Tatari Faran has a relatively simple phonetic inventory. It has only 13 consonants and 6 basic vowels.
In the following descriptions, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) will be used to describe the sounds of Tatari Faran. The IPA is a much more accurate way of describing language sounds than comparison with English, since English pronunciation varies greatly from one region to another, and not all sounds in Tatari Faran exist in English.
The following table shows the consonants. Note that you will need a Unicode-compliant browser and the IPA fonts in order to see the IPA symbols correctly. The Romam column describes the Roman orthography used to transcribe Tatari Faran. The speakers of Tatari Faran themselves actually use a different writing system to write their language. This native writing system is described elsewhere.
|Stops||Unvoiced||p||p||These stops are unaspirated.|
|'||ʔ||The glottal stop, ala Hawai'ian. It is omitted from the orthography when word-initial.|
|d||d||The same phoneme as /r/; pronounced [d] when word-initial, and [ɾ] otherwise. The orthography reflects the pronunciation.|
|Flaps||r||ɾ||The medial form of /d/. See comments under /d/.|
Note that Tatari Faran has no lateral consonants.
The basic short vowels are shown in the following table.
In addition to these basic vowels, there are also the long vowels and glides shown in the following table:
Syllabic structure in Tatari Faran is CV(C). The only allowed consonant clusters are those where the first consonant is a nasal stop.
The only allowed final consonants in a word are: /p/, /t/, /'/, /m/, /n/, /f/, and /s/.
Generally speaking, Tatari Faran dislikes putting together two words which would result in the same or similar syllables repeated many times. (However, this rule does not apply to intra-word repetitions.) For example, if the receptive case particles na, nei, and no follow a word that ends with na, they would mutate into da, dei, and do, in order to avoid the repetition [nana] that would result otherwise. There are also other euphonic considerations that give rise to inter-word mutations.
The following list describes the inter-word mutations that happen to preserve euphony.
The receptive case particles na, nei, and no mutate if they follow a noun that ends with a similar-sounding syllable. An -n is added to the noun and the initial consonant of the case particle shifts to d. E. g.:
huna + na → hunan da
hina + nei → hinan dei
If the noun ends with -nan (or any syllable that begin and end with n), the case particle mutates and the noun is unchanged:
pasanan + na → pasanan da
misanan + nei → misanan dei
The conveyant case particles sa, sei, and so will be assimilated into the last syllable of the preceding noun if its last two syllables begin with /s/:
asusu + sei → asusei
sasa + sei → saasei
A special case of this assimilation happens with the contractions of the conjunction isi, meaning “because”:
isi + sa → isa
isi + sei → isei
isi + so → iso
If a word ends with a final consonant identical to the initial consonant of the case particle that follows it, the consonant is pronounced only once:
itsan no - [ˈi.ʦanɔ]
san nei - [ˈsanej]
pireis sei - [ˈpiɾejsej]
kuen na - [ˈkɯna]
(Note that this particular rule of euphony is not reflected in the orthography.)
The feminine case particles, if they are followed by the interrogative marker ta, they shift their vowel to i:
kei + ta → kita
sei + ta → sita
nei + ta → nita
If two unaccented monosyllabic particles occur next to each other and both have the long vowel ei, then the first ei shifts to i. For example, when the feminine case particles are followed by the nominal conjunction ei:
kei + ei → ki'ei
sei + ei → si'ei
nei + ei → ni'ei
If the inanimate 3rd person pronoun fei modifies another noun as a demonstrative, and is immediately followed by one of the feminine case particles, they merge:
fei + kei → fikei
fei + sei → fisei
fei + nei → finei
This happens when the modified noun is inanimate but has a grammatical feminine gender. However, this contraction does not happen when fei is used alone without modifying any noun.
When the pronoun fei is followed by a feminine case particle which in turn is followed by the conjunction ei, the contraction only occurs between the latter two:
fei + kei + ei → fei ki'ei
fei + sei + ei → fei si'ei
fei + nei + ei → fei ni'ei
This is because the result of the contraction between the feminine case particle and the conjunction ei already eliminates the long vowel ei from being adjacent to the long vowel ei in fei, so no further contraction is needed.
When the particle ai
yesappears before the feminine case particles, they are contracted:
ai + kei → akei
ai + sei → asei
ai + nei → anei
Some feminine nouns with two long final syllables and ending in -ei undergo contraction to -i when directly before the feminine case particles:
tseitsei + kei → tseitsi kei
tseitsei + sei → tseitsi sei
tseitsei + nei → tseitsi nei
duanei + kei → duani kei
duanei + sei → duani sei
duanei + nei → duani nei
However, the original form is retained when there is an intervening word, such as an adjective:
tseitsei + sujuin + sei → tseitsei sujuin sei (no change)
Before the demonstratives mei and fei contraction also happens, but only if the latter have not been contracted with the case particle:
duanei + mei → duani mei
duanei + mei + sei → duanei misei
Intonation in Tatari Faran is determined by rules that select one or more words in a sentence or clause on which the accent would fall. Every word either has a fixed stress syllable or is inherently unaccented, and when the accent falls upon the word, it is always realized on the fixed stress syllable. Most words have a fixed stress syllable, but may or may not be actually accented in a sentence depending on the context. Words that have a fixed stress syllable are never accented on any other syllable.
Tatari Faran is pitch-accented, which means that accented syllables are indicated mainly by high pitch, rather than by emphasis, which is how English indicates stress. In general, each syllable can have one of three types of stress in Tatari Faran: primary stress, secondary stress, or no stress. Primary stress is indicated by high pitch; secondary stress is indicated by medium to low pitch, with emphasis; and lack of stress is indicated by low pitch without emphasis.
High and low pitches are not absolute, of course, but relative to the overall tone of the phrase or sentence. It is not the precise pitch that marks stress, but the overtly higher pitch relative to the rest of the utterance that conveys stress. Also, the surrounding pitches may change the shape of the high pitch, either to a rising pitch or a falling pitch. We will not describe pronunciation to this level of detail, however, as it is not phonemic.
The Head Noun
Consider the following simple noun phrase, consisting of the noun samat, “man”, which has its first syllable as the stress syllable, and the trailing masculine conveyant case clitic sa:
We see that the stress falls on samat, and since the fixed stress syllable of samat is its first syllable, the stress is on sa. Here, we see an example of the general rule that the head noun of a noun phrase is accented, while its case clitic is not. We can see this rule at work in the following noun phrase:
Here we see that amaa (“mother”) is stressed on its final syllable rather than its initial. This is because its fixed stress syllable is its final syllable.
If an adjective is present, it is also accented. In this case, the head noun has a tendency to become less stressed. For example, the adjective muras, meaning “grey”, also has its first syllable as the stress syllable. Consider the following:
Here we see an example of the general rule that adjectives in a noun phrase tend to acquire the primary stress, and the head noun tends to have only secondary stress. Secondary stress is realized with low pitch.
The following is another example of a noun phrase containing an adjective:
Note that when more than one word is accented in a noun phrase as here, the speaker has a choice of which word to put a heavier stress on. This will vary depending on which word the speaker wishes to emphasize more; so it is also correct to enunciate the above as [ʔaˈmaː ˌʣuma sej].
Demonstratives & Vocatives
If a vocative marker is present in a noun phrase, it is either unaccented or receives secondary stress. For example, the demonstrative tara' (“that”) receives secondary stress in the following noun phrase:
The vocative marker tse is always unaccented:
A more complex noun phrase that contains adjectives, demonstratives, as well as a case clitic follows the same rules we have encountered so far. For example:
That smart man.
Tatari Faran pronouns double as vocative markers and demonstratives. When used in isolation as the head noun in a noun phrase, they are accented like a normal head noun, with the exception of the second person singular pronoun tse (discussed later). For example:
He who is grey.
The straightforward rules we've seen so far is complicated by the presence of enclitics, words that “throw” their accent onto an adjacent word. Many monosyllabic Tatari Faran words are enclitics; hence, it is necessary to know how enclitics behave.
Among the most commonly encountered enclitics is the second person pronoun tse. We have already seen tse as a vocative marker; it also functions as a pronoun when it is not modifying another noun. However, unlike other pronouns, it is normally unaccented even when used as the head noun in a noun phrase. Instead, it tries to “throw” its accent onto the previous word in the sentence or clause. If there is no previous word, or if the previous word is a particle that cannot be accented, it “throws” its accent onto the next word. It can do this latter even to case particles, which are otherwise never accented, making them receive secondary stress:
If an adjective is present, the adjective remains accented while tse is unaccented:
You who are grey.
We shall see later that the enclitic behaviour of tse sometimes may cause a previous word in the sentence to become accented even though it would not be by normal rules.
Intonation patterns in full clauses vary depending on the verbal mood of the clause. There are some general rules which apply to clauses of all types:
There cannot be more than one consecutive unaccented verb phrase or noun phrase without an intervening accented verb phrase or noun phrase.
The noun phrase or verb that precedes a finalizer is always accented.
The finalizer at the end of the clause is never accented.
In an indicative sentence, the subject NP always receives accent. The finalizer is never accented. For example:
In these examples, there is no NP following the verb, so the verb receives stress. If there is an NP following the verb, the verb will lose its accent. For example:
I walk to the cinder cone.
If the verb is modified by an adverb or other verbal modifiers, however, it becomes accented once more. For example:
I will walk to the cinder cone.
I wish to walk to the cinder cone.
An enclitic could also cause the verb to become accented. For example:
I speak to you (fem.).
Here, the enclitic tse causes tsana to be accented, even though by the normal rules it should not, because it is a verb without a modifier but with an argument noun phrase.
In the imperative mood, the verb is at the front of the sentence, and is always accented. The subject NP, if present, is unaccented. Any other non-subject NP's are accented normally. For example:
You, go away from the house.
In yes/no questions involving the interrogative particle ta, if ta is modifying the verb, then the subject NP is unaccented, and any following NP's as well as the verb are accented. For example:
Did the girl speak to the chief?
If ta modifies the subject NP, then the subject NP is accented, and the second NP in the question, if present, is unaccented. The final verb is accented. For example:
Is it the girl who speaks to the chief?