Turning Japanese

April 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

Here’s a phonology I cooked up in a few minutes that’s pretty much a copy of Japanese, with some of my own touches.


The voiceless labial stop /p/ only occurs doubled; historically, it has merged with /h/ when single. The glottal fricative is [ɸ] before /u/. The siblants /ts dz s z/ are palatalized to [tɕ dʑ ɕ ʑ]. The voiced affricate usually loses it’s stoppage between vowels, becoming either [z] or [ʑ]. The sonorant /r/ is a flap unspecified for lateralness.

I’m thinking of adding /x/ for some flavor/

Basic vowels:

The vowels are pretty simple. The mid vowels are laxed before a syllable final consonant to [ɛ ɔ] and are always lax in diphthongs and triphthongs. The vowels /y u/ do not occur in the same words, participating in vowel harmony.


The chart above shows the cooccurance of the glides with vowels and falling diphthongs. The glides do not occur before homoorganic high vowels.

The maximum syllable is CGVC, where C is a consonant, G a glide and V a vowel or falling diphthong. The glide /j/ occurs with all initials, while the glide /w/ occurs only after velar initials or /m/. Word initial, there may be an open onset. Word medially, there must be an onset, a glide, or both.

Syllable final consonants are severely restricted. Word internally, there may only be a copy of a following voiceless obstruent or nasal /ŋ/ . Long /ss/ > [tts]. These stops obstruent sequences are often realized as a [ʔC] sequence. The nasal is realized as slightly postvelar in this position. Before labials, the nasal becomes labio-velar: [ŋ͡m]. Word finally, the choices are slightly larger: /t k ŋ/ all occur.


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§ One Response to Turning Japanese

  • Keri says:

    Cool, I like it a lot. I like the idea of throwing /x/ in there, too. I think it’s neat that you’re playing with Japanese phonology but not limiting it to CV only.

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