Syllable Structure

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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Thu 20 Oct 2011 5:34 pm

Emma wrote:Oh, so then is the SS (C)V(C) separate for syllables? What I mean is, if I'm confusing, each word follows the SS (C)V(C), right?

The only word you have that isn't (C)V(C) is skal. There's more than one way of analysing this because the [s] is higher on the sonority hierarchy than [k]. For his reason, some phonologists would call the /s/ an "extrasyllabic" consonant. If you have other consonants besides /s/ which can appear in this position, however, this analysis might not work.

Practically speaking, however, I don't see that it makes much difference whether you specify that the syllable structure is (C)V(C) with an extrasyllabic consonant allowed at the beginning of a word or that it is (C)(C)V(C) with the first (C) only permitted in word onsets. At least for now, that is. When you get around to morphology and begin writing inflectional and derivational rules, it may turn out that one description works better than the other. (For instance, say you have ren compounded with skal; *renskal isn't allowed by your syllable template, so what happens to the "extra" consonant?)

Either way, you need to specify which consonants are allowed in which slots. This is a subset of phonology called phonotactics. Starting out, you might just want to list which consonants are allowed (or which are excluded, if that makes for a shorter list). But as you grow more sophisticated, you'll want to start writing rules based on distinctive features. (For instance, saying "nasals" instead of "/m/ /n/ /ŋ/".)
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Thu 20 Oct 2011 8:49 pm

Word onsets? Is that the same as onset..? Image

Oh, I see the problem with skal. :o Darn it! Well couldn't I morph the SS to fit it then, or would it make the other words incompatible?

Either way, you need to specify which consonants are allowed in which slots. This is a subset of phonology called phonotactics. Starting out, you might just want to list which consonants are allowed (or which are excluded, if that makes for a shorter list). But as you grow more sophisticated, you'll want to start writing rules based on distinctive features. (For instance, saying "nasals" instead of "/m/ /n/ /ŋ/".)

So like first constant can have, for example, /th/ but nowhere else? Is that phonological constraints?
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Fri 21 Oct 2011 5:24 am

Emma wrote:Word onsets? Is that the same as onset..?

"Onset" not further specified tends to mean "syllable onset".

Emma wrote:Oh, I see the problem with skal. :o Darn it! Well couldn't I morph the SS to fit it then, or would it make the other words incompatible?

I'm not sure what you're asking. There's no reason to change it, but if you allow it then you have to make certain decisions which will affect other parts of your conlang. Of course, the same is true if you get rid of it.

How some languages (e.g. Spanish) handle this is by having a prothetic vowel.

Emma wrote:
Either way, you need to specify which consonants are allowed in which slots. This is a subset of phonology called phonotactics. Starting out, you might just want to list which consonants are allowed (or which are excluded, if that makes for a shorter list). But as you grow more sophisticated, you'll want to start writing rules based on distinctive features. (For instance, saying "nasals" instead of "/m/ /n/ /ŋ/".)

So like first constant can have, for example, /th/ but nowhere else? Is that phonological constraints?

Um...it depends. If the segment doesn't contrast with any other, then you may just have an allophone. That is, if /th/ can only appear initially and /t/ never does, then it's more economical to say you have the phoneme /t/ with the allophone [tʰ] in initial position. That's basically the situation in American English, for instance.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Fri 21 Oct 2011 6:03 am

"Onset" not further specified tends to mean "syllable onset".


And that is the part that precedes the nucleus, right?

I'm not sure what you're asking. There's no reason to change it, but if you allow it then you have to make certain decisions which will affect other parts of your conlang. Of course, the same is true if you get rid of it.


Oh sorry. I meant that if its a problem, couldn't I make the Syllable structure change so that it wasn't a problem (e.i, the extra consonant /k/ with /s/). :)

How some languages (e.g. Spanish) handle this is by having a prothetic vowel.

Is that why Spanish puts /e/ before words with /sp/ cluster? :o

So then with a prothetic vowel in this situation, it would be like this: rensokal ?
*/o/ was just put in randomly lol*

Um...it depends. If the segment doesn't contrast with any other, then you may just have an allophone. That is, if /th/ can only appear initially and /t/ never does, then it's more economical to say you have the phoneme /t/ with the allophone [tʰ] in initial position. That's basically the situation in American English, for instance.


I think I understand...would (for example), then, /st/ be a better comparison for a phonological clusters/constraints?

*Oh, and I know what allophones are and phonemes are. :)*
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Fri 21 Oct 2011 9:24 pm

Emma wrote:
"Onset" not further specified tends to mean "syllable onset".


And that is the part that precedes the nucleus, right?

Correct.

Emma wrote:
How some languages (e.g. Spanish) handle this is by having a prothetic vowel.

Is that why Spanish puts /e/ before words with /sp/ cluster?

Not just /sp/ clusters but all /sC/ clusters. This is still an active rule in Spanish (e.g. ski > esquí), but a historical one in French. French lost the /s/ in these clusters when it lost coda /s/ generally, e.g. estats > états (pronounced [eta]). /sC/ is okay in recent borrowings, however, e.g. ski, sportsman, stress.

Emma wrote:So then with a prothetic vowel in this situation, it would be like this: rensokal ?

That's an epenthetic vowel. A prothetic vowel comes before the consonant, i.e. oskal. Actually, both rensokal and renoskal would be examples of epenthesis, since the cluster is in the middle of a (compound) word. Prothesis would be if /skal/ had to be regularly pronounced [oskal], except perhaps when preceded by a vowel.

For example, lena skal pronounced ['lena'skal] but ren skal pronounced ['reno'skal]. As you can see, rules of epenthesis may apply on the level of the phrase rather than the level of the word. That's true of almost any phonological rule.

Emma wrote:I think I understand...would (for example), then, /st/ be a better comparison for a phonological clusters/constraints?

Yeah, a good example is a requirement that first consonant in a cluster be one of a specified set of fricative. Here's an example from a phonological description of English. (There are more elegant ways of stating the restriction than the chart-based method used here.)
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Fri 21 Oct 2011 10:47 pm

Not just /sp/ clusters but all /sC/ clusters. This is still an active rule in Spanish (e.g. ski > esquí), but a historical one in French. French lost the /s/ in these clusters when it lost coda /s/ generally, e.g. estats > états (pronounced [eta]). /sC/ is okay in recent borrowings, however, e.g. ski, sportsman, stress.

Well that is some news for me. I've always wondered why Spanish does that. :D

That's an epenthetic vowel. A prothetic vowel comes before the consonant, i.e. oskal. Actually, both rensokal and renoskal would be examples of epenthesis, since the cluster is in the middle of a (compound) word. Prothesis would be if /skal/ had to be regularly pronounced [oskal], except perhaps when preceded by a vowel.

For example, lena skal pronounced ['lena'skal] but ren skal pronounced ['reno'skal]. As you can see, rules of epenthesis may apply on the level of the phrase rather than the level of the word. That's true of almost any phonological rule.


If its empenthetic when its in a cluster in the middle of the word, would it be prothetic like this alone: oskal ?

So applying prothetic/epenthetic vowels to this situation would make it, skal, compatible with the SS (C)V(C)?

Yeah, a good example is a requirement that first consonant in a cluster be one of a specified set of fricative. Here's an example from a phonological description of English. (There are more elegant ways of stating the restriction than the chart-based method used here.)


Thanks for the link. I'll look over it now. :)

*I was told you could do it with a code box and then listing what can and cannot be done like so: /pl/, /bl/, /kl/, /ɡl/, /pr/,*
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Sat 22 Oct 2011 1:47 am

Emma wrote:If its empenthetic when its in a cluster in the middle of the word, would it be prothetic like this alone: oskal ?

Exactly.

Emma wrote:So applying prothetic/epenthetic vowels to this situation would make it, skal, compatible with the SS (C)V(C)?

It would.

Emma wrote:*I was told you could do it with a code box and then listing what can and cannot be done like so: /pl/, /bl/, /kl/, /ɡl/, /pr/,*

You can do that, there just might be a more elegant solution. (For instance, "non-coronal stop" + "liquid" would capture all of your series of examples.)

It's also necessary to distinguish restrictions from accidental gaps. For instance, notice that the list I linked to for English doesn't include examples of /ʃ/ + stop. But native English-speakers have no trouble with the initial clusters in shnook, shmuck, Shkodër, Stein, etc. What we have here is an accidental gap. There no prohibition against initial /ʃ/ + stop clusters in English, it's just that for historical reasons, we happen to have any in native words. But we have no trouble borrowing words which contain them.

So perhaps the reason /pr/ is in your list of allowable onsets above but /br/ isn't is the same: it's an historical accident and doesn't really indicate a restriction built into the phonology.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Sat 22 Oct 2011 6:27 am

And this prothetic vowel can be any vowel, right? And if so, it can be any vowel in the Phonology inventory of the language? Or do you pick a single vowel to be the prothetic vowel? :)

It would.

Awesome! I actually like how it works and what it does to the word too. :lol:

You can do that, there just might be a more elegant solution. (For instance, "non-coronal stop" + "liquid" would capture all of your series of examples.)

It's also necessary to distinguish restrictions from accidental gaps. For instance, notice that the list I linked to for English doesn't include examples of /ʃ/ + stop. But native English-speakers have no trouble with the initial clusters in shnook, shmuck, Shkodër, Stein, etc. What we have here is an accidental gap. There no prohibition against initial /ʃ/ + stop clusters in English, it's just that for historical reasons, we happen to have any in native words. But we have no trouble borrowing words which contain them.

So perhaps the reason /pr/ is in your list of allowable onsets above but /br/ isn't is the same: it's an historical accident and doesn't really indicate a restriction built into the phonology.

Oh!

So, to make sure I understand this all right, an accidental gap is something allowable but isn't listed as such? :oops:
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sat 22 Oct 2011 9:03 pm

linguoboy wrote:. . . .

Yeah, a good example is a requirement that first consonant in a cluster be one of a specified set of fricative. Here's an example from a phonological description of English. (There are more elegant ways of stating the restriction than the chart-based method used here.)


Note, however, that this is by no means a universal requirement. In English, for example, the initial consonant must be /s/ only in triconsonant clusters. Biconsonant clusters allow stop-stop and stop-liquid combinations.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Mon 24 Oct 2011 2:07 pm

Emma wrote:And this prothetic vowel can be any vowel, right? And if so, it can be any vowel in the Phonology inventory of the language? Or do you pick a single vowel to be the prothetic vowel?

That would depend on your vowel system. In general, it would be your least marked vowel that would be pressed into service here. But you might have some vowel harmony effects, even if this isn't a feature present otherwise. For instance, in Welsh, the epenthetic vowel tends to copy the stem vowel, e.g. pobl > pobol but rhestr > rhester.

Emma wrote:So, to make sure I understand this all right, an accidental gap is something allowable but isn't listed as such? :oops:

An accidental gap is something allowable which doesn't happen to appear in your data. If you were writing up the phonology of a living language, you would give native speakers nonsense words to test which ones they could pronounce easily and which they found impossible.
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