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Edievian Phonology
This public article was written by argyle, and last updated on 24 Jan 2016, 14:09.

[comments] Menu 1. Consonants 2. Consonant Alternations 3. Vowels 4. Vowel Alternations 5. Stress

Stops: /p t̪ k b1 d̪ g/
Affricates: /t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/
Fricatives: /f v s̪ ʃ ʒ h/ [z2]
Liquids: /l̪ ɾ/ [j3 w4]
Nasals: /m n̪/ [ŋ5]

1 /b/ is realized as almost universally [v] when word-final. While [b] word-finally is not incorrect, but is increasingly rare.
2 [z̪] appears as an allophone of /s̪/ before a voiced obstruent (/b d̪ g d͡ʒ v/).
3 [j] appears as an allophone of /i/ when preceding a vowel either word-initially or after a single stop, nasal, or [f v s̪].
4 [w] appears as an allophone of /u/ when preceding a vowel either word-initially or after a single stop, nasal, or [f v s̪].
5 [ŋ] appears as an allophone of /n̪/ before velar consonants (/k/ and /g/). /n̪g/ is always pronounced with the final stop [ŋg], not like English 'sing' /siŋ/.

[top]Consonant Alternations

While the above consonants are all phonemic (except [z̪], [j], [w], and [ŋ]), there are certain alternations between stops and fricatives/affricates that correspond to palatalization and old vowels in the mother language, Colian. In traditional Edievian grammars, these are called consonant modifications because they are orthographically marked as 'modified' versions of the 'base' letters. These alternations occur almost exclusively in verb conjugations and the pluralization of nouns (which also involves vowel alternations), and are as such:

k - s̪ g - ʒ t̪ - t͡ʃ d̪ - d͡ʒ s̪ - ʃ

In verbs, this alternation only happens in the singular gnomic forms. For nouns however, these alternations occur if any of these consonants are word-final:

daoc - dóic /d̪ɔk - d̪os̪/ (father - fathers) etag - etáig /'e.t̪ag - e't̪aʒ/ (land - lands) pet - píit /pet̪ - pit͡ʃ/ (leaf - leaves) alod - 'lúid /'a.l̪od̪ - l̪ud͡ʒ/ (boat - boats) casas - casáis /'ka.s̪as̪ - ka's̪aʃ/ (fire - fires)

Also slightly noteworthy - the affricate [t͡ʃ] and the stop-fricative sequence [tʃ] are distinguished. There are Slavic loans that end in [ts] that shift to [tʃ], which is not pronounced as an affricate:

iot - iots /jot̪/ - /jot̪s̪/ (tail - hedgehog) iúit - iúits /jut͡ʃ/ - /jutʃ/ (tails - hedgehogs)


The vowel system is fairly simple and is a very typical European 7-vowel schemata:

High: /i u/ Mid-high: /e o/ Mid-low: /ɛ ɔ/ Low: /a/

The vowels do not have allophones with the exceptions of /i/ and /u/ and the already mentioned [j] and [w] allophones, though /ɛ/ does surface as [æ] in regional accents.

[top]Vowel Alternations

The mother language distinguished plurals of nouns and adjectives with a lengthening of one or more of the stem vowels along with the addition of an inflectional ending. When the vowel length distinction collapsed as the language evolved (much like Latin into the Romances), the vowels changed in terms of quality, merging from the original 14 (seven long, seven short in three heights) into the current 7 (with four heights). The loss of inflectional endings on nouns along with the aforementioned vowel changes led to nouns being distinguished in number by their final-syllable vowels and word-final consonants (as a result of palatalization due to the original inflectional plural endings).

The vowel alternation system has been highly regularized due to analogy, with only the vowels of the final syllable alternating and a settling of the allowed vowels in singular nouns. Originally, any vowel along with the final syllable vowel would take part in the lengthening - this still occurs in some of the sister languages, but Edievian has completely regularized the process into a final-syllable only series of alternations. The vowels alternate as such:

singular - plural a - a <a - a> ɛ - e <ae - e> e - i <e - i> ɔ - o <ao - o> o - u <o - u>

This means that no singular noun in contemporary Edievian has /u/ or /i/ in the final syllable - any loans from other languages with these sounds are analyzed into /o/ and /e/ or analyzed as a plural with a new singular formed with the appropriate vowel (for example, English 'mouse' [the computer variety] came in as <maös> /ma.os/, with plural <maúis> /ma.uʃ/). Examples of plural formation with vowel alternation in nouns and adjectives (side note, adjectives do not undergo consonant alternations):

cam - cam /kam - kam/ (man - men) aeb - eb /ɛb - eb/ (eye - eyes) benel - benil /'be.n̪el̪ - be'n̪il̪/ (feminine) avaog - 'vóig /'a.vɔg - 'voʒ/ (bird - birds) tiíosc - tiíúisc /'t͡ʃi.os̪k - t͡ʃi'us̪ː/ (bike - bikes)


Stress is pretty predictable in Edievian, however the rules governing the placement are based upon the mother language - meaning that stress is governed somewhat grammatically. While stress is not normally contrastive, there are a few cases.

Stress will normally be placed on the penultimate syllable of a word:

banas /'ba.n̪as̪/ - rabbit caeltan /'kɛl̪.t̪an̪/ - they say aecec /'ɛ.kek/ - surface dedodoms /d̪e'd̪o.d̪oms̪/ - we were describing caelconesiágaeg /kɛl̪.ko.n̪e'ʃa.gɛg/ - scientist ravac /'ɾa.vak/ - large bocos /'bo.kos̪/ - divine

For plural nouns and plural adjectives, the stress shifts to the final syllable. This is because stress would shift to the long vowel that was found originally in the mother language:

banáis /ba'n̪aʃ/ - rabbits aecíic /ɛ'kis̪/ - surfaces caelconesiágéig /kɛl̪.ko.n̪e.ʃa'geʒ/ - scientists ravac /ɾa'vak/ - large (pl) bocus /bo'kus̪/ - divine (pl)

For verbs that receive prefixes for mood, voice, or negation, the stress remains where it would be placed normally, without shifting to the prefix even if it is penultimate:

ban /ban̪/ - they are ciáeban /s̪ɛ'ban̪/ - they want to be hal /hal̪/ - I hear náichal /nas̪'hal̪/ - I don't want to hear

Finally, the verbal nomilazing suffix, although sometimes pronounced as two syllables (it is pronounced /jat̪/ unless it follows/j w ɾ l̪/, which it is then /̪/), always maintains the stress on the verb stem:

pendiat /'pen̪.d̪̪/ or /'pen̪.d̪jat̪/ - painting

The few cases of stress being contrastive is normally found in nouns with masculine and feminine variations and do not end in consonants that can palatalize. The normal case is that the masculine plural will be orthographically identical to the feminine singular, so the only differentiation is stress:

gabael - gabel /'ga.bɛl - ga'bel/ (male cousin - cousins) gabel - gabil /'ga.bel - ga'bil/ (female cousin - cousins)

<gabel> with stress on the first syllable is "female cousin", while stress on the second is "male cousins". This occurs with a few other pairs:

emaem - emem vs. emem - emim (stallion - mare)
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