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Karkin Language

Karkin Phonology


Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Stop p t c k q ʔ
Fricative   s ʃ x χ h
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ ɴ  
Approximate w   j      
Lateral   l ʎ      
Trill   r        


Karkin has six vowels, each of which has a phonemically distinct long version. The long versions are in the same location as the short vowels on the vowel trapezoid, so they aren't pictured there. The long vowel is about twice as long in duration as its short version.

There are also iː eː aː əː oː uː. They are not considered doubles of a short vowel, but separate vowels in the phonology.


Karkin has an insane amount of consonant clusters that are possible. Look at this:

  • ʃx-
  • qt-
  • qs-
  • skt-
  • st-
  • ʃt-
  • hs-
  • hm-
  • hn-
  • mx-
  • km-
  • kp-
  • ks-
  • lq-
  • mŋ-
  • pʃ-
  • ps
  • tχ-
  • ts-
  • tp-
  • tq-
  • tsq-
  • pq-
  • ʎp-

All consonants can begin a word and end a word. Some are obviously more common than others. One is more like to see a word beginning with m- or χ- than ʔ- or w-. Likewise, it is more common to see a word ending with -l, or -k than -h or -j.


The default stress for two-syllable words is on the first syllable.

But the default state can be interrupted by the following things.

Stress parameters are based a lot on consonant clusters and vowel length. If a word has a long vowel, the stress is almost always on that syllable. If there are two or more long vowels, the last one has the stress. Schwas usually do not take the stress unless there are only schwas as vowels in the word or if that schwa is the first vowel.

If there are no long vowels, then the stress placement is determined by consonant clusters. If a vowel comes before two or more consonants, the stress is probably going to be on that syllable.

If there is a fricative that is the onset of the last syllable of a three or more syllable word, the stress is on the syllable before that.

  • ‘axpas ‘servant’ > ax’pasχə
  • ‘nimmə ‘husband’
  • ‘cəŋi ‘dig’
  • i’muː ‘remove’
  • oːʎ’oː ‘be burned’

There are exceptions to all these rules, but they are not many. At some point I’ll make a list of these.

Allophonic Rules

  • ʎ → [j] / i __ #
  • i → [ɪ] / [+uvular] __
  • h → [x] / __ C
  • l → [+ syllabic] / C __#

Minimal Sets

  • tkor ‘square-shaped’
  • tkoːr ‘support’ (v.)
  • tsqə ‘bite’
  • tsqeː ‘horror’
  • tska ‘mistake’
  • ʃən ‘die’
  • ʃəɴ ‘feel pleasure’
  • ‘ground, earth’
  • ci ‘infant’
  • cuː ‘look’ (v.)
  • caːma ‘axe’
  • cama ‘cradle’