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| Name: Otrainste
Head Direction: (tbd)
Number of genders: No
|/p/||top||Never aspirated in syllable-initial position, as what happens in English. Therefore, a word-initial /p/ in Otrainste might sound more like a /b/ to English speakers.||‹p›|
|/ɸ/||-||Sounds similar to the /f/ sound of English, and is articulated almost the same way except the upper lip never meets the lower teeth. It is the voiceless counterpart of /β/.||‹ph›|
|/β/||-||Sounds similar to the /v/ sound of English, and is articulated almost the same way except the upper lip never meets the lower teeth. It is the voiced counterpart of /ɸ/.||‹bh›|
|/t/||dot||Never aspirated in syllable-initial position, as what happens in English. Therefore, a word-initial /t/ in Otrainste might sound more like a /d/ to English speakers.||‹t›|
|/s/||see||Becomes softened to "soft s" [ʃ] before the vowel /i/||‹s›|
|/z/||zebra||Becomes softened to "soft z" [ʒ] before the vowel /i/||‹z›|
|/ts/||mats||Becomes softened to "soft c" [tʃ] before the vowel /i/||‹c›|
|/dz/||lads||Becomes softened to "soft x" [dʒ] before the vowel /i/||‹x›|
|/r/||real||Pronounced as a trill, as in Spanish perro.||‹r›|
|/ɲ/||new||Only ever found in syllable-initial position before a vowel.||‹ni›|
|/ʎ/||million||Only ever found in syllable-initial position before a vowel.||‹li›|
|/g/||garden||When following a vowel and preceding a consonant, /g/ becomes the approximant [ɰ].||‹g›|
|/ʟ/||-||Similar in sound to the 'Dark L' of English, as in pull and milk. When in syllable final position, /ʟ/ becomes the approximant [ɰ].||‹l›|
All Otrainste consonants can be geminated (lengthened). This is represented by doubling the letter used to pronounce it. Geminate /j/ often becomes rendered as [ʝ], or even [ʑ], and geminate /ʟ/ often becomes the cluster [ʟɣ].
Consonants with Ambiguous StatusEdit
There are a couple of consonants which have an ambiguous phonemic status in Otrainste. Whether they should be regarded as phonemes in there own right, or as mere allophones of Otrainste phonemes, is still being considered.
The Velar Approximant [ɰ] appears as both the syllable-final allophone of the phoneme /ʟ/, and as the allophone of /g/ in positions following a vowel and preceding a consonant. However, the fact that it appears as an allophone of /ʟ/ has meant that it forms minimal pairs with /g/, a consonant that it would otherwise be in complimentary distribution with. For example in the word pal [pɐɰ] "bad" (where the [ɰ] is a result of the phoneme /ʟ/), as opposed to pag [pɐg] "dog" (where the word-final /g/ does not lenit to [ɰ] because it doesn't precede another consonant). /ʟ/ however, never contrasts with [ɰ], so the status is still vague.
The two labiodental fricatives /f/ and /v/, as in English foot and very respectively, are not native phonemes to Otrainste, which has the phonemes /ɸ/ and /β/ (represented by the letters ‹ph› and ‹bh›) instead. However, words borrowed from other languages containing /f/ and /v/ usually retain their spellings (‹f› and ‹v›, as they are not used elsewhere in Otrainste) - keeping them distinct from ‹ph› and ‹bh›, leading some speakers to pronounce them differently from eachother. This can lead some speakers to have minimal pairs between words such as native phrank "apple" versus foreign frank "franc".
Otrainste does not have a simple(alveolar) /l/ sound as in English. Instead, it has a palatal /ʎ/ (called "light l") and a velar /ʟ/ (called "dark l"). Neither sound are found in English, but they can be approximated by the sounds in all year ("light l") and the pronunciation of the English 'dark l' as in call ("dark l").
Hard & Soft and Light & Dark SoundsEdit
In Otrainste terminology, 'hard' sounds refer to alveolar consonants, and 'soft' sounds refer to their post-alveolar or palatal counterpart - see the table below:
The Soft Sounds are represented in writing by the Hard Sound letter followed by ‹i› when before a vowel ‹si zi ci xi ni›, and by the Dotted Letters ‹ṡ ż ċ ẋ› when before a consonant and at the end of a word. As Soft N cannot be found before a consonant or at the end of a word, there is no Dotted N letter, just a ‹ni› digraph before vowels. The distinction between hard and soft sounds is very important, as there is at least one minimal pair for every Hard-Soft companion.
The Light-Dark distinction is slightly different. The light-dark distinction is only for the language's two l-like sounds, in which Light L refers to palatal /ʎ/, and Dark l refers to velar /ʟ/.
- The sounds Light L /ʎ/ and Soft N /ɲ/ cannot appear anywhere other than syllable initial position before another vowel, as in liák [ʎak] "fine" and nieṡ [ɲɛʃ] "no, not".
- The hard sounds /s z ts dz/ cannot appear before the vowel /i/ except in foreign words, only their soft counterparts /ʃ ʒ tʃ dʒ/ can.
Otrainste has a ten-vowel system.
|/ɐ/||/ɑ/ • /ɒ/|
|A||a||/ɐ/||cup in BE|
|Á||á||/ɑ/||mark in BE|
|É||é||/e/||Like the first part of the diphthong in maid|
Otrainste uses numerous digraphs in writing. The most common two are ‹ph› and ‹bh› which represent sounds /ɸ/ and /β/ respectively. These are both regarded as unique letters in their own right, with their own place in the alphabet and their own dictionary entries.
Soft consonants /tʃ ʎ ɲ ʃ dʒ/ and /ʒ/ are spelt with the respective digraphs ‹ci li ni si xi and ‹zi› before a vowel, and ‹ṡ ż ċ ẋ› before a consonant and at the end of a word. (/ʎ/ and /ɲ/ cannot appear before a consonant or the end of a word).
There are five letters of the basic latin alphabet that are not regularly used in Otrainste: ‹f h q v w›. They are all used however to some degree in Foreign words adopted into the alphabet - as in ‹finn› "Finnish", ‹hélo› "halo", ‹quázár› "quasar", ‹vélo› "bicycle" and ‹watt› "watt". Although the foreign letters ‹f v w› tend to be retained (as the sounds they represent are not found in native Otrainste), the position of ‹h› and ‹q› is more vague and is up to the choice of the writer. ‹h› is usually silent, so can be simply ommitted, for example ‹élo› instead of ‹hélo› "halo". ‹q› represents the same sound as the native letter ‹k›, so is often replaced with it, for example ‹kuázár› instead of ‹quázár› "quasar".
Otrainste uses a small number of optional diacritics which aid in pronunciation and telling the difference between otherwise identical words. The dot used on the letters ‹ṡ ż ċ ẋ› and ‹ė ȯ› and the acute accent used on ‹á é› is not regarded as a diacritic mark, instead it is viewed as an integral part of the letter. As a result, the dotted and acute-accented letters have their own place in the alphabet, whereas letters with other diacritics are not.
The trema is used on ‹i› and ‹u› to show that two adjacent vowels should be pronounced as two seperate vowels instead of a diphthong. This can be important to distinguish between two identical words, as in ‹gaïn› [gɐ.in] "to shut" versus ‹gain› [gaɪ̯n] "mediocre".
The grave accent is used on non-pluralised nouns which have the same ending as the Otrainste plural marker -ie. This is to distinguish them from plural nouns which would otherwise be spelled the same. As in aciè "sneeze" versus acie "trees" (plural of ak "tree").
The order of the elements of an Otrainste noun phrase is always determiner - noun - adjective, so an Otrainste phrase would be rendered as something like the apple red instead of the red apple.
Pluralisation in Otrainste is regular but complicated, with several ways of representing a plural depending on the ending of the word. The basic plural marker is the suffix -e or -je, but it can take many forms. There are some irregular plurals, but the general rules are as follows:
|If the word ends in...||Do the following...||Example|
|a, e, i, o, u||Add -je|| ja "star" > jaje "stars" |
saphe "cushion" > sapheje "cushions"
mi "moment" > miji "moments"
vélo "bike" > véloje "bikes"
phiu "child" > phiuje "children"
|b, bh, c, f, g, l, n, p, ph, s, v, w, x, z||Add -ie|| obb "mouth" > obbie "mouths" |
obh "moon" > obhie "moons"
lyc "five" > lycie "fives"
kuff "cuff" > kuffie "cuffs"
dol "money" > dolie "moneys"
ton "person" > tonie "people"
phép "paper" > phépie "papers"
ṡtaph "country" > ṡtaphie "countries"
bhas "chair" > bhasie "chairs"
sláv "slav" > slávie "slavs"
nuxix "church" > nuxixie "churches"
tioz "pen" > tiozie "pens"
|d, g||Remove the 'd' and add -xie|| lied "day" > liexie "days" |
niugg "wave" > niuxxie "waves"
|k, t||Remove the 'k', 't' and add -cie|| ak "tree" > acie "trees" |
at "man" > acie "men"
|m||Double the 'm' and add -nie||gybhellom "melon" > gybhellommnie "melons"|
|r||Remove the 'r' and add -lie||gár "boy" > gálie "boys"|
|ċ, ṡ, ẋ, ż||Remove the dot above diacritic, and add -ie|| bhaċ "foreigner" > bhacie "foreigners" |
nieṡ "downside" > niesie "downsides"
uẋ "woman" > uxie "women"
żaż "style" > żazie "styles"
Certain nouns that commonly come in pairs (e.g. arms, shoes) take the Pairing Suffix -koph. For example sa xioi "the shoe" versus sa xioikoph "the pair of shoes" versus saje xioije "the shoes". This suffix is only really used on a few common nouns which most commonly come in pairs.
Possession of nouns is marked by affixing a following personal pronoun with the genitive suffix -siyk. For example the pronoun nie "me" becomes niesiyk "my", so "my pair of shoes" is xioikoph niesiyk.
Otrainste has numerous articles.
- The definite article is sa, which changes to saz before a vowel. The plural definite articles are sie and ob before consonants and vowels respectively. For example: sa gár "the boy" > sie galie "the boys", saz at "the man" > ob acie "the men".
- The indefinite article is én, with the plural form énie'. For example: én gár "a boy" > énie gálie "some boys".
- The negative article is nieṡ, which is a word used for many negatives, such as "no, not, neither, without" etc. It does not change for a plural noun - nieṡ gár "no boy(s)".
Otrainste uses a decimal numeral system just like that used in most of the modern countries of the world. However, the number names do not quite correlate with the decimal number system in place due to Otrainste originally using a senary system (base 6).