On Thursday, July 14, 2005, at 08:18 , John Vertical wrote:

> --- In [log in to unmask], Ray Brown wrote:
>> I have often considered that musical conlangs (musilangs??) like 
>> Solresol could extend their phonemic inventory by giving note-length 
>> phonemic value,
>> in which case pause-length might well also have phonemic value. Now 
>> there's
>> a thought   :)
> So what would you do if you had to pause for thought mid-phrase? Schwa?

Why? The extra long pause = "Be patient - I am thinking"    :)

As Sanghyeon Seo reminded us on 12th July, Lojban actually does have 
phonemic silence. Now unlike some conlangs, Lojban is actually used and 
spoken. But presumably Lojbanists do sometimes need to pause for thought 
mid-phrase & I assume this does not cause a problem.

Actually the Lojban pause is not only mandatory, but it also has _no 
specified length_:
"The period represents a mandatory pause, with no specified length; a 
glottal stop (IPA [ʔ]) is considered a pause of shortest length. A pause 
(or glottal stop) may appear between any two words, and in certain 
cases -- explained in detail in Chapter 4 --- must occur."

So as long as the pause for thought co-incides with a mandatory pause, the 
listener will not always know the difference - s/he will merely think the 
speaker is a rather slow thinker   :)

But if a Lojbanist does pause mid-word or mid-phrase where a pause should 
not occur, I guess the wrong meaning could be conveyed. Does this happen & 
does this ever cause a problem? Can any Lojban speaker enlighten us?

OK - if in a musilang, length of pause could be phonemic, I guess one 
would have to ensure that a pause for thought was longer than the 'music' 
demanded. Whether it would work or not, I do not know. I know Solresol is 
not the only conlang to have used the notes of the tonic solfa 
phonemically, but AFAIK no conlang has also made note-length phonemic. 
However, I do not see why this could not be done.

> ...Actually, that goes quite well together with the original idea posed 
> by Max:
>> For a human language I'd find it weird (and like to know if it exists)

Aw - Lojbanists aren't that weird    ;)

>> but I can easily find a situation where it could happen in an alien 
>> specie that continiously produce a sound whith a part of their body and 
>> that stopping it could be phonemic.

An alternative would be a species where the 'continuously produced sound' 
would be rather like the drone of Scottish bagpipes or of hurdy-gurdies, 
and meaning is conveyed by the distinctive notes played against the drone 
background. This would not necessitate complete silence for pauses, just 
the drone. Interesting thought

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