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Tûn Boá

Llárriésh Phonetics and Phonology

Here is the collated information concerning the phonetics, phonology, and phonotactics of Llárriésh.

The Consonants:

As on Wikipedia, the orthographic forms I'll be using are on the left, and the IPA are on the right. The Sounds NB: In each of these recordings, I may have messed up. Please comment if so, and I'll try again! If I have messed up, it is because I am not a native speaker. Please take the IPA to be the final word, not my pronunciations. There's a few distinct things that are easily noticeable. One is the disproportionate amount of voiceless fricatives compared to voiced ones. The trill is also voiceless. Second, the palatals, which aren't common. Third, the voiced labial trill - a very uncommon sound. And finally, the lateral fricatives, but the lack of the normal lateral [l]. I've uploaded a sound clip of the name of the language: hear it here.

The Vowels:

The Vowels This language is tonal. There are three tones: raising or high tone á, falling or low tone a, and rising and falling tone â (which is not used (with exceptions) in the lexicon, but occurs only due to some grammatical rules.) The diphthongs are as follows: aü [ɑʊ], eï [eɪ], and aï [ɑɪ] and iü [iʊ]. Orthography for the vowels: i [i], u [u], ï [ɪ], ü [ʊ] (remember that those last two only occur in low tone). e [e] and [ø], o for [o] and [ɤ]: the latter, in both cases, occur due to specific sound changes, and are predictable. ee [ɛ], a [a], and low-tone only ë [ə], ä [ɐ]. Two vowels never occur next to each other in Ll., so one need not worry about confusing ee [ɛ]. As far as height goes: [i], [ɪ], [ʊ], and [u] are high vowels. [e], [ø], [ɤ] and [o] are mid-vowels. And finally, [e], [ə], [ɐ] and [ɑ] are low vowels. In case it is ever important, horizontally, [ə] and [ɐ] are mid-vowels, and the rest are either front or back (should be obvious which.)

The Environment Rules:

Some of these sounds only occur in certain environments: [ʙ] only occurs at the beginning of intonational phrases. It is, then, an allophone of /b/. (I am unable to give examples, currently, as I do not know the grammar yet) [v] and [ð] only occur intervocallically - that is, between two other voiced phonemes - or at the beginning or the end of an intonational phrase. Otherwise, they are realised as [f] and [θ]. This will also be reflected in the orthography. [c] only occurs in a syllable coda following a high vowel. [cç] only occurs when a syllable coda is followed by a fricative (and is after a high vowel). Palatal consonants may only occur after high vowels. The palatal consonants are all allophonic with the alveolar consonants. So, in essence, after a high vowel, [t] → [c], [t͡ʃ] → [c͡ç], and [ʃ] goes to [ç]. You’ll note that [s] and  [d] do not palatalise. However, since [c͡ç] only occurs when it is followed by a fricative, which must happen only when there is a following syllable (and this rule does not cross word boundaries), if there is a high vowel but no following fricative, the [t͡ʃ] remains as it is, and does not palatalise. The orthography will reflect these changes. [ɪ], [ʊ] Only occurs either between fricatives, at the beginning or end of a word, in diphthongs, or with low tone. [ə], [ɐ] Only occur with low tone. There are cases where [ɛ] → [ə], and [ɑ] → [ɐ], as well as [i] → [ɪ], and [u] → [ʊ]. Vowels are never nasalised. Creaky voice is used on occasion to indicate certain pragmatic information (such as sarcasm).

The Syllable Information:

The maximal syllable construction will be CC[C]VCC. For a CC to occur, one must be either a fricative (An s-like sound) or sonorant (a nasal or a liquid (l and r)). The minimal construction for a syllable is V, which means that two vowels can qualify as two syllables. In the onset, plosive-nasal is allowed, but not nasal-plosive: so, bnin wheat, but not *nbin. It's the same for plosive-liquid versus liquid-plosive: bllhana fishing net but not *llbana. You'll not the [h] in there - that's allowed after l, ll, and rr.  Only an [h] or a [j] can occur in that position, as in plyená doll. The nucleus must be either a vowel or a diphthong. The lateral fricatives and trills are never syllabic. y [j] never occurs on it's own in a nucleus, or after a diphthong. Any consonant may end a syllable by itself: in coda consonant clusters, a stop may be followed only by a fricative: pikshún to sweep. No sonorant (nasals, liquids) can end a CC coda cluster. Any fricative or nasal which occurs in the beginning of a CC coda cluster assimilates to the place of articulation of the following consonant: thus teengkún, to contemplate at the expense of other activities; to daydream (coll.), and not *teenkún. Finally, only fricatives may occur after a voiced consonant in a coda cluster. Two unvoiced fricatives may not appear next to each other, in any cluster, but may occur over syllable boundaries, as in wa'ishthéntún to eye greedily. Technically, áshv.gllhïn.ár unsmelted tin ore is allowable, but I would not suggest trying too hard to pronounce it. (The periods mark syllables.)

Phonological Processes:

At the junction of two intonational phrases, several things happen: the change of [f], [θ], and [b] to [v], [ð], and [ʙ], (the last only phrase initially) as well as the shift of word-final extreme vowels to their more centralised equivalents: [i] → [ɪ], [u] → [ʊ], [ɛ] → [ə], and [ɑ] → [ɐ]. Word-final vowels also always switch to low-tone at the extremity of an intonational phrase. Word-initial vowels are completely unaffected.


richard @ conlang . org