Except for a few words that are called unstressed, all words in Tundrian have a stressed syllable, i.e. one that receives more emphasis in the spoken language than other syllables do.


The following words are usually unstressed:

a 'to, at', al 'to the', au 'or', cel (+ cela, cele etc.) 'this/these [adj.]', ci '(to) here', ço 'this [pn.]', con 'with', 'from', de 'of', del 'of the', doi 'you [formal]', don 'Sir', ê 'and', el 'the', en 'in', es 'some', est (+ esti, este etc.] 'that', ho 'it [impers.]', in 'from there, of it', jo 'I', la/lâ/las/le/li/lo/los 'the', lhis 'to them', lhi 'to him', me 'me', mi 'to me', (+ mîa, mêi etc.) 'my', ne 'not', ni 'neither', noi 'to us', non 'not', nos 'us', per 'by', por 'for', que 'that [conj.], what [pn.], than', quen 'whom [pn.]', qui 'who []', se 'oneself, themselves [acc.]', si 'to oneself, to themselves', (+ sûa, sûi etc.) 'his, her, its', sur 'on', te 'you [acc.sing.]', ti 'to you [sing.]', tu 'you [sing.]', (+ tûa, tûi etc.) 'your [sing.]', vi '(to) there', voi 'to you [pl.]', vos 'you []', xi 'if', 'under'.

Certain frequently used verbal forms may or may not be stressed in the sentence - in any case, their spelling does not change. The following forms are the most common with this variation:

  • esseir (to be): soy, és, son
  • eular (to go): voy, va, van
  • faer (to do): foy, fas, fan
  • haveir (to have): hoy, ha, han

The word un is normally stressed when it means 'one', and unstressed when it means 'a(n)'. It never carries an accent, however.


The stressed syllable may never be more than three syllables from the end of the word. The three possible accentuation patterns are therefore:

  • oxytonic - the last syllable receives the stress: cantar /kɑn-'tar/, de /də-'vy/
  • paroxytonic - the penultimate syllable receives the stress: rosa /'ro-za/, costa /'kɔs-ta/
  • proparoxytonic - the antepenultimate syllable receives the stress: crítica /'kri-ti-ka/, cômplici /'kɔm-pli-tʃi/

Regular stress in words of more than one syllable is decided according to the following rules:

  • Words ending in a vowel are normally paroxytonic. The ending vowel may be written as a digraph ending in <-i> or <-u> (e.g. <-ei>, <-ou>), but not those ending in a <y> (e.g. <-ay>, <-oy>). Examples (the stressed vowel is shown in red): casa 'house'; pedi 'feet'; pira 'pear'; porto 'I carry'; luna 'moon'; hindou 'Hindu'; BUT: malay 'Malay', cantaroy 'I will sing'.
  • Words ending in a simple vowel + s or n are also regularly paroxytonic: casas 'houses [acc.]'; venen 'they come'; biven 'they drink'; portas 'you [sing.] carry; doors [acc.]'; curan 'they cure'; orphan 'orphan'.
  • Exceptionally, Latin loan-words ending in -ûs or -ûm are also normally paroxytonic: sinûs 'sine'; albûm 'album'.
  • All other polysyllabic words are assumed to be oxytonic, unless marked otherwise. Examples of such oxytonic words:
    • those ending in a single consonant (except n or s): amiyc 'friend'; capaç 'capable';  palud 'swamp'; geolog 'geologist'; cavail 'horse'; cantam 'we sing'; xirop 'syrup'; haveir 'to have'; mariyt 'husband'; datiyv 'dative'; debaix 'underneath'; tapiz 'carpet'
    • those ending in a digraph vowel + n or s: natzoun 'nation'; cantais 'you [pl.] sing'
    • those ending in a digraph consonant: Antioch; fastidz 'boredom'; indign 'unworthy'; orgoulh 'pride'; alûmn 'pupil'; extranh 'strange'; abscess; aneith 'dillseed'; viatx 'travel'; dispretz 'contempt'
    • those ending in a consonant cluster: geologs 'geologists [acc.]'; animals 'animals [acc.]'; esmalt 'enamel'; lontzemp 'long time'; fastiant 'boring'; passaport 'passport'; forest 'forest'
    • those ending in a diphthong whose second letter is spelled <y>: malay 'Malay'; xerviy 'I served'; daroy 'I will give'.


Words that are stressed differently from the default normally mark the irregularly stressed vowel (which may also be a diphthong or a digraph) with an accent. The patterns are:

  • oxytones ending in a stressed vowel (incl. diphthongs): dará 'he will give'; canapé; xerví 'she served'; buró 'bureau'; devú 'he had to'; cantái 'I sang'; devúi 'I had to'; cangaróu 'kangaroo'
  • oxytones ending in a simple vowel + n or s: están 'they stand'; canapés; xervís 'you [sing.] served'; avión 'airplane'; metús 'the same'
  • paroxytones ending in a consonant (except those ending in a simple vowel + n or s): plâstic 'plastic'; pâllid 'pale'; horríbil 'horrible'; íntim 'intimate'; ácer 'maple'; ánat 'duck'; féicat 'liver'; séutim 'seventh'
  • paroxytones when the stressed vowel is <i> or <u>, followed by a word-final vowel or by a word-final simple vowel + n or s: pharmacía 'pharmacy'; havîa 'I/he had to'; continúa 'he continues'; and declined/conjugated forms of the same: pharmacías, havîan, havîas, continúan, continúan
  • all proparoxytones: básica 'basic [f.sing.]; Âfrica 'Africa'; América 'America'; têrmino 'I terminate'; féicati 'livers'; reítera 'he reiterates'; chaótica 'chaotic [f.sing.]'; s'ôstina 'he is obstinate'; illúmina 'it illuminates'

There are three exceptions to these rules:

  • If the irregularly stressed vowel/diphthong already has an accent imposed for phonetic reasons, there is no possibility to indicate the irregular stress, as in: estêi 'I stood'; sarcôu 'coffin'; ûter 'uterus'.
  • If the irregularly stressed vowel precedes the grapheme <ï>, there is no need for it to bear an accent, because <ï> is always unstressed: laïc 'lay [adj.]'; hêroïc 'heroic'.
  • Paroxytonic words ending in -ûm or -ûs do not need a written accent on the stressed vowel: albûm 'album'; sinûs 'sine'.


If the irregular stress falls on the vowels spelt <a>, <e> or <o>, the choice of the accent depends on the pronunciation. The following table will show the form to be used (see Tundrian Phonetics for the meaning of the symbols):

a á ɑ â
e é ɛ ê
o ó ɔ ô


  • dará 'he will give'; ánat 'duck'
  • plâstic 'plastic'; câlcolo 'I calculate'
  • comité 'committee'; crédito 'I credit'
  • domêstic 'servant'; têrmino 'I terminate'
  • cantó 'he sang'; ópero 'I operate'
  • cômpliç 'accomplice'; s'ôstina 'he is obstinate'

When the vowel is <i>, irregular stress is generally denoted by the acute accent (<í>), unless <i> is preceded or followed by a vowel, in which case it is spelled with the circumflex accent (<î>). Examples:

  • xerví 'he served'; alfín 'bishop (in chess)'
  • xervîa 'I/he served'; maîs 'corn, maize'

Exception: in the nominal derivative suffix -ía (and its plural forms -íe,  -ías) we always find the acute accent: abbatía 'abbey', pharmacía 'pharmacy'. But in carvîa 'caraway seed', convîa 'convoy', corrîa 'strap', desvîa 'detour', santorîa 'savory', tîa 'auntie', vîa 'street' and xîa 'wake' (of a ship), where the -îa is not suffixal, the circumflex is retained.

The vowel <u> (pronounced /y/) always carries the acute accent when it is stressed irregularly: devú 'he had to', únic 'unique'.

The vowel <y>, used for the phoneme /i/ in some words of Greek origin, can also show irregular stress through the use of the acute accent: cýstic 'cystic'; phýsica 'physics'.

Similarly, digraph vowels carry the acute accent on their first letter when they are stressed irregularly: cantái 'I sang'; cáustic 'caustic'; féicat 'liver'; séutim 'seventh'; cangaróu 'kangaroo'; devúi 'I had to'.


Accents may be used for other purposes than to show irregular stress. Here are the most important such uses:


  • The acute accent may be used over the vowels <a>, <e> and <o> to show that they should have an open pronunciation in a closed syllable (see Open and Closed Syllables on the Syllabification page for a definition). Examples: ánta 'aunt', ést 'east', sçónta 'joke'.

    Note that the use of the acute accent is restricted to stressed vowels. In the rare cases where unstressed <a>, <e> or <o> are to be pronounced "open" in a closed syllable, this cannot be shown through the use of accents: naturalment /natyral'mɛnt/.

  • The acute accent may also be used over <u> to show a stressed /y/ after the vowels <a> or <e>: saúc /sa'yk/ 'elder tree', leúme /lɛ'ymə/ 'vegetable' (and not **/'sɔk/, **/'lømə/, which would be the pronunciation of **sauc, **leume).
  • A third use of the acute accent is to show, in monosyllables, that an <e> or <o> at the end of the word, or before word-final <n>, <r> or <s>, is to have a stressed (/e/ and /o/, respectively), rather than unstressed (/ə/ and /u/), value. Examples:
    • lé /'le/ 'to her'; bén /'ben/ 'well [adv.]'; és /'es/ 'is' (also pronounced /ɛs/ when unstressed, but never as **/əs/)
    • dó /'do/ (the musical note); bón /'bon/ 'good'; cór /'kor/ 'heart'.

    Note that this rule is not applied for <e> before word-final <r>, e.g. fer /'fer/ 'wild' .

  • A fourth use of the acute accent is to distinguish some stressed words from homographs that may or may not be stressed:
    • sí 'yes', vs. si (dative of the reflexive pronoun)
    • ván 'vain', vs. van 'they go'


  • The use of the circumflex accent over the vowels <a>, <e> and <o> is to show that they are to be pronounced with a closed pronunciation in an open syllable. Unlike in the case of the acute accent, the circumflex accent can be used for this purpose in stressed, as well as unstressed, syllables. Examples:
    • ân /'ɑn/ 'year'; âcasa /ɑ'kaza/ 'at home'
    • acadêmia /aka'dɛmja/ 'academy'; êdifiç /ɛdi'fitʃ/ 'building
      • It is to be noted that the vowel schwa (phonetic /ə/) cannot occur before another vowel in Tundrian, so that the pronunciation /ê/ is normal in words like crear /krɛ'ar/ 'to create', reîr /rɛ'ir/ 'to rule', theología /tɛulu'dʒia/ 'theology' - as a result, there is no need for the circumflex accent in these words.
    • côr /'kɔr/ 'leather'; côbalt /kɔ'bɑlt/ 'cobalt'
  • The circumflex is used over the first component of certain digraphs to show that they are to be pronounced as diphthongs, rather than as simple vowels:
    • âu /aŭ/, rather than au /ɔ/: clâu /'kl/ 'key, spanner'
    • êi /eĭ/, rather than ei /i/: vêil /'vl/ 'fleece'
      • Before the palatal consonants /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ <êi> is pronounced /e/: pêix /'peʃ/ 'fish'
    • êu /eŭ/, rather than eu /ø/: dzêu /'dz/ 'god'
    • ôu /oŭ/, rather than ou /u/: nôu /'n/ 'new; nine'
  • The circumflex is used in unstressed <ôi> to show that it is to be pronounced /oĭ/, rather than /uĭ/: ôitanta /'tɑnta/ 'eighty' (cf soitament /sta'mɛnt/ 'suddenly).
  • The circumflex is used in <î>, even when not needed to denote irregular stress (as explained here), under the following circumstances:
    • when preceded or followed by another vowel: traîr 'to trace, to pull'; reîr 'to rule'; roîm 'that we ask'; fuîr 'to flee'; vîa 'street'; mîe 'my []'; nîo 'I deny'
    • in mî 'my [masc.sing.]', tî 'uncle' and their forms: mîs, tîs
    • before consonants that are doubled in related forms: capîls 'hair []' (cf capilli), xîc(s) 'dry' (cf xicca), xîn(s) 'sense, meaning' (cf xinni)
      • Note that the words il 'he' and mil 'thousand' are written without a circumflex, despite the existence of related forms with doubled <ll>: ella 'she', milleim 'one-thousandth'
    • in the diphthong <îu> /iŭ/: pîu 'pious'; rîu 'river'; vîu 'living, alive'
  • The circumflex is used over the <u> whenever it is pronounced /u/, stressed or unstressed: mûnd /'mund/ 'world', inûndatzoun /inunda'tsun/ 'flood', cûit /'kuĭt/ 'elbow'. This does not apply in the case of the digraph <ou>: soul /'sul/ 'sun; alone'.


The trema is used over the vowels <e>, <i> and <u> when they are to be pronounced in cases where the unmarked vowel would be silent (or part of a digraph), or when they are to have syllabic value where the unmarked vowel would be a glide. Note that vowels with a trema are never stressed. Examples:

  • <ë> is used:
    • to show that a word-final <e> is to be pronounced after <g>: legë /'leə/ 'he reads', imagë /i'maə/ 'picture' (cf college /kɔ'le/ 'college')
    • to show that <eë> and <oë> spell two separate vowels (and not the monographs /e/ and /ø/, respectively): v /'v/ 'carries' (a legal term), b /'b/ ( of boa 'boa constrictor'), jntut /ʒn'tyt/ 'youth' (cf veer /'ver/ 'to carry', oesophag /øzu'fag/ 'esophagus')
  • <ï> is used:
    • to show that the <i> between a <g> and a following back vowel (<a>, <o> or <u>) is to be pronounced as [j] (and is not there just to show that <g> is to be pronounced /dʒ/): ênergïa /ɛ'nɛrja/ 'energy', contagïoun /kɔnta'jun/ 'contagion' (cf plagia /'plaa/ 'beach', pagio /'pau/ 'I page', figiut /fi'yt/ 'fixed [pp]', giûba /'uba/ 'skirt')
    • to show that <aï>, <eï>, <oï> and <uï> are two separate syllabic vowels, and not the corresponding diphthongs (or digraphs) <ai>, <ei>, <oi> or <ui>: lcitat /laii'tat/ 'laicity', rntegrar /rɛintɛ'grar/ 'to reintegrate', cncidentza /kuini'dɛntsa/, scidar-se /syii'dasə/ 'to commit suicide' (cf lait /lt/ 'milk', seira /'sira/ 'evening', oito /'tu/ 'eight', duit /'dt/ 'led [pp]')
  • <ü> is used:
    • to show that the <u> between a <g> or a <q> and a following front vowel (<e> or <i>) is to be pronounced as <w> (and is not there just to show that a hard pronunciation <g> or <k> is meant): lingüe /'lingwə/ 'tongues, languages', qüessoun /kwɛ'sun/ 'question' (cf guerra /'gɛra/ 'war', quenro /'kenru/ 'crab')
    • to show that <eü> is to be pronounced as two separate syllabic vowels (i.e. /ɛy/), and not as <eu> /ø/: rniyr-se /rɛy'nøĭsə/ 'to have a meeting' (cf deultat /døl'tat/ 'weakness')


Although not strictly speaking an accent, the diacritic cedilla is used with the letter <c> to show that it is to be pronounced soft (i.e. as /tʃ/) even though it is not followed by one of the front vowels <e>, <i> or <y>. Examples: arança /a'rɑna/ 'orange', tâço /'tɑu/ 'I keep quiet', çutat /y'tat/ 'city', vouç /'vu/ 'voice'.

The use of <ç> in the combination <sç> is analogous, although the pronunciation here is /ʃ/: ónta /'ʃonta/ 'joke', cognout /kunɔ'ʃyt/ 'known'.

Students of French, Portuguese and Catalan will note that the use of cedilla in Tundrian is analogous to these languages, although in all three the pronunciation of <ç> is /s/, not //, and the letter <ç> rarely if ever occurs initially (French ça is an exception) or (except in Catalan) finally.

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