Primitive Adûnaic Phonetics

My analysis of Primitive Adûnaic phonology is based entirely on “Lowdham’s Report on the Adûnaic Language” written by Tolkien in the 1940s (SD/414-440). See the overview of Adûnaic Phonology for further discussion how the analysis presented here relates to the source material. This lexicon assigns the earliest phonetic changes in Adûnaic to the Primitive Adûnaic period, as well as Tolkien’s description of the phonetic inventory of the primitive form of the language (SD/416).


  p-series t-series c-series k-series
voiceless-stops [p] [t] [c] [k]
voiced-stops [b] [d] [ɟ] ‹j› [g]
voiceless-aspirated-stops [pʰ] ‹ph› [tʰ] ‹th› [cʰ] ‹ch› [kʰ] ‹kh›
voiceless-continuants [s] [ç] [x] ‹h›
voiced-weak-continuants [w] [l] [r] [z] [j] ‹y› [ɣ] ‹ʒ› [ʔ]
voiced-nasals [m] [n] [ŋ] ‹ñ›

vowels [a] [i] [u]
diphthongs [ai] [au]
others [ø]

Phonetic Groups

Phonetic Rules

primitive Elvish short [e] and [o] became [i] and [u] [{eo}] > [{iu}] 00100
[ʔ] vanished early [ʔ] > [ø] 00200
medial [w] and [j] vanished before [u] and [i] [Xwu|Xji] > [Xøu|Xøi] 00300
most palatals became sibilants [s] or [z] [{cçcʰ}|ɟ] > [s|z] 00400
[n] assimilated in position to following consonants [n{ppʰbm}|n{kkʰgxɣ}] > [m{ppʰbm}|ŋ{kkʰgxɣ}] 00500
stops became aspirates after aspirates [{ptk}ʰ{bdg|ptk}] > [{ptk}ʰ{ptk}ʰ] 00600
[x] became [ɣ] before voiced stops [x{bdg}] > [ɣ{bdg}] 00700