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Ζιτάι has a very standart vowel system of /a e i o u/. Additionally, it uses the sound [ɛ] and [ɔ] because of a process called metaphony.

Stressed, word-final high vowels /i/ and /u/ can raise preceding front or back vowels - this process is called metaphony.

  • /a/ before /i/ is changed to [ɛ]
  • /a/ before /u/ is changed to [ɔ]
  • /e/ before /i/ is changed to [i]
  • /o/ before /u/ is changed to [u]


Bilabial Alveolar Velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative z
Liquids r l

All consonants can be geminat

/z/ is devoiced to [s] after a voiceless plosive.

The voiceless plosives are changed to voiceless fricatives (/p/ to [f], /t/ to [s] and /k/ to [x]) before another voiceless plosive.


In general, all syllables could be stressed. However, the majority of words is stressed on the last syllable.



The onset is optional and can contain all consonants except /ŋ/. Also, it can contain the following clusters:

  • /z/ + /m/, /n/ or /l/
  • /p/ + /n/ or liquod
  • /b/ + liquid
  • Alveolar plosive + /r/
  • velar plosive + /n/ or liquid


The nucleus is the only mandatory part of a syllable. It must always be a monophthong.


The coda is optional and can contain the following consonants:

  • Any nasal
  • Any voiceless plosive
  • Any liquid

Also, the coda can contain a number of clusters:

  • Nasal + voiceless plosive (matching place of articulation)
  • Liquid + voiceless plosive
  • 2 voiceless plosives



Ζιτάι uses the Greek alphabet; albeit, it only needs 18 letters (out of the 24).

Greek Letter Romanization Name Primary sound Secondary sound
Α α A a ΄Αλπα ['alpa] [a] -
Β β B b Βέτα ['beta] [b] -
Γ γ NG ng Kάμμα ['gamma] [ŋ] -
Δ δ D d Δέλτα ['delta] [d] -
Ε ε E e Έπζιλον ['epsilon] [e] -
Ζ ζ Z z Ζέτα ['zeta] [z] [s]
Η η E e ΄Ετα ['eta] [ɛ] -
Ι ι I i Ιότα [i'ota] [i] -
Κ κ G g Κάππα ['gappa] [g] -
Λ λ L l Λάνδα ['landa] [l] -
Μ μ M m Μι [mi] [m] -
Ν ν N n Νι [ni] [n] -
Ο ο O o Όμιχρον ['omikron] [o] -
Π π P p Πι [pi] [p] [f]
Ρ ρ R r Ρο [ro] [r] -
Τ τ T t Τωυ [tɔ'u] [t] [s]
Υ υ U u ΄Ιπζιλον ['ipsilon] [u] -
Χ χ K k Χι [ki] [k] [x]
Ω ω O o Ομέκα [o'mega] [ɔ] -

Most letters are truely phonetic - which means that they are always pronounced in just one way. Some letters, however, have a second sound they can represent in certain positions.

  • The letter Ζ ζ represents the sound [s] in devoicing environments (after voiceless plosives)
  • The letter Π π represents the sound [f] in dissimilating environments (before another non-bilabial voiceless plosive)
  • The letter Τ τ represents the sound [s] in dissimilating environments (before another non-alveolar voiceless plosive)
  • The letter Χ χ represents the sound [x] in dissimilating environments (before another non-velar voiceless plosive)


Ζιτάι only uses the acute accent to indicate the primary stress of a word. Since words are usually stressed on the last syllable, the accent is only used when the stress is NOT on the last syllable.

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