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

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

Post by Keenir » 27 Nov 2015 20:02

Ahzoh wrote:
cromulant wrote:
Ahzoh wrote: It is apparently not possible to go from a consonantal root system to not.
I find this dubious on its face. Has this been tested? Doubt-IMP "not possible" statements in linguistics.
Has it ever happened before?
would we know if it'd happened?

on one hand, we're fortunate that so many consonantal root system languages lived in highly literate regions of the world.

on the other hand, while their extended family {with a- and other vowel mutations that led to the consonantal root systems} cover a large area, the consonantal root systems themselves didn't.

so maybe it just hasn't happened yet. maybe it simply wasn't committed to writing.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 27 Nov 2015 20:03

HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Clio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, I noticed English and German avoid geminate consonants by inserting schwas. Could a different vowel than a schwa be used instead? I don't really want a schwa, but I want geminate consonants even less, and they're sort of just popping up and messing up how things sound.
Yup.
Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
There are many cases where geminates are analyzed as consonant clusters. Also, I'm having trouble thinking of any examples of English or German avoiding geminate consonants by inserting schwas. If you don't mind my asking, could you clarify what you mean?

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

Post by Keenir » 27 Nov 2015 20:04

HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Clio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, I noticed English and German avoid geminate consonants by inserting schwas. Could a different vowel than a schwa be used instead? I don't really want a schwa, but I want geminate consonants even less, and they're sort of just popping up and messing up how things sound.
Yup.
Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
:?:
what're you objecting to? the prop vowels? or...*looks at all the many options listed*

one option is to simply break the geminates, but leave the consonant clusters alone.
shimobaatar wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Clio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, I noticed English and German avoid geminate consonants by inserting schwas. Could a different vowel than a schwa be used instead? I don't really want a schwa, but I want geminate consonants even less, and they're sort of just popping up and messing up how things sound.
Yup.
Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
There are many cases where geminates are analyzed as consonant clusters. Also, I'm having trouble thinking of any examples of English or German avoiding geminate consonants by inserting schwas. If you don't mind my asking, could you clarify what you mean?
*seconds the request...just in case I'm misunderstanding above*
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cromulant » 27 Nov 2015 20:18

Ahzoh wrote:
cromulant wrote:
Ahzoh wrote: It is apparently not possible to go from a consonantal root system to not.
I find this dubious on its face. Has this been tested? Doubt-IMP "not possible" statements in linguistics.
Has it ever happened before?
Unknowable and irrelevant. The languages we know about are a small sliver of the languages that have existed, which are a small sliver of the languages that are possible. Even if we could somehow know that it's never happened before, this says nothing about whether it's possible.

Is there a reason it couldn't happen in principle?

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

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 27 Nov 2015 20:28

shimobaatar wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Clio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, I noticed English and German avoid geminate consonants by inserting schwas. Could a different vowel than a schwa be used instead? I don't really want a schwa, but I want geminate consonants even less, and they're sort of just popping up and messing up how things sound.
Yup.
Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
There are many cases where geminates are analyzed as consonant clusters. Also, I'm having trouble thinking of any examples of English or German avoiding geminate consonants by inserting schwas. If you don't mind my asking, could you clarify what you mean?
Well, some examples where English and German break up geminates with schwas:

house [haʊz] - houses [haʊzəz]
lose [luːz] - loses [luːzəz]
arbeiten [aɐbaɪtn̩] - arbeitet [aɐbaɪtət] - arbeitetet [aɐbaɪtətət] (this one does it twice)
Keenir wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Clio wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, I noticed English and German avoid geminate consonants by inserting schwas. Could a different vowel than a schwa be used instead? I don't really want a schwa, but I want geminate consonants even less, and they're sort of just popping up and messing up how things sound.
Yup.
Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
:?:
what're you objecting to? the prop vowels? or...*looks at all the many options listed*

one option is to simply break the geminates, but leave the consonant clusters alone.
But I don't see why there would be a good reason for that. I think maybe I should just add a schwa, which would also make the phonology make slightly more sense in terms of being able to have schwas instead of stressed syllabic consonants, but 15 vowel monophthong qualities seems like too many since the most on WALS is 14 (but that might have more to do with their analysis since I've heard of English, Norwegian, and some others having more vowel qualities than they count).

Actually, I'm not sure if I added a schwa if it would actually be a phoneme, since its distribution is completely predictable. If there are two of the same consonants in a row, or an otherwise-syllabic consonant in a stressed syllable, it is pronounced, otherwise, not. That's basically the same logic for why I don't analyze the glottal stop as a phoneme, because its distribution is completely predictable and it doesn't need to be orthographically written. If you don't know what I'm talking about with predictable sounds that aren't allophones of anything, see German glottal stops, Yimas vowels.
Last edited by HoskhMatriarch on 27 Nov 2015 20:44, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » 27 Nov 2015 20:38

Keenir wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:
cromulant wrote:
Ahzoh wrote: It is apparently not possible to go from a consonantal root system to not.
I find this dubious on its face. Has this been tested? Doubt-IMP "not possible" statements in linguistics.
Has it ever happened before?
would we know if it'd happened?

on one hand, we're fortunate that so many consonantal root system languages lived in highly literate regions of the world.

on the other hand, while their extended family {with a- and other vowel mutations that led to the consonantal root systems} cover a large area, the consonantal root systems themselves didn't.

so maybe it just hasn't happened yet. maybe it simply wasn't committed to writing.
I personally doubt the claim that having writing doesn't change diachronic adaptations. It just leads to more steady and formal changes. For example, in English, various patterns have mostly coalesced in to single features, despite being diachronically bound to the same. In my dialect, /V/ and /@/ (X-SAMPA) have largely merged, on the account that they share the same notation. Same with au /a/. Aunt, aura, august, autumn, and auto are all pronounced the same, despite the common aunt-ant homonymny present everywhere else. This is probably why the pronounciations of most English dialects/accents are intelligible with minimal difficulty. In AAVE, the various differences occur because of a population that was originally not taught English and fused it with what they knew the best, their african languages.

Another thing to consider is the fact that various systems have indeed collapsed, most notably, Proto-Indo-Europeans complex ablaut system, which is nearly entirely lost in Latin (to my knowledge), and poorly preserved in other languages. I was thinking about this just yesterday with the verb "shear". The indicative past used to be shore/shorn, but now has been changed by analogy to "sheared"; same with the past participle. Long story short, as grammatical paradigms change, declensions. Thus we get a question of chicken or egg. What changes first, words or paradigm?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 27 Nov 2015 21:27

HoskhMatriarch wrote: Well, some examples where English and German break up geminates with schwas:

house [haʊz] - houses [haʊzəz]
lose [luːz] - loses [luːzəz]
arbeiten [aɐbaɪtn̩] - arbeitet [aɐbaɪtət] - arbeitetet [aɐbaɪtətət] (this one does it twice)
Hmm, I never would have thought of these as cases of geminates being broken up on my own.

Although not the most reliable source all of the time, Wikipedia has already said more or less what I was going to say:
Wikipedia wrote:Regular or semiregular epenthesis commonly occurs in languages that use affixes. For example, a reduced vowel /ɨ/ is inserted before the English plural suffix -/z/ and the past tense suffix -/d/ when the root ends in a similar consonant: glass → glasses /ˈɡlæsɨz/ or /ˈɡlɑːsɨz/; bat → batted /ˈbætɨd/. This is again a synchronic analysis, as the form with the vowel is the original form and the vowel was later lost in many, but not all cases.
(Emphasis mine.)

It seems like an epenthetic vowel is being inserted, but apparently, that vowel was lost practically everywhere else, and is just retained to separate similar, not only identical, consonants, at least in most cases.

Hopefully that information is at least generally correct, but don't hesitate to correct it if it isn't.

And anyway, "reduced" vowels like the schwa and [ɨ] aren't the only ones that can be epenthetic.

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

Post by Keenir » 27 Nov 2015 21:42

qwed117 wrote:
Keenir wrote:would we know if it'd happened?

on one hand, we're fortunate that so many consonantal root system languages lived in highly literate regions of the world.

on the other hand, while their extended family {with a- and other vowel mutations that led to the consonantal root systems} cover a large area, the consonantal root systems themselves didn't.

so maybe it just hasn't happened yet. maybe it simply wasn't committed to writing.
I personally doubt the claim that having writing doesn't change diachronic adaptations.
what? *re0reads* ah...i was unclear, sorry; i meant that if it has happened, the change from consonantal root system to nonconsonantal root system took place in a place without writing to attest that that ever existed or happened in the Semitic language family.
Another thing to consider is the fact that various systems have indeed collapsed, most notably, Proto-Indo-Europeans complex ablaut system, which is nearly entirely lost in Latin (to my knowledge), and poorly preserved in other languages. I was thinking about this just yesterday with the verb "shear". The indicative past used to be shore/shorn, but now has been changed by analogy to "sheared"; same with the past participle. Long story short, as grammatical paradigms change, declensions. Thus we get a question of chicken or egg. What changes first, words or paradigm?
hm...meaty question, to which i sadly have no idea. either way, it would make an interesting premise for a conlang/conlang family.
HoskhMatriarch wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote: Yeah, but I don't want to break up consonant clusters, just geminates...
:?:
what're you objecting to? the prop vowels? or...*looks at all the many options listed*

one option is to simply break the geminates, but leave the consonant clusters alone.
But I don't see why there would be a good reason for that.
in conlanging, "I said so" is a perfectly valid reason for the conlang's creator to do something.
Actually, I'm not sure if I added a schwa if it would actually be a phoneme, since its distribution is completely predictable.
predictability has nothing to do with whether or not something is a phoneme.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by loglorn » 28 Nov 2015 02:19

Actually, I'm not sure if I added a schwa if it would actually be a phoneme, since its distribution is completely predictable.
predictability has nothing to do with whether or not something is a phoneme.
Minimal pairs do, and they are probably going to say the schwa is phonemic, even it not in every single environment.

A couple hypothetical forms to illustrate what i'm talking about:

tat-kek
/tatkak/

vs.

tatk-k
/tatkək/

And there will probably be minimal pairs of the sort with all vowels if you account for the entirety of the lexicon.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 28 Nov 2015 03:30

shimobaatar wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote: Well, some examples where English and German break up geminates with schwas:

house [haʊz] - houses [haʊzəz]
lose [luːz] - loses [luːzəz]
arbeiten [aɐbaɪtn̩] - arbeitet [aɐbaɪtət] - arbeitetet [aɐbaɪtətət] (this one does it twice)
Hmm, I never would have thought of these as cases of geminates being broken up on my own.

Although not the most reliable source all of the time, Wikipedia has already said more or less what I was going to say:
Wikipedia wrote:Regular or semiregular epenthesis commonly occurs in languages that use affixes. For example, a reduced vowel /ɨ/ is inserted before the English plural suffix -/z/ and the past tense suffix -/d/ when the root ends in a similar consonant: glass → glasses /ˈɡlæsɨz/ or /ˈɡlɑːsɨz/; bat → batted /ˈbætɨd/. This is again a synchronic analysis, as the form with the vowel is the original form and the vowel was later lost in many, but not all cases.
(Emphasis mine.)

It seems like an epenthetic vowel is being inserted, but apparently, that vowel was lost practically everywhere else, and is just retained to separate similar, not only identical, consonants, at least in most cases.

Hopefully that information is at least generally correct, but don't hesitate to correct it if it isn't.

And anyway, "reduced" vowels like the schwa and [ɨ] aren't the only ones that can be epenthetic.
I'm aware of how these vowels originated. However, the synchronic effect is that it stops there from being two of the same/really similar consonants in a row.
loglorn wrote:
Actually, I'm not sure if I added a schwa if it would actually be a phoneme, since its distribution is completely predictable.
predictability has nothing to do with whether or not something is a phoneme.
Minimal pairs do, and they are probably going to say the schwa is phonemic, even it not in every single environment.

A couple hypothetical forms to illustrate what i'm talking about:

tat-kek
/tatkak/

vs.

tatk-k
/tatkək/

And there will probably be minimal pairs of the sort with all vowels if you account for the entirety of the lexicon.
I just meant that there wouldn't be a minimal pair with a schwa and no vowel at all.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 28 Nov 2015 03:34

HoskhMatriarch wrote: I'm aware of how these vowels originated. However, the synchronic effect is that it stops there from being two of the same/really similar consonants in a row.
Alright. How does this affect your goals?

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

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 28 Nov 2015 04:03

shimobaatar wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote: I'm aware of how these vowels originated. However, the synchronic effect is that it stops there from being two of the same/really similar consonants in a row.
Alright. How does this affect your goals?
Because if I did something like that there wouldn't be geminate consonants. I guess I wouldn't have to put a schwa and I could just keep diachronically whatever vowel was there. Are there any languages with lax vowels and no schwa though?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 28 Nov 2015 04:15

HoskhMatriarch wrote:I guess I wouldn't have to put a schwa and I could just keep diachronically whatever vowel was there. Are there any languages with lax vowels and no schwa though?
Yeah, my point was intended to be that I wouldn't be surprised if the "epenthetic" vowel was the one that occurred across the board historically, but I guess I didn't state it the way I thought I did. As for the second part, it depends on your definition of "lax", and on whether or not you mean phonetic or phonemic schwa.

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

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 28 Nov 2015 05:20

shimobaatar wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:I guess I wouldn't have to put a schwa and I could just keep diachronically whatever vowel was there. Are there any languages with lax vowels and no schwa though?
Yeah, my point was intended to be that I wouldn't be surprised if the "epenthetic" vowel was the one that occurred across the board historically, but I guess I didn't state it the way I thought I did. As for the second part, it depends on your definition of "lax", and on whether or not you mean phonetic or phonemic schwa.
By lax vowels, I mean things like /ɪ ʊ ɛ ɔ/, and I guess either phonemic or phonetic, especially if there's a difference in terms of languages having them.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 28 Nov 2015 06:31

There are plenty of languages with at least one of those vowels but without schwa, at least if you're looking at it phonemically. I believe (Standard) Italian, for example, has /i u e o ɛ ɔ a/, although I could be wrong.

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

Post by Sumelic » 28 Nov 2015 10:12

There are plenty of African languages analyzed with relatively large vowel inventories, with a height/tenseness/ATR distinction on high and/or mid vowels (so for example, contrastive systems like /i ɪ e/, /i e ɛ/, or /i ɪ e ɛ/). Not all of them have /ə/ as a phoneme. Some of them have vowel-height harmony or assimilation phenomena. For example, Sesotho is listed with an inventory of /ɑ ɛ e ɪ i ɔ o ʊ u/. And it seems most of the Niger-Congo languages have an ATR/tense~lax distinction only on non-low vowels, and therefore lack /ə/ (which in this language family patterns as the +ATR counterpart of /a/) but have other "lax" vowels such as /ɛ/, /ɔ/, /ɪ/, and /ʊ/ (which pattern as −ATR vowels).

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

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 28 Nov 2015 20:57

shimobaatar wrote:There are plenty of languages with at least one of those vowels but without schwa, at least if you're looking at it phonemically. I believe (Standard) Italian, for example, has /i u e o ɛ ɔ a/, although I could be wrong.
So I'm guessing I have to make a schwa an allophone of something or include it as a phoneme then. I don't really want to turn all the vowels in unstressed syllables to schwas since unstressed vowels occasionally carry important grammatical information, so I'll have to figure out what else to do.
Last edited by HoskhMatriarch on 28 Nov 2015 21:01, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 28 Nov 2015 21:01

HoskhMatriarch wrote:So I'm guessing I have to make a schwa an allophone of something or include it as a phoneme then. I don't really want to turn all the vowels in unstressed syllables to schwas, so I'll have to figure out what else to do.
Umm

How on earth did you come to THAT conclusion?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 28 Nov 2015 21:02

Micamo wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:So I'm guessing I have to make a schwa an allophone of something or include it as a phoneme then. I don't really want to turn all the vowels in unstressed syllables to schwas, so I'll have to figure out what else to do.
Umm

How on earth did you come to THAT conclusion?
Because it seems that it has to be present at least allophonically. Although, maybe not.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 28 Nov 2015 21:22

HoskhMatriarch wrote:
Micamo wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:So I'm guessing I have to make a schwa an allophone of something or include it as a phoneme then. I don't really want to turn all the vowels in unstressed syllables to schwas, so I'll have to figure out what else to do.
Umm

How on earth did you come to THAT conclusion?
Because it seems that it has to be present at least allophonically. Although, maybe not.
[+1] To what Micamo said… Where did you hear that?

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