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Hallo!

On Thu, 2 Aug 2007 15:17:01 +0100, R A Brown wrote:

> ROGER MILLS wrote:
> > Ray Brown wrote:
> > 
> >>
> >> Thinks: How does one give a language that Brr factor?
> >  
> > Back in the 70s, my Natl.Public Radio station ran a series produced in 
> > Alaska-- folk tales of the Aleut (IIRC) people. The title ("The things 
> > that were said of them") was given in the language, as were the names of 
> > course and occasional phrases. It was all spoken very quietly and was 
> > full of [q]s and [?]s, and perhaps [x]s and [G]s.  Somehow it felt 
> > "cold"*-- I imagined that the language had evolved that way so that the 
> > people wouldn't have to open their mouths very wide in the freezing 
> > cold  :-))
> 
> Interesting idea   :)
> 
> Yes, not only the three vowels, but also[q], [?] and velar (or possibly 
> uvular) fricatives.
> 
> If one created a conlang that had a similar sort of resonance with Inuit 
> as Sindarin has with Welsh, then maybe one gives the language a certain 
> brr factor - but, of course, only if a person is vaguely familiar with 
> Inuit in the first place!

Perhaps I'll do that in some Albic colonial language in Iceland
or Greenland in the future :)

> (Sindarin must have a quite different feel for those who have no 
> knowledge whatever of Welsh than the language has for me, for example).

I knew Sindarin before I got acquainted with Welsh; and indeed,
back then I couldn't say it felt "Celtic" to me, but definitely
"otherworldly".  (And Quenya felt more Latin-like to me.)

> > *maybe too, because of the subject matter, 
> 
> I think that is the important factor.

Yep.  Though many think of languages of tropical paradises as being
like Polynesian - lots of vowels and few consonants - and Eskimo
is indeed phonologically about as far away from Polynesian as it
could be.

> -------------------------
> 
> Benct Philip Jonsson wrote:
> [snip]
>  > Icelandic does it with a lack of voiced stops,
>  > lots of strong aspiration and preaspiration
> 
> Scots Gaelic's like that also - we southerners find it quite cold up 
> there in Scotland    :)

The northernmost dialect of Old Albic, spoken in what is now
Scotland, has only three vowels without quantity distinction,
strongly aspirated stops contrasting with unaspirated ones,
and no voiced obstruents.
 
>  > and most importantly voiceless sonorants.
> 
> Voiceless sonorants are not too common, but are they really more 
> prevalent in languages from cold climates?
>  
> Again one could, in order to give the language a Brr factor, construct 
> one with a vaguely Icelandic feel - but again it would, of course, be 
> completely lost on those who know nothing of Icelandic.
> 
> Personally I doubt very much that any phonetic or phonological system is 
> "cold language" per_se.

Concurred.  We perhaps associate the kind of phonologies found in
Eskimo-Aleut languages with a friggin' cold environment, but that's
just because these languages are spoken there.  Brad Coon's Feorran
( http://www.lib.montana.edu/~bcoon/feorran.html ), which is meant
to be spoken in Antarctica, has a phonology not much like Eskimo-Aleut.

>       To give the language a Brr factor, one surely 
> needs to have its literary texts dealing quite a bit with its snowy, icy 
> environment in which the language is spoken.

Verily so.

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