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Meyadhew Phonology

From:Mau Rauszer <maurauser@...>
Date:Thursday, April 17, 2003, 17:33
This is my first "official" essay on my new language Meyadhew. It is
a Bantu-esque language with a quite elaborate phonology. I almost use
all the consonants I can pronounce. It has a total 58 phones, 6 "full" and 2
allophonic vowels; 50 consonants (though 6 consonants are only used in
words borrowed from another languages). Some consonants can be syllabic.
Consonant length is not phonemic, vowel length is only allophonic.


a [a]  allophonic ä [A]
i  [i]
u [u]
o [o]
e [E]  all. ë [e]
¨y (y-dieresis) [y]

Allophonic vowel length is indicated with a macron, except ¨y which receives a
^ circumflex.
In ascii I indiace all long vowels with an acute accent.


p t k
b d g

ph th kh dh [p_h] [t_h] [k_h] [d_h]
f s sh ch h [f] [s] [S] [tS] [x]
v z zh j gh [v] [z] [Z] [dZ] [G]

m n ń (n-tilde) [m] [n] [N]

ty dy hy zy y [c] [c_v] [C] [j\] [j]

q gq qh nq [q] [G\] [q_h] [N\q]
x xh nx [!\] [!\_h] [N!\]
c nc [|\] [N|\]

r hr w [4] [R] [w]
l hl ł (l with a backslash) [l] [K] [K\]


rr [r]
ţ (thorn) [T]
đ (eth) [D]
hw [W]
h used as [h]
´ [?]


As Longwer, Meyadhew also stresses the first long syllabe (syllabe with long
vowel or
consonant cluster after the vowel). If there aren't any long syllabes then the
one is stressed.


There are three kind of mutations, lenition, voicing and nasal mutation.
The first two appears when a prefix ending in vowel is added to the word.
The nasal mutation usually appears independently.
No mutation is applied for vowel-beginning words.
No muation is applied on consonants only appearing in foreign words.


It is applied to the first consonant of the word if
  ˇ  the prefix ends in a front vowel (i, e, ë, ¨y)
  ˇ  there is only one consonant at the beginning of the word.
  ˇ  the vowel after the first consonant is also a front vowel

Generally stops turn to fricatives and unvoiced fricatives get voiced.

p, t, k > f, th, kh
b, d, g > v, dh, gh
f, s, h > v, z, gh
ph, th, kh > w, dh, gh
sh, ch > zh, j
ty, dy > hy, zy
hy > zy
c, x > nc, nx
q, gq > qh, gq
hr, r, l, hl, ł > r, l, hl, ł, y


It is applied to the first consonant of the word if
  ˇ  the prefix ends in a back vowel (a, ä, u, o)
  ˇ  there is only one consonant at the beginning of the word.
  ˇ  the vowel after the first consonant is also a back vowel

Generally all unvoiced  consonants get voiced.

p, t, k, q > b, d, g, gq
ph, th, kh, qh > v, dh, gh, gq
f, s, h > v, z, gh
hl > ł
sh, ch > zh, j
ty, hy > dy, zy


It is applied for consonant clusters but only their first consonant.
Usually comes from an earlier ń- or ny- prefix.

Generally stops get voced and are prefixed with their nasal variant.

p, t, k > mb, nd, ńg
b, d, g > mb, nd, ńg
f, s, h > mw, nz, ńgh
ph, th, kh > mf, nth, ńkh
v, z, gh > mw, nđ, ńgh
dh > ndh
sh, zh, ch, j > nj
ty, dy > ndy
hr, r, l, hl, ł, y > ngq, nz, nd, ndh, nz, ny
c, x > nc, nx
q, qh, gq > ngq
w > nw
n, m, ń, ny > nn, mm, ńń, nny


In running texts, I usually don't use any diacritic, ie. dieresis,
acute/macron/circumflex and tilde.
This almost never causes ambiguities since the vowel length is just
allophonic, just as the a/ä,
e/ë distinction. Only the y/¨y pair could be ambiguus but the rule is very
simple: between two consonants
and at the beginning of a word before a consonant you see y as ¨y [y] and
everywhere else it is y [j].
¨y can not stand at the end of the word. ń almost always appears near a velar
like in the clusteres ńg, ńgh etc.
and rarely appears as an independent sound.

The capital letters are used similarly as in isiZulu: after prefixes not the
prefix but the first letter of the
stem is capitalized.
Eg. : ngo-z "with" + Mwarauzí "Mau Rauser" > ngoMwarauzí
i-h (class 2 prefix) + Yéwa "Moon" > iYéwa

But the first word of the sentence is always capitalized whether it is a
prefix or not.

Ábrahám Zsófia alias Mau Rauszer
|  | |
"Yú lawe ta mau yibali taqe yamissi qi u neb dagu tawiy iq." -- Kipling


Danny Wier <dawier@...>