Last modified on 26 September 2008, at 17:17

Novial/AIL Euphony

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EuphonyEdit

There is one very important point which remains to be discussed in regard to the phonetics of an international language. While all nations find it easy to pronounce series of sounds in which vowels alternate with single consonants, and while almost all nations accept certain groups of consonants that are easily combined (tr, sp, bl, etc., before vowels), there are other and heavier groups which a great many nations find it extremely difficult to pronounce, especially at the end of words. The French usually lighten the more complicated groups by the insertion of an unwritten vowel (e.g. in Félix(e) Faure); Italians speaking English often do the same for such groups as kstr (Greek Street) or ksp (sixpence). And there are other nations whose phonetic habits allow of even fewer consecutive consonants than Italian. If we want to make things as easy as possible for everybody, we must therefore avoid the mistake of Idiom Neutral (and to a less extent of Occ) with its heavy groups of final consonants in many words, but must rather imitate Esperanto and Ido, which are made sonorous and pleasant to the ear by their numerous vocalic endings like Italian or Spanish. This, however, does not mean a wholesale adoption of the purely artificial grammatical system of these languages with their strict enforcement of the rule that every substantive must end in o, every adjective in a, etc., for as we have seen and shall have frequent occasion to see later on, this system is a great hindrance in many ways if we want the greatest facility and the greatest grammatical efficiency for our language. We do not allow a word to end in groups like gl, gr, mpl, ks, nj, etc. Every substantive in the singular must end in a vowel, but need not end in the same vowel, thus we have, e.g. regle rule, negro, negra negress, temple, sexu, chanjo. Every full verb also ends in a vowel: regla, mari, distribu. Every adjective that would otherwise end in more than one consonant is provided with the ending i: simpli, exakti, fixi, kapabli, etc., and the same i may be added to any adjective ending in a single consonant, if this is found convenient for the combination with a following word, thus by the side of bon good, and national we have boni and nationali, e.g. in boni kause, nationali state. inflexional endings added to substantives, verbs, and adjectives are s, n, m, d, t, and thus contain no consonant groups; the only exception is the participle in -nt, but to that we may always add -i if we like, as it belongs to the adjectival class. Apart from these inflexions the only words ending in consonants are some prepositions, auxiliary verbs, adverbs, etc.: in, kun, por, vud, kam, kel, nur, on, etc. These are generally unstressed according to the principle of value stressing, but all the important words in a given context end either in a vowel or one of the grammatical single-consonant endings mentioned. The result may be judged from the texts printed at the end of this book, and it is hoped that when read aloud they will produce not too disagreeable an impression on the ear and present no serious difficulties for the organs of speech. Questions of euphony are very important when the new language is to be broadcasted and used over the telephone.