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I'm having a small crisis over the vowels in Finlaesk.

The two-penny tour: It's what happened to the Old Icelandic spoken by the  
settlers of Vinland (North America) in its AU.

The current vowel set is as follows:

   i i: i~ y y: y~         u u: u~
   e e: e~ 2 2: 2~ @ @: @~ o o: o~
   E E: E~ 9 9: 9~         O O: O~
    a a: a~              A A: A~

Unfortunately, it seems to have travelled the exact opposite direction  
 from Old Norse that is *should* have done for a language surrounded by the  
indigenous languages of southern and western Greenland, eastern Canada,  
and the wortheastern USA.

The predominant language families all have much simpler vowel (and  
decidedly less Europeanly regular) layouts, such as

   i
    I
   e e: @ o o:
       a a:

... or ...

   i:
    e @ o o:
     E
      a a: a~

... or ...

   i      u~
    e @~ o
      a

... or ...

   i   u
     e
    E
   a   A

... or ...

   i i:    u u:
       a a:

It is, in short, the kind of environment in which I suspect my  
nicely-laid-out Germanic vowel grid just would not stay stable. Worlds are  
colliding, and things are going to collapse. The only problem is: which  
things?

It seems that the front-rounded vowels would need to go, and one or more  
of the back rounded ones, too. Where from there, though? Pages and pages  
of core morphology would be flushed down the same tube.

Ironically, /@/ and phonemic nasalization both entered the vowel inventory  
thanks to the native languages, but then the inventory kind of took off  
running with a force all its own, and now I'm staring down a particularly  
worrying gun barrel, wondering where exactly I went wrong in my life.

All thoughts and suggestions solicited.




Thanks,




Paul






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