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Author Topic: Gnomish Vocabulary and Grammar Discussion  (Read 37447 times)
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Gaffin
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« Reply #15 on: 17 September 2007, 00:53:51 »

Hubba-hubba wha'?  shocked *Enters dictionary.com*

Err... yeah, I'll think of that, once I can decipher it...  undecided At the moment, though, do you have any gripes with the existing suggested phonemes?
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« Reply #16 on: 17 September 2007, 01:08:04 »

Well, you know these stuff much better than I do, Anwulf.   :P

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5. (For later.) What are the derivational morphemes of the language?
Rayne did some here.  I don't know if they're being kept though. 

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6. What is the syntax of the major clause constituents of the language? SVO like English; SOV like Japanese or Vedic Sanskrit; VSO like the Afro-Asiatic languages or the Celtic languages?
From the discussion above, it looks like SVO. 

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7. What's the structure of the phrase? Do modifiers follow their heads (so most VO languages, including VSO languages)? Or do modifiers precede their heads (so most OV languages)?
It's looking like verb modifiers follow the verb while noun modifiers preceed the noun.  Is this realistic, or should it be the same for both nouns and verbs? 

Gaffin: In case you didn't get that, S=subject, O=object, V=verb

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But it's possibly for languages to have the marked member of such a pair while the unmarked sound is absent. It's called an accidental gap.

So it's possible, just very unusual? 
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« Reply #17 on: 17 September 2007, 01:14:53 »

The problem is, Gnomes don't think in terms of derivational morphemes or clause constituents. They're a very observative race, so it's probably more like:

"I need a way to tell this moron what I mean!"
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« Reply #18 on: 17 September 2007, 01:37:17 »

No one thinks about their language like that, unless they've been studying linguistics or something.  They are ways of structuring speech, so that others who understand the structure (ie. know the grammar) will know what is being said, assuming they know the words too, of course. 

Language can be thought of as a sort of code.  Not only are meanings assigned arbitrarily to sequences of sound (forming words and morphemes and such), there are certain ways the morphemes have to be ordered.  So, those who know the 'code' can understand each other, while those who don't can't. 
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« Reply #19 on: 17 September 2007, 03:01:00 »

Alright - so what I'd like to know now is which phonemes people think are unrealistic or unnecessary, so that they can be removed, and which need to be added to the list. Then we can work on the rest of the things Anwulf mentioned...
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« Reply #20 on: 17 September 2007, 03:12:35 »

Regarding the phonemes:

A good start, but it's not written in a standard phonetic alphabet (as far as I know), which might be confusing.  Anyway...

Consonants:
Ignoring the ones in the appendix for now, they seems mainly fine.  There are a couple of odd things though.  First, you have /z, ʒ, dʒ/ (the IPA symbols for z, zh, and G, if I've intepreted them correctly), but without their voiceless counterparts /s, ʃ, tʃ/ (ʃ is the 'sh' sound in eg. sheep, tʃ is the 'ch' sound in church).  But apparently that's not too much of a problem.  The other thing is that you list 'x' as a phoneme.  In the examples you gave, the letter 'x' actually represents the sequence /ks/, which is not a phoneme. 

I can't quite figure out what cr, L, M, and thd are supposed to be.  Perhaps I'm not following the instructions correctly. 
cr: I tried doing it, but it sounded nothing like a k. 
L: Is it this sound
M: Is this supposed to be a plosive or fricative sound, or something else?  (plosives involve stopping the airflow completely, eg. p, t, k; fricatives constrict the airflow, producing a sort of hissing sound, eg. f, s, sh)
thd: I can't do this at all.  Are you sure it's one sound and not something like t + rr? 

Vowels:
Firstly, I noticed there's no 'ah' sound.  I don't know if this is actually a problem, but I've not yet seen a language without it. 

Your 'E' and 'i' don't seem very different to me.  Are they supposed to represent the sounds in 'beet' and 'bit'?  If so, that's actually a rather rare distinction for languages to make.  But the problem, I think, is that you only have the distinction this one time, which is unusual.  Normally there would be entire sets of phonemes distinguished from each other the same way.  In English, for example, this is the distinction between the sets /i, u/ and /ɪ, ʊ/.  A better example might be the consonants are distinguished by voicing, such as /p, t, k, f s, ʃ, tʃ/ and /b, d, g, v, z, ʒ, dʒ/.  So, I guess what I'm saying is that it might be better to merge them, or add in /ʊ/ (the sound in 'good', according to Wikipedia). 

O: I don't know about you, but the way I pronounce the 'o' in 'ore' is noticably different from how I pronounce it in the other words you gave as examples.  It's actually more like the 'o' in your next set of examples, 'octopus', 'long', and 'doll'.  Otherwise, no problem here, I think. 

A, I, and ou: These are diphthongs I think, probably /ei, ai, au/.  Not a problem either, but it might be better to list them separately.  Also, are there perhaps other diphthongs in the language? 

You should, I think, also avoid using one letter to represent more than one sound.  Otherwise it gets very confusing.  For example, with what you have now, if there is a word that has the letter 'i' in it, how would you know which of the two sounds written as 'i' is it supposed to be representing here?  Spelling the diphthongs with two letters might help.  As for the others, I'm not so sure.   

The fact that you are choosing to spell a sound as 'euh' might also cause problems, as there are already sounds that are written as 'e', 'u', and 'h', if those sounds can occur in that sequence. 
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« Reply #21 on: 17 September 2007, 03:21:21 »

This is way over my head. Perhaps I should leave this stuff to the experts.
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« Reply #22 on: 17 September 2007, 03:31:11 »

Um, I didn't want to discourage you from it.  Is there anything in particular you don't get?  I'll try to help. 
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« Reply #23 on: 17 September 2007, 03:38:34 »

Too much stuff to consider, too many terms to remember, too many new concepts with pages full of linguistic jargon to try to understand, trying to discover the difference between one letter and another, and all that good stuff. Basically, even if I memorize the terms of the different categories of sound, I would never be able to apply it to create different sounds. Plus, I don't know what is unusual and what isn't in languages, and I can't write new phonemes anyway, because I don't know how to portray the sound I want with the English letter(s). I'm making stuff up just for the sake of having something different, or additional, than regular languages, and it ends up not making a shred of sense when someone who knows all this stuff comes and throws another website at me.
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« Reply #24 on: 17 September 2007, 03:50:12 »

Uh...sorry? 
If it helps, there aren't really that many problems with it.  Most of the length of that post came from me trying to explain things as precisely as I could. 
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« Reply #25 on: 17 September 2007, 03:54:12 »

It's no problem, I'm just frustrated. Perhaps I will understand it more later.
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« Reply #26 on: 17 September 2007, 03:59:32 »

That's good.  I was afraid I'd scared you away.  Let me know if you need any help.   :) 
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« Reply #27 on: 17 September 2007, 04:02:35 »

In relation to your previous post - yes, there aren't that many problems, but you've pointed out one for almost every change I've made to the language, which is already too english-influenced as it is.  undecided
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« Reply #28 on: 17 September 2007, 04:17:01 »

Well...it's probably better to not think of it as starting from English and then changing a few things.  It's supposed to be completely different, after all.   :)

Well, the thing about having no voiceless counterparts to some of the voiced sounds is probably fine, since apparently Anwulf doesn't think it's really a problem. 

The sounds described in the appendix...maybe you could make a recording or something?  That's normally a lot clearer than trying to describe a sound. 

Vowel-wise, it's really just the 'E' and 'i' thing, I think, and maybe the lack of an 'ah' sound.  Other than that, there's just the potentially confusing spelling. 
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« Reply #29 on: 17 September 2007, 04:19:42 »

Advice: Don't try to make a sience out of something if we just need a very rough concept how the language looks like. A few cornerstones should suffice perfectly.
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