Li̬o̬a 'e Gweû phonology


Because mermaids' mouths and respiratory systems are not connected, they cannot make voiceless or nasal sounds.

Stop/b/ ‹b›/d/ ‹d›/ɡ/ ‹g›, /ɡʷ/ ‹gw›/ʔ/ ‹'›
Approximant/ʋ/ ‹v›/ɹ̪/ ‹l›, /ɻ/ ‹r›, /ɹʲ/ ‹y›/w/ ‹w›

Or, in words:

bBilabial stop (normal)
dDenti-alveolar stop (fairly normal)
gVelar stop, a bit farther forward than normal
gwLabialized (rounded) velar stop, a bit farther back
'Glottal stop (normal)
vLabiodental approximant
lDental approximant
rRetroflex approximant
yAlveolo-palatal approximant (like a combination between r and y)
wLabialized velar approximant (normal)

Or, in audio:


The monophthongs are an ordinary five-vowel system:

High/i/ ‹i›/u/ ‹u›
Mid/ɛ/ ‹e›/ɔ/ ‹o›
Low/a/ ‹a›

Vowels can be any of three lengths. Vowels of any length can be monophthongs; medium and long vowels can be diphthongs, and long vowels can be triphthongs.


Li̬o̬a 'e Gweû has three pure tones, high, medium, and low. Medium and long vowels can also have contour tones between adjacent tones, and long vowels can have rise-fall or fall-rise contour tones between adjacent vowels or contours from high to low or low to high. There is also creaky voice, which is rarer; creaky voice vowels don't distinguish tone.

There are two different romanizations for tones, one of which is easier for me to type, the other of which is easier for me to read:

High toneáâ
Medium toneaa
Low toneà
Creaky voiceää

Phonotactics and allophony

Syllable structure is CV(V)(V). Any consonants can appear in the onset.