Number of unstressed vowels

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Squall
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Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Squall » 19 Jun 2016 05:46

I want to make a language with a plausible number of vowels and rules.

In natlangs, is the number of unstressed vowels usually smaller than the number of stressed vowels?

In some languages, some vowels occur only in unstressed syllables /ə/ and other vowels are always stressed.

I have noticed some patterns:
If the language has many vowels, it is likely to be stress-timed and distinguish few unstressed syllables.
Spanish has few vowels (/a e i o u/) and it is syllable-timed, all vowels can be stressed or unstressed.
Italian has two more vowels (/a e ɛ o ɔ i u/) and the pairs /e ɛ/ and /o ɔ/ are not distinguished in unstressed syllables.

Another thing to regard is the perception of the vowel when it becomes stressed or unstressed (stressed /ə/ may be perceived as /ɜ/ in English).
English is not my native language. Sorry for any mistakes or lack of knowledge when I discuss this language.
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Creyeditor
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Creyeditor » 19 Jun 2016 11:54

Squall wrote:I want to make a language with a plausible number of vowels and rules.
What exactly do you mean by rules?
Squall wrote:In natlangs, is the number of unstressed vowels usually smaller than the number of stressed vowels?
Yes, some people even argue that this is one of the defining properties of stress.
Squall wrote:In some languages, some vowels occur only in unstressed syllables /ə/ and other vowels are always stressed
This is often called vowel reduction.
Squall wrote:I have noticed some patterns:
If the language has many vowels, it is likely to be stress-timed and distinguish few unstressed syllables.
Spanish has few vowels (/a e i o u/) and it is syllable-timed, all vowels can be stressed or unstressed.
Italian has two more vowels (/a e ɛ o ɔ i u/) and the pairs /e ɛ/ and /o ɔ/ are not distinguished in unstressed syllables.
Unfortunately I do not know enough about stress-timed and syllable-timed languages to notice the pattern here, I guess [:S]
Squall wrote:Another thing to regard is the perception of the vowel when it becomes stressed or unstressed (stressed /ə/ may be perceived as /ɜ/ in English).
That's true, Germans usually hear a stressed schwa as an /ø/ or /œ/.
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Lao Kou » 19 Jun 2016 12:24

Creyeditor wrote:That's true, Germans usually hear a stressed schwa as an /ø/ or /œ/.
As do the Géarthçins. [:)]
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Frislander » 19 Jun 2016 12:51

Squall wrote:stressed /ə/ may be perceived as /ɜ/ in English
Actually here in the UK stressed /ə/ is pronounced /ʌ/

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GrandPiano
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by GrandPiano » 19 Jun 2016 16:40

Yeah, unstressed /ə/ and stressed /ʌ/ have always sounded the same to me, at least in English.
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Squall » 19 Jun 2016 19:42

GrandPiano wrote:Yeah, unstressed /ə/ and stressed /ʌ/ have always sounded the same to me, at least in English.
There is an article that says that many dialects do not distinguish /ʌ ɜ ə/. The difference is that /ə/ is always unstressed and /ɜ/ is always followed with /ɹ/.
What exactly do you mean by rules?
Rules that answer questions like: If a language has 9 vowels, can it have long words? Can it be syllable-timed? Can it have the same 9 vowels distinguished in unstressed syllables?
English is not my native language. Sorry for any mistakes or lack of knowledge when I discuss this language.
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Creyeditor
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Creyeditor » 19 Jun 2016 20:57

And you want language with a reasonable number of rules, that state general implicational relations between different features of languages? I'm lost [:|]

If you just wanted answers to this questions, I would answer yes to the first and the third. I don't know enough about syllable timing to answer the second.
1:
Chickasaw has nine vowels phonemes and relatively long words.
Luo has nine vowel phonemes and moderatly long words, from what I can judge.
3: I am relatively sure, that in Luo there is no distinction in stressed vs. unstressed vowel qualities.
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by k1234567890y » 17 Jul 2016 04:02

you can have only one unstressed vowel /ə/, a system of two unstressed vowels /a ə/ or /a i/ or /ə i/, or a system of three unstressed vowel /a i u/, if you have /a e i o u/ as your full vowels.

another choice is not to have any unstressed vowel
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 07 Aug 2016 04:15

Squall wrote:
GrandPiano wrote:
What exactly do you mean by rules?
Rules that answer questions like: If a language has 9 vowels, can it have long words? Can it be syllable-timed? Can it have the same 9 vowels distinguished in unstressed syllables?
Well, I don't think "syllable-timed" is a thing, but I do think it can have prosody more like Spanish and Turkish than English and German. In fact, I'm pretty sure Turkish has more than 9 vowels, has very, very long words (both in roots and derived words) and has the same more than 9 vowels distinguished in stressed and unstressed syllables. Germanic languages and ones that have gone through similar sound changes are not the only ones with lots of vowels, they're just one distinct type of language with lots of vowels (I also heard that some Germanic languages are "syllable-timed" as well, like Icelandic, but it seems like it has a bit more stress than Spanish or Turkish, even if it's less than most other Germanic languages).
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Khemehekis » 09 Aug 2016 07:05

HoskhMatriarch wrote: Well, I don't think "syllable-timed" is a thing, but I do think it can have prosody more like Spanish and Turkish than English and German. In fact, I'm pretty sure Turkish has more than 9 vowels, has very, very long words (both in roots and derived words) and has the same more than 9 vowels distinguished in stressed and unstressed syllables. Germanic languages and ones that have gone through similar sound changes are not the only ones with lots of vowels, they're just one distinct type of language with lots of vowels (I also heard that some Germanic languages are "syllable-timed" as well, like Icelandic, but it seems like it has a bit more stress than Spanish or Turkish, even if it's less than most other Germanic languages).
I thought Turkish had only eight vowels.
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Imralu » 10 Aug 2016 06:24

Squall wrote:There is an article that says that many dialects do not distinguish /ʌ ɜ ə/. The difference is that /ə/ is always unstressed and /ɜ/ is always followed with /ɹ/.
Not in non-rhotic dialects, unless you want to analyse it as an underlying, unpronounced phoneme ... which only makes sense diachronically or in comparison with other dialects.
Khemehekis wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:In fact, I'm pretty sure Turkish has more than 9 vowels, has very, very long words (both in roots and derived words) and has the same more than 9 vowels distinguished in stressed and unstressed syllables.
I thought Turkish had only eight vowels.
Yep.

Code: Select all

<i ü   ı u
 e ö   a o>

/i y   ɯ u
 e ø   a o/
There are also long vowels in loanwords ... I think only /aː iː uː/ but I can't think of any words with /uː/. Turkish also has vowel harmony, with harmonic syllables basically distinguishing two vowels, one /i~y~ɯ~u/ and another /e~a/, but because these occur in suffixes and Turkish stress is often word final, /o/ and /ø/ are probably actually slightly more likely to be present in unstressed syllables than stressed.
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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GrandPiano
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by GrandPiano » 16 Aug 2016 03:03

Imralu wrote:There are also long vowels in loanwords ... I think only /aː iː uː/ but I can't think of any words with /uː/.
Don't long vowels also occur in native words?
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Imralu
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Imralu » 16 Aug 2016 10:01

GrandPiano wrote:Don't long vowels also occur in native words?
Ah, yeah, but always spelt with a following ğ, which used to be a consonant and is now more or less the only way to do vowel hiatus within a native morpheme, and it often gets a semivowel pronunciation when between vowels. In any case, I think this is often analysed as a morpheme in its own right (transcribed /ɰ/ or /ɣ/) which saves positing a long vowel phoneme for every vowel and allowing vowel hiatus in native words only vowels which would be long if there weren't another vowel following *inhales* ... so, yeah ...
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Adarain » 16 Aug 2016 14:34

Just to clear up, you mean phoneme, not morpheme, right?
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Imralu
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by Imralu » 18 Aug 2016 02:21

Yep. Oops.
Glossing Abbreviations: COMP = comparative, C = complementiser, ACS / ICS = accessible / inaccessible, GDV = gerundive, SPEC / NSPC = specific / non-specific, AG = agent, E = entity (person, animal, thing)
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Re: Number of unstressed vowels

Post by zest » 02 Oct 2016 12:25

Central Catalan:
7 stressed: /a ɛ e i ɔ o u/
3 unstressed: /ə i u/

Western Catalan:
7 stressed: /a ɛ e i ɔ o u/
5 unstressed: /a e i o u/

Balearic Catalan:
8 stressed: /a ɛ e i ɔ o u ə/
4 unstressed: /ə i o u/
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