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Goblin Phonotactic Ramblings
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My chance to dump ideas and try to make them coherent.
This public article was written by Sylban Quin, and last updated on 7 May 2020, 10:25.

[comments] What I wanted originally for  Goblin:
  • Closed syllables (required consonant in onset and coda) throughout.
  • Simple noun structure with no mucking things up with case, etc.

  • The first rule was to make very deliberate and complicated consonant clusters in multisyllabic words to add a 'choppy' feel to goblin speech. The second was because, as a primarily English speaker, noun case was frustrating (a dog is a dog whether it is the subject, the object, or additional information, for crying out loud!) From this, several rules spoke themselves into existence:
    • Consonants in the coda position become lightly voiced or devoiced, so a final 'b' and final 'p' both become 'b̥'.
    • Word-final consonants end with no audible release unless certain conditions are met (more on this later).


    This led to words with no audible coda, and over time wore down into words without a coda at all. The development of articles that attach to nouns (definite, indefinite, proper, partitive, negative, etc.) broke both the 'simple noun structure' (by mucking up simplicity) and the 'closed-syllable' rules (by removing the coda requirement), which led to this addition:
    • When adding an article, the first consonant of the noun becomes devoiced (treated as the coda of the previous syllable).


    So 1S is gab (more properly gab̥, or if word final gab̚) (Most properly 'this goblin', as a null is used to identify this and the base noun gab means 'goblin')
    To say 'the goblin' (definite article), the particle is bo-: bogob → bokob.

    Next, I foolishly copied English and decided to mark nouns for possessive, working outside of the idea of case-marking because Genitive Case gave me a headache. Unlike the simple apostrophe-s strategy of English (HA!), I decided that reduplication of the initial syllable would mark the possessor. Sure, that sounds good.
    gagab now meant this goblin's (whatever). I later decided that that would wear down to just g'gab. Then I decided to add the same sequence to the item/thing possessed, for redundancy's sake. g'gab g'burk is this goblin's spear

    Much later, I decided to simplify 'my' and 'your' to ho- (from hob, an older version of gab from a time before h-initial words were changed to g-initial) and xæ- (from xæb, the 2S). In worldbuilding, these resisted the wearing down over time, as they were used so often.
    g'gab g'burk Used formally, as one might say to a superior.
    hoburk Less formal than g'gab g'burk, used as one might say to a lesser; it is a declaration of ownership and a demand for respect.
    burk An affirmation of ownership assigned to you. It relinquishes any claim the speaker might have on said spear.

    I decided I kinda liked mucking about after all. Add an article to a possessive and strange things happen- bokab becomes bog'kab, meaning the 'g' reduplicates before the article is attached, but the article only effects the original consonant!

    Now, when I discovered languages that used particles to mark case (Japanese, for example) instead of mucking things up like Latin does, I was overjoyed! However, the idea of tiny open syllables sitting alone and unattached didn't sit right with me... still thinking about that.
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