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Hi all,

Having been inspired by several threads and comments on this list lately, I thought I'd take up the challenge of writing a diary (or call it a journal, if you will) in my invented language, Meino. This is the same language in which I congratulated James Campbell on the longevity of his language today. I'm thinking it will also help me to (a) flesh out and (b) concretise some of my ideas. Whilst I will keep these on-list entries short, and aim to only post once a week or two, excepting this initial post they will probably be extracts from an off-list journal. As my conculture is ancient/mediaeval rather than modern, they will necessarily be somewhat fictionalised, so if you ever meet me in person don't be surprised if I turn out not to hunt bears for a living!

As a general comment on events which you will be familiar with if you live in England (Scotland, Ireland, Wales) however: Rietiimi vaksain - I hate this weather!

First, a short pronunciation guide: Most consonants are pronounced as in English, with the following exceptions (CXS):

h - before a plosive this is pronounced /X\/

j - this is pronounced /y/

gn - this is pronounced /N/. In future I may use eng, especially if it survives email.

s and sz - are the opposite of their counterparts in Hungarian - that is, s - /s/ and sz - /S/

v - is an approximant, /P/

th - is pronounced as in English; note that /th/ does not occur - in monomorphemic words, /tk/ occurs instead, whilst in compounds, when a word ending in -t is compounded to a word beginning in h-, the h- changes to k-. (This is transparently a rule invented just so I don't have to invent a 'fuglyism' for either /T/ or /th/, but so be it - and it makes the language both more interesting and more Finnic, IMO.)

w is only found in the digraph mw (for which see later)

z - /z/ is only found in the digraphs "sz", "nz" (see later) and independently in two words, the articles 'oz' and 'ozo'. ('Ozo' is used before a word beginning with a consonant, 'oz' elsewhere. The other changes to the article which I mentioned in an earlier post this week have been dropped - conlangs change fast!) In the conculture, although the script is otherwise purely alphabetic, the article is written with a special character; linguists in the conculture have remarked on the oddity of this single occurrence of the phoneme - in transcriptions in linguistic literature in other in-world languages, "ozo" is written with a digraph 'sb' (presumably to suggest voicing), as 'z', or 'zd'.

The vowels a, e, i, o, u are given their Italian or "European" values, in other words "a" sounds like "a" in "cart", "i" as in "machine", etc. Ä, ö, y are pronounced as in Finnish (or German - in both, ü and y are both /y/, but in Finnish and Meino, only "y" is used). Vowels have a two-value system of length; long vowels are writtenen double (e.g. "aa"). There are two many diphthongs to list here, but basically, "ie" = diphthong, "ae", "oa" = not diphthongs. 

Now the difficult bits: Meino has two tones, one of which, low tone, is unmarked, the other of which, high tone, is marked, Hungarian-style, with a single or double-acute accent over the vowel (single over a, e, i, o, u, double over ä, ö, ü replacing the vowel - and note the use of u-double-acute here, not y-acute. Hopefully when I type a̋, ő, ű, you see respectively a-double-acute, o-double-acute and u-double-acute here, but if I receive negative feedback I will use "â", "ô", "û" instead. Long vowels may carry one or two tones - and thus Meino could be analysed as having four tones, namely low, high, falling and rising.

Finally, Meino has a set of prenasalised consonants /mb) ~ mp), /mv)/ ~ /mw)/, /nd) ~ /nt)/, /ng) ~ nk)/, /nz) ~ /ns)/, which are written "mp, mv, ng" initially and (for "ns, nt" also) finally, but "mv, mw, nd, ng*, nz" medially, since although clusters are prohibited at the beginning and (except for /st/) at the end of words, the clusters /mp/, /mv/ /Ng/ /ns/ /nt/ occur.

(*This is the reason for using "gn" to represent /N/.)

That "short" pronunciation guide turned out to be quite long, so I shall continue in a second message. Naitoiszemmu sastali - See you later!


Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones
Sent from my iMac