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Diom Phonetics

From:David Stokes <dstokes@...>
Date:Saturday, June 2, 2001, 0:14
OK, I think I've finally got a handle on SAMPA and figured out the proper
descriptions for Diom. Most of it is rather boring and obvious, really.

Before too long (I hope) I will update my web page with proper SAMPA
descriptions, and get rid of the wishy washy and inaccurate "sounds like
the English word..." descriptions I have there now.


written i is pronounced /i/
        y       is      /I/
        ae      is      /e/ (but in my American English accent often
sounds more like /eI/, but I'm not a native Diom speaker.)
        e       is      /E/
        u       is      /u/
        o       is      /o/
        a       is      /a/ or /A/  with some distribution rule I haven't
figured out yet.

        ai      is      /aI/
        ou      is      /aU/

In unstressed syllables there seems to be a little, but not a whole lot,
of reduction towards schwa /@/.


Most of the consonants are quite regular and predictable to anyone
speaking European languages. I'll just list the set, most are the same
symbol in SAMPA as written. A few will need special explanation.


p b     t d             c g
f v     s z     sh zh           h
m       n       n~      ng
w               j
        ts      ch

written c is pronounced /k/  (I just like the shape.)
        sh      is      /S/
        zh      is      /Z/
        n~      is      /n_j/  (the tilde should go on top)
        ng      is      /N/
        j       is      /j/
        ch      is      /tS/

Like I said, pretty boring. To liven things up a little bit I'm thinking
of changing the velar stops to palatals, or spliting them into palatals
and uvulars. This move would at least make "c" make a little more sense.


There is one other wrinkle I don't know how to describe. Perhaps you can
help me.

Preposistions tend to be single consonants attached to their object with
an apostrophe (There's another use for you, Yoon Ha). Ex. t'aron "to the
woods", s'amaren "with friends". These are pronounced with a short break
between the preposistion and the word. The preposistions sound like a
short, intense puff of air. When I say them it feels like I build up the
air pressure behind my tounge for a moment before releasing the sound.

What do I call this kind of sound? Would it be an ejective? (I dont really
know what ejectives are supposed to be). Or is it just the consonant
followed by a glottal stop? Whatever the case these sounds are clearly
allophones of the "normal" sounds which only occur (so far) in these

David Stokes

Ampiros sernost sharusae, vi at Enfors Vilandenae, vi je tais zhangoln.
The Empire's greatest strength is not the Iron Army, but its language.