Syllable Structure

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Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Mon 06 Jun 2011 12:53 am

Hello there, forum!

It something that I have been stuck on...for a while, sadly for me. :?

I made a conlang before and had known nothing about Syllable Structure and went on to create words. They were so completely different each word, they were fairly the same kind of structure, but still...before I had started creating my words, I did not make a Syllable Structure.

So I have two questions:

1. Is it a mistake to make your words before you create your Syllable Structure? And if so, is there a way work around it? By that I mean is there a way to build the Syllable Structure to the words?

2. Is Syllable Structure completely dog-hard on itself? What I mean is, what if I have "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)" for my Syllable Structure. Would that mean each and every word had to start with a consonant (or vice-versa) and that it was, depending on the Syllable Structure you created, impossible to do otherside? For example, using the above Syllable structure "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)", would the following be impossible to create?

Idaku

If anyone could provide a little more on Syllable structure and help out, I'd be the happiest!

Thanks for reading! :D
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Alex » Mon 06 Jun 2011 6:53 am

Have you read Mark's site, or Pablo's site yet? You can also try here, it could help :p
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Mon 06 Jun 2011 7:12 pm

Emma wrote:1. Is it a mistake to make your words before you create your Syllable Structure? And if so, is there a way work around it? By that I mean is there a way to build the Syllable Structure to the words?

It depends how you work. I know some conlangers who are quite intuitive when they create vocabulary and can coin words which share a certain sound without having to think about it. And then there are others who do their best work when they start from a definite template.

Emma wrote:2. Is Syllable Structure completely dog-hard on itself? What I mean is, what if I have "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)" for my Syllable Structure. Would that mean each and every word had to start with a consonant (or vice-versa) and that it was, depending on the Syllable Structure you created, impossible to do otherside? For example, using the above Syllable structure "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)", would the following be impossible to create?

Parentheses enclose optional elements. "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)" would mean that a syllable could have at most three consonants, but would have to have a least one.

However, I think you may need to review the definition of a "syllable". The nucleus of a syllable has to be a sonority peak. That is, it has to be a sound that you can easily hold indefinitely, say if you were singing and wanted to lengthen a word. This can be a consonant rather than a vowel, but I think you'll agree that vowels are much easier to hold for a long time than almost any consonant.

So in a case like "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)", you actually have a potential for three sonority peaks (the vowels) and, thus, in phonetic terms, three syllables--"(C)(V)-C(V)-(C)(V)". You also have, as your minimal syllable, a lone consonant, which seems odd. Maybe the syllable structure is really (C)V, with common words consisting of up to three syllables?
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Tue 07 Jun 2011 4:51 am

@Alex:
Yes I have read them :) A lot, actually. :D

@linguoboy:

It depends how you work. I know some conlangers who are quite intuitive when they create vocabulary and can coin words which share a certain sound without having to think about it. And then there are others who do their best work when they start from a definite template.


Ah, thank you for clearing that bit up, Linguoboy! :P

My words basically look and sound the same, but I had never made a Syllable structure before. I'm going to do it for my next language though (at least if I remember! ). :lol:

So in a case like "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)", you actually have a potential for three sonority peaks (the vowels) and, thus, in phonetic terms, three syllables--"(C)(V)-C(V)-(C)(V)". You also have, as your minimal syllable, a lone consonant, which seems odd. Maybe the syllable structure is really (C)V, with common words consisting of up to three syllables?


I had "(C)(V)C(V)(C)(V)" generated for an example because I'm wasn't sure what the parenthesis were and what job they did. :oops:

So when C (or V) is outside of a parenthesis, its a minimal C/V?

This can be a consonant rather than a vowel, but I think you'll agree that vowels are much easier to hold for a long time than almost any consonant.

Agreed! :D
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Tue 07 Jun 2011 4:01 pm

Emma wrote:So when C (or V) is outside of a parenthesis, its a minimal C/V?

Exactly. I think the most I've ever seen for any language is minimal "CV".

For English, the notation is (C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C)(C), abbreviated to (C)³V(C)⁵. Depending on the language, you may be able to specify the Cs more narrowly. A lot of languages are very restrictive as to what they allow in coda position, for instance.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Wed 08 Jun 2011 4:52 am

Let me check to see if I'm understanding this correct, please :)

So "(C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C)(C)" means that its possible for 3 consonants to start the word, then a vowel, and then the 5 consonants at the end means its possible a word can end in such?

Do you perhaps have a site you could suggest? I would like to learn more about it, but Wikipedia is...bah. :lol:
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Wed 08 Jun 2011 5:49 pm

Emma wrote:So "(C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C)(C)" means that its possible for 3 consonants to start the word, then a vowel

E.g. "stray"

Emma wrote:and then the 5 consonants at the end means its possible a word can end in such?

In theory, though not in my dialect or that of many other speakers. I think my codas are maximally CCC, e.g. lengths ['lɪŋθs]* or ['lɪŋks], but never ['lɪŋkθs].

Emma wrote:Do you perhaps have a site you could suggest? I would like to learn more about it, but Wikipedia is...bah. :lol:

Actually, I think the Wikipedia article on the subject is quite good.

* I have the pen-pin merger in my speech, so /ɛŋ/ is always [ɪŋ] for me.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Wed 19 Oct 2011 5:19 am

Sorry for such a long time and lateness. The forum said it was done for me for a long time. :(

But thank you for providing help for me. I do have some more questions after I went and learned a bit more. So if I may ask them, I would really appreciate it. :mrgreen:

Well here it is. I would like to know if I understand this or not. :c

(C)(C)V(C)(C)(V)(C)

R (C) o V th (C) a i (V) [< Rothai]

S (C) c (C) a V l (C) [< Skal]
h (C) e V r (C) a (V) [< hena]

L(C) y V g (C) i (V) [< Lygi]
t (C) u V d (C) a (V) [< tuda]

R (C) e V n (C) [< Ren]
z (C) i V n (C) [< zin]


And I know this is a little offtopic, but for stress in some languages, it puts it on the first or second syllable. My question is, if my word has two syllables in it (Rothai?), I could - for example - place stress on the first/or second syllable of the word? Is that how it works with Syllable structure...?
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby linguoboy » Wed 19 Oct 2011 10:59 pm

Emma wrote:
(C)(C)V(C)(C)(V)(C)

R (C) o V th (C) a i (V) [< Rothai]

S (C) c (C) a V l (C) [< Skal]
h (C) e V r (C) a (V) [< hena]

L(C) y V g (C) i (V) [< Lygi]
t (C) u V d (C) a (V) [< tuda]

R (C) e V n (C) [< Ren]
z (C) i V n (C) [< zin]

You're still confusing syllable structure and word structure. Your syllable structure is actually (C)V(C) with the additional stipulation that CC clusters are possible in word-initial position.

And I know this is a little offtopic, but for stress in some languages, it puts it on the first or second syllable. My question is, if my word has two syllables in it (Rothai?), I could - for example - place stress on the first/or second syllable of the word? Is that how it works with Syllable structure...?

Stress placement is something else entirely. Some languages lack word stress. (In French, for instance, stress is assigned on the basis of something called the "breath group", which can encompass several individual words.) Among those which have it, there's a lot of variation. It can be fixed or mobile and it can be predictable or unpredictable.

In English, for instance, lexical stress is fixed and unpredictable. That means that if the first syllable of a particular word is stress, it will always be stressed, but that you can't predict which words will have first-syllable stress and which will not. Stress placement changes the meanings of words and has to be given in the dictionary entry.

In Turkish, by contrast, stress is usually mobile but predictable. Stress falls on the last syllable of a word. If the word is lengthened by adding suffixes, the stress shifts to the suffix (when the suffix belongs to a small class of exceptions). Thus, elma "apple", elmalar "apples", elmalarda "in the apples", etc.

So you've got a lot of choices. For instance, rothai could be stressed on the last syllable because [ai] is longer vowel than [o]. Or it could be stressed on the first syllable unless followed by a short, unstressed word, in which case the stress shifts to the last syllable. Or it could always be stressed on the first syllable because it's a noun and nouns always take first syllable stress.

And that's just a brief sampling.
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Re: Syllable Structure

Postby Emma » Thu 20 Oct 2011 2:18 am

You're still confusing syllable structure and word structure. Your syllable structure is actually (C)V(C) with the additional stipulation that CC clusters are possible in word-initial position.

-I'm trying my best to understand, I'm sorry. Image-

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?

Stress placement is something else entirely. Some languages lack word stress. (In French, for instance, stress is assigned on the basis of something called the "breath group", which can encompass several individual words.) Among those which have it, there's a lot of variation. It can be fixed or mobile and it can be predictable or unpredictable.

In English, for instance, lexical stress is fixed and unpredictable. That means that if the first syllable of a particular word is stress, it will always be stressed, but that you can't predict which words will have first-syllable stress and which will not. Stress placement changes the meanings of words and has to be given in the dictionary entry.

In Turkish, by contrast, stress is usually mobile but predictable. Stress falls on the last syllable of a word. If the word is lengthened by adding suffixes, the stress shifts to the suffix (when the suffix belongs to a small class of exceptions). Thus, elma "apple", elmalar "apples", elmalarda "in the apples", etc.

So you've got a lot of choices. For instance, rothai could be stressed on the last syllable because [ai] is longer vowel than [o]. Or it could be stressed on the first syllable unless followed by a short, unstressed word, in which case the stress shifts to the last syllable. Or it could always be stressed on the first syllable because it's a noun and nouns always take first syllable stress.

And that's just a brief sampling.

I think I understand it. I'll read up some more too, just in case. :D
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