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Re: Brr (was: Re: A few questions about linguistics concerning my new project)

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  • Benct Philip Jonsson
    ... IIRC /l_e/ occurs only in the word Allah, i.e. God . ... NAFAIK. ... Some of those spellings reflect Persian realizations of the ... With /&/ being
    Message 1 of 26 , Aug 1, 2007
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      On 31.7.2007 Douglas Koller wrote:
      > > The emphatic consonants are:
      > > >
      > > > /q/, /t_?\/, /d_?\/, /s_?\/, /D_?\/, /?\/, /X\/, /r/,
      > > > sometimes
      > /l/.

      IIRC /l_e/ occurs only in the word Allah, i.e. 'God'.

      > > > Maybe /G/, too. Nah, maybe not.

      NAFAIK.

      > Well, *that* explains Koran/Quran, and
      > mujahideen/mujahedeen & Hizbullah/Hezbollah (if "h" is
      > /X\/), but not Muhammad/Mohammed.

      Some of those spellings reflect Persian realizations of the
      vowel spellings:

      : {a} == /&/
      : {a:} == /A/
      : {i} == /e/
      : {i:} == /i/
      : {u} == /o/
      : {u:} == /u/

      With /&/ being variously Latinized as _a_ or _e_.

      Also there are different dialects of Arabic with different
      mappings. I heard [u\] appears in Syrian Arabic, giving
      Syrians an advantage when learning Swedish! :-) Also IIRC
      Moroccan Arabic essentially has the classical system intact.

      AFMOC Kijeb has a three vowel system without quantity
      distinctions which first grows to a nine vowel system thru
      umlaut processes and merger of unstressed vowels, and then
      again shrinks to a five or six vowel system through further
      mergers (/o/ > /Q/; /e/, /u\/ > /i\/; /@/ > /6/; /i\/ > /i/)
      in stressed vowels and vowel height harmony. Some dialects
      also develop long vowels through loss of /j w h G/ and front
      rounded vowels through vowel frontness harmony.

      /BP 8^)>
      --
      Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      No man forgets his original trade: the rights of
      nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar,
      if grammarians discuss them.
      -Dr. Samuel Johnson (1707 - 1784)
    • R A Brown
      ... [snip] ... Also Kichwa (Quechua) over in Peru where I was earlier this year. It can get a bit nippy at hight in high Andes (and the very high Andes don t
      Message 2 of 26 , Aug 1, 2007
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        ROGER MILLS wrote:
        > Kou wrote:
        >
        >> From: Michael Poxon <mike@...>
        >>
        >> > 3. Rather than expand the vowel system, it might be fun to restrict
        >> it. Just
        >> > have (say) a i u, as I believe some Inuit langs do. That may even
        >> give your
        >> > language a certain cold-climate feel, fine if that's what you're
        >> after but
        >> > not so fine if you're not!
        >>
        >> Doesn't Arabic, at least in theory, have an a-i-u system?

        [snip]

        > Yes. Also Tagalog and Bisayan, among others in the PI.

        Also Kichwa (Quechua) over in Peru where I was earlier this year.

        It can get a bit nippy at hight in high Andes (and the very high Andes
        don't lose their snow!) - but not what one thinks of cold-climate feel,
        anymore than the Philippine Islands or Arabia.

        I'm not what feel, in itself, a three-vowel system actually does give a
        conlang. Surely it will depend upon what else goes along with it?

        Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?

        Ray
        ==================================
        ray@...
        http://www.carolandray.plus.com
        ==================================
        Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
        There's none too old to learn.
        [WELSH PROVERB]
      • John Vertical
        ... 50 different words for sno? *ducks and runs for cover* John Vertical
        Message 3 of 26 , Aug 1, 2007
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          >Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?
          >
          >Ray

          50 different words for sno?

          *ducks and runs for cover*

          John Vertical
        • ROGER MILLS
          ... Back in the 70s, my Natl.Public Radio station ran a series produced in Alaska-- folk tales of the Aleut (IIRC) people. The title ( The things that were
          Message 4 of 26 , Aug 1, 2007
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            Ray Brown wrote:
            >
            >Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?

            Back in the 70s, my Natl.Public Radio station ran a series produced in
            Alaska-- folk tales of the Aleut (IIRC) people. The title ("The things that
            were said of them") was given in the language, as were the names of course
            and occasional phrases. It was all spoken very quietly and was full of [q]s
            and [?]s, and perhaps [x]s and [G]s. Somehow it felt "cold"*-- I imagined
            that the language had evolved that way so that the people wouldn't have to
            open their mouths very wide in the freezing cold :-))

            *maybe too, because of the subject matter, or because it was broadcast
            during winter? They were very strange but affecting stories, and I'd love
            to hear it all again.

            Gwr should be a "cold" language, as they too live in the frozen north (odd
            place for simian types to evolve, but hey... Maybe they moved up there to
            get away from the Kash, whose early ancestors preyed on them) , but I'm not
            sure it is. It does have /q/ and /x/........
          • Benct Philip Jonsson
            ... Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops, lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration and most importantly voiceless sonorants. /BP 8^) -- Benct
            Message 5 of 26 , Aug 1, 2007
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              On 1.8.2007 R A Brown wrote:
              > Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?

              Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
              lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration
              and most importantly voiceless sonorants.


              /BP 8^)>
              --
              Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot
              (Max Weinreich)
            • Eugene Oh
              ... (snip) ... (snip) Does that explain it s name? Gwr? Like, gwrrrr... *shivers* Haha. Eugene
              Message 6 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                2007/8/2, ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>:
                > Ray Brown wrote:
                > >
                > >Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?
                >

                (snip)

                >
                > Gwr should be a "cold" language, as they too live in the frozen north

                (snip)

                Does that explain it's name? Gwr? Like, "gwrrrr..." *shivers*

                Haha.

                Eugene
              • Henrik Theiling
                Hi! ... And neither has, say, Quechua. **Henrik
                Message 7 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                  Hi!

                  Douglas Koller writes:
                  > From: Michael Poxon <mike@...>
                  >
                  > > 3. Rather than expand the vowel system, it might be fun to restrict it. Just
                  > > have (say) a i u, as I believe some Inuit langs do. That may even give your
                  > > language a certain cold-climate feel, fine if that's what you're after but
                  > > not so fine if you're not!
                  >
                  > Doesn't Arabic, at least in theory, have an a-i-u system? While I've
                  > heard it can get pretty nippy on those desert nights and you might
                  > want to bring a cardigan to a mountain top, I don't think of Arabic
                  > having a cold-climate feel :-)

                  And neither has, say, Quechua.

                  **Henrik
                • Henrik Theiling
                  Hi! ... Fascinating. Do you have some pointers for further reading? A two-vowel system of /1/ vs. /a/ would be very interesting. **Henrik
                  Message 8 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                    Hi!

                    Mark J. Reed writes:
                    >...
                    > According to Wikipedia (the Arbiter of All that is True), only three 'lects
                    > - Yupik, Qawiaraq, and Inupiatun - retain the fourth vowel. All three are
                    > spoken mostly in Alaska. Going the other way geographically takes you the
                    > other way phonologically as well; in parts of Greenland the /u/ phoneme
                    > seems to be merging into /i/.

                    Fascinating. Do you have some pointers for further reading? A
                    two-vowel system of /1/ vs. /a/ would be very interesting.

                    **Henrik
                  • Philip Newton
                    ... I read somewhere about a natlang whose (phonemic) vowels seemed to be distinguished only by height (and not by backness; don t remember about rounding).
                    Message 9 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                      On 8/2/07, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
                      > Mark J. Reed writes:
                      > > in parts of Greenland the /u/ phoneme seems to be merging into /i/.
                      >
                      > Fascinating. Do you have some pointers for further reading? A
                      > two-vowel system of /1/ vs. /a/ would be very interesting.

                      I read somewhere about a natlang whose (phonemic) vowels seemed to be
                      distinguished only by height (and not by backness; don't remember
                      about rounding). Such a lang could conceivably have phonemic /1/ vs
                      /a/ (though phonetically, I don't know what the allophonic range could
                      be -- conceivably rather wide).

                      Unfortunately, I don't remember details.

                      Cheers,
                      --
                      Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
                    • T. A. McLeay
                      ... Caucasian languages (which is, I think, a geographical and not genetic classification). Ubykh is the standard example: the WP article on the topic at
                      Message 10 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                        Philip Newton wrote:
                        > On 8/2/07, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
                        >> Mark J. Reed writes:
                        >>> in parts of Greenland the /u/ phoneme seems to be merging into /i/.
                        >> Fascinating. Do you have some pointers for further reading? A
                        >> two-vowel system of /1/ vs. /a/ would be very interesting.
                        >
                        > I read somewhere about a natlang whose (phonemic) vowels seemed to be
                        > distinguished only by height (and not by backness; don't remember
                        > about rounding). Such a lang could conceivably have phonemic /1/ vs
                        > /a/ (though phonetically, I don't know what the allophonic range could
                        > be -- conceivably rather wide).
                        >
                        > Unfortunately, I don't remember details.

                        Caucasian languages (which is, I think, a geographical and not genetic
                        classification). Ubykh is the standard example: the WP article on the
                        topic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubykh_phonology observes that it
                        has the largest consonant inventory of any language that doesn't use
                        clicks, but has only two contrastive vowels: /ə/ and /a/ (and possibly
                        also /a:/, tho it is also analysable as /aa/). In practice, however, the
                        vowels [e i o u a: e: i: o: u:] also occur as allophones conditioned by
                        palatalised and labialised coarticulations in consonants or the platal
                        and labio-velar glides themselves.

                        Scary, huh?

                        --
                        Tristan.
                      • Philip Newton
                        ... These may be starting-points: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_vowel_system ;
                        Message 11 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                          On 8/2/07, Philip Newton <philip.newton@...> wrote:
                          > I read somewhere about a natlang whose (phonemic) vowels seemed to be
                          > distinguished only by height (and not by backness; don't remember
                          > about rounding). Such a lang could conceivably have phonemic /1/ vs
                          > /a/ (though phonetically, I don't know what the allophonic range could
                          > be -- conceivably rather wide).
                          >
                          > Unfortunately, I don't remember details.

                          These may be starting-points:
                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_vowel_system ;
                          http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0097-8507(197109)47%3A3%3C734%3ASMAILC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B
                          (on Marshallese; see especially the last paragraph of the scan).

                          Cheers,
                          --
                          Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
                        • caeruleancentaur
                          ... What about the yeti? :-) Charlie
                          Message 12 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                            >ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...> wrote:

                            >Gwr should be a "cold" language, as they too live in the frozen north
                            >(odd place for simian types to evolve, but hey...

                            What about the yeti? :-)

                            Charlie
                          • Henrik Theiling
                            Hi! ... One of the languages listed there, Arrernte, has prestopped nasals. I like that, too. It seems to go well with the syllable structure of VC(C). I
                            Message 13 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                              Hi!

                              Philip Newton writes:
                              >...
                              > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_vowel_system ;
                              >...

                              One of the languages listed there, Arrernte, has prestopped nasals. I
                              like that, too. It seems to go well with the syllable structure of
                              VC(C). I wonder whether for a more onset-oriented speaker, this
                              language would sound spoken backward... :-)

                              **Henrik
                            • R A Brown
                              ... Interesting idea :) Yes, not only the three vowels, but also[q], [?] and velar (or possibly uvular) fricatives. If one created a conlang that had a
                              Message 14 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                                ROGER MILLS wrote:
                                > Ray Brown wrote:
                                >
                                >>
                                >> Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?
                                >
                                > Back in the 70s, my Natl.Public Radio station ran a series produced in
                                > Alaska-- folk tales of the Aleut (IIRC) people. The title ("The things
                                > that were said of them") was given in the language, as were the names of
                                > course and occasional phrases. It was all spoken very quietly and was
                                > full of [q]s and [?]s, and perhaps [x]s and [G]s. Somehow it felt
                                > "cold"*-- I imagined that the language had evolved that way so that the
                                > people wouldn't have to open their mouths very wide in the freezing
                                > cold :-))

                                Interesting idea :)

                                Yes, not only the three vowels, but also[q], [?] and velar (or possibly
                                uvular) fricatives.

                                If one created a conlang that had a similar sort of resonance with Inuit
                                as Sindarin has with Welsh, then maybe one gives the language a certain
                                brr factor - but, of course, only if a person is vaguely familiar with
                                Inuit in the first place!

                                (Sindarin must have a quite different feel for those who have no
                                knowledge whatever of Welsh than the language has for me, for example).

                                > *maybe too, because of the subject matter,

                                I think that is the important factor.
                                -------------------------

                                Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                [snip]
                                > Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
                                > lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration

                                Scots Gaelic's like that also - we southerners find it quite cold up
                                there in Scotland :)

                                > and most importantly voiceless sonorants.

                                Voiceless sonorants are not too common, but are they really more
                                prevalent in languages from cold climates?

                                Again one could, in order to give the language a Brr factor, construct
                                one with a vaguely Icelandic feel - but again it would, of course, be
                                completely lost on those who know nothing of Icelandic.

                                Personally I doubt very much that any phonetic or phonological system is
                                "cold language" per_se. To give the language a Brr factor, one surely
                                needs to have its literary texts dealing quite a bit with its snowy, icy
                                environment in which the language is spoken.

                                > --
                                > Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
                                > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                > a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot
                                > (Max Weinreich)

                                So Basque iz a dialekt von voss?

                                --
                                Ray
                                ==================================
                                ray@...
                                http://www.carolandray.plus.com
                                ==================================
                                Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
                                There's none too old to learn.
                                [WELSH PROVERB]
                              • Jörg Rhiemeier
                                Hallo! ... Perhaps I ll do that in some Albic colonial language in Iceland or Greenland in the future :) ... I knew Sindarin before I got acquainted with
                                Message 15 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                                  Hallo!

                                  On Thu, 2 Aug 2007 15:17:01 +0100, R A Brown wrote:

                                  > ROGER MILLS wrote:
                                  > > Ray Brown wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > >>
                                  > >> Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?
                                  > >
                                  > > Back in the 70s, my Natl.Public Radio station ran a series produced in
                                  > > Alaska-- folk tales of the Aleut (IIRC) people. The title ("The things
                                  > > that were said of them") was given in the language, as were the names of
                                  > > course and occasional phrases. It was all spoken very quietly and was
                                  > > full of [q]s and [?]s, and perhaps [x]s and [G]s. Somehow it felt
                                  > > "cold"*-- I imagined that the language had evolved that way so that the
                                  > > people wouldn't have to open their mouths very wide in the freezing
                                  > > cold :-))
                                  >
                                  > Interesting idea :)
                                  >
                                  > Yes, not only the three vowels, but also[q], [?] and velar (or possibly
                                  > uvular) fricatives.
                                  >
                                  > If one created a conlang that had a similar sort of resonance with Inuit
                                  > as Sindarin has with Welsh, then maybe one gives the language a certain
                                  > brr factor - but, of course, only if a person is vaguely familiar with
                                  > Inuit in the first place!

                                  Perhaps I'll do that in some Albic colonial language in Iceland
                                  or Greenland in the future :)

                                  > (Sindarin must have a quite different feel for those who have no
                                  > knowledge whatever of Welsh than the language has for me, for example).

                                  I knew Sindarin before I got acquainted with Welsh; and indeed,
                                  back then I couldn't say it felt "Celtic" to me, but definitely
                                  "otherworldly". (And Quenya felt more Latin-like to me.)

                                  > > *maybe too, because of the subject matter,
                                  >
                                  > I think that is the important factor.

                                  Yep. Though many think of languages of tropical paradises as being
                                  like Polynesian - lots of vowels and few consonants - and Eskimo
                                  is indeed phonologically about as far away from Polynesian as it
                                  could be.

                                  > -------------------------
                                  >
                                  > Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                  > [snip]
                                  > > Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
                                  > > lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration
                                  >
                                  > Scots Gaelic's like that also - we southerners find it quite cold up
                                  > there in Scotland :)

                                  The northernmost dialect of Old Albic, spoken in what is now
                                  Scotland, has only three vowels without quantity distinction,
                                  strongly aspirated stops contrasting with unaspirated ones,
                                  and no voiced obstruents.

                                  > > and most importantly voiceless sonorants.
                                  >
                                  > Voiceless sonorants are not too common, but are they really more
                                  > prevalent in languages from cold climates?
                                  >
                                  > Again one could, in order to give the language a Brr factor, construct
                                  > one with a vaguely Icelandic feel - but again it would, of course, be
                                  > completely lost on those who know nothing of Icelandic.
                                  >
                                  > Personally I doubt very much that any phonetic or phonological system is
                                  > "cold language" per_se.

                                  Concurred. We perhaps associate the kind of phonologies found in
                                  Eskimo-Aleut languages with a friggin' cold environment, but that's
                                  just because these languages are spoken there. Brad Coon's Feorran
                                  ( http://www.lib.montana.edu/~bcoon/feorran.html ), which is meant
                                  to be spoken in Antarctica, has a phonology not much like Eskimo-Aleut.

                                  > To give the language a Brr factor, one surely
                                  > needs to have its literary texts dealing quite a bit with its snowy, icy
                                  > environment in which the language is spoken.

                                  Verily so.

                                  ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
                                • Joseph Fatula
                                  ... A conlang I ve been working on recently doesn t have _any_ phonemic vowels, as far as I can tell, yet it has three phonetic vowel realizations.
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                                    T. A. McLeay wrote:
                                    > Caucasian languages (which is, I think, a geographical and not genetic
                                    > classification). Ubykh is the standard example: the WP article on the
                                    > topic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubykh_phonology observes that it
                                    > has the largest consonant inventory of any language that doesn't use
                                    > clicks, but has only two contrastive vowels: /�?/ and /a/ (and possibly
                                    > also /a:/, tho it is also analysable as /aa/). In practice, however, the
                                    > vowels [e i o u a: e: i: o: u:] also occur as allophones conditioned by
                                    > palatalised and labialised coarticulations in consonants or the platal
                                    > and labio-velar glides themselves.
                                    >
                                    > Scary, huh?
                                    >
                                    >

                                    A conlang I've been working on recently doesn't have _any_ phonemic
                                    vowels, as far as I can tell, yet it has three phonetic vowel realizations.
                                  • T. A. McLeay
                                    ... It is worth noting that it s only *argued* that the syllable structure is VC(C). My phonology teacher at uni last year, who worked with aboriginal
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Aug 2, 2007
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                                      Henrik Theiling wrote:
                                      > Hi!
                                      >
                                      > Philip Newton writes:
                                      >> ...
                                      >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_vowel_system ;
                                      >> ...
                                      >
                                      > One of the languages listed there, Arrernte, has prestopped nasals. I
                                      > like that, too. It seems to go well with the syllable structure of
                                      > VC(C). I wonder whether for a more onset-oriented speaker, this
                                      > language would sound spoken backward... :-)

                                      It is worth noting that it's only *argued* that the syllable structure
                                      is VC(C). My phonology teacher at uni last year, who worked with
                                      aboriginal languages, did not with the idea (but she was rushing through
                                      the end of a lecture and didn't get a chance to elaborate on it).

                                      Still, this looks like another scary language...

                                      --
                                      Tristan.
                                    • Benct Philip Jonsson
                                      ... I once heard an Icelandic woman suggest that Icelandic sounds the way it does because people had to shout against the wind all the time! ... Faroese and
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Aug 3, 2007
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                                        R A Brown skrev:
                                        > ROGER MILLS wrote:
                                        >> I imagined that the language had evolved that way so that
                                        >> the people wouldn't have to open their mouths very wide in the
                                        >> freezing cold :-))
                                        >
                                        > Interesting idea :)

                                        I once heard an Icelandic woman suggest that Icelandic
                                        sounds the way it does because people had to shout against
                                        the wind all the time!

                                        > -------------------------
                                        >
                                        > Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
                                        > [snip]
                                        > > Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
                                        > > lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration
                                        >
                                        > Scots Gaelic's like that also - we southerners find it quite cold up
                                        > there in Scotland :)

                                        Faroese and some western Norwegian dialects too.
                                        Probably an areal feature of the North Atlantic! :-)
                                        It is a fact that a majority of the thralls on
                                        viking age Iceland, and hence by the dynamics of
                                        slavery societies a majority of the population,
                                        were of Irish and Gaelic descent.

                                        > > and most importantly voiceless sonorants.
                                        >
                                        > Voiceless sonorants are not too common, but are they really more
                                        > prevalent in languages from cold climates?

                                        Probably not. [K], which is arguably the 'coldest'
                                        sound in Icelandic, was prominent in Proto-Semitic.

                                        > Again one could, in order to give the language a Brr factor, construct
                                        > one with a vaguely Icelandic feel - but again it would, of course, be
                                        > completely lost on those who know nothing of Icelandic.
                                        > Personally I doubt very much that any phonetic or
                                        phonological system is
                                        > "cold language" per_se.

                                        I don't think so. Strong aspiration, prevalence of
                                        voiceless sounds, [K], [X] and other voiceless fricatives,
                                        and not least the fact that short vowels are realized
                                        voiceless before preaspirated stops give a positively cold
                                        lámatyáve. Actually Icelandic would sound even colder
                                        if it also lacked voiced fricatives and sonorants!

                                        > To give the language a Brr factor, one surely
                                        > needs to have its literary texts dealing quite a bit with its snowy, icy
                                        > environment in which the language is spoken.

                                        That helps, certainly.

                                        > > --
                                        > > Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
                                        > > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        > > a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot
                                        > > (Max Weinreich)
                                        >
                                        > So Basque iz a dialekt von voss?
                                        >

                                        It has ETA and a fishing fleet! :-)


                                        /BP 8^)>
                                        --
                                        Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                        No man forgets his original trade: the rights of
                                        nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar,
                                        if grammarians discuss them.
                                        -Dr. Samuel Johnson (1707 - 1784)
                                      • Andreas Johansson
                                        ... I remember reading that some Caucasian language (Ubykh?) arguably has only two vowel phonemes, notated as /a/ and /@/, each with a large number of
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Aug 3, 2007
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                                          Quoting Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>:

                                          > On 8/2/07, Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> wrote:
                                          > > Mark J. Reed writes:
                                          > > > in parts of Greenland the /u/ phoneme seems to be merging into /i/.
                                          > >
                                          > > Fascinating. Do you have some pointers for further reading? A
                                          > > two-vowel system of /1/ vs. /a/ would be very interesting.
                                          >
                                          > I read somewhere about a natlang whose (phonemic) vowels seemed to be
                                          > distinguished only by height (and not by backness; don't remember
                                          > about rounding). Such a lang could conceivably have phonemic /1/ vs
                                          > /a/ (though phonetically, I don't know what the allophonic range could
                                          > be -- conceivably rather wide).

                                          I remember reading that some Caucasian language (Ubykh?) arguably has only two
                                          vowel phonemes, notated as /a/ and /@/, each with a large number of
                                          phonotactically determined allophones.

                                          Andreas
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