Alphabet and Pronunciation

 

Alphabet

Upper-case vs Lower-case Letters

There are currently no set rules in Globasa for the use upper-case letters. Globasa speakers are welcome to use upper-case letters at their discretion until the time comes to establish such rules or guidelines. 

 

Letter Names

When spelling words out loud, the names of the letters may be shortened.

 

  • Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
     

  • Consonants: be, ce, de, etc.

Consonants

Notes on the Consonants
 

c - never [k] as in cup or [s] as in cent
 

d, t - never like the American English pronunciation of d and t between vowels, as in lady, meter.

 

In American English, d and t tend to be rendered as [ɾ] when they appear between vowels (leader, liter, etc). The sound [ɾ], or so-called flap, is virtually identical to the Spanish (and Globasa) r. English speakers with American accents should be careful to always pronounce a true d (the d in done, not in leader) and a true t (the t in talk, not in liter) in Globasa.
 

g - never [dʒ] as in gym
 

h - voiceless velar fricative, not to be confused with [χ], a voiceless uvular fricative

The velar fricative is pronounced in the same point of articulation as [k], and is akin to a cat's hissing sound. In contrast, the uvular fricative is a more guttural sound pronounced further back in the throat in which uvular vibration is noticeable. Permissible variant: [h], as in hotel

 

j - permissible variant: [ʒ] as the French j, or as the English s in vision
 

k, p and t - ideally pronounced slightly aspirated, although not as strongly as in English
 

l - never articulated as [ɫ], a velarized or so-called dark l, pronounced in English in syllable-final position, as in bell; always as a plain l, as in belle in French
 

r - ideally pronounced as a single flap/tap rather than a trill
 

- always voiceless; never [z] as in visit
 

w and - may be pronounced as vowels (u and i), but are never stressed; may also be rendered as [uw] and [ij] when they appear between a consonant and a vowel. See Spelling Convention below.
 

x - never [ks] as in taxi

z - always as a single voiced sibilant; never [ts] as in pizza

 

Vowels


Globasa's vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are pronounced as in Spanish, Italian or Esperanto. In certain cases, primarily in poetry, song lyrics or onomatopoeic sounds, e in word-final position or in word-initial position (when followed by -s- and another consonant) may be rendered silent and replaced by an apostrophe. 

cokolate or cokolat'
jaze 
or jaz'
espageti 
or 'spageti

letter

IPA

pronunciation

example

/ä/

as a in Spanish or Italian

basa language

/

as in let

bete child (daughter/son)

/i/

as in machine,
as ee in seen

idi go

/o̞/

as in for

oko eye

/u/

as in rude
or as oo in moon

mumu ox (bull/cow)

 
 

Notes on the Vowels

a - ideally pronounced [ä], an open central unrounded vowel; the front [a] and back [ɑ] are permissible variants

e - ideally pronounced [e̞], a mid front unrounded vowel; the close-mid [e] and the open-mid [ɛ] are permissible variants

o - ideally pronounced [], a mid back round vowel; the close-mid [o] and the open-mid [ɔ] are permissible variants

 

Stress

 

If the word ends in a consonant, the stress falls on the last vowel. 

xugwan (habit), pronounced xu-gwa

problem (problem), pronounced pro-blem

If the word ends in a vowel, the stress falls on the second-to-last vowel.

doste (friend), pronounced dos-te

piu (bird), pronounced pi-u  

Double Vowels and Consonants

Double vowels and consonants may at times occur within words as a result of affixation. 

Double vowels and consonants are ideally pronounced in a couple different ways depending on what is easiest for the speaker:

 

  • slightly longer or up to twice as long as single ones

  • with a glottal stop or pause in between  

Double vowels and consonants may also naturally occur between words, that is, when the same consonant or vowel appears at the end of a word and at the beginning of the next word. The same pronunciation manner seen within words may be applied to vowels and consonants between words.  

Alternatively, double letters may even be pronounced as single letters if both ideal options are difficult for the speaker. This alternative, although not encouraged, is possible because double letters are not phonemically distinctive in Globasa. That is, there are no minimal pairs with single and double letters.

Double Vowels


riinvita - re-invite (ri- - re-; invita - invite)

nudiista - nudist (nudi - nude; -ista - -ist)

Double Consonants

possahay - hinder (pos- - opposite; sahay
 - help)

aselli - original (asel - origin; -li - relating to, of)

Double r

Although r cannot be lengthened in the same way that other consonants can be, double r is ideally pronounced as two distinct, consecutive flaps, but may alternatively be lengthened as a trill.

burroya - nightmare, bad dream (bur- - pejorative; roya - dream)

W and Y


Note: As a learner of Globasa you may skip the following portion, which is merely a discussion on how Globasa deals with w and y.

Stress


As stated above, w and y may be pronounced as vowels. However, since they are technically consonants they are never stressed.

Compare the pronunciation of following proper names:

Maria, pronounced ma-ri-a [ma.'ɾi.a] or mar-i-a [maɾ.'i.a]

Maryo, pronounced ma-ryo ['ma.ɾjo], mar-yo ['maɾ.jo], ma-ri-o ['ma.ɾi.o], or mar-i-o ['maɾ.i.o]

Spelling Maryo with y rather than i allows the stress to be shifted to a, the second-to-last vowel letter. With the stress on the appropriate vowel, it makes no difference in Globasa whether Maryo is pronounced as two syllables, with a consonantal y (ma-ryo or mar-yo), or alternatively, as three syllables, with y pronounced as an unstressed i (ma-ri-o).  

Diphthongs

Globasa has no diphthongs per se. Instead, when preceded by vowels, w and y are regarded as consonants, or alternatively, as independent vowels forming a separate, unstressed syllable. In other words, w and y are never considered vowel sounds within the same syllable as their preceding vowel.

Ewropa (Europe), pronounced ew-ro-pa [ew.'ɾo.pa] or e-u-ro-pa [e.u.'ɾo.pa]

Discussion: When these pairs of letters are pronounced as a vowel plus a consonant, isn't the pronunciation practically identical to that of diphthongs? That's correct. However, the reason we can say that these vowel plus -w or -y clusters are not true diphthongs is that in these syllables, w and y always function as the final consonant of the syllable (the syllable's coda): -aw, -oy, -ey, etc. Why is that? Because Globasa only allows one consonant at the end of syllables (see Phonotactics below). In other words, in Globasa there are no syllables that end in w or y plus another consonant (-awn, -ews, -oys, -eyl, etc.). This would arguably place w and y within the nucleus of the syllable, thereby producing true diphthongs.

Spelling Convention

Unless they must be pronounced as separate syllables, u and i do not typically appear next to other vowels. Instead, w and y are conventionally used, either preceded or followed by vowels. 

pyano (piano), pronounced pyano ['pja.no], pi-a-no [pi.'a.no] or even pi-ya-no [pi.'ja.no]

cyan (cyan), pronounced cyan [tʃjan], ci-an [tʃi.'an] or even ci-yan [tʃi.'jan]

jyen (fry), pronounced jyen [dʒjen], [ʒjen, ji-en [dʒi.'en], [ʒi.'en] or even ji-yen [dʒi.'jen], [ʒi.'jen]

swini (pig, hog), pronounced swi-ni ['swi.ni], su-i-ni [su.'i.ni] or even su-wi-ni [su.'wi.ni]

Compare with the following words, in which i and u cannot, under any circumstance, be part of the same syllable as the adjacent vowel:

maux (mouse), pronounced ma-ux [ma.'uʃ]

daif (weak), pronouncd da-if [da.'if]

Australi (Australia), pronounced a-us-tra-li [a.us.'tɾa.li]

Note that the spelling Awstrali would violate the phonotactic rules. See below. Whether Awstrali is divided into syllables as Aws-tra-li or Aw-stra-li, syllables such as aws and stra are not allowed in Globasa. As a result, Australi must be spelled with u rather than w to indicate the obligatory separation of syllables. 

Phonotactics

Note: As a learner of Globasa you may skip this portion, as this is merely a description of Globasa's syllable structure. 

Syllables

Syllables consist of: (onset)-nucleus-(coda). 

The syllable structure in Globasa is (C)(C)V(C). 

Onset

Syllables may or may not have an onset. In Globasa, the onset consists of any single consonant, or any of the following consonant clusters: 

bl-, fl-, gl-, kl-, pl-, vl-

br-, dr-, fr-, gr-, kr-, pr-, tr-, vr-

bw-, cw-, dw-, fw-, gw-, hw-, jw-, kw-, lw-, mw-, nw-, pw-, rw-, sw-, tw-, xw-, zw- 

by-, cy-, dy-, fy-, gy-, hy-, jy-, ky-, ly-, my-, ny-, py-, ry-, sy-, ty-, vy-, xy-, zy-

Nucleus

All syllables have a nucleus. In Globasa, the nucleus consists of any single vowel: a, e, i, o, u. 

Coda

Syllables may or may not have a coda. In Globasa, the coda consists of any single consonant.

Word-final position caveat: In word-final position, only the following consonants are allowed in the coda: -f, -l, -m, -n, -r, -s, -w, -x, -y. 

Nucleus-coda caveat: When w or y are in the coda, neither i nor u is allowed in the nucleus. As a result, the following nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are not allowed: -iy, -iw, -uy, -uw. All other nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are allowed: 
-aw, -ew, -ow, -ay, -ey, -oy.

Coda-onset caveat: Consonant clusters consisting of two stops (-kt-, -pt-, etc.) are avoided in Globasa. Instead, Globasa words are built following the Italian and Portuguese model: astrato (abstract), ativo (active), otim (optimal), etc. However, proper names and culture-specific words may contain double stops or other unusual consonant clusters (vodka, futbol, etc.), so long as there is only one consonant in the coda and the onset is limited to those listed above.

 
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