Old Sindarin Phonetics

This section explores the phonetic developments of “Old Sindarin” between the time when the Sindar split from the Teleri and when the Noldor returned to Beleriand. See the notes on Sindarin phonetics for a description of my main methodology and sources.

Phonemes

  p-series t-series k-series
voiceless-stops [p] [t] [k]
voiceless-spirants [ɸ] ‹ph› [s] [θ] ‹th› [h] [x] ‹kh›
voiced-stops [b] [d] [g]
nasals [m] [m̥] [n] [n̥] [ŋ]
voiceless-continuants [w̥] [l̥] [r̥] [j̊]
voiced-continuants [w] [l] [r] [j] ‹y›

vowels [i] [e] [a] [o] [u]
long-vowels [ę̄] [ī] [ǭ] [ū]
diphthongs [ai] [ui] [iu]
others [ø]

Phonetic Groups

Phonetic Rules

final i-diphthongs became long [ī] in polysyllables [-SVi] > [-Sī] 00100
[ns] became [ss] [ns] > [ss] 00200
initial and intervocalic [ŋ] vanished [ŋ-|VŋV] > [ø-|VøV] 00300
first in pair of voiced stops vocalized [Vb{bdg}|Vg{bdg}] > [Vu{bdg}|Vi{bdg}] 00400
[ɣ] became [g] before nasals and liquids [ɣ{mnlr}] > [g{mnlr}] 00500
initial [ɣ]/[h] vanished [{ɣh}-] > [ø-] 00600
[j] was lost after initial velars [{kkʰg}j-|skj-|ŋgj] > [{kkʰg}-|sk-|ŋg] 00700
medial [mj] became [nj] but [mw] became [mm] [mj|mw] > [nj|mm] 00800
initial [ml], [mr] became [bl], [br] [m{lr}-] > [b{lr}-] 00900
initial syllabic [m], [n], [ŋ] became [am], [an], [aŋ] [{ṃṇŋ̣}-] > [a{mnŋ}-] 01000
voiceless stops were voiced before nasals [{ptk}{mn}] > [{bdg}{mnŋ}] 01100
[m] became [w] after aspirates [{ptk}ʰm] > [{ptk}ʰw] 01200
[tʰn] became [ttʰ] [tʰn] > [ttʰ] 01300
final [d] spirantalized and vanished [-Vd] > [-V̄ø] 01400
final [tʰ] became [t] [-tʰ] > [-t] 01500
medial [s] became [x] before [j], [w] [-s{jw}-] > [-x{jw}-] 01600
long final vowels were shortened [-SV̄] > [-SV̆] 01700
[z] vanished before [d] lengthening preceding vowel [Vzd] > [V̄d] 01800
syllabic initial [s] became [es] [ṣ-] > [es-] 01900
initial [s] unvoiced following consonants [s{jwmnrl}-] > [{j̊w̥m̥n̥l̥r̥}-] 02000
voiceless stops became spirants after initial [s] [s{ptk}-] > [s{ɸθx}-] 02100
voiceless stops aspirated after consonants except [s] [{ptkmnŋlr}{ptk}] > [{ptkmnŋlr}{ptk}ʰ] 02200
aspirates became voiceless spirants [{ptk}ʰ|{ptk}{ptk}ʰ] > [{ɸθx}|{ɸθx}{ɸθx}] 02300
[eu] became [iu] [eu] > [iu] 02400
[ā] became [ǭ] [ā] > [ǭ] 02500
[j] became [i] after vowels [VjV|-Vj] > [ViV|-Vi] 02600
[ei], [ou] became [ī], [ū] [ei|ou] > [ī|ū] 02700
[oi], [ǭi] became [ui], [oi] [oi|ǭi] > [ui|oi] 02800
final [e] became [a] after single [s] and [st] [-se|-ste|-sse] > [-sa|-sta|-sse] 02900
medial [s] assimilated to following nasal [-{sm|sn}-] > [-{mm|nn}-] 03000
intervocalic [s] became [h] [VsV|-Vs] > [VhV|-Vh] 03100
[p], [t], [k] spirantalized before [s] [ps|ts|ks] > [ɸɸ|θθ|xx] 03200
[rl] became [ll] [rl] > [ll] 03300
[j] vanished before [i], [ui] [{ji|jui}-] > [{i|ui}-] 03400
[w] vanished before [u] [{uw|wu}] > [u] 03500
[bm], [dn] became [mm], [nn] [bm|dn] > [mm|nn] 03600