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Toneglish (pronounced /t˦owŋg˨ɪʃ/) answers a question nobody asked: what if English were a :tonal language?



The process I used to evolve tones into English was heavily guided by this excellent video. In summary, starting from :General American:

Input → Output / Situation
p, t, k, tʃ, f, θ, s, ʃ → p˦, t˦, k˦, tʃ˦, f˦, θ˦, s˦, ʃ˦ / _V
b, d, g, dʒ, v, ð, z, ʒ → p˨, t˨, k˨, tʃ˨, f˨, θ˨, s˨, ʃ˨ / _V
m, n, ŋ, l, ɹ, j, w → ˨ / _V

Voiceless obstruents get a high tone added when before a vowel sound, voiced obstruents become voiceless and gain a low tone before a vowel sounds, and sonorants turn into a low tone before a vowel sound.

Also, word stress is gone because c'mon... a tonal language that also has stress?? don't be ridiculous..........



After applying these changes, we end up with a version of General American that no longer has voiced obstruents before a vowel or any sonorants at all before one. This means that, for example, <fan> and <van> are now /f˦æn/ and /f˨æn/ respectively.

Because the difference between the letters F and V is only in terms of tone in this instance, it might make more sense to instead spell these words as <fán> and <fàn>, using a tone diacritic. This way, the letter V can still be used for [v] in words like <òve> (standard English <love>, the letter V maintains its normal pronunciation because it doesn't come before a vowel sound).

Therefore, when the consonant preceding it carries a high tone, the vowel letter is written with a high tone diacritic ´, and when the consonant before it carries (or is) a low tone, it is written with a low tone diacritic `. This also applies to <y> when it represents a vowel sound.



The following text was modified from Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

All hùàn beings are born free and equàl in tìgìtý and ìghts. Thèy are entàwed with èasón and cónscíence and shóuld act tóàrds òne aòthèr in a spíìt of bòthèrhood.

[ɔːl h˨uː˨ən biːɪŋz ɑːr bɔːrn friː ænd iːk˨əl ɪn t˨ɪg˨ɪt˦iː ænd ˨ajts ð˨ej ɑːr ent˨awd wɪð ˨iːs˦ən ænd k˦ɑːnʃ˦əns ænd ʃ˦ʊd ækt t˦ə˨ɔːrdz ˨ʌn ə˨ʌð˨ər ɪn ə sp˦ɪ˨ɪt əv b˨ʌð˨ərhʊd]



The most cursed thing here is my lack of understanding on how tones work.

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