11 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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
10 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-...
Oliver Mason's user avatar
  • 4,133
10 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 ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
9 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:/ ...
A. R.'s user avatar
  • 1,443
8 votes

A biphonic language

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 ...
bradrn's user avatar
  • 652
7 votes
Accepted

What are the reasons behind ROILA's phonology?

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 ...
b a's user avatar
  • 1,444
7 votes

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

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 /...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
6 votes

What's the purpose of vowels and consonants?

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 ...
Oliver Mason's user avatar
  • 4,133
5 votes
Accepted

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

One simple way to make this happen would be to make ogres unable to raise their tongues to the roof of their mouths. [i] and [j] both require that, so they are now impossible for ogres. Most of the ...
Cecilia's user avatar
  • 1,136
5 votes

A biphonic language

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 ...
awe lotta's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes

A biphonic language

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
4 votes

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

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
4 votes

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

Lacking /j/ and [j] is entirely plausible, no explanation needed. Attic Greek, for example, lost [j] and did just fine without it for hundreds of years. Lacking [i] is harder to explain. There's a ...
Draconis's user avatar
  • 4,426
3 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to prevent vowel shift?

As you are asking for an external way of preventing vowel shift, here is a suggestion: Design some texts (religious text, spells, whatever you want) that must be preserved in their pronunciation ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
3 votes

What's the purpose of vowels and consonants?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
  • 11.3k
3 votes
Accepted

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

I ended up using the following: Front | | Back ---------|----------|----------- [i] /i/ | | [u] /u/ [y] /ü/ | | ---------|----------|----------- [e] /e/ | ...
Domino's user avatar
  • 316
2 votes

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

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 ...
rtpax's user avatar
  • 255
2 votes

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

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 ...
bradrn's user avatar
  • 652
1 vote

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

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 ...
helsy's user avatar
  • 101

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