On Sounds

Pronouncing Tveshi and Narahji properly is not a prerequisite to reading the story. You can skip over this after you read the first sentence of the first bullet if you have no interest in constructed languages or the International Phonetic Alphabet. They’re all in rough alphabetical order, so if you have a question on any kind of notation, look here.

Some Strange Consonants

  • The č has a value of “ch” (as in “chocolate”). This symbol is commonly used in languages to denote the International Phonetic Alphabet consonant [tʃ], also known as the voiceless postalveolar affricate consonant. According to Wikipedia, this symbol first appeared in Czech.
  • Ë is pronounced “eh,” just like the normal e. At the end of words, I use this symbol to remind you to pronounce the ending e. Sometimes I use the umlaut in the middle of words to note either that a vowel does NOT combine with the others or that it remains unchanged in sound by any nearby vowels.
  • Ĝ, if you ever see it, is not an affricate like č. (This deviates from a lot of standard orthography, yes, but at least the hat is going in a different direction.) Ĝ indicates that you articulate the consonant “g” farther back in the mouth, and it is usually much softer than the normal “g.”
  • In Tveshi, the k is actually a semi-click articulated similarly to our /k/ (and, if you know IPA notation, it has a value of /k’/, but can sometimes be /ǂ/). Narahji uses the same k that we do in English.
  • Kh is pronounced by putting the tip of the tongue against the front bottom teeth and arcing the tongue so the back part falls on the soft palette (where the roof of the mouth is soft instead of hard). For those who know French, this is very similar to the sound designated by the Latin “r” in their language.
  • Ñ and nny indicate the same sound, the enya. This is used a lot in Spanish.
  • All “th” sounds are soft like the sound in the English “THeater,” not hard like “THose.” (All “th” sounds are voiceless consonants. If the voiced consonant ever appears, I will use “dh.”)

More Guidance for the Curious

For those wanting more guidance on pronunciation of things like names, this will help you. I have endeavored to be as systematic as possible in the way I choose to represent various sounds and to portray them so English-speakers might understand what I mean. Unfortunately, English has not had orthographic consistency in centuries. This guide is meant to clarify some things. The consonants are fairly straightforward, but the vowel sounds refer to American English. Sorry, British friends.

Consonants

Shows the Roman characters used for each consonant sound.

Shows the Roman characters used for each consonant sound.

Vowels

Roman characters and corresponding vowel sounds. Diphthongs are created by merging sounds.

Roman characters and corresponding vowel sounds. Diphthongs are created by merging sounds.

How to Stress Words Properly

9 times out of 10, if the word is Tveshi, you will stress it on the second syllable. There are exceptions—verb endings are never stressed, and prefixes don’t count as first syllables. Narahji words are stressed on the first or second syllable.

Sound a bit confusing? In the glossary (WORDS), stressed syllables are capitalized, so you don’t have to figure this out on your own.

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