ShounenRonin wrote:Are five vowel conlangs cliched?
A five-vowel system is the single most commonly-attested in natural languages. I'd say that makes it pretty immune to criticism.
ShounenRonin wrote:In my current project, I have five vowels, but changed the phonemes for a couple of them. They are /a/, /ɛ/, /i/, /o/, and /ʊ/. I am thinking of reducing it to three or four like what alot of Amerindian languages have. Maybe have O be both /o/ and /ʊ/ or even /ɔʊ/according to the situation or some sort of accent and I represent both /i/ and /ɛ/.
If I go with five basic vowels, I think u will be /u/ and /ɯ/.
A note on phonological conventions: symbols between slashes represent phonemes; phones are written between square brackets. So if you have one orthographic symbol i which is pronounced [i] in some contexts and [ɛ] in others, then you would pick one of these values to represent the underlying phoneme. (The most straightforward choice would be /i/, but you might have reasons for choosing /e/ or /ɛ/ instead depending on the overall shape of the vowel system.)
Note that it's also possible to have distinct phonemes rendered by a single character in the orthography. In German, for instance, /e(ː)/, /ɛ/, and /ə/ are all written e and disambiguated by such factors as consonant doubling and knowledge of stress placement. Moreover, the actual phonetic values of each of those phonemes can vary quite a bit so that, e.g. /ɛ/ may be as tense as [e] in some contexts and as lax as [æ] in others.