Thoya conlang: The phenome and alphabet

A phoneme means the set of sounds a language uses. First, a discussion of our considerations in choosing a phoneme:

Thus, Thoya uses the 5 vowels found in most human languages with only one addition from English.

Since there are 28 distinct sounds, we can't just use the Latin alphabet. We use unicode IPA symbols for some of them. However since unicode symbols are hard to type on an English keyboard, we use all the Latin letters even the ones that aren't associated with the sounds we give them, to minimize the number of unicode symbols.

Unlisted Latin letters sound exactly the way they do in American English (y and w are always consonants), here are the non-obvious ones:

Mid-back rounded vowel on Wikipedia

There are a few digraphs; in theory these are composed of the sounds of their letters, but I'll list them anyway:

Two vowels in a row, like -ui-, is to be pronounced as two syllables.

Also, uppercase letters are never used.


Since Thoya has no native speakers, there isn't a standard for exactly how it's supposed to sound, and I think that's a good thing. If you come from Spanish and your "e" is the tight one that sounds like "ay" to Englihs speakers, that's correct too, even though mine is the flatter English one! If you come from Japanese and your "u" is unrounded, that's also correct! Most importantly, the "r" can be pronounced as either the English r *or* the tapped r in most languages. Since we only have 1 r sound, it'll be clear either way and that's what matters.

No squishing duplicate sounds

When you have a word that starts with the same sound as the previous word ends with, pronounce them separately (double length). Pronouncing them like a single occurrence of the letter may result in ambiguity.

Voiceless stops stay voiceless

In English, voiceless stops become voiced if they're between a fricative and a vowel. For example, most people don't notice it but *spell* is actually pronounced as *sbell*. Thoya should not be pronounced this way because it limits our phenome space. If a word is supposed to be pronouned *sbell*, it will be written that way.


A few rules about syllable stress.

These rules reduce ambiguity because in lots of 2-syllable verbs the first syllable is another word.

ASCII transliteration

If Thoya needs to be written in pure ASCII, the suggested transliteration is to simply replace ɪ with 'i, and ŋ with 'n.


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