What problems arise when creating a language with an extremely simple phonology and what are some good strategies for dealing with them?
I'm calling this type of phonology extremely simple for the purposes of this question, but limited or rigid might be a better fit. I'm also not sure whether "phonology" is the right term here or if something like "phonological inventory" would be better. Using "phonemes" or "phonemic inventory" is close, but does not cover phonotactics and suprasegmental features.
An extremely simple phonology is one that does not allow the speaker to pack many bits of information in each syllable/mora/unit of speech time. Prototypical extremely simple phonologies have some or all of the following features:
- Few segmental contrasts
- Restrictive phonotactics
- Limited or no phonemic use of gemination or vowel length
- Limited or no phonemic use of tone
Phrased another way, a simple phonology in the sense of the question is what you would get if you started with an inventory like Hawaiian's, Rotokas', or Pirahã's and removed contrastive vowel length or contrastive tone.
Conlangs like Toki Pona have extremely simple phonologies.
What are some common problems that appear in languages with phonologies like this? What are some strategies for dealing with them? One example of a possible "problem" might be a large number of homophones.