Súiⱥcúili phonology


LabialAlveolarPost-alveolarPalatalVelar, Glottal
Nasal/m/ 〈m〉/n/ 〈n〉/ŋ/ 〈ŋ〉 audio
Stop/pʰ/ 〈p〉, /b/ 〈b〉/tʰ/ 〈t〉, /d/ 〈d〉/kʰ/ 〈k〉, /g/ 〈g〉 audio
Affricate/pf/ 〈pf〉/ts/ 〈ts〉/tʃ/ 〈tʃ〉, /dʒ/ 〈j〉* audio
Fricative/f/ 〈f〉, /v/ 〈v〉/s/ 〈s〉, /z/ 〈sh〉/ʃ/ 〈ʃ〉, /ʒ/ 〈j〉*/h/ 〈h〉, /ɣ/ 〈gh〉 audio
Tap/ɾ/ 〈r〉 audio
Approximant/w/ 〈ú〉/l/ 〈l〉/j/ 〈í〉 audio

* ʒ and dʒ are not distinct. Which one is used depends on the dialect.

/i~ɪ/ 〈i〉/ɚ/ 〈ṛ〉/u/ 〈u〉
/e~ɛ/ 〈e〉/o/ 〈o〉
/ɔ~ʌ/ 〈ⱥ〉
/ɑ/ 〈a〉



Syllable structure: (C)(C)V(C)(C)

Any single consonant can occur at the beginning of a syllable. Consonant clusters at the beginnings of syllables must have an obstruent (stop, fricative, affricate) followed by a liquid (/ɾ l/) or glide (/j w/). The clusters /ʃɾ/ and /tʃɾ/ are not possible. Nasals and /h/ cannot occur in syllable-initial clusters, and affricates can be followed by glides but not by /ɾ l/.

/h/, /j/, and /w/ can't occur at the ends of syllables. Any other single consonant can. Clusters at the ends of syllables must go in the following order, with at most one of each type:

  1. /l/ or /ɾ/
  2. a nasal or fricative
  3. a stop

Affricates cannot form consonant clusters at the ends of syllables (but can appear by themselves there). If a syllable ends in a nasal-stop cluster, the two consonants must be at the same place of articulation; this restriction does not apply to nasal-stop clusters in the middles of words where they can be in different syllables.

Consonant clusters in the middles of morphemes must be a combination of a possible syllable coda and a possible syllable onset, and cannot contain more than two (rarely three) consonants.

There are no diphthongs in Súiⱥcúili. Two vowels may be next to each other without any intervening consonants; in that case, they're pronounced separately, with no glottal stop or other consonant between them.

/ɚ/ can only be a syllable nucleus. /ɾ/ and /l/ can be either syllabic or non-syllabic.

The sequences /ji/  audio and /wu/  audio are possible, and the consonants/clusters /s sj ʃ ʃj t tj tʃ tʃj/  audio are all distinct.

Allophony and sound variation

The choice between tense and lax /e/ and /i/ sounds is not phonemic and depends on the dialect. In Onceuponatimia, the tense variants ([e], [i]) are used at the ends of syllables and the lax variants ([ɛ], [ɪ]) are used in syllables ending in consonants. In Súiⱥcúil, the tense vowels are always used, except for a few dialects which use all lax vowels. Syllabification rules:

  1. Syllabification must follow phonotactic rules
  2. Syllable breaks at morpheme boundaries are preferred, except the adjective endings -ⱥ and -o don't count as morphemes (but -e does, even for type 2 adjectives)
  3. Otherwise, as many consonants go in the onset of the following syllable as possible

In Súiⱥcúil, the vowel spelled 〈ⱥ〉 is pronounced /ɔ/; in Onceuponatimia, it's pronounced /ʌ/.

The consonant spelled 〈j〉 may be pronounced either /ʒ/ or /dʒ/, depending on the dialect.

In consonant clusters, the velar fricative in some dialects is pronounced /x/, and in others it makes the vowel breathy voiced.

/ɾ̩/ may be pronounced [r̩] or [ʀ̩], depending on the speaker.

(TODO determine which dialect does what)


Stress is somewhat predictable, and tends to be on the antepenultimate (third-to-last) syllable:


Timing is non-phonemic. Syllables are generally approximately evenly spaced, but with generally a longer space between words (except for certain combinations of words, like verb + to) and when there are more complex consonant clusters.

Foreign words

Words of foreign origin (including those from Earth) usually (but not always) keep an approximation of their original pronunciation, spelled in the Súiⱥcúili alphabet. Certain substitutions:

If the word is a noun, the first vowel that is a, i, o, or u changes as follows:

If the word doesn't have one of these, a is added at the end.

If the word is a common noun, adjective, or verb, the ending is added without regard to the end of the original word (e.g., haiku becomes haicuun).