This article provides an overview of the phonology (yāṃstarlā) of Chlouvānem, particularly of the general pronunciation used today in official contexts (Standard Chlouvānem), but with looks on the reconstructed pronunciation of the Classical Era (Classical Chlouvānem) and on the main regional variants (mainly Jade Coastal, Eastern Plain, Northern Plain, Southern Far Eastern, Northern Far Eastern).
While the large phonemic inventory, both for vowels and consonants, leaves little space to allophonic variations, much greater is the amount of diatopic variation in the realization of the single phonemes.
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Abbreviations for local variants used in the article:
- Std. — Standard
- Cam. — Camīyi (Northern Far Eastern)
- Hln. — Hālyanēṃṣi (Southern)
- Hiy. — Hilyamāmi (Eastern Plain, northern Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta)
- Ilē. – Ilēnimarti (Inland Jade Coastal)
- Jrk. — Jāryakūraṇi (Jade Coastal, eastern Nanašīrami)
- Klš. — Kælšamīṇṭi (Southern)
- Līkh. – Līlekhaite (Southern Far Eastern)
- Līl. — Līlasuṃghāṇi (Jade Coastal)
- Līt. — Līlti (Jade Coastal)
- Lkn. — Līlikanāni (Southern Far Eastern)
- Lṭh. — Līṭhalyināmi (Jade Coastal)
- Ltṣ. — Lāltaṣveyi (Eastern Plain, southern Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta)
- Mam. — Mamaikali (Northern Plain)
- Nyk. — Nyamukumi (Far West)
- Pmh. — Pamahīnēni (Inland Southern)
- Tlš. — Tālišulkhāni (Western Plain)
- Tmṣ. — Tumyāṣrālami (Eastern Plain)
- Ytc. — Yotachušeyi (Northeastern)
- 1 Vowels
- 2 Consonants
- 3 Pitch accent
- 4 Phonotactics
- 5 Morphophonology
- 6 Notes
Chlouvānem has a large vowel inventory consisting of 24 phonemes: 15 monophthongs (6 oral short, 5 oral long, and 4 breathy-voiced), 7 diphthongs (4 oral and 3 breathy-voiced), and 2 syllabic consonants. The following table contains their typical phonemic notation:
|Close||i iː i̤||u uː ṳ|
|Close-mid||e eː e̤|
|Diphthongs||aɪ̯ eɪ̯ a̤ɪ̯ e̤ɪ̯||ɔə̯||aʊ̯ a̤ʊ̯|
|Syllabic consonants||ʀ̩ ʀ̩ː|
Breathy-voiced vowels vs. /Vɦ/ sequences
Breathy-voiced vowels are closely related to /Vɦ/ sequences as, in many cases, instances of the latter are what historically created the former. In Chlouvānem saṃdhi, /Vɦ/ sequences at the end of a morpheme become /V̤/ when followed by a consonant and, viceversa, breathy-voiced vowels become /Vɦ/ sequences when followed by a vowel. This is especially notable in declension and conjugation:
- mailtvaha /maɪ̯ɴ̆tʋäɦä/ "waters", stem mailtvą~mailtvah-, ergative case mailtvahei /maɪ̯ɴ̆tʋäɦeɪ̯/, exessive case mailtvąt /maɪ̯ɴ̆tʋɑ̤t/
- švęke /ɕʋe̤ke/ "to point at", root švę~šveh-, 1SG present indicative švehu /ɕʋeɦu/
In the pronunciations of the Northern Far East, East, Northeast, and many areas of the North, breathy-voiced vowels before consonants are realized as a vowel followed by a fricative, which is:
- palatal [ç] or [ʝ] before palatals;
- velar [x] or [ɣ] before velars;
- uvular [χ] before /ʀ/ or /ɴ̆/;
- bilabial [ɸ] or [β] before labials;
- glottal [h] or [ɦ] otherwise.
See, for example, švęke /ɕʋe̤ke/ – Std. [ɕʋe̤ke~ɕve̤ke], Cam. [ɕvexkə].
Except for pronunciations unpacking breathy-voiced vowels to /Vɦ/ sequences, the breathy-voiced phonation is always accompanied by allophonic low tone.
Vowels /ä äː ɑ̤/
/ä/ (usually simply transcribed as /a/), statistically the most common vowel phoneme in Chlouvānem, is an open central unrounded vowel [ä] in most local pronunciations, but is better transcribed as near-open [ɐ] for the Jade Coastal ones and in a few Eastern Plain ones (notably in the Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta); this slightly closer realization has been spreading to Standard Chlouvānem.
- haloe "name" /ɦäɴ̆ɔə̯/ – Std. [ɦäɴ̆ɔə̯~ɦɐɴ̆ɔə̯~ɦɐɴ̆ɔɒ̯], Līl. [ɦɐɴ̆ʌɜ̯], Lṭh. [ɦɐɴ̆oɪ̯], Līt. [ɦɐɴ̆ɔɒ̯~ɔɪ̯], Tmṣ. [ɦäɴ̆ɔɒ̯], Cam. [ɦäɴ̆ɔɪ̯], Lkn. [ɦäɴ̆oə̯]
In various areas of the Northern Plain, including in and around Mamaikala, the /äs/ ending is realized as [əʃ]:
- prātas "wind" /pʀäːtäs/ – Std. [pʀäːtäs~pʀäːtɐs], Līl. [pʀäːtɐs], Mam. [pʀäːtəʃ], Cam. [pʀäːtäs]
/äː/ (usually simply transcribed as /aː/) is realized as [äː] in most contexts for nearly all pronunciations. Jade Coastal ones realize it as an open back unrounded vowel [ɑː] word-finally, while in the Southern Far East it is often backed and rounded to [ɒː] after labial consonants. Exclusively in and around Cami, it is fronted to [æː] when adjacent to /j/.
- lilyā "my, mine" /ɴ̆iɴ̆jäː/ – Std. [ɴ̆iɴ̆jäː], Līl. [ɴ̆iɴ̆jɑː], Tmṣ. [ɴ̆iɴ̆jäː], Cam. [ɴ̆iɴ̆jæː], Lkn. [ɴ̆iɴ̆jäː]
- vāyam "image" /ʋäːjäm/ – Std. [ʋäːjä̃m~ʋäːjɐ̃m], Līl. [väːjɐ̃m], Tmṣ. [ʋäːjä̃m~wäːjä̃m], Cam. [ʋæːjä̃m~wæːjä̃m], Lkn. [ʋɒːjä̃m]
Both /ä/ and /äː/ are, nearly everywhere, backed when allophonically nasalized as [ɑ̃ ɑ̃ː], except before word-final /m/:
- Lāmberah (name of a river) /ɴ̆aːmbeʀäɦ/ – Std. [ɴ̆ɑ̃ːmbeʀäħ], Līl. [ɴ̆ɑ̃ːmbeʀɐχ], Mam. [ɴ̆ɑ̃ːmbeʀäħ], Cam. [ɴ̆ɑ̃ːmbeʀäh]
/ɑ̤/ does not have particular regional variation, save for the unpacking to [äH] in the Northern Far East/East/Northeast/parts of the North:
- mąšake "to pay" /mɑ̤ɕäke/ – Std. [mɑ̤ɕäke~mɑ̤ɕɐke], Līl. [mɑ̤ɕɐke], Tmṣ. [mɑ̤ʃäke], Cam. [mäçɕäkə].
Closed vowels /i iː i̤ u uː ṳ/
The closed vowels /i iː i̤ u uː ṳ/ do not show significant allophony in different regional pronunciations in the Inquisition, except for the Northern and Western Plain having a quality distinction in addition to quantity, with the short ones being slightly less close and more centralized (i.e. /i u/ as [ɪ ʊ]). In most areas with this distinction, this modification of quality does not happen word-finally, but in the Tālišulkhān desert it does:
- lila "person" /ɴ̆iɴ̆ä/ – Std. [ɴ̆iɴ̆ä~ɴ̆iɴ̆ɐ], Līl. [ɴ̆iɴ̆ɐ], Cam. [ɴ̆iɴ̆ä], Mam. [ɴ̆ɪɴ̆ä], Tlš. [ɴ̆ɪɴ̆ä].
- lilu, leli (acc. and gen. of the above) /ɴ̆iɴ̆u/, /ɴ̆eɴ̆i/ – Std. [ɴ̆iɴ̆u], [ɴ̆eɴ̆i], Līl. [ɴ̆iɴ̆u], [ɴ̆eɴ̆i], Cam. [ɴ̆iɴ̆u], [ɴ̆eɴ̆i], Mam. [ɴ̆ɪɴ̆u], [ɴ̆eɴ̆i], Tlš. [ɴ̆ɪɴ̆ʊ], [ɴ̆eɴ̆ɪ]
- murkas "black" /muʀkas/ – Std. [muɐ̯käs~muʀkäs~muɐ̯kɐs], Līl. [muˤkɐs], Cam. [mo̝ɐ̯kas], Mam. [mʊʀkəʃ~mʊɵ̯kəʃ], Tlš. [mʊɵ̯käs]
In the Jade Coast and Eastern Plain, /u/ and /uː/, but not /ṳ/, are fronted to /ʉ/ following /j/ and (in the Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta only) after /ɕ ɲ/ (and /ʂ/ in the dialects that merge it with /ɕ/):
- yunya "Yunya; nature, god" /junjä/ – Std. [junjä], Līl. [jʉnjɐ], Hiy. [jʉnjɐ~jʉnjä], Cam. [junjä]
- šulka "five" /ɕunkä~ɕuɴkä~ɕuɴ̆kä/ – Std., Cam. [ɕuŋkä], Hiy. [ʃʉŋkä], Līl., Lṭh. [ɕuɴqɐ], Ltṣ. [ʃʉɴqä]
- ñuɂah "cream" /ɲuɁäɦ/ – Std. [ɲuɁäħ], Līl. [ɲuɁɐχ], Hiy. [ɲʉɁɐħ~ɲʉɁäħ], Cam. [ɲuɁäh]
In the Jade Coast, the fronting also occurs in word-final /u/ preceded by /i/ in the preceding syllable, as common in most 1SG interior and causative verb forms:
- dhāḍiru "I speak" /dʱäːɖiru/ – Std., Cam. [dʱäːɖiru], Līl., Hiy. [dʱäːɖirʉ]
In many areas of the inland Southern rainforest, and along the Wall of Igapós and Várzeas, up north to isolated villages in the far southern part of the eparchy of Līlasuṃghāṇa, it is common for oral back rounded vowels to be compressed and not protruded. /u uː/ in such pronunciations are better transcribed as [ɯᵝ ɯᵝː].
Vowels /e eː e̤ ɛ ɛː/
Chlouvānem is rich in mid front vowels, with five such phonemes; their qualities do not overlap in the Standard, but they do in some regional pronunciations. Notably, among younger speakers in the eastern part of the Jade Coast (Līlasuṃghāṇa and areas east of it) and most of the South, they merge as /e(ː)/ when preceding a nasal phoneme, excluding /ɴ̆/:
- pǣcicænah "entrée" /pɛːc͡ɕic͡ɕɛnäɦ/ – Std. [pɛːc͡ɕic͡ɕɛnäħ], Līl. [pɛːc͡ɕic͡ɕenɐχ], Lṭh. [pɛːc͡ɕic͡ɕenɐħ~-nɐχ], Mam. [pɛːc͡ɕɪc͡ɕɛnäħ], Cam. [pɛːc͡ɕic͡ɕɛnäh]
In virtually all pronunciations, /ɛ ɛː/ are lowered to [æ æː] before /ʀ/:
- kauchlærīn "professor" /kaʊ̯c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʀiːn/ – Std. [käʊ̯c͡ɕʰɴ̆æʀĩːŋ], Līl. [kɐʊ̯c͡ɕʰɴ̆æʀĩːŋ~kɑʊ̯-], Cam. [kɑʊ̯c͡ɕʰɴ̆æʀĩːŋ], Ytc. [käʊ̯c͡ɕʰɴ̆æʐĩŋ]
Vowel /ɔ/ (incl. historical */ʌo̯/)
The vowel /ɔ/ in all contemporary Chlouvānem pronunciation is the result of the merger of historical (Classical) /ɔ/ and another vowel, usually reconstructed as */ʌo̯/ or */ɔʊ̯/; both are still distinguished orthographically, with o used for the former and å for the latter, making /ɔ/ the only Chlouvānem phoneme that has two completely different letters for it to be written with.
In almost all pronunciations (the Coastal Southwest and the Hālyanēṃṣi pronunciation being the main exceptions), when preceding any of /ɴ̆ ʀ c͡ɕ c͡ɕʰ ɟ͡ʑ ɟ͡ʑʱ/, it is raised to a mid [o̞] or high-mid [o] vowel (in free variation, not represented here):
- jålkha "cold" /ɟ͡ʑɔɴ̆kʰä/ – Std. [ɟ͡ʑo̞ɴ̆kʰä], Līl. [ɟ͡ʑo̞ɴ̆qʰɐ], Cam. [ɟ͡ʑo̞ɴ̆kʰä], Hln. [ɟ͡ʑɔɴ̆qʰä]
When word-final (an occurrence which is limited to borrowed proper nouns, the dative of cardinal numerals, and some Eastern toponyms), it is realized as [oː] virtually everywhere:
- emibå "one" (DAT.) /(Ɂ)emibɔ/ – Std., Līl., Cam., Hln. [Ɂemiboː]
- Paramito (name of a city) /päʀämitɔ/ – Std, Cam., Hln. [päʀämitoː], Līl. [pɐʀɐmitoː]
Currently, there is a tendency among young speakers, almost exclusively adolescents and young adults in the major urban areas, towards the development of a spelling-based phonemic distinction, with /o/ [o] corresponding to written o and /ɔ/ [ɔ] corresponding to written å. In its most radical form, this overrides even the raising of /ɔ/ (when written å) and the [oː] pronunciation in words like emibå mentioned above; otherwise this tendency still keeps them merged in those contexts. However, this usage is considered non-standard and not appropriate in formal circumstances.
Parallel to what happens with /u uː/, in parts of the South and the southern Jade Coastal basins, it is common for oral back rounded vowels to be compressed and not protruded, so that in these pronunciations /ɔ/ in such pronunciations is better transcribed as [ɤᵝ].
The three non-central diphthong qualities - /aɪ̯ eɪ̯ aʊ̯/ - are mostly stable across different regions; the main tendences are to front /aɪ̯/ and back /aʊ̯/. In most of the Jade Coast, /aʊ̯/ is realized with a more closed nucleus, as [ɐʊ̯], or backed as [ɑʊ̯], the former being prevalent in the inland part and the latter in the coastal part; both are found in intermediate areas, such as the whole area of Lake Lūlunīkam; on the coast northeast of it, in and around Līlta and Taitepamba, it is backed and rounded to [ɒʊ̯]. The backed [ɑʊ̯] realization is also common in the Northern Far East and in the Near East, while rounded [ɒʊ̯] or even [ɔʊ̯] are found in the Southern Far East.
- mauši "Calémerian bergamot" /maʊ̯ɕi/ – Std. [mäʊ̯ɕi], Līl. [mɐʊ̯ɕi~mɑʊ̯ɕi], Lṭh. [mɑʊ̯ɕi], Līt. [mɒʊ̯ʃi], Cam. [mɑʊ̯ɕi], Lkn. [mɔʊ̯ʃi]
/aɪ̯/ is fronted to [æɪ̯] in virtually all of the Chlouvānem-speaking world except for most of the Plain and of the Jade Coast (Līlasuṃghāṇa and Taitepamba being the only major areas there where fronting occurs). In some areas of the South (notably in Kælšamīṇṭa), it is merged with /eɪ̯/ as [e̞ɪ̯] or even [ɛɪ̯]. When word-final and unstressed, as commonly occuring as a plural marker, most of the Southern Far East reduces it to [ɛ].
- maita "river" /maɪ̯tä/ – Std. [mäɪ̯tä], Līl. [mæɪ̯tɐ], Lṭh. [maɪ̯tɐ], Klš. [me̞ɪ̯tä], Hiy. [maɪ̯tä~maɪ̯tɐ], Cam., Ytc., Lkn. [mæɪ̯tä]
- maitai "rivers" /maɪ̯taɪ̯/ – Std. [mäɪ̯täɪ̯], Līl., Cam., Ytc. [mæɪ̯tæɪ̯], Lṭh., Hiy. [maɪ̯taɪ̯], Klš. [me̞ɪ̯te̞ɪ̯], Hiy. [maɪ̯taɪ̯], Lkn. [mæɪ̯tɛ]
/ɔə̯/ varies much more diatopically, with the [ɔə̯] realization (likely the Classical one) being mostly only persistant in the Standard, in the Near East, in the North, and in the West. Most other areas have a fronted and more closed second element in [ɔɪ̯]; the Southern Far East usually has a more closed first element in [oə̯], while the southern Jade Coast and parts of the Southern coast have both in [oɪ̯]. Opening, rounding, and backing of the second element to [ɔɒ̯] is found almost exclusively in a coastal strip from just north of Taitepamba through Līlta (where [ɔɪ̯] is however also found) to the Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta included, and is a possible realization in the Standard. Finally, the unrounded and somewhat lower realization [ʌɜ̯] is found in the southern rainforest and adjacent areas, including the whole of the Līlasuṃghāṇa metro area.
- haloe "name" /ɦäɴ̆ɔə̯/ – Std. [ɦäɴ̆ɔə̯~ɦɐɴ̆ɔə̯~ɦɐɴ̆ɔɒ̯], Līl. [ɦɐɴ̆ʌɜ̯], Pmh. [ɦäɴ̆ʌɜ̯] Lṭh. [ɦɐɴ̆oɪ̯], Līt. [ɦɐɴ̆ɔɒ̯~ɔɪ̯], Tmṣ. [ɦäɴ̆ɔɒ̯], Mam., Cam. [ɦäɴ̆ɔɪ̯], Lkn. [ɦäɴ̆oə̯]
Rounded front vowels
Phonemic rounded front vowels /y yː ø øː/ are only found as the result of language contact among Chlouvānem-speaking communities in Kŭyŭgwažtov, Soenjŏ-tave, and other countries of the former Kaiṣamā. They are mostly limited to loans from the local languages, and often contrast with unrounded variants wherever those same words have been borrowed into Chlouvānem as spoken in the Inquisition.
- köndegura "mountain road", (Kŭy. köndŭgŭr >) Kŭyŭgwaž Chl. /køndeɡuʀä/ [køndeɡuʀä]
- nüvka (typical Kŭyŭgwaž dish), (Kŭy. nüvŭk >) Kŭyŭgwaž Chl. /nyʋkä/ [nyʏ̯kä~nyːkä~nywkä~nyfkä], cf. nivka /niʋkä/ for the same dish in Chlouvānem as spoken in the Inquisition.
The same phenomenon is also found in some cases in the Chlouvānem speech of the sizeable immigrant communities of those ethnicities, often with loanwords from those languages (which are common in urban slang), cf. calghüla or calghǖla for Chl. calghyula "clique, group of friends" (from Kŭy. calhŭgüül), but sometimes also with /ju(ː)/ sequences in other words, e.g. samvāl(ɂ)üñca for samvālyuñca "West" (where the sequence is even morpheme-initial). /ø(ː)~œ(ː)/ for some speakers arises from /jäː/ sequences, e.g. ūt(y)ȫmita for ūtyāmita "nearness".
Rounded front vowels were present in the unattested Pre-Chlouvānem and later unrounded before recorded history, but a later change resulted into some dialects of pre-Classical Chlouvānem (including Lūlunīkami, but not the one that became the modern standard) having phonemic /y yː ø øː/ and possibly /œʏ̯/ as the result of Proto-Lahob *ɨ *ɨː *aɨ̯ *aːɨ̯. These dialects therefore had a regular ü-ablaut sequence ü/ǖ - ö/ȫ - *öu~*au~*ȫ in place of the Standard Chlouvānem roots with u>i-ablaut u/ū - i/ī - au. This is easily seen in the stems for the PLB root *pʰɨʕəd-, ħuld- "to play" in Standard Chlouvānem:
- Standard Chl.: ħuld- (infinitive/past - base grade), ħild- (present - middle grade), ħauld·ild- (causative - strong grade)
- Pre-Classical Lūl.: füld-, föld-, *föuld·ild-
Nasalized vowels are prominent in Chlouvānem, but they are not considered independent phonemes, being instead analyzed as sequences of a vowel plus /ɴ/ or another nasal consonant (excluding /ɴ̆/) in coda position. Excluding vowels allophonically partially nasalized because of the presence of a nasal consonant following it, there are five possible sequences that create nasalized vowels, and whether a nasal consonant after it is spoken determines its spelling (all phonetic transcriptions below refer to Standard Chlouvānem):
- /VːNC/, where /C/ is a voiceless stop, is always realized as [ṼːC] and written as VṃC, unless it is situated at a morpheme boundary:
- sūṃṭaras "camel" /suːɳʈäʀäs/, root noun: [sũːʈäʀäs]
- āntimē "3SG stays on (something)" /äːntimeː/, morphemically ān-tim-ē: [ɑ̃ːntimeː]
- /VːNC/, where /C/ is a voiced consonant, is always realized as [ṼːNC] and written with the nasal consonant homorganic to C.
- Lāmberah (name of a river) /ɴ̆aːmbeʀäɦ/ [ɴ̆ɑ̃ːmbeʀäħ]
- /VNC/ is always realized as [ṼNC] and written with the homorganic nasal consonant:
- daṇḍa "cane, staff, pole, stick" /däɳɖä/ [dɑ̃ɳɖä]
Exception to the aforementioned rules is when /C/ is one of /d dʱ s ʂ ɕ/: in those cases, both are possible (with the simple nasalization without a pronounced consonant being statistically more common), and the nasalized-only case is analyzed as being a /V(ː)ɴC/ sequence:
- suṃdaka (a kind of tree) /suɴdäkä/ [sũdäkä]
- pundas "cable" /pundäs/ [pũndäs]
Vowels are also allophonically nasalized when part of a word-final /V(ː)m/ or /V(ː)n/ sequence. If the final consonant is /m/, the vowel is nasalized but the consonant is pronounced. If the final consonant is /n/, the consonant is only pronounced as [ŋ] if the vowel is closed, otherwise only nasalization remains:
- chlǣvānem "Chlouvānem" /c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛːʋäːnem/ [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛːʋäːnẽm]
- lilan "person" (TRANSL.) /ɴ̆iɴ̆än/ [ɴ̆iɴ̆ɑ̃]
- pūnīn "worker" (TRANSL.) /puːniːn/ [puːnĩːŋ]
|Stops||Unvoiced||p pʰ||t̪ t̪ʰ||ʈ ʈʰ||c͡ɕ c͡ɕʰ||k kʰ||ʔ|
|Voiced||b bʱ||d̪ d̪ʱ||ɖ ɖʱ||ɟ͡ʑ ɟ͡ʑʱ||ɡ ɡʱ|
The above table categorizes phonemes as Chlouvānem linguists do. The terms used are the following ones:
- hīmbeyāṃsa – consonant
By passive point of articulation:
- hærṣokas – (bi)labial consonant
- aṣṭrūkas — dental consonant (note that Chl. /n s/ are actually alveolar)
- āḍhyāṣūkas — retroflex consonant
- dehāṃlūdvūkas – palatal consonant
- bhyodilūdvūkas — velar consonant
- diṇḍhūkas — laryngeal consonant (/Ɂ ɦ/ are glottal, /ʀ ɴ ɴ̆/ uvular, and /ħ/ pharyngeal)
Active points of articulation:
- diṇḍha — larynx, throat (for laryngeal consonants)
- jeltālǣca — tongue root (for velars)
- jeltārašan — tongue surface (for palatals plus /n s/)
- jeltāthiḍa — tongue tip (for dentals and retroflexes; note that the latter are actually subapical)
- šuhærṣūkāram — lower lip (for labials)
- uṣmąlkas — voiceless consonant
- lāmąlkas — voiced consonant
- mantajñas — nasal consonant
- aspṛšās — stop consonant
- kāvubuñjñās — fricative
- taberdīyas — approximant
- → See also the section on nasalized vowels above.
Four out of the five Chlouvānem nasal phonemes may occur in the onset, and have no major variations across the Chlouvānem-speaking world:
- nanai "forest" /nänäɪ̯/ – Std. [nänäɪ̯], Līl. [nɐnæɪ̯], Lṭh. [nɐnaɪ̯], Klš. [näne̞ɪ̯], Cam. [nänæɪ̯]
- marta "city" /maʀta/ – Std. [mäɐ̯tä], Līl. [mɐˤtɐ], Cam. [mɑɐ̯tä], Mam. [mäʀtä]
- ñæltah "(male's) sister" /ɲɛɴ̆täɦ/ – Std., Mam. [ɲɛɴ̆täħ], Līl. [ɲɛɴ̆tɐχ], Cam. [ɲɛɴ̆täh]
- ṇīṭah "skin, bark" /ɳiːʈäɦ/ – Std. [ɳiːʈäħ], Līl. [ɳiːʈɐχ], Hiy. [ɳiːʈäħ~ɳiːʈɐħ], Cam. [ɳiːʈäh]
The laryngeal nasal only surfaces as such before laryngeals (and not in the Southern Jade Coast); otherwise - and only analyzed as such before /d dʱ s ʂ ɕ/, where it contrasts with homorganic nasals - it produces nasalized vowels, as detained in the section above.
- saṃrasta "war" /säɴʀästä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [sɑ̃ɴʀästä], Līl. [sɑ̃ʀɐstɐ]
Homorganic nasals are usually considered to be phonemically what they are phonetically, except for velars, which do not have any homorganic phoneme. This occurrence, written l, is considered to be /n/ by some linguists and /ɴ/ by others. A minority view considers to be /ɴ/ only those instances formed by saṃdhi through a morpheme which originally had /m/ and are written ṃ. Both l+velar and ṃ+velar are pronounced the same in all contemporary Chlouvānem pronunciations, but likely not in Classical Chlouvānem.
Linguists analyzing the pronunciation of Lake Lūlunīkam and the Southern Jade Coast, plus the southern side of the Nīmbaṇḍhāra delta, consider this to be /ɴ̆/, as in those pronunciations it is not the nasal element to be made velar, but the stop element to be made uvular:
- lgutake "to buy" /nɡutäke~ɴɡutäke~ɴ̆ɡutäke/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [ŋɡutäke], Līl., Līt., Lṭh. [ɴɢutɐke]
- šulka "five" /ɕunkä~ɕuɴkä~ɕuɴ̆kä/ – Std., Cam. [ɕuŋkä], Hiy. [ʃʉŋkä], Līl., Lṭh. [ɕuɴqɐ], Ltṣ. [ʃʉɴqä]
Unvoiced stops are mostly pronounced as their IPA equivalents, except for the uvular realization of velar stops after /ɴ ɴ̆/ noted in the previous section.
- panna "aluminium" /pännä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [pännä], Līl. [pɐnnɐ]
- phēcam "cat" /pʰeːc͡ɕäm/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [pʰeːc͡ɕãm], Līl. [pʰeːc͡ɕɐ̃m]
- talša "novel" /täɴ̆ɕä/ – Std., Cam. [täɴ̆ɕä], Līl. [tɐɴ̆ɕɐ], Hiy. [täɴ̆ʃä]
- thudam "dog" /tʰudäm/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [tʰudãm], Līl. [tʰudɐ̃m]
- ṭūmma "eparchy" /ʈuːmmä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [ʈuːmmä], Līl. [ʈuːmmɐ]
- ṭhoṣa (a kind of bird) /ʈʰɔʂä/ – Std., Cam. [ʈʰɔʂä], Līl. [ʈʰɔʂɐ], Hiy. [ʈʰɔʃä]
- cūlla "car" /c͡ɕuːɴ̆ɴ̆ä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [c͡ɕũːɴɴ̆ä], Līl. [c͡ɕũːɴɴ̆ɐ]
- chiṣa "stairs" /c͡ɕʰiːʂä/ – Std., Cam. [c͡ɕʰiːʂä], Līl. [c͡ɕʰiːʂɐ], Hiy. [c͡ɕʰiːʃä]
- keika "garden" /keɪ̯kä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [keɪ̯kä], Līl. [keɪ̯kɐ]
- kharlyāgin "rickshaw" /kʰäʀɴ̆jäːɡin/ – Std., Hiy. [kʰäɐ̯ɴ̆jäːɡĩŋ], Līl. [kʰɐˤɴ̆jäːɡĩŋ], Cam. [kʰɑɐ̯ɴ̆jäːɡĩŋ], Mam. [kʰäʀɴ̆jäːɡĩŋ]
- paɂīta "várzea forest" /päɁiːtä/ – Std., Hiy, Cam. [päɁiːtä], Līl. [pɐɁiːtɐ]
In nearly every pronunciation, excluding only Southern ones, a non-phonemic [Ɂ] is inserted at the beginning of every vowel-initial word except in fast speech. While the majority of linguists do not consider the initial glottal stop to be phonemic, some do, therefore analyzing Chlouvānem as a language where a vowel alone cannot form a syllable.
- ogin "bee" /(Ɂ)ɔɡin/ – Std., Līl., Cam. [Ɂɔɡĩŋ], Hln. [ɔɡĩŋ]
- arpas "raspberry" /(Ɂ)äʀpäs/ – Std. [Ɂäɐ̯päs], Līl. [Ɂɐˤpɐs], Cam. [Ɂɑɐ̯päs], Hln. [äɐ̯päs],
Voiced stops are pronounced nearly everywhere as in the standard:
- buneya "female's older sister" /bunejä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [bunejä], Līl. [bunejɐ]
- bhaišā "drop [of water or other liquids]" /bʱaɪ̯ɕäː/ – Std., Hiy. [bʱaɪ̯ɕäː], Līl. [bʱæɪ̯ɕɑː], Cam. [bʱæɪ̯ɕäː]
- dehām "mouth" /deɦäːm/ – Std., Līl., Hiy., Cam. [deɦãːm]
- dhāna "hand" /dʱäːnä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [dʱäːnä], Līl. [dʱäːnɐ]
- ḍuya "okra" /ɖujä/ — Std., Hiy., Cam. [ɖujä], Līl. [ɖujɐ]
- ḍhoe "remembrance; (computers:) file" /ɖʱɔə̯/ – Std. [ɖʱɔə̯~ɖʱɔɒ̯], Līl. [ɖʱʌɜ̯], Lṭh. [ɖʱoɪ̯], Līt. [ɖʱɔɒ̯~ɔɪ̯], Cam. [ɖʱɔɪ̯]
- junyā "flower" /ɟ͡ʑunjäː/ – Std., Hiy. [ɟ͡ʑunjäː], Līl. [ɟ͡ʑunjɑː], Cam. [ɟ͡ʑunjæː]
- jhūṃras "glue" /ɟ͡ʑʱuːɴʀäs/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [ɟ͡ʑʱũːɴʀäs], Līl. [ɟ͡ʑʱũːɴʀɐs]
- geta "elephant" /ɡetä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [ɡetä], Līl. [ɡetɐ]
- ghāṇa "garland" /ɡʱäːɳä/ — Std., Hiy., Cam. [ɡʱäːɳä], Līl. [ɡʱäːɳɐ]
Fricatives have little allophony (voicing of intervocalic sibilants is not a native Chlouvānem trait, even though it is sometimes found among L2 speakers), but more regional variation. Notably, in the Nīmbaṇḍhāra delta, in neighboring Līlta, as well as in parts of the Northwest, /ʂ ɕ/ merge into a single phoneme, usually realized as [ʃ].
- sartām "building" /säʀtäːm/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [säɐ̯täːm], Līl., Līt. [sɐˤtäːm]
- ṣubha "few, little" /ʂubʱä/ — Std., Cam. [ʂubʱä], Līl. [ʂubʱɐ], Līt. [ʃubʱɐ], Hiy. [ʃʉbʱä]
- šumilkoe "theory" /ɕuminkɔə̯~ɕumiɴkɔə̯~ɕumiɴ̆kɔə̯/ – Std. [ɕumiŋkɔə̯~ɔɒ̯], Līl. [ɕumiɴqʌɜ̯], Cam. [ɕumiŋkɔɪ̯], Līt. [ʃumiɴqɔɒ̯~ɔɪ̯], Hiy. [ʃʉmiŋkɔɒ̯]
While saṃdhi makes any two adjacent sibilants (except for /ss/) transform into /kʂ/, Jade Coastal dialects have developed phonetic [ʂː] from the common sequence /ʂj/:
- naviṣya "book" /näʋiʂjä/ – Std., Cam. [näʋiʂjä], Līl., Lṭh. [nɐʋiʂːɐ]
- Lūṣya (given name) /ɴ̆uːʂjä/ – Std., Cam. [ɴ̆uːʂjä], Līl., Lṭh. [ɴ̆uːʂːɐ]
This also happens, unlike all other phonetic geminates, after consonants:
- jalṣya "3SG will be" /ɟ͡ʑäɴ̆ʂjä/ – Std., Cam. [ɟ͡ʑäɴ̆ʂjä], Līl., Lṭh. [ɟ͡ʑɐɴ̆ʂːɐ]
In the southernmost Jade Coast and the contiguous part of the South (in the dioceses of Latayūlima, Jhūtañjaiṭa, Ājvalēnya, and Ogiñjaiṭa, i.e. from Līṭhalyinām to Lūlunimarta), /ɕ/ shifts to [ç]. Occasionally, this is heard further north (in Takajñanta and eastern Nanašīrama, even more rarely in Līlasuṃghāṇa and further west), but only in words containing both /ɕ/ and /ʂ/; this also occurs for the /ɕ/ in the negative clitic ša, due to it being phonologically part of the preceding word:
- mišake "to see" /miɕäke – Std., Cam. [miɕäke], Līl., Jrk. [miɕɐke], Lṭh. [miçɐke]
- mišiṣyam "I will be seen" /miɕiʂjäm – Std., Cam. [miɕiʂjäm], Līl. [miɕiʂːɐm], Jrk., Lṭh. [miçiʂːɐm]
- gu luniṣyam ša "I won't walk" /ɡu ɴ̆uniʂjäm ɕä/ – Std., Cam. [ɡu‿ɴ̆uniʂjã‿ɕä], Līl. [ɡu‿ɴ̆uniʂːɐ̃‿ɕɐ], Jrk., Lṭh. [ɡu‿ɴ̆uniʂːɐ̃‿çɐ]
The two laryngeal fricatives /ħ ɦ/ vary little, but they may be considered to merge word-finally where /ɦ/ (the only one analyzed there) is pronounced as [ħ] in most pronunciations. Notably, though, the whole Far East and Northeast uses [h], while the inland Jade Coast from Ilēnimarta up until the coast to Līṭhalyinām uses [χ]. /ħ/ (< Proto-Lahob *pʰ) corresponded to /ɸ/ in many pre-Classical era dialects and is reflected as /ɸ/ or /f/ in many vernaculars (including Līlasuṃghāṇi and Ilēnimarti), as they derived from those dialects; however, local pronunciations of Chlouvānem use [ħ] anyway.
- hįnna "wheel" /ɦi̤nnä/ – Std., Hiy. [ɦi̤nnä], Līl. [ɦi̤nnɐ], Cam. [ɦihnä~hiçnä]
- ħulde "to play" /ħuɴ̆de/ – Std., Līl., Hiy., Cam. [ħuɴ̆de]
- cf. the attestation of this word (from Proto-Lahob *pʰɨʕəd-ke) in the pre-Classical Lūlunīkami dialect, fülde /ɸyɴ̆de/ and modern Līlasuṃghāṇi fuld /ɸyˤt/.
- ñæltah "(male's) sister" /ɲɛɴ̆täɦ/ – Std., Mam. [ɲɛɴ̆täħ], Līl. [ɲɛɴ̆tɐχ], Cam. [ɲɛɴ̆täh]
/ɦ/ following one of /ɴ̆ ʀ/ may be realized as [ɦ], [x], or aspiration depending on the area. The /ʀɦ/ cluster - which can only happen at morpheme boundaries - is realized as [ʀɦ] nearly everywhere and as [ʀx] only in parts of the Southern Far East (mainly along the coast from Līlikanāna to Ehaliħombu); [ʀʱ] is found almost exclusively around Līṭhalyinām. For the /ɴ̆ɦ/ cluster, however, the aspirated realization [ɴ̆ʱ] is much more common, extending all along the coast south to Lūlunimarta and north to Līlta, and inland to Lūkṣṇyaḍāra, therefore including virtually all of the Jade Coast. A realization closer to [ɴ̆x~ɴ̆χ] is however the norm in most of the Chlouvānem-speaking world.
- lhakṣam (a fruit quite similar to a pineapple, but smaller and sweeter) /ɴ̆ɦäkʂäm/ – Std. [ɴ̆ɦäkʂäm~ɴ̆χäkṣäm], Mam., Cam. [ɴ̆χäkʂäm], Līl. [ɴ̆ʱɐkʂɐm] Līt. [ɴ̆ʱɐkʃɐm]
- dāyārhaikra "palm vinegar" /däːjäːʀɦaɪ̯kʀä/ – Std. [däːjäːʀɦaɪ̯kʀä], Līl. [däːjäːʀɦæɪ̯kʁɐ], Cam. [dæːjæːʀɦæɪ̯kʀä], Lkn. [däːjäːʀxæɪ̯kʀä], Lṭh. [däːjäːʀʱaɪ̯kʁɐ]
/ʋ/ and /j/
/ʋ/ has a number of different allophones - [ʋ v w ʊ̯ f ɸ β] being the most common ones - whose presence varies regionally; in some pronunciations, the [ʋ] allophone is not even present. In Standard Chlouvānem, it is [ʋ] all the time except when in an onset and preceding /ʀ/ (the only consonant it can e followed by), where it is realized as [v]. This contextual allophone is present in virtually every pronunciation, except for Southern ones, where it is realized in this context as [w], often followed by an extra-short [ŭ] vowel, except Kælšamīṇṭa and neighboring areas, where the beginning /ʋʀ/ cluster is realized as [ɻ]. In the onset, most of the Chlouvānem-speaking world has the same pattern as the Standard, but the Near and Far East use the [v] allophone when preceded by a consonant in the same syllable; the inland Jade Coast (but only sporadically in Līlasuṃghāṇa, where it is typical of young people), meanwhile, uses the [w] allophone when intervocalic. The [ʋ] allophone is absent in the parts of the Southern Far East (including, notably, Līlekhaitē), which use [v] when adjacent to a consonant and [w] otherwise. Coda /ʋ/ is realized differently across the Chlouvānem world: while it is, for most people, an approximant, as in the Standard, in the Jade Coast and parts of the lower Plain (but not the Nīmbaṇḍhāra delta) it forms a diphthong with the preceding vowel, meaning that the /äʋ/ sequence merges with /äʊ̯/. In the Far East, it is realized as a fricative agreeing in voicing with the following consonant, and also in PoA if it is labial.
The /aɪ̯ʋ/ sequence, before another consonant, is commonly realized as [aju] in those pronunciations where /ʋ/ is not fricativized in codas.
/j/, meanwhile, is consistently realized as [j] in the whole Chlouvānem-speaking world.
- vāṇa "plant" /ʋäːɳä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [ʋäːɳä], Līl. [ʋäːɳɐ], Līkh. [wäːɳä]
- vra- "dys-" (medical prefix) /ʋʀä-/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [vʀä-], Līl. [vʀɐ-], Klš. [ɻä-], Hln. [wŭʀä-]
- švas "animal" /ɕʋäs/ – Std. [ɕʋäs], Līl. [ɕʋɐs], Cam. [ɕväs], Hiy. [ʃʋäs]
- ivrīva "it has been flooded" /iʋʀiːʋä/ – Std., Cam. [ivʀiːʋä], Līl. [iʊ̯ʀiːwɐ~iʊ̯ʀiːʋɐ], Ilē. [iʊ̯ʀiːwɐ] (note the syllabic division i·vrī in the Standard and iv·rī in the other pronunciations)
- chlævprauda "TV news broadcast" /c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʋpʀäʊ̯dä/ – Std. [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʋpʀäʊ̯dä], Līl. [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʊ̯pʀɑʊ̯dɐ~c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʊ̯pʀɐʊ̯dɐ], Ilē. [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛʊ̯pʀɐʊ̯dɐ], Cam. [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛɸpʀɑʊ̯dä]
- yaivcārṇātra "communism" /jäɪ̯ʋc͡ɕäːʀɳäːtʀä/ – Std. [jäɪ̯vc͡ɕäːʀɳäːtʀä], Līl., Ilē. [jɐjuc͡ɕäːʀɳäːtrɐ], Cam. [jäɪ̯fc͡ɕäːʀɳäːtʀä]
- yalka "beach" /jänkä~jäɴkä~jäɴ̆kä/ – Std., Hiy., Cam. [jäŋkä], Līl. [jɐɴqɐ]
/ʀ/ and /ɴ̆/
/ʀ/ is mostly realized as an uvular trill [ʀ] in the onset, except when following a stop consonant, where it is realized as [ʁ]: this is valid for virtually every pronunciation. In coda, it is generally vocalized to a non-syllabic [ɐ̯]; in the standard and most pronunciations, this is the only main variation. Before retroflex consonants, it is generally pronounced as [ɻ] in the Jade Coast and in the whole Plain except for Tališulkhāna in the far southwest, but not elsewhere. In the Jade Coast and in the Nīmbaṇḍhāra Delta, when preceding a voiceless stop it instead becomes pharyngealization of the preceding vowel.
A coda realization as [ʀ], finally, is predominant in the West.
- rarai "rabbit" /ʀäʀäɪ̯/ – Std., Cam. [ʀäʀäɪ̯], Līl. [ʀɐʀæɪ̯]
- ṣvarṭire "it is quick" /ʂʋäʀʈiʀe/ — Std. [ʂʋäɐ̯ʈiʀe], Līl. [ʂʋɐɻʈiʀe], Hiy. [ʃʋäɻʈiʀe], Cam. [ʂväɐ̯ʈiʀe], Nyk. [ʂʋäʀʈiʀe]
- kārmāsa "tower" /käːʀmäːsä/ — Std., Cam. [käːɐ̯mäːsä], Līl. [käːɐ̯mäːsɐ], Nyk. [käːʀmäːsä]
- murkas "black" /muʀkas/ – Std. [muɐ̯käs], Līl. [muˤkɐs], Cam. [mo̝ɐ̯kas], Nyk. [muʀkäs]
/ɴ̆/ is the second most common consonant in Chlouvānem (after /m/) and is considered its most representative sound as it has not been found in any other Calémerian language excluding its own descendants. It is conventionally described as a nasal uvular flap, though alternative transcriptions may be [ᴺɢ̆] (prenasalized uvular flap) or [ᴺʡ̆] (prenasalized epiglottal flap). Some linguists, noticing a distinct ingressive airstream, transcribe it as a nasal uvular implosive [ʛ̃]. This realization is consistent in virtually all Chlouvānem-speaking territories.
- lili "I" /ɴ̆iɴ̆i/ - Std., Līl., Klš., Cam. [ɴ̆iɴ̆i]
Contemporary standard Chlouvānem, in most of its pronunciations, is pronounced with a pitch accent system which is not phonemic and easily predictable, strictly tied to vowel length and phonation. Due to this and for simplicity, it is not generally indicated in transcriptions.
Long vowels are pronounced with a high pitch:
- dhāḍa "language" [dʰäː˥ɖä˧]
- chlǣvānem "Chlouvānem" [c͡ɕʰɴ̆ɛː˥ʋäː˥ne˧m]
- pāsā "weather" [päː˥säː˥]
Non-final oral diphthongs (and /ɔə̯/ also when final) are pronounced with high pitch on their first component, and slightly falling on the second:
- maita "river" [mæ˥ɪ̯˦tä˧]
- leiktas "surprise" [ɴ̆e˥ɪ̯˦ktä˧s]
- haloe "name" [ɦä˧ɴ̆ɔ˥ə̯˦]
However, pitch does not fall if the following syllable has another high pitch:
- lairē "sky" [ɴ̆æ˥ɪ̯˥ʀeː˥]
- meinā "mother" [me˥ɪ̯˥näː˥]
Long vowels followed by a tautosyllabic /ʀ ɴ̆ m n ɳ ɲ ɴ/ carry high pitch to the sonorant, but without the slight fall:
- šermālgis "base, fundamental element" [ɕe˧ʀmäː˥ɴ̆˥ɡi˧s]
- āntimē "3SG is/stands on" [Ɂäː˥n˥ti˧meː˥]
- snīrṣmas "blanket" [sniː˥ʀ˥ʂma˧s]
Final diphthongs (except for /ɔə̯/) start with normal pitch and end with higher pitch on the second component (which is allophonically slightly lengthened), though the pitch is not as high as for long vowels or other diphthongs. As the starting pitch is not high, it does not impede falling of pitch in a preceding diphthong:
- pudbhau "I slept" [pu˧dbʱɑ˧ʊ̯ˑ˦]
- junai "foot" [ɟ͡ʑu˧næ˧ɪ̯ˑ˦]
- maitai "rivers" [mæ˥ɪ̯˦tæ˧ɪ̯ˑ˦]
Breathy-voiced vowels and diphthongs, on the contrary, always carry low pitch, as do tautosyllabic sonorants after them. Breathy-voiced monophthongs are also two-thirds as long as long vowels (therefore about 140% as long as a short vowel).
- męlike "to give" [me̤ˑ˩ɴ̆i˧ke˧]
- pąnna "rope" [pɑ̤ˑ˩n˩nä˧]
- paranąiṣam "protagonist" [pä˧ʀäna̤˩ɪ̯˩ʂa˧m]
The maximum possible syllable structure is C1C2C3–y–V–C4
The nucleus is formed by V - which can be any vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant - and an optional preceding /j/.
The onset may contain up to three consonants: C3 is notated differently because phonetically there always is one, as phonemically vowel-initial syllables are always pronounced with a preceding [ʔ]. Any consonant bar /ɴ/ can appear in this position; C2 can be any other consonant except aspirated or breathy-voiced stops (with a single exception) or /ʔ/, but, if C3 is a stop, no stop can be in this position. If C3 is /ɴ̆/ , then C2 may be /c͡ɕʰ/. C1 may be a sibilant or a nasal agreeing in PoA with the following consonant.
See the following section on Clusters for the list of all possible clusters.
In codas, C4 may be may be any consonant except aspirated or breathy-voiced stops. In absolute word-final position, the only possible consonants are /m n p t ʈ k s ɦ ɴ̆/.
Interjections are an exception, as some other consonants are found there, e.g. hār! "ouch!" [ɦaːɐ̯] /ɦaːʀ/.
Chlouvānem allows a large number of initial clusters, listed here (using the orthographical representations). Note that any single consonant except for ṇ ñ ɂ h ħ y and any cluster given here (except for lh-) may be furthermore followed by -y-:
- mb- mbr- mbl- mbh- mr-
- nd- ndv- ndr- ndh-
- ṇḍ- ṇḍv- ṇḍr- ṇḍh-
- ñj- ñjv- ñjr- ñjl- ñjh-
- pr- pl-
- phr- phl-
- br- bl-
- bhr- bhl-
- tv- tr-
- dv- dr-
- jñ- jv- jr- jl-
- kṣ- kr- kl-
- khr- khl-
- gṇ- gr- gl-
- ghr- ghl-
- sm- smr- sn- sp- spr- spl- sph- st- stv- str- sth- sk- skr- skl- skh- sɂ- sv- svr- sr- sl-
- ṣm- ṣmr- ṣṇ- ṣp- ṣpr- ṣpl- ṣph- ṣṭ- ṣṭv- ṣṭr- ṣṭh- ṣk- ṣkr- ṣkl- ṣkh- ṣɂ- ṣv- ṣvr- ṣr- ṣl-
- šm- šñ- šp- špr- špl- šph- šc- šch- šk- škr- škl- škh- šv- švr- švl- šl-
- lt- lth- lɂ- ld- ldh- lg- lgh- lh-
Furthermore, the clusters mp- mph- nt- nth- lk- lkh- are found in some Eastern Dabuke words, especially regionally widespread in the Western parts of the Inquisition.
In this section, the orthographic representation is used instead of phonemic transcription.
Chlouvānem morphology uses a system of ablaut alternations in its vowels, most notably for some verbs, for the ablauting declension of nouns (5h), and for many derivations. Every normal ablaut pattern has a base grade (the one given in citation forms), a middle grade, and a strong grade.
The patterns of regular ablaut are the following:
- i-ablaut: base i or ī — middle e — strong ai
- u-ablaut: u/ū — o (ą) — au
- u>i-ablaut: u/ū — i — au
- ṛ-ablaut: ṛ — ar — ār
A few roots have the so-called inverse ablaut, where the vowels get simplified in the middle grade, and there is no strong grade:
- i-type inverse ablaut: base ya (or ьa) — middle i
- ei-type inverse ablaut: base ei — middle i
- u-type inverse ablaut: base va — middle u
Lengthening alternations, which originate in Proto-Lahob, substitute a vowel with its lengthened form. There are many apparently irregular cases, due to the huge vowel shifts that happened between Proto-Lahob (PLB) and Chlouvānem. Note that PLB *î represents /ɨ/ or /ɨ̯/.
Lengthening as a type of vowel alternation is the so-called diachronic lengthening, as the results are largely determined by what those vowels were in PLB:
- a → ā
- a → ū (PLB *o → *ō)
- i → ī
- i → æ (PLB *ej → *ēj)
- i → au (PLB *aî → *āî)
- u → ū
- e → ya (PLB *e → *ē)
- e → ai (PLB *aj → *āj)
- o → au (PLB *aw → *āw)
- o → ei (PLB *ow → *ōw)
- æ → yau (PLB *ew → *ēw)
- oe → ai (PLB *oj → *ōj)
- ṛ → ar
Another, different type of lengthening, is synchronic lengthening, which is a saṃdhi change; it only applies to a, i, u, ṛ, æ, and e, turning them into ā, ī, ū, ṝ, ǣ, and ē respectively.
Vowel saṃdhi in Chlouvānem is often fairly logical, though sometimes the results are influenced by Proto-Lahob phonology.
Similar vowels (thus /a i e u ʀ̩/ only diverging in quantity or phonation) merge in these ways:
- short + short = long (e.g. a + a → ā)
- long + short = long (and viceversa) (e.g. ā + a → a)
- oral + breathy-voiced = breathy-voiced (a + ą → ą)
- breathy-voiced + oral = /VɦV/, written with the breathy-voiced character followed by the oral one (e.g. ą + a → ąa)
The only exception to this pattern is the sequence ē + e which becomes ege.
Dissimilar vowels merge in these ways. ṛ and ṝ become semivowels wherever needed, and i and u become y and v before other vowels; ī and ū turn to iy and uv respectively.
Other changes are:
- e and o always continue PLB *aj and *aw regardless of etymology, so when followed by vowels the results are ayV and avV respectively. Similarly, with ai and au the results are āyV and āvV;
- æ and ǣ both become ev and oe becomes en when followed by another vowel;
- All other ones simply turn their second element into the corresponding semivowel (e.g. ei → ey).
- a: a-i → e ; a-u → o ; a-e → ai ; a-o → au
- ā: ā-i and ā-e → ai ; ā-u and ā-o → au
- a or ā and a following long vowel (or æ or å) get an epenthetic y (before ī, ē, æ) or v (before ū, å).
- When preceded by a, other diphthongs get a prothetic y if their first element is front and a prothetic v if it is back. æ turns to ya.
For verbs with root-initial ṛ-, the result depends on the preceding vowel: u-ṛ- (and o-ṛ- and au-ṛ-) becomes (∅/a/ā)vṛ-, while with all other vowels it is ṛ (or ṝ) that becomes a semivowel, cf. švṛṣme "to believe" (šu-ṛsme), šuterṣmau "I believed" (šu-te-ṛṣmau).
Vowel saṃdhi in vowel-ending verbal roots has a few extra rules — see Chlouvānem verbs § Vocalic stems.
Some morphemes beginning in /j/ - especially vowels as the result of diachronic lengthening - may change the preceding consonant by assimilating the /j/ in the following ways:
- Alveolars and velars shift to palatals (e.g. k + y or t + y → c);
- h + y → š;
- ɂ remains unchanged;
- All other consonants get a /j/ glide (written y).
Note: for simplicity, ь will be treated as a stand-alone consonant in all the following examples.
Saṃdhi assimilations are fairly straightforward, and usually it’s the second consonant in a row the one that matters. The most basic rules are:
- Nasals assimilate to the PoA of any following consonant except for y (no assimilation occurs) and s (all become ṃ, phonetically realized as vowel nasalization).
- All stops assimilate in voicing to a following stop; if the first one is aspirated, then aspiration shifts to the second one. Dentals also assimilate to adjacent (preceding or following) retroflexes.
In stop saṃdhi, a few further changes apart from basic voicing and retroflex assimilation occur. Note that any such combination also applies to aspirated stops. In voiceless stops:
-pṭ- → -ṭṭ- ; -pc- → -ṃc-
-tc- → -cc- ; -tk- → -kt-
-ṭp- → -ṭṭ- ; -ṭc- → -cc- ; -ṭk- → -kṭ-
-cp- → -cc- ; -ct- → -kt- ; -cṭ- → -ṣṭ- ; -ck- → -šk-
-kp- → -pp- ; -kc- → -cc-
Doubled stops and the combinations -tp-, -pt-, -pk- , -kt-, and -kṭ- remain unchanged.
Voiced stops mostly mirror voiceless assimilations (doubling saṃdhi already applied - all nasal + stop clusters are underlyingly a geminate stop):
-bḍ- → -ṇḍ-
-dj- → -ñj- ; -dg- → -gd-
-ḍb- → -ṇḍ- ; -ḍj- → -ñj- ; -ḍg- → --gḍ- → -rḍ-
-j + any other stop, also aspirated ones → -jñ-
-gb- → -mb- ; -gḍ- → -rḍ- ; -gj- → -ñj-
Doubled stops become a nasal+stop sequence; -bj-, -bg-, -db-, -bd-, and -gd- remain unchanged.
-d(h)n- and -ḍ(h)ṇ- from any origin further assimilate to -nn- and -rṇ- respectively.
h, wherever it is followed by a consonant (apart from ь), disappears, leaving its trace as breathy-voiced phonation on the preceding vowel (e.g. maih-leilē → mąileilē). Vowels change as such:
- i, ī → į
- u, ū → ų
- e, ē, æ, ǣ → ę
- all other monophthongs, or oe → ą
- ai, ei, au → ąi, ęi, ąu respectively.
Sibilants trigger various different changes:
- Among themselves, -s s- remains ss (but simplified to s if the latter is followed by a consonant other than y or ь), but any other combination becomes kṣ (e.g. naš-sārah → nakṣārah).
- ṣ, if followed by a dental stop, turns it into ṭ or ṭh according to aspiration (e.g. paṣ-dhvakām → paṣṭhvakām).
- s or š plus any voiced stop, or ṣ followed by any non-dental/retroflex voiced stop, disappear but synchronically lengthen the previous vowel (e.g. kus-drāltake → kūdrāltake).
- Dental stops followed by ṣ or š result in a palatal affricate (e.g. prāt-ṣveya → prācveya).
Note that the two roots lih- and muh- behave, before consonants (with a few exceptions, e.g. the verbal infinitive), as if they were *lis- and *mus-.
If the first sound which undergoes saṃdhi is already part of a cluster, a few more assimilations may occur. In a nasal-stop + stop sequence, usually the first stop gets cancelled, but nasals do not assimilate entirely to the stop:
- m becomes ṃ;
- Other nasals do not assimilate at all.
Note that the combinations -mpt-, -mpk-, -lkt-, -lkṭ-, -mbd-, -lgd-, and -lgḍ- all remain unchanged; doubled stops are degeminated (like -mpp- > -mp-).
If the sound before the stop sequence is l or r, nothing happens and assimilations are normal. If the sound is a sibilant (note that they cannot precede voiced stops), assimilations are as usual.
Note that a few roots may have internal clusters that would not be permitted in internal saṃdhi. Many of these are part of scientific lexicon and all of them are ultimately borrowings, for example Līšabgin - the name of the sixth planet of the star system Calémere is in.
In a few cases of consonant doubling due to saṃdhi, there are irregular results:
- -y y- → -jñ-
- This also applies to -ai-y-, e.g. mai-yųlake → majñųlake
- -v v- → -gv-
- -r r- → -rl-
- any doubled voiced stop (also due to assimilation of other stops) → homorganic nasal + voiced stop (e.g. -b b- → -mb-)
Epenthetic vowels are usually discussed together with saṃdhi. They are often used in verbal conjugations, as no Chlouvānem word may end in two consonants. The epenthetic vowel used depends on the preceding consonant:
- u is inserted after non-palatalized labials;
- a is used after retroflexes (except ṣ), velars, and non-palatalized laryngeals (except l)
- i is used after all other consonants.
Note that y, v, and r in these cases turn into the corresponding vowels i, u, and ṛ.
- Note that this glottal stop is in some way represented in the Chlouvānem script, as it lacks independent characters for vowels and therefore initial vowels are represented with the consonant letter for ɂ and the diacritic for that vowel. This is omitted in the romanization.
- The /y/ phoneme in the Lūlunīkami dialect is the result of a different development of Proto-Lahob *ɨ, unrelated to this example (see the section on rounded vowels above for more).