Novial/Pronunciation 1

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Pronunciation GuideEdit

Otto Jespersen, who devised Novial, was a professional linguist. He carefully designed the spelling and pronunciation of Novial to be as easy as possible for people of different language backgrounds while using West European root words as the basis of the vocabulary.

Novial uses the standard 26 letters of the modern Latin alphabet. There are no accents which makes it easy to write on any Latin alphabet keyboard. The letter Z occurs only in foreign names (proper nouns). There are only five vowels: A, E, I, O and U which are generally pronounced with their continental values, i.e. similar to Spanish and Italian. However, their very distinct sounds allow some leeway for speakers of different backgounds while still avoiding miscomprehension.

Three digraphs are used: CH, SH and QU. C occurs only in the combination CH, and Q only in QU. As in English S is pronounced differently from SH but the use of a hyphen between S and H when they are two separate sounds prevents any ambiguity. Every word is pronounced as spelled according to the pronunciation rules: Novial spelling is therefore phonemic (commonly called phonetic).

The stress generally lies on the vowel before the last consonant. If there is no vowel preceding a consonant it is on the second from last vowel. One exception is words ending in -ee where the stress is on the second from last -e.

Examples with stressed syllable in bold: abandona, fala, egal, vie, musee

Note that where alternative pronunciations are given, all are correct allowing easier pronunciation for people of different language backgrounds.

Letter Sound (IPA)
Sound (example)
A a a as in English father abandona abandon
B b b as in bet bebe baby
C s or k foreign names only. Generally: s before e and i
as in Celsius, otherwise k as in Cairo
Caracas Caracas
CH ʧ or ʃ ch as in church or sh as in shine chanse chance
D d d as in deep defini define
E e or ɛ é as in French fiancée or e as in in English pet egal equal
F f f as in food fala fall
G g g as in get garda guard
H h h as in hot helpa help
I i ee as in seen but shorter or i as in French petite impeda impede
J ʤ or ʒ j as in jet or s as in pleasure jirafe giraffe
K k k as in ski kioske kiosk
L l l as in let lande land
M m m as in moon magnetisa magnetise
N n n as in never nature nature
O o or ɒ o as in Italian Roma or o as in British English on observa observe
P p p as in sport papa daddy
QU kw or kv or ku qu as in question or qu as in German Quelle or cu as in Spanish cuesta questione question
R r or ɹ rolled r as in Scots English
or English r
rapid rapid
S s or z s as in summer or s as in rise sune sun
SH ʃ or ʧ sh as in shine or ch as in church shuta shoot
T t t as in step teknike technique
U u u as in put unik unique
V v v as in victory variatione variation
W w or u or v w as in west or ou in French ouest or w as in German West watt watt
X ks or gz x as in axe or x in example auxiliari auxiliary
Y j y as in you yuna young
Z z or s foreign names only. Generally: z as in Zambia
or as in original language if different
Suez Suez

When writing if you do not know or remember whether CH or SH is the usual form simply use either. _____________________________________________________________________________________

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Contents - Lesson 1 - Lesson 2 - Lesson 3 - Lesson 4 - Lesson 5 - Lesson 6 - Lesson 7

Prefixes - Suffixes - Proforms