o yis Pronunciation guide
Most O Yis words are made up of one or two syllables. A syllable consists of a vowel nucleus which may be accompanied by a consonant onset, or coda, or both. Simple consonant clusters are permitted in both the onset and the coda, and the nucleus will contain at least one, and up to two, distinct vowels. The syllable structure is:
In addition to the vowel nucleus, O Yis permits certain consonants to act as syllabic consonants: in these cases the syllable cannot have an onset or coda.
Affricates are treated as single consonants in O Yis. The Ramajal script makes use of two consonant digraphs (tz, dz) which in the Istran alphabet are rendered as single glyphs. These digraphs should be treated as single consonants when considering the O Yis syllable.
Vowels come in two forms, short and long (held almost double the length of short vowels). Working from front to back:
- < a > / æ / Open front unrounded
- < i > / i / Close front unrounded
- < y > / ɐ / Open-mid central
- < e > / ə / Close-mid central unrounded
- < o > / ɔ / Open-mid back rounded
- < u > / u / Close back rounded
O Yis vowels do not contrast for voice; in normal speech all vowels are voiced, while devoiced vowels are used for whispering. Unlike many other Istran languages, vowels are never nasalized or pharyngealized, and there is no phonemic contrast between tense and lax varieties of each vowel.
When two vowels of the same value come together in a syllable nucleus, they will form a long vowel - in the Ramajal script long vowels are indicated by placing an acute accent over the vowel. Two vowels of different value are generally pronounced as separate entities within the same syllable (in other words, there is no hiatus or glottal stop placed between them); some vowel combinations form true diphthongs, though the range of diphthongisation is dialect-dependent.
O Yis makes use of 19 (or 20, including the glottal stop) consonants and 3 affricates:
- < p b t k g q > / p b t k g q / stops
- < f d c z x h > / f ð s ʒ x h / fricatives
- < s tz dz > / ʦ ʧ ʤ / affricates
- < l m n ŋ r > / l m n ŋ ɾ / liquids, nasals, rhotics
- < v j > / w j / semi-vowels
O Yis contrasts a number of voiced and voiceless consonants phonemically. Aspiration, on the other hand, is a semantic feature of the language with aspiration being used as a means of emphasising a word; aspirated stops can occur initially, medially and/or finally.
For onsets, stops and fricatives can combine with liquids
- pl- bl- tl- kl- gl- ql- fl- cl- zl- xl- hl-
Some stops and fricatives can combine with nasals
- km- gm- cm- zm- kn- gn- dn- cn- zn- xn-
All consonants can combine with semi-vowels
- pv- bv- tv- kv- gv- qv- fv- dv- cv- zv- xv- hv- sv- tzv- dzv- lv- mv- nv- ŋv- rv-
- pj- bj- tj- kj- gj- qj- fj- dj- cj- zj- xj- hj- sj- tzj- dzj- lj- mj- nj- ŋj- rj-
Many of these combinations can be reversed in codas (except with h)
- -vk -vg -vq -vf -vd -vc -vz -vx -vs -vtz -vdz
- -jp -jb -jt -jk -jg -jq -jf -jd -jc -jz -jx -js -jtz -jdz -jl -jm -jn -jŋ -jr
Also for codas, nasals and rhotics can combine with certain stops, fricatives and affricates
- -mp -mb -nt -nk -ŋg -ŋq
- -rp -rb -rt -rk -rg -rq -rf -rd -rc -rz -rx -rs -rtz -rdz
And some fricatives combine with stops
- -cp -ct -ck -cq -zb -zg
The following consonants can also stand as syllabic consonants (the stops are not truly syllabic, rather they act as clitics). A syllabic consonant is indicated in the Ramajal orthography with a following apostrope, and in the native script by a single dot to the top right of the letter:
- t' k' g' f' d' c' z' s' dz' l' m' n' j'
Gemination (consonant lengthening) occurs across syllable, but not word, boundaries; geminated consonants are written as doubled letters in both the Istran and Ramajal scripts. Gemination cannot occur word-initially (though it does sometimes occur in syllabic consonants cliticised to the start of a word) and is rare word-finally; unlike some other Istran languages there are no rules governing gemination in relation to long vowels or double vowel nucleuses, and geminate consonants are never de-geminated.
Apart from stops and affricates, geminated consonants are generally prolonged (usually for twice the length of the normal consonant), with the syllable boundary merged into the consonant. Some dialects allow the syllable boundary to shift to the end of the geminated consonant.
Stops and affricates are not geminated; rather a double stop or affricate indicates that the first syllable's coda is in fact a glottal stop while the second syllable's onset is (more often than not) aspirated.