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Perhaps the smallest possible phonemic inventory is the phonology of Jörg Rhiemeier's sketchlang Flafi, the language of small furry beings called "lilaf". Flafi has only four phonemes, in increasing sonority /f/, /l/, /i/, /a/. Its syllable structure is CVC, except /fl/ may be word-initial and /lf/ is forbidden within a word. Geminates /ff/ and /ll/ are allowed but not attested due to sketchlang status. No attested words contain long vowels /aa/ or /ii/; one contains /aia/ presumably pronounced as if /aja/. (The language is isolating and OSV with postpositions.)
The smallest inventories in natlangs are those of central Rotokas and Pirahã. Rotokas has voiceless /ptk/, voiced /vɾɣ/, and vowels /ieaou/, where /t/ becomes [ts] or [s] before /i/. The vowels often occur in pairs, as long vowels or diphthongs, but no consonant clusters. Pirahã has consonants /ptʔmnsh/, with /hi/ and /ʔ/ sometimes pronounced /k/, and vowels /aio/ in two tones that frequently form diphthongs, with antonyms occasionally distinguished by tones.
Another extreme is monosyllabic morphemes, as found in the Sino-Tibetan and Austroasiatic families in the Sprachbund of continental southeast Asia. Most have phonemic tone (Mandarin, Cantonese) or a wide variety of sonority-be-damned initial clusters (Khmer) or both (Myanmar).
Sonja Lang's toki pona shows that roughly 120 morphemes are needed for a language, and Marq Thompson's Ta Ti attempts to adapt the principles behind toki pona to monosyllables with CCV maximum inventory with seven vowels (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/, /ai/, /ei/) where the second consonant is in /lrw/.
- Marq Thompson. "Ta Ti". 2009-05-02. Accessed 2020-07-18. Turn off script for this site.