Modern Yorshaan Phonology

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Due to lack of powerful language regulator, the correspondance between written Yorshaan and sopken Yorshaan has been more and more obscure. In this page, we will look into its phonology.

Consonants Edit

All of the consonants of Modern Yorshaan are inherited from EMY, and some of them have been merged with others. The table below shows all possible consonants in Modern Yorshaan, with phonemes bolded.

All possible consonants (Standard Yorshaan)
bilabial labio-dental dental alveolar post-alveolar alveolo-palatal palatal velar
nasal m ɱ n ɲ ŋ
plosive p p̚ b t t̚ d  k̚ g
fricative β f v θ ð s sʲ zʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ x
affricative t͡ʃ d͡ʒ t͡ɕ
tap or flap ɾ
approximant ʋ ɹ j
lateral approximant l
Implosive ɓ ɗ

And here's the table of the phonemes in Yorshaan orthography.

bilabial labio-dental dental alveolar postalveolar alveolo-palatal palatal velar
nasal m /m/ n /n/
plosive p /p/
b /b/
t /t/
d /d/
c /k/
g /g/
fricative w /β/ f /f/
v /v/
th, ts /θ/
dz /ð/
s /s/
z /z/
sh, sch /ʃ/
tzh, zh /ʒ/
shy /ɕ/
zhy /ʑ/
h /x/
affricative ch, tsh /tʃ/
j /dʒ/
chy /tɕ/
approximant r /ɹ/ y /j/
lateral approximant l /l/

Consonant ClustersEdit

The are consonant clusters in Yorshaan, and most of them consist of only 2 consonants. Here's the table of all consonant clusters:

Consonant Clusters (Standard Yorshaan)
1; 2 [m] [n] [pʰ] [tʰ] [kʰ] [f] [v] [s] [ɹ] [j] [l]
[m] [mpʰ] [ɱf] [ṽ] [mʲ]
[n] [ntʰ] [ŋkʰ] [ns] [nʲ]
[pʰ] [p̚tʰ] [p̪͡f] [pʰs], [p̚s] [pʰʀ̥] [pʰl]
[tʰ] [t̚m] [t̚n] [t̚p] [t̚kʰ] [θ] [tʰʀ̥] [tʲ] [tʰɾ]
[d] [d̪̃n] [d͡ʑ]
[kʰ] [k̚m] [k̚n] [k̚p] [k̚tʰ] [kʰs], [k̚s] [k͡x], [kʀ̥] [kʲ] [kl]
[g] [gɲ], [ŋɲ]
[f] [ftʰ] [fʀ̥] [fl]
[v] [vn] [vʀ] [ʋ] [ʋl]
[s] [sm] [sn] [spʰ] [stʰ] [skʰ] [sʲ] [sl]
[z] [zn] [zʲ]
[ʃ] [ʃm] [ʃn] [ʃtʰ]
[ɹ] [ɹpʰ] [ɹtʰ] [ɹkʰ] [ɹf] [ɹv] [ɹs]
[l] [lpʰ] [ltʰ] [ɫkʰ] [lf] [lv] [ls] [lʲ]

It's more likely the real pronunciation when two consonants meet each other. Some of them would change it's sound, some would merge with others. Only pairs that are shown in the table are valid.

It also implies that there's no cluster consisting of more than 2 consonants in Yorshaan.

Varients of TEdit

There were once at most 5 varients of the alveolar plosive in EModY: /t̪/, /t̻/, /tʲ/, /tʷ/, and /tˤ/. In Modern Yorshaan, some of them has merged with others or been left out.

All possible varients of "t" in Yorshaan
EModY ModY Example in EModY Example in ModY
[t] [t] traswe /tɹʌˈsʷe/ hand trase /ˈtɹɑsɵ/ hand
[t̪] [θ] tiana /t̪iʌ̯ˈnɑ/ tale tiane /ˈθiʌ̯nɵ/ tale
[t̻] [t] casentuu /kʌsenˈt̻u:/ sloth casentu /kʌˈsentʊ/ sloth
[tʲ] [tʲ] fartyeem /fɑɹtʲe:m/ to satisfy fartyem /ˈfɑɹtɵ̃/ to satisfy
[tʷ] [t] twerra /tʷeˈrɑ/ cross tere /ˈteɹɵ/ cross
[tˤ] [t] or [ɗ] ohtta /oxˈtˤɑ/ language otte /ˈotɵ/ language

Be aware that t is read as /θ/ before the vowel /i/ since it used to be /t̪/ and finally become what it is nowadays.

In some dialects (majorly eastern) the pharyngealized [tˤ] has been weakened and became implosive [ɗ], while other dialects as well as central dialects simply de-pharyngealized it as [t]. In the orthography, the spelling tt is still preserved along with pp.

Realization of REdit

The realization of r also depends on its environments. There are three conditions that one should consider: intervocalic, consonant-following and consonant-preceding. In the following context, we'll talk about Standard Yorshaan.

R between VowelsEdit

The sound of intervocalic r vaires. The dialects affected by Atramia would receive [ɻ] (retroflex), and those affected by French would have [ʀ̥], [ʀ], or [ɣ].

Though the "standard" Yorshaan read r as alveolar approximant [ɹ] and most Yorshaan users can recognize that sound, people using /ʀ/ have difficult time recognizing [ɻ] or [ɾ] as r.

Those who pronounce r using their uvula or velum (the back of mouth) are often nicknamed yontlicezye (back-tongue) and those who use the front part of their tongue receive the nickname gendicezye (front-tongue).

R before ConsonantsEdit

The most significant change (or lenition) of r before consonants is that it would become [ɐ̯] in unstressed syllables.

R after ConsonantsEdit

The r following consonants would become [ʀ̥], [ʀ], [r], or[r̥], depending on whether the followed consonant is voiceless or not. Yontlicezyes (most of which are northern dialects) prefer [ʀ̥] or [ʀ], while gendicezyes often pick [r] or [r̥]. However, if the r is at the end of a word, it usually becomes a rhotic schwa [ɚ].

Gendicezye Yontlicezye
Intervocalic [r], [r̥], [ɾ], /ɹ/, [ɻ], [ʐ] [ɰ], [ɣ], [ʀ̥], [ʀ], [ʕ]
Consonant-preceding [ɐ̯]
Consonant-following [r], [r̥] [ʀ̥], [ʀ]

Voicing and DevoicingEdit

The voice of consonants (whether it's voiced or not) can be changed according on their environment. Voicing often occurs inside a word, and devoicing can only take place at the end of a word.

When the consonant is between two close vowels, such as /i/,  /y/, and /u/, the consonant would be voiced.

  • cisine [ˈkizɪnɵ̆] (mood)

When the consonant is at the end of a word, it would be devoiced. However, the "floating" e will prevent consonants from being devoicd. Thus such change most likely occurs in the ablative form of a noun. In addition to that, only /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, /ð/, /z/, /ʒ/, /ʑ/, and /d͡ʒ/ can be devoiced.

  • fronzye [ˈfʀ̥onzʲɵ̆] (prince) → ifronzy [ˈifrʀ̥onz] (from prince)


Palatalization has been exist in Yorshaan since long time ago. Some consonants can be palatalized, some would become another consonant after palatalized, others just can't be palatalized.

In the orthography, the palatalized sounds are followed by the letter y.

Before n s z l

Most voiced consonants would become other consonants after palatalized.

Before d v ʃ ʒ
After d͡ʑ ʋ ɕ ʑ t͡ɕ

Like devoicing, consonants would be de-palatalized at the end of a word. The floating e at the and of words would prevent this process from occuring as well.


Phonemes and OrthographiesEdit

The following table shows all possible vowels, including phonemes (bold) and allphones, in Yorshaan. Though it's simpler than Early Modenr Yorshaan, it still has a somewhat complex vowel systems.

All possible vowels in Yorshaan (Standard Yorshaan)
Front Near-Front Central Near-Back Back
Close /i/, /y/ /u/
Near-Close [ɪ], [ʏ] [ʊ]
Mid-Close /e/, /ø/ /ɵ/ /o/
Mid [ə]
Mid-Open [ɛ], [œ] [ʌ], [ɔ]
Open [a] /ɑ/

Under normal circumstances where vowels are stressed and open, some Yorshan alphabets presents for certain vowels. That is, for five letters, a, and e, and i, and o, and, u:

Letter a e i o u
Phoneme [ɑ] [e] [i] [o] [u]

And patterns containing two letters can also present phonemes.

Combination IPA
eu, iu /y/
oi /ø/

Nevertheless, the actual vowel any of these letters stands for varies depending on its environment. We'll talk about them later, which are stresss, closeness, following consonants, and position.


Long and short vowels are not distinguished in modern usage. The length of vowels depends mostly on the stress. Stressed vowels have longer strength, whereas unstressed vowels are shorter and may undergo vowel weakening.

Two good examples showing that most long vowels have been shortened are the ending of uncountable nouns and verbs. The ending of uncountable nouns used to end in -uu /uː/ and that of I-verbs in -eem /ɛːm/. When the stress of words commenced to move from the last to the penult, the long vowels started to become shorter and shorter.

  • zhorduu [ʒoɹˈdu:] → zhordu [ˈʒɔɹdʊ] (daytime)
  • bœzeem [bøˈzɛ:m] → boizem [ˈbɶzɵ̃] (able to do)

Modern phnology forbids the presence of long vowels in the last syllable, thoug they might be second stressed.


Namely, a closed syllable has a coda "closing the whole syllable", and some codae can always alter the sound of the preceding vowel, whether it's significant or not.

Each vowel has different behavior upon meeting some codae following it though. Here's a list:

Phoneme /i/ /y/ /u/ /e/ /ø/ /ɵ/ /o/ /ɑ/
Closed Syl. (remains same) [ɛ] [œ] [ɔ] [a]

The phoneme /ɵ/ never appear in closed syllables. However, there's a few syllables that are really closed in Yorshaan, since that most syllables are CV.

However, when there are consonant clusters containing 2 consonants in a word, the syllable before the cluster is always close, taking the first consonant of the cluster as its coda.

  • chyastam [ˈtɕas.tɑ̃] (to lie, to sit)
  • opsam [ɔp̚.sɑ̃] (to stroll)

In the word chyastam, the first syllable is often considered chyas and receives a front open vowel [a]. The rules are ambiguous or there's even no rules, but some major principles still exist:

  1. Clusters where all its components are all voiced, such as dn or gn, can not affect the preceding vowel.
  2. Sonorant codas can never modify the preceding vowels.
  • oidnem [ød̪̃.nɵ̃] (to let)
  • gontu [ˈgon.tʊ] (ink)


Developed from reduced vowels or other semivowels, semivowels exist in Modern Yorshaan. There are two semivowels: /ɥ/ and /j/.

Letter IPA EModY ModY
ei, ui /j/ garteye /gʌɹteˈje/ garteie /ˈgɑɹtje/
oi /ɥ/ savoye /sʌvoˈje/ savoie /ˈsɑvɥe/


Influenced by French, Yorshaan has nasalized vowels. Most nasal vowels occur in front of the nasal m, especially in front of a stressed syllable or final one.

Yet the number of nasal vowels are restricted. Only these nasal vowels are available in Yorshaan:

IPA [ɑ̃] [œ̃] [ɪ̃] [ɵ̃]
pattern am oim im em, um

When the consonant m is followed by other consonants and vowels (including final e), the vowel will no longer be nasalized. This feature is common among infinitives of Yorshaan verbs:

  • dagem /ˈdɑ.gɵ̃/ (to be seen), dageme /ˈdɑ.gem/ (to see)


When the letter y appears in front of another vowel, the following vowel is then palatalized. Nonetheless, not all vowels can be palatalized.

IPA [jɑ] [je] [jø] [ju]
pattern ya ye yoi yu

That is, the vowel /i/ can never be palatalized. This is why the ending of plural absolutive form of -eie nouns (-eiit) is read as /it/. We'll talk about that in the irregular noun section.

Rhotic VowelsEdit

There is only one r-colored vowel in Yorshaan, /ɚ/ , and it will only occur at the last syllables or that before stressed ones.

In most cases, rhotic vowels occurs at the last syllable of ablative form of nouns whose stems end in -r.

  • argre /ɑɹ.gɹɵ/ (anger) → yargr /jɑɹ.gɚ/ (from anger)


(Probably affected by french, )liaison happens in Yorshaan as well. In most cases, it takes place when a noun in absolutive case is followed by vowel-beginning word. For example:

  • peshte ofr (a long time) /peʃt‿ofɚ/
  • Neccrade unim acca. (Time awaits no people.) /ˈnekɹɑd‿umin ˈɑkɑ/

Some adjectives ending with syllabic consonants (due to the drop of absolutive suffix -e), such as ofr (long) and matl (creepy), changes the pronunciation of the last syllable upon liaison:

  • peshte ofr ur (one long time) /peʃt‿ofɹ‿uɹ/

Ending EEdit

The e at the end of some words (most of them are nouns) of Yorshaan are "floating" on account of their "uncertain" pronunciation / existance.

Under these circumstances the e must be omitted and read something else instead:

  1. It follows a voiceless consonant.
  2. The consonant it follows becomes syllabic.
  3. Liaison happens.

While in these cases the must be read as /ɵ/:

  1. At the end of a sentence (or clause).
  2. In most folklore songs.
  3. Emphasized.
  4. Read alone (no words following).

In other cases (e.g. follows a voiced consonant) the e can be read optionally, depending on each person.

Ending UEdit

It is reported that the u at the end of a word (most of which are nouns) alone could be /ʏ/ instead of /ʊ/. This happens in most northern dialects, to say at least.

Other Ending VowelsEdit

There are also other vowels that could appear at the end of a word without any consonants following. These vowels are /ɑ/, /i/, /o/, and /ø/. Most of these are found in verb conjugation, and /ø/ is very rare since it's the ending of the past passive participle of eton.

Nonetheless, only /ɑ/ would change to /ɐ/ and /o/ to /ə/ or even disappear in imperative mood.

There's also a diphthong ei /eɪ̯/ that would change it's sound at the end of a word. It appears in the 3rd present indicative of weak verbs, like e bavei (He is rescued), and the ergative of -eie nouns, like clomei (rabbit). The diphthong would then become /aɪ̯/ and a new learner often forget that.


Whether a vowel is stressed or not could alter the sound of the vowel. This, though regarded as allophones, is natural to native speakers but hard to memorize for new learners. Unlike English where unstressed vowels tend to become [ɨ] or [ə], the behavior of a phoneme (vowel) in Yorshaan varies.

Phoneme /i/ /y/ /u/ /e/ /ø/ /ɵ/ /o/ /ɑ/
Unstressed [ɪ] [ʏ] [ʊ] or [ʏ] [ɛ] [œ] [ɔ] [ʌ]

Diphthongs and TriphthongsEdit

Yorshaan doesn't have a rich diphthong system. Most of diphthongs have been simplified and changed into monophthongs. There are only few diphthongs available as in modern usage. In the following table, those are always considered a vowel with a preceding semi-vowel is in gray:

1; 2 /i/ /y/ /u/ /e/ /ø/ /o/ /ɑ/
/i/ [jy] [ju] [je] [jø] [jo] [iʌ̯] → [ɪ̯ə]
/y/ [ɥi]
/u/ [uɪ̯] → [əɪ̯] [ue̯] → [əɪ̯] [uʌ̯] → [ə]
/e/ [eɪ̯] → [eɪ̯] [eʏ̯] → [eɪ̯] [eʏ̯] → [eɪ̯] [eʏ̯] → [eɪ̯]
/ø/ [ɥi] [ɥe] [ɥɑ]
/o/ [oʏ̯] → [ʏ]
/ɑ/ [aɪ̯] → [əɪ̯] [ɑʊ̯] → [ɔ]

However, there's no triphthong in Modern Yorshaan, though there maybe some in EMY. When diphthongs are unstressed, the quality decreases and some of them could become monophthong (shown at the right side of the arrow above).

Some of these diphthongs change their sound at the last syllable of a word. Here's a summarizing table:

open syllable
close syllable
open syllable
close syllable
Last syllable
[iʌ̯] [ɪ̯a] [ɪ̯ə] [ɪ̯ə] [ɪ̯a]
[uɪ̯] [uɪ̯] [əɪ̯] [əɪ̯] [uɪ̯]
[ue̯] [ʊ̯ɛ] [əɪ̯] [əɪ̯] [ə]
[uʌ̯] [ʊ̯a] [ə] [ə] [ə]
[eɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [aɪ̯]
[eʏ̯] [ɛʏ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [aɪ̯]
[oʏ̯] [ɔʏ̯] [ɔʏ̯] [ɔʏ̯] [œ]
[aɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [ɛɪ̯] [aɪ̯]
[ɑʊ̯] [aʊ̯] [ɔ] [ɛ] [aʊ̯]

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