Phonology of U̧ailan

Consonants

There are 28 consonantal phonemes, a few of which are quite rare cross-linguistically.

Nasals: /m n ɲ/
Plosives: /p b d k g q ɢ/
Affricates: / t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/
Fricatives: /ɸ β s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ/
Approximants: /ɰ w l ʎ/
Trills: /r/
Ejectives: /pʼ tʼ kʼ/

Vowels

The vowel inventory consists of the following: /a e~ɛ i o~ɔ y/

Note that /e/ and /ɛ/ exist in free variation to each other, as do /o/ and /ɔ/.

U̧ailan has eight diphthongs: /ai au eu~ɛu oi~ɔi ui iu oe~ɔɛ eo~ɛɔ/, the last two of which are always height-harmonic regardless of whether the vowels are close-mid or open-mid.

Phonotactics

Onset

The onset is optional and may consist of any single consonant or any of the following pairs of consonants:

• Any bilabial stop, velar stop, uvular stop or voiceless bilabial fricative + /l/
• Any bilabial stop, alveolar stop, velar stop or voiceless bilabial fricative + /r/
• Any stop or any voiceless fricative + /w/

Here is the entire list of permissible onsets: /m n ɲ p b d k g q ɢ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ɸ β s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ ɰ w l ʎ r pʼ tʼ kʼ pl pr pw bl br bw dr dw kl kr kw gl gr gw ql qw ɢl ɢw ɸl ɸr sw ʃw xw/

Nucleus

The nucleus is mandatory and may consist of a vowel or a diphthong.

List of all possible nuclei: /a e~ɛ i o~ɔ y ai au eu~ɛu oi~ɔi ui iu oe~ɔɛ eo~ɛɔ/

Coda

The coda is optional and may consist of either any single consonant except for a non-lateral approximant, or a bilabial nasal or voiced nasal and their homorganic voiced plosives.

The list of all possible codas is as follows: /m n ɲ p b d k g q ɢ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ɸ β s z ʃ ʒ x ɣ l ʎ r pʼ tʼ kʼ mb nd/

Other Restrictions

There may be a maximum of three sequential consonants within words, where two are interpreted as a cluster and one is regarded as a separate unit. There is not, however, any limit to the number of vowels that may occur in the same environment.

U̧ailan has a moderate preference for open syllables, so when two consecutive consonants occur in the middle of a word, they should be pronounced like an initial cluster, if it is possible. For example, the word zacre meaning “morally correct or just” is syllabified not as /zak.re/ but rather as /za.kre/.

Similarly, instead of being analyzed as the codas /mb/ and /nd/, syllable boundaries should be divided between /m/ and /b/ and /n/ and /d in the middle of words, if it is possible, which is generally the case unless another consonant follows that prevents either /b/ or /d/ from being interpreted as the beginning of an initial cluster.

Stress

Stress is generally in the penultimate syllable. There are, however, some exceptions:

1) In cases in which the preceding syllable is heavier, meaning that its syllabic weight, as determined by the presence of a coda and its length (one or two consonants) and by the presence of a diphthong rather than monophthong as a syllabic nucleus, both of which separately add weight to the syllable, exceeds that of the following syllable, then the stress is shifted to the heavier antepenultimate syllable.

It is possible to distinguish four degrees of heaviness in U̧ailan:

• Light syllables, in which a monophthong nucleus is followed by no coda
• Mid-heavy syllables, in which a monophthong nucleus is followed by a coda containing one consonant or a diphthong nucleus is followed by no coda
• Heavy syllables, where a monophthong nucleus is followed by a coda containing two consonants or a diphthong nucleus is followed by a coda containing one consonant
• Super-heavy syllables, where a diphthong nucleus is followed by a coda containing two consonants

2) When a verb is in the infinite form, stress is always on the ultimate syllable.

3) When the morphemes indicating negation, anterior non-occurrence, or posterior non-occurrence are prefixed to verb, they are emphasized and stress is always on the first syllable.

4) Likewise, when the emphatic particle be– is prefixed to a word, the particle is emphasized and stress always falls on the first syllable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s