Alphabet and Pronunciation

Alphabet

lower-
case
upper-
case
IPA letter name
a A /ä/ aya
b B /b/ ibe
c C /tʃ/ ice
d D /d/ ide
e E /e̞/ eya
f F /f/ ife
g G /g/ ige
h H /x/ ihe
i I /i/ iya
j J /dʒ/ ije
k K /k/ ike
l L /l/ ile
m M /m/ ime
n N /n/ ine
o O /o̞/ oya
p P /p/ ipe
r R /ɾ/ ire
s S /s/ ise
t T /t/ ite
u U /u/ uya
v V /v/ ive
w W /w/ iwe
x X /ʃ/ ixe
y Y /j/ iye
z Z /z/ ize

Upper-case vs Lower-case Letters

There are currently no set rules in Globasa for the use of upper-case letters. Globasa speakers are welcome to use upper-case letters at their discretion until the time comes to establish such rules or guidelines.

Letter Names

When spelling words out loud, the names of the letters may be shortened.

  • Vowels: a, e, i, o, u
  • Consonants: be, ce, de, etc.

Consonants

letter IPA pronunciation examples
b /b/ as in boy basa language
c /tʃ/ as ch in chair cokolate chocolate
d /d/ as in dip doste friend
f /f/ as in fun fasul bean
g /g/ as in good globa world
h /x/ as ch in Bach hawa air
j /dʒ/ as in jazz juni young
k /k/ as in kite kitabu book
l /l/ as in log lala sing, song
m /m/ as in map multi many, much
n /n/ as in nine neo new
p /p/ as in peace pingo apple
r /ɾ/ as r in Spanish or Italian risi rice
s /s/ as in sit sui water
t /t/ as in time teatro theater
v /v/ as in vest visita visit
w /w/ as in win watu time
x /ʃ/ as sh in shop xugwan habit
y /j/ as in yes yuxi play, game
z /z/ as in zen zebra zebra

Notes on the Consonants

c - never [k] as in cup or [s] as in cent

c, k, p and t - ideally pronounced slightly aspirated so as to better distinguish them from their voiced counterparts

d, t - never like the American English pronunciation of d and t between vowels, as in lady, meter.

In American English, d and t tend to be rendered as [ɾ] when they appear between vowels (leader, liter, etc). The sound [ɾ], or so-called flap, is virtually identical to the Spanish (and Globasa) r. English speakers with American accents should be careful to always pronounce a true d (the d in done, not in leader) and a true t (the t in talk, not in liter) in Globasa.

g - never [dʒ] as in gym

h - voiceless velar fricative, not to be confused with [χ], a voiceless uvular fricative

The velar fricative is pronounced in the same point of articulation as [k], and is akin to a cat's hissing sound. In contrast, the uvular fricative is a more guttural sound pronounced further back in the throat in which uvular vibration is noticeable. Permissible variant: [h], as in hotel.

j - permissible variant: [ʒ] as the French j, or as the English s in vision

l - never articulated as [ɫ], a velarized or so-called dark l, pronounced in English in syllable-final position, as in bell; always as a plain l, as in belle in French

ng - may be pronounced as [ŋ] in syllable-final position (as seen only in culture-specific words and proper nouns); elsewhere as [ng]

r - ideally pronounced as a single flap/tap rather than a trill

s - always voiceless; never [z] as in visit

w and y - permissible variant: as unstressed vowels (u and i)

See Spelling Convention below.

x - never [ks] as in taxi

z - always as a single voiced sibilant; never [ts] as in pizza

Vowels

Globasa's vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are pronounced as in Spanish, Italian or Esperanto.

letter IPA pronunciation example
a /ä/ as a in Thai basa language
e /e̞/ as in let bete child (daughter/son)
i /i/ as in ski idi go
o /o̞/ as in more oko eye
u /u/ as in flu mumu ox (bull/cow)

Notes on the Vowels

a - ideally pronounced [ä], an open central unrounded vowel; the front [a] and back [ɑ] are permissible variants

e - ideally pronounced [e̞], a mid front unrounded vowel; the close-mid [e] and the open-mid [ɛ] are permissible variants

o - ideally pronounced [o̞], a mid back round vowel; the close-mid [o] and the open-mid [ɔ] are permissible variants

Elision

In certain cases, primarily in poetry and song lyrics, e in word-final position (of onomatopoeic words) or in word-initial position (when followed by -s- and another consonant) may be rendered silent and replaced by an apostrophe.

toke toke or tok' tok'
espesyal or 'spesyal

Stress

The following stress rules apply to all polysyllabic words, including words that are affixed.

If the word ends in a consonant, the stress falls on the last vowel.

xugwan (habit), pronounced xu-gwan [ʃu.'gwan]
problem (problem), pronounced pro-blem [pro.'blem]
kitabudom (library), pronounced ki-ta-bu-dom [ki.ta.bu.'dom]

If the word ends in a vowel, the stress falls on the second-to-last vowel.

doste (friend), pronounced dos-te ['dos.te]
piu (bird), pronounced pi-u ['pi.u]
Espanisa (Spanish language), pronounced es-pa-ni-sa [es.pa.'ni.sa]

Monosyllabic content words are stressed. There are currently no stress rules for monosyllabic function words. Whether they are stressed or unstressed is left to the speaker's discretion.

Epenthesis

Consonant Epenthesis

A glottal stop may optionally be added between any two vowels, whether within or between words.

poema (poem), pronounced [po'ema] or [poʔ'ema]

Vowel Epenthesis

A mid central vowel such as [ə] may optionally be added between any two consonants or in word-final position.

magneto (magnet), pronounced [mag'neto] or [magə'neto]

maux (mouse), pronounced [ma'uʃ] or [ma'uʃə]

Double Vowels and Consonants

Double Vowels

Double vowels and consonants, whether within words as a result of affixation or between words, may alternatively be pronounced slightly longer or up to twice as long as single ones.

riinvita (reinvite), pronounced [riʔin'vita] or [ri:n'vita]

semiisula (peninsula), pronounced [semiʔi'sula] or [semi:'sula]

Double Consonants

possahay (hinder), pronounced [posəsa'xaj] or [pos:a'xaj]

aselli (original), pronounced [a'seləli] or [a'sel:i]

Double r

Although r cannot be lengthened in the same way that other consonants can be, double r may be lengthened as a trill, or otherwise pronounced as two flaps with a short, epenthetic vowel inbetween.

burroya (nightmare, bad dream), pronounced [bu'roja] or [buɾə'ɾoja]

W and Y

Note: As a learner of Globasa you may skip the following portion, which is merely a discussion on how Globasa deals with w and y.

Stress

As stated above, w and y may be pronounced as vowels. However, since they are technically consonants they are never stressed.

Compare the pronunciation of following proper names:

Maria, pronounced ma-ri-a [ma.'ɾi.a] or mar-i-a [maɾ.'i.a]
Maryo, pronounced ma-ryo ['ma.ɾjo], mar-yo ['maɾ.jo], ma-ri-o ['ma.ɾi.o], or mar-i-o ['maɾ.i.o]

Spelling Maryo with y rather than i allows the stress to be shifted to a, the second-to-last vowel letter. With the stress on the appropriate vowel, it makes no difference in Globasa whether Maryo is pronounced as two syllables, with a consonantal y (ma-ryo or mar-yo), or alternatively, as three syllables, with y pronounced as an unstressed i (ma-ri-o).

Diphthongs

Globasa does not have true diphthongs. However, the following vowel plus approximant (consonant) combinations are allowed: aw, ew, ow, ay, ey, oy. These combinations may be pronounced as diphthongs even though -w and -y technically represent coda consonants, rather than nucleus glides. We know this because syllables (in ordinary words) may not end in -w/-y plus another consonant. If that were the case, -w/-y could be considered part of the nucleus. Instead, -w/-y take the slot of the sole syllable-final consonant allowed. It is also acceptable, as a permissible alternative, for -w and -y to be pronounced as independent, unstressed vowels.

Ewropa (Europe), pronounced ew-ro-pa [ew.'ɾo.pa]/[eu̯.'ɾo.pa] or even e-u-ro-pa [e.u.'ɾo.pa]

Spelling Convention

Unless stressed, u and i do not appear next to other vowels. Instead, w and y are conventionally used, either preceded or followed by vowels.

pyano (piano), pronounced pyano ['pja.no] or pi-a-no [pi.'a.no]
cyan (cyan), pronounced cyan [tʃjan] or ci-an [tʃi.'an]
jyen (fry), pronounced jyen [dʒjen], [ʒjen] or ji-en [dʒi.'en], [ʒi.'en]
swini (pig, hog), pronounced swi-ni ['swi.ni] or su-i-ni [su.'i.ni]

Compare with the following words, in which i and u are stressed:

maux (mouse), pronounced ma-ux [ma.'uʃ]
daif (weak), pronouncd da-if [da.'if]

Phonotactics for Ordinary Words

Note: As a learner of Globasa you may skip this portion, as this is merely a description of Globasa's syllable structure.

Globasa has two sets of phonotactics rules, one for ordinary words and one culture-specific words and proper nouns (see below).

The following rules apply to ordinary words.

Syllables

Syllables consist of: (onset)-nucleus-(coda).

The syllable structure in Globasa's ordinary words is (C)(C)V(C).

Onset

Syllables may or may not have an onset. In Globasa, the onset consists of any single consonant, or any of the following Cl/Cr and Cw/Cy clusters:

bl-, fl-, gl-, kl-, pl-, vl-
br-, dr-, fr-, gr-, kr-, pr-, tr-, vr-
bw-, cw-, dw-, fw-, gw-, hw-, jw-, kw-, lw-, mw-, nw-, pw-, rw-, sw-, tw-, vw-, xw-, zw-
by-, cy-, dy-, fy-, gy-, hy-, jy-, ky-, ly-, my-, ny-, py-, ry-, sy-, ty-, vy-, xy-, zy-

Nucleus

All syllables have a nucleus. In Globasa, the nucleus consists of any single vowel: a, e, i, o, u.

Coda

Syllables may or may not have a coda. In Globasa, the coda of ordinary words consists of any single consonant. However, the following caveats apply:

Word-final position: Ordinary words in Globasa only allow the following consonants in word-final position: -f, -l, -m, -n, -r, -s, -w, -x, -y.

Coda-onset voicing: Coda-onset consonant clusters may or may not agree with regards to voicing: tekno vs magneto, epilepsi vs absinte, etc.

Coda-onset stop: Consonant clusters consisting of two stops (-kt-, -pt-, etc.) are not allowed in ordinary words. Instead, ordinary words follow the Italian and Portuguese model which omits the first consonant. In other words, if a syllable begins with a stop, the previous syllable may not have a coda stop: astrato (abstract), ativo (active), otima (optimal), etc.

Caveats with w and y

Nucleus-coda: When w or y are in the coda, neither i nor u is allowed in the nucleus. As a result, the following nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are not allowed: -iy, -iw, -uy, -uw. All other nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are allowed: -aw, -ew, -ow, -ay, -ey, -oy.

Nucleus-onset: The nucleus-onset combinations iy and uw are not allowed in ordinary words. For example, syahe (black) rather than siyahe.

Onset-nucleus: The onset-nucleus combinations wu and yi are also not allowed in ordinary words.

Phonotactics for Culture-Specific Words and Proper Nouns

Culture-specific words and proper nouns have more lax phonotactic rules.

The syllable structure in Globasa's culture-specific words and proper nouns is as follows: (C)(C)V(C)(C)

Onset

See phonotactic rules for ordinary words above.

Nucleus

See phonotactic rules for ordinary words above.

Coda

The coda of culture-specific words and proper nouns may end in any consonant: Madrid, etc. They may also consist of up to two consonants, including in word-final position: Polska, Budapest, yinyang, etc.

Note: The consonant cluster -ng seen in syllable-final position, as in yinyang, may be pronounced as [ŋ]. Elsewhere, the pronunciation remains [ng], as in pingo.

Coda-onset double stops are allowed in culture-specific words and proper nouns: vodka, futbol etc.

Caveat with w and y

The nucleus-coda caveat for ordinary words also applies for culture-specific words and proper nouns. When w or y are in the coda, neither i nor u is allowed in the nucleus. As a result, the following nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are not allowed: -iy, -iw, -uy, -uw. All other nucleus-coda combinations with -w and -y are allowed: -aw, -ew, -ow, -ay, -ey, -oy.

However, unlike ordinary words, culture-specific words and proper nouns allow the nucleus-onset combinations iy and uw (teriyaki, Kuweyti, etc.) and the onset-nucleus combinations wu and yi: Wuhan, yinyang.