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At 09:39 02/07/03, Chris Bates <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:
>Its pretty bad! Lets list the faults: Irregular stress (is that a
>problem for people whose L1 has regular stress, Christophe? anyone?) A
>massive number of vowel sounds (although less than some of the other
>Germanic Languages I think) which must be pretty hard to master for
>someone whose L1 has the more normal 3 - 5 ish vowel system. Quite a few
>consonant clusters which must be pretty hard if you have an L1 which is
>mostly CVCV... like Japanese for instance (although nowhere near as bad
>as Georgian I agree). Quite a large number of consonants as well
>compared to some languages, the most difficult to learn are probably T
>and D by people whose L1 doesn't contain them admittedly. I remember
>once I was in France with a girl called fritha... her name was
>unpronouncable to everyone except the local school english teacher.
>Although when you think of it esperanto is as bad if we're looking at
>phonology... I don't think I'd try to design the next international
>language even if I wanted to be an auxlanger because to be honest making
>a language which is easy to use takes all the fun out of it.

I seriously doubt the possibility of a universally easy phonology.  For a
role-playing game once I wanted a quick conlang for names (if conlang you
could call it: I hardly went past the phonology), but I wanted to make it
nice and easy on my players who were not as keen on languages as I. So I
went for five vowels (no contrastive length), a consonant inventory that
was a subset of the English one, and (C)V syllable structure.  This
arguably should be easier than English to an English speaker (if you're not
too fussy about the exact pronunciation of the vowels, which I wasn't).

Actually, I found my players had extraordinary difficulty with the
names.  I *suspect* the reason is that although CV syllables are nice and
easy to pronounce, the simple syllable led to more polysyllabic words which
were a strain on the memory.  There's no reason internal to the conlang, of
course, for this to be the case but I suppose the English speakers learn
each of these simple syllables as if to contrast with all possible English
syllables.  I had a similar sense of this when I was trying to learn
Japanese.  Anyway, this whole idea may be entirely wrong (I've never read a
suggestion elsewhere that suggested that vocubulary learning is done in
syllabic chunks) but <python>this is my teory (which is mine)</python>.

Ian