Alphabet and Pronunciation
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.
When spelling words out loud, the names of the letters may be shortened.
Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
Consonants: be, ce, de, etc.
Notes on the Consonants
c - never pronounced as in cup or cent
d - never as in lady (American English)
g - never as in gym
h - voiceless velar fricative, not to be confused with 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 English.
j - permissible variant: [ʒ] as in French j, or as English s in vision
k, p and t - ideally pronounced slightly aspirated, although not as strongly as in English
l - never as in bell, but rather as belle in French
r - ideally pronounced as a flap/tap rather than a trill
s - always unvoiced; never [z] as in visit
y and w - may be pronounced as vowels (i and u, respectively), but are never stressed
x - never as [ks]
z - always as a single voiced sibilant; never [ts] or [dz]
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
as in hat
as in let
bete child (daughter/son)
as in machine
as in for
as in rude
mumu ox (bull/cow)
If the word ends in a consonant, the stress falls on the last vowel.
xugwan (habit), pronounced xu-gwan
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
Although uncommon, double vowels and consonants may at times occur in Globasa within words as a result of adding affixes.
Double vowels and consonants may be pronounced in a couple different ways depending on what is easiest for the speaker:
slightly longer or up to twice as long
with a glottal stop or pause in between
by adding a neutral schwa [ə] in between double consonants
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 habit as above may be applied to these vowels and consonants.
Alternatively, double letters may even be pronounced as single letters if any of the above methods are difficult for the speaker. The reason for this is that in double letters are not phonemically distinctive in Globasa since there are no minimal pairs with single and double letters.
riinvita - re-invite (ri- - re-; invita - invite)
nudiista - nudist (nudi - nude; -ista - -ist)
possahay - hinder (pos- - opposite; sahay - help)
aselli - original (asel - origin; -li - relating to, of)
Although r cannot be lengthened in the same way that other consonants can be, double r may be pronounced as two distinct, consecutive flaps, or alternatively, lengthened as a trill.
burroya - nightmare, bad dream (bur- - pejorative prefix; 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.
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 names:
Maria, pronounced ma-ri-a
Maryo, pronounced ma-ryo, mar-yo, or ma-ri-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).
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 or e-u-ro-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.
Unless stressed, 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 or pi-a-no
Compare with the following words, in which i and u are stressed:
maux (mouse), pronounced ma-ux
Note: As a learner of Globasa, you may skip this portion, as this is merely a description of Globasa's syllable structure.
Syllables consist of: (onset)-nucleus-(coda).
The syllable structure in Globasa is (C)(C)V(C).
Syllables may or may not have an onset. In Globasa, the onset can consist 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-
All syllables have a nucleus. In Globasa, the nucleus consists of any single vowel: a, e, i, o, u.
Syllables may or may not have a coda. In Globasa, the coda in word-final position consists of any of the following single consonants: -f, -l, -m, -n, -r, -s, -w, -x, -y. Within a word, the coda may consist of any single consonant. In practice, coda-onset consonant clusters consisting of two stops (-kt-, -pt-, etc.) are avoided and 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 coda-onset double stops and other unusual consonant clusters (vodka, etc.), so long as there is only one consonant in the coda and the onset is limited to those listed above.
W and Y
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