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Re: Restricted clusters?

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  • Dirk Elzinga
    ... It doesn t seem likely to me, especially if the consonants really are prenasalized rather than a sequence of nasal and homorganic stop. (Is there a
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 3, 2007
      On 7/3/07, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
      > Hi all
      >
      > I have an introduction and three questions in total, if I may:
      >
      > Intro: I'm creating a language that will be (phonologically speaking), a sort
      > of cross between Finno-Ugric and Bantu languages. The language has the
      > following structure:
      >
      > A set of plain, aspirated, palatalised and labialised plosives, all with
      > prenasalised variants. (denoted by the "voiced" variant of the letter",
      > e.g. "nd" = prenasalised "nt"
      >
      > Clusters are not allowed at the beginning of words, nor at the end, but
      > clusters of up to two consonants are allowed medially
      >
      > 1) Is it credible to restrict the consonants that can appear in clusters to
      > exclude the prenasalised variants?

      It doesn't seem likely to me, especially if the consonants really are
      prenasalized rather than a sequence of nasal and homorganic stop. (Is
      there a distinction between N+C and a prenasalized stop? That would
      also be unusual.)

      > 2) Is it credible to restrict initial syllables to those beginning with a
      > consonant, and have vowel-initial syllables internally?

      No. In fact, just the opposite pattern is typically found; that is,
      typically you find only consonant-initial syllables in word-medial
      position, with vowel-initial syllables allowed word-initially.

      > kanta (nb cluster!)
      >
      > kanda (prenasalised "t")

      The distinction betwen /kanta/ and /kanda/ seems unlikely to me. How
      is this distinction realized phonetically?

      > 3) Anyone know of a conlang that has two (or more) tones and has to use
      > different diacritics to represent them over different letters (e.g. high and
      > low tone over front and back vowels?)

      I have no idea. But this seems to be an orthographic rather than a
      phonological decision.

      Bear in mind that this is *your* language, and you should do what
      feels right to you in constructing it. This may include flouting
      proposed universals of human language.

      Dirk
    • Jeff Rollin
      ... Yes, there is. I ll explain below since you quoted a relevant example below. ... Indeed. I may have to settle for a simple preponderance of
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 3, 2007
        In the last episode, (On Tuesday 03 July 2007 15:53:29), Dirk Elzinga wrote:
        > On 7/3/07, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:

        > >
        > > 1) Is it credible to restrict the consonants that can appear in clusters
        > > to exclude the prenasalised variants?
        >
        > It doesn't seem likely to me, especially if the consonants really are
        > prenasalized rather than a sequence of nasal and homorganic stop. (Is
        > there a distinction between N+C and a prenasalized stop? That would
        > also be unusual.)

        Yes, there is. I'll explain below since you quoted a relevant example below.
        >
        > > 2) Is it credible to restrict initial syllables to those beginning with a
        > > consonant, and have vowel-initial syllables internally?
        >
        > No. In fact, just the opposite pattern is typically found; that is,
        > typically you find only consonant-initial syllables in word-medial
        > position, with vowel-initial syllables allowed word-initially.

        Indeed. I may have to settle for a simple preponderance of consonant-initial
        words over vowel-initial. /a, ä, e, i, o, ô, u, y/ is, after all, only eight
        vowels (fewer if you group, e.g. /a/ and /â/ together because of vowel
        harmony)
        >
        > > kanta (nb cluster!)
        > >
        > > kanda (prenasalised "t")
        >
        > The distinction betwen /kanta/ and /kanda/ seems unlikely to me. How
        > is this distinction realized phonetically?

        Three ways. First, I should reiterate that although consonant clusters are not
        allowed word-initially or finally, so that "palast" could never be a word,
        nor "stapal", they are allowed medially, so "pastal", "taspal" etc are valid
        words (but not "lastap" or "stalap", since "-p" isn't allowed word-finally
        either.)

        HOWEVER,

        We do find:

        palant / ntava

        and even

        ntwandwa / myalant'

        (where ' marks a final, palatalised consonant)

        Secondly, the voiceless plosives /p, t, k, c?, q/ and their aspirated,
        palatalised and labialised variants have neither allophonically nor
        phonemically voiced variants, whereas the nasalised plosives do (in medial
        position).

        -- This is also the source of the usage of (I) "nt" &c to mark (a) a medial
        cluster, (b) an initial nasalised plosive, and (c) a final nasalised plosive,
        and of (II) "nd" &c to mark the corresponding nasalised plosive in medial
        position.

        (I could also have used "nt" to mark the cluster and just "d" to mark the
        nasalised plosive - but I don't think the latter is very intuitive. Plus it
        reintroduces/increases the use of plain "b", "d", "g", which make the
        language look more like Estonian than Finnish.)

        Thirdly (and lastly), the clusters are subject to consonant gradation, whereas
        the nasalised variants are not. For example, the genitive of "ranta" "speech"
        is "rannan", whereas the genitive of "Nanda" "Nanda (woman's name)
        is "Nandan". Similarly "mamma" "mother" is "maman" in the genitive,
        and "mamba" (criminal) is "mamban" in the gen.

        This is probably because the prenasalised consonants seem only to occur in the
        onset of a syllable (or the coda of a final syllable).

        >
        > > 3) Anyone know of a conlang that has two (or more) tones and has to use
        > > different diacritics to represent them over different letters (e.g. high
        > > and low tone over front and back vowels?)
        >
        > I have no idea. But this seems to be an orthographic rather than a
        > phonological decision.

        Yeah. I just put it there to avoid starting another thread.
        >
        > Bear in mind that this is *your* language, and you should do what
        > feels right to you in constructing it. This may include flouting
        > proposed universals of human language.
        >
        > Dirk

        That's true. Thanks for that.

        Jeff
        --
        "Please understand that there are small
        European principalities devoted to debating
        Tcl vs. Perl as a tourist attraction."

        -- Cameron Laird
      • Jeff Rollin
        ... Now that I think about it, actually, a better analysis might be: Vn has plain [can anyone think of a better word than that?], aspirated, palatalised, and
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 3, 2007
          In the last episode, (On Tuesday 03 July 2007 17:23:16), Jeff Rollin wrote:
          > In the last episode, (On Tuesday 03 July 2007 15:53:29), Dirk Elzinga wrote:
          > > On 7/3/07, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
          > > > 1) Is it credible to restrict the consonants that can appear in
          > > > clusters to exclude the prenasalised variants?
          > >
          > > It doesn't seem likely to me, especially if the consonants really are
          > > prenasalized rather than a sequence of nasal and homorganic stop. (Is
          > > there a distinction between N+C and a prenasalized stop? That would
          > > also be unusual.)
          >
          > Yes, there is. I'll explain below since you quoted a relevant example
          > below.
          >
          > > > 2) Is it credible to restrict initial syllables to those beginning with
          > > > a consonant, and have vowel-initial syllables internally?
          > >
          > > No. In fact, just the opposite pattern is typically found; that is,
          > > typically you find only consonant-initial syllables in word-medial
          > > position, with vowel-initial syllables allowed word-initially.
          >
          > Indeed. I may have to settle for a simple preponderance of
          > consonant-initial words over vowel-initial. /a, ä, e, i, o, ô, u, y/ is,
          > after all, only eight vowels (fewer if you group, e.g. /a/ and /â/ together
          > because of vowel harmony)
          >
          > > > kanta (nb cluster!)
          > > >
          > > > kanda (prenasalised "t")
          > >
          > > The distinction betwen /kanta/ and /kanda/ seems unlikely to me. How
          > > is this distinction realized phonetically?
          >
          > Three ways. First, I should reiterate that although consonant clusters are
          > not allowed word-initially or finally, so that "palast" could never be a
          > word, nor "stapal", they are allowed medially, so "pastal", "taspal" etc
          > are valid words (but not "lastap" or "stalap", since "-p" isn't allowed
          > word-finally either.)
          >
          > HOWEVER,
          >
          > We do find:
          >
          > palant / ntava
          >
          > and even
          >
          > ntwandwa / myalant'
          >
          > (where ' marks a final, palatalised consonant)
          >
          > Secondly, the voiceless plosives /p, t, k, c?, q/ and their aspirated,
          > palatalised and labialised variants have neither allophonically nor
          > phonemically voiced variants, whereas the nasalised plosives do (in medial
          > position).
          >
          > -- This is also the source of the usage of (I) "nt" &c to mark (a) a medial
          > cluster, (b) an initial nasalised plosive, and (c) a final nasalised
          > plosive, and of (II) "nd" &c to mark the corresponding nasalised plosive in
          > medial position.
          >
          > (I could also have used "nt" to mark the cluster and just "d" to mark the
          > nasalised plosive - but I don't think the latter is very intuitive. Plus it
          > reintroduces/increases the use of plain "b", "d", "g", which make the
          > language look more like Estonian than Finnish.)
          >
          > Thirdly (and lastly), the clusters are subject to consonant gradation,
          > whereas the nasalised variants are not. For example, the genitive of
          > "ranta" "speech" is "rannan", whereas the genitive of "Nanda" "Nanda
          > (woman's name) is "Nandan". Similarly "mamma" "mother" is "maman" in the
          > genitive, and "mamba" (criminal) is "mamban" in the gen.
          >
          > This is probably because the prenasalised consonants seem only to occur in
          > the onset of a syllable (or the coda of a final syllable).
          >
          > > > 3) Anyone know of a conlang that has two (or more) tones and has to use
          > > > different diacritics to represent them over different letters (e.g.
          > > > high and low tone over front and back vowels?)
          > >
          > > I have no idea. But this seems to be an orthographic rather than a
          > > phonological decision.
          >
          > Yeah. I just put it there to avoid starting another thread.
          >
          > > Bear in mind that this is *your* language, and you should do what
          > > feels right to you in constructing it. This may include flouting
          > > proposed universals of human language.
          > >
          > > Dirk
          >
          > That's true. Thanks for that.
          >
          > Jeff

          Now that I think about it, actually, a better analysis might be:

          "Vn has plain [can anyone think of a better word than that?], aspirated,
          palatalised, and labialised consonants, and allows consonant clusters of up
          to two consonants (including asp, pal, and lab variants). Initially, and
          finally, only clusters of nasal+stop are allowed. Medially, stops following
          nasals tend to be voiced."

          Of course that would mean that I would have to get rid of the distinction
          between:

          ranta -> rannan

          Nanda -> Nandan

          plumping for either:

          ranta -> rantan / Nanta -> Nantan OR ranta -> rannan / Nanta -> Nannan

          But it might make more sense phonologically. OTOH maybe there are voiceless
          (but not voiced) plosives, but /both/ voiced and voiceless nasalised
          plosives?

          </muse>

          Jeff

          PS I just remembered: IIRC, in Finnish, consonant gradation:

          1. ignores the presence of plural -i- before case endings

          2. doesn't apply to proper names or borrowings (thus the genitive
          of "auto" "car" is "auton", AIIRC, not the expected "audon". Since it seems
          unlikely that there is some "phonomagical" process going on here which can
          distinguish between the /t/ of "auto" and that of, say, katu "street", and
          assuming the allegation in:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_release

          That "prestopped nasals" exist not only in some Australian languages but also
          in Slavic languages, it seems natlangs are a lot weirder than any conlang
          I've ever created! I might stick with my original system.

          Jeff
          --
          "Please understand that there are small
          European principalities devoted to debating
          Tcl vs. Perl as a tourist attraction."

          -- Cameron Laird
        • John Vertical
          Damn, I just wrote a long reply to this, but Listserv decided that I m not allowed to write for that long and asked me to re-login, deleting the draft in the
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 4, 2007
            Damn, I just wrote a long reply to this, but Listserv decided that I'm not
            allowed to write for that long and asked me to re-login, deleting the draft in
            the process. Grumble... Okay, synopsis:

            1) Since you have prenasalized versions of pretty much everything, I think
            analyzing these as clusters all the way would make better sense than
            analyzing some as clusters and some as phonemes.
            1.1) You seemed to lack prenasalized aspirates, so consider: n+th = [nt], n+t
            = [nd].
            1.2) Gradation-wise, how would ranta<>randan, randa<>rannan sound like?
            Would make more sense than ranta<>rannan, randa<>randan IMO.

            2) Completely lacking palatalized/labialized aspirates in a system this big is odd.

            3) Contrasting /c c_j/ is extremely bizarre. /c cj/ could do tho, or
            palatalization affecting the vowels substantially (a la /ca/ = [ca], /c_ja/ =
            [cE]) but you seem to have too many of 'em for that to work.

            4) Contrasting /s S s_j S_j/ is also odd. /s S_j/ and /s s` s_j/ ~ /s S S_j/ are
            more typical systems.

            5) Having [nD_j] but no [D_j] is a bit odd too, but less odd than the others.

            6) I look forwards to more of this project!

            John Vertical
          • Jeff Rollin
            In the last episode, (On Wednesday 04 July 2007 09:19:10), John Vertical ... I like that; it might also make it interestingly different from Finnish. (That s
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 4, 2007
              In the last episode, (On Wednesday 04 July 2007 09:19:10), John Vertical
              wrote:
              > Damn, I just wrote a long reply to this, but Listserv decided that I'm not
              > allowed to write for that long and asked me to re-login, deleting the draft
              > in the process. Grumble... Okay, synopsis:
              >
              > 1) Since you have prenasalized versions of pretty much everything, I think
              > analyzing these as clusters all the way would make better sense than
              > analyzing some as clusters and some as phonemes.
              > 1.1) You seemed to lack prenasalized aspirates, so consider: n+th = [nt],
              > n+t = [nd].
              > 1.2) Gradation-wise, how would ranta<>randan, randa<>rannan sound like?
              > Would make more sense than ranta<>rannan, randa<>randan IMO.

              I like that; it might also make it interestingly different from Finnish.
              (That's my goal for this project...to make it sound like Finnish, but
              somehow...Not. I could do that vocabularily, but it would also be nice to be
              able to do it phon{etic,ologic,otactic}ally.)

              If I do so, is it credible to have a rule that excludes consonant clusters "in
              the Finnish places", except when they begin with a nasal
              (i.e. "tipit", "tipsit", "ntipit", "tipint" but not "titipt", "ptintit")?

              >
              > 2) Completely lacking palatalized/labialized aspirates in a system this big
              > is odd.

              I think that's one I'll leave!
              >
              > 3) Contrasting /c c_j/ is extremely bizarre. /c cj/ could do tho, or
              > palatalization affecting the vowels substantially (a la /ca/ = [ca], /c_ja/
              > = [cE]) but you seem to have too many of 'em for that to work.

              Hmm, looking back I don't see that...if it's there, that's a mistake on my
              part.

              >
              > 4) Contrasting /s S s_j S_j/ is also odd. /s S_j/ and /s s` s_j/ ~ /s S
              > S_j/ are more typical systems.

              I might modify that to /s s_j S ~ S_j/ .
              >
              > 5) Having [nD_j] but no [D_j] is a bit odd too, but less odd than the
              > others.

              Not sure what to do about that...If I get rid of the prenasalised stops (which
              I probably will do if a restriction on endpoint clusters to nasal+stop is
              credible) it won't much matter anyway :-/.
              >
              > 6) I look forwards to more of this project!

              Thanks!
              >
              > John Vertical

              Jeff
              --
              "Please understand that there are small
              European principalities devoted to debating
              Tcl vs. Perl as a tourist attraction."

              -- Cameron Laird
            • caeruleancentaur
              ... Senjecas has three tones which I call high, middle, and low (creative, huh?). I indicate the high tone with a double acute accent, the middle with an
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 10, 2007
                >Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:

                >3) Anyone know of a conlang that has two (or more) tones and has to
                >use different diacritics to represent them over different letters
                >(e.g. high and low tone over front and back vowels?)

                Senjecas has three tones which I call high, middle, and low (creative,
                huh?). I indicate the high tone with a double acute accent, the middle
                with an acute accent. The low is unmarked. If the double accent is
                not available, I use a circumflex.

                Charlie
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