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

[nm], [ŋm] became [nw], [ŋgw] [nm|ŋm] > [nw|ŋgw] 00100
[ŋ] vanished between [i], [u] and [n] with compensatory lengthening [{iu}ŋn] > [V̄øn] 00200
medial [ŋ] after a [n], [ŋ], [l], [r] became [g] [-{nŋlr}ŋ-] > [-{nŋlr}g-] 00300
[ei], [ou] generally became [ī], [ū] [ei|ou] > [ī|ū] 00400
[ji], [wu] became [i], [u] [ji|wu] > [i|u] 00500
intervocalic [j] diphthongized after long vowel [V̄jV] > [VijV] 00600
spirants became stops after [r], [l] [{rl}{ɸθxð}] > [{rl}{ptkd}] 00700
spirants became stops after nasals [mɸ|nθ|ŋx|nð] > [mp|nt|ŋk|nd] 00800
[wo] became [o] [wo-] > [o-] 00900
[w] became [β] initially and between vowels [w-|VwV|aiw] > [β-|VβV|aiw] 01000
[ɣ] from [g] vanished [ɣ] > [ø] 01100
[ae], [ao] generally became [ē], [ō] [ae|ao|ā{ĕŏ}] > [ē|ō|ā] 01200
[ɸu] became [hu] [ɸu] > [hu] 01300
[β] vanished before [u] after vowels [Vβu] > [Vu] 01400
[pt], [kt] became [ɸt], [xt] [{pk}t] > [{ɸx}t] 01500
[pw] became [pp] [pw] > [pp] 01600
initial voiceless nasals and liquids were voiced [{m̥n̥l̥r̥}-] > [{mnlr}-] 01700
[x] became [h] except before [t] [x|xt|lx|rx] > [h|xt|l̥l̥|r̥r̥] 01800
medial [ð], [z] dissimilated to [l], [s] after [r] [rVð|rVz|zVr] > [rVl|rVs|sVr] 01900
long vowels shortened before consonant clusters [V̄CC|V̄tj|V̄kw] > [V̆CC|V̄tj|V̄kw] 02000
long final vowels were shortened [-SV̄] > [-SV̆] 02100
[-ai] became [-e] [-ai] > [-e] 02200
[ij], [uw] became [i], [u] [ijV|uwV] > [iV|uV] 02300
short final [a], [e], [o] lost in long compounds [-SSS{ăĕŏ}] > [-SSSø] 02400
nasals and liquids often became syllabic after a consonant [ClV₁|ml|Cr|{ptk}{nm}] > [CV₁lV₁|mul|Car|{ptk}{an|um}] 02500
final consonant clusters reduced [-CC|-{ptk}s|-{xp}t] > [-C|-s|-t] 02600
final spirants were altered [-{θð}] > [-{tr}] 02700
final consonants became dentals [-{pk}|-{mŋ}] > [-t|-n] 02800
[ŋ] assimilated to following [n] after [e], [a], [o] [{eao}ŋn] > [{eao}nn] 02900
[ɸ], [β] became [f], [v] [ɸ|β] > [f|v] 03000
[sf] became [f] [sf] > [f] 03100
[w] from [gw] became [v] initially and between vowels [w-|VwV] > [v-|VvV] 03200
[lɣ], [rɣ] became [ll], [rr] [lɣ|rɣ] > [ll|rr] 03300
[θ] became [s] [θ] > [s] 03400
[sp], [sk] became [ps], [sk] [sp|sk|skw] > [ps|ks|skw] 03500
[d] vanished between [n], [r], [l] and [j] [{nrl}dj] > [{nrl}øj] 03600
intervocalic [ð] became [r] [Vð{Vw}] > [Vr{Vw}] 03700
[z] became [r] [z] > [r] 03800
[rs] became [ss] [rs] > [ss] 03900
initial [ŋ] became [n] [ŋ-] > [n-] 04000
initial [ps], [ks] became [ups], [iks] [ps-|ks-] > [ups-|iks-] 04100
[ɸt] became [ut] [ɸt] > [ut] 04200
exhilic [ts] became [ss] [ts] > [ss] 04300
final [t] became [s] [-t] > [-s] 04400
[w] became [v] after [l], [r] [{lr}w] > [{lr}v] 04500