Orthographic quirks in natlangs

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Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by opipik » 03 Apr 2015 20:45

Do you know of some orthographic quirks in natlangs?
To start, let's have /ʑ/ <y> in Hmu and Yi.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by GrandPiano » 03 Apr 2015 20:59

Well, there's this one natlang with some interesting orthographic quirks. I forget what it's called. It can sometimes have:
  • <e>, <ee> and <ea> for /i/
  • <o> and <oo> for /u/
  • <oo> for /ʊ/
  • <o> for /ɑ/
  • <gh> for /f/
  • <a>, <ai>, <ay> and <ea> for /ɛɪ̯/
  • <i> and <y> for /aɪ̯/
  • <ou> for /aʊ̯/
  • <u> for /ʌ/
Weird, right?
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by qwed117 » 03 Apr 2015 21:30

GrandPiano wrote:Well, there's this one natlang with some interesting orthographic quirks. I forget what it's called. It can sometimes have:
  • <e>, <ee> and <ea> for /i/
  • <o> and <oo> for /u/
  • <oo> for /ʊ/
  • <o> for /ɑ/
  • <gh> for /f/
  • <a>, <ai>, <ay> and <ea> for /ɛɪ̯/
  • <i> and <y> for /aɪ̯/
  • <ou> for /aʊ̯/
  • <u> for /ʌ/
Weird, right?
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Prinsessa » 03 Apr 2015 22:23

opipik wrote:Do you know of some orthographic quirks in natlangs?
To start, let's have /ʑ/ <y> in Hmu and Yi.
That's not so weird if you attribute it to something like <y> /j~ʝ/ > /ʝ/ > /ʑ/. Doesn't something similar happen in Spanish?

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by GrandPiano » 03 Apr 2015 22:32

Prinsessa wrote:
opipik wrote:Do you know of some orthographic quirks in natlangs?
To start, let's have /ʑ/ <y> in Hmu and Yi.
That's not so weird if you attribute it to something like <y> /j~ʝ/ > /ʝ/ > /ʑ/. Doesn't something similar happen in Spanish?
Yeah, some Spanish dialects pronounce /ʝ/ as [ʒ] or [dʒ].
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:esp: - A2
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Xonen » 03 Apr 2015 23:03

GrandPiano wrote:Well, there's this one natlang with some interesting orthographic quirks. I forget what it's called. It can sometimes have:
  • <e>, <ee> and <ea> for /i/
  • <o> and <oo> for /u/
  • <oo> for /ʊ/
  • <o> for /ɑ/
  • <gh> for /f/
  • <a>, <ai>, <ay> and <ea> for /ɛɪ̯/
  • <i> and <y> for /aɪ̯/
  • <ou> for /aʊ̯/
  • <u> for /ʌ/
Weird, right?
Not that weird, actually, IMO. I mean, without any historical context, I do suppose <i> and <y> for /aɪ̯/ would seem rather counterintuitive... but the rest of those are mostly not too bad, and very similar values for, say, <o> and <ai> exist in numerous other languages as well. Insofar as quirkiness exists in English orthography, it's mostly in its irregularity.

Anyway, my personal pet peeve is Turkish <c> for /dʒ/. And that one, AFAIK, doesn't even have any historical justification, it was simply someone's terrible, terrible decision. [D;]

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by sangi39 » 03 Apr 2015 23:22

GrandPiano wrote:
Prinsessa wrote:
opipik wrote:Do you know of some orthographic quirks in natlangs?
To start, let's have /ʑ/ <y> in Hmu and Yi.
That's not so weird if you attribute it to something like <y> /j~ʝ/ > /ʝ/ > /ʑ/. Doesn't something similar happen in Spanish?
Yeah, some Spanish dialects pronounce /ʝ/ as [ʒ] or [dʒ].
And, IIRC, some dialects have the same pronunciation for <ll>, so that could be seen as pretty "quirky" [:)]
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by GrandPiano » 03 Apr 2015 23:25

sangi39 wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:
Prinsessa wrote:
opipik wrote:Do you know of some orthographic quirks in natlangs?
To start, let's have /ʑ/ <y> in Hmu and Yi.
That's not so weird if you attribute it to something like <y> /j~ʝ/ > /ʝ/ > /ʑ/. Doesn't something similar happen in Spanish?
Yeah, some Spanish dialects pronounce /ʝ/ as [ʒ] or [dʒ].
And, IIRC, some dialects have the same pronunciation for <ll>, so that could be seen as pretty "quirky" [:)]
I think it's pretty uncommon for a Spanish dialect to not merge /ʎ/ with /ʝ/.
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Xing » 03 Apr 2015 23:52

GrandPiano wrote:Well, there's this one natlang with some interesting orthographic quirks. I forget what it's called. It can sometimes have:
  • <e>, <ee> and <ea> for /i/
  • <o> and <oo> for /u/
  • <oo> for /ʊ/
  • <o> for /ɑ/
  • <gh> for /f/
  • <a>, <ai>, <ay> and <ea> for /ɛɪ̯/
  • <i> and <y> for /aɪ̯/
  • <ou> for /aʊ̯/
  • <u> for /ʌ/
Weird, right?
Everybody here is familiar with English spelling, and its pros and cons have been discussed 100000 times before. I'd therefore prefer that we dedicate this thread to spellings in other languages than English that may appear strange or counterintuitive.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Creyeditor » 04 Apr 2015 00:51

Doubling consonants after short vowels1, marking long vowels by an <h>. Writing <sch> for the voiceless postalveolar fricative, <tsch>2 for the voiceless postalveolar affrictate and <dsch>2 for both, the voiced postalveolar affricate and the voiced postalveolar fricative.



1 With some exceptions: <k>+<k> = <ck>, <z>+<z> = <tz>
2 These are tetragraphs (!)
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Birdlang » 04 Apr 2015 01:01

Qiang uses v for the voiceless uvular fricative and doesn't mark long vowels usually. Pirahã has x for the glottal stop, Kensiu probably writes all the e and õ variations weirdly.
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by GrandPiano » 04 Apr 2015 02:20

Birdlang wrote:and doesn't mark long vowels usually.
That's not terribly unusual.
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Sumelic » 04 Apr 2015 05:37

Albanian phonemes*: /t͡s t͡ʃ s ʃ d͡z d͡ʒ z ʒ/ /c ɟ ɲ/ /ɫ ɾ r ð θ/
Bashkimi alphabet: < ts ch s sh z zh x xh > < c gh gn > < ll r rr dh th >
Istanbul alphabet: < c ç s σ x x̦ z z̧ > < q γ ŋ > < λ r ρ δ θ >
Modern alphabet: < c ç s sh x xh z zh > < q gj nj > < ll r rr dh th >

*This isn't a complete list of phonemes

Bashkimi was somewhat Italianate, but I like it best... <xh> = /ʒ/ just feels right to me, while <x> = <d͡z> is kinda bizarre. Istanbul was basically “pull in Greek letters whenever we have two similar sounds we need to differentiate”. The modern orthography is kind of a mishmash of the multiple alphabets that were in use before it. I think Albanian's where Turkish got <ç> = <t͡ʃ> from, also, and then then the Turks just decided to repurpose <c>. Anyway, Albanian's had a lot of weird orthographies used for it in its history, and the modern one is probably better than most.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Prinsessa » 04 Apr 2015 06:16

It uses so many digraphs with <h> but then doesn't use <ch> for /tS/. That's awful.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by opipik » 04 Apr 2015 11:17

In Jingpho, /pʰ/ is romanized <hp> instead of usual <ph>.
And don't forget Yao, which had <E> for /ŋ/ and <x> for /ɒ/.
Now, Yao has <ng> for /ŋ/ and <or> for /ɒ/.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Xonen » 04 Apr 2015 11:51

Creyeditor wrote:Doubling consonants after short vowels
I personally find that a rather nifty way of marking vowel length in languages that don't distinguish consonant length. And again, used in several languages.
<tsch>2 for the voiceless postalveolar affrictate and <dsch>2 for both, the voiced postalveolar affricate and the voiced postalveolar fricative.
Assuming we're talking about German, these sounds could perhaps be called marginally phonemic, and that's being rather generous. It would seem unnecessary to assign a separate letter to an affricate that the language, by and large, doesn't have, so writing it as a combination of the corresponding stop and fricative makes sense. Of course, using a trigraph for a common sound (especially since it's only used in some positions, with the simple grapheme <s> being used in others) might, I suppose, be called a bit quirky.

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Creyeditor » 04 Apr 2015 12:13

I would say the sound that is written <tsch> is phonemic in German as in <Quatsch>, although it doesn't occur word initially that often. You are right about the voiced affricate and fricative though.
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by CMunk » 04 Apr 2015 13:14

Danish has some quirky digraphs <nd> and <ld> (and <mb> in the place name <Vemb>) for the plain phonemes /n/ and /l/ (And /m/). It sometimes cooccurs with stød but not always. And then there's the word <bold> "ball" pronounced [bʌlʔd] although there was no /d/ historiɕally.(I'll leave that typo)

Final <jr> in Danish is irritating, because <lejr> "camp" is pronounced [ˈlɑjʔɐ], but <vejr> "weather" is pronounced [væɐ̯ʔ]. Luckily it is not very common.

(I've written stød as a glottal stop though it should be a superscript glottal stop, but my phone can't do that)
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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by Prinsessa » 04 Apr 2015 14:04

I don't think vejr has ever had a diphthong historically, so it's a funny spelling. And it's weird they didn't just keep the historically correct spelling <bolt> which I think would represent the pronunciation perfectly.

The <nd ld> rule is really regular and well enforced, tho. Swedish and Norwegian (especially Swedish, as always) don't do so well with those. <_>

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Re: Orthographic quirks in natlangs

Post by GrandPiano » 04 Apr 2015 16:15

CMunk wrote:(I've written stød as a glottal stop though it should be a superscript glottal stop, but my phone can't do that)
Can your phone use this keyboard?

Also, does <y> for /ʑ/ really count as an orthographic quirk? The <y> is part of the standard romanization; the actual orthography is a syllabary (well, that's the new orthography; the old orthography is logographic, and I think it's still used in some areas).
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