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Vambus phonology and phonotactics
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A summary and overview of Vambus' phonotactics
This public article was written by DzêtaRedfang, and last updated on 2 Jan 2018, 21:11.

[comments] Menu 1. Phonology 2. Phonotactics While not being out of date, this page is lacking some info currently.


Vambus has a relatively moderate number of consonnants (and is trill-heavy) and a relatively large number of vowels, as well as 4 nasals and 3 diphthongs (plus a nasal diphthong). They are as seen below:

Nasal mɲ
Plosive p bt̪ d̪k g
Fricative f vθ s̪ z̪ʃˢ
Affricate d͡z̪
Lateral Approximant l
Approximants jwɥ
Trill ʙrʀ

There is a non-phonemic glottal stop (/ʔ/) that occcurs between words when two vowels are adjacent to each other over the word boundry. There are also 2 blends: /k͡s̪/ and /g͡z̪/. The /l/ (which is actually apical) allophonizes to [l̪] when adjacent to a dental.

The two blends /k͡s̪/ and /g͡z̪/, the affricate d͡z̪, as well as /s̪/ and /z̪/, are pronounced with the tops of the teeth lightly touching each other. The post-aveolar fricative, is heavily sibilated, and allophonizes to [h̪͆] especially in alveolaar initial clusters, and syllable-finally. The final cluster /l̺ʃˢ/ is realised as a [ɬ] outside of ceremonial speech.

Close i yu
Close-Mid e øɵ̞o
Open-Mid ɛ
Open aɑ

There are 4 allophones for the vowels: [ɪ] (allophone of [i]), [ʏ] (allophone of [y]) and [ʊ] (allophone of [u]). These allophones appear only in word-final closed syllables. Likewise, there is also [œ] (allophone of [ɵ̞]) that appears if the vowel is word-initial (a.k.a. there's no consonnant preceding it).

There are also 3 dipthongs, [oɪ̯], [aɪ̯], [ɜʊ̯]. These are all writen with one letter in both the romanization and in the native script, and are thus percieved as all being one vowel each by the public.

Finally, there are 5 nasalized variants to the vowels, and are writen with a <n> following them in the romanization, but are writen as a diacritical dot placed on the mid-line in the native script(more on this in another article), so they're percieved as modified vowels (which they are). These nasal variants are: [ẽ], [ø̃], [õ], [ɑ̃], and [aɪ̯̃].


Oh, this'll be fun. I ask any of who who do not care to hear me ramble on about pretty much every allowable cluster to please leave now...anyone still there? Good, now lets get going.

So, lets start off with the onset clusters. The syllable shape for the onset is (C|B)(C|G) where B is one of the 2 recognized blends or the only affricate (/k͡s̪/, /g͡z̪/ and /d͡z̪/), G is any one of the 3 glides, and C is the remaining consonnants.

This means that we can't have any 2 blends (includes affricates) or glides clustering with themselves. So let's add in a new rule that 2 of the same phoneme (not phone, this is important) cannot cluster (else they end up geminating, and that's not allowed). Then we'll add in the overarching rule for the onset: Sonorant + Obstruant...except for the glides which have free reign in cluster-final position with pretty much whatever it wants to.

Now we can add the rule that /ɲ/ and /z̪/ never cluster, and /ʙ/ doesn't either (with one exception), and BAM. Throw it all into an Excel file, make your family think you've lost it for a few days with all the sounds you're making, and you've got all your clusters. They are as follows...have fun and good luck:

P: /pn̪/, /pl/, /pj/
B: /br/, /bl/, /bw/
K: /km/, /kn̪/, /kl/, /kw/
G: /gn̪/, /gr/, /gʀ/, /gj/, /gw/, /gɥ/
T: /tr/, /tʀ/, /tj/, /tw/, /tɥ/
D: /dr/
F: /fn̪/, /fr/, /fʀ/, /fl/, /fɥ/
V: /vl/
S: /s̪m/, /s̪n̪/, /s̪ʀ/, /s̪j/
θ: /θm/
ʃˢ : /ʃˢm/, /ʃˢn̪/, /ʃˢl/, /ʃˢw/
M: /mr/
N: /n̪w/, /n̪ɥ/
r: /rj/
ʀ: /ʀw/
l: /lj/, /lɥ/
k͡s̪: /k͡s̪l/
g͡z̪: /g͡z̪ɥ/
d͡z̪: /d͡z̪j/

Finally, to mix things up, I added the plateaus /s̪f/, /mn̪/, /ʙr/ and /rʀ/, as well as the reversals /s̪t/, /s̪k/, /ʃˢp/ and /g͡z̪b/.


Gonna keep this real short. The nucleus can be any single vowel or diphthong. Any two vowels written next to each-other are part of different syllables, and thus require hiatus. Only 6 cross-syllable vowel clusters exist. They are the following: /y.o/, /u.i/, /e.o/, /i.ɑ/, /a.ɛ/ and /ɛ.u/

These stand allowable without regard to allophony. Thus the word ûika [u.i.ka] and the word ûik [u.ɪk] are both valid.


So, last but not least, the coda. The syllable structure (r|l)(C|B) dictates that only /r/ and /l/ can head clusters, and that codas may not include glides. The no two of the same phoneme rule still applies, and after deciding that /b/, /f/, /θ/, /ɲ/, /g͡z̪/, /z̪/ and all trills cannot be cluster-final, I deliberated on the sounds and got these as my possible coda clusters (DO NOTE: <L> stands for both <r> and <l>):

L: /Lp/, /Lt̪/, /Lg/, /Ls̪/, /Lk͡s̪/
r: /rd̪/, /rk/, /rn̪/, /rl/
l: /lʃ/, /lv/, /lm/, /ld͡z̪/

That's about it. There's 66 consonnant clusters. It's a bit lot more than a minimilistic conlang like  Tirina that has only 4 clusters, but hey, it could be way worse, am I right?

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