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CONLANG  October 2009, Week 3

CONLANG October 2009, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Recycling letters (<: Using <x> as a vowel)

From:

"<deinx nxtxr>" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 18 Oct 2009 11:12:26 -0400

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text/plain

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R A Brown wrote:
> <deinx nxtxr> wrote:
>> maikxlx wrote:
>>
>>> I think it looks oddball to use <x> for _any_ vowel, but we're trying to
>>> achieve the same thing, i.e., to regularize the orthography while 
>>> avoiding
>>> inconveniences, and that means recycling unused basic letters. 
>>
>> The idea wasn't new.  Rick Harrison had already used it for languages 
>> like Vorlin and Jigwa so I just borrowed the idea.  
> 
> That is true. I had the impression, maybe mistakenly, that this was 
> taken from the use of <x> in algebra to represent an unknown and was 
> thus thought appropriate for the "neutral vowel" [ə].

Keep in mind, IPA uses a tiny "x" as the symbol for centralization.


> But AFAIK this use of <x> = [ə] is found only in conlangs. In natlang 
> orthographies <x> has been used for a whole variety of sounds, but 
> always consonant sounds; see:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X

One of the several romanizations for Thai uses <x> as a vowel (ISTR 
[ɔ], the inherent vowel in the Thai abugida), but that's about the 
only example I know of.


>> In the case of SASXSEK, maximum machinability was a high priority so I 
>> had to keep it all within the ASCII range.  Deini uses its own script 
>> but there are cases where I need Romanizations, and didn't mind using 
>> full Unicode there.  Normally I'd probably use <y> for <ə> 
> 
> Presumably that should be [ə]

Yes.  I considered <ə> too.


>> but it was taken up by  /1/.  
> 
> Welsh gives good natlang precedents for <y> being used for both [ə] 
> ('obscure y') and [1] ('clear y')     :)

They are distinct phonemes in Deini.



> [snip]
>>
>> I don't mind an orthography that looks "odd".  To some extent any 
>> foreign orthography looks that way to some degree or another.  I don't 
>> think <x> for /ə/ is any worse than Welsh's use of <w> as a vowel.
> 
> Ouch! That surely is a bit of anglocentricity!
> 
> While <x> was originally used in the Roman alphabet for [ks], and has 
> been used ever since in natlang orthographies for some _consonant_ 
> values, that is *not* true of <w>.
> 
> In fact, <w> was not originally part of the Roman alphabet; it is a 
> medieval invention, being formed - as indeed its English name shows - 
> from <uu> which, in capitals was VV.
> 
> This was at a time before V and U were differentiated;the letter V 
> (uncial <u>) was used *both as a vowel and as a consonant* (as indeed it 
> was in ancient Roman orthography. It seems to me that the Welsh use of 
> <w> to represent both the consonant [w] and the vowels [u] and [u:] is 
> pretty close to the letter's origin.

I know about <w>'s origins but Welsh is unique.  It's not really 
anglo centric. Most of the languages that use it, assign it to 
either [w], [v] or something close to those.


>> <q> is one I've found multiple uses for.  In SASXSEK it's /ŋ/, Deini 
>> is /ɣ/.  I have one conlang using it for /dʒ/ and I've seen in used by 
>> others for /tʃ/ and even /θ/.
> 
> Yep - <q> is also a letter that natlang orthographies have found 
> multiple uses for, cf.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q
> 
> The use for /tʃ/ is similar to its use in Chinese Pinyin spelling. I've 
> not encountered <q> = /θ/ in conlangs (but that does not mean it's not 
> used that way, but it is often conventionally used in Net 
> transliterations of Greek to represent the Greek θ (theta), which in 
> modern Greek is pronounced /θ/.

I haven't seen any Greek transliterations using <q>.  I've always 
seen theta as <th>, even on signs in Greece.


>> [snip]
>>> As far as /S/, my main project Mull has <c> for /S/, but my side 
>>> projects
>>> usually have <x> for /S/. I find the latter _much_ more attractive 
>>> than the
>>> former,