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Mikyoan Phonology
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This public article was written by StrawberryMilk, and last updated on 21 Sep 2019, 21:09.

3. Gau'i
6. Gullu
This article is about the phonetics and phonology of the Mikyoan Language, which features significant diversity and variation across its dialects. As a result, this article will focus specifically on Standard Mikyoan based on the Classical Ishigagi Dialect, unless otherwise noted.

Phonemes are written inside slashes (/ /) and allophones are written inside brackets ([ ]).


Mikyoan has 17 base consonants.

- Stops and affricates are generally distinguished by voicing, however, in some dialects this distinction is realized through aspiration.
- Historic varieties of Mikyoan included /d͡z/ as an independent phoneme, however, this has been merged with /t͡s/ and /d͡ʑ/ in Modern Mikyoan. In Modern Mikyoan, [d͡z] is only allophonic.


1. Nasals [m, n, ŋ] are frequently realized as prenasalized voiced stops [ᵐb, ⁿd, ᵑɡ] in word-initial positions
2. Unvoiced stops and affricates [p, t, k, t͡s, t͡ɕ] are typically aspirated as [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ, t͡sʰ, t͡ɕʰ] in word-initial positions, and less commonly intervocalically
3. Both unvoiced [p, t, k] and voiced stops [b, d, g] are unreleased in coda positions [p̚, t̚, k̚]
4. /t͡s/ and /s/ (and sometimes /x/ as well) are voiced intervocalically as [d͡z], [z], and [ɣ]
5. The voiced stops [b, g] can be shifted to fricatives [β, ɣ], to nasals [m, ŋ], or merged as [g͡b], [ɣ͡β], or as [ŋ͡m] intervocalically
6. /s/ is palatalized as [ɕ] before /i/ and /j/. Furthermore, [ɕ] is voiced as [ʑ] intervocalically
7. /x/ is palatalized as [ç] before /i/ and /j/ (and sometimes [ç] is voiced as [ʝ] intervocalically,) and is realized as [ɸ] before /ɯ/ (and sometimes [ɸ] is voiced as [β] intervocalically) and also in the cluster /xw/ in some dialects. /x/ can also be pronounced as [h] and as [ɦ] intervocalically. Often, idiolects which realize /x/ as [h] and [ɦ] will omit the sound intervocalically
8. /r~l/ ㄹ can have many different realizations in Mikyoan. In onset positions, the sound is often pronounced as [ɹ] or as [ɾ] depending on their idiolect, whereas in intervocalic positions most speakers tend to pronounce it exclusively as [ɾ]. In coda positions, it is usually realized as [l] or [r], however, the trilled [r] is increasingly less common in spoken Mikyoan. Initial [l] and [r] can occur in some loanwords, however, they do not occur in native vocabulary


Mikyoan has 7 vowels, 9 if allophones are included, and even more if diphthongs are included.

Historically, Mikyoan had more than 7 base vowels. Middle Mikyoan had /i/, /ɯ/, /u/, /e/, /ø/, /o/, /ə/, /æ/, and /ä/. During the early 15th century, /ɯ/ and /u/ merged into [ɯ] in the Standard Dialect and into [u] in some other dialects, and /ø/ shifted to [i] in Mikyoan and to [e] in Yongnagumei during the later 16th century. /ə/ and /æ/ became Modern Mikyoan [ʌ] and [ɛ] respectively by the end of the 17th century, however, some dialects preserve /ə/ and /æ/. The historic diphthong /oi/ shifted to Modern Mikyoan [ɯj] during the 19th century, however, it is still preserved in some dialects such as the Gullu City Dialect

• /ɯ/ is unrounded in Standard Mikyoan, however, in some dialects, it is realized as [u], such as in the Allagusugu Dialect
• /e, o/ are mid [e̞, o̞]
• /ɛ/ is often merged with [e̞] or realized in some dialects as [æ]
• /ʌ/ is sometimes realized as [ə] in some dialects
• /a/ is central [ä]
• [(j)y] and [(j)ɤ] are allophones of /jɯ/ <ㅠ> and /jʌ/ <ㅕ> respectively.

Generally, vowel length is not phonemic, however, in some dialects, vowel length occurs allophonically. For example, in the Gullu City Dialect, the consonants <ㄷ> and <ㅎ> are commonly omitted when spoken, merging some words which are distinguished through vowel length. One such example is the pair 마할 mahal ('my dear') and 말 mal (poorly, badly). Under the omission of <ㅎ>, the word 마할 shifts from [mahɐl] to [maɐl] to [mɐ:l], which contrasts it with 말, which is pronounced simply as [mɐl]. Similar distinctions exist in dialects which tend to delete intervocalic /x~h/ and /d/.

Diphthongs and Glides

In Mikyoan, diphthongs are typically realized through a regular vowel and a non-syllabic vowel which follows or precedes it. Some triphthongs exist, although, they are very rare. Some examples include the triphthong /wai̯/ 와이, such as in the word 會話 huaihua, pronounced as [xu̯äi̯xu̯ä], and /we̞i̯/, such as in the word 妖怪 yuguei, pronounced as [(j)ygu̯e̞i̯].

In some dialects in Yongnagumei, the diphthongs /wi, we, wɛ/ can be realized as [y, ø, œ]

Consonant Assimilation

Consonants at syllable and word boundaries undergo various forms of consonant assimilation, as shown in the following table:


1. Coda stops and affricates [p̚, t̚, k̚, t͡s, t͡ɕ] become aspirated stops and affricates [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ, t͡sʰ, t͡ɕʰ] if followed by [x~h]
2. Voiced consonants [m, n, ŋ, b, d, g, d͡ʑ, ɹ/ɾ] become breathy voiced [mɦ, nɦ, ŋɦ, bɦ, dɦ, gɦ, d͡ʑɦ, ɾɦ] if followed by [x~h]
3. Voiced stops [b, d, g] become nasals [m, n, ŋ] before and after other nasals
4. Unvoiced stops [p, t, k] become nasals [m, n, ŋ] before other nasals
5. [n, d, t] assimilate to [l] at syllable and word boundaries

Vowel Harmony

Traditionally, Mikyoan adhered strictly to a vowel harmony system, which developed during Proto-Mikyoan. Today, the vowel harmony system is not commonly used and is only used in some dialects for conjugating and affixing verbs and occasionally with nouns, particularly in Western and Central Mikyoan Dialects.

Because many Mikyoan Loanwords break the vowel harmony, it is seldom used today and is mostly obsolete or dialectal. Mikyoan vowel harmony categorizes Mikyoan vowels into 3 categories: Front Vowels (consisting of /i/, /e/, and /ɛ/), Central Vowels (consisting of /a/ and historically of /ə/), and Back Vowels (consisting of /ɯ/ and /ʌ/). Even in dialects which preserve vowel harmony, its use is limited, as many words—native and loaned—break the vowel harmony.

The vowel harmony is often used in specific affixes for verbs and nouns. One example is the negative affix ~케이/~코이/~카이, which is used in many dialects colloquially. ~케이 affixes to stems which contain a front vowel, ~코이 affixes to stems which contain a back vowel, and ~카이 affixes to stems which contain a central vowel. Ex:

• 小 (suel, to be small) + ~케이 → 小케이 (suekei, to not be small)
• 遣루 (yallu, to do) + ~카이 → 遣카이 (yakai, to not do)
• 病물 (yamul, to be sick) + ~코이 → 病무코이 (yamukoi, to not be sick)

Pitch Accent and Stress

Some dialects of Mikyoan, particularly Central Dialects, feature pitch accent. This is typically achieved by placing a certain pitch on a stressed or unstressed syllable. In the Gullu City Dialect, which is the most widely spoken dialect with a pitch system, the stressed syllable of a word is typically the penultimate syllable, and the stressed syllable receives a high pitch. The stressed syllable can also change for certain grammatical forms, as a question will shift the stressed syllable to the final syllable of the verb, and certain mergers and sound changes may cause the stressed syllable of a word to be in an irregular position. Ex:

Examples: - 銀行메이行융要 - nginghaeng-mei ikuyung-il - “you need to go to the bank” [ˈŋɪ́ŋ(h)əŋ mei̯ ikɯˈjɯ̽́ŋɪl] - H-L-L L L-L-H-L - 銀行메이行융要얘? - nginghaeng-mei ikuyung-ilyae? - “do you need to go to the bank?” [ˈŋɪ́ŋ(h)əŋ mei̯ ikɯjɯ̽ŋɪlˈjɛ̈́] - H-L-L L L-L-L-H - 食버양 - tabeoyang - “you are eating” [tabˈʌ́jɐŋ] - L-H-L - 食버양야? - tabeoyangya? - “are you eating?” [tabʌjɐŋˈjá] - L-L-L-H

Some words in the Gullu City Dialect which feature irregular stress include the following:

- 앙볭타숑 - angbyengtashyong - “setting, ambiance”, from Spanish ambientación [ɐŋbjəŋtaˈɕjʊ́ŋ] - L-L-L-H - 마할 - mahal - “My Love, My Dear”, from Tagalog mahal [ˈmáhɐl] → [ˈmɐ́l] - H-L → H - 갤러리 - gaelleori - “art gallery, exposition, display”, from English gallery [ˈgə́llʌɹi] - H-L-L - 阿呆/아호 - aho - “silly, stupid, moron”, from Kansai Japanese ahō [aˈhó̞] - L-H - 막도 - makdo - “McDonalds”, from English McDonalds [mɐk̚ˈdó̞] - L-H - 抱歉 - baochyang - “sorry!, appologies!”, from Mandarin bàoqiàn [bao̞̯t͡ɕjɐŋ] - L-L - 本真 - buongjing - “truly, really”, calque of Kansai Japanese honma (chiefly Western Mikyoan) [b(w)ʊŋd͡ʑɪ́ŋ] - L-H - 마데이 - madei - “until”, Native Mikyoan word [ˈmáde̞i̯] → [ˈmá{ð~ð̞}e̞i̯~ˈmáé̞í̯] ([ˈmáé̞í̯] can also be pronounced as [ˈmájé̞] or as [ˈmáj]) - HL → HL~H~HH~H


Mikyoan Dialects vary significantly in phonology and can be extremely divergent from the Standard Dialect. There are no clear lines between some dialects, however, generally, the dialects are divided into several main groups of dialects which have some similar qualities:

• Western Dialects
Ishigagi City Dialect
→ Classical Ishigagi Dialect
→ Taketomei Dialect
→ Yapo Dialect

• Central Dialects
Gullu City Dialect
→ Classical Gullu Dialect
Gohama Dialect
Allagusugu Dialect

• Eastern Dialects
Standard Illyomotei Dialect
→ Hatuma Dialect
→ Yubu Dialect
→ Gayama Dialect

• Far Eastern Dialects
→ Sotobangnalli Dialect
→ Uchibanalli Dialect
→ Eastern Illyomotei Dialect
→ Yongnagumei Dialect
→ Yongnagumei Language

• Northern Dialects
→ Outermost Islands Dialect

• Southern Dialects
→ Hatelluma Dialect
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