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

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

Post by Nachtuil » 15 Oct 2017 15:31

How common is it for a language with 10ish vowel monophthongs to have a single diphthong?

I have the following phoneme inventory:
/i iː u uː / <i ii uu uu>
/ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː / <e ee o oo>
/ a aː / <a aa>

(or this but whatever:
/ɪ iː ʊ uː / <i ii uu uu>
/ɛ eː ɔ oː / <e ee o oo>
/ a aː / <a aa>)

How strange would it be to just have /ai/ <ai>? Should I at least have /au/?

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

Post by Frislander » 15 Oct 2017 16:11

Well that's a very specific typological question, so specific in fact that I'm pretty sure noone's done work on it at all.

If you asked me I'd say it wouldn't be unreasonable I don't think: if the history justifies it anything is possible really.

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

Post by Dormouse559 » 15 Oct 2017 19:03

Agreeing with Frislander. Worth remembering that you are most likely working on just a snapshot in a long continuum of language evolution. If a feature happens to be a bit unusual, it's possible that feature only popped up recently and will quickly be smoothed out. It just happened to be in the right place at the right time to be captured in your snapshot.

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

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 15 Oct 2017 20:54

Thrice Xandvii wrote:I am wondering what might be some logical synchronic changes for the following? I kind of already do the first one without trying, but is it plausible? Might there be a better option? Anyone have ideas for the last two? For the record, this is for Vingdagese, which has phonology and other phonotactics listed here.

ʝ → ɣ / _#

ʝɾ → ? / ?
ʝw → ? / ?
Moving this to the new page.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Oct 2017 21:14

Thrice Xandvii wrote:ʝ → ɣ / _#
This looks good. There is a general tendecy in languages to not allow palatals at the end of the word. Why not become velar then [:)]
Thrice Xandvii wrote:ʝɾ → ? / ?
I would suggest ʒ as a result (or something related). Languages often have their postalveolars' palatalization depend on a following vowel.
Thrice Xandvii wrote:ʝw → ? / ?
The most logical thing would be something like ɥ or ɥ̝, but both of them are rare crosslinguistically. In the end deletion of one of the two might be the most sensible solution.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » 15 Oct 2017 21:25

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Thrice Xandvii wrote:I am wondering what might be some logical synchronic changes for the following? I kind of already do the first one without trying, but is it plausible? Might there be a better option? Anyone have ideas for the last two? For the record, this is for Vingdagese, which has phonology and other phonotactics listed here.

ʝ → ɣ / _#

ʝɾ → ? / ?
ʝw → ? / ?
Moving this to the new page.
Are these within-syllable clusters, or between-syllable clusters? A realization of ɣ in these contexts, as well as word-finally, doesn't seem too unlikely to me. If it is syllable-initial, maybe fortition to a voiced plosive could be possible, so e.g. ʝɾ > [gɾ] or [dɾ] and ʝw > [gw]. As Creyeditor mentioned, deletion (or total assimilation, but with retention of length) also seem plausible.

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

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 15 Oct 2017 21:34

I would suggest ʒ as a result (or something related). Languages often have their postalveolars' palatalization depend on a following vowel.
That sounds okay... Any chance it would become an affricate, dʒ?
The most logical thing would be something like ɥ or ɥ̝, but both of them are rare crosslinguistically. In the end deletion of one of the two might be the most sensible solution.
Would something like β be a bit too much of a change?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » 15 Oct 2017 21:45

Thrice Xandvii wrote: ʝ → ɣ / _#

ʝɾ → ? / ?
ʝw → ? / ?
1. Not too likely given the fact that palatization generally doesn't just disappear. I'd personally just expect it to become a fricative or affect the previous vowel and leave like in English

2. ɟ θ d͡ʒ ʒ ɹ ɾ r r̝ ʂ ʐ z are all reasonable results

3. θ sw zw v ʃ ʒ ʂ ʐ are all reasonable results as well.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 15 Oct 2017 23:17

To be clear, the second two are in initial position while the first is obviously syllable word final.
Last edited by Thrice Xandvii on 16 Oct 2017 00:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by InquisitorJL » 16 Oct 2017 00:10

I have some questions relating to language change.
  1. Do contractions have to be phonetically motivated, or can you have them form without sound changes?
  2. How do you get morphophonological changes where it looks like only certain common morphemes are effected by a particular sound change the rest of the language ignores?
  3. How much sound change do you need to have a totally regular conlang develop naturalistic irregularities?
  4. How do you create naturalistic irregularity in a conlang that is developed synchronically instead of diachronically?

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

Post by Ahzoh » 16 Oct 2017 00:18

Creyeditor wrote:
Thrice Xandvii wrote:ʝ → ɣ / _#
This looks good. There is a general tendecy in languages to not allow palatals at the end of the word. Why not become velar then [:)]
I feel lke using this sound change, but people are saying it's not possible/unlikely.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » 16 Oct 2017 00:33

Creyeditor didn't seem to have an issue with it, so I'm unsure about it now.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 16 Oct 2017 00:35

Ahzoh wrote:
Creyeditor wrote:
Thrice Xandvii wrote:ʝ → ɣ / _#
This looks good. There is a general tendecy in languages to not allow palatals at the end of the word. Why not become velar then [:)]
I feel lke using this sound change, but people are saying it's not possible/unlikely.
I can't see why not. I mean Spanish sort of went through a similar change with /ʃ/ > /x/ after a merger of /ʒ/ in /ʃ/ and certain dialects of Spanish again, /ʒ/ is the pronunciation of merged <ll> and <y> where other dialects might have /ʝ/. So, at least in theory, there's nothing suggesting /ʝ/ > /ɣ/ is implausible, perhaps through an intermediate /ʒ/.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 16 Oct 2017 15:52

InquisitorJL wrote:I have some questions relating to language change.
  1. Do contractions have to be phonetically motivated, or can you have them form without sound changes?
  2. How do you get morphophonological changes where it looks like only certain common morphemes are effected by a particular sound change the rest of the language ignores?
  3. How much sound change do you need to have a totally regular conlang develop naturalistic irregularities?
  4. How do you create naturalistic irregularity in a conlang that is developed synchronically instead of diachronically?
@contractions: they don't have to. For frequently-used words and expressions, they often come by as a side effect of frequent use. My favorite example is Polish "w ogóle" (meaning "at all" or "in general") pronounced /wɔˈgulɛ/. In colloquial speech, it is frequently pronounced as [ˈwɔglɛ]. Not only is there no phonetical rule to remove /u/ in this kind of environment - it's the stressed vowel of all things that gets removed. This is entirely due to the fact that it is an incredibly common phrase.

@naturalistic irregularities - you don't need much, TBH, you just need the right kind of changes. I'd say 2-3 "layers" of changes can be enough if you work with that specific goal in mind.

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

Post by Porphyrogenitos » 16 Oct 2017 18:53

InquisitorJL wrote:I have some questions relating to language change.
  1. Do contractions have to be phonetically motivated, or can you have them form without sound changes?
  2. How do you get morphophonological changes where it looks like only certain common morphemes are effected by a particular sound change the rest of the language ignores?
  3. How much sound change do you need to have a totally regular conlang develop naturalistic irregularities?
  4. How do you create naturalistic irregularity in a conlang that is developed synchronically instead of diachronically?
1. As gestaltist said, no, contractions and other reductions of common phrases - especially words/phrases that are in the process of being grammaticalized - don't necessarily have to happen through regular sound change. E.g. there were no regular sound changes motivating the change of "I'm going to" to "I'm gonna" and further (in my idiolect) to "Aingunna" and in some varieties to "Imma".

2. If the morphemes in question are at the beginning or end of a word, it could be a sound change only affecting final or initial unstressed syllables. You could include syllable count in the rule as well. But unless some kind of conditioning like that is sufficient, you're never going to get a sound change that only affects inflectional morphemes. E.g. if /ks/ becomes /hs/ in the inflectional suffix -aks, then it's going to happen word-internally in the root iksu as well.

Now, however, the process of analogy can insulate morphemes from sound change, or cause sound changes to have a different apparent effect on them. Finally, if you're talking about changes that get rid of morphemes, you don't necessarily need a sound change for that - it can simply be a grammatical change where the word-form with that morpheme falls out of use. E.g. there was no sound change that specifically deleted the English past participle prefix y- (cognate with German ge-); it simply fell out of use.

3. You don't necessarily need to have much (or even any) phonological irregularity, depending on the structure of the language you're using. E.g. in Polynesian languages, there isn't much phonological irregularity, because there aren't a lot of inflectional or derivational morphemes. Or in Chinese...well, there's no inflectional morphology at all, so you're not going to find "irregular plurals" or anything like that. Irregularity can be lexical and syntactic as well - e.g., say most animate nouns receive a plural marker -ak. But there is a subclass of animate nouns - say, game animals, or kinship terms - that receive a different plural marker, -zep. But maybe a few kinship terms still receive -ak. These forms are not the result of sound change; they're simply different affixes entirely, which for whatever reason have been applied to different words.

Or, say that all nouns have to take a classifier. These might be semantically predictable to some extent, but some may simply be arbitrary and vary on a word-to-word basis. This kind of irregularity may have developed out of sound change, but it's very likely that it didn't, either. For whatever reason, speakers just started using certain classifiers with certain nouns, and pattern which was only partly predictable emerged, leaving some classifer-noun pairings unpredictable (irregular).

Or, syntactically, a group of verbs (say verbs of motion) might all behave in some way, but for whatever reason, one verb from among that class behaves in a slightly different way - say, it requires a particular preposition, or an additional argument, where the other verbs of motion do not.

4. I'm not sure what exactly you're asking, but ultimately, all irregularity is diachronic in origin, simply because all languages have a history. Diachronic change isn't just phonological, it's also morphological, lexical, semantic, and syntactic. Some kinds of irregularity may not leave any easily identifiable traces of their history behind, as phonological change tends to do, but there will always be a history. E.g. take the following hypothetical forms from an unknown language:

kara "deer"
karabak "foal"
murti "dog"
murtibak "puppy"
isil "bird"
isilbak "baby bird"
lopi "sheep"
lopibak "(human) child"

There are no phonological irregularities here. However, there is a semantic irregularity - the suffix -bak converts "[animal]" into "baby [animal]". Except lopi, "sheep" - when -bak is added to it, it means a human child. Why is this? We can guess, based on the meanings of the other words derived with -bak, that lopibak once meant "baby sheep", but due to a semantic change, came to mean "human child" (much like the English word "kid" changing in meaning from "baby goat" to "human child").

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

Post by Nachtuil » 16 Oct 2017 21:39

Thank you for the responses Dormouse559 and Frislander. You raise really good points. I mostly get that I shouldn't worry about it all too much perhaps.

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

Post by Omzinesý » 17 Oct 2017 11:43

Mention languages with complex tense and aspect systems. I would like to get new input for my lang.

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

Post by Frislander » 17 Oct 2017 11:57

Omzinesý wrote:Mention languages with complex tense and aspect systems. I would like to get new input for my lang.
Do you want languages with either/or complexity or ones that have both?
Edit: For aspect Jingpho seems to have an insane number of markers also incorporation things like intentionality and the success of an action.
Last edited by Frislander on 17 Oct 2017 12:19, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Omzinesý » 17 Oct 2017 12:16

Frislander wrote:
Omzinesý wrote:Mention languages with complex tense and aspect systems. I would like to get new input for my lang.
Do you want languages with either/or complexity or ones that have both?
IMO they are very rarely distinguished in the morphology of an individual language.

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

Post by Frislander » 17 Oct 2017 12:25

Omzinesý wrote:
Frislander wrote:
Omzinesý wrote:Mention languages with complex tense and aspect systems. I would like to get new input for my lang.
Do you want languages with either/or complexity or ones that have both?
IMO they are very rarely distinguished in the morphology of an individual language.
OK, I think Yimas might be a good one to look at, Foley's grammar is on the grammar pile.

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