Exolang Phonology: Vixzrinddyig

Paul Hartzer has been interested in science fiction since the time he started reading; his first “favorite book” was Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time. He has been writing fiction, on and off, ever since. His first published novel, The Search for the Rabbit, a sequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, appeared on Lorien House in 1988 under the pseudonym P. Luc Valloglise. He holds a Master’s Degree in Linguistics from Michigan State University. He currently lives in Metro Detroit, Michigan, with his wife, son, and four cats.

Abstract

Natural language phonology is restricted by human anatomy. Likewise, conlangs with a spoken component which are intended to be spoken by humans begin with similar phonetic parameters, although they can include sounds not typically used in natural languages. Exolangs are not similarly limited by restrictions of human anatomy. However, with this freedom comes a new challenge: Just as details of human anatomy contribute to our phonetic parameters, exolang phonetic profiles ought likewise to be justified by anatomical characteristics of the sentient species using it. Also, from a practical level, there is the danger in making an exolang so alien it becomes inaccessible to human audiences. Vixzrinddyig was designed for an alien species whose articulatory system is similar, but not identical, to that of humans. As a result, its phonology is comprehendible to humans but alien nonetheless. This article discusses the linguistic strategies used in devising the phonology profile of Vixzrinddyig.

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