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Question: What do you get when you take phonetic features from Georgian and Czech and mix them with a phonology based on Finnish?
Answer: Jamastulu.

Jamastulu is the brainchild of Rob Hoelz, and is being created for an RPG to give one its cultures a more realistic feel. (And also to confuse the gamer!) It has an as-of-yet unnamed sister language, and both languages are descended from a conlang known as Proto-Jama until a better name is created. Rob is currently fleshing out the grammar of Proto-Jama and has already planned a great deal of sound changes to transform it into Jamastulu, and one of the other collaborators on the project is working to create the sister language.

Facts about Jamastulu

- Jamastulu is literally translated as "Tongue of the Desert."

- It is spoken by the Jamaskura (Shadows of the Desert).

- It has three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter) and around eight cases (currently being worked on), but suprisingly barely distinguishes number.

- In spite of its somewhat complicated noun system, its verbs are relatively simple, not inflecting for person or number.


The phonemes of Jamastulu are given with their transliteration and the X-SAMPA equivalent in brackets on the right.


Labial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar
Plosives p[p], pp[p_>] - t[t], tt[t_>] - - tj[c], ttj[c_>] k[k], kk[k_>]
Nasals m[m] - n[n] - - nj[J] -
Taps - - - r[4] - - -
Trills - - - rr[r] - - -
Fricatives - v[v] - ss[s], zz[z] s[S], z[Z] sj[C], zj[j\] -
Approximants - - - l[l] - j[j] -

The following sounds are pronounced approximately as in English: p, t, k, m, n, v, l

Other sounds: tj, nj, sj, zj: Palatal versions of their dental/alveolar counter parts.

pp, tt, ttj, kk: Glottalized versions of their voiceless aspirated equivalents.

r, rr: Pronounced as Spanish r and rr respectively. (Tapped and trilled r)

ss, zz: Pronounced as English s an z respectively.

s: Pronounced as English sh.

z: Pronounced as s in the English word measure.

j: Pronounced as English y in yes.


The vowels are very similar if not identical to those of Finnish:

a - as a in father

e - as ay in day (only a pure vowel, not a diphthong)

i - as ee in feet

o - as oa in moat (also a pure vowel)

u - as oo in food

y - no equivalent in English, as ü in German über. (If you don't know how that sounds, round your lips while pronouncing Jamastulu i.)

ö - no equivalent in English, as ö in German schön. (If you don't know how that sounds, round your lips while pronouncing Jamastulu e.)

ä - similar to e in bed.

Word structure

Jamastulu prefers open syllables, and each word (other than compounds) is usually no longer than two syllables in length. A Jamastulu word typically has the following structure:

(C)V(V)(C)(C)(ss, r)V(V)(ss, r, or N)

where C is a consonant, V is a vowel, and nasal is one of the nasals.

NOTE: Words cannot end in dipthongs.

Consonant clusters

Consonant clusters can only occur in the middle of a word in Jamastulu, and only the following are allowed:

N + S (where the two are at the same place of articulation)

N + r

N + ss

S + r

S + ss (except for tss)

N + S + ss

N + S + r

where S is a stop and N is a nasal.


Diphthongs can occur anywhere in the word other than the final position. The diphthongs of Jamastulu are the following:

ai au oi

ou ui uo

ua ue yi

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