URED/Phonology

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This article is a brief overview of the phonology of uREd.

Consonants and vowels

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ1
Plosive plain p t d k g
aspirated θ2
Fricative f v s z ʃ h
Affricate plain tʃ dʒ
aspirated
Liquid ɾ l
Approximant w j
  1. /ŋ/ only appears as an allophonic version of /n/ before velars.
  2. should be realized as a voiceless dental non-sibilant affricate, but the allophone /θ/ is widely accepted among most speakers.
Front Central
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

Alphabet

The inventory of sounds in Esperanto counts 26 distinguishable units, 22 of which are written with a single glyph and 4 with a digraph.

  • a b th ch d e f g zh h i y k l m n o p r s sh t u w v z

The original orthography planned a symbol for each sound and introduced special diacritics to distinguish some sounds.

  • a b c ĉ d e f g ĝ h i j k l m n o p r s ŝ t u ŭ v z

uREd is also widely written using the greek alphabet.

  • α β θ τζ δ ε φ γ ξ χ ι (ι) κ λ μ ν ο π ρ σ ψ τ υ (υ) η ζ

Word stress invariably falls on the second to last vowel. Prepositions, prefixes and suffixes are pronounced along with the word they attach to. Semivowels don’t act as vowels in the assignment of stress.

  • Lōgi [Say], Kelēri [Be quick]

Sometimes a semivowel is used to transliterate proper names whose stress falls on the third to last vowel.

  • Īlary [Ilary] / Ilāi [Ely]

Letters a b d e f g h i k l m n o p s t u w v z are pronounced exactly like their IPA counterpart. <r> is not trilled, but among some speakers a trilled /r/ might be accepted.

  • <geno> /geno/

Some letters have a specific pronunciation, which is invariant for each occurrence, like /θ/, <ch> /t͡ʃ/, <zh> /d͡ʑ~ʒ/, <y> /j/ e <sh> /ʃ/.

Phenomena

Mutation of consonants

A consonant before a following voiced consonant is always voiced, and before a voiceless is always voiceless.

  • Log- + -si = Loksi

Before a i and after a vowel, <t> and <d> become <r>. This phenomenon is known as rhotacism or T-decay.

  • Am- + -atis = Amaris

If <r> occurs twice in adjacent syllables, the first one weakens towards <l>. This phenomenon is known as de-rhotacism or R-Decay.

  • Mir- + -ati -> Mirari -> Milari

Clusters <ts> and <dz> after a vowel become and <zh>. After a consonant no change is applied.

  • Ed- + -si -> Etsi -> Ethi

The consonant <v> after another consonant becomes <w>. This phenomenon applies to classical roots too.

  • Akvo -> Agwo [Water]

Mutation of vowels

Two identical and adjacent vowels orthographically shorten into one, but the stress is unchanged and this can lead to word whose stress fall on the last written vowel.

  • Mi eina~ +as -> M’einaas [I am]-> M’einas {M’einàs}

Personal pronouns, articles, adjectives, (occasionally) nouns and the correlative “ko” can lose their ending before another vowel or <h>, for the sake of euphony. This change is signaled with an apostrophe.

  • M’amas (Mi amas), L’amo (La amo), Bon’homo (Bona homo)

Usually when <wi> occurs, it is pronounced as /y/. There are a few roots which are affected by these change.

  • Swibo [Sibling] /sybɔ/