Talk:Habeo languages

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Vowel frequency

While making a sound change file for the Habeo languages, I've noticed a flaw in the diachrony: the vowel frequencies are very unbalanced, with almost no /i/ and an overwhelming amount of /e/. With the changes given by Pocketful of Songs, the Proto-Xoronic lexicon yields the following frequencies for Proto-Habeo:

i 13 (0.7%) i: 0 (0.0%)
e 788 (41.8%) e: 125 (6.6%)
a 381 (20.2%) a: 175 (9.3%)
u 358 (19.0%) u: 44 (2.3%)

In order to get more /i/, I'd suggest the following modifications of the sound changes:

  • add the following rule to the vowel shift:
    • e: u: > i: i:
  • change these two rules:
    • i > e not when adjacent to š
    • use i instead of e for epenthesis

This would give the following frequencies:

i 237 (12.6%) i: 9 (0.5%)
e 578 (30.7%) e: 118 (6.3%)
a 381 (20.2%) a: 175 (9.3%)
u 344 (18.3%) u: 42 (2.2%)

IMHO these are much better. /i/ is still the least frequent of the vowels, so the general feel of the language remains similar, with almost two out of three vowels non-high, but it would enable Proto-Habeo to have a true four-vowel-system with length distinction (which was obviously the intention), not a strange /e a u/ three-vowel-system with very few /i/ oddballs. Cedh 10:33, 15 September 2008 (UTC)