking into how pitch accent has changed over time.
Last edited by LinguistCat on 12 Jun 2018 09:56, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
cedh
MVP
MVP
Posts: 373
Joined: 07 Sep 2011 22:25
Location: Tübingen, Germany
Contact:

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cedh » 12 Jun 2018 09:26

wintiver wrote:
12 Jun 2018 01:19
i ɯ u
e ɤ o
ɛ ʌ ɔ
a
Low tone:
i ĭ u
e ŭ o
ĕ ă ŏ
a


High tone:
í î ú
é û ó
ê â ô
á

User avatar
sangi39
moderator
moderator
Posts: 3230
Joined: 12 Aug 2010 01:53
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 12 Jun 2018 14:09

cedh wrote:
12 Jun 2018 09:26
wintiver wrote:
12 Jun 2018 01:19
i ɯ u
e ɤ o
ɛ ʌ ɔ
a
Low tone:
i ĭ u
e ŭ o
ĕ ă ŏ
a


High tone:
í î ú
é û ó
ê â ô
á
Oh fudge monkeys, I completely missed the part about tone [:O]
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.

User avatar
LinguoFranco
greek
greek
Posts: 452
Joined: 20 Jul 2016 17:49
Location: U.S.

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » 12 Jun 2018 17:00

Creyeditor wrote:
11 Jun 2018 21:33
LinguoFranco wrote:
11 Jun 2018 18:34
I'm trying to understand how morae work. If I'm understanding it correctly, then a basic syllable such as V or CV are 1 mora, or a light syllable, while something like VV or CVV or even CVC in some languages are 2 morae, or a heavy syllable. I'm guessing this is the basis for stress in a word? What if a word had, say, a total of 4 morae (like CVV.CVV) or something, would they both be stressed?

Also, why do something languages treat a CVC syllable with a coda sonorant as heavy, while those with an obstruent coda are light?
Just wanted to add: Mora-based stress is often something like: stress the rightmost heavy syllable. In other cases you can have something like: stress the syllable that containts the third mora from the right (Latin, IIRC). Mora are often also handy for describing tone languegs (especially, but not exclusively in Africa). If you have falling and rising tones only on heavy syllables, this can be reformulated by saying that each mora is either high or low toned, yielding the same result.
I’m not good with tones or pitch accent, as I find it kinda hard to pronounce, honestly, which is why I wanted to go with a stress based system.

User avatar
eldin raigmore
korean
korean
Posts: 6346
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 19:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 12 Jun 2018 22:07

Languages just do different things. I don’t think there’s any consensus why. But you’ll have fun finding the theories!

Weight-sensitive stress-assignment systems usually assign more weight to syllables that take longer to say.
A (C)VT syllable is usually shorter than a (C)VR syllable (T=sTop R=sonoRant). Some languages say all (C)VC are heavy; some say CVT are light and CVR are bimoraic.
OTOH some say all CVC are light and all CVCC are heavy. That’s not usual but I don’t think it’s very rare.

Some languages let the onset influence the syllable-weight. For such languages usually
The LESS sonorant the onset the HEAVIER the syllable—just the opposite for codas.

Usually there’s a rule that two consecutive syllables in the same word can’t both be stressed. Exceptions might be made if both are superheavy (>= 3 morae) or ultraheavy (>= 4 morae).

The rule for weight-sensitive stress is that an unstressed syllable shouldn’t be next to a lighter stressed syllable; that is, a stressed syllable shouldn’t be next to a heavier unstressed syllable.

HTH. I have to go. I can tell you more, but by the time I can sign on again I bet others will have gotten you satisfactorily started.

wintiver
sinic
sinic
Posts: 219
Joined: 09 Oct 2012 03:37

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by wintiver » 14 Jun 2018 18:17

sangi39 wrote:
12 Jun 2018 14:09

Oh fudge monkeys, I completely missed the part about tone [:O]
No worries! I can always keep your suggestions in mind for another conlang.
cedh wrote:
12 Jun 2018 09:26
wintiver wrote:
12 Jun 2018 01:19
i ɯ u
e ɤ o
ɛ ʌ ɔ
a
Low tone:
i ĭ u
e ŭ o
ĕ ă ŏ
a


High tone:
í î ú
é û ó
ê â ô
á
Thank you that's a really elegant solution! I like that a lot!

Sorry for the delay in responses but you all are so great. Thank you.

wintiver
sinic
sinic
Posts: 219
Joined: 09 Oct 2012 03:37

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by wintiver » 14 Jun 2018 18:39

If one had let's say a vowel system with contours and phonemic length then if some vowel, /a˦˩/ has a falling tone while short and then its long counter part /aː˦˩/ does that mean that the phonemically long version just takes a slower tonal descent?

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4477
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 19:32

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 14 Jun 2018 21:06

Yes, that's possible. Another possibility is that it stays low longer.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

User avatar
Ahzoh
korean
korean
Posts: 5759
Joined: 20 Oct 2013 02:57
Location: Toma-ʾEzra lit Vṛḵaža

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 14 Jun 2018 21:18

What consonant clusters can I derive these three clicks /ǀ ǁ ǂ/ from?

At the present, I've got:
/ǀ/ < /t̪k/
/ǁ/ < /t̪l/ or /t̪ˡk/
/ǂ/ < /t̪ʲk t̪ʲkʲ t̪kʲ/
Image Ӯсцьӣ (Onschen) [ CWS ]
Image Šat Wərxažu (Vrkhazhian) [ WIKI | CWS ]

User avatar
Shemtov
runic
runic
Posts: 3045
Joined: 29 Apr 2013 04:06

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov » 14 Jun 2018 23:47

Is a base-seven numerical system unnauturalistic? If so, what can I do to it?
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien

Nachtuil
greek
greek
Posts: 479
Joined: 21 Jul 2016 00:16

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nachtuil » 15 Jun 2018 23:20

Shemtov wrote:
14 Jun 2018 23:47
Is a base-seven numerical system unnauturalistic? If so, what can I do to it?
It does strike me as unnatural in so much that I've never heard of one. I've heard of base 5, 8, 10, 12 and 20. Don't ask me for examples of 5 and 8 because I don't know them off hand. Maybe you could make it base 8, but make 8 derived from "7+1" or some such. You could still try to have a base 7 system. No reason it can't work.


I have a question regarding classifiers and case systems. Does anyone know any such languages?

In constructions like "five head of cattle" where head is a classifier, the "of cattle" does seem associative as if it might be genitive. For a language I have been working I had been thinking to inflect the "of cattle" noun and leave the classifier uninflected but it has now occurred to me I could do the reverse and it might make more sense. Thoughts?


Edit: It appears Bengali has both case and classifiers so I am going to investigate that.
Last edited by Nachtuil on 17 Jun 2018 17:31, edited 2 times in total.

hoeroathlo
rupestrian
rupestrian
Posts: 21
Joined: 13 Oct 2014 15:38

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by hoeroathlo » 17 Jun 2018 03:02

How would /tθ/ naturally form in a language, and would it be feasible not to have /θ/ in the same phonology?

shimobaatar
korean
korean
Posts: 11458
Joined: 12 Jul 2013 23:09
Location: PA → IN

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 17 Jun 2018 03:07

hoeroathlo wrote:
17 Jun 2018 03:02
How would /tθ/ naturally form in a language, and would it be feasible not to have /θ/ in the same phonology?
[tʰ] > [t͡θ], for instance.

I'd think it would be alright to have only one of /t͡θ θ/ in a language's inventory, since those sounds are so rare cross-linguistically. I think there are some language varieties (including, I believe, some dialects of English) with a single phoneme that can be realized as either the affricate or fricative.

User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 3512
Joined: 22 Nov 2014 04:48

Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » 17 Jun 2018 16:20

shimobaatar wrote:
17 Jun 2018 03:07
hoeroathlo wrote:
17 Jun 2018 03:02
How would /tθ/ naturally form in a language, and would it be feasible not to have /θ/ in the same phonology?
[tʰ] > [t͡θ], for instance.

I'd think it would be alright to have only one of /t͡θ θ/ in a language's inventory, since those sounds are so rare cross-linguistically. I think there are some language varieties (including, I believe, some dialects of English) with a single phoneme that can be realized as either the affricate or fricative.
The Font of All Knowledge seems to concur and provides some other examples.
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera

Post Reply