New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby linguoboy » Tue 05 Jun 2012 9:37 pm

Tikolm wrote:Most likely. I may have said that. I don't really know exactly what I'm doing, but I'm slowly seeking out the information I need and putting it all together.

You said that you want to make a language that "sounds Celtic". What do you know so far about the Celtic languages?
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Wed 06 Jun 2012 2:24 am

linguoboy wrote:You said that you want to make a language that "sounds Celtic". What do you know so far about the Celtic languages?

At least some of them use vowel mutation for plurals. There tends to be a fair amount of silent letters (at least in Irish, Scottish and Manx, the Q-Celtic ones I think) and pronunciations that are somewhat complicated and hard for me to figure out. That last one especially applies to Manx, I think. An example of unexpected or difficult (my value judgement) lettering is the w vowel or the ll in Welsh or the vowel strings (aoi, oi, ea, etc.) in Irish.
That's all I can come up with. I hope I don't give the impression that I think Celtic languages are just plain difficult or screwy, because I'm pretty sure that's not the case and even if it is I don't consider it to be a bad quality.
Does that clarify anything?
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby linguoboy » Wed 06 Jun 2012 2:00 pm

Tikolm wrote:
linguoboy wrote:You said that you want to make a language that "sounds Celtic". What do you know so far about the Celtic languages?

At least some of them use vowel mutation for plurals. There tends to be a fair amount of silent letters (at least in Irish, Scottish and Manx, the Q-Celtic ones I think) and pronunciations that are somewhat complicated and hard for me to figure out.

I'll grant you that the orthography can be challenging for novices, but Irish really doesn't have much in the way of silent letters; since the spelling reform of World War II, the script has been practically phonetic. Scottish Gaelic still uses the traditional orthography which, like the spelling of English, was fixed centuries ago.

Tikolm wrote:That last one especially applies to Manx, I think.

Actually, I think it applies less to Manx, since its orthography only began to develop in the 16th century. Classical Irish (the ancestor of both Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic) already had a written tradition stretching back over a millennium at that point.

Tikolm wrote:An example of unexpected or difficult (my value judgement) lettering is the w vowel or the ll in Welsh or the vowel strings (aoi, oi, ea, etc.) in Irish.

Using w as both a vowel and consonant never struck me as confusing in the least since it's exactly what we already do with y. The earlier spelling for ll was lh, which might be more intuitive for English-speakers. But again, Spanish got me used to the idea of ll having an unusual value.

The reason you are confused by Irish digraphs is that you don't understand that they have two functions, only one of which is to show the quality of the vowel. The other is to show the quality of the consonants flanking it. Irish has phonemic palatalisation. This means that every consonant has two distinctive versions, palatalised and unpalatalised (generally velarised). Russian is the same way, but it solves the problem by having two characters for every vowel and using "hard" and "soft" signs.

So the reason for a spelling like ea is that it shows that the vowel is /a/ while the consonant before is palatalised and the consonant after isn't. Thus, cead "permission" is pronounced [ˈcad̪ˠ]. Without the e there, you have cad [ˈkɑd̪ˠ] "what". And if the second consonant is palatalised (or "slender", in Irish terminology) and the first is broad, you get caid [ˈcɑdʲ] "football". (Using Russian orthography, these three words would be кяд, кад, and кядь, respectively.)

This is part of why I think your conlanging efforts here are fundamentally misguided. You're mimicking the spelling of Irish without an understanding of how the characters are being used or what they represent. The pronunciation of Aoireas if it were an Irish word (it isn't, but we do have aoire "shepherd") would have to be ['iːɾʲəs̪ˠ].
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Fri 08 Jun 2012 11:38 pm

linguoboy wrote:I'll grant you that the orthography can be challenging for novices, but Irish really doesn't have much in the way of silent letters; since the spelling reform of World War II, the script has been practically phonetic. Scottish Gaelic still uses the traditional orthography which, like the spelling of English, was fixed centuries ago.

Tikolm wrote:...

Actually, I think it applies less to Manx, since its orthography only began to develop in the 16th century. Classical Irish (the ancestor of both Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic) already had a written tradition stretching back over a millennium at that point.

Tikolm wrote:...

Using w as both a vowel and consonant never struck me as confusing in the least since it's exactly what we already do with y. The earlier spelling for ll was lh, which might be more intuitive for English-speakers. But again, Spanish got me used to the idea of ll having an unusual value.

The reason you are confused by Irish digraphs is that you don't understand that they have two functions, only one of which is to show the quality of the vowel. The other is to show the quality of the consonants flanking it. Irish has phonemic palatalisation. This means that every consonant has two distinctive versions, palatalised and unpalatalised (generally velarised). Russian is the same way, but it solves the problem by having two characters for every vowel and using "hard" and "soft" signs.

So the reason for a spelling like ea is that it shows that the vowel is /a/ while the consonant before is palatalised and the consonant after isn't. Thus, cead "permission" is pronounced [ˈcad̪ˠ]. Without the e there, you have cad [ˈkɑd̪ˠ] "what". And if the second consonant is palatalised (or "slender", in Irish terminology) and the first is broad, you get caid [ˈcɑdʲ] "football". (Using Russian orthography, these three words would be кяд, кад, and кядь, respectively.)

Thanks so much for explaining all of that. As I'm sure you know, my knowledge of Celtic languages is pretty limited. However, I did learn the pronunciation of Manx at one point and found it complicated and confusing. (Admittedly this may be largely because it's so different from English, so you don't need to point that out.) We have a book on Welsh somewhere that I looked through, and I can't really remember how it went but I remember having a hard time wrapping my head around it. I do in fact see the logic in having w act as a vowel as well as a consonant, but I think it had values that I wasn't expecting. And I don't really see what you mean about Irish not having silent letters -- in my (limited) experience, letters at the ends of words are silent if they're followed by an h. There are quite a few words out there that seem to have far more letters in them than is necessary to transcribe the sounds. Unless you're talking about a different orthography from the one I'm most familiar with, then I don't know what you mean here. I would be happy to come up with examples of words with silent letters in them if need be.
Regarding palatalization, I forgot to mention something. The "s" in <se> isn't /s/, it's /S/. I didn't think of that as palatalization when I added it in, but now that you've brought it up I'll have to say that's what it is. I knew at one point that Irish had palatalized letters in it, but I didn't know why and forgot about it. This is an interesting point and I'll certainly give it more thought.
linguoboy wrote:This is part of why I think your conlanging efforts here are fundamentally misguided. You're mimicking the spelling of Irish without an understanding of how the characters are being used or what they represent. The pronunciation of Aoireas if it were an Irish word (it isn't, but we do have aoire "shepherd") would have to be ['iːɾʲəs̪ˠ].

Who's "we"? Just wondering.
Your representation of how <Aoireas> would be pronounced in Irish is an interestingly fair approximation of its native pronunciation (of course, sans the superscript letters). And just for that, I think I may set the meaning of <Aoireas> to "shepherd-language".
You're a little off the mark when you say my efforts are misguided. Unguided is more like it. Not to pick or anything, but it was a nit. And one last thing -- I'm not good at pronouncing letters with superscript attached. It's a flimsy excuse for not using them in my conlangs, but it's all I've got.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby linguoboy » Sat 09 Jun 2012 4:56 am

Tikolm wrote:And I don't really see what you mean about Irish not having silent letters -- in my (limited) experience, letters at the ends of words are silent if they're followed by an h.

That's really only true of dh and gh, and the spelling reform I talked about earlier got rid of most of these instances. Maybe you were looking at the pre-World War II orthography?

Tikolm wrote:There are quite a few words out there that seem to have far more letters in them than is necessary to transcribe the sounds. Unless you're talking about a different orthography from the one I'm most familiar with, then I don't know what you mean here. I would be happy to come up with examples of words with silent letters in them if need be.

Please do.

Tikolm wrote:
linguoboy wrote:The pronunciation of Aoireas if it were an Irish word (it isn't, but we do have aoire "shepherd") would have to be ['iːɾʲəs̪ˠ].

Who's "we"? Just wondering.

Speakers of Irish, like me. (And if we have these words, then they're available to you, too.)

Tikolm wrote:Your representation of how <Aoireas> would be pronounced in Irish is an interestingly fair approximation of its native pronunciation (of course, sans the superscript letters). And just for that, I think I may set the meaning of <Aoireas> to "shepherd-language".

But the superscripts are important, because they're why the "silent" letters are there. Ao by itself is pronounced [iː] (at least in most varieties), but this doesn't tell you that the r in the words is palatalised. That's what having the i there indicates. The e afterwards tells you that there's a brief off-glide after [ɾʲ] before transitioning to the vowel.

This what I mean by the spelling being "phonetic". There is more detail there than is strictly necessary to get the pronunciation right. Still, if you know how to pronounce the words, then the spelling will make sense. Most people I know who learn some Irish don't really take the time to learn the sounds correctly, so of course they think the spelling is full of "silent letters". Those letters represent phonetic features that--unwittingly or otherwise--they're ignoring.

Tikolm wrote:You're a little off the mark when you say my efforts are misguided. Unguided is more like it. Not to pick or anything, but it was a nit. And one last thing -- I'm not good at pronouncing letters with superscript attached. It's a flimsy excuse for not using them in my conlangs, but it's all I've got.

Then maybe you shouldn't be trying to do an Irish-influenced conlang just yet. If you want some Celtic flavour, look to one of the Brythonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, or Breton). They don't have phonemic palatalisation, so overall the pronunciation is much simpler for English-speakers to learn.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Sat 09 Jun 2012 7:09 pm

linguoboy wrote:
Tikolm wrote:...

That's really only true of dh and gh, and the spelling reform I talked about earlier got rid of most of these instances. Maybe you were looking at the pre-World War II orthography?

I highly doubt that. However, if you're right about this spelling reform, then that's the only possible explanation, implausible though it is.
linguoboy wrote:
Tikolm wrote:...

Please do.

Here you are: <tomhail> [t3\:l'] Lōa (see), the <mh> is silent. I can understand everything else, though. Perhaps I was wrong about "lots" of silent letters, but there are still enough of them to make an impression.
linguoboy wrote:
Tikolm wrote:...

But the superscripts are important, because they're why the "silent" letters are there. Ao by itself is pronounced [iː] (at least in most varieties), but this doesn't tell you that the r in the words is palatalised. That's what having the i there indicates. The e afterwards tells you that there's a brief off-glide after [ɾʲ] before transitioning to the vowel.

I realize the superscripts are important. They're important in Aoireas (Earish) too.
linguoboy wrote:This is what I mean by the spelling being "phonetic". There is more detail there than is strictly necessary to get the pronunciation right. Still, if you know how to pronounce the words, then the spelling will make sense. Most people I know who learn some Irish don't really take the time to learn the sounds correctly, so of course they think the spelling is full of "silent letters". Those letters represent phonetic features that--unwittingly or otherwise--they're ignoring.

Right. And of course, someone who never learned Irish doesn't just ignore said phonetic features, she doesn't know about them. This is me.
linguoboy wrote:
Tikolm wrote:...

Then maybe you shouldn't be trying to do an Irish-influenced conlang just yet. If you want some Celtic flavour, look to one of the Brythonic languages (Welsh, Cornish, or Breton). They don't have phonemic palatalisation, so overall the pronunciation is much simpler for English-speakers to learn.

Earish wasn't specifically supposed to be Irish-influenced in particular. I'm sorry I gave you that impression. I haven't learned palatalization, but I certainly could, and it's already an important part of Earish as I think you know. I will be adding more palatalized letters soon to round out the phonology.
And I don't know the Brythonic languages any better than the Q-Celtic ones, so that wouldn't help any. I probably know them less well, as I'm most familiar with Manx and Scottish Gaelic. I've never learned Scottish Gaelic, but if you Highland dance for long you learn a few dance names. For example, <Sean Truibhas>. You can find out how that's pronounced in IPA if you like, but as far as I know it's something like "shawn trews". In other words, the <s> is palatalized and the <bh> is silent. I may have conflated Scottish and Irish Gaelic when I said that about silent letters. Please excuse me.

All that said, you've been very helpful and informative. Thank you.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Mon 11 Jun 2012 1:41 am

Okay -- the phonology is once again under construction, and so is the grammar. I've decided that <c> in <ci>, <ce> and <ic> is [c] and the rest of the time it's [k]. I think the rest of the time the superscript j's are just going to be realized as a separate sound or dropped. I heard somewhere that Welsh (ulpedeil, question-language) is VSO, so I've changed Earish from VOS to VSO. I'm not posting the sample text yet because it's in dire need of fixing.
Most of the accented letter combinations aren't going to have their own pronunciations anymore. It's unnecessary and far too complicated for my liking. The ones that are keeping special values:
àe /aj/
ái /ai/

And as always, <ai> is /E/ as in French. I didn't feel the need to change that.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Mon 11 Jun 2012 2:08 am

Here's the new phonology:

a [a]
ae [e, E, @] (1)
â [A]
ai [E]
àe, ái [ai]
ao [i]
b [b]
c [k, c] (2)
d [d]
e [e, E, @]
ê [@]
f [f]
g [g, Z]
h [0] (3)
i [i]
î [1]
j [Z]
l [l]
m [m]
n [n]
o [o]
ô [O]
oi [i]
p [p]
q, qu [k]
r [r, 4] (4)
s [s, S] (5)
t [t]
u [u]
û [y]
v [v]
w [w, u] (6)
x [s]
y [I]
ŷ [&]
z [z]

1. [e] in open syllables, [E] in closed syllables, [@] in final position.
2. [c] preceding or following e or i, [k] elsewhere.
3. This is not known for sure; we don't have enough information yet.
4. [r] in some dialects, [4] in others.
5. [S] preceding or following e or i, [s] elsewhere.
6. w is not attested anywhere, so any pronunciation is hypothetical.

It's more concise and easier to learn now.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby linguoboy » Mon 11 Jun 2012 2:06 pm

Tikolm wrote:Here you are: <tomhail> [t3\:l'] Lōa (see), the <mh> is silent.

Before you were talking only about silent letters "at the ends of words". The mh isn't at the end of a word here, it's in the middle. And it isn't silent. It shows that there's a diphthong here, i.e.
[ˈt̪ˠoulʲ]. Up until the earlier part of the century, the vowel was also nasalised (something which didn't happen with medial bh, which also forms falling diphthongs), but that's since been lost.

Tikolm wrote:Earish wasn't specifically supposed to be Irish-influenced in particular. I'm sorry I gave you that impression.

What gave that impression was the spelling you chose. Only Irish uses the acute accent that extensively and only the Goidelic languages have such a large inventory of vowel digraphs, because only they have phonemic palatalisation. There's nothing at all about the appearance of Aoireas that suggests Welsh, Breton, Cornish, or Manx and very little to remind one of Scottish Gaelic either.

Tikolm wrote:And I don't know the Brythonic languages any better than the Q-Celtic ones, so that wouldn't help any. I probably know them less well, as I'm most familiar with Manx and Scottish Gaelic. I've never learned Scottish Gaelic, but if you Highland dance for long you learn a few dance names. For example, <Sean Truibhas>. You can find out how that's pronounced in IPA if you like, but as far as I know it's something like "shawn trews". In other words, the <s> is palatalized and the <bh> is silent. I may have conflated Scottish and Irish Gaelic when I said that about silent letters. Please excuse me.

Seann Triubhas. (It's a pretty strict rule of Gaelic orthography that you can't mix "slender" and "broad" vowels like that.)

In Irish, this word is spelled triús, with no silent letters.
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Re: New (ish) conlang: Aoireas

Postby Tikolm » Mon 11 Jun 2012 4:31 pm

linguoboy wrote:
Tikolm wrote:Here you are: <tomhail> [t3\:l'] Lōa (see), the <mh> is silent.

Before you were talking only about silent letters "at the ends of words". The mh isn't at the end of a word here, it's in the middle. And it isn't silent. It shows that there's a diphthong here, i.e.
[ˈt̪ˠoulʲ]. Up until the earlier part of the century, the vowel was also nasalised (something which didn't happen with medial bh, which also forms falling diphthongs), but that's since been lost.

Oh well, I tried. Did I really say the silent letters were at the ends of words only? I must have misspoken myself. I had no way of knowing that this <mh> indicated a diphthong and it's not pronounced as a consonant. And may I point out that your pronunciation isn't the same as the one I found? How do you explain that?
Tikolm wrote:...

What gave that impression was the spelling you chose. Only Irish uses the acute accent that extensively and only the Goidelic languages have such a large inventory of vowel digraphs, because only they have phonemic palatalisation. There's nothing at all about the appearance of Aoireas that suggests Welsh, Breton, Cornish, or Manx and very little to remind one of Scottish Gaelic either.

The other thing that uses the acute accent that extensively is French. Okay, maybe not that much, but when I started messing around I ended up with a bunch of accents. So the accents come from both French and Irish.
Tikolm wrote:...

Seann Triubhas. (It's a pretty strict rule of Gaelic orthography that you can't mix "slender" and "broad" vowels like that.)

In Irish, this word is spelled triús, with no silent letters.

Yes, I see now that I misspelled it. Thank you for pointing it up. I didn't realize it was a rule.
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