Questions tagged [phonology]

For questions about the sound systems of languages

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1answer
45 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 ...
4
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1answer
71 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 ...
5
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1answer
65 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 ...
5
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2answers
105 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 ...
3
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2answers
69 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"...
6
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1answer
42 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 ...
6
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1answer
94 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 ...
4
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1answer
128 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 ...
3
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3answers
260 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 ...
4
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3answers
150 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 ...
4
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3answers
182 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 ...
3
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2answers
128 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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3answers
125 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 ...
5
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1answer
109 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 ...
4
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4answers
202 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?
3
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4answers
385 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 ...
3
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2answers
158 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 ...
5
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1answer
134 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 ...
4
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3answers
159 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 ...
3
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1answer
95 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.
4
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2answers
241 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 ...
5
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1answer
66 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 ...
4
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2answers
92 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 ...
5
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4answers
543 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 ...
7
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1answer
159 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 ...
4
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4answers
192 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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2answers
145 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?
4
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2answers
124 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. ...
6
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1answer
137 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 ...
3
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1answer
201 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 ...
8
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3answers
388 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? ...
5
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2answers
361 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 ...
8
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3answers
196 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?
10
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1answer
734 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 ...
4
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4answers
557 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?
4
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3answers
512 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 ...
12
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3answers
246 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 ...
14
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4answers
142 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. ...
3
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1answer
123 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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3answers
403 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 ...
7
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3answers
916 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?
12
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1answer
581 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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6answers
1k views

Are there conlangs using constructed sounds?

Usually, constructed languages of all kind (naturalistic or not) draw their sounds from existing natural languages. Are there conlangs with constructed sounds, i.e., sounds that do not occur in ...
14
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3answers
329 views

How could a syllabary be adapted for a language with a complex syllable structure?

By definition, a syllabary has separate glyphs for each possible syllable (and usually unrelated or at least not systematically related ones for similar syllables, unlike alphasyllabaries). This ...
10
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0answers
103 views

How can we define words? [closed]

Even though the question seems trivial, it's still a hotly debated topic (as far as I'm aware). For example, in the Oxford Handbook for Polysynthesis, Fernando Zúñiga says: Recent literature (e.g. ...