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Cat writing
Posted: Posted November 3rd, 2017 by bloodb4roses

I was thinking originally that my cat youkai would write using kanji and kana just applied to the sounds of their own language at the time they started writing (possibly with an update similar to the one Japanese had itself closer to modern times). But now I'm wondering if I shouldn't just give them their own form of writing, but I'm also not sure I want to put in the work to make "nekogana".

This isn't a huge issue right now since I won't be portraying how they write for a while anyway, but I figure it would be good to think about it.

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What have been your ruminations on this issue in the past six months?

Posted April 30th, 2018 by chiarizio

I have decided it would probably work better to use some variation on Japanese kana with a few additions or odd usages (I plan to include long/trilled /r/ and long voiced consonants, neither of which Standard Japanese has, and denote them with the "little tsu" <っ/ッ> that Japanese uses to denote long unvoiced consonants), possibly with kanji characters where necessary to differentiate homophones. I feel it's a good compromise between creating my own writing system whole cloth and making it too similar to Standard Japanese.

Posted April 30th, 2018 by bloodb4roses

I have decided it would probably work better to use some variation on Japanese kana with a few additions or odd usages (I plan to include long/trilled /r/ and long voiced consonants, neither of which Standard Japanese has, and denote them with the "little tsu" <っ/ッ> that Japanese uses to denote long unvoiced consonants), possibly with kanji characters where necessary to differentiate homophones. I feel it's a good compromise between creating my own writing system whole cloth and making it too similar to Standard Japanese.


Working on the proto language. /a/ is the "weakest" vowel for Kaibyou, so instead of /i/ or /u/ devoicing in certain positions, /a/ does. /i/ and /u/ might still coalesce(?) with /j/ and /w/ initial syllables respectively from contact with standard Middle Japanese, but that will be after a vowel chain shift and some consonant shifts. Nyango will have relatively stable /T/ (and [D]) phonemes as well.

Posted July 21st, 2018 by bloodb4roses

Cats should have a long velar or palatal unvoiced fricative.

Posted July 21st, 2018 by chiarizio

Cats should have a long velar or palatal unvoiced fricative.


I am definitely including velar fricatives (voicedness being in free variation), and probably length distinctions later.

Posted July 21st, 2018 by bloodb4roses

It turns out Parseltongue distinguishes voiceless palatal fricatives from voiceless velar fricatives.
Actually every phoneme in Parseltongue is voiceless; and none are labial nor bilabial nor linguolabial nor labialise nor rounded — snakes don’t have lips.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if they have voiceless alveolar and uvular fricatives as well.
Probably not dental, though; a snake’s tongue is slim and it’s front-tooth gap is wide by comparison.

(I don’t know if snakes have uvulas.)

Posted July 26th, 2018 by chiarizio

It turns out Parseltongue distinguishes voiceless palatal fricatives from voiceless velar fricatives.
Actually every phoneme in Parseltongue is voiceless; and none are labial nor bilabial nor linguolabial nor labialise nor rounded — snakes don’t have lips.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if they have voiceless alveolar and uvular fricatives as well.
Probably not dental, though; a snake’s tongue is slim and it’s front-tooth gap is wide by comparison.

(I don’t know if snakes have uvulas.)


Ah, that's cool.

The cats are definitely going to have more types of fricatives than Old Japanese had (only /s/ and /nz/*), and maybe even on the high end for the number of phonemes overall compared to human languages. At the very least it will have ɸ/β, θ/ð, s/z and x/ɣ.

*/nz/ should actually be a prenasalized alveolar fricative. But I couldn't find a super script option. Since Old Japanese was purely (C)V, this should be fine. But later variants of Japanese do have both NC combos and prenasalized voiced consonants, so when talking about those I will probably just present those as voiced...

Posted July 27th, 2018 by bloodb4roses

Any more discoveries in the last five months?

Posted December 23rd, 2018 by chiarizio

I'm still working on sound changes from Old Japanese to Old Nyango* so I can figure out exactly what symbols I need to use, add or change from early hiragana, and how they might write things if they just borrow hiragana directly.

*working name

Posted December 23rd, 2018 by bloodb4roses

Since the cats lose the sound /a/ more than other vowels, especially compared to Japanese, and the fricatives are derived from stop+a once the /a/ drops out, they will have symbols derived from は (for ɸ/β), た (for θ/ð), and か (for x/ɣ).

Posted January 10th by bloodb4roses

I've been looking for variant kana forms to use for the above sounds, plus /s~z/ from a variant of さ. I'm not sure how I want other clusters to resolve but I know that I only want long consonants, fricative+stop, or nasal+voiced stop, so that simplifies some issues and I just need everything to conform to those rules at the end.

Posted April 2nd by linguistcat
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