Yasaro (níñsi jasǎro) is one of around 70,000 Zireen languages spoken on the planet Rishai. This is a brief introduction to the language, which will eventually grow to include more aspects of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary.
|p||th [t̪]||t||č [tʃ]||k|
|m||nh [n̪]||n||ň [ɲ]||ŋ||ñ*|
|v||l||s [s~z]||r [ʐ]||j||h|
- /ñ/ is the Yasaro syllable-final nasal phoneme, contrasting with /m/ (in some dialects) and /ŋ/. See below for pronunciation.
Pronunciation of vowel + syllable-final nasal /ñ/:
- short vowel + homorganic nasal before stops: lèñpa = [ˈlɛ̂mba], tòñtu = [ˈtɔ̂ndɯ]
- a long and nasal vowel before fricatives: níñsi = [ˈnɪ̌ː̃zi], kelòñra = [keˈlɔ̂ː̃ʐa]
- short and non-nasal at end of words: jasǎro(ñ) = [ʝaˈsǎʐɔ]
Final [ɛ] (from -/eñ/) contrasts with /e/ in some words. Before /ñ/, the distinction between /a/ and /u/ is neutralized to an [ɔ] sound, which is represented here as a phoneme /o/ (since it contrasts with both /a/ and /u/ at the ends of words).
Pitch accent: Underlying stress can fall on any syllable of the main root, but word-final syllables are never stressed. Stressed syllables on non-final syllables are pronounced with a falling tone. When a word ends with a syllable that would ordinarily be stressed, the preceding syllable gets the stress instead, but is pronounced with a rising tone. The stress remains on the final syllable of the root if a suffix is added (for example, tóñpa [ˈtɔ̌mba] "head", but toñpà-ta [tɔmˈpâɾa] "my head").
Yasaro is written using the Lelimi script (Yasaro lelímī "alphabet"), which is closely related to the Vlika script. The spelling of native Yasaro words is largely based on the pronunciation of an earlier stage of the language, Middle Yasaro, while retaining some features of Old Yasaro pronunciation. Borrowed words are spelled in various ways depending on when the words were borrowed and from which language.
Long vowels in modern Yasaro were still diphthongs in the Middle Yasaro period when the spelling conventions were established, so for instance /vǐ:la/ "reed organ" is spelled ‹veilá›, and /čěte:/ "ice" is spelled ‹tletéu›. The spelling of /č/ is especially variable; it developed from various consonant clusters such as /tl/ and /kr/, as well as /k/ before /i/. (Most occurrences of /ki/ in modern Yasaro are from /ke/ in Old Yasaro.) Yasaro spelling also preserves syllable-final consonants which were lost, as in the words /čâ:ŋa/ ‹krávga› "to eat" and /mǐra/ ‹birás› "sun". Double consonants such as ‹ss› and ‹hh› represent lengthened consonants in earlier versions of the language which are pronounced as single consonants in the modern language. The name of the language itself has one of these double consonants: ‹jassavráň›.