Sunday, November 11, 2012

So, a few updates here.  Some minor vocabulary and some less minor phonological changes (or, rather, clarifications).

Let's tackle the big one first:

Long vowels

For a while now i've thought about adding in some sort of long/short vowel clarification to the orthography, but there is already so much going on with the markers for primary and secondary stress and those annoying letters that don't have a clear equivalent (like š and ǧ), that i wanted to be careful about not introducing macrons or something that would further complicate the orthography, at least until i create a writing system that I'm happy with.

After some thought, i've decided that a simple rule can supplant the need for long and short vowel markers.  Well, i thought it was a simple rule that i could write out with combinations of stressed and tense vowels, but there are, of course, exceptions, so until i work that out more succinctly, here's the bulk of it:
  • The vowels e, i, o, ǫ, and u are always long, whether stressed or unstressed, unless part of a diphthong.
  • The vowels ɛ and y are always short, whether stressed or unstressed.
  • The neutral vowel a is short when unstressed, long when stressed.
There.  No need to add additional diacritics now.

Possible Orthography Change

On the same track, i've been toying with the idea of moving around some letters to get rid of the š and ǧ problem; possibly c > k, š > c, and ǧ > q, but i haven't decided yet.  I don't particularly care for q as a replacement for [γ]. I've also thought about replacing ǫ with w, but i don't really like that either.

New Vocabulary

Finally, i have a lot of new words that i've been adding to the lexicon, many through various translations in random "conlang" groups on Facebook, etc., and most recently by filling out an extended swadesh list.  One day i aspire to tackle the Universal Language Dictionary, but i don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, and if it does, it will be Northeadish before Maltšέgj. In the meantime, i'm going to work on getting the new words added to the lexicon today, but i'm a little distracted with the age-old problem of how best to keep the lexicon updated in a format that I can actually use effectively.  We'll see how it turns out... (For now, I'm creating entries in Word, stripping out the formatting, and then pasting them into Google Sites, which seems redundant and annoying.)

One exciting facet of new vocabulary building that i explored this morning was with familial relationships. Years ago i added the words "adína" (sister) and "ǫ́bri" (niece), after my sister Adina and her daughter Aubrey. I figured i'd continue with that theme, and added "tym" (father - Tim), crýstʌ (mother - Christl), crɛg (maternal uncle - Craig), kyp (paternal uncle - Kip), lýnda (materal aunt - Linda), hɛ́lɛn (maternal grandmother - Helen)... and so on. I don't have any brothers or nephews, so I might have to make something up on those fronts, and I had to choose among family members for who had the most "maltšέgj-able" name, but I thought it was a nice tribute.