Panties and Bras

The Vowels of Nuu

This will be a presentation of the vowels used in Nuu, and a comparison of them with the vowels of the International Phonetic Alphabet. 

First I would like to comment on the vowels of the IPA and raise some objections both generally and about the way in which they are applied to English specifically, at least as is done in Wikipedia's articles.

The Vowels Of Wikipedias IPA For English

The articles in question are Wikipedia: IPA for English and International Phonetic Alphabet, which I will call IPAE and IPA: 

Wikipedia: IPA for English

International Phonetic Alphabet 

1.) Comparing IPAE with the vowel trapezoid shown in IPA, one would conclude that the vowels of code and fade are diphthongs, but in General American English they are monophthongs. Grammarians and lexicographers merely copy each other when they almost invariably call them diphthongal.

2.) One would also conclude that the vowels of food and bawd, as well as the first vowel of the supposed diphthong in code are rounded vowels, each having an unrounded counterpart found in some other language. This is not generally true. The vowel of good also is treated as a rounded vowel with no attested unrounded equivalent. However, there are no rounded vowels in General American English. Rather, the vowels of food and code are usually unrounded vowels having as rounded counterparts vowels not unlike the u and o of Spanish. Rounded counterparts of the vowels of bawd and good can be produced readily, even if their occurrence in natural languages is not attested.

3.) Furtive shwas do not occur before the r of such words as bear, beer, boar and boor, as shown in IPAE. True enough the vowels are r-colored but free of glides. Furtive shwas appear before r after true diphthongs, as in fire and hour, and rarely in words like seer, when it is the agent of see. 

4.) The vowels of bawd and bud do not constitute a rounded-unrounded pair, as one would gather by comparing IPAE and IPA. Both are unrounded, with the former articulated just below the latter, in the back of the mouth. Either may generate a rounded counterpart, but I dont know which languages, if any, have such counterparts. 

5.) The vowels of balm and bot are identical in General American English, as noted in Note 8 in IPAE. However they are not back vowels. They are front vowels, articulated just below the vowel of bat. There is no back vowel at this height in General American English. 

6.) Although Wikipedia passed over this point in silence in their article IPAE, I assume that they would consider the vowels of beg and bed to be identical, but the vowel of beg is the same vowel as the vowel of fade. This happens only before g and ng. 

7.) A furtive shwa appears before l in words like feel, file, fail, foil and mule. It sometimes is heard in words like vowel, where it can be said to be represented by e, but more often vowel is pronounced like Val, with an l-colored version of the vowel of bat.

8.) The vowel of bag, bang, bank and bash is not the vowel of bat, but passes over into a falling diphthong, with furtive i following. This is limited to the consonants specified. 

9.) Similarly, the vowel of wash sometimes tends to diphthongization, with furtive i following. This occurs only with sh. 

10.) I note that Wikipedias IPAE does not treat the final syllable of each of the words button, rhythm, bottle and mercer as a syllabic consonant, as some dictionaries do. I agree with IPAE on thus point. 

11.) The vowel of sing is not the same as the vowel of sin but rather it is the same as the vowel of scene, a fact that many dictionaries prefer to ignore.

Even if one disagrees with what I have said about the application of the IPA to English, these remarks should be accepted as unquestionably true as regards Nuu, since the pronunciation of Nuu, rather than English, is the real subject of this article. 


Nuu's Vowels (Handwritten Version)


Nuu's original alphabet was designed before the rise of Internet, and no regard was paid to high-speed online transfer.  Further below, a Romanization is provided.

Nuu has 288 vowels.  There are 24 basic vowels, 12 unrounded and 12 rounded, none nasalized and all toneless.  Each of these 24 has a nasalized toneless counterpart.  Moreover each of the 48 unnasalized and nasalized toneless vowels has five tone-bearing counterparts,

Below, I have presented the International Phonetic Alphabet's famous vowel trapezoid as well as Nuu's vowel trapezoid, derived largely from it.

Nuu has no central or centralized vowels.  So three vowels in the second row of the IPA trapezoid have been moved in Nuu to align with front and back vowels.  This does not constitute a disagreement with the IPA's selection of the point of articulation of these vowels, as much as a matter of symmetry.  Actually, the implied difference in pronunciation is so slight that it doesn't matter.

Three vowels have been added in the fifth row, and various minor changes have been made elsewhere, all reflecting the comments made above.

 


Figure 1: The IPA's Vowel Trapezoid



 


Figure 2: Nuu's Atonic Oral Vowels 


(Unround and Round) (Handwritten Version)




Here the words round and unround have been substituted for rounded and unrounded.  An unnasalized vowel, like any of the vowels of English, Spanish or Russian, is called an oral vowel.  Nasalized vowels, like some of those in French, Polish and Hindi, are called nasal vowels.  Nuu has five tones, four as in Chinese, level, rising, falling-rising and falling.  The fifth tone is rising-falling.  A vowel in any of these tones is called a tonic vowel.  A vowel carrying no tone is called an atonic vowel.  In Figure 2, the vowels in the leftmost diagonal line and in the vertical line second from the right are unround vowels.  The vowel with which each unround vowel is paired is the round counterpart, pronounced in exactly the same position but with distinct labialization.  All the vowels in Nuu's trapezoid are atonic and oral, as indicated.  

With the qualifications made above as regards IPA and IPAE, the vowels in the leftmost diagonal line in Figure 2, proceeding from top to bottom, are pronounced as in the following General American English words:

     BEAT, BIT, BAIT, BET, BAT, BOT

The upper 5 vowels in the vertical line second from the right are pronounced as in these words: 

     BOOT, PUT, BOAT, BUTT, BOUGHT

The sixth vowel is a low back vowel whose pronunciation is to be inferred from comments above.

Figure 3 shows the diacritic marks that are used to denote vowel nasality and tone.

1...Tilde (Nasality) 

2...Macron (Level tone) 

3...Acute (Rising tone) 

4...Caron (Falling-rising tone) 

5...Grave (Falling tone)

6...Circumflex (Rising-falling tone) 




Figure 3: Nuu's Diacritic Marks for Vowels

Each of the 24 atonic oral vowels has an atonic nasal counterpart, which is shown by placing a tilde over the vowel.  Atonic vowels, both oral and nasal, therefore are 48 in number.  For each of these 48 atonic vowels, there are 5 tonic counterparts, and these tonic vowels are denoted by placing appropriate diacritic marks numbers 2 through 6 in Figure 3, over the letters denoting atonic vowels.  If a vowel is both nasal and tonic, the tone-diacritic is written over the tilde.  By this procedure, Nuu's entire vowel schema, shown in Figure 4, is produced.







Figure 4: Nuu's Complete Vowel Schema


(Handwritten Version)




Figure 5 is a specimen of handwritten Nuu and contains many of the vowels tabulated in Figure 4.

 


Figure 5: A Specimen of Handwritten Nuu


Nuu's Vowels (Romanized Version)


Figure 6 shows the Romanizations of the handwritten vowels of Nuu, each in the same relative position in the table as in the diagram in Figure 2.


 


Figure 6: Nuu's Atonic Oral Vowels


(Unround and Round) (Romanized Version)



Instead of superposed diacritic marks, postposed numerals and punctuation marks are used with the Romanizations of Nuu's vowels. 

If an atonic vowels does not have an apostrophe ('), nasality is indicated by suffixing a semicolon (;).  If it bears an apostrophe, the apostrophe is changed to a quotation mark (") to indicate nasality.  This can be seen in the first two columns in Figure 8.  Tonic vowels, oral and nasal, are rendered by adding numerals 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 or 0 to the vowels in the first column of Figure 8, in accordance with the following table.

 

 Figure 7: Romanized Nuu's Vowel Suffixes


By application of the numerals and punctuation marks used as diacritics, the whole schema of Nuu's vowels as displayed in Figure 4, may be Romanized. The Romanizations are tabulated in below in Figure 8.  Note however that, because of limitations in space, Figure 8 is transposed matrixwise with respect to Figure 4, that is, rows 1 through 12 have become columns 1 through 12, and columns 1 through 24 have become rows 1 through 24.




Nuus Vowels

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

I

I;

I1

I2

I3

I4

I5

I6

I7

I8

I9

I0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

E

E;

E1

E2

E3

E4

E5

E6

E7

E8

E9

E0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

A

A

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

A8

A9

A0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

U

U;

U1

U2

U3

U4

U5

U6

U7

U8

U9

U0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

O

O;

O1

O2

3

O4

O5

O6

O7

O8

O9

O0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

A

A;

A1

A2

A3

A4

A5

A6

A7

A8

A9

A0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

Ē

Ĕ

Ē1

Ē2

Ē3

Ē4

Ē5

Ē6

Ē7

Ē8

Ē9

Ē0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

;

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

0

 

 


Figure 8: Nuu's Complete Vowel Schema


(Romanized Version)

Figure 9 is a specimen of Romanized Nuu and contains many of the vowels tabulated in Figure 8.  Figures 5 and 9 contain entirely unrelated passages.



Figure 9: A Specimen of Romanized Nuu