Phonology


The Votic alphabet, in proposed orthography:

a  b  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o
p  r  s    t  u  v  y  z        

Vowels

Back vowels "a, o, u", are analoguos to the corresponding Estonian vowels.

= same as Estonian
y = like English "i" in "pin". Only found in Russian loanwords.

, e, i, , = as in Estonian

Votic vowels are fully articulated in any position they may occur, whether stressed or unstressed.

All vowels can occur long. Long vowels can occur in syllables having main, secondary or no stress.

The following diphthongs occur in Votic:


a  e  u  ai  oi  ui  i  i  ei  i  i  ao  io  uo
u  eu  iu  i    e    oa  ua  ia  au    i  

Votic has vowel harmony. If a back or central vowel occurs in the first syllable of a word, neither labial nor non-labial front vowels can occur in the following syllables. An exception is "i", which can occur in words with either fron or back vowels. Other exceptions include some derivational suffixes that alwats have back vowels:

-kaa  = leivkaa, "bread (com.)"
-kaz  = verekaz, "bloody"
-lain = venlain, "Russian (person)"
-ssaa = tlssaa, "up to the village"
-ko   = interrogative suffix: onko?, "is it?"
-kaa  = skaa!, "eat! (pl)"

As well, vowel harmony does not occur in some onomatopoetic words, nor in some of the more recent loanwords.

Consonants

In Votic the voiceless stops "p, t, k" are unaspirated, and can occur in all positions. They are similar to the voiceless stops in Finnish and the northeastern dialects of Estonian.

"b, d, g" are completely voiced stops, as in Russian, except in absolute word-final position, where they are voiceless.

The velar nasal "ng" appears only as a combinatory phone before "g" and "k".

The fricative "h" is voiceless before voiceless phones, but otherwise it is slightly voiced.

The palatal fricative "j" is more intense in Votic than its Estonian counterpart.

The the voiceless palatal spirant "" and its voiced counterpart "z (zh)" exist only in loanwords from Russian and in onomatopoetic words. Their articulation is the same as in Russian.

The dental spirant "s" is the same as its Estonian counterpart, but it is different from Finnish and Ingrian "s", which is formed further back in the mouth.

The voiced counterpart of "s" is "z", but in absolute word-final position it is voiceless.

The lateral "l" is the same as in Estonian.

The voiced trill "r" is like that in Finnish and Estonian.

The voiceless labio-dental fricative "f" occurs only in loanwords, while its voiced counterpart "v" is more intense than in Estonian.

The voiceless hard palatal affricate "t" is similar to Hungarian "cs".

All consonants can also appear as geminates, and "t, d, n, s, z, l" and "r" can be palatalised.


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