AMA About Language/Linguistics

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Sernos
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Re: AMA About Language/Linguistics

Postby Sernos » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:51 pm

Citizen Joe wrote:Is that upward lilt of a question common in languages or even historically speaking?

I really don't know much about this, but in my experience it's pretty common in most languages, at least in the Indo-European family. Historically... it's virtually impossible to know. I do know that it's not found in what are known as tonal languages such as Chinese, as a change in pitch could actually change the meaning of the word and thus, I believe (but can't quite be certain), questions are marked by some grammatical change or by the addition of a marker word.

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Sernos
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Posts: 1916
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Re: AMA About Language/Linguistics

Postby Sernos » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:53 pm

zircher wrote:When you're constructing a language, do you also figure out how the sounds are generated or is it more of a written exercise?

As an addendum to my original reply, I figured I'd also give some advice on how to represent sounds. There's two methods you can use really: you can either use a mixture of diacritics and strange characters or you can use diphthongs.

An example of using diacritics/etc. would be something like the following.
  • Ð/ð - The 'th' in "than"
  • Þ/þ - The 'th' in "thin"
  • O/o - The 'aw' in "law"
  • Ô/ô - The 'ow' in "low"

For this you can borrow from other languages or something called the International Phonetic Alphabet which exists to have a symbol for literally every sound.

This might make typing stuff kind of difficult however, but I know Macs have a way of easily inserting these kinds of characters. As for Windows, there's a number of programs out there. The one I use is AutoHotkey with a special script made just for this kind of thing which you can find if you do a bit of googling.

As for using diphthongs, this is how I would do that same list.
  • Dh - The 'th' in "than"
  • Th - The 'th' in "thin"
  • Aw - The 'aw' in "law"
  • O - The 'ow' in "low"

One last thing worth mentioning I think is that other languages may make or not make distinctions between two sounds that English either does or does not. For instance, we do differentiate between the two forms of 'th', but another language might not.

What we don't differentiate, however, is tongue position when making the 'd' sound. Normally, at least in most native English speaker accents, when you say the word "day", you make the 'd' sound by pressing the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth not far back from your teeth. If you were to do the same but move your tongue way back to more the middle of the roof of your mouth, you still recognize it as a 'd', though it sounds a bit different.

In another language, however, that difference could mean the difference between two words, like "cut" and "gut".

I hope that makes sense.


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