Muipidan Phonology

Sounds

The consonant inventory is:

Labial

Alveolar

Velar/Back

Aspirated Stop

/pʰ/ <ph>

/tʰ/ <th>

/kʰ/ <kh>

Plain Stop

/p/

/t/

/k/

Ejective Stop

/pʼ/ <p’>

/tʼ/ <t’>

/kʼ/ <k’>

Voiced Stop

/b/

/d/

/g/

Prenasalized Stop

/ᵐb/ <mb>

/ⁿd/ <nd>

/ᵑg/ <ng>

Fricative

/f/ <f~v>

/s/

/h/

Voiceless Nasal

/m̥/ <hm>

/n̥/ <hn>

Voiced Nasal

/m/

/n/

Approximant

/w/

/l/

/j/ <y>

The vowel inventory is:

Front Unrounded

Front Rounded

Central

Back Unrounded

Back Rounded

High

/i/

/y/

/ə/ <e>

/ɨ/ <ï>

/u/

Low

/e/

/a/

/o/

Vowels at the ends of words behave differently than elsewhere in the word: only /i/, /ə/, /o/, and /a/ can occur word-finally, while /ə/ cannot occur elsewhere. The romanization takes advantage of this by writing both /e/ and /ə/ as <e>.

Allophones

Words are strongly stressed on the first syllable, with a weaker stress on alternating syllables after the first. Stressed syllables have a higher pitch and their vowels are held slightly longer.

Vowels tend to be pronounced more tense in the stressed syllables, more lax in the non-final unstressed syllables of the word. So /i/ moves closer to [ɪ], /e/ is more like [ɛ] or even [ə], /y/ is more like [ʏ] or [ø], etc. This laxing of vowels also happens before nasal consonants and glides in stressed syllables, so eme “sun” would normally be realized as [ˈɛ.mə] while ete “there are” would be [ˈe.tə]; similarly, sey “twenty” tends to be pronounced [sɛj].

The fricatives /f/ and /s/ are voiced between two voiced sounds. To indicate this, /f/ is written as <v> in those environments; /s/ is still written as <s> because voicing the letter <s> in those environments is common in English as well.

When /l/ is adjacent to /ɨ/, it tends to be pronounced as a dark l [ɫ].

Vowel Harmony

Words in Muipidan follow two overlapping systems of vowel harmony: harmony by height, and harmony by frontness. This arranges the vowels into four harmony sets:

“I” vowels

/i/

/y/

/ɨ/

“U” vowels

/ɨ/

/u/

/ɨ/

“E” vowels

/e/

/y/

/a/

“O” vowels

/ɨ/

/o/

/a/

Vowels at the ends of words are reduced, and so follow different patterns:

“I” vowels

/i/

/ə/

/a/

“U” vowels

/ə/

/o/

/a/

“E” vowels

/i/

/ə/

/a/

“O” vowels

/ə/

/o/

/a/

Each set is named after the vowel that normally triggers it; for example, an /e/ triggers the use of E vowels. Vowel harmony spreads from the first syllable of the word, both forward to the rest of the word (including suffixes) and backward to any case clitic.

Stems with an /a/ in the first syllable can have either E vowels or O vowels in the rest of the stem, which then determine the harmony for the rest of the word; roots whose only vowel is /a/ take O suffixes. Suffixes in this document are given in their O form, with the understanding that the vowels change according to vowel harmony.

Case clitics, on the other hand, retain an inherent low vowel when prepended to a word whose first vowel is /a/. So these are given with their inherent vowel.