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Sounds, Tones, and Euphony

Letters in Láadan

Letter Sound as in English Sound as in Láadan IPA[1] transcription
a father bal (bread) ɑ
e bell mn (sugar) ɛ
i big ni (cup) ɪ
o hope yob (coffee) o
u moon medalayun (carrot) u
th think thuyu (apricot) θ
zh pleasure thuzh (cake) ʒ
sh shine thesh (herb) ʃ
lh LLewellyn lhezhub (noxious insect) ɬ
b aback batha (fork) b
d dream meda (vegetable) d
h high hob (butter) h
l wealth ilihede (rice) l
m him yem (sour) m
n month máan (salt) n
r red rahana (junk food) ɹ
w weep thuwebe (mead) w
y you doyu (apple) j

Note that words cannot end with the letters "h", "w", or "y". These are semivowels which cannot be easily recognised by ear as consonants unless defining a syllable boundary (as between two vowels).

Accented Vowels


A letter with an acute accent mark gets pronounced with a slightly higher pitch, and slightly more emphatically. In languages, this is known as a tone or stress system; because Láadan uses stresses for vocab, it therefore does not use them for placing emphasis semantically on a word, nor to indicate the type of sentence (like how English ends question sentences with 'up-talk'). Instead, an affix and a separate word are used, respectively. This may be difficult to get used to if your native language uses stresses differently than Láadan does, but practice makes perfect.

  • Low (regular) tone has no accent mark – o
  • High tone has an accent mark – ó

With two vowels side-by-side, there can be an accent on the first vowel or the second vowel. These have different sounds:

  • oób (to jump) – oOb
  • óob (oven) – Oob

There is no break or pause in-between the vowel sounds, instead they glide together; it is possible to hear that two separate vowels are spoken by listening for the change in pitch. Speaking clearly will help your listener(s) understand.

If you're in a textual context where you cannot type accent marks (at an English typewriter or very old computer or mobile device, say), it is usually suggested to write accented characters as caps. For example: LAadan. Tones can be notated when transcribing pronunciation into IPA by using ˨ after a syllable with a low tone if needed (it is usually assumed and therefore omitted) and ˦ after a high one (enwiki).

Typing accented characters


If you're on Windows, you can use these keycodes to type accented characters.

  1. Hold the left ALT key and keep it pressed down.
  2. On your numpad, type the number code.
á Alt+0225 Á Alt+0193
é Alt+0233 É Alt+0201
í Alt+0237 Í Alt+0205
ó Alt+0243 Ó Alt+0211
ú Alt+0250 Ú Alt+0218

The GNOME desktop environment (usually on GNU/Linux) uses Control+⇧ Shift+U followed by the Unicode codepoint number in hexadecimal, instead of using Alt. You can also install alternate keyboard mappings in your operating system, or even add a plugin to your web-browser, to allow you to add these letters in while you're typing.



When combining words together in Láadan, specific letters may be added in-between to enforce the rule that no two consonants and no two vowels (of the same tone) touch.

1. Split up double-consonants with the letter "e".

Example: hesh = grass, hoth = place, hesh+e+hoth = heshehoth = park.

2. Split up double-vowels with the same accents with the letter "h".

Example: ra = not, en = understand, ra+h+en = rahen = misunderstand

3. Two vowels next to each other are only allowed if one of them is accented.

Example: Láadan, Aáláan

Note: There are rare words with the "br" sound, and this is allowed. [2] (example, onion = bremeda)

Beginner Phrases


Let's introduce a few basic phrases so you can practice the sounds!

Láadan English Literal
Wil sha Hello Let there be harmony
Aril Goodbye Later



Let's try to transliterate names! Remember these core rules of Láadan:

  1. A consonant must be followed by a vowel, or be the last sound in a word.
  2. Two vowels cannot be side-by-side, unless they are the same vowel in different tones.
  3. Words cannot end with "h", "w", or "y".

Not all sounds will match 1:1 from English to Láadan. You might have to substitute a "ch" sound with a "sh" or "t", depending on preference. There is no 100% "correct" way to transliterate your name - it is your preference!

Transliteration Guide


Letters that can stay the same are:

b d h l m n r th w

Letters that may change:

English Letter Sound Láadan Suggestion
a "aeh" a, e
a "ay", "ah" a
c "ss", "ch" sh
c "k" h, sh, or remove
e "eh", "ay" e
e "EE" i
f h, sh
g like girl d, b, h, zh, or remove
g like gem zh
i "ih", "EE" i
i "ai" a
j zh
k h, sh, or remove
ng n
o "OH" o
o "aw" a, o
p b
q h, sh, or remove
s "ss" sh
s "zz" zh
t th
u "uh" a
u "yew" yu, u
u "ooh" u
v b, w
x sh
y "yuh" y
y "ai" a
y "ih" i
y "EE" i
z zh


  • Abbey → Abi
  • Cyrus → Sharash
  • Emma → Ima
  • Ethan → Ithen
  • Holly → Hali
  • Jacob → Zhehab
  • Michael → Mahel
  • Olivia → Olibiha, Oliba
  • Rachel → Reshal
  • Rose → Rozh
  • Scarlet → Shalith
  • Walt → Wal

Alternatively, you could also look up the meaning of your name and find the same word in Láadan.


  • Rachel → Female sheep → Éesh
  • Rose → Shahina
  • Cyrus → Young → Háa


  1. International Phonetic Alphabet, here shown without brackets
  2. http://laadanlanguage.org/node/9#3