Diinlang 2.0: The Vocab Plan

Version 1.1

Part of the original plan for Diinlang was for words to have a “CVn” format, where “C” is a consonant, “V” a vowel and “n” a nasal such as m, n or ng. One problem is that this would give us a very limited number of words if homophones were to be avoided. The second is one of definitions. Are C and V single letters, or should they be phonemes? If the latter, what sort of consonant clusters should be permitted? The problem that “w” poses to some speakers may mean that “kv” is to be treated as a homophone of “kw”. This has yet to be finalized, but I am working with the idea that no more than two consonant phonemes occur at the start of the word. Certain double letter combinations such as th, st, sh, kw, jh are counted as one phoneme, as may be the three-letter “eks”. Thus a word such as “strong” is permissible in Diinlang.
Diinlang will have some CVC words and syllables. Hard terminal sounds such as -t and -k are useful for some words. There are likely to be CVCV words too, given currently certain adverbs are made by adding “-i” or “-li” to the end of a word. Also, certain words are gendered by adding “-o” or “-a”.
There are also lots of potentially useful words that can be formed from CV or VC. Hogben makes this interesting observation about the potential of Dutton’s Speedwords:
“One advantage of a language designed to achieve maximum word-economy in Ogden’s sense recalls R. J. G. Dutton’s Speedwords, an ingenious system of international shorthand which makes use of monosyllables in Roman script, thus cutting out the effort of learning a new and esoteric system of symbols. With 5 vowel and 20 consonant symbols we can build 100 open syllables like to or be, and 100 open monosyllables like at or up, making 205 pronounceable elements, if we add simple vowels to the list. Closed monosyllables like pat or top containing no consonant clusters add another 2,000 possibilities. Since Basic English gets along with a word-list of 850 essential items, it is clearly possible to design a language of which all the root words would be monosyllabic, like the root words of a Chinese language. A language so designed need not be compromised by a superfoetation of homophones, as in Chinese; but it could not be a language based exclusively on current international roots, many of which are polysyllables.” 
It is logical that two-letter words be used for the most common concepts and uses. This includes various pronouns, determiners and conjunctions. In actual fact I have already represented some common conjunctions by single letters. In Diinlang we have 17/18 potential consonants. The letter “c” is redundant, “q” is represented by “kw” and “x” by “eks”. The utility of an initial “w-” has yet to be finalized. In the previous post I looked at the idea of having sixteen vowel sounds. Only five of these can be written as a single letter. Also, the terminal rule states that “-a” or “-o” at the end of a word use the phonemes “ah” or “oh” and “-u” uses “uu”.
Our potential CV words are thus: “Ca, Ce, Ci, Co, Cu, Cay, Cee, Cor, Ciy, Coy, Cou, Cyu, Cuh” but only 85-90 are possible two-letter configurations. There may be less since some Ce and Ci forms may be near homophones. Some CV words using “eks-” are potentially five letters long.
85-90 gives us a useful pool of two-letter words we can use for pronouns and other suitable uses. Add to this a number of potential two letter VC words and single-letter V words.
Once these are fleshed out, more thought can be given to CVn, CVC and CVCV words. Ideally the former pair are each single syllables that represent a useful concept, permitting logical and easily understood compounds. Some of the “spare” and longer CV words will see similar use. For example, “kwa” would be a useful word for “water”. “kwamek”: “water-machine”, “kwajhen”: “water-person” and so on.

Pitman Phonetics

The other day I came across an alphabet using different shapes of leaves instead of letters. This was a basic substitution of the 26 letters, with no attempt at phonetics or other innovations. It occurred to me more could have been done with the idea. Using the simplest leaf shapes for the vowels and more common letters was an obvious one. The idea that the symbols could be used both stem down and stem up reminded me of the shavian alphabet which used tall letters for voiceless consonants and deep letters for voiced.
Thinking about the shavian alphabet took me to Quikscript, and on the theme of quick writing, to Pitman shorthand.
One thing I noticed in the article about Pitman was that it used six long vowels, six short and only four diphthongs. These were remembered by :“That pen is not much good”  /ðæt pɛn ɪz nɒt mʌt͡ʃ ɡʊd/ for the short; “Pa, may we all go too?” /pɑː | meɪ wiː ɔːl ɡoʊ tuː/ for the long and “I enjoy Gow’s music.” /aɪ/, /ɔɪ/, /aʊ/, /juː/ for the diphthongs.
In the phonetics system I developed for Diinlang these would be represented:
Short: a, e, i, o, u, uh. “Dhat pen iz not mutsh guhd.”
Long: ah, ay, ee, or, oh, uu. “Pa(h) may wee orl go(h) tu(u)?”
Diphthong: iy, oy, ou, yu “Iy enjoy Gou’s myusik”
This is only sixteen “vowel-type” sounds. This is less than my previous attempts at phonetics, although the above generally ignores combinations of vowel or diphthong with -r. In Diinlang the short e also represents schwa. This article shows systems with up to 24 vowel sounds for English.

Diinlang 2.0 Participles

When creating a conlang a common strategy is to avoid inflecting verbs. This is a logical approach, since it makes a language much easier to learn. There are, of course, other approaches. Esperanto goes for lots of suffixes!
With Diinlang I aimed for uninflected verbs, but hit a bit of a wall. To be really useful most verbs need progressive and perfect tenses. Many conlangs neglect these.
In English the progressive and continuous forms are created by the suffix “-ing”, as in “running, hoping, laughing, singing”. Unusually for English, this is a rule that applies to all verbs, without exceptions. The “-ing” form is also the active/present participle: used as an adverb and adjective, and forms the gerund, a noun derived from a verb. The progressive form is commonly used instead of the simple present for many dynamic English verbs.
For regular English verbs the perfect is the same as the simple past tense form, and ends in “-ed” In many commonly used verbs it ends in “-en” or may take other forms, such as ending in “-t”. The perfect form is also used as the past/ passive participle for creating adverbs and adjectives, and may be used for nouns.
This gives us considerable nuance. Consider: “the open door”. “the opening door” and “the opened door!” or “We can help the falling, but not the fallen!”
This suggested that a verb in Diinlang needed a simple, continuous and perfect form.
The main way to express tense in Diinlang is using a short word before the verb. In another post I discussed that a distinct past form of some verbs would be useful. If “te” is to be used as the preverbal marker, it can also be added to the end of a verb, giving a final, past-sounding word. In many languages the perfect or continuous tense of a verb is not just signified by a particular verb form, but also by the use of an auxiliary verb. For many English verbs the word for the perfect and simple past are the same, and they are distinguished by the perfect using “to have” as an auxiliary. For Example: “I carry; I carried; I have carried”. Continuous use of English verbs always accompanies the -ing form with “to be” used as an auxiliary: “I am carrying” not “I carrying”.
The equivalent verbs in Diinlang are “bi/bite” and “av/avte”. Using a dummy verb for an example, we have a simple past of either ze te VERB or ze VERBte, a continuous tense of ze bi VERB and a perfect of ze av VERB. Potentially we could write ze av VERBte, but this is a redundancy. The tenses are distinct, without the need to worry about the verb form.
All this is very simple, but what about those other useful applications of the -ing and perfect forms? Unlike English, the present and past participles, gerunds etc will need a different form. Many languages do this already. Hogben argues that there is merit in having the amplifiers (adverbs, abstract nouns and adjectives) of a language as distinct, giving a reader a clearer idea of which are the nouns and verbs being modified. Having the participles as separate forms to the verbal is not as simple as English, but may contribute towards greater ease of use.
For the active/present participle I propose taking the bare infinitive of the root verb and adding the suffix “-in”. I actually adapted this from Molee’s proposal for past-participles, who suggested -en or -n. Some active participles may become VERBn rather than VERBin once I work out some simple rules. English uses “-ing” for this while many other languages use a variation of “-end(e)/-ant(e)”, so phonetically this is easy to remember.
For the past/passive participle I propose using the prefix “-ge”. We already have “ge/gete” as an auxiliary verb that makes a clause passive: “ze ge VERB”, so VERBge is logical.
When used with an article or other relevant determiner the VERBin/VERBn and VERBge forms can be used as nouns or part of a noun phrase.