Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Tinkerers Anonymous: Some people can't help making changes to "fix" Toki Pona. This is a playground for their ideas.
Tokiponidistoj: Iuj homoj nepre volas fari ŝanĝojn por "ripari" Tokiponon. Jen ludejo por iliaj ideoj.
janU
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:44 pm

Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janU » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:09 pm

Here is a bit of my current ideas for toki pona pronunciation.
/p/ = [p] ≠ [pʰ]
/t/ = [t] ≠ [tʰ]
/k/ = [k] ≠ [kʰ]
/j/ = [j]
/n/ = [n], [ŋ]
/s/ = [s], [ʃ]
/w/ = [v], [w]?
/l/ = [l], [ɬ]?
/m/ = [m]
/u/, /o/ = [ʊ], [u], [o]
/i/ = [i], [ɪ], [e]
/e/, /a/ = [a], [æ], [ɛ]
Toki pona could have something like a three vowel system if there is no distinction between /e/, /a/ and /u/, /o/. I don't think it would cause much confusion, and it could make pronunciation easier and faster. In this case ali should be used instead of ale to avoid confusion with ala.

janKipo
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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janKipo » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:16 pm

The current situation is basically not to pay too much attention to “minor” phonetic differences and just accept taht everyone speaks with an accent. The official line is somewhat more rigid and unrealistic (all stops are non-plosive, dentals are dental not alveolar or retroflex, /s/ is just [s] and so on. But the practical guide to speaking and, more importantly, hearing tp acknowledges all the phonological push and pull that spken language is subject to, so /i/ pulls /s/ (and /t/ and /k/) one way, /u/ pulls /l/ another. and /w/ screws around with /e/, to name just a few of the most obvious. /w/ stays [w], not [v] except in certain L1 infused dialects.
The vowel system is much worse, of course. There are a few words that prevent tp from going to a three-vowel system, but in the actual speaking there are a lot of cloudy cases: /a/ slides close to /e/ sometimes and to /o/ at others. /i/ and /u/ fluctuate in the higher reaches but don’t seem to cross the o and e boundaries.
So, an /i a u/ system is a real possibility with a few changes, distinct front and back in at the top and a murky swath at the bottom. The murky swaths front and back with a clearly central is less likely, somehow (well, no change is very likely). In any case, it is good to keep an eye on this, since we are starting to ge more spoken tp and so data about what actually happens.

janU
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:44 pm

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janU » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:41 pm

Much of this was inspired by Inuktitut, but it sounds very different without uvulars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAwyQJ33jyo


I made some improvements:

/p/ = [p] ≠ [pʰ]
/t/ = [t] ≠ [tʰ]
/k/ = [k] ≠ [kʰ]
/j/ = [j]
/n/ = [n], [ŋ]
/s/ = [s], [s̠]
/w/ = [v]
/l/ = [l̥]
/m/ = [m]
/u/, /o/ = [ʊ], [u], [o]
/i/ = [i], [ɪ], [e]
/e/, /a/ = [a], [æ], [ɛ]

When two syllables with i follow each other, the initial one is often [ɪ]. For example; lili, ni li, kili.
When n comes at the end of a syllable it would be pronounced as [ŋ] (linja, jan, anpa), and [n] in all other cases (sina, ni, ona). I believe that this would be slightly easier to pronounce than just [n] in all situations. (n-n = n) (n-vowel = ŋ)


Stress:
The syllable before punctuation.
e, li, la, pi
mi and the na of sina when it is used like "you are" and "I am".

Diphthongs and vowel length:
When a word beginning with a vowel follows a non stressed word ending in a vowel, the two would usually form a diphthong or a long vowel:
a-i, e-i = [ai]
a-u, e-u, a-o, e-o = [au]
u-i, o-i = [ui]
o-e, o-a, u-a, u-e = [ua]
i-a, i-e = [ia]
i-u, i-o = [iu]
o-o, u-u, o-u, u-o = [ʊː], [uː], [oː]
a-a, e-e, e-a, a-e = [aː], [æː], [ɛː]
i-i = [iː], [ɪː], [eː]
If the word following an e or a is "e", it would become [ai], instead of [aː], [æː], or [ɛː].

This was just a concept I came up with, it's probably a little bit too much of a stretch to be added to toki pona. Another way to do it would be to just keep consonants and everything else the way it is, but use the three vowel system for pronunciation, which I think really would improve it.

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Teilnehmer
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:27 am

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby Teilnehmer » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:23 am

Wow! The three-vowel system fits surprisingly well for Toki Pona! The only word pair that becomes indistinguishable is ken ~ kin.

Code: Select all

a
akisi
ala
alasa
ali
anpa
anti
anu
apija
awin
i
iju
iki
ilu
in
insa
isun
jaki
jan
jilu
ju
kala
kalama
kama
kasi
kili
kin (!)
kin (!)
kipikin
kipisi
kiwin
ku
kuli
kulupu
kun
kuti
la
lapi
lasu
lawa
li
lili
lin
linja
lipu
liti
luji
luka
lukin
lun
lupa
ma
mama
mani
mi
miji
mili
mu
muku
muli
mun
munsi
munsuta
musi
muti
namaku
nanpa
nasa
nasin
ni
nimi
nina
nuka
pakala
paki
pali
palisa
pan
pana
pi
pilin
pimija
pini
pipi
puka
puki
puna
sama
sijilu
siki
sili
silu
simi
sin
sina
sinpin
sitilin
siwi
suli
suna
sunu
supa
suwi
suwili
tan
tasu
tawa
tilu
tinpu
tu
tuki
tumu
u
uku
ulin
una
unpa
upin
uta
utala
walu
wan
wasu
wawa
wika
wili

janKipo
Posts: 2958
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janKipo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:12 am

Yes, ‘ken/kin’ has always stood in the way of three-vowel solutions -- pretty much all of them, since most seem to put /e/ and /i/ in the same group. The high-mid-low pattern doesn’t collapse /e/ and /i/, but it runs into ‘ken/kon’, as does the i-u-other pattern.
‘kin’ is mainly an artifical word so (even if we don’t collapse it into ‘a’) we can easily substitute another word for it. ‘ken’ appeals to Anglophones, of course, but, say, ‘kan’ would work as well.

janU
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:44 pm

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janU » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:30 am

Vowel frequency for when i and e are collapsed.

a - 306
i - 399
u - 119

Vowel frequency for when a and e are collapsed.

a - 402
i - 303
u - 119

High (i-u), mid (e-o), low(a).

High - 434
Mid - 184
Low - 306

A problem with the high-mid-low type of alignment is that it might be difficult to learn at first, since vertical vowel systems are so different from how most languages work.

Toki pona as it is spelled (from a page of text).

a - 306
e - 96
i - 303
o - 88
u - 131

Frequency in Inuktitut:

a - 642
i - 753
u - 466

Frequency in Wichita:

High - 89
Mid - 21
Low - 68

So it looks like collapsing e and i would probably be the best way to do it.
Last edited by janU on Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

janKipo
Posts: 2958
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 2:20 pm

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janKipo » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:27 pm

Thanks.
I don’t know what conclusions to draw from this -- except that vowels just aren’t going to be venly distributed however we do it (though I’m not sure why that should matter at all).

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janTepanNetaPelin
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:14 pm
Location: Berlin

Re: Ideas for Phonology. Three vowel system.

Postby janTepanNetaPelin » Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:23 pm

Teilnehmer wrote:Wow! The three-vowel system fits surprisingly well for Toki Pona! The only word pair that becomes indistinguishable is ken ~ kin.



toki!

I noticed that, too. Luckily, if you follow the official Toki Pona book by Sonja Lang, there is no need to use "kin", as it's a mere synonym of "a". Problem solved, let's go three-vowel! :D
I would still try and keep the five vowels for names, though.
https://github.com/stefichjo/toki-pona (mi sitelen e lipu ni pi toki pona)
mi jan Tepan. mi pu. mi weka e jan nasa Kipo e jan nasa Lope.


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