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Kali-sise (Pitakesulina)


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Phonology   Advanced
For a phonological feature to be included in Kali-sise, it must be present in roughly 19 out of 20 languages (92.5%, rounding up 18.5 to 19).

Every language profiled in UPSID has three or more vowels, and 94% of the languages in the UPSID survey have four or more vowels.

i   u


Languages with this system include Aleut, Classical Arabic, Greenlandic and Quechua.  

To make it easy for speakers of such languages to learn a fourth vowel, that fourth vowel is equidistant from the other three, making best use of the vowel space and making it easiest for speakers to distinguish the vowels.  This is also identical to the vowel system of Rukai:

i   u

The 'e' is pronounced as a schwa.

Kali-sise does not have an /o/ sound.

Stops - Over 99% of UPSID languages have bilabial, dental/alveolar and velar stops. Since voiceless segments outnumber voiced segments (92% vs 67%), we will adopt /p/, /t/, /k/ as our stops.

Fricatives - Since 93% of the UPSID languages have at least one fricative, we will have a fricative. About 83% of the languages have some form of /s/, so we will adopt /s/ as our single fricative.

Nasals - 97% of the languages have at least one nasal, and in 96% of these cases it is voiced /n/. So /n/ is our single nasal.

Liquids -- While 96% of languages have at least one liquid, only 72% have more than one, so again we will confine ourselves to one example. Since /l/ =is somewhat more common than /r/ (and since /l/ is less likely to change over time than /r/ is), /l/ will be our liquid.

Others - Approximants (/j/ and /w/) occur in fewer than 95% of languages and so will be excluded from Kali-sise. Glottalics are also too rare to be included.


p - as in pot
t - as in tot
k - as in cot
s - as in sought
l - as in lap

n - as in nap

Syllable Pattern
No syllable pattern is universal.
The CV syllable pattern is the most common, though some languages require it to be pronounced with a tone (note that Mandarin Chinese does not require a tone).  This pattern allows 24 (C*V=6*4) types of syllables. It may seem limiting, but in fact there are over 331,000 possible four-syllable words.
The V pattern is at best estimate not found in 95% of languages.  It appears that more than 8% of languages require an onset.
The CVN pattern, where N is a nasal, is very common (Chinese, for example, allows it), but fewer than 95% of languages support it, so it is excluded.


Based on this design, clearly, if ease of pronunciation is the number one goal of any IAL, and that goal is defined as only having features common to 92.5% or more natural languages, it is achievable with Kali-sise.

The nickname Pitakesulina is a mnemonic that exhaustively exhibits all the sounds and vowels of the language.
Conlang Profiles at © 1996-2005 Jeffrey Henning.

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