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10

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 develop into glides /awa/ and /aja/ giving raise to the first consonants in the language, and at the hiat between two vowel a third consonant, the glottal stop, may ...


9

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-sized vocabulary. Also, vowel pronunciation is more varied. There aren't many different ways to pronounce /t/ or /k/, but any regional dialect will change ...


9

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 languages, with a very reduced consonant inventory. They could fit your criteria especially if you consider tones to be a feature of vowels, and look at the ...


7

In a way, vowels are already biphonic! Acoustically, vowels (and most sounds, actually) are simply combinations of formants: specific frequencies at which the vocal tract resonates. The differences between vowels are then caused by differences in the frequencies of the formants. This can be easily seen on a spectrogram, like this one from Wikipedia: In this ...


7

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:/ becoming /aj/, leaving it without /i/. Within less than a hundred years, /e:/ had migrated to take its place. In your specific case, I would expect /e/ -> /i/, /a/ -...


6

This is somewhat similar to "what's the purpose of odd and even numbers". Looking at the sounds produced in human languages we can distinguish two different ways of articulation, one where sound waves are produced by the glottis, modulated in the vocal tract through opening of the jaw (open/closed) and position of the tongue (front/back), but otherwise pass ...


6

The process of creating the phonology is described at length in Omar Mubin's PhD thesis "ROILA: RObot Interaction LAnguage" (available from the publications page). It seems to have happened in three stages. He determined which phonemes are most common in a number of natural and artificial languages (pp. 17-19). The most common vowels were /i, u, o, a, e/ (...


6

For a constructed language, this is definitely possible. It is not a natural choice but not completely unseen in natural languages, according to PHOIBLE 92% of the sampled languages contain the vowel /i/.


5

I'll take a stab at the "evolve" part. Throat singing might be a possibility, so we could look at the environment surrounding that. "The popularity of throat singing among Tuvans seems to have arisen as a result of geographic location and culture. The open landscape of Tuva allows for the sounds to carry a great distance. Ethnomusicologists ...


5

You already hint a possible answer in the question: There is an art form named throat singing. A community where throat singing is practiced may carry over the some biphonic distinguishing features to their language. This may include borrowing a biphonic pattern for some formulaic expression from a throat song, or words with special poetic or religious ...


4

One possibility is to use German-style umlauts, i.e., ü for /y/, ö for /ø/, and ä for /æ/; you can keep the symbol œ for /œ/. I'd recommend against having both ae and œ in the writing system because of confusability. The choice of tilde for nasalisation is a good one, IMO. The most problematic case are the two different kinds of a-sounds, but there are some ...


3

I ended up using the following: Front | | Back ---------|----------|----------- [i] /i/ | | [u] /u/ [y] /ü/ | | ---------|----------|----------- [e] /e/ | | [o] /o/ [ø] /ë/ | | [õ] /õ/ ---------|----------|----------- [aɛ̯] /á/ | | [œ] /œ/ | | [œ̃] /ĩ/ | | ---------|-------...


2

On my computer I have a custom keyboard setup that allows me to enter all sorts of combining diacritics. This allows you to make combinations that are usually not present, including multiple diacritics on the same letter. The only downside to this is that they do not render well in some fonts. I'll give some examples of what I can do with my keyboard setup. ...


2

A vowel system of /a e o u/ would certainly be unusual and unstable, and appears to be unattested, but lack of /i/ is certainly attested. Marshallese, for instance, has the thoroughly strange vowel inventory of /a ɜ ɘ ɨ/ (though [i] is present phonetically, as an allophone of /ɨ/). Kalam has a vowel system of /a e o/ (though [i] is again present phonetically,...


2

The purpose of vowels and consonants it to make up syllables. We just call the most prominent part of the syllable "vowel" and the the other sounds grouped around that core "consonants". Some sounds can be on both sides: There are languages where the liquids (l, m, n, r) can act as vowels, and some short vowels (i, u) can act as consonants usually named "...


1

you could, with conlangs you really can do anything. it doesn't need to make sense. however you should probably ask yourself what your goal is with that. if you're going for naturalism, /i/ is one of the most universal sounds crosslinguistically, a language without /i/ is practically unheard of... even languages that don't have an /i/ in the inventory will ...


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