Øynduyska – III (Phonology/Orthography 2)

The continuing adventures of Øynduyska. Rounding off phonology/orthography. Comments welcome!


/iː/ /yː/ /uː/
/ɪ/ /ʏ/ /ʊ/
/eː/ /øː/

/e/ /ø/

/ɘː/ /oː/




/ə/ /ɔː/


  /ɞ/ /ʌ/




Øynduyska vowels are plentiful, and their orthography at times complex.

Vowels are indicated through a combination of grapheme and environment; there are 12 vowel letters, and four salient environments – open, closed, pre-geminate, and unstressed. The “closed” environment excludes vowels preceding final clusters ending in -r and -s, where these occur as the result of case and number suffixes added to nouns – such vowels are instead considered open. The “pre-geminate” environment includes both orthographic geminates and those sequences, detailed above, that are considered equivalent to orthographic geminates (that is, those such as ðh and bhf). The “unstressed” environment does not include unstressed final vowels, which are instead considered “open”.

The vowel letters and their significations are as follows:

Letter Open Closed Pre-Geminate Unstressed
i /iː/ /ɪ/ /ɪ/ /ɪ/
e /eː/ /e/ /e/ /ə/
u /uː/ /ʊ/ /ʊ/ /ʊ/
o /oː/ /o/ /o/ /ɞ/
ö /ɘː/ /ə/ /ə/ N/A
y /yː/ /ʏ/ or /ɪ/ /ʏ/ or /ɪ/ /ə/
ø /øː/ /ø/ or /e/ /ø/ or /e/ N/A
é /ɛː/ /ɛː/ /ɛ/ N/A
ó /ɔː/ /ɔː/ /ʌ/ N/A
ę /ɛː/ /ɛ/ /ɛ/ N/A
ǫ /ɔː/ /ʌ/ /ʌ/ N/A
a /æː/ /æ/ /æ/ /a/, or /ə/ when final
á /aː/ /aː/ /a/ N/A
ą /ɑː/ /ɑ/ /ɑ/ N/A
ä /ɛː/ /e/ /e/ N/A

The above is mostly self-explanatory, with a few minor complications. The letters y and ø, when short, typically indicate unrounded vowels, but may be rounded in some words – this is particularly true when following a labial or labiovelar consonant, but is not wholly predictable from the spelling. The letter ä is typically used for vowels showing a long/short alternation between /ɛː/ and /e/, or for /e/ or /ɛː/ that occurs in an umlauting alternation with a low vowel. The letters ę and ǫ prototypically occur in their short form before clusters or before a single velar consonant, but their use is not wholly predictable. The phoneme /ʌ/ is rounded following a labial or labiovelar consonant, but this is merely allophonic.

One vowel is not indicated in writing: the brief epenthetic schwa occuring between /r/ or /l/ and a following non-fricative coda consonant. This schwa, which disappears when vowel-initial suffixes are added, may be considered an instance of the phoneme /ə/, with which it does not contrast, or as an artifact of the surrounding consonants. Thus kerm, “wail”, /kerəm/, but kerma, “wails”, /kermə/.

From the above vowel table, it can be seen that the long vowels /iː/, /uː/, /yː/, /eː/, /oː/, /øː/, /ɘː/, /æː/, and /ɑː/ cannot easily be indicated in any closed syllable, nor /ɛː/ /ɔː/ and /aː/ be easily shown before a geminate. For these situations, digraphs are used, the significations of which are invariant:

Digraph Open
iy /iː/
ee /eː/
ey /eː/
uw /uː/
oo /oː/
ow /oː/
øw /oː/
öe /ɘː/
yi /yː/
oe /øː/
aa /æː/

Further digraphs are used to indicate a range of fronting, backing, and centreing dipthongs; the pronunciation of these is likewise almost invariant:

Digraph Open
øy /øʏ/
ay /aɪ/
ąy /ɑɪ/
ǫy /ʌɪ/
oy /ɔɪ/
uy /ʊɪ/
aw /aʊ/
ąw /ɑʊ/
ie /ɪə/
ea /eə/
ue /ʊə/
oa /oə/
io /ɪɞ/
eo /eɞ/

The one deviation from the above is that the sequences ie, ea, ue, oa, io, and eo are pronounced as monophthongs of the first element before fricatives – with the exception of most but not all instances of /ð/ and /þ/. Thus fleos, “fleece”, /fleʃ/ (with reduction of diphthong), but beseoð ech, “I boil (sth.)”, /bəzeɞð ex/ (without reduction). Notably, however, these unreduced pre-fricative diphthongs are themselves reduced in some vernacular speech.

It should be noted that spelling of loanwords is at times erratic; in particular, some vowels indicated with their original spelling may instead be reduced to schwa.

Stress, Timing and Tone
Thrytch, Thratimming ay Tonn

Øynduska posseses neither tone nor pitch accent. It is broadly stress-timed, and generally has a strong initial stress. However, certain prefixes – particularly many prepositional prefixes to verbs – do not take stress.

Next Up: Nouns!
Nu ta vylga: Nammwyrðer!


One thought on “Øynduyska – III (Phonology/Orthography 2)

  1. […] continuing adventures of Øynduyska. Comments […]

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