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Ythnandosian Orthography
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This time it's not stupidly regular
This public article was written by soup, and last updated on 4 Aug 2017, 03:19.

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1. Letter Values
2. Orthography

Ythnandosian is written in the Jidmi script, a 34-letter alphabet originally created for Classical Kauzic, its ancestor. Ythnandosian has a phonemic orthography for the most part, but it isn't always exact.

[top]Letter Values

Most letters only correspond to one phoneme. Here are the letter values in the Ythnandosian alphabetical order.

i/i/, /j/i
m/m/, /ɵ̃/m
n/n/, /ẽ/n
r/ɹ/, /w/r
h/∅/, /h/h
ŋ/ŋ/, /õ/ŋ
ü/ʉ/, /w~j/ü
j/ɬ/, /ɮ/j


Now for the actual orthography part. Some of the letters above showed more than one phoneme, and a few are only used in loanwords.

ť ď /θ ð/ only exist in loanwords and are sometimes mispronounced as either /f v/ or /s z/.

h is placed between vowels to represent hiatus in native words. In loanwords, it just marks /h/, and is sometimes either mispronounced as /x/ or omitted. If omitted, it acts as a "dummy onset" (e.g. zamhen /zamhen/ [zam.en]), but this pronunciation is still "incorrect".

ñ /ɲ/ only exists in loanwords and is very rare, being the least common letter/phoneme in Classical Kauzic (a source of loanwords). Its originally "correct" realization /ɲ/ is so rarely used that the standard language allows any of the following pronunciations: /ŋ jŋ~ʲŋ ŋj~ŋʲ/.

i u /i u/ represent /j w/ next to another vowel. ü /ʉ/ represents /w/ next to an unrounded vowel and /j/ next to a rounded vowel.

m n ŋ /m n ŋ/ represent /ɵ̃ ẽ õ/ in most words where they are not next to a vowel. These vowels came from syllabic nasals (hence their spelling) and have a wide variety of realizations in different dialects, with some merging all three. The Iru dialect (on which the standard language is based) uses /ɵ̃ ẽ õ/, so they are generally transcribed as such.

r /ɹ/ represents /w/ in an onset with another consonants (e.g. pren /pwen/). While this has long been considered incorrect and a characteristic of "gutterspeak", most speakers now use /w/ in that environment, even in formal speech. The standardized pronunciation now uses it as well, and using /ɹ/ in that environment now makes the speaker sound pompous.

j /ɬ ɮ/ represents both phonemes because there are very few minimal pairs. Although its pronunciation depends on the word, it can sometimes be guessed based on the source of the word. For instance, loans from Classical Kauzic almost always end up with /ɬ/, but most grammatical words or affixes have /ɮ/. The few minimal pairs that do exist generally come from words that merged through sound change, or to differentiate two slightly different meanings of the same word. Some dialects only use /ɬ/ because they did not undergo the same split the standard language went through, and others differ on which phoneme is used in certain groups of words.

Ythnandosian marks low tone with the tuhà, a diacritic placed on the vowel that looks like a breve or caron and is romanized as a grave accent. The letters è ò ȍ à represent the low tone vowels /è ò ɵ̀ ɑ̀/, and the other four vowels cannot take low tone. There is a major split in Ythnandosian dialects on how these vowels are pronounced, with some dialects pronouncing them with creaky voice instead.

The plural is marked by making the last vowel of a word low tone if it isn't already, and if that vowel is one of i u ü y then it will still be written as ì ù ȕ ȁ even while being pronounced as /è ò ɵ̀ ɑ̀/.
Yes, I know the letter ȁ isn't included in the font and the letter ȍ shows up weird at the moment of writing this but I'll get around to fixing that eventually.

The third person singular pronoun ha /ɑ̀/ and its declined forms hu he hi /ò è è/ are the only words that are truly spelled irregularly. This word uses a more etymological spelling that lines up its declensions with those of other singular pronouns (cf. ja ju je ji /ɮa ɮu ɮe ɮi/). It also helps in writing to disambiguate its dative and genitive forms he hi which have merged in pronunciation, and to contrast it from other words which have merged in pronunciation with one of its forms (cf. è /è/ some).

Double consonants exist only in compounds, loanwords, and some inflections of native words. They are pronounced as single consonants and are often erroneously spelled as such.
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