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I am trying to create my first alien language, I am creating an alien race that is like a two-legged reptile, has a head similar to snakes, has something similar to feathers (mostly on the head) and has horns on its head, in addition to a tail that at the end has something similar to a hand. I am looking for a way to make sense of its phonetics but since I am new I don't know exactly what words a snake could pronounce. I have seen many videos but I do not know how it would affect, for example, a thinner tongue and the teeth they have, as well as the lips of I don't know if snakes could do what a human being does. Can you help me?

Hello; Well here add information that I did not put in this and I put it in the comments

-Sorry, well with regard to that issue I would say that first with the esophagus there would not be great differences from what I could read about the anatomy of reptiles there is not much difference with humans and this not much, although with the larynx it changes a bit Unlike snakes (which is what most resembles the alien) It can open and close the glottis, but unlike the human being, it does not have it in its throat if not more in its mouth, I do not know if you saw the scheme of snakes but it is like they have it behind their tongue, in fact it can move to the sides which allows it to swallow a large prey and like these it has a cartilage near the end of the glottis where it allows it to do the same sound as snakes

Hi, it's me again, I don't know how to respond to Guest, I'm going to say thank you and the truth, and you're right, in fact it's a good idea. Well until now I'm done and right now I'm going to think about at least 5 dominant languages of this alien that I'm creating

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    $\begingroup$ You've told us some superficial things about your aliens, but what we really need to know is more about the throat/esophagus and larynx (voice box). Yes, there will be consequences for not having fleshy lips, having a large, flat palate, a smaller tongue, and much smaller (if extent) cheeks, but most human sound is a result of the throat and larynx. What can you tell us about that? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ Stack Exchange also has a site dedicated to answering questions about constructed languages. You may want to check it out if you're planning on putting a lot of work into your world's languages. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, well with regard to that issue I would say that first with the esophagus there would not be great differences from what I could read about the anatomy of reptiles there is not much difference with humans and this not much, although with the larynx it changes a bit Unlike snakes (which is what most resembles the alien) $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ It can open and close the glottis, but unlike the human being, it does not have it in its throat if not more in its mouth, I do not know if you saw the scheme of snakes but it is like they have it behind their tongue, in fact it can move to the sides which allows it to swallow a large prey and like these it has a cartilage near the end of the glottis where it allows it to do the same sound as snakes $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ Ah sorry I'm new and good thanks for having patience with me @JBH $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 0:25

1 Answer 1

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Your best bet is probably a syrinx, the vocalisation organ of birds. Unlike the human larynx, which is closely associated with the digestive tracts (one of its jobs is to prevent food going down the wrong pipe), the syrinx is strictly a respiratory accessory, located between the bronchi and trachea. This would allow you to keep snake-like swallowing anatomy which I suspect isn’t very sound-friendly (the vibrating components require some rigid attachments, like cartilage rings, while snakes need very flexible swallowing parts) and it’s evolutionarily pretty much in line with your vaguely saurischian species.

The syrinx is super effective, I think >10x loudness-per-lung size compared to the larynx (have you ever seen a wren?), doesn’t require further sound shaping using lips, tongue or cheeks, and certain birds (most notably lyre birds, mynas, parrots) can replicate a range of sounds including human speech, machinery, other birds and natural sounds.

ETA an actual answer :D so their vocalisations could be basically anything you want, potentially very bird-like among themselves (with a much wider and more complex phonology than any human language) but able to then effortlessly shift to eerily convincing human-like speech - all done without moving their lips. Some birds, iirc, can modulate the two sides of their syrinx separately so potentially they could even speak in two voices/languages at once.

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  • $\begingroup$ parrots, so I guess for all the purposes snakes talk pure english with british accent, lol. good answer. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ I just discovered how to respond to what you said and I wanted to thank you, I was literally scared what phonetics I could use and that did not allow me for the next step. About the type of a snake speaking in English, it is funny because 3 of the 5 languages ​​of the species have some words similar to the human language $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ This is because in the universe that I am creating the human race is extinct but let's say this before disappearing was a race that accelerated, so to speak, the advancement for others, since most could not even reach space and others arrived but could not contact others, let's say it was the species that started the intergalactic trade, communication with other races, etc in short globalization but galactic $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ Although humanity did it more by accident since it spent it negotiating with other races, forming alliances, conquering and enslaving them, etc. With these aliens their contact began when they were so to speak in the ancient age, humanity that first wanted to make a recognition had encountered it, they did not know whether to interact or leave them, but they realized that they had an enormous amount of souvenirs $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ That they could sell so they decided to contact a civilization which they confused with gods and well there began a friendship between humanity and this race, with the passing of time this civilization began to become rich and therefore annex and conquer to others, they also learned human words $\endgroup$
    – SFC-2
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 20:46

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