Khangaþyagon Phonotactics

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I've never actually sat down and said "These are the constraints that a Khangaþyagon syllable must obey." Rather, I set out to give the language a quasi-Gemanic feel to it. Both consonant clusters and vowel hiatus can occur intra-morphemically, and as the morphology is agglutinating, even more complex things can occur at morpheme boundaries. Very few things are absolutely disallowed (initial geminates being one of them), others can occur but are fairly rare (initial ng, initial stop clusters).

One reason for this is that I don't use automatic word generation for Khangaþyagon. When I create new vocab items, I try to produce words that fit in with the tone of what's gone before, and suit their meaning. Khangaþyagon seems to have developed a distinctive sound of its own, and I'm happy that my language has found its own voice.

An a posteriori analysis of Khagaþyagon's lexicon yields the following.


Geminates may not occur in onsets, except where ambisyllabicity (qv) applies. Given this constraint, the following are valid onsets.

  • Null
  • Any consonant (ŋ is rare)
  • stop+liquid
  • fricative+liquid
  • s+voiceless stop
  • s+voiceless stop+liquid
  • s+m,n
  • There is one attested example of gd as an onset. This is highly unusual, and the word in which it occurs has some properties of an ideophone, so it is reasonable to consider it an exception.


The following are valid syllable nuclei.

  • Vowels
  • Dipthongs
  • l (only attested in unstressed syllables)


Geminates are allowed in codas. The following codas are attested, based on word endings.

  • Null
  • Any consonant (h is rare)
  • liquid+stop
  • liquid+nasal
  • nasal+nasal
  • nasal+fricative
  • nasal+stop
  • fricative+nasal
  • fricative+stop
  • stop+s
  • stop+stop
  • liquid+stop+s
  • nasal+s+stop
  • stop+s+stop


Syllabification follows the principal of greedy onsets. That is, syllable boundaries will occur in such a place as to put the maximum number of consonants in the onset of the following syllable, rather than the coda of the preceeding one. There are two restrictions on this -

  1. ŋ is strongly attracted to codas, and will thus occupy coda position whenever possible.
  2. Double stop onsets may not be formed by this process.

When affixes are added to a word, syllable boundaries will often change as a result. In general, syllable boundaries do not coincide with morpheme boundaries.

For example, ærkriuflt kriariþon glæstæpontol parses as

ærkr-i-uf-lt kria-riþ-on glæs-tæp-ont-ol

but syllabifies as

ær-kri-u-flt kri-a-ri-þon glæ-stæ-pon-tol


When a geminate occurs between two vowels, it is both the coda of the preceeding syllable and the onset of the following one.


Placement of stress is much better defined. The primary stress occurs on the first syllable of the primary root. Secondary stress occurs in compounds on the first syllable of secondary roots.

One consequence of this is that stress can be phonemic. Here's a minimal pair.

zaldep [ˈzældep] 
ban [bæn] 
-ban [bæn] 
that (suffix)


that treasure
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Vowels Phonology and Script The Bukhstav

--PeteBleackley 01:50, 19 May 2006 (PDT)