Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alphabet of the New Language DeRamosh #newlanguage

It's been a while since I've blogged without producing a webcomic, and this one's going to be hilarious (for me, anyway)!  At the risk of giving away too much information (in a TMI sort of way), this morning in the bathroom, it occurred to me come up with a "new language," or rather speed up the evolution of the English language (among other languages) to a state of simplicity, softness, and strangeness.

It starts with the alphabet and basic phonemes.  As babies, so it is said, we can and do speak every possible human sound.  This ability is lost when we learn our first language, in such that, some sounds in other languages are hard to reacquire.  For a native English speaker, even the gutterals involved in a closely-related Germanic language like Dutch can be odd to reproduce with one's own vocal cords.

In any case, there are way too many characters and vocal sounds in English:  Twenty-six letters (capital and small), various vowel sounds, various consonant sounds, and some relatively nasty sounds when recording on a mic (plosives and sibilants, for instance).  And so I resolved to reduce the complications with this evolved, new language.

I hashed out much of this alphabet system this morning with my friend Neeru on Twitter:  She asked questions; I made stuff up.

The Ground Rules (tentative):
1. All vowel sounds are schwas (ə).
2. Hard sounds, like hard-c, k, and hard-g are eliminated.
3. Historically similar consonant sounds are grouped together, and the subjectively softest sound is in the new language.
4. Plosive sounds like b and p are reserved for the nastiest of curse words.  I've chosen the Thorn Rune (þ) to represent this sound, even though that symbol is used as th elsewhere.  In this new language, plosives are pronounced by spitting on the person to whom you are addressing.  Hence, it is nasty.
5. The consonants d and t, as well as the th sound, are consolidated as Theta (θ).  The words vater, vader, and father are all the same. 
6. That said, the letters f and v are now represented by the letter w.
7. Soft-g sounds like j.  In Spanish, j sounds like h.  In German, Dutch, and other languages, j sounds like y.  All those letters are consolidated as y.
8. The letters l and r (interchangeable or even mutually exclusive in some languages) are represented by the letter w, like Elmer Fudd saying, ""Be vewwy vewwy quiet; I'm hunting wabbit."  This is called a Fuddian slip.
9. The consonants m and n are too close, and one must go.  Since m doesn't require your tongue against the back of your teeth like n, I chose m.
10. The letter q is now w.  (Also, when in doubt, use w.)
11. Sibilants like soft-c, s, x, and z are now a lisped θ.
12. There are no capital letters.

In short, the letters of this new language are ə þ θ w y m.  There are only six letters, and þ /spit/ is rarely used!

This new language is called θəwəməθy, or DeRamosh.  In the DeRamosh language, θəwəməθy is pronounced thuh-wuh-muhth-y' where the y is a consonant-y that stops suddenly.  It is the hardest word to say in DeRamosh, and therefore must be the first word to learn.  This is how the Latin letters in English (among other languages) compare with the DeRamosh alphabet:

A = ə
B =  þ
C =  θ
D = θ
E =  ə
F = w
G = y
H = y
I = ə
J = y
K = θ (since the hard sound of K is non-existent)
L = w
M = m
N = m
O = ə
P = þ
Q = w
R = w
S = θ
T = θ
U = ə
V = w
W = w
X = θ
Y = y (and Y as a vowel = ə)
Z = θ

We shall return to the topic of DeRamosh when I come up with a word list for the new language.  I'll use the Swadesh list of 207 words, and come up with more words as the linguistic culture of DeRamosh needs a broader vocabulary.  Since the language only has six characters, a lot of words will be spelled the same.  I think a combination of context, body language, ad hoc sign language, and a sequence of musical notes can differentiate what would otherwise be confusing.

Yes, DeRamosh might be a sing-songy language.  I'm considering using the six-note blues scale (root, minor third, perfect fourth, blue note diminished fifth, perfect fifth, and minor seventh) to convey meaning.  DeRamosh can quite possibly be a very bluesy language, with phrases and sentences that sound like face-melting guitar solos.

Or maybe not.  Perhaps.  Who knows?

Stay tuned, and we'll keep you posted regarding the DeRamosh language.  Until then, we have some silly webcomics, with #004 coming soon!

Comments are closed, but you can reach the author on Twitter:  @DeRamos (please follow!).

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