Conlang
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The Olian [ˈoʊ̯.li.ən] language (Olianná [oː.ʎanː.ˈaː]) is spoken in the Kingdom of Ol, an island nation off the Western coast of Greece in the Ionian sea. Olian has roughly 1,100,000 native speakers, with 100,000 of them living abroad (mostly in Southern Italy and Greece).

Phonology[]

Vowels[]

Monophthongs
Height ↓ Backness → Front Central Back
Length → Short Long Short Long Short Long
High / Close ɪ~i (ʏ~y) ʊ~u
Mid ɛ~e (œ~ø) ɔ~o
Low / Open a

Olian uses a rather small amount of monophthongs: it differentiates between five pairs of short and long vowels for a total of 10 phonemes. All short vowels except /a/ show allophonic variation depending on syllable structure. If they are in a closed syllable, the phone on the left is used. If they are in an open syllable, the phone on the right (which is considered the "true" phoneme mostly for ease of writing) is used.

All short back vowels are subject to i-umlaut when preceding /iː/ and are pronounced as rounded front vowels of the same height instead.

Olian knows two diphthongs and two triphthongs: the front sounds /eɪ̯/ and /i̯eɪ̯/ and the back sounds /oʊ̯/ and /u̯oʊ̯/. Many speakers of Modern Olian pronounce the triphthongs as combinations of semivowel + diphthong [jeɪ̯ woʊ̯] instead of pronouncing it as a true triphthong.

Consonants[]

Consonant
Manner ↓ Place → Labial Alveolar Postalveolar + Palatal Velar
Nasal m n (ɲ) (ŋ)
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f (v) s (z) (ʃ) x (ɣ)
Affricate (t͡ʃ d͡ʒ)
Approximant l j (ʎ) w
Trill / Tap / Flap ɾ r

With a total of 16 phonemes, Olian possesses relatively few consonants. Most consonants can be geminated (except /j/, /w/ and /ɾ/), though. The consonants show very few instances of allophony. The most important one is the palatalization of alveolar consonants when followed by /j/ - whereby /nj tj dj sj lj/ are pronounced [ɲ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ ʃ ʎ] - as well as a few instances of assimilation concerning /n/ before plosives and all fricatives in clusters with voiced plosives.

Syllable structure[]

The syllable structure of Olian words is governed by two main rules:

  1. Every syllable must contain a rhyme which must contain a nucleus which must contain a vowel.
  2. Every syllable must be heavy, meaning it must last for two morae.

These rules already drastically reduce the number of possible syllables. To know how syllables can be structured, the syllable weight has to be determined. This is done by using the following rules:

  1. Nucleus rule: If the syllable contains a short monophthong or a diphthong, add 1 mora. Else, meaning if the syllable contains a long monophthong or a triphthong, add 2 morae.
  2. Onset rule: If the onset contains either a combination of two plosives or a combination of fricative + plosive or a combination of plosive + /ɾ/ or /r/, add 1 mora.
  3. Coda rule: If the coda contains either a nasal or a geminate consonant or a consonant cluster, add 1 mora.

These rules show, that syllables containg long monophthongs and triphthongs can at best be of the type (C)(S)V(C). Syllables containing short monophthongs or diphthongs, however, can possess either a complex onset (C)(C)(S)V(C) or a complex coda (C)(S)V(C)(C).

Stress[]

The stress of Olian words always falls on the last syllable of the word stem.

Alphabet[]

Consonant
Pronunciation Phoneme Pronunciation Phoneme
A [aː] /a/ N [ɛnː] /n/
B [beː] /b/ O [oː] /o/
C [keː] /k/ P [peː] /p/
D [deː] /d/ Q [kuː] -
E [eː] /e/ R [ɛrː] /ɾ/ + /r/
F [ɛfː] /f/ S [ɛsː] /s/
G [geː] /g/ T [teː] /t/
H [xaː] /x/ U [uː] /u/ + /w/
I [iː] /i/ + /j/ V [foʊ̯] -
J [jɔtː] - W [veː] -
K [kaː] - X [ks] /ks/
L [ɛlː] /l/ Y [iː ˈgɾeɪ̯.kaː] -
M [ɛmː] /m/ Z [ˈdzeː.taː] -

Olian uses a relatively phonemic interpretation of the Latin alphabet. Native words are written using only 19 letters. Long vowels are written as the short vowel + apex (nowadays identical with acute accent). This usually only happens when it is necessary to mark vowel length to avoid confusion or on the last vowel of the word stem. Geminated consonants are written with doubled consonant letter, diphthongs and triphthongs are written as their vowel sequences.

The letters I, R and U cause the most trouble in Olian since they are the only letters representing multiple phonemes. In the case of R, /ɾ/ and /r/ are only contrastive in onsets and the pronunciation can be derived from the syllable structure. If I or U could represent a semivowel or part of a diphthong or triphthong, they do unless marked otherwise (with either a trema or apex).

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