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Aszev of the CBB joins us for a little talk about the many kinds of phonological processes: what they are, what you can do with them, why the order of processes in important.  We also review the awesomely well-developed Novegradian with its 500-page grammar and excellent dictionary.

Top of Show Greeting: Talmit

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Featured Conlang: Novegradian

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Email from Nathaniel Fischer:

Dear Conlangery Podcast,
I really enjoyed your episode on gender, and I thought I’d contribute my own interesting tidbit.In the Kiowa-Tanoan languages, there is a very unusual way of marking number that interacts with gender. The Kiowa-Tanoan languages typically have 4 genders and 3 numbers (singular, plural, and Dual). Every word “expected” number. If the number is “unexpected”, then the inverse number marker is applied. What is funny is that  what number is expected number varies from gender to gender. So in one gender, you might have the singular and the plural marked with the same affix, while in the next gender, you may have the plural and dual marked with the same affix. Look up inverse number marking for more details.

-Nate

13 Responses to “Conlangery #37: Phonological Processes”

  1. Anthony

    everyone loves Bianca!

    also, this is a great podcast. not sure why you’d stop it at 52, though…42 might make a certain amount of sense (it’s the universe and everything, after all)…but what is 52?

    >did we lose somebody?
    probably the fault of that bus a few episodes back.

    Reply
  2. Anthony Docimo

    Could part of Novegradian be described as reconstructing? In the same way that a form of Hebrew was revived in the 20th Century, built upon the Torah and Talmud primarily; Novegradian was revived in teh conlang, built upon historical materials from/relating to medieval Novegradian.

    or is my mind seeing a paralel/connection that isn’t there?

    Reply
  3. Bryn LaFollette

    Reduplication is a great source of potential for cool phonological outcomes, since, depending upon the redplication morpheme’s size and your syllable structure, you can have such a wide range of consonants coming into contact with.

    The example that I think is probably the most iconic (like vowel harmony in Turkish) is Ponapean reduplication. Another related micronesian language that’s interesting to look at is Mokilese reduplication, though it’s harder to find easily accessible data online.

    Reply
  4. Bryn LaFollette

    One example of synchronic metathesis in Standard English is the common casual pronunciation of “comfortable” as [ˈkʌmf.tɹ̩.bl̩] as opposed to [ˈkʌm.fɹ̩.ˌtə.bl̩] of more careful speech. When people talk about ease in relation to examples like this, what they’re really talking about is “ease of articulation” balanced against “maximizing contrast”. The former is easier in terms of syllable count (3 vs 4) and hence a single prosodic foot (instead of two, with corresponding secondary stress). Of course, alternations like Old English græs~gærs ‘grass’ or acsian~ascian ‘ask’ are, I think, just a matter of free variation that became stabilized in a particular form in a particular dialect. It’s not ease of articulation, just the dialect’s preferences regarding syllable structure (complex onset > codas, or complex coda > coda + appendix).

    Reply
  5. Bryn LaFollette

    I think the framework Bianca was trying to recall is Autosegmental Theory. The concept of Feature Geometry it introduced as an approach to the structural interrelation of phonological features is well worth a look. It’s essentially the current model for articulatory representation of distinctive features, and has been since the 80s.

    Reply
  6. MBR

    A word or two about French singing….

    French is my least favorite singing language, partly because of all the blasted allophony and those horrible nasal vowels. But word-final e is not the only strange thing about it; /r/ shifts from [ʁ] to the “Italian” [ɾ] and [r] (it does this with German as well).

    Regarding word-final e, the only time it is pronounced is when the composer sets it apart. For instance, in the Bizet aria “Quand la flamme de l’amour”, every word-final e is pronounced *except* for the one in the line “quand regard de femme humilie”. I don’t care what IPA Source says; there is no way to fit that [ə]. From what I hear, this word-final e is omitted quite a bit, though I’ve sung only two songs in French, and for good reason. I much prefer German for a “strange-sound” language (though singing in German presents other problems, most notably Richard Wagner).

    Reply
  7. Trebor

    I was re-listening to this episode yesterday and a couple things came to mind re: metathesis.

    1) For a subset of Arabic nouns, it is notable that metathesis is used as a pluralization strategy, of which many others exist:

    -> ‘state’ (as in ‘a member state of the UN’)
    -> ‘opportunity’
    -> ‘room’ (as in ‘living room’)
    -> ‘photograph’
    And at least one case exhibiting either minimal productivity or analogy:
    -> ‘room’ (as in ‘living room’; borrowed, I’ve read, from Turkish)

    One wrinkle might be that these words end in a special Arabic letter, tā marbūṭa, where the root ends in -/a/ in isolation but a /t/ appears if a suffix is added or more words follow (the only case of laison in the language–cf. French [nu sɔm] ‘we are’ vs. [nuz avɔ̃] ‘we have’).

    2) The Rotuman language of Fiji uses metathesis–and not marginally. I hope it can be mentioned in a future episode.

    Reply
  8. Trebor

    (The material between lesser and greater signs did not appear, so this post had to be submitted again.)

    I was re-listening to this episode yesterday and a couple things came to mind re: metathesis.

    1) For a subset of Arabic nouns, it is notable that metathesis is used as a pluralization strategy, of which many others exist:

    dawla(t) -> dūal ‘state’ (as in ‘a member state of the UN’)
    furṣa(t) -> furaṣ ‘opportunity’
    ḡurfa(t) -> ḡuraf ‘room’ (as in ‘living room’)
    ṣūra(t) -> ṣūar ‘photograph’
    And at least one case exhibiting either minimal productivity or analogy:
    ʼūḍa(t) -> ʼūaḍ ‘room’ (as in ‘living room’; borrowed, I’ve read, from Turkish)

    One wrinkle might be that these words end in a special Arabic letter, tā marbūṭa, where the root ends in -/a/ in isolation but a /t/ appears if a suffix is added or more words follow (the only case of laison in the language–cf. French nous sommes [nu sɔm] ‘we are’ vs. nous avons [nuz avɔ̃] ‘we have’).

    2) The Rotuman language of Fiji uses metathesis–and not marginally. I hope it can be mentioned in a future episode.

    Reply
  9. Teal Briner

    An example of metathesis from my textbook: In Leti, when three consecutive consonants occur, the first consonant trades places with the preceding vowel. So /danat + kviali/ (“millipede”) changes to [dantakviali]. It’s a great example for any language that has compound words and/or affixes but is also strict about sounds what can occur next to each other.

    Reply

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