Print

Print


On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 21:31:41 -0700, Jens Wilkinson 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>--- Olivier Simon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>
>> (I've kept the
>> system of the silent "e" in sambahsa).
>
>Hi,
>
>I was a little bit surprised to read this. It seems
>somewhat unusual as a choice in language design. Why
>include a letter when there is no sound associated
>with it? Won't it simply be confusing to people who
>are not used to such a system?
>
>Jens Wilkinson
>Neo Patwa language: http://patwa.pbwiki.com


Sellamat kyar Jens! 
Spehm od id weter in Japan est beller quem tod in Lorraine!
Dank ob tien interessant question quod vaht nos duce ad interessant 
antwehrds...
When I began long ago with sambahsa, I didn't start with apriori ideas, but 
rather gather the international vocabulary I had at my disposal (less than 
today!) and tried to carve out general rules with it (It seems to me that Von 
Wahl did the same, but restricted to the scope of romance). Among those 
words, I had a lot of english and french words ending with a silent "e". 
I think that recognizability of words is an important feature for an 
international  language, so I gave them a chance of survival. 
Of course, I would have dropped them if they had been really useless, but in 
the course of development of sambahsa, they have proven to be endowed 
with several functions (beyond recognizability), I'm gonna try to make a list of 
them. 
All of them nevertheless serve a phonetical function. As in French, they are 
unpronounced except when the speaker opts to pronounce them ( a "schwa" 
sound) to ease for example a succession of consonantic sounds. 
Example: "Smad skape pre id Garda arrivet" ("Let's escape before the Guard 
arrives"). A speaker might want to pronounce the "e" to distinguish between 
the "p" of "skape" and the "p" of "pre". If I remember well, Sasxsek admits the 
postposition of final schwa sounds (written "x") to ease the pronounciation. In 
sambahsa, not all words have final "e", but the pronounciation can generally 
be eased by the euphonic vocalisation system. 

Final "e" have an accentuational function. Though themselves remain 
unstressed (I know one exception "café" because the accent is written!), they 
generally indicate that the precedent syllable will be stressed. For example, I 
was recently looking for an international word for "date" and I found 
arabic "tarîh" present in turkish, persan, urdu, swahili... ("datum" is not really 
available because it already means "data" and "daht(um)" means "given"...). I 
could have had "tarikh" but then the "a" would have been stressed. As I 
wanted to respect the arabic (and swahili) accentuation, I chose "tarikhe" 
with stressed "i". Moreover the "euphonic vocalisation" would not have been 
compatible with *tarikh for it would have changed its accentuation. 
The only exceptions for preceding vowels are "w" when it works as a vowel 
and "u" in "ule" (like in Occidental). 
Final "ee" is always stressed because it's a double vowel. Sambahsa 
has "armee" and James should adopt it for Kreolinga for this word exists at 
least in French and German. Note that "armee" means the whole of the army, 
and not only the "land" army! 
For the "land army" (armée de terre en français), sambahsa has "heir" (a 
germanic word, German "Heer")
For the navy: "marine" (again French and German; here the final "e" is useless)
For the air force, I haven't decided yet, but it should remain "air force" (here, 
the final "e" of "force" has a phonetic function [forts(@)], because "forc" 
would be pronounced "fork"!)

The other function, as you've just seen it with "force" is phonetic. Though 
unpronounced, final "e" can trigger phonetic effects on the preceding 
consonant or vowel. In sambahsa, there is a rule that "u" is to be 
pronounced "oo" but it turns to "ü" when a "e" comes directly after or 
separated by only one letter. So: "druv" (true) gives "druve" (truth) 
pronounced "drüv". 

Final "e" keeps the last consonant from being assimilated by some other 
suffixed consonantic ending. So: "snehg" (to sneak) gives "snehct" (sneaks)
If it had been *snehge, we would have gotten *snehget !

Last but not least: Important for verbal conjugation because remember that 
sambahsa verbs are not given under their infinitive form, but under their verbal 
stem, so that one can deduce the whole conjugation from this sole stem. 
Final "e" indicates that the verbal stem will remain unchanged; those verbs 
generally correspond to romance verbs with "a" ending (1° group). Verbal 
stems without final "e" are poen to undergo ablaut or the application of the 
Von Wahl rules at the preterit, while verbs with "e" ending will have to bear 
the persons' endings in the preterit (they are obliged to do so because, if not, 
there would be any other means to mark the preterit). 
For example "snehg" under ablaut turns to "snohg" (sneaked). 
An interesting example is "decid" ("decide", but here I departed from English or 
French for the latter form did not match the well-known latin derivational 
system which leads to "decision"). So "decid" leads to "decis" (preterit or past 
participle form). Note that there is no difference in accentuation 
between "decid" and *decide because prefixes in sambahsa remain always 
unstressed. ("De" exists in sambahsa with the same meaning as in 
Latin: "about, concerning"). 
Compare "admire", which leads to "admiration", and, in the preterit to "is 
admirit" ("he admired" with obligatory ending) versus "is decis(it)" ("he decided" 
where the ending is facultative). 

So, I hope I have fully answer your question. All this stuff can be found on my 
blog and most of it on the short grammar written in Occidental on auxlang.org. 
This has nothing to do directly with the preceding question, but I take benefit 
of this opportunity to invite you to take a look at the sambahsa-mundialect 
article I've opened on the english wikipedia before someone deletes it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambahsa-mundialect
I had the intention to add always more stuff but some "wiki-macoutes" 
summoned me that this article was unacceptable according to Wiki guidelines 
because sambahsa enjoys neither "notability" nor "a relevant number of 
speakers". I really agree with those rules provided that they are applied 
eaqually to everyone. Thus, to my knowledge, only Esperanto, Ido and 
Interlingua may have "a relevant number of speakers" and only Esperanto 
fulfills the "notability" criterium if "notability" is understood as "notability among 
the common people" and not among auxlangers... The last person who warned 
is the creator of Wenedyk, a fantasy conlang with no speakers which 
represents what would have been Latin if it had remained spoken in Poland 
after the fall of the Roman Empire... So why don't they delete first the Wiki 
article on Wenedyk? I adviced kindly them to focus their efforts on the 
deletion of Volapük bot-created articles, here there is space for such an 
activity.... Of course, you all are welcome to add a little stone to the 
sambahsa article, so that I can say that I did not the work alone...

Thanks everybody (and Jens)
Olivier
http://sambahsa-mundialect-org.blogspot.com