Apiyan orthography

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The Orthography of the Apiyan language (Apiyan: veroskriv ea fiaule apiane) is the standard writing system used in written Apiyan. It is based on the Latin script and borrows elements from other Slavonic and Romance orthographies, in order to facilitate the phonological system which is somewhere between the two language families. It is mostly a phonemic system, meaning that it is pronounced as it is written and almost every sound has a representative grapheme or digraph in the alphabet, but it also has an etymological aspect which is minor in comparison with languages such as English and French.

Apiyan orthography has varied greatly throughout the language's existance and most efforts to standardise failed, mostly due to the dynamic nature of the language and its phonology. As an example of its variability of both the language and the orthography, here is how the word for prince was being spelled in a period between the years 2009 - 2012: princio, printcho, printch, prinć, prinč, prinčéu, prinčev, prinċev, prynciev, princiev, and in the current orthography: princzev. As an effort to bring stability and uniformity to the language, the orthography is steadily being standardised and regularised.

Alphabet

The alphabet consists of graphemes — a single letter for a phoneme, and digraphs — two letters for a phoneme. The letters have two cases: uppercase (A) and lowercase (a), and the digraphs have three cases: uppercase (TG), middlecase (Tg) and lowercase (tg). The standard alphabetical order is the following:

a b c ch cz d e è f g h i j k l lh m n nh o ò p r s sz t tg u v z

In determining alphabetical order, the vowels with diacritics and the digraphs are treated as distinct letters.

Vowels

There are seven vowels in Apiyan phonology, all of which have their own distinct letters in the alphabet.

Front Centre Back
Close i ⟨i⟩ u ⟨u⟩
Close-mid e ⟨è⟩
Open-mid ɛ ⟨e⟩ ɔ ⟨o⟩
Open a ⟨a⟩ ɑ ⟨ò⟩

E and È

The two vowels, ⟨e⟩ and ⟨è⟩ are distinguished as open e — /ɛ/ and closed e — /e/ respectively. The former is more common than the latter — closed e, the usage of which is almost limited to the old Slavonic vowel *ѣ / *ě (rèka <OCS. rěka/рѣка, dèlarti <OCS. dělati/дѣлати) and the Latin stressed short vowel e (tèmp <Lat. tempus, tèra <Lat. terra).

O and Ò

Similarly to e and è, this is also an open and closed vowel pair, but in this case the roles are inverted. The letter o is named closed o — /ɔ/ and the letter ò is named open o — /ɑ/. It is almost always in the place of the former diphthong *au, e.x. Òstria (<*Austria), òtgut (<*autgut), kòza (<*kauza). It is also used in words beginning on kò-, e.x. kònca (<*kanca), kòmera (<*kamera), kòsztel (<*kastel), and in the place of the OCS. vowel ѫ/ǫ where it is found within the diphthong òu: ròuka (<OCS. rǫka/рѫка), gòusle (<OCS. gǫsli/гѫсли), jòutg (<OCS. ǫžь/ѫжь).

Semivowels

Semivowels, as the name suggests, are shorter than regular vowels and cannot form their own syllables. Apiyan phonology has two semivowels: /i̯/ or /j/, /u̯/ or /w/.

Semivocalic i

There are two ways to write /i̯/:

  • if after a consonant it is written as i: priacz, gracie, lierta;
  • anywhere else it is written as j: jeserti, pajsa, lej.

The e in the definite articles ea and eo can also be pronounced as the semivowel /i̯/.

Semivocalic u

However, there are three ways to write the semivowel /u̯/:

  • when next to another vowel it is written as u: vuardarti, vuera, ròuka;
  • if it originates from a vocalised l it is written etymologically as l: sèdèl, volta, Daniel. L is only vocalised when after another vowel, e.g. the l in Slav is not vocalised;
  • if it originates from a vocalised v it is written etymologically as v: vce, dva, dumov. V is vocalised if either at the beginning of the word before a consonant, in the middle of a word between a vowel and a consonant or at the end of a word after a vowel.

Consonants

Labial Labiodental Dental/Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glotal
Nasal /m/
m
/ɱ/** /n/
n
/ɲ/
nh
/ŋ/**
Plosive /p/
p
/b/
b
/t/
t
/d/
d
/k/
k
/ɡ/
g
Affricate /ts/
c
/dz/* /tʃ/
cz
/dʒ/*
(dtg)
Fricative /f/
f
/v̞/
v
/s/
s
/z/
z
/ʃ/
sz
/ʒ/
tg
/x/
ch
/ɣ/*
Approximant
Lateral /l/
l
/ʎ/
lh
/h/
h
/ɦ/*
Trill /r/
r
* consonants which do not have a distinct grapheme or digraph in the orthography and are considered allophones of their voiced or unvoiced consonant pairs
** nasal consonants without a distinct grapheme, considered as allophones

Voiced and unvoiced pairs

Consonants in Apiyan phonology are categorised as voiced consonants, unvoiced consonants and sonants. The sonants are: /r/, /l/, /ʎ/, /m/, /n/, /ɲ/, whilst the voiced and unvoiced consonants, which come in pairs, are:

Voiced b dz ɣ d g ɦ z ʒ v
Unvoiced p ts x t k h s ʃ f

A rule in Apiyan phonology is that a voiced and unvoiced consonants cannot stand next to each other, meaning that they are either both voiced or unvoiced. The voice of a cluster of two consonants is determined by the second, for example in the word absurd, even thought the consonant cluster is written as bs it is pronounced as /ps/ as the b becomes unvoiced as s is.