Tamian language/Phonology

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General informationEdit


Manner ↓ Place→ Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Voice→ Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd. Vl. Vd.
Nasal (m) n (ŋ)
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f (v) θ (ð) s z ʃ (ʒ) (ç) (x) (ʁ) h
Approximant j w
Flap or tap ɾ
Trill (r:) ʀ
Lat. app. l

Consonants written in (parenthases) are not regarded as phonemes - they are allophonic variations of other Tamian phonemes because some consonants undergo sound changes depending on their environment.

Sound changes
Normal sound Environment for sound change Result of sound change Notes
/n/ [n] before bilabial plosives [m] also affects geminated /n/ (only over word boundaries)
before velar plosives [ŋ]
/b/ [b] intervocalic position [v] also affects geminated plosives
/d/ [d] [ð]
/g/ [g] [ʒ]
/h/ [h] after central/near-back/back vowels [x] -
after near-front/front vowels [ç] -
/ɾ/ [ɾ] gemination [r:] -
/ʀ/ [ʀ] after voiceless plosives [ʁ] also affects geminated /ʀ/ (only over word boundaries)

All consonants (except glottal consonants and approximants) can be geminated.

Tamian possesses 4 rhotic consonants that are arranged in 2 different phonemes: /ɾ/ features [ɾ] and [r], /ʀ/ features [ʀ] and [ʁ].

The consonants /m/ and /n/ (both geminated and not) can be syllabic.



Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close i: (y:) u:
Near-close ɪ (ʏ) ʊ
Close-mid (e:) (ø:) o:
Mid ə
Open-mid (ɛ) (œ) ɔ
Open a a:

Vowels in (parantheses) are not regarded as phonemes - they are umlauts of central/near-back/back vowels.

Tamian arranges all vowels in 5 vowel phonemes - each phoneme contains a short and a long vowel plus their umlauts (if there are any). The only exception is /ə/ which does not have a long counterpart.

Vowel phonemes
Short vowel Long vowel Short umlaut Long umlaut
/a/ [a] [a:] [ɛ] [e:]
/ə/ [ə] - - -
/i/ [ɪ] [i:] - -
/o/ [ɔ] [o:] [œ] [ø:]
/u/ [ʊ] [u:] [ʏ] [y:]
Normal sounds Environment for umlaut Results of umlaut Notes
/a/ [a] , [a:] following syllable contains /i/ [ɛ] , [e:] does not affect /a/, /o/ or /u/ in diphthongs; does not occur when /i/ is part of diphthong
/o/ [ɔ] , [o:] [œ] , [ø:]
/u/ [ʊ] , [u:] [ʏ] , [y:]


Starting with ... Ending in ...
[ɪ] ~ [j] [a], [a:], [ɔ], [o:], [ʊ] or [u:]
[ʊ] ~ [w] [a], [a:], [ɪ], [i:] [ɔ] or [o:]
[a] or [ɔ] [ʊ]

Diphthongs can be treated as equivalents to short or long vowels. The length of a diphthong depends on the second vowel: If it is short, the diphthong is short; if it is long, the diphthong is long.


Tamian stress is always on one of the last three syllables of a word - which syllable is stressed depends on vowel length. Therefore, stress is completly predictable and words are not marked for it in any way.

Stressed syllable Vowel length in Antepenultimate Vowel length in Penultimate Vowel length in Ultimate
Antepenultimate Long Short Short or long
Penultimate Short Short Short
Short or long Long Short or long
Ultimate Short Short Long

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