Thank you for that introduction, Corphishy, could not have written it better. I will be doing the same for my furthest-evolved conlang Yélian. That is because I recently re-explored the old thread: Horrible! I did not seem to have any linguistics knowledge. (I called a declension conjunctive II without having a conjunctive I ) So, there is a lot of improvement needed. Also, Yélian has changed markably since then. Most translation challenges are up to date, however.Corphishy wrote:I have decided to start a new topic instead of try to clean up the old one. The main reason for this being that I kind of need to start over. Vuase's first thread kind of started out on the wrong foot. I am writing a reference grammar along with this, and as of right now I have just finished the first draft of the phonology section.
Yélian's phonology is pretty simple. It contains 20 consonant phonemes and ten vowel phonemes (six monophtongs, four diphtongs). The most interesting part is that Yélian distinuishes /aɪ̯/ and /a̯iː/ as separate phonemes: See niys /na̯iːs/ - lighter vs. nais /naɪ̯s/ - on top.
The consonants are as follows:
8 stops: /b p d t c g k ʔ/ <-- four places of articulation, distinction voiced/voiceless, except for /c/
3 affricates: /t͡ʃ t͡s ͡ps/ <-- the last one occurs only in archaic and ceremonial words as well as in the informal greeting psat
1 tap/flap/vibrant: /r/
4 fricatives: /β v s ʃ/
2 nasals: /m n/
1 approximant: /j/
1 lataral approximant: /l/
closed: /i u/
mid-open: /e o œ/
Diphtongs: /aɪ̯ a̯iː ɛɪ̯ aʊ̯/
Yélian's maximum syllable size is CCVCC, as in crist (christian). The fact that I used a loanword to emphazise that already shows that this maximum broadth is quite rare. Most syllables are maximum CCVC or CVCC.
The clusters are heavily restricted: at the onset, only the following onsets can occur:
- b/p/d/t/g/k + r/l/j
- β + r/l
- s/ʃ + b/p/d/t/g/k/l/r
For research, I found two words that did not fit in this pattern: ymire [ˈʃmiːrə] - insect; arachnid and ymitu [ˈʃmiːtʊ] - proud. I am now thinking about revising that or declare them as exception; No matter what I do, this is by no means productive.
At the coda, the following can occur:
- r/l/s/ʃ + b/p/d/t/g/k
- m/n + s
One can say that CC- occurs only at the beginning of a word, and -CC only at the end of a word. If two words merge, there will be huge assimilation processes due to that. The assimilation processes can occur multiply and be so strong that you cannot tell anymore that a word is cognate to another. Example: ádamay (breakfast) comes from adan (early) and damay (food, meal-time, meal).
(Unfortunately and very sadly, I didn't manage to write an etymology dictionary so I often cannot tell anymore from which root a particular word came.)
If two stops are next to each other, one of them is dissimilated. Generally speaking, you can say that voiced consonants remain next to unvoiced ones, so /pg/ appears as [g], and /dt/ as [d] and so on; furthermore, a consonant is remaining when it is more fronted that the other one. So /pt/ becomes [t], /tk/ becomes [t] and so one. However, some exceptions occur: The word fecbrats /βekbrat͡s/ (inherent, congenital) is realized as [βɛkrɐt͡s], so the b is elided in opposition to the normal rules.
Stress in Yélian is predominantly weight-based. However, there are so many exceptions that stress is always marked.
In most of the words, stress appears on the penultimate syllable. If differing, the stressed vowel is marked with an acute: á é í ó ú ǽ iý.
If a word has more than two syllables and the last two ones are CV, then the stress is nearly always on the antepenultimate syllable: Some examples include iádama, lacátera, nánamo, válita.
If a noun is derived from a root, the stress is not shifted: So it is vanit (Hand), but vánipul (glove), vánisce (one hand full), vántuler (wrist).
Around 100 roots are stressed on the last syllable. Examples include eván (unfortunately), arák (black), avép (card game).
Loanwords generally keep the stress from the native language: cf. 'æfiáns yarrow, from Géarthnuns öifans [øjˈfãs] yarrow; éyiltut (whale), from TLFKAT eeyıtłut [ɛːje̝t͡ɬo̝t] n whale.
coda /r/ is usually realized as [ɾ] or even [d].
/β/ is realized as [f] after /i/, and is silent in coda.
/ʃ/ is [ɕ] after /e i/
/c/ is [c] word-initial, but [ɟ] between vowels and [d] before /i/.
/g/ is [x] between vowels if the second one is an open vowel.
Hiats are generally allowed, /au/ is not realized as [aʊ̯] but as [a.u].
However, when two identical vowels meet, a glottal stop is inserted. So /aa/ -> [aʔa]
Yélian vowels vary greatly when unstressed.
/a e i o u/ -> [ɐ~ə ɛ~ə ɪ ɔ ʊ] (œ always remains). The exact pronuciations can vary by the mood of the speaker. There are some vowels that have to be spoken openly. They are sometimes marked with gravis accent: à è ò ù. Indeed, this is more an etymological rule than really done thoroughly.
Generally speaking, the orthography of Yélian is relatively close to phonemic. Most letters are also self-explanatory.
/b p d t c g k ʔ/ <b p d t z g k ʻ>
/t͡ʃ t͡s ͡ps/ <ty ts ps>
/β v s ʃ/ <f v s y>
/m n/ <m n>
/a e i o u œ/ <a e i o u æ>
/aɪ̯ a̯iː ɛɪ̯ aʊ̯/ <ai iy ei au>
A well-recognized signature feature of Yélian is the writing of /ʃ/ as <y>. This writing played around in my mind since I experienced that Spanish uses <j> for [x] - years before I actually started conlanging!
I am not happy at all about <z> for /c/. It looks really ugly. <ti> has been discussed by the Northern Standard, but has been rejected as there are minimal pairs (like azenu and atienu, spoken [aˈteːnu] and [aˈtjeːnu], respectively).
Some occurrences of /k/ are written <k> or <qu> due to etymological reasons. (This was my noobish eurocentrism; However, I am not changing it because it has started to feel Yélian as well).
Also note that <i> is both a vowel and a consonant.
The alphabet of Yélian is as follows:
A B C D E F G I IY L M N O P R S T U V Y Æ Z ʻ
a b c d e f g i iy l m n o p r s t u v y æ z ʻ
Note that IY is a letter: words starting with it are written this way. So [ˈa̯iːvɔɾ] (doctor) is written IYvor when sentence-initial. Also note that IY can be pronounced both [a̯iː] and [iɕ] when actually being I + Y. Therefore, in the northern standard you use a circumflex to distinguish both. If the [iɕ] pronuciation is [iɕ], it is written <îy>. The same is sometimes done for /au/ as <aû> when it's a hiat.
<oi> and <ui> are pronounced [ɔʊ̯] and [uː], respectively. There are several more quirks in the orthography; this is a part of Yélian that is not that easy to learn.