(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

A forum for discussing linguistics or just languages in general.
User avatar
jimydog000
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 166
Joined: 19 Mar 2016 04:14
Location: Australian Country

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by jimydog000 »

Evni Öpiu-sä wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:51
My newest and largest conlang's name is pronounced [ˈlɑnriuŋ] in the language. How is it spelled in English?
That's your choice and depends how your language works. It could be Lanriung, Lanriun or even Lanrinese.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1959
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Or Lahnraiodhounn...

User avatar
eldin raigmore
korean
korean
Posts: 5595
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 19:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore »

Following David Peterson’s recommendation would make the English spelling as simple as possible, and as likely as possible to guide the Anglophone reader to as close-to-correct a pronunciation as possible, within the constraints of the Latin alphabet, English phonology, and English orthography.

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 265
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ser »

Although Salmoneus' example is exaggerated, I think the point is that English speakers generally don't mind using very weird spellings for names of languages (and people, tribes, ethnicities, places and countries). Just look at the use of the Spanish <j> in "Navajo", the Mandarin pinyin <x> in "Naxi", the Portuguese <x> in "Xucuru", or the use of the early modern English final <a> in "Ojibwa" (intended to pronounced oh-JIB-way, with an English "long ā"; also spelled "Ojibwe" resembling a French final <é>).

I imagine the name of the "Tape" language of Vanuatu is supposed to be pronounced [ˈtʰɑpeɪ], but I'm not sure. "Wutun" (Wǔtún) represents /u˨˩.tʰwən˧˦/ in Mandarin too.
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1959
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Actually, I initially took it as just asking how it 'should' be spelled.

My general point was just that there's no one right way to write a language: you have to choose that yourself. And there are many factors that might influence this. Nobody can say what spelling is better without knowing what effect you're aiming for (Lanraiodhonn, for instance, looks celtic, whereas Lahnriejung looks Germanic). Moreover, nobody can say what's a good way to romanise any word unless we know what contrasts are being made. So, for example, when I wrote 'Lahnraiodhounn' I was making clear three contrasts: -ah- rather than -a- to indicate the back /A/ rather than the front /a/; -ai- rather than -i- to indicate that /nr/ is not palatalised; and -ou rather than -u- to indicate a back /u/ rather than a fronted /y/. But of course, the language may not distinguish /a/ from /A/, nor /u/ from /y/, nor have systematic palatalisation - so I don't know if those (or countless other possible contrasts) need to be made clear. Conversely, I wrote -aiodh- because I'm assuming a language in which /iV/ diphthongs are rare, and are not distinguished from /ijV/ sequences - but maybe they're common and that distinction is made, in which case you'd need to indicate it differently! I also assumed that /nn/ sequences don't arise, leaving -nn- free to indicate /N/. And likewise, maybe /A/ is distinguished from /a/, but not from /o/, and /l/ is not distinguished from /r/ - in which case you could spell it Ronreung...


More generally, I think there are five - often contradictory - factors in play in creating an orthography:

1. Clarity: making the pronunciation unambiguous, efficient and predictable
2. Universality: using symbols and rules in a way that will be familiar to speakers of the most languages possible
3. Anglicentricity: using symbols and rules in a way that will specifically be most transparent to speakers of English (or another specific target audience language)
[2 and 3 can both be broken into two parts: what is most likely to suggest the right pronunciation?; and what is most likely to NOT suggest the WRONG pronunciation? The answers will not always be the same!]
4. Fertility: by which I mean, a fertile orthography conveys or suggests additional information, such as etymology, or the connexions between different inflected forms of the same root, or other words derived from the same root
5. Colour: giving a language a particular colour and flavour and overtone, by hinting at other languages the reader might be familiar with.


-----------


Now, if we instead take the question as literal - how WOULD it be written in English if it were a real name - then Ser is right. English uses all sorts of weird spellings for exonyms.

To work out the most plausible answers, you'd probably need to work out a) when English encountered the language, and b) what intermediaries the contact occured through. If it was via French, it might be spelled in a somewhat French way; if it was via Chinese, it might be spelled in a way influenced by Wade-Giles. Etc. If it was learnt about from non-speakers, it might well lose distinctions in the original, or gain new ones!

So maybe it's Laan-reung, or maybe it's Lariog, or Lanneriungue, or Landreeyoun, or...

Curlyjimsam
sinic
sinic
Posts: 220
Joined: 01 Sep 2010 15:31
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Curlyjimsam »

Evni Öpiu-sä wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:51
My newest and largest conlang's name is pronounced [ˈlɑnriuŋ] in the language. How is it spelled in English?
I personally would go for Lanriung. Laanreoong or something might more reliably get you the right pronunciation, but I think it looks a bit weird.
The Man in the Blackened House, a conworld-based serialised web-novel

User avatar
Ser
sinic
sinic
Posts: 265
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada

Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ser »

Somewhat relatedly to the topic of separable/inseparable "prefixes", I learned today that the ancient Roman grammarian Donatus considered the directional verbal prefixes as "prepositions" like the true prepositions...
Donatus wrote:- Quae praepositiones sunt quae dictionibus serviunt et separari non possunt? Di-, dis-, re-, se-, am-, con. Quo modo? Dicimus enim “diduco”, “distraho”, “recipio”, “secubo”, “amplector”, “congredior”.
- Quae sunt quae conjungi non possunt? “Apud” et “penes”.
- Quae conjunguntur et separantur? Reliquae omnes.
- What prepositions are there which serve words and cannot be separated? Di-, dis-, re-, se-, am-, con. How so? We say for example diduco, distraho, recipio, secubo, amplector, congredior.
- Which ones can't be attached? Apud and penes.
- Which ones can be attached and separated? All the others."
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

Post Reply