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Hallo!

On Mon, 2 Jul 2007 07:27:29 +0100, R A Brown wrote:

> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > At http://www.rickharrison.com/language/plan_b.html
> > 
> > Jeff Prothero offers this idea:
> > 
> > We adopt the alphabet BCDF GHJK LMNP STVZ.  
> 
> Yes, but this is surely confusing the meanings of "vowel". It is true 
> that "Plan B" is written only with symbols conventionally called 
> 'consonants', but the language most definitely has both phonetic and 
> phonemic vowels, as I have shown on
> http://www.carolandray.plus.com/Loglang/PhonAndOrthog.html
> 
> The language *simply is not spelled phonemically*

It can indeed be argued that Plan B has 16 consonant phonemes and
16 vowel phonemes with a rule that forbids both consonant clusters
and vowel clusters; this is probably a better analysis than saying
it had 16 phonemes each with a consonantal and a vocalic allophone.

> [snip]
> > By providing both a vowel and a consonant
> > pronunciation for each letter, and using
> > them alternately, we can pronounce arbitrary
> > strings of letters without difficulty.  
> 
> As Jacques Guy observes in his satirical response "Plan C":
> {quote}
> And I, poor sod, who thought a strict CV(V) language would do it!"
> {/quote}
> See:
> 
http://web.archive.org/web/20010616113550/http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Garden/7676/l-humor.html
> 
> Indeed, as I showed in a mail to this list, the sixteen bit patterns of 
> "Plan B" could well have been mapped to simple CV syllables. This would 
> mean that each bit pattern had only *one* pronunciation, and the written 
> representation of it would also have one pronunciation, see:
> http://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0509c&L=conlang&P=11108
> 
> Indeed, Jörg Riemeier has outlined an engelang using just this proposed 
> syllabary, see:
> http://wiki.frath.net/X-1

I have to concede that that project quickly lost momentum soon after
I started it.  Well, I am more interested in naturalistic diachronic
artlangs.  Don't expect X-1 to go beyond that outline anytime soon.

The question is, what are the phonemes of X-1?  One way to analyse it
would be that it had 16 consonant phonemes and no phonemic vowels,
and that the orthography was phonemic; but it is probably more
reasonable to analyse it as having 7 consonant phonemes /p t k s m n l/
and 4 vowel phonemes /E i O u/.

> I have since myself suggested a modification of this as you will see if 
> you read my webpage quoted above.
> 
> What Jeff Prothero did in "Plan B" was to have a system whereby each 
> pattern of four bits from 0 to F has two pronunciations - one 
> consonantal, the other vocalic - according to whether the bit pattern 
> occurs in an odd or even position. The fact that he chose to map each 
> bit pattern to a letter of the Roman alphabet that is normally used to 
> represent consonants has no relevance as to whether "Plan B" has either 
> phonetic and/or phonemic vowels.

Right.  After all, letters are just means to *represent* language;
perceiving them as the "basic building blocks" of a language means
falling way behind even 19th-century linguistics.  And in the case of
Plan B and X-1, the "deep level" is actually a stream of *bits*.

> -----------------------------------
> 
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
>  > In a message dated 6/30/2007 4:16:46 AM Central Daylight Time,
>  > [log in to unmask] writes:
>  >
>  >>
>  >>  phonemes > phonetic realization
>  >>  /tdzn/ > [tadzana]
>  >>  /ktds/ > [katdasa]
>  >>  /hrt/ > [harta]
>  >>
>  >>The vowel phones are entirely predictable from knowing just the
>  >>consonant phonemes, which leads me to think that the vowels themselves
>  >>are not phonetic.
>  >
>  > Is [a] the only vowel used?
> 
> It certainly looks like it from the examples given, doesn't it?

It does indeed look like that.

> If [a] is the only vowel and it is entirely predictable the, yes, it 
> does not have _phonemic_ status.

Yes.  The rule in the examples seems to be: "Insert [a] after every
other consonant, beginning with the first; if the number of consonants
is even, add another [a] at the end of the word".  Such a rule would
indeed mean that there are no phonemic vowels.

> But, as the square brackets used correctly by both Joseph Fatula & Stevo 
> show, [a] does (indeed must) have _phonetic_ status, otherwise you 
> wouldn't hear it       :)

Yes.

> --------------------------
> 
> And Rosta wrote:
>  > Joseph Fatula, On 30/06/2007 10:06:
> [snip]
>  >> The vowel phones are entirely predictable from knowing just the
>  >> consonant phonemes, which leads me to think that the vowels themselves
>  >> are not phonetic.  Am I analyzing this correctly?  It just seems too
>  >> bizarre, and yet I can't think of a good reason to claim that vowels
>  >> are phonetic in this language.
>  >
>  >
>  > It's not that bizarre, and indeed such an analysis has been offered for
>  > some Caucasian lgs.
> 
> Surely not! I have come across analyses of Caucasian languages which 
> postulate no _phonemic_ vowels; indeed, I have met analyses of PIE that 
> postulate no phonemic vowels.

I have heard of such analyses as well; I don't think they are appropriate,
though.

ObConlang: Old Albic could be analysed as having just one vowel phoneme
with vowel features being suprasegmental (they indeed behave quite much
like tones do in some African languages), and it wouldn't surprise me
if some razor-witted phonologist could analyse even that single vowel
phoneme away :)

> But no phonetic vowels? Is such a beast possible?

You at least need some sort of syllable nuclei; however, nasals and
liquids could be pressed into service for this :)  But I doubt that
such languages have ever evolved naturally.

> It would seem to me that Joseph is wondering if his language has no 
> phonemic vowels, surely.
> 
>  > As for whether the analysis is correct, you haven't given enough data.
> 
> Indeed not - but the examples given do suggest it is a possibility. But:
> 1. Is [a] the only vowel phone (i.e. phonetic vowel) in the language?
> 2. If the vowel phones are entirely predictable from knowing the 
> consonant phonemes, what are the rules?

We need to know the answers on these question to decide whether
the language has phonemic vowels or not.  From the examples given,
the answers seem to be:

1. Yes.
2. Insert an [a] after the first, third, etc. consonant; if the number
   of consonants is even, add another [a] at the end of the word.

If these answers are correct, the language indeed has no phonemic vowels.

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