21 votes
Accepted

Are there conlangs using constructed sounds?

Click consonants are rare in natlangs, but rather popular in conlangs, though despite this, given the existence of things like !Xóõ reality is stranger than most fiction in this specific regard. ...
user avatar
  • 2,247
18 votes

Simplified Version of IPA?

If you're notating a language that uses [β] or [ɓ] but does not distinguish it from [b], that is, if there are no words such that changing one of these consonants to the other changes the meaning of ...
user avatar
16 votes

Are there conlangs using constructed sounds?

There's also the brilliant masterpiece kay(f)bop(t), which features the dextral lateral click (a click made on the right side of the mouth) the sinistral lateral click (a click made on the left side ...
user avatar
  • 691
15 votes

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

The phonology table shows it quite simply, it modifies the e to indicate that it is a long vowel. I don't know why the vowel table shows the dipthongs a:i and a:u but not e:i (or any others). Note ...
user avatar
  • 3,511
14 votes

What is an overview of sound changes?

To answer part a), the basic syntax of the notation goes like this: [before] > [after] / [context] The part after the slash gives the situations in which the sound changes occur. For example, the ...
user avatar
  • 691
14 votes

Are there conlangs using constructed sounds?

In Ithkuil, a geminate /h/ can be produced as a bidental fricative, a sound which is only attested in a single dialect of a single natural language. hh The geminated version of ...
user avatar
12 votes

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

Linear B is an interesting example for this: This system was apparently designed for a non-Greek language, as it did not fit the sounds of Greek very well. In fact, it is likely that Linear A was ...
user avatar
  • 251
12 votes

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

Here is another researcher (Prof. Ian Maddieson) suggesting exactly such correlations: In a presentation on Wednesday at the Acoustical Society of America fall meeting, Maddieson showed that ...
user avatar
  • 535
12 votes

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

There has also been evidence that suggests that ejectives tend to occur more frequently in areas of higher elevation, perhaps due to their being easier to produce in these regions: We present ...
user avatar
  • 691
10 votes
Accepted

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

Derek Bickerton and John McWhorter both have studied pidgins and creoles. A general observation is that communities that have to deal with other communities who don't speak their language, but still ...
user avatar
10 votes

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

A vowel-only language is surely constructable (and I think, learnable, too), but I am afraid that it will be instable against evolutionary pressure. Vowel sequences like /aua/ or /aia/ tend to ...
user avatar
10 votes

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

Yes, there are but they are language-specific. These are called phonotactics. They are well explained in the book of David Peterson "The Art of Language Invention"(E-book download link). ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

How do tones disappear from a language?

I don't claim to be an expert on this, but I think it may be because that while tonogenesis is a "special" process, in that it produces a whole new dimension to the phonology (as opposed to something ...
user avatar
  • 2,247
9 votes

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

There are generally a lot fewer vowels than consonants in the phoneme inventory of human languages. That means, with fewer sounds you need to make the words a lot longer if you want to have a decent-...
user avatar
  • 3,331
9 votes

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

Well, there is always Solresol, which has several isomorphic representations, and some of those could be considered vowel-only (depending on the instrument used). For natlangs, there are whistled ...
user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Simplified Version of IPA?

The reason that all the different characters for “the same sound” exist is because they’re not the same sound, and trained linguists/linguistic researchers can hear the difference. ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What do double consonants specify in Esperanto?

There are two questions (with answers) on the Esperanto stackexchange dealing with this problem (and yes, it is perceived as a problem even among Esperanto speakers): Double letters in Esperanto ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What is the key to realistic inventories

You should think of phonology in terms of distinction. You have to distinguish certain consonants and vowels from others, and you have to figure out the best way to do that. A realistic inventory ...
user avatar
  • 1,384
8 votes

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

NO. Videos and how to books often present a cookie cutter method of language construction. There is nothing wrong with this at all. Except that it leads many people to a) follow the recipe and b) get ...
user avatar
  • 2,910
7 votes

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

There have definitely been serious linguistic theories about environment affecting features like this - the ones I can remember off the top of my head are that certain sound changes in Proto-Germanic ...
user avatar
  • 3,241
7 votes

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

There are a lot of hypotheses and conjectures floating around the linguistic community regarding typological features (like phoneme inventories, inflecting or isolating type etc.) and size of the ...
user avatar
7 votes

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

The best solution to this is to not make your writing system syllabic if your language does not support the syllabic structure by having a low number of syllables. I guess that one of the most ...
user avatar
  • 834
7 votes
Accepted

What decides where is the break between syllables?

I think as a general rule, a syllable comprises some combination of the following kinds of one or more of the sound types of your language: vowel, liquid, consonant. You've decided on (C)CV. And ...
user avatar
  • 2,910
7 votes

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

This would be very unstable in a human language. For an example of what happens when this vowel is missing, let's look at English's Great Vowel Shift. One of the first things to change was /i:/ ...
user avatar
  • 1,343
7 votes
Accepted

Strategies for dealing with limited/simple phonologies

One major problem is that a small phoneme inventory leads to longer words, as you have fewer short ones available. This kind of relates to the point you already mention, namely homophones: here you ...
user avatar
  • 3,331
7 votes

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

The phonotactics of a language, what you have described, is the silent partner of phonology. The analogy I like to use is that a language's phonology is its periodic table (with individual phonemes as ...
user avatar
  • 171
7 votes

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

There are both natlangs and conlangs with extremely simple phonologies. For natural languages, Central Rotokas holds the record for the smallest attested inventory of consonant phonemes (6). For a ...
user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

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

Define categories for aspirated and unaspirated voiced stops, voiceless stops, and fricatives: A=ḅḍġǵ U=bdgɠ V=ptkƙ F=φþxẍ (I’m forced to use strange characters for each of these phones due to the ...
user avatar
  • 592
6 votes

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

Both the Brahmic scripts and Canadian Aboriginal syllabics have a grapheme for "suppress this sign's inherent vowel". This could get tedious with big clusters; also, if you're starting with a pure ...
user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible