Universal Transcription System (Jörg Rhiemeier)

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For many years, Jörg Rhiemeier used a Universal Transcription System to transcribe all his conlangs. Today, with a more refined understanding of phonology, he no longer uses this system as such, but designs transcriptions according to the phonological needs of the languages, though some of the transcriptions Jörg uses for his conlangs are still loosely based on it.

The transcription system is charted below. The sounds represented in the scheme are essentially a union of the English and German phoneme inventories, which means that many possible human speech sounds are not represented in the "Universal" Transcription System.

Consonants

  Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless stops p t   k '
Voiced stops b d   g  
Voiceless fricatives f th s sh jh kh h
Voiced fricatives v dh z zh   gh  
Nasals m n nj ng  
Laterals   l lj    
Rhotics   r      
Semivowels w   j    

Affricates were broken up into stop + fricative, e.g. ts, dzh. The letters c, q and x were only used in the following synonyms:

  • c = ts
  • ch = tsh
  • qu = kw
  • x = ks
  • xh = ksh

In an early version, r was used for a voiced velar fricative (later changed to gh), reflecting an idiosyncrasy of the author's native idiolect!

Obviously, this misses several entire places (e.g., retroflex, uvular, pharyneal) and manners of articulation (e.g., lateral fricatives, ejectives, implosives, clicks) of whose existence the author wasn't aware back then.

Vowels

  Front
unround
Front
round
Central
unround
Back
round
High i y   u
Mid e oe   o
Low ae   a ao

Diphthongs were, like affricates, broken up, e.g. ei, au. Vowels in hiatus were separated by an apostrophe. Again, many possible vowels are not covered.

See also