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Schwa

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  • Risto Kupsala
    Late last night I thought about the problem of adopting words with final consonant or consonant clusters into Pandunia. Both are forbidden in Pandunia s
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
      Late last night I thought about the problem of adopting words with final
      consonant or consonant clusters into Pandunia. Both are forbidden in
      Pandunia's phonotactics, so epenthetic vowels have been added to
      accomodate such words to CV(N) syllable shape. Dana Nutter has used
      something that he calls "schwa buffering" for breaking clusters, so
      people may break apart neighbouring consonants by pronouncing unwritten
      schwa between them.

      My idea is just a variation of Dana's idea: Consonant clusters are
      broken by written schwas, which may be optionally unpronounced. The
      greatest benefit compared to the earlier way is that there would be
      default epenthetic vowel, the schwa [ə]. (In case some people can't see
      it, I will use SAMPA substitute [@] from now on.) So a word like "soup"
      would be written more predictably as "sup@", before I used to hesitate
      between "supa", "supu" and even "supi" (since -i was the default
      epenthetic in Pandunia). Also breaking of consonant clusters would be
      signalled by schwas, e.g. if "class" was previously "kilasi" in
      Pandunia, now it would be "k@las@". Because the epenthetic vowel is
      always schwa, then full vowels would be recognized as integral part of
      words, and it would be easier to trace the original shape of words.

      What do you think about it?

      --
      Risto Kupsala
    • <deinx nxtxr>
      ... It really wasn t my idea. Lojban s use of y is very similar to what I did with x . ... The only thing I can say is that if it s *optional* then I
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
        Risto Kupsala wrote:
        > Late last night I thought about the problem of adopting words with final
        > consonant or consonant clusters into Pandunia. Both are forbidden in
        > Pandunia's phonotactics, so epenthetic vowels have been added to
        > accomodate such words to CV(N) syllable shape. Dana Nutter has used
        > something that he calls "schwa buffering" for breaking clusters, so
        > people may break apart neighbouring consonants by pronouncing unwritten
        > schwa between them.

        It really wasn't my idea. Lojban's use of "y" is very similar to
        what I did with "x".


        > My idea is just a variation of Dana's idea: Consonant clusters are
        > broken by written schwas, which may be optionally unpronounced. The
        > greatest benefit compared to the earlier way is that there would be
        > default epenthetic vowel, the schwa [ə]. (In case some people can't see
        > it, I will use SAMPA substitute [@] from now on.) So a word like "soup"
        > would be written more predictably as "sup@", before I used to hesitate
        > between "supa", "supu" and even "supi" (since -i was the default
        > epenthetic in Pandunia). Also breaking of consonant clusters would be
        > signalled by schwas, e.g. if "class" was previously "kilasi" in
        > Pandunia, now it would be "k@las@". Because the epenthetic vowel is
        > always schwa, then full vowels would be recognized as integral part of
        > words, and it would be easier to trace the original shape of words.
        >
        > What do you think about it?

        The only thing I can say is that if it's *optional* then I wouldn't
        mark it in writing so you'll have "sup" or "klas". If it's not going
        to be optional then yes, go ahead and write in some letter. Also
        keep in mind that you'll need a letter for /@/ if you use it. At
        first I got a lot of heat for using <x> (again, not my idea, I got
        is from Rick Harrison's Vorlin and Jigwa) though now people seem to
        be adjusting to it as with any other orthographical difference.

        Sasxsek's epenthetic <x> used in compounds is not optional. It is
        intended to be pronounced all the time. Realize that the standard
        syllable in S:S: is CVC so it's there partially to break up
        consonants to make words easier to pronounce, but also to avoid
        geminatation which by some speakers may just pronounce as a single
        consonant. For example"sas"+"sek" > "sasxsek" /sas@sek/ instead of
        possibly losing information as with "sassek" /sas.sek/ or /sasek/
        (There is actually a natlang called "Sasek")

        The epenthetic schwa that is optional in Sasxsek is completely
        unmarked. The rule is esentially that speakers who have problems
        with clusters should insert a short schwa*, as opposed to the
        alternative which would be to elide or assimilate. People who have
        problems with closed syllables can also tack a schwa to the end of a
        word. The reason for this is that it happens in natlangs anyway,
        just not always with a schwa.


        * I expect some will insert other vowels depending on their L1
        habits but [@] is preferred, and should be as short as possible.
      • steve rice
        ... Trivia note: this is actually from Loglan, though Dana presumably got it second-hand from Lojban. On Buffered Dialects in Loglan, see
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
          --- On Sun, 7/12/09, Risto Kupsala <risto@...> wrote:

          > Late last night I thought about the
          > problem of adopting words with final
          > consonant or consonant clusters into Pandunia. Both are
          > forbidden in
          > Pandunia's phonotactics, so epenthetic vowels have been
          > added to
          > accomodate such words to CV(N) syllable shape. Dana Nutter
          > has used
          > something that he calls "schwa buffering" for breaking
          > clusters, so
          > people may break apart neighbouring consonants by
          > pronouncing unwritten
          > schwa between them.

          Trivia note: this is actually from Loglan, though Dana presumably got it second-hand from Lojban. On "Buffered Dialects" in Loglan, see http://www.loglan.org/Loglan1/chap2.html#sec2.7

          > My idea is just a variation of Dana's idea: Consonant
          > clusters are
          > broken by written schwas, which may be optionally
          > unpronounced. The
          > greatest benefit compared to the earlier way is that there
          > would be
          > default epenthetic vowel, the schwa [ə]. (In case some
          > people can't see
          > it, I will use SAMPA substitute [@] from now on.) So a word
          > like "soup"
          > would be written more predictably as "sup@", before I used
          > to hesitate
          > between "supa", "supu" and even "supi" (since -i was the
          > default
          > epenthetic in Pandunia). Also breaking of consonant
          > clusters would be
          > signalled by schwas, e.g. if "class" was previously
          > "kilasi" in
          > Pandunia, now it would be "k@las@". Because the epenthetic
          > vowel is
          > always schwa, then full vowels would be recognized as
          > integral part of
          > words, and it would be easier to trace the original shape
          > of words.
          >
          > What do you think about it?
          >
          It's a good idea. It should aid recognition while easing pronunciation.

          So you would actually use <@> for the schwa?

          Steve
        • <deinx nxtxr>
          ... This is yet another machinability concern. as an alphabetic would be a *very* big mistake. The biggest problem being that you couldn t use it in
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
            steve rice wrote:
            > --- On Sun, 7/12/09, Risto Kupsala <risto@...> wrote:
            > It's a good idea. It should aid recognition while easing pronunciation.
            >
            > So you would actually use <@> for the schwa?

            This is yet another machinability concern. <@> as an alphabetic
            would be a *very* big mistake. The biggest problem being that you
            couldn't use it in e-mail addresses because "@" is reserved as a
            separator between the mailbox name and domain name.
          • Risto Kupsala
            ... Thanks. That is exactly my intention. In response to Dana, who suggested not to write schwa because it is optional, it shall be written because schwa
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
              steve rice wrote:
              > It's a good idea. It should aid recognition while easing pronunciation.
              >

              Thanks. That is exactly my intention.

              In response to Dana, who suggested not to write schwa because it is
              optional, it shall be written because schwa buffered pronunciation
              should be the standard. In the opposite situation schwa buffered
              pronunciation would be a marked accent, a deviation from the standard,
              hence it would be labeled as a bad accent. It's not right, because it is
              an accent that some people cannot avoid. So I rather make easy
              pronunciation the standard and it should be visible in writing.

              > So you would actually use <@> for the schwa?
              >

              No, not <@>. Some Latin letters (q w x y) are still unused but none of
              them is really suitable. Actually this question doesn't bother me
              currently. I suppose I am free to use the actual IPA symbol <ə> as long
              as I will be the only user of Pandunia.

              Risto
            • <deinx nxtxr>
              ... If the intent is that it s proper to always pronounce this phoneme, then yes writing it makes pefect sense. ... I d say or but that s just
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 12, 2009
                Risto Kupsala wrote:
                > steve rice wrote:
                >> It's a good idea. It should aid recognition while easing pronunciation.
                >>
                >
                > Thanks. That is exactly my intention.
                >
                > In response to Dana, who suggested not to write schwa because it is
                > optional, it shall be written because schwa buffered pronunciation
                > should be the standard. In the opposite situation schwa buffered
                > pronunciation would be a marked accent, a deviation from the standard,
                > hence it would be labeled as a bad accent. It's not right, because it is
                > an accent that some people cannot avoid. So I rather make easy
                > pronunciation the standard and it should be visible in writing.

                If the intent is that it's "proper" to always pronounce this
                phoneme, then yes writing it makes pefect sense.


                >> So you would actually use <@> for the schwa?
                >>
                >
                > No, not <@>. Some Latin letters (q w x y) are still unused but none of
                > them is really suitable. Actually this question doesn't bother me
                > currently. I suppose I am free to use the actual IPA symbol <ə> as long
                > as I will be the only user of Pandunia.

                I'd say <x> or <y> but that's just because the others would seem far
                too strange. <ə> isn't available on most keyboards and still has
                some encoding issues. No, not a problem if you are the only one
                using the language, but a big one if you are intending it for others.
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