Quenya Phonetics

My analysis of Late Quenya phonology is based mainly Tolkien’s “Outline of Phonology” from the 1950s (PE19/68-107). I made one pass through the material back in 2012, but I have since completely changed the way I record phonetic analysis and have not had time to go back and update this material. This phonetic analysis should be ignored until I have time to revisit the material, but this won’t happen for a while, since I intend to work out the phonology of both Early Quenya and Middle Quenya first.


  p-series t-series ty-series k-series kw-series
voiceless-stops [p] [t] [tʲ] ‹ty› [k] ‹c› [kʷ] ‹qu›
voiced-stops [b] [d] [dʲ] ‹dy› [g] [gʷ] ‹gw›
voiceless-spirants [f] [s] [θ] ‹þ› [h] [x] ‹χ›
voiced-spirants [v]
nasals [m] [n] [nʲ] ‹ny› [ŋ] ‹ñ› [ŋʷ] ‹nw›
continuants [w] [l] [r] [j] ‹y› [w]
voiceless-continuants [l̥] ‹hl› [r̥] ‹hr› [j̊] ‹hy› [w̥] ‹hw›

vowels [i] [e] [a] [o] [u]
long-vowels [ī] [ē] [ā] [ō] [ū]
diphthongs [ai] [oi] [ui] [au] [eu] [iu]
others [ø]

Phonetic Groups

Phonetic Rules

[ae], [ao] generally became [ē], [ō] [ae|ao|ā{ĕŏ}] > [ē|ō|ā]
[-ai] became [-e] [-ai] > [-e]
[d] vanished between [n], [r], [l] and [j] [{nrl}dj] > [{nrl}øj]
[ei], [ou] generally became [ī], [ū] [ei|ou] > [ī|ū]
exhilic [ts] became [ss] [ts] > [ss]
final consonant clusters reduced [-CC] > [-C]
final [m] became [n] [-m] > [-n]
final [ss], [st], [ps], [ts], [ks] became [s] [-s{st}|-{ptk}s] > [-s|-s]
final [t] became [s] [-t] > [-s]
final [θ] became [t] [-θ] > [-t]
final [xt], [pt] became [t] [-{px}t] > [-t]
[ɣ] from [g] vanished [ɣ] > [ø]
[ij], [uw] became [i], [u] [ijV|uwV] > [iV|uV]
initial [ŋ] became [n] [ŋ-] > [n-]
initial [ps], [ks] became [ips], [ups] [{pk}s-] > [s-]
initial voiceless nasalized stops became stops [{mp|nt|ŋk}-] > [{ptk}-]
initial voiceless nasals were voiced [m̥-|n̥-] > [m-|n-]
intervocalic [ð] became [r] [Vð{Vw}] > [Vr{Vw}]
intervocalic [j] diphthongized after long vowel [V̄jV] > [VijV]
[ji], [wu] became [i], [u] [ji|wu] > [i|u]
later [j], [w] became [i], [u] before consonants [VjC|VwC] > [ViC|VuC]
long vowels shortened before consonant clusters [V̄CC|V̄tj|V̄kw] > [V̆CC|V̄tj|V̄kw]
medial [ð], [z] dissimilated to [l], [s] after [r] [rVðX|rVzX] > [rVlX|rVsX]
medial [ŋ] after a [n], [ŋ], [l], [r] became [g] [-{nŋlr}ŋ-] > [-{nŋlr}g-]
[ŋ] assimilated to following [n] after [e], [a], [o] [{eao}ŋn] > [{eao}nn]
[ŋ] vanished before [m], [n] with compensatory lengthening [Vŋ{mn}] > [V̄ø{mn}]
[n] vanished between vowels and [r] with compensatory lengthening [Vnr] > [V̄ør]
[pw] became [pp] [pw] > [pp]
[rɣ], [lɣ] became [rr], [ll] [rɣ|lɣ] > [rr|ll]
[rl] became [ll] [rl] > [ll]
[r], [l] usually became syllabic after a consonant [CølV₁|ml|Cr] > [CV₁lV₁|mul|Car]
[rs] became [ss] [rs] > [ss]
[sf] became [f] [sf] > [f]
short final [a], [e], [o] lost in long compounds [-SSS{ăĕŏ}] > [-SSSø]
spirants became stops after nasals [mf|nθ|ŋx|nð] > [mp|nt|ŋk|nd]
[sp], [sk] became [ps], [sk] [sp|sk|skw] > [ps|ks|skw]
syllabic initial [s] became [is] [ṣ-] > [is-]
[v] after [s,z,n,r,l,ao,ai] became [w] [{sznrl}v|{ao}iv] > [{sznrl}w|{ao}iw]
[v] vanished before [u] after vowels [Vvu] > [Vu]
**[w] became [v] after [l], [r] [{lr}w] > [{lr}v]
[w] from [gw] became [v] initially and between vowels [w-|VwV] > [v-|VvV]
[wŏ] became [o] [wo-] > [o-]
[z] assimilated to following [m], [n] [zm|zn] > [mm|nn]
[z] became [r] [z] > [r]
[ɸt] became [ut] [ɸt] > [ut]
[ɸu] became [hu] [ɸu] > [hu]
[ɸ], [β] became [f], [v] [ɸ|β] > [f|v] 00100
[pt], [kt] became [ɸt], [xt] [{pk}t] > [{ɸx}t] 00200
[x] became [h] except before [t] [x|xt|lx|rx] > [h|xt|l̥l̥|r̥r̥] 00300
long final vowels were shortened [-SV̄] > [-SV̆] 00400
[θ] became [s] [θ] > [s] 00500