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Adûnaic Phonetics

My analysis of Adûnaic phonology is based entirely “Lowdhan’s Report on the Adûnaic Langauge” written by Tolkien in the 1940s (SD/414-440). Tolkien described the phonological history of the language from Primitive Adûnaic to Classical Adûnaic in great detail, but provided few explicit examples. The analysis of Adûnaic’s phonetic rules presented here is based largely on Tolkien’s description of the rules rather than the development of individual words. As such, there is little reason to look at the analysis here, since it is basically a rehash of the original source material, but I included it for the sake of completeness. It can also be considered a proof of concept for how phonetic analysis is handled in this lexicon, since Adûnaic is the first language I analyzed.


  p-series t-series k-series
voiceless-stops [p] [t] [k]
voiced-stops [b] [d] [g]
voiceless-spirants [f] ‹ph› [θ] ‹th› [x] ‹kh›
sibilants [s] [z]
other-continuants [w] ‹w,v› [l] [r] [h] [j] ‹y›
nasals [m] [n] [ŋ] ‹ng›

vowels [a] [ē] ‹ê› [i] [ō] ‹ô› [u]
diphthongs [āi] ‹âi› [āu] ‹âu› [ōi] ‹ôi› [ēu] ‹êu›
others [ēi] [ōu] **[v] [ø]

Phonetic Groups

Phonetic Rules

[z] became [s] before [x] and [s], and after aspirates, [s] and [x] [z{sx}|{pʰtʰkʰsx}z] > [s{sx}|{pʰtʰkʰsx}s] 00100
[ŋx] became [xx] [ŋx] > [xx] 00200
nasals became voiceless stops before voiceless stops, aspirates and [s] [{mnŋ}{ppʰttʰkkʰs}] > [{ptk}{ppʰttʰkkʰs}] 00300
[w] and [j] became [u] and [i] before consonants and finally [wC|-w|jC|-j] > [uC|-u|iC|-i] 00400
[ɣ] became [w], [j] between [u], [i] and another vowel [uɣV|iɣV] > [uwV|ijV] 00500
[ɣ] vanished before a consonants and finally while lengthening the preceding vowel [VɣC|-Vɣ] > [V̄øC|-V̄ø] 00600
[ɣ] vanished initially and between vowels [ɣ-|VɣV] > [ø-|VøV] 00700
[ɣ] assimilated to preceding voiced consonants [{bdglrzmŋ}₁ɣ] > [C₁C₁] 00800
[ɣ] became [h] after voiceless consonants [{ptkpʰtʰkʰsx}₁ɣ] > [C₁h] 00900
spirant [x] became breath [h] except before [s] and for double [xx] [x{!sx}|-x] > [hX|-h] 01000
[ŋŋ] became [ŋg] [ŋŋ] > [ŋg] 01100
aspirates became voiceless spirants [{ptk}ʰ] > [{fθx}] 01200
voiceless stops became spirants before homorganic spirants [pf|tθ|kx] > [ff|θθ|xx] 01300
voiceless stops became spirants before [θ] [{pk}θ] > [{fx}θ] 01400
adjacent like vowels contract and lengthen [uu|ii|aa] > [ū|ī|ā] 01500
short diphthongs [ai] and [au] monophthongized to [ē] and [ō] [ăĭ|ăŭ] > [ē|ō] 01600
long diphthongs shortened their second vowel [VV̄] > [V̄V̆] 01700
[ōu] and [ēi] became over-long [ō] and [ē] [ōu|ēi] > [ō|ē] 01800
glide consonant [w] or [j] was inserted between [u] or [i] and a following distinct vowel [uøV|iøV] > [uwV|ijV] 01900