Picking up the threads

So, I’m back! While I’ve been away, I’ve been thinking. This is always dangerous and usually heralds a big rewrite somewhere. This is also true now.

Gradually, and without my consciously deciding it, the project has become less about Lemohai and more about the rest of the Dahu-Kemba language family. I’ve been looking at how language families are modelled on the Akana collaborative conworld site and have been struck by a number of impressively concise phoneme inventories there.

Languages like Kataputi, Proto-Lukpanic, Pencek and Proto-Tulameya have only nineteen or twenty phonemes, yet still have interesting phoneme inventories. I thought I’d been brief-but-interesting with Lemohai’s twenty-eight sounds, but clearly I could go briefer and still maintain interest value.

A couple of points have long bothered me about the current Lemohai inventory. Eight of the twenty-eight phonemes are written with digraphs and that’s a high number. Whatsmore, nine of the eighteen consonants are obstruent stops, another high number. I’m also struggling to derive all twenty-eight sounds from Proto-Dahu-Kemba.

If I reduce the number of phonemes in Lemohai, this makes it easier to model the sound changes from Proto-Dahu-Kemba to Lemohai. It also frees up phonological ideas for use elsewhere in the family. Most of the family will still only be sketched-out and act as naming languages and sources of loanwords for Lemohai, but I think it’s worth getting the basics right for them.

I have a new inventory in mind for Lemohai. It’s settled bar a couple of points which I shall mull over some more between now and New Year. I also have positive plans for re-using the phonemes  I drop from Lemohai. I still like these sounds and moving them will enhance the project as a whole.

Author: David Johnson

Language constructor, writer, music fan and activist.

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