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This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 3 Jan 2020, 23:25.

9. Genders
18. Ov anthem
19. Phonology
20. Sentences
23. Tones
28. WIP
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.
Menu 1. Phonology 2. Allophony 3. Stress 4. Vowel reduction 5. Orthographic respellings

It might seem weird to come across phonology very late in the course, but it's not something that you will use very often with a conlang.


By refering to the main page of the conlang, you can remark that Ov has 19 distinctive consonants and 15 distinctive vowels.

Ov has a standard set of 3 nasal consonants, the very standard six-consonant plosive set, a small fricative set of 6 consonants (with hardly any distinctive distinction between voiced and voiceless except for /f,v/), one affricate, and three liquids, including a quaint distinction between /l/ and /ɫ̪/.

Ov vowels are very evenly distributed.

Above are the theoretical conservative vowels of Ov. On the right, they are shown as said by a native speaker of the capital, where a variant of the standard is spoken.

This image shows the main dialect of Ov, emerged from the countryside but becoming increasingly standard. This is the dialect that is taught to learners.

PhonemeClosest corresponding soundGrapheme
/s/s‹ś›, ‹sz›
/x/kh (Spanish ‹j›)‹ł›
/ɫ̪/‹l› in "ball"‹bl›, ‹pl›
/r/Spanish ‹rr›‹r›

PhonemeClosest corresponding soundGrapheme
/ʏ/German ‹ü›, French <u>; sometimes ‹ew› in "knew"‹y›
/u/‹oo› in "good"‹u›
/e̞/‹e› in "bet"‹e›
/ɤ/Somewhat ‹u› in "but"‹ea›
/æ/‹a› in "cat"‹ä›
/ɑ/‹o› in "box"‹a›
/iː/ee‹ih›, ‹í›
/yː/German ‹ü›, French <u>; sometimes ‹ew› in "knew", but long‹yh›
/eː/‹e› in "bet" but long‹eh›, ‹é›
/oː/‹aw› but long‹oh›, ‹ó›
/æː/‹a› in "cat" but long‹äh›
/ɑː/‹o› in "box" but long‹ah›


Ov undergoes a great deal of allophony. The most significant cases are explained here.

  • /x/[ç] (after a front vowel – excpt in ‹rł› – or after /p/)
  • /n,m/[ɲ] (before [ç], feeding rule from the above)
  • /d/[ð] (before /r/, in some dialects also intervocallically)
  • /g/[ɣ] (intervocallically or before /r/, in some dialects also word-initially and word-finally)
  • /θ/[ɬ] (in contact with /s/ or /ɕ/, after /t͡ɕ/ or before /l/)
  • [sɬ,ɬs][t͡ɬ] (also → [t͡ʃ] or [ɬ] in some dialects)
  • /ɪ,ʊ/[j,w] (in contact with a vowel)
  • /r/[ɾ̝] (widespread, often in free variation; /r/ is usually retained before consonants)
  • /n/[m] (before /b,p,f/)
  • /tj,dj/[t͡ɕ]
  • /pj/[pɕ]
  • /m,n/[ŋ] (before /k,g/)
  • /sj,ɕj/[ɕ]
  • /kj,ɕç,xj/[ç]
  • /lj,nj/[ʝ]
  • /t͡ç/[c͡ç]
  • /rɕl/[ɬ͡l]
  • /ɕr/[ɕ͡r ~ r̥ˢ]
  • /ʑr/[ʑ͡r ~ rᶻ]
  • ‹eië›/e̞ɪ̯/
  • ‹ml›/l/
  • ‹öy›/yː/


Stress in Ov is not distinctive. Vowel reduction occurs.

Following the general rule, there are two places stress can hit:
  • it is final if the word ends in a plosive consonant (zëvit [t͡ɕɘ.ˈvɪt]);
  • it is penultimate if the word ends in any other phoneme (lougwiś [ˈlow.gwɘs]; iełema [ʝɛ.ˈçe̞.mɜ]).

Now for the exceptions:
  • compound words always keep the stress of their first item (skueiëcan [ˈɕkwe̞ɪ̯.θɜn]; śyhfkaizean [ˈsyːf.kɜɪ̯.t͡ɕɜn]);
  • long vowels are always stressed, no matter the first rules (Azihtkana [ɜ.ˈt͡ɕiːt.kɜ.nɜ]).

[top]Vowel reduction

Although it is not marked down phonetically because of technical restrictions regarding stress, Ov undergoes vocalic reduction of unstressed vowel, not as strong as in Russian for example, yet enough to cause syncope.

Here's the general pattern:

  • /ɪ,ʏ/[ɘ,ɵ]
  • /u/[ʊ]
  • /e̞,o̞/ → unchanged
  • /æ,ɑ,ɤ/[ɜ]

Syncope is erratic and varies a lot dialectally. It often happens with asonantal endings such as plurals (this is shown in  Unknown [FOV], where syncope was sometimes lexicalized and caused the spelling of some flexions to diverge). For example, "dalyhryk" has five ways of being very narrowly marked down:
- [dɑˈlyːɾ̝ʏk] (unreducted; rare or emphatic);
- [dɜˈlyːɾ̝ɵk] (reducted trivocallically, formal speech);
- [dɜˈlyːɾ̝ɵ̥k] (reducted and unvoiced trivocallically, common in casual speech with or without dialectal influence);
- [dɜˈlyːɾ̝k] (syncopated, also common in casual speech with or without dialectal influence);
- [d͡ɮʏɾ̝k] (doubly syncopated, very fast speech).

Retaining the vowel can be done for epenthesis, but the epenthetic particle "ea" will be preferred for that purpose.

Other examples:
- /mo̞.nɑ.ly:.ɾ̝ɑm/ → [mo̞nˈly:ɾ̝ɜm]
- /ɪç.nɑɪ̯.stɪ.ŋjæ/ → [ɘç.nɜɪ̯ˈstɪ.ŋjɜ]
- /θe̞.ɕwe̞ɪ̯.o̞ɑ.stɑn/ → [θe̞ɕ.we̞ɪ̯.wɜˈstɑn]
- /ʏ̞.to̞:l.kɤ/ → [ɵ̞.ˈto̞:l.kɜ]
- /ki:.ɾ̝ɒn.læ.me̞ɪ̯l/ → [ˈki:ɾ̝ɜn.lɜ.me̞ɪ̯l]

[top]Orthographic respellings

Ov has few orthographic respellings – changes in the orthography that are motivated by an ambiguity. We can quote épblämiot /e̞ɪ̯plæmjo̞t/, which is parsed as ”ép-lämiot”. The <pb> digraph, which was used in Middle Ov for an ejective /p/, is used herein on non-etymological grounds, but to avoid the natural pronunciation of a would-be ”éplämiot” /eːɫ̪æmjo̞t/.
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