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Download the Vĕlika font to see the examples in the Tirĕhlat alphabet.
Tirĕhlat has a 35-letter alphabet of its own (Vĕlika) and a Romanized version which omits the letters "q", "x", and "w". The letters "c" and "h" don't appear as independent letters, but only as the initial component of digraphs. Each phoneme of the language has a unique spelling. Pronunciation is as follows:
|a||a||/a/||[a] when stressed; [ɐ] when unstressed.|
|e||e||/e/||[ɛ] when stressed; [e] when unstressed.|
|i||i||/i/||[i] when stressed; [ɪ] when unstressed.|
|l||l||/l/||[l] between vowels; [ɮ] elsewhere.|
|n||n||/n/||[ŋ] before velars; [n] elsewhere.|
|o||o||/o/||[ɔ] when stressed; [o] when unstressed.|
|r||r||/r/||[ɾ] between vowels; [r] elsewhere.|
|u||u||/u/||[u] when stressed; [ɯ] when unstressed.|
In the Romanized spelling, the letter "h" which indicates a voiceless consonant is omitted when it follows another consonant (which is always voiceless). This convention makes more efficient use of the Roman letters, as well as avoiding potential confusion with spellings such as "sh" and "ph" in other languages. Accent marks may be omitted or substituted in environments such as e-mail, where the standard accent marks are unavailable.
Stress in Tirĕhlat, which is marked by a circle under the vowel (or an acute accent on the vowel in the Romanized version), may be placed on any syllable of a word. Compound words may have more than one stressed syllable. In actual Tirĕhlat text, the stress is rarely marked, most frequently in names, in words that would otherwise be confused, and in a few special cases where stress marking is mandatory. Stress is always marked if it falls on the final letter of a word (as in
Examples: palaqn pa-lán [pɐˈlan] "cloud", kUerty kŭér-ty [ˈkwɛrty] "typewriter keyboard", kyzika ky-zi-ka [ˈkyzɪkɐ] "dandelion", celit czé-lit [ˈʧɛlɪt] "sparrow", teqksas: ték-sas: [ˈtɛksɐs] "Texas", Sikaqgo: szi-ká-go: [ʃɪˈkaɡo] "Chicago", oxaqIo: o-chá-ĭo: [oˈxajo] "Ohio".
Sequences of two or more vowels are considered to form separate syllables. When two identical vowels come together, either between words or in borrowed names, a glottal stop is inserted between them. This glottal stop is not a separate phoneme in Tirĕhlat, since it is automatic. A glide /j/ may be inserted between non-identical vowels for ease of pronunciation:
The vowel /ə/ (schwa), represented by the letter "ĕ", may be inserted between consonants to make the pronunciation easier. The schwa is never stressed, and in rapid speech can even be omitted. In Tirĕhlat spelling, this sound may be omitted or printed in reduced size ('). However, the schwa letter is typically not reduced or omitted in the possessive prefixes, or when it occurs between consonants that can be pronounced together without an epenthetic schwa. Examples: lEg'zil lĕgĕzil [ɮəɡ(ə)ˈziɮ] "my face", rEp'nav rĕpĕnav [rəp(ə)ˈnav] "your forehead", xUez'l chŭezĕl [ˈxwɛzəɮ] "day of the week", tez'n tezĕn [ˈtɛzən] "plastic ball for gerbils", t'luwIu tĕlughĭu [t(ə)ˈluɣjɯ] "quiet".
liZa líja [ˈɮiʒɐ] "to see"; liZa-va-I líja-va-ĭ [ˈɮiʒɐˌvaj] "want to see"
marga márga [ˈmarɡɐ] "starling"; marga-DaI márga-dhaĭ [ˈmarɡɐˌðaj] "flock of starlings"
faz fáz [ˈfaz] "snow"; faz(-E)-reCi fáz(-ĕ)-retzi [ˈfaz(ə)ˌrɛtsɪ] "so-called 'snow'"
Compounds are formed by adding the stem of the modifying word before the main word. The main word gets the primary stress, and the stressed syllable of the modifying word is converted to a secondary stress (written with a grave accent). In ordinary text, the secondary stress is unwritten. (Secondary stresses may be used in borrowed names to mark unreduced vowels.)
dev dév [ˈdɛv] "hare"; dev-E-pIak dèv-ĕ-pĭák [ˌdɛvəˈpjak] "Leporidae"
vezi vézi [ˈvɛzɪ] "orange (color)" + rin rín [ˈrin] "fish" = vezi-rin vèzi-rín [ˌvɛzɪˈɾin] "goldfish"
Jomi dzómi [ˈdzɔmɪ] "to spin" + xaRS cháhrsz [ˈxar̥ʃ] "storm" = Jomi-xaRS dzòmi-cháhrsz [ˌdzɔmɪˈxar̥ʃ] "tornado"
SuZ szúj [ˈʃuʒ] "rain" + palaqn palán [pɐˈlan] "cloud" = SuZ-E-palaqn szùj-ĕ-palán [ˌʃuʒəpɐˈlan] "rain cloud"
Infixes are used to create new roots based on a modification of the basic concept expressed by the original word. The infix is added immediately after the stressed vowel or diphthong. If the infix itself is stressed, the preceding syllable loses its stress.
nuri núri [ˈnuɾɪ] "blue"; nu-za-ri nú-za-ri [ˈnuzaɾɪ] "azure".
taS tász [ˈtaʃ] "fly"; ta-vi-S tá-vi-sz [ˈtavɪʃ] "gnat, midge".
neka néka [ˈnɛka] "polecat"; ne-Zaq-ka nĕ-já-ka [nəˈʒaka] "domestic ferret".
liZa líja [ˈɮiʒa] "to see"; li-naqI-Za li-náĭ-ja [ɮɪˈnajʒa] "to watch".
Possessives are indicated by adding the unstressed particle lE- lĕ- (my), rE- rĕ- (your) or ZE- jĕ- (his, her, its) before the possessed noun. Certain nouns (such as body parts and kinship words) can only be used with a possessive particle. For instance, my nose is lERiz lĕhríz and your nose is rERiz rĕhríz, but Riz hríz by itself doesn't mean "nose". It can be used in compounds such as Rizdaxu hrìzdáchu "nasal consonant" or Rizbiri Sobiwazaqr hrìzbíri szòbighazár "red-nosed reindeer". To talk about noses in general, it is necessary to say "someone's nose", using the generic possessive particle xE- chĕ-.
Some names familiar in English will be given a modern American English pronunciation (or as close as Tirĕhlat can get). William Shakespeare, for instance, comes out as UiqlIEm SeqIkspir: ŭílĭĕm széĭkspir:, regardless of how Shakespeare himself may have pronounced the name. Only an expert on 16th century English pronunciation would care much about the correct pronunciation in this case; it's more useful to have a pronunciation that's recognizable to modern speakers.
Scientific (or "Latin") names of animals and plants, and names of trademarked products, are left in their original spelling in the Roman alphabet. The usual conventions for scientific names are followed. If the Roman alphabet spelling of a trademarked name ever differs from one language to another, the English spelling is used, although accent marks are not omitted unnecessarily. Trademarks in other writing systems may be left in the original form, but a Romanized version should also be provided; not everyone will recognize 「豐田」 as "Toyota" or 「任天堂」 as "Nintendo", for instance.
Here are some names of states in the United States, to illustrate some of the issues associated with Tirĕhlat name borrowing. Some state names translate fairly easily into Tirĕhlat phonology. Michigan and Texas come out as miqSigEn: míszigĕn: and teqksEs: téksĕs:. New Mexico is simply nu-meqksiko: nu-méksiko:; the meanings of names aren't translated. Connecticut is kEneqrikEt: kĕnérikĕt:, which (though it looks strange) is pronounced [kəˈnɛɾɪkət], just as in American English. But there are various issues with other names.
Adjacent vowels are very rare in Tirĕhlat; a consonant such as /w/, /ɣ/, /j/ is inserted between them, as in the names for Iowa aqIoUa: (áĭoŭa:) and Ohio oUxaqIoU: (oŭcháĭoŭ:), although the name for Louisiana luiziaqna: (luiziána:) is spelled with adjacent vowels.
le kaZasar mE Lav le kajasar mĕ hlav lé kája-sar mĕ hláv I-SUB eat -can OBJ glass "I can eat glass." mE Lav le kaZasar mĕ hlav le kajasar mĕ hláv lé kája-sar OBJ glass I-SUB eat -can "Glass I can eat." sE Zil Rastavez mE lak sĕ jil hrastavez mĕ lak sĕ jíl hrásta-ve -z mĕ lák SUB red:fox jump -OBS-IPF OBJ area:above "The red fox jumps over something."Adjectives and adverbs typically come before the words they modify, and prepositional phrases follow.
sE tiski marvi Zil Rastavez mE lak u Livi Zeg sĕ tiski marvi jil hrastavez mĕ lak u hlivi jeg sĕ tíski márvi jíl hrásta-ve -z mĕ lák u hlívi jég SUB quick brown fox jump -OBS-IPF OBJ over GEN lazy dog "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."