My phonology for RedwarsEdit

I really hope you like your phonology (or at least don't hate it). If you have questions about certain processes/stuff feel free to ask me and I'll try and help you.

Good luck for the challenge!



Front Central Back
Close i u
Open a

Your language only possesses the 3 vowel morphemes /a/, /i/ and /u/. However, many more vowels are used because of various vowel mutations. Mutations occur only in syllables which are followed by a stressed syllables.

1st vowel ↓ 2nd vowel → /a/ /i/ /u/
/a/ - [ɛ] [ɔ]
/i/ [e] - -
/u/ [o] [y] -


The following diohthongs exist in your language: /ai̯/, /au̯/, /ei̯/ and /ou̯/. These diphthongs are also subject to mutations.

Diphthong ↓ Vowel → /a/ /i/ /u/
/ai̯/ [ae̯] [ɛi̯] [ɔi̯]
/au̯/ [ao̯] [ɛu̯] [ɔu̯]
/ei̯/ - - -
/ou̯/ - [øy̯] -


Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal (m) n (ŋ)
Plosive pʰ~p (pʲ) b (bʲ) tʰ~t (tʲ) d (dʲ) kʰ~k (kʲ) g (gʲ)
Fricative ɸ v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ x
Approximant l j
Trill r

The nasal /n/ is asimmilated to the following plosive; it turns into [m] when a bilabial plosive follow or into [ŋ] when a velar plosive is following.

The unvoiced plosives can be aspirated or not; usually they are aspirated when they are alone and they are not aspirated when they are in a syllable cluster.

All plosive are palatalized if they are followed by a unrounded front vowel; the following vowels belong to this group:

  • /i/ - only these realisations: [i], [ɛ]
  • /a/ - only these realisations: [e]
  • /ai̯/ - only these realisations: [ɛi̯]
  • /au̯/ - only these realisations: [ɛu̯]
  • /ei̯/


The syllable structure of your language strictly follows the "Sonority Sequencing Principle" (SSP). This means that every sound has a sonority level assigned to it and all syllables are build up like "a mountain"; e.g., the onset is rising in sonority, the nucleus is the peak of the sonority and the coda is declining in sonority.

The sonority levels are (with 1 being the highest and 8 the lowest):

  1. Vowels & Diphthongs - /a/, /i/, /u/, /ai̯/, /au̯/, /ei̯/ and /ou̯/
  2. Approximants - only /j/
  3. Liquids - /r/ and /l/
  4. Nasals - /n/
  5. Voiced fricatives - /v/, /ð/, /z/ and /ʒ/
  6. Voiceless fricatives - /ɸ/, /θ/, /s/, /ʃ/ and /x/
  7. Voiced plosives - /b/, /d/ and /g/
  8. Voiceless plosives - /p/, /t/ and /k/

Based on that, you can build up your syllables.

Syllables have to resemble the mountain and therefore they have to have an onset, a nucleus and a coda (CVC or CVVC). Both the onset and the coda can be expanded and contain two consonants as long as ...

  • they do not break the SSP
  • they have the same voice (only for combinations of fricatives and plosives)
  • /n/ and /l/ don't follow an alveolar plosive

Important to note is that sounds cannot form a plateau - so two sounds of the same sonority level cannot occur next to each other (at least within morpheme boundaries).

Additionally, the last consonant of a syllable is always the first consonant of the following syllable.


The stress is usually on the second syllable (S2) of a word stem. However, the stress can shift to either the first syllable (S1) or the third syllable (S3) in certain situations. If S2 is light (CVC)* and S1 or S3 is heavy (CVC(C) or CVV or CVVC(C)) the stress shifts to the heavy syllable. In case both S1 and S3 are heavy, the stress is always on S1.

  • = A syllable CVC is considered light because the last consonant is also part of the next syllable. Only word-initial or medial CVC syllables are light; word-final CVC are always heavy.

Your own decisionsEdit

Since you are going to work with this phonology, you can make minor adjustments to the phonology, e.g.:

  • You could switch out [i], [y] and [u] for [ɪ], [ʏ] and [ʊ] if you want to - or you could have free variation between the them etc. Your choice!
  • You can add additional consonant clusters which are not allowed - I like this better than you just simply "overlooking" a certain cluster that is theoretically possible but which you just don't want to use
  • You can add the vowel phoneme /ə/ for a bit more margin; or you could have [ə] as an allophone of /a/ in unstressed syllables which are not affected by a vowel mutation
  • As the rules of the challenge say, all sandhi effects are up to you but I think they should still be "logical" and not break the SSP

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