Questions tagged [phonology]

For questions about the sound systems of languages

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For a whistling language, what other keys could be used to represent tones/tone actions

I already have used ~,<,>,’,=,-,^, and v for trills, rising tones, falling tones, glottal stops, chord tones, neutral tones, rising/falling tone, and falling/rising tone. This language is ...
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8 votes
1 answer
49 views

phonology design for a nonhuman species

I'm working on an alien species for a fantasy-ish world I'm making, and I recently started on making a language for them. For the most part, their consonant-making abilities are very similar to humans,...
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7 votes
3 answers
118 views

Do I need to start with a phonology when creating a new conlang?

The few conlangs I've read about/watched being developed in videos (such as those by Biblaridion) either started with phonology, or the description begins that way. Whether that's a representative ...
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5 votes
1 answer
46 views

Is lowering the tongue at word-ending a voiceless vowel?

In my conlang, some consonants can cluster with l at the end. For example, 'story' is 'coánl'; following dictionary.com's IPA for 'metal' as / ˈmɛt l / I had set out pronouncing this like /koˈa:n l/. ...
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4 votes
2 answers
69 views

Are words based on acronyms treated differently when the language changes over time?

Do sound and grammar changes affect acronyms, that can be pronounced as words, differently than other words in a language? Are words based on acronyms treated differently or not when sound/grammar ...
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3 votes
1 answer
80 views

Is it possible to have consonant followed by Uvular sound

I am thinking of creating a language that has a sound system a little similar to Latin, with a guttural feel like German. The people who are going to speak this language are harsh and sound annoyed at ...
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1 answer
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Setting a signature Phonetics

A year ago, I became fascinated by conlanging. So I set out to create one for my soon-to-be-completed world, but no matter what I came up with, the words sounded like English. It feels like I am just ...
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5 votes
1 answer
102 views

Could a language with only fricatives at the end of words reasonably exist?

There are several non-constructed languages, including English, in which almost all words end in consonants, but what about a language in which almost all words end in a certain type of consonant? In ...
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6 votes
1 answer
91 views

Is there a set of sound change rules that undoes Grimm's law?

Zompist has a Sound Change Applier that comes with some example rules: [sm]//_# i/j/_V L/V/_ e//Vr_# v//V_V u/o/_# gn/nh/_ S/Z/V_V c/i/F_t c/u/B_t p//V_t ii/i/_ e//C_rV Is ...
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7 votes
2 answers
125 views

Would a "Common Denominator" phonology be too simple (or even non-existent)?

Many languages have sounds that are very hard to pronounce to certain speakers. For example, the French "R" sound is hard for English speakers. What if we have a language that accepts many ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Considering that my elves are anatomically different from humans, what sorts of phonemes, vowels and consonants could they be capable of speaking?

For years now, I've been building and rebuilding an alternate Earth dense with geography, geology and wildlife. Among them is this world's equivalent of humans, Draculodon silvius, the "elf"...
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7 votes
1 answer
51 views

In compound words/suffixed words, does the stress change?

I'm creating a language where the stress is on the third to last syllable and I have a sound change where an unstressed short vowel at the beginning of a word is deleted. (so in 'a.ta.ra. the word vs ...
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8 votes
1 answer
113 views

Are there conlangs designed to be whispered?

We all know that natural languages can be whispered and we use whispering for several purposes, e.g., to avoid someone unwanted listening, or in order not to disturb a larger audience. But are there ...
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5 votes
1 answer
154 views

Syllabic restriction/word boundaries set by IPA? Or it is decided by language creator

When creating syllables we basically require an onset, nucleus, and a coda. Now, usually, all language have an onset, and the coda is fairly optional. Before creating a phonetic system, we first ...
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3 answers
287 views

Is there any general rule for constructing a word? Example: "q" or "w" should not end a word, something like this

I am developing 4 conlangs (sparish, old sparish, elvian and barrish (need a new name)) for a story which is used by humans of Spar, Northern Sparian, Elves/Aspian, Barrians of south respectively. I ...
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153 views

Which character is best to use for a schwa? Ь or Ъ?

Cyrillic for English - (Сарилик фоьр Иңглиш) is an adapted Cyrillic orthography to write English using ь as schwa, so 'sofa' would be written 'соьфь'. Does ь make sense as a schwa or is ъ better? The ...
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5 votes
3 answers
210 views

Strategies for dealing with limited/simple phonologies

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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
135 views

How do you determine a New Letter's sound?

I'm trying to create a new language, but I need some advice. How do you determine what a new letter sounds like? Is there a pattern, or do I just make it up?
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2 votes
3 answers
129 views

How to distinguish [i] from [iː] in Cyrillic

Renglish/Рэнглиш (not mine) is an adaptation of Cyrillic for English. Most of the sounds seem ok, but how would you normally differentiate [i] in bit from the [iː] in beet using Cyrillic or would they ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Naming language based on real language

I apologize if similar question has already been answered, I tried to look for it but didn't find anything. I'm trying to make a simple naming language that looks/sounds vaguely like nahuatl (if I ...
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5 votes
4 answers
220 views

Four vowels, with no /i/ sound. Is it possible?

My vowel phonemic inventory would be just /a/, /e/, /o/ and /u/ with no /i/ sound. Is this possible or not?
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4 votes
3 answers
453 views

Simplified Version of IPA?

In IPA, the sounds of many symbols are so close that they are indistinguishable to me! For example, [bʊk], [ɓʊk], or [βʊk]. Even though they do have some minor differences, but all a listener like me ...
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4 votes
2 answers
189 views

What setting for the dropoff rate in a language generator will produce a natural English phoneme distribution?

In creating an ancestral lang for a hard-fantasy world that is based on the language of your home, you first have to understand that language. And for an impatient worldbuilder like me, the Vulgar ...
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6 votes
1 answer
144 views

Which sounds could a lipless humanoid produce?

In my world, I have a race of humanoids who speak a language called Gé̃kt, which is derived from various Eastern Iranian languages such as Khotanese, Ossetian, Yaghnobi and Bactrian with a dash of ...
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5 votes
3 answers
172 views

What decides where is the break between syllables?

I'm getting started with creating a language and I run into trouble when I started using rules I devised for protolanguage (e.g. only open syllables). However I run into trouble when I tried to apply ...
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4 votes
1 answer
101 views

Is this sonority hierarchy correct?

I need to sort these phonemes properly before I get into clusters and making syllables, but I'm not sure I did it right.
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5 votes
2 answers
258 views

IPA for Voiced Velopharyngeal Stop?

A conlang I am working on contains the nasal syllabic consonants [m̩] and [n̩] fairly frequently. It seems like it would be a natural step for the language to develop what I would call a voiced ...
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6 votes
1 answer
67 views

what kinds of vocal sounds echo less?

Please bear with me as I elaborate. I'm looking to create a language for humanoids that live in a set of cave systems and tunnels. While their language may have been 'born' on the surface, they have ...
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6 votes
2 answers
103 views

By what means might the roots "let" and "ly" mean the same thing in a naturalistic conlang?

I apologize for how this question may be perceived. I am casually learning linguistics with no curriculum. I can understand that this question may have many possible answers, but I am not quite sure ...
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6 votes
4 answers
645 views

How many unique sounds does the average conlang have?

At the moment I have 90 unique vowel/diphthong sounds that use tonal and length distinction in my conlang. In addition I've chosen 14 consonants, making my total of unique sounds 104. I don't ...
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8 votes
1 answer
170 views

Would these features be naturalistic in this scenario?

Background I am planning a naturalistic Goidelic language which shall have quite an influence from Old Norse – probably at least 1/4 or 1/3 of the vocabulary to be of North Germanic origin, as well ...
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5 votes
4 answers
212 views

What symbols should I use for phonemes when I have many vowels?

Most conlang examples I find in tutorials use a small set of vowels, but the one I'm working on has 13 and I'm having trouble finding the simplest transliteration to work with. Here are the IPA ...
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2 votes
2 answers
157 views

What's the purpose of vowels and consonants?

Other than making words easier to pronounce, is there any purpose to having the letters divided like this? Should they or a similar concept be added to a constructed language?
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6 votes
2 answers
129 views

Adding entire musical concepts to expand vocabulary

I want my language, Syn, to be as precise, efficient, unambiguous, and aesthetic as humanely possible. To do that, I think even the texture, dynamics, rhythm, and the likes should be accounted for. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
141 views

What are the reasons behind ROILA's phonology?

ROILA (RObot Interaction LAnguage), a constructed language for communication between robots and between robots and humans, comes with a 5 vowel system. the vowels are written a e i o u but their sound ...
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4 votes
1 answer
212 views

What language uses the most amount of phonemes?

I'm constructing an auxlang/artlang (temporarily named Syn). The Syn is (being) designed to interface with any known human language, with a wildly uniform set of simplistic, unambiguous symbols. I ...
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10 votes
3 answers
458 views

What reasons would there be for not having a human conlang with only vowels?

All natlangs have both consonants and vowels, but it's not immediately obvious why a human language couldn't be made from only vowels. Has anyone theorised about why natlangs always have consonants? ...
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5 votes
2 answers
414 views

Designing a mildly weird phonology

I want to design a mildly weird phonology with the following features Not particularly difficult to pronounce for speakers of average European languages Feeling somewhat unnatural or weird The ...
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9 votes
3 answers
220 views

What are sounds that I have to include in my phonology for it to be naturalistic?

Additionally, are there any such things as hierarchies, where if I want to include one sound, I should also include another?
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11 votes
1 answer
745 views

What do double consonants specify in Esperanto?

The Esperanto word for 'Finland' is Finnlando. What does the doubled consonant specify? The Esperanto alphabet is phonemic. Why are there two consonants? Is it gemination (which doesn't appear often ...
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5 votes
4 answers
622 views

Could a language with no voiced fricatives exist?

I am working on a language and I am trying to bring it down to seventeen consonants. One of the ways I am trying to do that is by removing all voiced fricatives. Is this even reasonable?
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5 votes
3 answers
550 views

Why do I have such a problem with my conlangs being ugly? [closed]

This is a perpetual problem I have and I find it quite annoying. Yes, I know its kinda subjective, but that doesn't change the fact that, to me at least, my conlangs are always hideous. For a recent ...
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13 votes
3 answers
249 views

Consider an isolated, close-knit community; which characteristics is their language likely to have?

For the sake of concreteness, let's say my low-tech conculture is living in a few villages on a smallish island in the middle of the ocean (Pitcairn Islands comes to mind). Basically, this would ...
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17 votes
4 answers
155 views

Can features in the physical environment meaningfully affect the development of a local language's phonology?

Imagine that I'm creating phonemic inventories for multiple conlangs, each of which is spoken by a people settled within (or roaming about) a very different physical environment from the others. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
126 views

How do you pronounce the ":" in Wede:i?

Looking at the zompist page for Wede:i, I don't see any instructions on how to pronounce the ":" that we see in the name of the language and other places. Am I missing something? How are you supposed ...
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11 votes
3 answers
447 views

What is an overview of sound changes?

One of my works-in-progress is a language called Proto-Oreadin. As the name suggests, it is a proto-language, which eventually I am hoping to expand into a family of languages. Currently I have a ...
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8 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the key to realistic inventories [closed]

Shy of simply recreating or stitching together natural languages' phonological inventories, what is the solution for making a naturalistic conlangs' inventory naturalistic?
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14 votes
1 answer
673 views

How do tones disappear from a language?

There have been many good writeups on Tonogenesis, i.e. how language acquire tones. But never have I seen such a writeup on the opposite phenomenon, which one might call Tonoexodus. Obviously, one way ...
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