Questions tagged [phonology]

For questions about the sound systems of languages

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7 votes
1 answer
39 views

Two different symbols representinɡ a phoneme

How would I represent multiple transliterations for one phoneme in a chart? I was thinking something like this: ⟨k~q⟩ /k/ It might work, though it doesn't make the most sense, and I would prefer to ...
6 votes
1 answer
79 views

What sounds would snake-people be able to pronouce?

The snake-people are humanoid creatures with snake-like traits: Their mouth and nose are longer than in humans. The tongue can work as in humans, but sits only in the front half of the jaw and is ...
3 votes
2 answers
124 views

Are there any languages with a vertical consonant distinction?

Are there any languages which distinguish consonants exclusively by manner of articulation instead of place of articulation and such, akin to a vertical vowel system?
  • 601
5 votes
2 answers
118 views

Why would a language created by humans lack both the /k/ and the /g/ consonants?

In my story, there is a species of aquatic humans often called merfolk (Homo maritimus, so they are still humans, just not Homo sapiens). They do not look the typical descriptions of merfolk (I want ...
8 votes
2 answers
110 views

Creating a language for intelligent, sapient creatures that resemble large cats

In my world, there is a race of intelligent, sapient creatures that resemble large cats. They have fur, tails, and whiskers, and can purr and meow like regular cats, but they can also walk upright on ...
7 votes
2 answers
98 views

Why would a language created by humans lack the /j/ semivowel, and even the /i/ vowel?

What I mean is the sound /j/ (as in English yellow and French hyène 'hyena') is the most common semivowel around the world. This phoneme is highly conserved in Indo-European languages (this language ...
6 votes
1 answer
88 views

How does one go about designing phonotactics for a conlang?

Most every conlanger has heard of phonotactics. However, I have yet to encounter resources about how should one go about the design of a conlang's phonotactics. How should one go about creating a ...
  • 601
3 votes
1 answer
39 views

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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
62 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,...
7 votes
3 answers
127 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
51 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/. ...
  • 823
4 votes
2 answers
78 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
88 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 ...
  • 311
5 votes
1 answer
79 views

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 ...
  • 311
6 votes
1 answer
122 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 ...
  • 61
6 votes
1 answer
99 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
144 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 ...
  • 173
4 votes
2 answers
95 views

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"...
7 votes
1 answer
55 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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
127 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
167 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 ...
  • 311
5 votes
3 answers
299 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 ...
  • 311
5 votes
3 answers
163 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 ...
  • 449
6 votes
5 answers
273 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 ...
  • 1,600
4 votes
2 answers
139 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?
  • 49
2 votes
3 answers
136 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 ...
  • 449
6 votes
1 answer
142 views

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 ...
5 votes
4 answers
235 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?
  • 59
4 votes
3 answers
499 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
201 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
150 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
182 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
265 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 ...
's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
70 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 ...
  • 161
6 votes
2 answers
105 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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
701 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 ...
  • 147
8 votes
1 answer
177 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 ...
  • 195
6 votes
4 answers
233 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 ...
  • 296
2 votes
2 answers
168 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?
6 votes
2 answers
132 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. ...
7 votes
1 answer
155 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
221 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 ...
10 votes
3 answers
493 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? ...
  • 3,541
5 votes
2 answers
441 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 ...
9 votes
3 answers
238 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?
  • 3,292
11 votes
1 answer
754 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 ...
  • 1,705
5 votes
4 answers
674 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?
  • 169
6 votes
3 answers
591 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 ...
's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
258 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 ...
  • 443
17 votes
4 answers
158 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. ...
  • 271