Syllable stress, Macrons & Common Sound Changes
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A brief description of some Shykathi phonetics
This public article was written by Vulcanman, and last updated on 3 Sep 2017, 01:13.
13. Shikathi Idioms
14. Shikathi Numbers
16. Soranthi Verbs
Before diving into macron usage in Shikathi, it’s important to note that the macron is only used for the romanization of Shikathi. Shikathi orthography on the homeworld incorporates four types of diacritic characters. None have a function analogous to the macron. The macron in Romanized Shikathi serves two purposes. First and foremost it indicates a long vowel as opposed to a short one. The second purpose is to indicate which syllable is stressed.
The macron for vowel length
The Shikathi vowels are as follows:
a = [ɐ]
ā = [a]
ä = [æ]
e = [ɛ]
ē = [e]
i = [ɪ] (only occurs in stressed syllables)
ī = [i]
o = [ɔ] (only occurs in stressed syllables)
ō = [o]
u = [ʌ]
ū = [u]
y = [ə] or [ɪ] (only occurs in unstressed syllables)
And so we have:
The macron for syllable stress
*from here on, stressed syllables will be highlighted in red
For the letters ā, ē and sometimes ī, the macron indicates that there is stress on that syllable. For example:
fānī (home) is pronounced [ˈfa.ni] instead of [fa ˈni]. fanī[fɐ ˈni] is a word and is used as part of the verbal phrase: fanī akām (to live / dwell / inhabit) or fanī lator (to provide lodging / to take care of)
Some other examples:
|ranā||[ɾɐ ˈna]||used in the phrase: ranā lator (to illuminate)|
The macron in diphthongs
The macron is also used to break diphthongs into two separate syllables. This is especially true if the macron is above the first vowel.
|ia = [jɐ]||iarān||[jɐ ˈɾan]||seventy|
|īa = [i.ɐ]||ðorthīalaet||[ðɔr ˈθi.ɐ.laɪt]||perfume|
|ue = [wɛ]||ekongue||[ɛ ˈkɔŋ.gwɛ]||sheep|
|ūe = [u.ɛ]||sūekrō||[su ˈɛ.kɾo]||a type of verbalizer|
If the macron is over the second vowel in a diphthong, this usually indicates the length of the syllable and/or the stress of that syllable.
|ia = [jɐ]||azhīnthiamthī||[ɐ ˌʒin.θjɐm ˈθi]||a word used in the verbal phrase azhīnthiamthī akām = to have a strong taste / odor|
|iā = [ja]||azhīnthiāmthī||[ɐ ˌʒin ˈθjam.θi]||ADJ: strong/pungent/spicy|
The vowels a, i and o, when they precede the letter r, may be long or short. Even if they are long, the macron is not used.
|orarī||[ɔ ˈɾa.ɾi]||the color red|
If the letter u precedes the r it is always long, but it’s syllable might not necessarily be stressed. Even though it is long, the macron is not used.
|säsurthī||[sæ ˈsur.θi]||sugary / sweet|
If the letter e precedes the r it is always short and may or may not be stressed.
|Tleryth||[tə ˈlɛ.ɾɪθ] or [ˈtʰlɛ.ɾɪθ]||Earth|
[top]Additional Indicators for Syllable Stress
Generally, Shikathi words are stressed on the second to last syllable.
Aside from using macrons, there are additional ways to indicate that a syllable other than the penultimate is stressed.
The letter “i” vs. the letter “y”
Use the letter i /ɪ/ (not in a diphthong) to indicate that it’s syllable is stressed. The stress can be primary or secondary. If the sound /ɪ/ is present but the syllable is unstressed, the letter y would be used instead
|bängyth||[ˈbæn.gɪθ]||a wave / undulation|
|bängith||[bæn ˈgɪθ]||used in the expression: bängith akām (to fluctuate)|
The letter y is never used at the beginning of a word. Instead use the letter i... regardless if that syllable is stressed or not.
|indrākam (ndrākam)||[ɪn ˈdɾa.kɐm] or [ʔn ˈdɾa.kɐm]||3rd person conjugation of akām|
If the letter i is at the beginning of the word, but its syllable is not stressed, that letter may be, and is oftentimes omitted. If the i is dropped, the /ɪ/ sound might still be heard or it might be replaced with a glottal stop /ʔ/. This all depends on regional accents / dialects, yet both ways are perfectly understood.
|nzāðī||[ɪn ˈza.ði] or [ʔn ˈza.ði]||sound|
The letter “o” vs. the letter “y”
Use the letter o /ɔ/ (not in a diphthong) to indicate that its syllable is stressed. It can be a primary or a secondary stress. If the primary word originally had the sound /ɔ/, but the stress of the word shifted due to other surrounding syllables, then the sound becomes /ə/ and the letter y is used.
Special Note: if y /ə/ is used between two consonants (especially at the very end or very beginning of words), the y is oftentimes dropped, but the /ə/ sound is preserved.
|ūmlatorky||[um.lɐ ˈtɔɾ.kə]||1st person plural conjugation of lator|
|ūmlātyr > ūmlātr||[um ˈla.təɹ]||1st person singular conjugation of lator|
If the letter o is at the beginning of a word, its syllable may be stressed or unstressed. Again… the letter y is never used at the beginning of a word. Instead use the letter o even if the syllable is unstressed.
|orarī||[ɔ ˈɾa.ɾi]||the color red|
The Diphthong “ae”
The diphthong ae /aɪ/ will never have a macron over it, and it can not be broken into two syllables. The syllable that carries this diphthong will be a stressed syllable most of the time. The stress can be either primary or secondary.
|chōglaetazhīk||[t͡ʃo ˌglaɪ.tɐ ˈʒik]||argument|
|bykaeathī||[bɪ ˈkaɪ.ɐ.θi]||at the same time / in sync|
If the syllable containing this diphthong becomes unstressed due to other syllables surrounding it, the spelling and corresponding sound changes to e /ɛ/.
|chōgletāzhyzhīk||[t͡ʃo.glɛ ˌta.ʒə ˈʒik]||more of an argument / a bigger argument|
|bikeāðythī||[bɪ.kɛ ˈa.ðə.θi]||more in sync|
There are some exceptions to this rule, one being words ending in -aet /aɪt/. For these words, The stress might not fall on its syllable, yet the spelling and sound will still be the same.
|chōglaet||[ˈt͡ʃo.glaɪt]||king / emperor|
|sirykaet||[ˈsɪ.ɾə.kaɪt]||friend / acquaintance|
|tykaeataet > tkaeataet||[tə ˈkaɪ.ɐ.taɪt] or [tʰ ˈkaɪ.ɐ.taɪt]||ancestor|
However, when paired with certain words (like the verbaliser ekrō / ˈɛ.kɾo/) these words will begin to follow the normal pattern. This is due to enchainment between the two words.
|chōglet ekrō||[ˌt͡ʃo.glɛ ˈt‿ɛ.kɾo]||to become king|
|siroket ekrō||[sɪ ˌɾɔ.kɛ ˈt‿ɛ.kɾo]||to become a friend|
|tkaeatet ekrō||[tʰ ˌkaɪ.ɐ.tɛ ˈt‿ɛ.kɾo]||to be preceded by|
Words beginning with the syllable ae /aɪ/ may have that syllable stressed or not. If it’s unstressed, the spelling/sound change is optional and is determined by regional and dialectal differences.
|kaeāðī||[kaɪ ˈa.ði]||stale / aged|
|keāðī||[kɛ ˈa.ði]||stale / aged|
[top]Attaching Strong and Weak Suffixes
There are a variety of suffixes that can be attached to nouns, adjectives and verbalizers. Most suffixes fall into one of the following categories:
|Indefinite Pluralizers||-ky / -ki||fānī (house) > fanīky (houses)|
|Adjectival / Adverbial Markers||-thī / -ðī||fanīðī (the house’s…)|
|Case Markers||-shpa||fanīshpa (the house’s...)|
|Postpositional Affixes||-drū (to/towards)||fanīdrū (towards the house)|
|Conjunctive Affixes||-pin / -pyn / -pn (and)||fanīpn (and the house)|
|Adverbial & Negation Affixes||-tō (not)||fanītō (not the house)|
Suffixes are strung together usually in the order that they are presented in the table above.
And so you get the following sequence:
fānī > fanīky > fanīkthī > fanīkythīshpa > fānīkithīshpādrū > fanīkythīshpadrūpn > fānīkithīshpādrūpintō
The above sequence is simply meant to illustrate the order of succession, but not all of the categories of suffixes are used all at once. Especially not the adjective marker with the genitive case.
With regard to syllable stress, Shikathi likes to place the stress on the penultimate syllable.
When attaching a suffix, the stress will still fall on the second to last syllable. As a result, macron placement and vowel lengths will change.
|fānī > fanīky||[fɐ ˈni.kə]||houses|
|*fanīk(y)thī > fanīkthī||[fɐ ˈnik.θi]||of the houses|
|*fanīpn||[fɐ ˈni.pɪn]||and the house|
|*remember that the y is usually dropped between two consonants at the end of the word.|
When adding more than one suffix, spelling the word correctly gets complicated. A good rule of thumb is that for an even number of suffixes, the primary stress is still on the penultimate syllable, and what was once the primary stress of the root word now becomes the a secondary stress. Depending on the length of the word, there may even be a tertiary stress.
|(2 suffixes added) fānīpintō||[ˌfa.ni ˈpɪn.to]||and not the house|
|(4 suffixes added) fānīkidrūpintō||[ˌfa.ni.kɪ.dɾu ˈpɪn.to]||and not towards the houses|
For an odd number of suffixes, the primary stress is still on the penultimate, and a secondary stress falls on the last syllable of the root word.
|(3 suffixes added) fanīðīdrūpn||[fɐ ˌni.ði ˈdɾu.pɪn]||and towards that which belongs to the house|
Attaching Strong Suffixes
There are some suffixes that require stress no matter what. These override the penultimate stress rule. I don’t know if there’s an official term for something like this so I’ll just call them strong suffixes because they tend to pull the stress towards them no matter where they are in a word.
Some of these include:
|Some Definite Pluralizers||-kā (Plural: trial)||fānī (house) > fānīkā (three houses)|
|Instrumental Case||-īn||fanīn (by means of the house)|
|Some Postpositional Affixes||-drē (on top of)||fānīdrē (on top of the house)|
|Some Adverbial Affixes||-pon (still / also / yet)||fānīpon (the house also)|
When stringing strong suffixes together, the last one carries the stress. When combining strong and weak suffixes together, the strong suffix takes the stress.... always.
Here are some additional examples:
|fanīkaīn (last strong suffix = -īn)||[fɐ ˌni.kɐ ˈin]||by means of the three houses|
|fanīkadrē (last strong suffix = -drē)||[fɐ ˌni.kɐ ˈdɾe]||on top of the three houses|
|fānīkādrū (last strong suffix = -kā)||[ˌfa.ni ˈka.dɾu]||towards the three houses|
|fānīkādrepon (last strong suffix = -pon)||[ˌfa.ni.ka.dɾɛ ˈpɔn]||still on top of the three houses|
|fanīkadrēpn (last strong suffix = -drē)||[fɐ ˌni.kɐ ˈdɾe.pɪn]||and on top of the three houses|
There may be a secondary or tertiary stress on the last weak suffix if the strong suffix falls more towards the middle of the word.
|fanīkādrūpin (last strong suffix = -kā)||[ˌfa.ni ˈka.dɾu.pɪn]||and towards the three houses|
[top]Attaching Strong and Weak Prefixes
Prefixes in Shikathi are prepositional only. The same words used as postpositional suffixes can be used as prefixes. Adding a prefix creates an entirely new word to which any number of suffixes and prefixes (and verbalizers) can be added.
When adding prefixes, keep the original stress of the root word.
|fanīdruk||[fɐ ˈni.dɾʌk]||next to the house|
|drukfānī||[dɾʌk ˌfa.ni]||the space beside the house|
|drukfanīdruk||[dɾʌk.fɐ ˈni.dɾʌk]||next to the space that's beside the house|
Attaching Strong Prefixes
Just like with suffixes, there are strong prefixes that require stress no matter what. These override the rule mentioned above.
|fānīdrē||[ˌfa.ni ˈdɾe]||on top of the house|
|drēfanī||[ˈdɾe.fa.ni]||roof (lit: the part on top of the house)|
When two strong affixes are attached to a word, the last strong suffix carries the primary stress. while the first strong prefix carries the secondary stress.
|drēfanīdrē||[ˌdɾe.fɐ.ni ˈdɾe]||on top of the roof|
as opposed to the secondary stress being tied to the root word, as in the case with weak prefixes.
|drukfānīdrē||[dɾʌk ˌfa.ni ˈdɾe]||on top of the space beside the house|
[top]Verbs and Syllable Stress
As mentioned earlier, Shikathi usually places the stress on the second to last syllable. For verbs however, the stress is placed on the last syllable when followed by the verbalizers akām and lator. Remember that in Shikathi, it takes two words to form a verb. A noun or adjective and then the verbalizer. So this means that if a noun/adjective is part of the verb phrase, its last syllable will be stressed. Because of this, the spelling may change to conform to the phonetic rules mentioned previously.
|amintr||[ɐ ˈmɪn.təɹ]||a lie|
|āmyntor akām||[a.mɪn ˌtɔ.ɾ‿ɐ ˈkam]||to lie|
|āmyntor lator||[a.mɪnˈtɔɹ lɐ ˈtɔɹ]||to mislead / to divert|
|neprānsryn||[nɛ ˈpɾans.ɾɪn]||reflective thought|
|nepransrin akām||[nɛ.pɾɐns ˌɾɪ.n‿ɐ ˈkam]||to reflect on (i.e. my actions reflect on all of us)|
|nepransrin lator||[nɛ.pɾɐns ˈɾɪn lɐ ˈtɔɹ]||to reflect on (i.e. I reflected on my actions)|
With the verbalizer ekrō however, the secondary stress may be on the penultimate syllable or the antepenultimate, depending on the word. The stress is secondary as the primary stress will fall on the e in ekrō.
|āmyntr ekrō||[ˌa.mɪn ˈtɾ‿ɛ.kɾo]||to be misled|
|neprānsryn ekrō||[nɛ ˌpɾans.ɾɪ ˈn‿ɛ.kɾo]||to be reflected|
[top]Additional spelling / sound changes
/ð/ vs /θ/
Use the sound /ð/ after long vowels. The sound and spelling will change to th /θ/ after short vowels. This plays an important part when forming verbs.
|orathī akām||[o.ɾɐ ˈθi ɐ ˈkam]||to be hot|
|orāði ekrō||[ɔ ˌɾa ˈðj‿ɛ.kɾo]||to get hot|
The diphthong ae is considered long while the vowel ä is short. So we get the following:
The letter sequence -tthī will usually change into -ðī regardless if the previous vowel is long or short. If the preceding vowel is short, make it long and then tag on the ending.
chōglaet = king
-thī = ADJ/ADV marker
|chōglae||[t͡ʃo ˈglaɪ.ði]||The king’s…|
dokt (older: dokyt) = bravery
There are two exceptions to this:
1: -tthī is ok for foreign words
2: -tthī is ok if the word is part of the verbal phrase.
For example: chōglaet (n.) > chōglae
|chōgletthī lator||[t͡ʃo.glɛʔ ˈθi lɐ ˈtɔɹ]||to decree|
Special Note: if -tthī occurs, the first t is pronounced as a glottal stop /ʔ/ instead of /t/.
/ɾ/ vs /ɹ/
If the letter r should fall at the end of a syllable, it has the sound of /ɹ/. Otherwise it has the sound of /ɾ/.
|orathī lator||[o.ɾɐ ˈθi lɐ ˈtɔɹ]||to heat something up|
Because of enchainment between certain words, especially among verb phrases, sometimes the /ɹ/ at the end of a word will become /ɾ/.
|āmyntor akām||[a.mɪn ˈtɔ.ɾ‿ɐ ˈkam]||to lie|
|āmyntor lator||[a.mɪn ˈtɔɹ lɐ ˈtɔɹ]||to mislead / divert|