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Spelling and Pronunciation

Çomyopregi is not an entirely phonetic language (meaning, it does not have a perfect one-on-one correspondence of sound to letter). But it is more so than English. It now uses a version of the Roman alphabet with twenty-three letters (excepting those in foreign words), although in previous times it was sometimes written with the Greek alphabet, and it still uses letter names based on those of Greek:

A a alfa N n nu
B b béta O o omicro
C c capa P p pi
Ç ç capa capota Q q quopa
D d delta R r ro
E e essilo S s simma
F f fi Ş ş simma capota
G g gamma T t tavo
H h éta U u ussilo
I i yota V v vi
L l landa Y y yota consonantáli
M m mu

Vowels and Diphthongs

The vowels are best pronounced as in Spanish — they are given their continental values, and they are pure (English vowels often have glides following them). The closest English pronunciations are the sounds in "far", "merry", "pier", "for", and "boor". The vowels can be long, in which case they are marked with an acute accent: á, é, í, ó, ú. Whereas in English the difference between long and short vowels is actually one of quality, Çomyopregi long vowels are pronounced the same as their short counterparts, except that they are prolonged.

Çomyopregi has six short diphthongs (ay, au, ey, eu, io, oy) and six long ones (áy, áu, éu, ío, óy, uy). All are falling diphthongs, receiving emphasis on the first element. The short diphthongs ay, au, ey, oy are pronounced as in "aisle," "cow," "they," and "boy," and their long equivalents as the same, but longer in duration. The other diphthongs have no English equivalents; they should be pronounced with the sound of the first element followed quickly by the shortened sound of the second element. Uy can be heard in the Spanish "muy".

Note that u is both a vowel and a consonant. Which sound it represents depends on context. It is a consonant like English "w" when it is next to a vowel in the same word, and a vowel when adjacent only to other consonants. Occasionally the vowel u occurs next to another vowel, so then it is marked as ü.


The consonants may be pronounced as in English, with those exceptions noted here. H is an auxiliary letter, and combinations of a consonantal letter with a following h are used to represent one sound. Ch is pronounced as in Scottish "loch" or German "Bach". Gh is the voiced equivalent of of ch, but it has no English equivalent (intervocalic g in Spanish usually has this sound; it is similar to the French r). Dh is like the voiced "th" in English "this". Çomyopregi's tap r is pronounced as in Italian, similar to the "dd" in "ladder". L is always clear as in "let", never a dark l as in "milk" - the tongue must be pulled up, not just raised slightly. Ş and ç may be pronounced as English "sh" and "ch" in "church". S is never pronounced as "z" except in front of voiced stops and spirants. The sound of English "w" is expressed by u or ghu. C and g are always hard, never soft.

Like vowels, the consonants l, m, n, r, s can be long, and are written double. The rr is a strong trill as in Spanish.

Çomyopregi uses the letters j, k, w, x, and z in spelling borrowed words. They are given the regular English values, although j sounds as "s" in "measure" in some words. The letter h, which is only an auxiliary letter in native words, is used alone in others and is pronounced as in English. It also forms the digraph th (pronounced as in "thin") in some words.

Overview of Çomyopregi Phonology

When organized according to place and manner of articulation, the overall Çomyopregi sound system could be characterized as shown below. The symbols in parentheses are not native sounds, but occur in borrowed words.




voiceless stopsptc
voiced stopsbdg
voiceless affricatesç
voiceless fricatives / spirantsfs (th)şch(h)
voiced fricatives / spirantsvdh (z)(j)gh
glides / semivowelsu /ghuy

Syllables and Stress

In the case of a consonant between two vowels, the syllable division is between the first vowel and the consonant, which places the consonant in a syllable with the second vowel. When two consonants are between vowels, the syllables are divided between the consonants, unless the second consonant is l, r, u, or y, in which case both consonants go to the second syllable. Three consonant clusters (rare) are divided between the first and second consonant. A division also occurs between two adjacent vowels that do not form an acceptable diphthong; sometimes one of the vowels is marked with a diaresis (i.e., ü)

A syllable is considered "long" or "heavy" if it contains a long vowel or diphthong; Syllables are "short" or "light" if they contain a short vowel or diphthong. The accent or stress of a word falls on the last long syllable, within the last three syllables. If there are no long syllables in that space, the accent falls on the third to last syllable (the antepenult), unless the fourth to last syllable is long, in which case the second to last syllable (penult) is stressed.

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© 2005 by Damátir Ando