C phonology

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The Noeneg language is called "C" by scouts because it tends toward a more consonant-heavy mix of sounds than "V". In some ways, it resembles Netherlandish (aka Dutch).


Like Arabic, C has three vowels, but one would be fooled by the diphthongs. Most C roots have closed syllables with a C?CVCC? structure, but inflections can turn the V into VV. For example, one plural pattern adds /i/ before the last vowel.

Spelled Phonemic Phonetic
/a/ [ɐ]
/aa/ [ɑ]
/ai/ [eɪ]
/au/ [ʌo]
/i/ [ɪ]
/ia/ [iə]
/ii/ [æɪ]
/iu/ [ɪy]
/u/ [ʊ]
/ua/ [uə]
/ui/ [oʏ]
/uu/ [u:]

Because C is far more tolerant of clusters, words in C tend to have more of their vowels reduced to null compared to their V cognates. Compare the English doublet anxiety/angst.

One of our scouts has presented a convincing analysis that gives each word only one phonemic vowel or diphthong. Suffixes thus form long strings of consonants with no phonemic vowels. The phonetic realization of these clusters depends on the dialect.


The phonemic vowel of the root gets the accent. The overall effect is much like German, where accent tends toward the first syllable of a word.


C words must start with a consonant, even if it is a glottal stop. A lone voiceless consonant is pronounced with aspiration, but /tj/ becomes [tsɪ] in dialects with epenthetic vowels. A final obstruent consonant (or cluster thereof) in a word devoices.

/taud/ => [thʌot] /uati/ => ['uətsɪ]

In C, /x/ has fallen into /f/. (Sound changes between [f] and [x] have also been seen in Taiwanese.)

Dialect differences

After the vowel in the root word, syllable nuclei end up on whatever halfway sonorant nasals or fricatives are in the way. In some areas, clusters like those of the Salishan languages are commonplace. But as one heads south toward the border between V- and C-speaking areas, surface vowels begin to show up, such as voiced fricatives becoming [i] and [u] and epenthetic schwa showing up in various places. This can be seen in the name of C itself: phonemically /nuunf/ but realized as ['nu:nəf]. Speakers of the cluster-type dialects characterize these vowels as "baby talk".

Some dialects of C retain the archaic pronunciation of /f/ as [x], reserving [f] for only those /f/ that come from inflections of /p/-series consonants. Some dialects of both V and C have a tendency to drop unaccented vowels: for instance, unaccented C /tj/ often shows up as [ts] instead of [tsɪ]. Some dialects of C pronounce diphthongs differently, such as no contrast between /ai/ and /ii/.