Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-25, 19:05

Koko wrote:Why have a distinct letter for an allophone? I've never heard of a language to represent its allophonology. Hundred is cent in French and not sent. In Florentine, the intervocalic [h] allophones are still written as <c> and not <h>.
/s/ is no allophone in French. That's an example of etymological spelling, where historical /k/ has merged with /s/ before historical high front vowels.

If Tynaap is supposed to be a language spoken on Earth with the Latin alphabet as its native writing system, I would also question writing out allophones (but not rule it out). But otherwise, there is such a thing as a phonetic writing system, which does mark allophony. Romanized Japanese has phonetic elements, such as writing /ti/ as <chi>, because the phonetic realization is [tɕi].
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-07-25, 19:17

That's really only to help people learning Japanese with pronunciation. It's not really anything that's significant since it doesn't really do anything for the language except help foreigners learn it. Plus, that's just the popular and official romanization: there are others that ignore the allophonology.

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-25, 19:25

And? Making a language easier for non-natives to learn isn't a valid consideration, particularly for a conlang? If your target audience (perhaps just you) will find your language's allophony unintuitive and/or difficult to remember, why not just spell it out for them? Tolkien did it with Quenya; all those tremas are just to keep English speakers from thinking final <e>s are silent.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-07-25, 19:45

The <ë>s? That's quite dumb. If you learn that <e> is /e/, then how could you think that they would be silent when final? Especially when the languages with silent <e>s explain when they are silent. I suddenly like Tolkien less :(

If the allophony is simple, why make it explicit?

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-07-25, 19:51

Koko wrote:The <ë>s? That's quite dumb. If you learn that <e> is /e/, then how could you think that they would be silent when final? Especially when the languages with silent <e>s explain when they are silent. I suddenly like Tolkien less :(
Learners aren't infallible, and it's not like he could have taken time in the books to explain Quenya phonology.

Koko wrote:If the allophony is simple, why make it explicit?
Why not? We're really getting into aesthetic considerations here. Of course, you don't have to represent allophony, but then there's no reason why you can't either. It depends on what makes the most sense to you and what your goals are.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby linguoboy » 2014-07-25, 20:07

Koko wrote:Why have a distinct letter for an allophone? I've never heard of a language to represent its allophonology.

It's not that unusual, really. Early Latin had K as well as C, with the former generally used before A and the latter before E and I. From this distribution, it's inferred that palatalisation of /k/ was already a feature of the language, with C representing [kʲ]. Eventually, the alternation was dropped with the exception of a few relics like kalendae.

Several languages have coda devoicing and disagree on whether this should be reflected in the orthography or not. For instance, Standard German Sieb [ˈziːp] "sieve", pl. Siebe but Turkish kap "pot", def. acc. kabı.
Last edited by linguoboy on 2014-08-05, 14:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby xroox » 2014-07-28, 0:30

Since the main user of Tynaap is me, i find it very useful to write <p> for [p]. There is no phoneme /p/ (or any labial phoneme), but there are bilabial allophones for other phonemes. It also has an aesthetic value because <p> is a mirror image of <q>. And it is helpful for me to have a more distinctive form for each word, Tynaap being a minimal phonology project.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Mentilliath » 2014-08-01, 17:06

I've been using <q> alone to represent /kʷ/ and it looks weird to me, but ultimtaely my language is not supposed to be written with the Latin alphabet--I just need a Latin alphabet version for ease. So "keqon" is pronounced /'kɛ kʷon/.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-08-05, 6:58

Koko wrote:Why have a distinct letter for an allophone?…

Just remembered that Neapolitan and some other Italian languages write their double consonants caused by triggers…
linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:Why have a distinct letter for an allophone? I've never heard of a language to represent its allophonology.

It's not that unusual, really. Early Latin had K as well as C, with the former generally used before A and the latter before E and I. From this distribution, it's inferred that palatalisation of /k/ before was already a feature of the language, with C representing [kʲ]. Eventually, the alternation was dropped with the exception of a few relics like kalendae.

Several languages have coda devoicing and disagree on whether this should be reflected in the orthography or not. For instance, Standard German Sieb [ˈziːp] "sieve", pl. Siebe but Turkish kap "pot", def. acc. kabı.

The <k,c> and <q>(which like the <c> is theorised to have been /kw/) as we all should know) could very well have been used the way they were for aesthetics. "kentum" doesn't look as nice as "centum" or "qentum" when you know they're supposed to mean "centum." (to me, honestly, the <c> is quite ugly outside of Romance languages— so I would prefer the <k-> and [extremely] the <q-> outside of Latin. I only use it for aesthetic reasons: I find <sh> and <ch> much more uglier than the monograph— in Isyan <c> represents /(t)ʃ/)

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Dormouse559 » 2014-08-05, 14:21

Koko wrote:"kentum" doesn't look as nice as "centum" or "qentum" when you know they're supposed to mean "centum." (to me, honestly, the <c> is quite ugly outside of Romance languages— so I would prefer the <k-> and [extremely] the <q-> outside of Latin. I only use it for aesthetic reasons: I find <sh> and <ch> much more uglier than the monograph— in Isyan <c> represents /(t)ʃ/)
Do you have any evidence why we should trust your particular aesthetic sense when deciphering the motivations of the ancient Romans, as opposed to, say, your next-door neighbor's or a random passer-by's?
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby linguoboy » 2014-08-05, 14:42

When it comes to explaining features of natural languages, I see the word "aesthetics" and my mind automatically translates it to "I don't know the real reason and can't be bothered to figure it out". It's just kicking the can unless you can clearly explicate what motivates that particular aesthetic choice.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-08-05, 17:01

When it comes to Latin, anything I say shouldn't be taken seriously. However, using certain letters for aesthetic reasons shouldn't not be acceptable. (while this isn't letter oriented) Everyone I know who actively write in cursive only do it because they find it prettier (and depending on who it is, it is prettier), contrary to what we were taught [at least my class] when we had to learn how to handwrite: "It's easier". It's fairly easy after you learn it, but to do it good is another thing. The only reason cursive survives (I think) is because people find it aesthetically pleasing.

Another thing about letters <k c q> in Latin is that the Etruscan alphabet used these letters similarly (I can't remember any <q> before <a e i> ATM, so I may be wrong; however, I did try to check).

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby linguoboy » 2014-08-05, 17:14

Koko wrote:However, using certain letters for aesthetic reasons shouldn't not be acceptable.

Right, but (1) there's no reason to assume that anyone else's sense of aesthetics happens to coincide with your own (particularly when we're dealing with people who lived 2,300 years before your birth in another part of the world) and (2) the explanations still have to be properly motivated so that "aesthetics" doesn't become a catchall for anything you can't explained otherwise.

For instance, we know that the early Romans held Etruscan culture in high regard and that it was the conduit by which alphabetic writing reached them, so it makes sense that they would've adopted certain conventions simply on the grounds that they were a part of Etruscan orthography. Feel free to make this argument if you can find actual support for it.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-08-05, 17:29

I was only suggesting the possibility of aesthetics…

I'm not sure I understand your last sentence. Do you mean a)support as in people who think so, too b)support as in well-researched reasons why this argument should be accepted or c)both?

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby linguoboy » 2014-08-05, 17:35

Koko wrote:I was only suggesting the possibility of aesthetics…

Why didn't you also suggest it might be aliens?

Koko wrote:I'm not sure I understand your last sentence. Do you mean a)support as in people who think so, too b)support as in well-researched reasons why this argument should be accepted or c)both?

Ideally, both. But if you can find an authority in the area (i.e. not just some random poster on the Internet) who makes this argument, then it's enough to direct us to the published source in which he does so. That way we can, if we wish, view the evidence he presents ourselves in order to judge whether we find it convincing or not. Such a thing is conventionally called a "citation" or "reference".
Last edited by linguoboy on 2014-08-05, 20:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-08-05, 17:45

linguoboy wrote:
Koko wrote:I was only suggesting the possibility of aesthetics…

Why didn't you also suggest is might be aliens?

I'm a nonbeliever. Well, at least in a race of beings who are believed to be far superior to humans who are tall, lanky and have bulbous heads with bug-eyes. I won't deny that somewhere in the universe there's another race, but I believe they are more human-like and doubt that they would have evolved enough to star travel.

linguoboy wrote:
I'm not sure I understand your last sentence. Do you mean a)support as in people who think so, too b)support as in well-researched reasons why this argument should be accepted or c)both?

Ideally, both. But if you can find an authority in the area (i.e. not just some random poster on the Internet) who makes this argument, then it's enough to direct us to the published source in which he does so. That way we can, if we wish, view the evidence he presents ourselves in order to judge whether we find it convincing or not. Such a thing is conventionally called a "citation" or "reference".

I'm sure someone could find a more authoritative person who's already made this argument.

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby SostiMatiko » 2014-08-11, 11:58

I have 2 conlangs.

1) SostiMatiko does not use q or c for reasons you can easily guess.

2) Free Greek is mainly written with the Greek alphabet, but when transliterated with the Latin alphabet, it uses q in this way:
q k =non voiced, velar - palatal
g c =voiced, velar - palatal.

So q g are velars, while k c are the corresponding palatals.

This scheme is based on the history of the letters in the early alphabets starting with the Phoenician, and i use this scheme for Turkic languages including Sumerian, and all languages that have a distinction of more front versus more back consonants articulated with the palate or behind it.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Kshaard » 2014-08-12, 11:53

Thank you, SostiMatiko, for bringing this thread back on track.
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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-08-12, 19:04

Koko wrote:The <k,c> and <q>(which like the <c> is theorised to have been /kw/) as we all should know)
Except no we shouldn't because <c> wasn't pronounced that way in Latin.

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Re: Pronunciation of <Q> in conlangs

Postby Koko » 2014-08-12, 19:20

I meant "similarly to the <c> being theorized to be /kj/, so is the <q> to be /kw/."

I thought this obvious… Sorry for the confusion.


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