(Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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

Post by Ælfwine »

Not too unusual. Gothic -jj- > -ddj- after all.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by jimydog000 »

Creyeditor wrote: 12 May 2021 15:59 I was just wondering what time travel would mean for diachronic language change. Would languages become more stable, due to transtemporal levelling? Less stable, die to transtemporal mass migrations? Would people become multilingual in several stages of one and the same language?
If it's forward time travel, maybe they would form small communities, especially if this time travel was happening in something analogous to pre-industrial U.S (?) Otherwise they would assimilate into the present language/dialect. If they gained some sort of influence, it would be over the next generation if they shape how the language evolves.

I'm just thinking about something simple, where speakers of Middle English are transported to the present. Would they keep word final shwas or quickly adopt dropping them? Would they help keep whom in the present vocabulary? Would it just become another dialect of English?
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Post by Salmoneus »

It would be considered an entirely different language, as it's not mutually intelligible with English*. [consider how English and Scots, both descended from Middle English, are considered different languages, despite being much closer to one another than either is to Middle English]


*yes, intelligent and educated and open-minded English speakers, when assured that Middle English is indeed English, can 'get their ear in' and understand the gist of spoken Middle English. But it's not easily done, most English speakers would simply not recognise Middle English at all, and even those who got the gist would be confused by a lot of false friends and archaic words, and even some points of grammar. As many of us will know from English classes, it's often pretty hard going even in written form, with a lot of editorial footnotes required.

If you haven't heard Middle English, here's what it sounds like. If you listen closely, some sentences are entirely understandable, but there's also long stretches that sound like gibberish. I suspect it's even worse for American listeners, who don't have the advantage of having heard Irish, Scottish, West Country, Norfolk, etc accents...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas »

I suspect it's even worse for American listeners, who don't have the advantage of having heard Irish, Scottish, West Country, Norfolk, etc accents...
Well, we're not quite thát parochial. Melting pot and all that. But accent I agree plays into it.

To be honest, what makes this particular rendition more ungothroughsome than the language itself is the rushed delivery. Or at least, it sounds rushed to me. Like he's trying to get all the words out before time runs out or something. There are oodles of CT readings on the Youtubules that are more measured, and I think ME would be much more comprehensible for the time traveler if his interlocutor brought it down from 78 to 33 1/3.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

I remember hearing Canterbury Tales on audiotape in school, and it was definitely spoken with a slower speech tempo than this one. Im not sure we can really do anything but guess at what the typical speaker's prosody was like in those days, or how much variation would fit within normal variability.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

I can't remember, but can pharyngeals lower vowels? I know that they advance the tongue root, in contrast to uvulars that retract it, but I'm not sure if that means they couldn't lower vowels. Or conversely, could they raise vowels?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

You should look at the dissertation of Syllak-Glassman on post-velar consonants. He definitely has all the data. Here is a link.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

Creyeditor wrote: 29 May 2021 00:15 You should look at the dissertation of Syllak-Glassman on post-velar consonants. He definitely has all the data. Here is a link.
Thanks, an interesting read on its own virtue to be sure! Although I don't really have the kind of time right now to sift through this rather large paper to look for an answer to this rather minor question.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 »

Ahzoh wrote: 29 May 2021 00:41
Creyeditor wrote: 29 May 2021 00:15 You should look at the dissertation of Syllak-Glassman on post-velar consonants. He definitely has all the data. Here is a link.
Thanks, an interesting read on its own virtue to be sure! Although I don't really have the kind of time right now to sift through this rather large paper to look for an answer to this rather minor question.
Looks like the relevant bit is in Section 3.1:
Sylak-Glassman wrote:The most common effect [of post-velars on vowels] is lowering, which can apply systematically to all the non-low vowels in a language’s inventory. Lowering can occur next to all post-velar consonants. Backing is also attested, but is less common than lowering and tends to occur more next to uvulars than pharyngeals. Lowering and backing effects are typically non-neutralizing and occur at the phonetic level, presumably as a result of co-articulation, both anticipatory and perseveratory.
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Post by Salmoneus »

elemtilas wrote: 28 May 2021 16:02
I suspect it's even worse for American listeners, who don't have the advantage of having heard Irish, Scottish, West Country, Norfolk, etc accents...
Well, we're not quite thát parochial. Melting pot and all that. But accent I agree plays into it.

To be honest, what makes this particular rendition more ungothroughsome than the language itself is the rushed delivery. Or at least, it sounds rushed to me. Like he's trying to get all the words out before time runs out or something. There are oodles of CT readings on the Youtubules that are more measured, and I think ME would be much more comprehensible for the time traveler if his interlocutor brought it down from 78 to 33 1/3.
Well sure, all languages are easier to understand if everyone speaks at the speed of a teacher reciting to their least apt pupils. But real people, speaking their native language, do speak quickly - there's no reason why Middle English would be spoken more slowly than modern English. [indeed, since modern English has gnarlier phonotactics (lots more closed syllables and same-syllable clusters, thanks to the loss of unstressed final vowels), it would probably have been spoken slightly quicker than modern English, not more slowly!].



In the video, the narrator speaks the first 136 words in around 55 second, or a rate of 148 wpm.

By comparison, a survey of five popular TED Talks found a speaking range between 154wpm and 201wpm (thanks, Tony Robbins!), with an average 173wpm. And they didn't bother pausing their timer to cut out slide changes, applause and other pauses, so these are actually underestimates. Another survey of seven other TED Talks found 6 of them between 150 and 190, and 1 around 140. "Chaucer" in this video was speaking a little faster than Al Gore, but slower than most other TED speakers.

On the other hand, Churchill's "We shall fight them on the beaches" speech was delivered at around 130wpm. And if you listen to that, it sounds almost glacially slow for a recitation. Meanwhile, JFK delivered some of his speeches at over 300wpm (more than twice as fast as this 'Chaucer').

In general, apparently, 120-150 is considered conversational, while radio hosts and audiobook readers tend to be in the 150-160 range (they're either reading a script or skilled at extemporising). Sports commentators can speak at up to 400wpm, and the fastest speaker on record spoke at over 600wpm.

This Chaucer sounds faster to you because you don't understand him, not vice versa - we perceive speech we understand to be slower than speech we don't (as we all probably know from having heard a conversation in a foreign language and marvelling at the machine-gun syllables!).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

Dormouse559 wrote: 29 May 2021 02:28
Sylak-Glassman wrote:The most common effect [of post-velars on vowels] is lowering, which can apply systematically to all the non-low vowels in a language’s inventory. Lowering can occur next to all post-velar consonants. Backing is also attested, but is less common than lowering and tends to occur more next to uvulars than pharyngeals. Lowering and backing effects are typically non-neutralizing and occur at the phonetic level, presumably as a result of co-articulation, both anticipatory and perseveratory.
Ah, so I couldn't have one set of post-velars lower vowels while another set raised them.

I kinda wanted to do:

Code: Select all

c.i)  /a aː e eː i iː o oː u uː/ > /ɑ ɑː e eː e eː o oː o oː/ adjacent to /q₁ χ₁/
c.ii) /a aː e eː i iː o oː u uː/ > /æ æː i iː i iː u uː u uː/ adjacent to /q₂ χ₂/

d.i) /ɑ ɑː æ æː e eː o oː / > /ɒ ɒː ɛ ɛː ɛ ɛː ɒ ɒː/
But I had originally thought to have it so an original inventory had reflected in a descendant as certain vowel qualities due to historical pharyngeals versus glottals:

Code: Select all

Original > /ʔ h/  ; /ʡ ħ/
/a aː/   > /ɒ ɒː/ ; /ɛ ɛː/
/e eː/   > /i iː/ ; /ɛ ɛː/
/o oː/   > /u uː/ ; /ɒ ɒː/
/i iː/   > /i iː/ ; /ɛ ɛː/
/u uː/   > /u uː/ ; /ɒ ɒː/
Last edited by Ahzoh on 29 May 2021 02:55, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush »

Ahzoh wrote: 28 May 2021 22:23 I can't remember, but can pharyngeals lower vowels? I know that they advance the tongue root, in contrast to uvulars that retract it, but I'm not sure if that means they couldn't lower vowels. Or conversely, could they raise vowels?
I don't have any academic sources, but from my own experience, Arabic /ʕ ħ/ tend to raise the adjacent vowels (or at least /a/), especially in dialects where /ʕ/ is more stop-like- e.g. /ʕan/ is [ʕæn~ʕən~ʕɛn] but never [ʕɑn] in these dialects. Similarly /fataħ/ is [fætæħ]. In contrast, /Xall/ is often [Xɑll] (also with pharyngealization of /l/).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

Davush wrote: 29 May 2021 02:50
Ahzoh wrote: 28 May 2021 22:23 I can't remember, but can pharyngeals lower vowels? I know that they advance the tongue root, in contrast to uvulars that retract it, but I'm not sure if that means they couldn't lower vowels. Or conversely, could they raise vowels?
I don't have any academic sources, but from my own experience, Arabic /ʕ ħ/ tend to raise the adjacent vowels (or at least /a/), especially in dialects where /ʕ/ is more stop-like- e.g. /ʕan/ is [ʕæn~ʕən~ʕɛn] but never [ʕɑn] in these dialects. Similarly /fataħ/ is [fætæħ]. In contrast, /Xall/ is often [Xɑll] (also with pharyngealization of /l/).
Actually, I had read the cited book and the /a/ > /e/ change isn't really "raising" per se, but rather, it is "palatalization" which is a common result from pharyngeals in languages like Avar.

So I'm not sure pharyngeals can raise vowels actually.

It is interesting though, that pharyngeals can result in palatalization.
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Post by Salmoneus »

...how do you 'palatalise' a vowel without 'raising' it?
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Post by Creyeditor »

Maybe it is supposed to describe fronting, e.g. e->o? Sylak-Glassman uses two different feature systems in different parts of the dissertation, so I am not 100% sure.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

Salmoneus wrote: 30 May 2021 18:25 ...how do you 'palatalise' a vowel without 'raising' it?
In this case, it is merely fronting it, but also I think ATR causes "lax" vowels to become "tense" vowels, which can result in some raising. But that isn't necessarily the same as turning /e/ into /i/ or /o/ into /u/.
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Post by Salmoneus »

Ahzoh wrote: 30 May 2021 20:08
Salmoneus wrote: 30 May 2021 18:25 ...how do you 'palatalise' a vowel without 'raising' it?
In this case, it is merely fronting it, but also I think ATR causes "lax" vowels to become "tense" vowels, which can result in some raising. But that isn't necessarily the same as turning /e/ into /i/ or /o/ into /u/.
But ATR also isn't the same thing as palatalisation!
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Post by Creyeditor »

I think in some feature systems (e.g. Element Theory) there is a palatal element that causes elements to front and/or raise. But I'm just guessing where the terminology came from here. This is of course not really articulatory palatalization, IINM.
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Salmoneus wrote: 30 May 2021 20:11 But ATR also isn't the same thing as palatalisation!
Of course they're not the same and I was talking about them as if they were two distinct features, which they are.
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Salmoneus wrote: 29 May 2021 02:37 This Chaucer sounds faster to you because you don't understand him, not vice versa - we perceive speech we understand to be slower than speech we don't (as we all probably know from having heard a conversation in a foreign language and marvelling at the machine-gun syllables!).
No. That's not what I said. I reviewed the link: I do understand what he's saying, he's just talking fast.
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