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
initial and intervocalic [ŋ] vanished [ŋ-|VŋV] > [ø-|VøV] 00200
first in pair of voiced stops vocalized [Vb{bdg}|Vg{bdg}] > [Vu{bdg}|Vi{bdg}] 00300
[ɣ] became [g] before nasals and liquids [ɣ{mnlr}] > [g{mnlr}] 00400
initial [ɣ]/[h] vanished [{ɣh}-] > [ø-] 00500
[j] was lost after initial velars [{kkʰg}j-|skj-|ŋgj] > [{kkʰg}-|sk-|ŋg] 00600
medial [mj] became [nj] but [mw] became [mm] [mj|mw] > [nj|mm] 00700
initial [ml], [mr] became [bl], [br] [m{lr}-] > [b{lr}-] 00800
initial syllabic [m], [n], [ŋ] became [am], [an], [aŋ] [{ṃṇŋ̣}-] > [a{mnŋ}-] 00900
voiceless stops were voiced before nasals [{ptk}{mn}] > [{bdg}{mnŋ}] 01000
[m] became [w] after aspirates [{ptk}ʰm] > [{ptk}ʰw] 01100
[tʰn] became [ttʰ] [tʰn] > [ttʰ] 01200
final [d] spirantalized and vanished [-Vd] > [-V̄ø] 01300
final [tʰ] became [t] [-tʰ] > [-t] 01400
medial [s] became [x] before [j], [w] [-s{jw}-] > [-x{jw}-] 01500
long final vowels were shortened [-SV̄] > [-SV̆] 01600
[z] vanished before [d] lengthening preceding vowel [Vzd] > [V̄d] 01700
syllabic initial [s] became [es] [ṣ-] > [es-] 01800
initial [s] unvoiced following consonants [s{jwmnrl}-] > [{j̊w̥m̥n̥l̥r̥}-] 01900
voiceless stops became spirants after initial [s] [s{ptk}-] > [s{ɸθx}-] 02000
voiceless stops aspirated after consonants except [s] [{ptkmnŋlr}{ptk}] > [{ptkmnŋlr}{ptk}ʰ] 02100
aspirates became voiceless spirants [{ptk}ʰ|{ptk}{ptk}ʰ] > [{ɸθx}|{ɸθx}{ɸθx}] 02200
[eu] became [iu] [eu] > [iu] 02300
[ā] became [ǭ] [ā] > [ǭ] 02400
[j] became [i] after vowels [VjV|-Vj] > [ViV|-Vi] 02500
[ei], [ou] became [ī], [ū] [ei|ou] > [ī|ū] 02600
[oi], [ǭi] became [ui], [oi] [oi|ǭi] > [ui|oi] 02700
final [e] became [a] after single [s] and [st] [-se|-ste|-sse] > [-sa|-sta|-sse] 02800
medial [s] assimilated to following nasal [-{sm|sn}-] > [-{mm|nn}-] 02900
[ns] became [ss] [-ns-] > [-ss-] 03000
intervocalic [s] became [h] [VsV|-Vs] > [VhV|-Vh] 03100
[p], [t], [k] became spirants before [s] [ps|ts|ks] > [ɸs|θθ|xs] 03200
[rl] became [ll] [rl] > [ll] 03300
[ē], [ō] became [ī], [ū] [ē|ō] > [ī|ū] 03400
[j] vanished before [i], [ui] [{ji|jui}-] > [{i|ui}-] 03500
[w] vanished before [u] [{uw|wu}] > [u] 03600
[bm], [dn] became [mm], [nn] [bm|dn] > [mm|nn] 03700