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Reading, writing and pronouncing Ælis

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01 - Alphabet 002

This page will cover the Ælis alphabet, its writing system and its pronunciation rules.

Alphabet

The Ælis alphabet considers itself to have 15 letters, of which 6 vowels and 9 consonants. One of the vowels is technically a diphthong, but it is treated as a common vowel. Additionally, some letters can be marked with a diacritic, making up for a total of 21 phonemes in the language.

The tables below show the entire Ælis alphabet. The middle column shows the Romanisation, which will be used throughout these pages as a guideline for pronunciation. The difference between the primary case and secondary case (i.e. the two leftmost columns) will be dicussed below. Please note that the characters used for Romanisation do not always coincide with the IPA standard. The column next to it shows alternative pronunciations of the respective letter, which can be used either due to allomorphy, or when a speaker from a certain native background has difficulties pronouncing the preferred phoneme. The rightmost column shows the name of the letter as it is pronounced when spelling a word or name. Trivia: the names of the letters constitute a functional spelling alphabet, where each combination of vowels is unique.
Tip: You can click the letters to hear how they are pronounced.


VOWELS
Ælis Rom. IPA Alt. pron. (IPA) Name
prim. case sec. case
a A a a ɑ - ɐ aie
w W æ aɛ̯ æoi
e E e ɛ e - æ euo
i I i i ɪ iau
o O o ɒ o - o̞ - ɔ oæa
u U u u ʉ - ɯ - ʊ ueæ
BASIC CONSONANTS
Ælis Rom. IPA Alt. pron. (IPA) Name
prim. case sec. case
m M m m ɱ umo
n N n n ɳ ine
l L l l ɭ - ʟ - ɺ æla
q Q q k q - kh aqa
t T t t ʈ - th etæ
r R r ɾ r - ɹ - ɻ - ʀ - ɽ ore
s S s s ʂ asi
p P p p p̪ - ph epo
f F f f ɸ ofu

The last 6 of the consonants are all voiceless consonants. By adding a circle-shaped diacritic, these consonants become voiced:

VOICED DIACRITIC ADDITIONS
Ælis Rom. IPA Alt. pron. (IPA) Name
prim. case sec. case
g G g g ɢ ægu
d D d d - ð - ɖ ido
h H h h x - χ - ɣ - ħ - ʜ uhi
z Z z z ʐ æze
b B b b ɓ ibæ
v V v v β uva

Although these voiced consonants aren't considered parts of the alphabet, they do play an independent role. E.g.: rA [ra] and hA [ha] are completely independent root words with unrelated meanings.

There are a few digraphs, which means a combination of two letters that describe one sound together. The following sounds are not natural to Ælis; the digraphs exist for the sole purpose of being able to transcribe foreign names better:

DIGRAPHS
Ælis Rom. IPA Name
prim. case sec. case
ss SS ss ʃ ussu


("ooshoo")
or
asi'asi

zz ZZ zz ʒ uzzu


("oojoo")
or
æze'æze

nn NN nn ŋ unnu


("oongoo")
or
ine'ine

E.g.: John Shepard [dʒɔn ʃɛpɛɹd] {dzzon sseperd} kdZZONssEPERDK


E.g.: English [ɪŋlɪʃ] {innliss} kiNNLISSK



Throughout this page,
Romanisations will be enclosed in curly brackets { },
IPA transcriptions will be enclosed in angular brackets [ ].

Syllabic writing

Ælis has a root word based approach, and the Ælis script was designed to reflect this: through the syllabic writing style, individual root words are recognisable as such, so a reader can extract them and understand the individual meanings of the root words. The script mechanic can be summarized in one, easy rule:

the first phoneme of every root word is written in the primary case,
every other letter of the root word is written in the secondary case.

For example, if the first sound of a root word is "m", then the first letter of the word will be the primary case "m", which is m. The other sounds in the syllable will be written in the secondary case:

m + a mA
{ma}

m + w mW
{mæ}

m + e mE
{me}

m + i mI
{mi}

m + o mO
{mo}

m + u mU
{mu}

The root word may also start with a vowel, but the rule remains unchanged, for instance with root words starting with the letter "a", which is a:

a + m aM
{am}

a + n aN
{an}

a + l aL
{al}

a + q aQ
{aq}

a + t aT
{at}

a + r aR
{ar}

The root word approach is an important fundament of Ælis. Every one root is at the same time a morpheme and a syllable; which is why exceptionally for Ælis, the words root word, syllable, and morpheme are all synonyms. A "regular" root word has either two or three phonemes/letters. Only certain vowel-consonant combinations are admissible:

 
Two letter root words:
1. CV, e.g. tW {tæ} (colour)

2. VC, e.g. aR {ar} (reason, causality)
3. VV, e.g. eA {ea} (abstract, imaginary)

Three letter root words:
1. CVC, e.g. lIS {lis} (concept, notion)

2. CVV, e.g. gOE {goe} (water)

Expand the tables below to have a look at all two-letter Ælis root words.

CONSONANT-VOWEL
mA
{ma}
mW
{mæ}
mE
{me}
mI
{mi}
mO
{mo}
mU
{mu}
nA
{na}
nW
{næ}
nE
{ne}
nI
{ni}
nO
{no}
nU
{nu}
lA
{la}
lW
{læ}
lE
{le}
lI
{li}
lO
{lo}
lU
{lu}
qA
{qa}
qW
{qæ}
qE
{qe}
qI
{qi}
qO
{qo}
qU
{qu}
gA
{ga}
gW
{gæ}
gE
{ge}
gI
{gi}
gO
{go}
gU
{gu}
tA
{ta}
tW
{tæ}
tE
{te}
tI
{ti}
tO
{to}
tU
{tu}
dA
{da}
dW
{dæ}
dE
{de}
dI
{di}
dO
{do}
dU
{du}
rA
{ra}
rW
{ræ}
rE
{re}
rI
{ri}
rO
{ro}
rU
{ru}
hA
{ha}
hW
{hæ}
hE
{he}
hI
{hi}
hO
{ho}
hU
{hu}
sA
{sa}
sW
{sæ}
sE
{se}
sI
{si}
sO
{so}
sU
{su}
zA
{za}
zW
{zæ}
zE
{ze}
zI
{zi}
zO
{zo}
zU
{zu}
pA
{pa}
pW
{pæ}
pE
{pe}
pI
{pi}
pO
{po}
pU
{pu}
bA
{ba}
bW
{bæ}
bE
{be}
bI
{bi}
bO
{bo}
bU
{bu}
fA
{fa}
fW
{fæ}
fE
{fe}
fI
{fi}
fO
{fo}
fU
{fu}
vA
{va}
vW
{væ}
vE
{ve}
vI
{vi}
vO
{vo}
vU
{vu}
VOWEL-VOWEL
/
/
/
/
aO
{ao}
aU
{au}
wA
{æa}
/
/
/
wO
{æo}
wU
{æu}
eA
{ea}
eW
{eæ}
/
eI
{ei}
eO
{eo}
eU
{eu}
iA
{ia}
iW
{iæ}
iE
{ie}
iI
{ii}
iO
{io}
iU
{iu}
oA
{oa}
oW
{oæ}
oE
{oe}
oI
{oi}
/
oU
{ou}
uA
{ua}
uW
{uæ}
uE
{ue}
uI
{ui}
uO
{uo}
uU
{uu}
VOWEL-CONSONANT
aM
{am}
aN
{an}
aL
{al}
aQ
{aq}
aG
{ag}
aT
{at}
aD
{ad}
aR
{ar}
aH
{ah}
aS
{as}
aZ
{az}
aP
{ap}
aB
{ab}
aF
{af}
aV
{av}
wM
{æm}
wN
{æn}
wL
{æl}
wQ
{æq}
wG
{æg}
wT
{æt}
wD
{æd}
wR
{ær}
wH
{æh}
wS
{æs}
wZ
{æz}
wP
{æp}
wB
{æb}
wF
{æf}
wV
{æv}
eM
{em}
eN
{en}
eL
{el}
eQ
{eq}
eG
{eg}
eT
{et}
eD
{ed}
eR
{er}
eH
{eh}
eS
{es}
eZ
{ez}
eP
{ep}
eB
{eb}
eF
{ef}
eV
{ev}
iM
{im}
iN
{in}
iL
{il}
iQ
{iq}
iG
{ig}
iT
{it}
iD
{id}
iR
{ir}
iH
{ih}
iS
{is}
iZ
{iz}
iP
{ip}
iB
{ib}
iF
{if}
iV
{iv}
oM
{om}
oN
{on}
oL
{ol}
oQ
{oq}
oG
{og}
oT
{ot}
oD
{od}
oR
{or}
oH
{oh}
oS
{os}
oZ
{oz}
oP
{op}
oB
{ob}
oF
{of}
oV
{ov}
uM
{um}
uN
{un}
uL
{ul}
uQ
{uq}
uG
{ug}
uT
{ut}
uD
{ud}
uR
{ur}
uH
{uh}
uS
{us}
uZ
{uz}
uP
{up}
uB
{ub}
uF
{uf}
uV
{uv}

Toponyms, given names and borrowed words are not considered regular root words. Therefore, they can have more than three letters. Nonetheless, the same writing rule applies: the first letter uses the primary case, the other letters take the secondary case. Some examples:

khIMALAIAK (Himalaya)

keSPERANTOK (Esperanto)

kqLINNONK (Klingon)

 

Punctuation and the name tag

Although Ælis has a full stop (.) and a comma (,), these are used much less than in languages such as English. In Ælis, a comma could be used to separate different sentences, or in poetry to indicate pauses. A full stop can be used at the end of a paragraph. There is, however, no grammatical obligation to use the comma or full stop at all. An example is the Lord's Prayer text, which only has one full stop at the end.

kK

"re" symbols

There is, however, a set of two fairly important punctuation symbols named re. In certain ways comparable to the use of italics or quotation marks in English, the two (mirrored) re symbols enclose any type of proper name or borrowed word in order to mark it as such. It may be literally pronounced. E.g.:

  • eG1lIS {eg'ælis} = peaceful language;
  • eG k 1lIS K {egre'ælis} = the language (that is named) Peace. (=Ælis)

By itself, {re} (rE) is a root word which means "name":

iA1mAhArEkfREDERIQK
⇒ My name is Frederic.

The re is necessary to distinguish given names from coincidental meaningful Ælis words (especially in spoken discourse). Compare:

hAnA4rAeNiAaN {hana'ora'en ia'an} That place is beautiful.
hAnA4rAeNiAkaNK {hana'ora'en ia(re')an} Anne is beautiful.
this is a margin section.

Emphasis and pronunciation

As opposed to most languages in existence, emphasis is of minor importance in Ælis. The only reason for emphasis rules in Ælis is to avoid cases of possible ambiguity. It is recommended to revise the following pronunciation rules after having looked into the grammar, because some of them may seem abstract for now.

  1. The diphthong {æ} always has its emphasis on the {a}, never on the {ɛ}.
  2. Number concepts always carry the emphasis over the following and the preceding root word.
    E.g.: lA1tE {la'æte} [la'aɛtɛ].
  3. All written letters should always be audible. This is important to keep this in mind especially in cases where two identical consonants appear adjacently. There are a few possibilities to ensure the audibility of both letters. Example given: iRrW2rA {irræ'ira} (meaning similarly):
    • Through prolongation/gemination. This can only work for non-plosives: [ir:ɑɛiɾa]
    • By inserting a glottal stop, schwa or another muted vowel-like sound: [iɾʔɾɑɛiɾɑ] - [iɾəɾɑɛiɾɑ] - [iɾɞɾɑɛiɾɑ]
  4. There are 7 vowel pairs that have a predetermined and obligatory emphasis:
    1) uA {ua} [uɑ̯] 'oo-hah'
    2) uW {uæ} [uɑ̯ɛ̯] 'oo-why'
    3) uE {ue} [uɛ̯] 'oo-hey'
    4) uI {ui} [ui̯] 'oo-hee'
    5) uO {uo} [uɒ̯] 'oo-hoh'
    6) uU {uu} [u̯u] 'woo'
    7) iI {ii} [i̯i] 'yee'

Apart from these rules, the emphasis and intonation in Ælis are completely free.
For instance, the cluster iA {ia} can be pronounced either [ja] or ['ia]; the cluster aSdA {asda} can be pronounced either ['asda] or [as'da]; etc.

What's up with the apostrophes?

You may have noticed that the romanisation of Ælis makes frequent use of what appears to be an overkill of apostrophes. The apostrophes are, in fact, purposeful, and they make up for the fact that in the romanisation, the depiction of the individual root words is difficult to express. The romanization rules seem complex at first sight, and it is probably even easier to get a 'feel' for the orthography by experience with the language rather than learning the following rules by heart.

Romanisation rules of Ælis
  1. An apostrophe is placed
    1. after every root word that follows a number concept;
    2. after every three-letter root word;
    3. before every number concept;
    4. before and after any given name, borrowed word or otherwise non-standard Ælis word (i.e. a word that would receive the name tag); as well as in between any two parts of such a word (e.g.: between a first name and a last name);
    5. between vowels that belong to different root words.
  2. A space is placed
    1. after every comma or full stop;
    2. after the opening sentence bracket {læ};
    3. after the closing sentence bracket {iæ}, except if there is a comma or full stop;
    4. before the separator {ta}, always;
    5. before any of the primary function markers {ha}, {la}, {ia}, and {ir}.
  3. If a word gets too long according to the writer's preference, a space or apostrophe may be placed before any of the secondary function markers {em}, {væ}, {lo}, {io}, {li}, and {ii}.
  4. If any rule would create a space or apostrophe before the first word of a paragraph, it is ignored.
  5. If overlap of any two rules occurs
    1. two spaces turn into one space;
    2. two apostrophes turn into one apostrophe;
    3. the combination of an adjacent space and apostrophe turn into one space.
  6. If the a-e ligature æ proves difficult or impossible to make, it may be replaced by the letter y, not by ae. Ælis: AelisYlis.
  7. If the letter u with the inverted breve below diacritic (), used in the transcription of the high range lisqa, proves difficult or impossible to make, it may be replaced by uw.
  8. Capital / uppercase letters may be used deliberately without consequence.

Writing Ælis on the computer


If you're interested in writing Ælis in your own text editor, you can download the ttf font. The keyboard keys have been assigned as follows:

  • Lowercase letters correspond to the primary case;
  • Uppercase letters correspond to the secondary case;
  • Number concept symbols have been assigned to the numbers from 0 to 9;
  • The letter {æ} has been assigned to the w-key. Lowercase 'w' for the primary case w and uppercase 'W' for the secondary case W;
  • The "re" symbols have been assigned to the k-key. Lowercase 'k' for the opening re k and uppercase 'K' for the closing re K.
If both rows in the table below show Latin characters in your browser, click here.
Input:
Output:
aA
aA
wW
wW
eE
eE
iI
iI
oO
oO
uU
uU
mM
mM
nN
nN
lL
lL
qgQG
qgQG
tdTD
tdTD
rhRH
rhRH
szSZ
szSZ
pbPB
pbPB
fvFv
fvFV
0
0
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
.,kK
.,kK