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Siberian Dwarvish is an a-priori language created by John Stevens. It is spoken by a community of some 500 dwarves who live in the Siberian mountains. The dwarves are a quiet folk who keep to themselves. They are softly-spoken, pleasant and peaceful, and are very hospitable to outsiders. The dwarves have mostly red or black hair and have long, bushy beards. They have lots of freckles and have chinese-like faces. Their language is an isolate and is very pure, having very little grammatical or lexical influence from any other language. It is quite a simple, unsophisticated language that reflects the simple life the dwarves live. The language has a small root vocabulary, and relies heavily on combining roots together to form compounds. The language is right-branching with SVO word order.
Siberian Dwarvish has a sound inventory consisting of 19 phonemes. The language has a small number of consonants, just 11, but has a comparatively large vowel inventory, contrasting eight vowel qualities.
Consonants occur at the bilabial, alveolar, velar, uvular and glottal points of articulation. There is no voicing contrast. The consonant inventory includes four voiceless plosives (/p t k q/), two voiceless fricatives (/s̺ h/), two nasals (/m n/) and three voiced liquids (/l ɣ ʁ/). The only unusual consonant is /s̺/, a voiceless apico-alveolar sibilant, which sounds very different to the typical lamino-alveolar [s] found in languages such as English. The lateral approximant /l/ is realized as a lateral tap [ɺ] intervocalically.
Siberian Dwarvish has an eight-vowel system that features a roundedness contrast for close and mid front vowels. There is no vowel length or tone, and there are no diphthongs. Close vowels do not occur before uvular consonants.
The consonants and vowels of Siberian Dwarvish are shown below:
- /l/ is realized as a lateral tap [ɺ] when occurring morpheme-medially between two vowels, and as /l/ when next to a consonant or when morpheme-initial. The phoneme does not occur morpheme-finally.
- /h/ may become palatal [ç] after front vowels, and velar [x] after back vowels.
- /ʁ/ is generally a pure approximant, but may also have slight frication.
- The three close vowels, /i y u/, become lowered and merge with /e ø o/, respectively, when appearing before uvular consonants.
Roots may be up to three syllables in length. The majority are disyllabic. The syllable structure of monosyllabic, disyllabic and trisyllabic roots is as follows: monosyllabic: (C)VC; disyllabic: (C)V(C).CVC; trisyllabic: (C)V(C).CV(C).CVC. Uvular consonants (/q/ and /ʁ/) are not permitted at the beginning of a root. The consonants /h m n/ are illegal in the syllable coda. /l/ is illegal in root-final codas, but may occur in non-final codas.
Siberian Dwarvish has its own script which will be published on here soon. It may also be written in the Latin alphabet. The alphabet is entirely transparent, with a one-to-one correspondence between letters and phonemes. The tables below show the consonant and vowel letters of the Siberian Dwarvish Latin alphabet and the phoneme that each letter represents.