Of course I would vote for Shwa :)

The only thing Hamer needs that the current version lacks is a suffix to
indicate non-release.  I had one in a previous version, but took it out
when it seemed to me I couldn't find an example of a language where it
wasn't phonologic, or even just idiolectal.  Since your email of a day or
so ago, I've been thinking it would make more sense to indicate the
unexpected PRESENCE of a release in a syllable- or word-final pulmonic stop.

What are i; and a;?

On Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM, Paul Bennett <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> More ramblings on the Ethiopian natlang Hamer.
> As far as I've been able to figure out, there's no writing system for it,
> either de facto or de jure.
> I reckon this situation could be improved upon.
> So, consider this a con-scripting challenge, which appears to be more or
> less on topic.
> To recap:
>  b    d   J\  g
>  p    t   c   k       ?
>                   q'
>  b_<  d_<     g_<
>       z
>  f    s   S   x       h
>       ts
>       4
>       l
>  m    n   J   N
>  w        j
> Plus phonemic gemination non-initially, plus phonemic lack-of-release for
> pulmonic stops finally.
> * VOWELS *
>  i       u
>    e   o
>      a
> Plus length, plus zero or one of { +glottal, +laryngeal }.
>  i;
>   E  O
>    a;
> Romanization seems pretty straightforward:
> IPA for the consonants, with doubling for gemination, and an apostrophe
> for lack-of-release, leaving out the redundant apostrophe for /q'/. Maybe
> plain <r> instead of "fish-hook" for /4/. Vowels as written above for the
> 5-vowel triangle, plus doubling for length, and maybe acute for [ +glottal
> ] and grave for [ +laryngeal ]. Macrons or something on <a>, <e>, <i>, <o>
> for the additional vowels. Question mark immediately following the marked
> word in yes/no questions, and some kind of mark, maybe <^>, <¬>, or <~>
> after the marked word in negative statements. Maybe <j> for /J\/ and <y>
> for /j/. Maybe <ñ> for /J/ and/or <š> for /S/. Punctuation (except as
> already used for pitch marking) pretty much as in English.
> What intrigues me, though, is a writing system that would let someone
> literate in Hamer be more or less literate in the rest of Ethiopia. To this
> end, I'm thinking of a Ge'ez based writing system.
> There are a couple of key things to bear in mind:
>  * Unlike Amharic, consonants do not (almost) universally come with a
> following vowel.
>  * Unlike Amharic, vowels carry a much greater functional load, can
> cluster in at least VVV clusters, and are far more numerous.
> With this in mind, I've been thinking of a semi-alphabetic system.
> Consonants would be written purely alphabetically, using the Series 1 form
> of the Ge'ez syllable (the /@/ series) plus some diacritics. There has been
> talk of Amharic spelling reform to place two dots over geminated
> consonants; I think that's a pretty good start. Maybe a single dot for
> "lack of release". Acute and grave on the final (or first?) letter of
> yes/no and negative words respectively.
> Vowels could be written using the Aleph row for [ +glottal ], one of the
> "spare" <h> rows for [ +laryngeal ], and the Ayin row for plain / "umlaut".
> The additional vowels would be written with another of the "spare" <h> rows.
> The consonants would look something like this, in roughly the order above,
> with some blanks to be filled in later:
>  በ ደ ጀ ገ ፐ ተ ቸ ከ ቀ ዘ ፈ ሰ ሸ ኀ ፀ ረ ለ መ ነ ኘ ወ የ
> Note that this order is for convenience of notation. I'd probably stick
> with the H, L, X, M, ... order used for the relevant subset of Ge'ez.
> The exact nature of the blanks, and the diacritics to be used, are left as
> an exercise for the reader, along with the possibly-redundant process of
> writing out the entire series for the vowels.
> Questions, comments, suggestions?
> --
> Paul