Basic syllable patterns

All Tundrian words consist of one or more syllables. At the core of each syllable is a vowel, which may be a monophthong or a diphthong.

The rules for syllable division are as follows:

Open and closed syllables

In order to understand the accentuation rules of Tundrian, as well as the pronunciation of some of its vowels, it is essential to understand what is meant by the concept of open ("vocal aperta") vs. closed vowel ("vocal xerrata") in Tundrian grammar. Note that the concept has relevance only for the vowels a, e and o.

A vowel (a, e or o) is considered open if:

  1. it ends a word: carta, homne, pauvro;
  2. it comes before a final consonant (except x) at the end of a word: lac, ped, joc (but: the -e- in sex is closed);
  3. it comes before a single consonant + s cluster at the end of a word: mans, fers, locs;
  4. it comes before a digraph consonant at the end of a word, or before a digraph consonant followed by a word-final s: banh, alhs, medz, velhs, sonh, olhs;
  5. it comes before a single consonant (except x) followed by a vowel, a semi-vowel or <h>: casa, cadiam, abhorrent, vene, chemia, joca, utopia (but: the vowels are closed in maximal, sexual and toxicitat);
  6. it comes before a digraph consonant (except sc, sç and xc) followed by a vowel or semi-vowel: anma, velha, homne, philosophía (but: the vowels are closed in asça, descendeir, excellent, cognosceir);
  7. it comes before the consonants /z/ (written <s> or <z>) or /v/ followed by a voiced consonant: asno, avriyr, bevro, osmose, covriyr;
  8. it comes before another vowel: trae, theatro, boa;
  9. it carries the acute accent: ánta, ést, sçónta.

Conversely, a vowel (a, e or o) is considered closed if:

  1. it comes before a consonant cluster (with 2 or more consonants pronounced separately), e.g. in Adriátic, africán, agratar, altro, camp, contar, aplicar, perdo, costa, potriam (exceptions are noted under 3, 4 and 7 above; also,  /ts/, /tʃ/, /dz/ and /dʒ/, considered as affricates, count as single consonants and not as clusters, however they are spelt, so that the vowel preceding them is open: natzoun, lats, peds, vêloç, viatx, medz, legeir, adjectiyv);
  2. it comes before the digraphs sc, sç, xc, xç:  asça, ascendeir, excellent, cognosceir;
  3. it comes before x: axis, sexualitat, toxicitat;
  4. it comes before a doubled consonant: sabbatical, toccar, embracçar, additzoun, affêitar, exaggerar, cavalli, flamma, annual, appodzar, acquereir, tzerra, massa, cattiyn, ovviar;
  5. it carries the circumflex accent: ân, fevrêr, côr.

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