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Tossaq (Toqyaq) is an Indo-European language with aggressive assimilatory sound changes.

Sound Changes


  • Diphthongisation of e and o to ie and uo respectively
  • Treatment of any vowel + h(1, 2, 3) as ʀǝ
  • epenthetic vowels added before and after clusters, with:
  • liquids L and R assimilating to the adjacent consonant's manner of articulation e.g. tr- -> ǝtr- -> ǝtt-
  • nasals staying unassimilated.


  • tewt-eh2 -> tjewt-ʀǝ
  • drukós -> ǝdduk-uos


  • ie, uo, ʀǝ become ja, wa, ʀa respectively
  • metathesis of any second liquid sound to the end of the word, e.g. tjewt- -> tjatw-
  • general loss of word final vowels and inflectional endings


  • tjewt-3a -> tjatw(-ʀa)
  • ǝdduk-uos -> ǝdduk(-was)


  • consonants assimilate to the place of articulation of following liquids (or i/u):
  • for plosives: Pw, Pj, Pʀ -> p, t, k (b, d, g, bh, dh, gh etc)
  • for fricatives: Fw, Fj, Fʀ -> f, s, h
  • for liquids: Lw, Lj, Lʀ -> w, y, ʀ
  • for nasals: Nw, Nj, Nʀ -> m, n, ŋ
  • front/back distinctions of vowels are lost, e.g. twa, tja, tʀa -> pa, ta, ka
  • for open vowels: a
  • for closed vowels: ɯ (ı, ǝ in writing)


  • tjatw(-ʀa) -> tap(ʀa)
  • ǝdduk(-was) -> ǝbbǝk(was)

Early-Middle Tossaq

  • syllabe-final consonants colour the preceding vowel and merge together:
  • labials add the ring diacritic, dentals add the trema, e.g. ǝbbǝk -> ǝ̊bbǝk
  • in some dialects, velars add the macron, e.g. ǝ̊bbǝ̂k
  • voiceless plosives become -q
  • voiced plosives lengthen the preceding vowel
  • fricatives become -h
  • liquids still colour the final vowel, but leave no other direct trace
  • nasals become -n
  • in summary: -P, -V, -F, -L, -N -> -q, -:, -h, -ø, -n


  • tap(ʀa) -> tåq(ʀa)
  • ǝbbǝk(was) -> ǝ̊ǝ̊bǝ̂q(wäh)

Late-Middle Tossaq

  • Vowel colouring results in a new vowel system:
  • å ä â a -> o, e, a, æ (where a and æ are often merged)
  • ǝ̊ ǝ̈ ǝ̂ ǝ -> u, i, ů, ǝ (where u and ů are often merged, and i and ǝ are also often merged)


  • tåq(ʀa) -> toq(ʀa)
  • ǝ̊ǝ̊bǝ̂q(wäh) -> uubůq(weh)

Early-Middle Tossaq

  • Voiceless consonants preceded by -q become geminated
  • In some dialects, long vowels before voiced consonants become -VN
  • in other dialects, vowels followed by -q and a voiced consonant become long
  • In some dialects, liquids preceded by both -q & -h become voiceless
  • In other dialects, liquids and fricatives preceded by -q become plosives
  • In some dialects, -qN- yields a geminate plosive, in others it just results in a prestopped consonant.
  • Across most dialects, voiced ʀ becomes /l~r/


  • toq-yaq -> toqẙak (toççaq, toccaq)
  • toq-fan -> toqfan (toffan, toppan)
  • toq(ʀa) -> toq, toqʀ̊a
  • uubůq(weh) -> unbůq, unbůqẘa

Modern Tossaq

  • In some dialects, the following vowel mergers occur:
  • u, ů
  • i, ǝ
  • a, æ
  • In most dialects, ç -> sh, c -> ch
  • In some dialects, hi, ʀ̊i and hu, ʀ̊u yield çi and fu, and these varying merge with other fricatives in behaviour here.
  • -h is merged with -q in some dialects, and lengthens vowels in others
  • In some dialects, -q disappears when it has nothing to interact with. Its assimilatory effects are still productive in those dialects.
  • This sometimes leads to an accent system forming, with -Vq vowels becoming -v̀.
  • This accent system then expands such that all closed syllables become low accents, and all open syllables become high accents.
  • In some dialects, -qʀ- becomes -kk- ~ -qq-.


P.Indo-European Proto-Tossaq Late-Middle Tossaq Modern Tossaq English
*tewtex-yekós tyatwăʀă-yakwă toq-yaq tòcchà national language
*tewtex-somos tyatwăʀă-swamăs toq-fan tòppàn union
*drukós ǝddukwăs uu-bůq únbù trough
*wiḱpotís wǝkpwatyǝ̆s wůq-peq ùppè village head
*déḱos, -es- dyakyăsă deq, deteh dè, détèè right, proper, honourable; honours
*nébhos, -es- nyab̈yăsă nee, nedeh néé, nédèè cloud; clouds