Merineth (dialect)

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Merineth is one of three modern dialects of Braereth, spoken primarily by the shape-shifters.

The Merineth dialect is the furthest removed of the dialects from Classical Braereth. It has no palatal sounds whatsoever, and contains a number of liquids that appear seemingly spontaneously around certain clusters. Consonant clusters are all but eliminated, and diphthongs are broken up by an insertive ⟨l⟩ or ⟨r⟩. There is a merging of voiced and unvoiced consonants, as well as occlusion of certain fricatives. The vowels ⟨e⟩ and ⟨o⟩ do not exist in Merineth, and are usually raised to ⟨i⟩ and ⟨u⟩, respectively, but sometimes lowered to ⟨a⟩. The Merineth do not have a formal written language, and usually use the Classical spelling, though some have adopted the Eomentesa spelling reform, as it is a little closer than Classical Braereth to how Merineth is actually pronounced, though there are still vast differences.


Consonants Labial Dental Alveolar Dorsal   Vowels Front Back
Plosive p · b t · k · High i, iː · y, yː u, uː
Affricate     ʦ · ʣ   Mid    
Fricative     s · z (χ) · Low æ~a~ɑ
Nasal m n   Diphthongs To Front To Back
Liquid   l r [ɾ] [ʀ]   none

Notable Changes from Braereth to Merineth

Vowel Changes

Although there are seven vowels in Merineth compared to Braereth’s five, the vowel space is very reduced. The high vowels (i.e. all of the vowels except /a/) have length distinction, long vowels being marked by an acute accent. Unlike many European languages, vowel length is rarely indicative of stress, though the rounded front vowels (⟨y⟩, ⟨ý⟩) are always stressed. Length is important to distinguish certain words, such as nuts ‘nineteen’ (from nouce) and núts ‘night’ (from nuictje).

Vowels are also inserted to break up consonant clusters, particularly the common Romance “nasal-stop-liquid” clusters such as /ndr/ or /mpl/.

Other changes are more predictable:

  • ⟨e⟩: e → i
  • ⟨ei⟩: ei̯ → iː
  • ⟨o⟩: o → u
  • ⟨u⟩: u → y (when stressed)
  • ⟨ou⟩: ou̯ → ý (when stressed)

Obstruent Changes

The classic Braereth palatals are all dispersed; the sonorants are unpacked and the sibilants are alveolarized:

  • ⟨cj⟩, ⟨c[e/i]⟩: ʧ → ts
  • ⟨dj⟩: ʥ → dz
  • ⟨gj⟩, ⟨g[e/i]⟩: ʤ → dz
  • ⟨tj⟩: ʨ → ts
  • ⟨sj⟩: ɕ → s
  • ⟨zj⟩: ʑ → z

Fricatives are also dispersed; the only remaining fricatives in the languages are the sibilants (/s/ and /z/) and the uvular /χ/ which occurs only in borrowings.

  • ⟨f⟩: f → p
  • ⟨v⟩: v → b
  • ⟨th⟩: θ → l~r
  • ⟨sj⟩: ɕ → s
  • ⟨zj⟩: ʑ → z

All non-sibilant obstruents are devoiced except for /v/, which is occluded (to /b/):

  • ⟨b⟩: b → p
  • ⟨d⟩: d → t
  • ⟨g⟩: ɡ → k
  • ⟨v⟩: v → b

Word-initially, affricates are simplified to their sibilant component:

  • ⟨cj⟩, ⟨c[e/i]⟩: ʧ → ts → s (cjantar → santal)
  • ⟨dj⟩: ʥ → dz → z (djurnu → zyrunu)
  • ⟨gj⟩, ⟨g[e/i]⟩: ʤ → dz → z
  • ⟨tj⟩: ʨ → ts → s
  • ⟨tz⟩: ʦ → s

Word-finally, voiced sibilants are devoiced. (This usually occurs after deletion of word-final ⟨e⟩, exposing an affricate to a word boundary.):

  • ⟨gj⟩, ⟨g[e/i]⟩: ʤ → dz → ts (mage → madz → mats)

r/l Alternation and Insertion

A key feature in Merineth is its treatment of the liquids /r/ and /l/. While Braereth already had a tendency to alternate liquids in proximity to each other (e.g. compare Braereth moulire ‘to die’ with other Romance languages such as French mourir). This is most frequently observed in verbs, whose infinitive forms end in ⟨-l⟩ rather than the usua ⟨-r⟩, and as a result, /l/ occurring in the previous syllable tends to become /r/ through a process of dissimilation, hence Merineth ‘’múril’’].

Liquids may also be inserted between the vowels of earlier diphthongs, with sometimes unexpected results.

  • ⟨ae⟩: ai̯ → ali
  • ⟨au⟩: au̯ → alu
  • ⟨eu⟩: eu̯ → ili

A liquid may even be inserted between words to separate otherwise consecutive vowels, similar to r-insertion in non-rhotic varieties of English (e.g. like a “Long Island” pronunciation of the phrase “Minnesota and Wisconsin,” where it sounds a bit like “Minnesoter.”)

Orthographic and Phonemic Mapping

Orth. Phn. Example IPA Classical Environment/Notes
a [æ~a] akua ‘water’ [ˈaku.a] aqua From Braereth ⟨a⟩; sometimes from ⟨e⟩ or ⟨o⟩.
b [b] buril ‘want’ [buˈɾil] voulere From Braereth ⟨v⟩.
dz [ʣ] madzinu ‘morning’ [maˈʣinu] matzinu From Braereth ⟨tz⟩, ⟨dj⟩, or palatalized ⟨g⟩. Cannot occur word-finally.
i [i] ilis ‘they’ [ˈi.lis] iljis From Braereth ⟨i⟩ or ⟨e⟩.
í [iː] ípina ‘thorn’ [iːˈpina] espina From Braereth ⟨ei⟩ or ⟨es⟩.
k [k] krastu ‘the next day’ [ˈkrastu] crastu From Braereth ⟨c⟩ or ⟨q⟩.
l [l] lapits ‘stone’ [lapits] lapide From Braereth ⟨l⟩ or ⟨r⟩. (See r/l Alternation and Insertion.)
m [m] múril ‘to die’ [muːˈɾil] moulire
n [n] natal ‘to swim’ [naˈtal] natare
nk [ŋk~nk] zinkuru ‘knee’ [ˈzin.ku.ɾu] ginclu The expected velarization of the nasal (the “NG sound” before K) is dampened.
p [p] púksa ‘mouth’ [ˈpuː.ksa] boucsa From Braereth ⟨p⟩, ⟨b⟩, or ⟨f⟩.
q [χ~ʀ] qiru ‘deer’
aqma ‘spirit’
From Braereth ⟨qh⟩: [ʀ] when intervocalic, [χ] otherwise.
r [ɾ] rikal ‘to tie’ [ɾiˈkal] ligare From Braereth ⟨l⟩ or ⟨r⟩. (See r/l Alternation and Insertion.) Normally realized as a tap or flap rather than a fully-realized trill.
s [s] sampil ‘change’ [samˈpil] cjambiare From Braereth ⟨s⟩ or word-initial ⟨cj⟩, ⟨tj⟩ or ⟨tz⟩.
t [t] tints ‘tooth’ [ˈtinʦ] dente From Braereth ⟨d⟩ or ⟨t⟩.
ts [ʦ] palits ‘done, made’ [ˈpaliʦ] faectje From Braereth ⟨tz⟩, ⟨tj⟩, or palatalized ⟨c⟩, or from ⟨dj⟩ or palatalized ⟨g⟩ when word-final.
u [u] ustu ‘bone’ [ˈustu] ostu From Braereth ⟨u⟩ or ⟨o⟩.
ú [uː] útsu ‘eight’ [ˈuːʦu] uictjou From Braereth ⟨ou⟩ or ⟨ui⟩, sometimes from other phonological processes.
x [ˈ] akurix ‘here’ [a.kuˈri] ecquix Like Braereth, ⟨x⟩ indicates stress on the final syllable.
y [y] kylupa ‘fault’ [ˈ] culpa From Braereth ⟨u⟩ when stressed.
ý [yː] kulýr ‘colour’ [kuˈlyːr] culoure From Braereth ⟨ui⟩ or ⟨ou⟩.
z [z] zints ‘people’ [ˈzinʦ] ginte From Braereth intervocalic ⟨s⟩ or word-initial ⟨dj⟩, or palatalized ⟨g⟩.