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The Qromean language is one of the major languages of VetoVeto and the de facto lingua franca of the southern hemisphere. It is the official language of various countries, most notably Arqea and Qromadea.
Qromean has a rich phonology, consisting of at least 36 different phonemes: 23 for consonants, 13 for vowels. It has limited consonant elongation and various diphthongs.
Qromean has at least 23 native phonemes. Whereas all speakers use [rː], some use [ɾ] instead of [r]. Including non-native phonemes [h] (or [ɦ]), Qromean has up to 25 phonemes.
- realisation of n when followed by q(s) for many speakers. Contrasts with [nk] when the n appears as the final letter of a word, followed by a word starting with a q
- appears between two identical consecutive vowels, but may be realised as [h] or [ɦ] depending on speaker. Often occurs word initially, before vowels, to stress a word
- appears mostly in loan words. Might occur instead of [ʔ] between two indenctical vowels
- realisation of v when preceded by g or q for many speakers. Contrasts with [kv] when the q appears as the final letter of a word, followed by a word starting with a v
- possible realisation of [r]. This does not apply to [rː] in e.g. Oparrlo. Thus, some speakers distinguish both [ɹ], [ɾ] and [r]
Consonant elongation, also known as gemination, is the practice of pronouncing a consonant for a longer time than shorter consonants. In English, this can be observed in words such as midday, or between words such as this sash. In Qromean, consonant elongation is sometimes distinctive. For instance, Llega [ˈlːegä] constrasts with lega [ˈlegä].
Qromean has at least thirteen different vowel phonemes.
- realisation of î is either [ɪ] or [ɘ] depending on speaker. Rarely realised as [ɨ].
- syllable-final realisation of l, causes diphthongs, e.g. tantál [tɑnˈtäɤ̯]
Vowel elongation, or vowel lengthening, is the practice of pronouncing a vowel longer time than shorter vowels. In English, this can be observed in the pronunciation of car in some dialects. In Qromean, vowel lengthening occurs in several words, but it does not contrast with shorter vowels. Elongated vowels might occur in multi-syllable words and they are stressed, e.g. metta [ˈmɛːtä] or [ˈmɛtä], depending on the speaker.
Modern Qromean is written in a modified Latin alphabet and traditional Qromean is written in an abugida-like script. That is, traditional Qromean is written in a script that might be classified as an alphasyllabary.
The Qromean alphabet consists of the following 23 letters: A B C D E F G H I L M N O P Q R S T U V X Y Z.
Pronunciation of consonants
There is often a direct one-to-one correspondence between a consonant and a sound. However, some consonants are pronounced differently depending on position. Unless otherwise noted, consonant doubling does not cause consonant elongation
|N Q||[n k]||between words|
|Q V||[k v]||between words|
- realisation of h is either [h] or [ɦ], depending on the speaker.
- syllable-initial realisation of r is [r] or [ɾ] depending on speaker
- the y functions as a vowel in the word y and is pronounced [i]. In all other words, y is a consonant
Pronunciation of vowels
Contrary to consonants, the pronunciation of vowels is dependent on many factors: the number of succeeding consonants, the accent mark of the vowel and the position of the vowel in the word (final or non-final). The following table details the pronunciation:
- ì is pronounced [ɪ], not [i], but it is solely used to transcribe foreign sounds. In Qromean, [ɪ] is never stressed (except in monosyllabic words). To get [ɪ], î is used instead
- is [ʉ] for the majority of speakers in Arqea
A vowel is considered open when it has zero or one succeeding consonant, or when it has an acute accent (e.g. á). A vowel is considered closed when it has two or more succeeding consonants, or when it has a grave accent (e.g. à). When the vowel is the last letter of the word, it is considered final.
Some vowel sequences create a new diphthong or phoneme:
- when followed by a vowel
- identical to the open e [e]. Only used when enclosed between consonants or in monosyllabic words. For instance, Neinto rather than Nénto and nei rather than né
- when followed by a vowel
Qromean uses a variety of accent marks, both to modify stress and pronunciation. Two common accent marks are the acute (e.g. á) and grave (e.g. à). Both accent marks move the stress to the stressed vowel. The acute makes the vowel open and is also used to stress a sequence of vowels (e.g. ái is a stressed ai). The grave makes the vowel closed and is not used to stress a sequence of vowels.
The hat is used for the î, to indicate that the vowel is pronounced [ɪ].
Using y, i or neither
There are three ways of writing [j]: y, i or not writing any letter at all. Below are the rules when to write which letter:
|Preceded by consonant||Y||-1|
|Preceded by a, o or u||I||Raia|
|Preceded by e or i||Mee|
- only in loan words, does not occur naturally in Qromean
These rules imply that, in order to create [eˈjʉ] rather than [ø], one should not use i. For instance, Reúlo rather than Reiulo. This is consistent with other breaks such as Vuíme. However, the non-native [ˈejʉ] cannot be transcribed as either éu or eú. In this case, éú is the preferred option.
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