Mirad/Orthography and Pronunciation

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Orthography and Pronunciation[edit]

Alphabet[edit]

The Mirad alphabet has both lower-case and upper-case letters. The alphabet has the same base letters as Latin or English, except that the letters Qq, Xx, and Yy are considered non-native and are used only in foreign names and borrowings. Also, the letters Hh and Ww are additional to Agapoff's original Unilingua alphabet and are unique in that they have no inherent semantic values; they are used for various grammatical-only purposes. A unique feature of Mirad is that every native letter is a semantically-significant atom in the language and can be thought of as bricks in lexical construction. See Word-building
The order of the native alphabet is as follows:
a á à â b c d e é è ê f g h i í ì î j k l m n o ó ò ô p r s t u ú ù û v w z
The above lower-case letters can also be represented as upper-case letters. In Unicode representations and indexing, the uppercase graphemes precede the lowercase values. Uppercase letters are used much as in American English, that is, for the first letter in sentences, proper nouns, etc. See #Orthography for more details. As mentioned above, the Mirad graphemes Ww and Hh are additional to the letters in the original Unilingua and are used to form the passive voice of verbs and the correlative deictics, respectively. Foreign names and borrowings sometimes also incorporate Hh, Qq, Xx, and Yy.


Consonants[edit]

The following are classified as consonants:
b c d f g h j k l m n p r s t v w z
*Note: The author of Unilingua did not include the letters Hh or Ww as native graphemes. They have been added in Mirad in order to encompass word structures not included by Agapoff, in addition to interjections and foreign names. See more on this under #Vowels.

Vowels[edit]

Vowels, or more accurately, vowel nuclei consist of plain vowels and yodified vowels, that is, vowels that have a y-glide sound before, after, or around them. A synonym of yodified is palatalized.
The plain vowels are (only miniscules listed here):
a e i o u
The yodified vowel nuclei are:
á é í ó ú   (pre-yodified)
à è ì ò ù   (post-yodified)
â ê î ô û   (circum-yodified)
Note: The author of Unilingua used non-Roman letters to represent some of the pre-yodified vowels (я = á, е = é, ø = ó, and ю = ú. The author employed a hacek (called ille in French) over the vowel to represent post-yodification (ă = à, ě = è, etc.). This revised Mirad textbook, however, uses the acute accent (as in French été) for the pre-yodified vowels, the grave accent (as in French père) for the post-yodified vowels, and the circumflex accent (as in French fête) for the circum-yodified vowels. It must be remembered, however, that á, ô, and other yodified vowels are considered single vowels or vowel nuclei in any analysis of the language, not dipthongs or tripthongs). In other words, the accents are merely graphemic devices to distinguish vowels qualitatively, and thereby semantically.

Orthography[edit]

Punctuation[edit]

Despite Agapoff's idiosyncratic system of punctuation, the punctuation symbols and usage in Mirad are just like those of American English.

Capitalization[edit]

Capitalization in Mirad follows the same rules as in English. European learners need to be especially careful to capitalize the first letter of the names of languages, nationalities, and inhabitants, which in most European languages are left in lowercase.
Note the following examples. The words are all capitalized because the root word is the name of the country China:
Mirad English
Kin China
Kina Chinese (people or nation) [adj.]
Kinad Chinese (language) [n.]
Kinada Chinese (language) [adj.]
Kinadè in Chinese [adv.]
Kinut Chinese person
Kinadaer to speak Chinese (pronounced: kee-nah-dah-EHR)
Kinader to utter in Chinese
Kinadrer to write Chinese
Kinadrun Chinese writing
Kina vidrun Chinese calligraphy
Kinadéder to read Chinese
Kinéna Chinese-like [adj.]
Kinénà in the Chinese way [adv.]
Kin-Amerika véani Sino-American relations
Kinconi things Chinese (pronounced: keen-SOH-nee)
Kinaser to sinofy (pronounced: kee-nah-SHEHR)
Kintun Sinology (pronounced: keen-TOON)
Kintuna Sinological
Kintut Sinologist

Pronunciation[edit]

Consonant sounds[edit]

This chart shows the closest phonetic approximations of the Mirad consonant graphemes in English and some other familiar languages, along with the exact value in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet):
grapheme IPA English American Spanish French Comment
b b bee bien bon  
c s see hace garçon Watch out! Sounds like "s".
d d dog dos de  
f f foo fiesta fou  
g g goo goma gant Always hard.
h h how jota -- Closer to the English value.
j ʒ mirage -- jour As in "Dr. Zhivago.
k k skate casa comment  
l l law la les  
m m moo mi mon  
n n no no non  
p p spoon poco peu  
r r -- toro -- Dental flap or trill
s ʃ shed -- chaise A fricative "sh" sound!
t t steak tú ton  
v v vie -- va  
w w woo Juan oui  
z z zoo -- zone  
Note! Be very careful that the c and the s are not pronounced as their English or European equivalents. Think of the c as being the French c cedilla (ç).

Simple vowel sounds[edit]

a as in Spanish la (IPA:/a/)
e as in French thé (IPA:/e/)
i as in Spanish sí! (IPA:/i/)
o as in Spanish no (IPA:/o/)
u as in Spanish tú (IPA:/u/)

Pre-yodified vowel sounds[edit]

These vowels are pronounced the same as the simple vowel above, but with a y-glide at the beginning.
á is like ya as in English yacht
é is like ye as in German jeder or English yes
í is like yi as in French yippie or English ye (without the final y-glide)
ó is like yo as in German Joga or English yo-yo (without the final w-glide)
ú is like yu as in German Juli or English unit

Post-yodified vowel sounds[edit]

These vowels are pronounced like the simple vowels, but with a y-glide at the end.
à is like ay as in English Thai
è is like ey as in English fey
ì is like iy as in English see
ò is like oy as in English boy
ù is like uy as in English fooey

Circum-yodified vowel sounds[edit]

These vowels are pronounced with a y-glide at both the beginning and end.
â is like yay as in English yikes!
ê is like yey as in English yea!
î is like yiy
ô is like yoy
û is like yuy
Note the difference in pronunciation between , which is pronounced like A-ya as in Spanish "playa", and àa, which sounds like AY-a as in English diagram.)

Syllabification and Stress[edit]

A closed syllable is one that ends in a consonant or a y-glide (i.e., a post- or circum-yodified vowel). A syllable consists of [C]V[C], where V, the vowel nucleus, can begin or end with a y-glide, but contain only one of the set of vowels [aeiou], and where C consists of one or two homorganic consonants, i.e. [bcdfgjknpstvz]+[lrwy].
The rule for stress is: If a word ends in a closed syllable, then the last syllable receives the stress, otherwise, the penultimate (next-to-last) syllable receives the stress.
spelling pronunciation meaning
gafif ga-FIF preference
ifla I-fla agreeable
ánsea yan-SHE-a collective
manà ma-NAY with light
Kinadae ki-na-DA-e speaks Chinese
Kinad ki-NAD Chinese (language)
Hàfa HAY-fa (Israeli town of) Haifa
gracer gra-SER to be extreme


Every vowel in Mirad is given its full syllabic pronunciation, even when juxtaposed in what English or European speakers might consider dipthongs:
spelling pronunciation meaning syllable count
daea da-E-a speaking 3
oif o-If displeasure 2
daò da-OY without saying 2

Word-building

Mirad · Word-building
Orthography and Pronunciation · Word-building · Word Families · Grammar · Conversation Lessons ·  v  d  e