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Sound System

Consonant Inventory

Bilabial Alveolar Uvular Glottal
Stops p b t d k g
Palatalized Stops č j c ǵ
Nasals m n ĝ
Palatalized Nasal ň
Fricatives f v s x ǧ h
Palatalized Fricatives š ž ś ź
Lateral Fricatives ł l
Trill r

Where two sounds appear in the same cell, the left is unvoiced and the right voiced.

Palatalization is a historical and phonological classification rather than a purely phonetic one. For example, ⟨č⟩ should not be pronounced as /tʲ/ but rather as /tʃ/. The modern pronunciations are as follows:

Notice that the lateral fricatives and alveolar trill do not have palatalized counterparts on the table. This is because these merged with other palatalized sounds:

For systems that do not support accent marks, a palatalized consonant may be marked by the unpalatalized counterpart followed by an apostrophe. Further, ⟨ĝ⟩, ⟨ǧ⟩ and ⟨ł⟩ may be written ⟨ng⟩, ⟨gh⟩ and ⟨ll⟩.

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Vowel Inventory

Front Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a
Nonsyllabic y ă, u

The syllablic vowels correspond to their IPA values in stressed syllables. Unstressed, they are [ɪ, ʊ, ɛ, ɔ, ə]. Nonsyllabic ⟨i⟩ is [j~ɪ], and ⟨u⟩ [w~ʊ]. Letter ⟨ă⟩ has two allophones: [ɰ] as an offglide between a consonant first and vowel second, and nonsyllabic [ɐ] otherwise.

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Palatalization, discussed in the consonant inventory, occurs before /i/ and /e/. i.e. [consonant] > [+palatalized] / _[i, e]

Lenition occurs in a cluster of two unvoiced stops; the first, if unpalatalized, becomes its homorganic fricative. i.e. [p t k] > [f s x] / _[stop]


Stress is non-phonemic. Primary stress falls on the first syllable. In words of four or more syllables, secondary stress falls on every odd vowel, including non-syllabics, excluding a final odd vowel. Secondary stress may shift one syllable to the right if that syllable is currently or historically long; i.e. a closed syllable, diphthong, or the vowels ⟨e⟩ or ⟨o⟩ (historically, short diphthongs [aɪ] and [aʊ]).

evmyar 'boil, infuse'. Two syllable word; only one stress. /ˈev.mjər/

lovosźeževan 'wolf-eater' (a kind of spider). Five-syllable word, two stresses. Historically long ⟨e⟩ retains its stress. /ˈɮo.vɔs.ˈʝe.ʒɛ.vən/

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