Saturday, December 29, 2012

Amerysk Orthography from Snaekk and Skryf Amerysk

From 'Snaekk and Skryf Amerysk' by Paal Filssunu, describing a conlang, Amerysk, constructed by Paal Filssunu in 1978.

Letters in the Amerysk language are not put in alphabetical order as in most European tongues, but are arranged in the pattern of the older Northern Futhark.
There are officially 26 letters in this futhark, also known as 'staves' (staefas). There are some forms in the 'runic' form of stave writing which combine similar sounds and do not stand out as the Roman alphabet's series of clustered phonetics.

VOWELSAmerysk uses eight main vowels: A, E, I, O, U, Y, AE, ØThese vowels possess single phonetic pronunciations. In the course of speaking some natural vowel lengthenings occur. These are either shown in the ( )'s for proper pronunciation, or they use lengthened written vowel forms: A becomes AA, E becomes EI, EY or Y and so forth.

PRONUNCIATION:
A is pronounced as in Tall (ah) O is pronounced as in Off, Hot (aw)
E
is pronounced as in Set (eh) U is pronounced as OO in Book (uh)
I
is pronounced as in It, Stick (ih) Y is pronounced as EE in Green (ee)
AE
is pronouced as A in Sack, Laugh Ø is pronounced as EW--- similar to German ö and Danish ø

EXAMPLES:Stagga
(stahgg-ah) stag Thurk (thuhrk) through
Swefan (swehf-ahn) to sleep Ys (eess) ice
Swift (swihft) fast, swift Wraeth (rath) wrath
Worm (wawrm) reptile, serpent (bew) village, town

The basic sounds of the vowels don't change, unlike some languages which assign up to four different sounds to a letter, or stave.LENGTHENED VOWELS

AA (aw)
as used in Waald (forest) AW (ahw) as used in Blaw! (Blow!)
AAW (aw) as used in Laaw (low) UW (ooh) as used in Bluw (blue)
EI, EY (ay) as used in Ey (island) AEW (ae+oo) as used in Maew (seagull)
and personal name Sweyn
IW (yew)
as used in Tiw (Tyr) ØW (ew) as used in Fløwan (to flow)


CONSONANTS:Amerysk uses sixteen consonants--- also, there are several consonants sounds produced by clustering. All consonants will be shown in the examples below:

MAIN CONSONANTS: As used in the English alphabet order---
B, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, W, and X

Note: C, Q, V, and Z are not used as standard letters unless they are needed in the spelling of names, or words fron languages using these letters (Caledon, Quinn, Viking, Zeus and so forth.)
Of these above mentioned consonants, the following are pronounced very much as in English, and require no special learning:
B, D, F, H, K, L, M, N, P, R, S, T, W, and X

G
is given two pronunciations according to its place in a word:
as G in the word gød (gewd) 'good', used initially, it is pronounced hard--- but when used in the middle or at the end of a word--- such as fugl (foo-khil) 'bird' or graeg (grakh) 'gray'. The G is spoken as a German 'CH' sound (KH).
GG is always pronounced hard as in Egg.
J is always pronounced as Y: Ja (yah) 'yes'.
NG is always pronounced as 'ING' in wing--- never pronounce it like the English NG in 'FING-GER' (finger).
TH is pronounced two ways--- as the hard [voiced] TH in THIS and as the soft [unvoiced] TH in THIN. TH requires memorization, and throughout this series for pronunciation purposes,
TH= hard sound TH=soft sound
KJ/TJ are normally pronounced as CH in CHEERS
SJ/SKJ
are pronouced as SH
This information, from the book 'Snaekk and Skryf Amerysk' by Paal Filssunu, is provided with all  respect to the acheivements and rights of Amerysk creator Paal-Eirik Filsunu. I have also published this info on a web site The Ameryske Tunga. (I am putting it up here to prevent the information from being lost if the web site goes down.)

I feel some of the orthography is a bit intimidating for the learner. I'm thinking of proposing an alternate orthography that is a bit simpler to learn--- perhaps changing the sj or skj combinations, pronounced as sh, into sh, which is much more widely comprehended. I admit, it does lose a bit of the Viking-y feel that way, but I think maybe if Amerysk orthography had been a bit simpler, the language would have initially spread more widely.

I also think perhaps there should be official alternates for hard sounds like th (hard for Germans, anyway) and the 'g' that is pronounced like a German 'ch'. As in, if you can't say 'th' substitute 'd', if you can't do the German 'ch' sound, use 'k'. 

Anyway, if there are any potential Ameryskers out there, what do you think? 

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