Mirad Grammar/Phonology and Orthography
Phonology and Orthography
- There is a direct, one-to-one correlation between Mirad sounds (phonology) and the way these sounds are written (orthography).
- Mirad uses the Roman alphabet as English does, except that the letters Q and C are only used in foreign borrowings or attempts to spell foreign words or names. There is an upper case (majuscules or capital letters) and a lower case (miniscules or small letters). The upper case letters are used for capitalization exactly as in English. Mirad, at least for non-foreign words, uses no diacritic marks such as the breve, the grave accent, or the dieresis. The order of the alphabet is the same as in English.
Alphabet UPPERCASE A B C* D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q* R S T U V W X Y Z LOWERCASE a b c* d e f g h i j k l m n o p q* r s t u v w x y z MIRAD NAME a ba ca da e fe ge he i ji ki li mi ni o po ko ro so to u vu wu xu yu zu
- * Not used in "native" Mirad words.
- The letters c and q are used only to represent words and names imported into Mirad from other languages.
- Spelling a word aloud means uttering the word's Mirad letter names in succession left to right. If the letter is a majuscule, then the letter name is preceded by ag-....big, eg.:
- anxwa is spelled aloud as a-ni-xu-wu-a
- Mirad is spelled aloud as ag-mi-i-ro-a-da
- Text in Mirad is written from left to right with spaces between words. Capitalization and punctuation are described later.
- The Mirad alphabet can be divided into three types of sounds: consonants, glides, and vowels. These are covered in the next section.
- There are 20 consonant phonemes.
- The following IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) chart shows the consonant phonemes (minimal meaningful sounds) in Mirad:
Consonant Phonemes Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal Nasal /m/ /n/ Plosive voiced /b/ /d/ /g/ unvoiced /p/ /t/ /k/ Affricate voiced unvoiced (/t͡ʃ/)* Fricative voiced /v/ /z/ /ʒ/ unvoiced /f/ /s/ /ʃ/ /h/ Approximate /l/ /j/ /w/ Flap /ɽ/
- The approximate phonemes /j/ and /w/ are special and do not function as consonants in native Mirad words (They can, however, function as consonants in borrowings and proper nouns from other languages). They are considered glides or semi-vowels, and are used to form diphthongs (complex vowels). See Vowels.
- The phonemes /r/ and /l/ are liquids and behave in a special way in forming words in Mirad.
- * Used only in foreign words.
- The consonant graphemes (letters) in Mirad used to represent the above consonant phonemes are as follows:
Consonant Graphemes PHONEME /b/ /t͡ʃ/ /d/ /f/ /g/ /h/ /ʒ/ /k/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /p/ /ɽ/ /s/ /t/ /v/ /w/ /ʃ/ /j/ /z/ GRAPHEME b c d f g h j k l m n p r s t v w x y z
- In Mirad, every consonant has a one-to-one correspondence with a single phoneme (ideal sound). Mirad does not use digraphs like sh or ph to represent consonant sounds. There are no double consonants, although sometimes a consonant will come together with the same consonant in the same word, but not the same syllable. There are no silent consonants. Also, there are no letters in "native" Mirad with diacritical marks like é or ñ.
- That said, the y and w, while functioning as consonants in words from other languages, such as Yohan (Johann) and wan (wan), they are, in Mirad native words, used as glides to alter the pronunciation of vowels. See Pronunciation of Vowels.
Pronunciation of Consonants
- Here are the letters that differ somewhat or function somewhat differently from English:
- The letter x is pronounced like an sh in English.
- The letter h is never silent. It is used to form the determiners in Mirad and is also used to simulate foreign sounds like the ch in Yiddish lachayim (to life!), or German Bach.
- The letter j is pronounced like the zh in Russian Zhivago or the ge in English mirage.
- The letter s is always unvoiced as English ss and never sounds like a z.
- The letter g is always a hard sound as in English gap, not as in English wage.
- The letter c is used only in foreign words and represents the unvoiced affricate sound t͡ʃ like the ch in English church. For example, the Mirad name for China is Cinam.
- The unvoiced plosives p, t, and k are pronounced without the puff of breath that sometimes follows them in their English counterparts. The corresponding consonants in French are exact equivalents.
- The consonant r should be a flap or trill like the r in Brit. Eng. very or the single r in Spanish pero.
- The consonants in the Mirad alphabet correspond one-to-one with phonemes. There are no cases of sounds being represented by paired consonanst as in English ph, sh, ch, or th. For example, the sh sound in English is represented by x in Mirad.
- Here is a chart showing the pronunciation of Mirad consonants:
Consonants MIRAD CONSONANT
IPA ARTICULATION NEAREST EQUIVALENTS b [b] unaspirated voiced bilabial plosive French bon, English boy c [tʃ] unvoiced palato-alveolar affricate English child, Spanish chico (only used in foreign words) d [d] unaspirated voiced alveolar plosive French de, English dog f [f] unvoiced bilabial fricative English fog g [g] unaspirated voiced velar plosive French gare, English good (always hard, even before e and i) h [h]
glottal fricative English house
(used in foreign words and names as a kh-like sound like German Bach
j [ʒ] voiced palatal fricative French je or English mirage k [k] unaspirated unvoiced velar fricative French carte, English kite (without aspiration) or French comment l [l] voiced post-alveolar lateral approximant English love or French bel (never a dark l as in English bell. m [m] voiced bilabial nasal English mother n [n]
voiced alveolar nasal English nobody
Before g or k, like English fang
p [p] unvoiced bilabial plosive French pain, English pan (without aspiration) q - - (Only used in foreign words, where it has various guttural pronunciations) r [r] alveolar flap Spanish mira or Italian Roma or British Eng. 'very s [s] unvoiced alveolar fricative Always hard as in English safe (never a z sound as in rose) t [t] unaspirated unvoiced alveolar plosive French tous, English top (without aspiration) v [v] voiced bilabial fricative English very w [w]
voiced labio-velar approximant As a pre-glide, English water, French oui
As a post-glide, as in English law
x [ʃ] unvoiced post-alveolar fricative English shape or French cher y [j]
voiced palatal approximant As a pre-glide, like English yard
As a post-glide, like English boy.
z /z/ voiced alveolar fricative English zone. German speakers, beware. Mirad z is pronounced like a German s, as in Sohn, not like z as in zehn, which sounds more like ts.
Note: If you see a blank here instead of an IPA symbol, it probably means that the font you are using to display characters in your browser does not support these characters.
- There are 5 vowel phonemes.
- This IPA1 chart shows the Mirad vowel phonemes:
Vowel Phonemes Front Central Back High /i/ /u/ Mid /e/ /o/ Low /a/
The graphemes (alphabetic letters) in Mirad used to represent the above vowel phonemes (minimal meaningful sounds) are as follows:
Vowel Graphemes PHONEME /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/ GRAPHEME a e i o u
Pronunciation of Vowels
- Mirad vowels can be divided into simple vowels and glided vowels.
- Simple Vowels
- The simple vowels are pronounced as they are in many European Latin-based languages. The table below gives their phonetic values and some close examples in Spanish and French, and not-so-close examples in English.
Simple Vowels VOWEL IPA1 SPANISH FRENCH ENGLISH
a [a] mano à father e [e] hecho et day 2 i [i] si si see2 o [o] no de l'eau so3 u [u] tu ou too3
- Glided Vowels
- Vowels in Mirad can be preceded, followed, or surrounded by y and/or w, which act as glides. The chart below shows the possible ways vowels can be glided, along with their pronunciations:
Glided Vowel Patterns GLIDED
IPA1 PRONUNCIATION PRE-Y-GLIDED VOWELS ya [ja] Eng. yacht, Fr. hiacinthe (there is)
ye [je] Eng. yet, Fr. grillé (grilled)
yi [ji] Eng. yeast*, Fr. bouilli yo [jo] Eng. yoke*, Fr. maillot
yu [ju] Eng. you*, Fr. piou-piou PRE-W-GLIDED VOWELS wa [wa] Eng. water, Fr. gouache (poster paint)
we [we] Eng. wet, Fr. ouais (yes) wi [wi] Eng. wee2, Fr. oui (yes)
wo [wo] Eng. woke2 wu [wu] Eng. woo2 POST-Y-GLIDED ay [aɪ] Eng. sight, Sp. hay (there is)
ey [eɪ] Eng. day, Sp. rey (king)
iy [iɪ] Eng. see, Fr. bille (marble)
oy [oɪ] Eng. boy, Sp. hoy (today)
uy [uɪ] Eng. gooey, Sp. muy (very)
POST-W-GLIDED aw [ɔ] Eng. awe
ew [eʊ] Br. Eng. beau, colloq. Eng. Tell me!
iw [iʊ] Eng. eew! (sound of disgust), Du. niew (new) ow [oʊ] Eng. know, foe
uw [uʊ] Eng. goo
CIRCUM-Y-GLIDED yay [jaɪ] Eng. yikes
yey [jeɪ] Eng. yea!
yiy [jiɪ] Eng. yeesh! (sound of disgust)
yoy [joɪ] Eng. yoink ( = New Jyoizy )
yuy [juɪ] Eng. Hughie
PRE-W-POST-Y-GLIDED way [waɪ] Eng. wise, Fr. ouailles (flock)
wey [weɪ] Eng. way
wiy [wiɪ] Eng. wee! (sound of fun)
woy [woɪ] Eng. woy (rhymes with boy) wuy [wuɪ] Eng. wooish (rhymes with gooey)
- Note: That neither circum-w-glided vowels nor pre-y-glided, post-w-glided vowels exist in the language at present.
- Note 1: International Phonetic Alphabet. See chart and click on sounds at [].
- Note 2: Without the typical y-glide at the end of the English vowel. The vowel should be pure, as in the Romance languages of Europe.
- Note 3: Without the typical w-glide at the end of the English vowel. The vowel should be pure, as in the Romance languages of Europe.
- Every syllable in Mirad contains one and only one vowel. A y when final or followed by a consonant is used to post-y-glide or diphthongize the previous vowel and is therefore considered part of the syllable in which that vowel is the nucleus (see case 2, below). Similarly, the liquids r and l, when final or followed by a consonant are considered to be a part of the syllable where the preceding vowel is the nucleus (see case 4, below). Two vowels in a row form two syllabic nuclei (see cases 3, 6, and 7, below). Two non-glide consonants (i.e. not y or w, are split between them (see case 8). How syllables are divided is important for determining where the stress accent goes in a word (see Stress, below).
Syllabification CASE EXAMPLE SYLLABIFIED 1 ama.....hot a-ma 2 ayma.....warm ay-ma 3 aymsea.....warming up aym-se-a 4 prexwa....exploded pre-xwa 5 upayo....will have come u-pa-yo 6 vyaa....true vya-a 7 vyaay....truly vya-ay 8 vay....indeed vay 9 tambwa....settled tam-bwa
- For the purpose of this section:
- G stands for the glides y or w.
- L stands for the liquids r and l.
- C stands for consonants other than glides or liquids.
- V stands for single vowels.
- + means 1 to 3 of the foregoing letter
- Parentheses indicate that a letter is optional.
- Bracketing indicates a choice of letters or patterns.
- Syllables in Mirad are shaped according to the following pattern constraints:
Phonotactics ALLOWABLE SYLLABIC PATTERNS EXAMPLES (C)[LG]V+(G)(L)(C) o, ay, xwa, gyo, gra, toyb, glays, alp, mayr, hyos, va, xwa, gyo, gla, gre, vyaa, lo, wa, yu ...V(G)m[psx] mamp, yomx ...V(G)n[kgsx] yank, yons, anx, Englam, eynx
- Two non-glide/liquid consonants cannot appear together in the same syllable, except in foreign-imported words.
- Two glides or liquids cannot come together in one syllable except in foreign-imported words.
- This list shows most all possible syllable patterns in Mirad:
- Stress in Mirad is not marked and is not phonemic, i.e. not semantically distinctive. However, in all words of more than one syllable, the stress is applied to the last, non-final vowel, included glided vowels. The following chart gives some examples:
Stress Mirad Word With Stress and Syllabification Marked teja....vital te-ja igay....quickly i-gay* Mirad....Mirad Mi-rad booka....tired bo-o-ka bookan....fatigue bo-o-kan tejea....alive te-je-a oyse....lacks oy-se
- * Here ay is a y-glided vowel, and final, so it is not stressed.
- Words in Mirad are capitalized as in English, that is:
- The first word of a sentence is capitalized.
- Proper nouns, including names of places and persons, inhabitants of those places, and the languages spoken there, are capitalized. (This contasts with usage in most European languages.)
- All the letters of an acronym are upper case.
- The following chart illustrates this:
Capitalization Mirad English Amerikam America Amerikama American Amerikat an American Amerikad American English Ivan Ivan Dropek ay Poos War and Peace At Mirade. I speak Mirad. Hyat be ha mir Mirado glojo. Everyone in the world will speak Mirad soon. Yat tambeseya Boston. We were living in Boston. His se Fransa vafil. This is a French wine. Ha Anxwa Doobi gey dyunxwe ha AD. The United Nations is also called the UN.
- Punctuation and the rules governing it are basically the same as in English, except for one difference. The part of a sentence in Mirad that introduces a direct quotation uses a colon (:) instead of a comma, eg.:
- It da: "At voy te." .... He said, "I don't know."