ihcoyc (ihcoyc) wrote in conlangs,
ihcoyc
ihcoyc
conlangs

Beneath the hood: a closer look at Nuirn spelling - vowels.

Actual vowel length is determined by stress and the open or closed nature of the syllable. Only vowels that bear a primary or secondary stress can be long. Generally, open syllables contain long vowels, while closed syllables may contain long vowels, but usually contain short.


These values are for fully realized, stressed vowels. Vowels bearing the acute accent can only occur in stressed syllables.



  • a

    • Usually realizes somewhere between /ɑ/ and /a/. harta /hɑɾ.tə/ (elk, wapiti). Surrounding low vowels encourage /ɑ/, but if the surrounding vowels are high it moves towards /a/.


  • á

    • Always /ɔ/ or /ɔ:/. cál /kɔɫ/ (cabbage)


  • e

    • When short, /ɛ/; when long, /e/ or /ɛɪ/. sende /sɛn.də/ (to send)


  • é

    • Always /e:/ or /ɛɪ/. ségl /se.gəl/ (sail)


  • i

    • When short, /ɪ/; when long, /i/. fitte /fɪ.tʲə/ (woman)


  • í

    • Always /i:/. bíl /bi:l/ (car)


  • o

    • When short, /ʊ/ or sometimes /o/; when long /u/ or /o/. hosta /hɔs.tə/ (cough)


  • ó

    • Always /u:/. sól /su:ɫ/ (sun)


  • u

    • When short, /ʊ/; when long, closer to /u/. slutta /slʊ.tə/ (close)


  • ú

    • Always /ɪʊ/ or /ɪw/. spút /spɪʊt/ (spade card)


  • y

    • As i, above. The short vowel y is often short of ii, ji, ij, and indicates more clearly that the adjoining letter is to be palatalized.


  • ý

    • Always /y/ or /y:/. grý /gɾy:/ (dawn)


  • æ

    • When short, /ɛ/ or /æ/; when long /æ/. plæntyn /plæn.t̩n/ (banana)


  • ø

    • When short, /œ/ sometimes tending towards /ɜ/; when long /ø:/. grøn /gɾøn/ (green)

All diphthongs are inherently long, and can only appear in stressed syllables.



  • ao

    • Always /ø:/. This is not a true diphthong. Sometimes the sound /ø:/ occurs in words where it is treated as grammatically low; this written form makes its umlaut class clear.


  • aoi

    • Always /ʌɪ/ or /əɪ/, an alternative graph for øy below. The umlaut transformation of ao.


  • au

    • Always /aʊ/.


  • ay

    • Likelier to be closer to /əɪ/ than /aɪ/. The same sound is also written -igh in the pronouns migh.


  • ey

    • Alternative graph for é, above; éy is sometimes written and is also pronounced the same.


  • oy

    • Historically /ʌɪ/, but has a tendency to merge into /əɪ/.


  • øy

    • Always /əɪ/.
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