Kharulian Phonology

Sounds

All Kharulian consonants come in “tight” (palatalized) and “loose” (velarized and/or labialized) variants.

Bilabial

Alveolar

Velar

Loose

Tight

Loose

Tight

Loose

Tight

Voiceless Stop

/pˠ/ <p>

/pʲ/ <p>

/tˠ/ <t>

/tʃ/ <t>

/k(ʷ)/ <k>

/c/ <k>

Voiced Stop

/bˠ/ <b>

/bʲ/ <b>

/dˠ/ <d>

/dʒ/ <d>

/g(ʷ)/ <g>

/ɟ/ <g>

Voiceless Fricative

/ɸˠ/ <f>

/ɸʲ/ <f>

/sˠ/ <s>

/ʃ/ <s>

/x(ʷ)/ <c>

/ç/ <c>

Voiced Fricative

/βˠ/ <v>

/βʲ/ <v>

/zˠ/ <z>

/ʒ/ <z>

/ɣ(ʷ)/ <j>

/ʝ/ <j>

Nasal

/mˠ/ <m>

/mʲ/ <m>

/nˠ/ <n>

/ɲ/ <n>

Lateral

/lˠ/ <l>

/lʲ/ <l>

Rhotic

/rˠ/ <r>

/ɹ̠ʲ/ <r>

Kharulian has the standard five vowels (/a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/), each of which can be short or long. Long vowels are written twice in the romanizations. There’s also a marginal schwa phoneme; in the pseudo-orthography, this is written with an apostrophe, since it behaves more like a spacer between consonants rather than a true vowel.

In the pseudo-orthography, tight and loose consonants are distinguished based on the following letters. By default, a consonant followed by <a>, <o>, <u>, or the end of the word is loose, while a consonant followed by <e> or <i> is tight, and a consonant followed directly by another consonant inherits that consonant’s tightness. Extra letters are added to indicate tight consonants in a loose environment and vice versa: <i> between a tight consonant and a loose vowel, <u> between a loose consonant and a tight vowel, <y> after a tight consonant not followed by a vowel, <w> after a loose consonant not followed by a vowel.

Stress is lexical, falling on any of the last three syllables. The default stress location is the last vowel before the last consonant; if the stress falls somewhere else, the stressed vowel is marked with an acute accent in the romanizations.

Examples:

  • The word for “star” is /ɸaç/. These sounds would be spelled f-a-c, but the <c> is tight in a loose environment (the end of a word). So a <y> must be added at the end: <facy>.

  • The word for “flower” is /ˈxʷeç.lʲet/. These sounds would be spelled c-e-c-l-e-t. The <l> and the second <c> represent tight sounds in tight environments (the <c> is before the tight <l>), so they’re already spelled correctly, but the first <c> represents a loose sound in a tight environment, and needs an intervening <u>: <cueclet>. Further, the default stress location is on the last vowel before the last consonant, that is, the last syllable, but the word is actually stressed on the first syllable. So we need an accent on the first syllable: <cuéclet>.

Phonological processes

Kharulian sounds undergo the following regular changes:

  • The stops /p/, /b/, /pʲ/, /bʲ/, /t/, /d/, /c/, /ɟ/, /k/, and /g/ are regularly pronounced as [ɸ], [β], [ɸʲ], [βʲ], [ts], [dz], [ç], [ʝ], [x], and [ɣ] when unclustered before /a/ or when in a cluster before another stop. However, /ɸ/, /β/, /ç/, /ʝ/, /x/, and /ɣ/ also appear as phonemes in their own right.

  • /z/ is regularly pronounced [r] between vowels.

  • Fricatives are regularly voiced next to other voiced consonants; e.g. if /s/ is forced next to an /n/ or an /l/, it becomes [z].