Alphabet and Pronunciation

Alphabet

lower-case upper-case IPA letter name
a A /ä/ aya
b B /b/ ibe
c C /t͡ʃʰ/ 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 /d͡ʒ/ ije
k K /kʰ/ ike
l L /l/ ile
m M /m/ ime
n N /n/ ine
o O /o̞/ oya
p P /pʰ/ ipe
r R /ɾ/ ire
s S /s/ ise
t T /tʰ/ 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 baytu house
c /t͡ʃʰ/ 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 /d͡ʒ/ as in jazz juni young
k /kʰ/ 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 /pʰ/ as in peace pingo apple
r /ɾ/ as r in Spanish or Italian risi rice
s /s/ as in sit sui water
t /tʰ/ 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

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

c, k, p and t - ideally aspirated (although not as strongly as in English) so as to better distinguish them from their voiced counterparts; permissible variant: strong aspiration, as in English

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

In American English, d and t tend to be rendered as [ɾ] when they appear between vowels (leader, liter, etc). The phoneme [ɾ], or so-called tap, 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 - ideally pronounced as a 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.

l - ideally pronounced as a clear or light [l] in any position, rather than as [ɫ], a velarized or so-called dark l, pronounced in English in syllable-final position, as in bell; compare with the French pronunciation of belle

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 or tap rather than a trill

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

In English, the s tends to be pronounced as [z] between vowels or in word-final position. In Globasa, s always remains voiceless.

w and y - permissible variants: 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

Other Consonant Variants

Depending on one's native language, other consonant variants are also permissible. For example, some Spanish speakers might tend to pronoun h as [χ] rather than [x]. French speakers might tend to pronounce r as [ʁ] rather than [ɾ]. Mandarin speakers might tend to pronounce x as [ʂ] or [ɕ] rather than [ʃ]. These and other such variants are also permissible.

The following table lists all free variation consonant allophones. The first allophone listed for each phoneme is the ideal Globasa pronunciation. Dozens of other complementary distribution allophones (allophones that depend on the phonetic environment) will likely be heard among many speakers, but everybody should make an effort to not deviate too much from the set of allophones listed here.

letter allophones
b [b]
c [t͡ʃʰ ~ ʈ͡ʂʰ ~ t͡ɕʰ ~ [t͡ʃ]
d [d]
f [f ~ ɸ]
g [g]
h [x ~ χ ~ ħ ~ h]
j [d͡ʒ ~ ʒ ~ d͡ʑ ~ ɟ͡ʝ]
k [ ~ k ~ q]
l [l ~ ɫ]
m [m]
n [n]
p [ ~ p]
r [ɾ ~ r ~ ɹ ~ ɹ̠ ~ ɻ ~ ʁ]
s [s]
t [ ~ t]
v [v ~ ʋ]
w [w ~ ʋ]
x [ʃ ~ ʂ ~ ɕ]
y [j ~ ʝ]
z [z]

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 cattle (bull/cow)

Vowel Variants

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

u - ideally pronounced [u], a close back rounded vowel; the close back compressed [ɯᵝ] is a permissible variant

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

Syllables in Globasa are either stressed or unstressed. In other words, Globasa does not make use of secondary stress.

Monosyllabic Words

  • All monosyllabic content words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) are stressed.

Monosyllabic words may be stressed or unstressed according to what feels most natural for speakers. If in doubt, the following suggested guidelines may be used:

  • Unstressed monosyllabic function words: prepositions, conjunctions and particles (including verb form particles)
  • Stressed monosyllabic function words: pronouns, determiners, numerals, quantifiers, adverbs and interjections

Polysyllabic Words

The following stress rules apply to all polysyllabic words, including function words and derived words.

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

barix (rain), pronounced ba-rix [ba.'ɾiʃ]
pantalun (pants, trousers, slacks), pronounced pan-ta-lun [pan.ta.'lun]
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.

piu (bird), pronounced pi-u ['pi.u]
harita (map), pronounced ha-ri-ta [ha.'ri.ta]
Espanisa (Spanish language), pronounced es-pa-ni-sa [es.pa.'ni.sa]

As stated above, stress rules apply to derived words as well. The derived word kitabudom (kitabu-dom), for example, is pronounced ki-ta-bu-dom, with the stress only on the last vowel, rather than as ki-ta-bu-dom.

Unwritten Epenthesis

Consonant Epenthesis

Although not ideal, and unlikely to be utilized by English speakers in most cases, an unwritten glottal stop may be optionally inserted between any two vowels, whether within or between words.

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

Vowel Epenthesis

Although not ideal, and unlikely to be utilized by English speakers in most cases, any unrounded central vowel such as [ə] may be optionally inserted between any two consonants or in word-final position. As a central vowel, the cardinal [ä] is also allowed as an unwritten epenthesis, although this is the least recommended option since it's more likely to reduce intelligibility.

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

asif (sorry), pronounced [a'sif] or [a'sifə]

Double Vowels and Consonants

Double vowels and consonants, whether within words as a result of derivation or between words, are typically pronounced slightly longer or up to twice as long as single ones. As seen above, a permissible alternative is to add a glottal stop between double vowels and a mid central vowel between double consonants.

Double Vowels

beeskri (be written), pronounced [be'eskri] or [beʔeskri]

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

Double Consonants

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

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

Double r

Although r cannot be lengthened in the same way that other consonants can be, a double r may be lengthened as a trill or alternatively pronounced as a single r. Since the trill is a variant of a single r, it's possible that some speakers will pronounce both r and rr as a trill, while others will pronounce both as a flap/tap and yet others will distinguish a single r as a flap/tap and a double r as a trill. As seen above with any two consecutive consonants, a third option in this case is to add an epenthetic vowel between two flaps/taps.

burroya (nightmare, bad dream), pronounced [bu'roja] or [bu'ɾoja] 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]
Maryo, pronounced ma-ryo ['ma.ɾjo] or ma-ri-o ['ma.ɾi.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 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

The following spelling convention applies only to root words and not to derived words. Next to other vowels, Globasa uses i and u only if these are stressed or if y and w are not permitted by phonotactic rules. In all other cases, Globasa uses y and w instead of i and u.

In the following root words, i and u are stressed:

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

In the following root words, phonotactic rules only allow i and u:

triunfa (win, triumph), pronounced tri-un-fa [tri.'un.fa]
kruel (cruel), pronounced kru-el [kru.'el]

In the following root words, y and w, which may optionally be pronounced as vowels, are conventionally used:

pyano (piano), pronounced pya-no ['pja.no] or pi-a-no [pi.'a.no]
cyan (cyan), pronounced cyan [t͡ʃjan] or ci-an [t͡ʃi.'an]
swini (pig, hog), pronounced swi-ni ['swi.ni] or su-i-ni [su.'i.ni]
trawma (trauma), pronounced traw-ma ['traw.ma] or tra-u-ma ['tra.u.ma]

Phonotactics for Ordinary Words

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

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

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 absorbi, 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.