Kah phonology was designed with the primary objective to be familiar to native speakers of most of the world's languages as it allows a large number of allophones. This approach resulted in a phoneme inventory counting 22 consonants, 5 vowels and a small number of possible combinations such as vowel sequences and a limited number of possible syllable structures. One important sidenote was to end up with something simplistic enough to allow speakers of most world languages to  be able to pronounce it, yet not too simplistic since this would affect the recognizability of word roots.

 

Orthography

The Kah orthography includes the following letters:

Upper case:   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z

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

 

Consonants

Kah has 22 consonants and five places of articulation as summarized in the table below in romanized state:

 

labial

alveolar

palatal

velar

glottal

plosives

p

b

t

d

 

k

g

 

affricates

 

 

ch

j

 

 

fricatives

f

v

s

z

sh

 

h

nasals

m

n

ny

ng

 

liquids

w

l

y

 

 

rhotics

 

r

 

 

 

 

A guide to their pronunciation and possible allophones are listed in the table below:

Consonant

Example

IPA-value

Allophones (IPA)

b

 French "beau"

b

 bh  ɓ

ch

 Spanish "churro"

 ts

d

 Spanish "dar"

d

 dh  ɖ

f

 French "faire"

f

 ɸ

h

 English "high"

h

 x

g

 English "good"

g

 

j

 English "joke"

 dz

k

 Spanish "como"

k

 k'  kh

l

 French "lire"

l

 L  ɭ

m

 Spanish "mal"

m

 ɱ

n

 Spanish "no"

n

 

ny

 Spanish "señor"

ɲ

 

ng

 English "bang"

ŋ

 

p

 Spanish "por"

p

 p' ph

r

 Spanish "rey"

ɾ

 r  R  ɻ  ɣ  G  ʁ

s

 French "sel"

s

 ʂ

sh

 English "she"

ʃ

 ç ɕ 

t

 French "tu"

t

 th  ʈ  t'

v

 English "veil"

v

 β

w

 English "we"

w

 ʋ

y

 Spanish "yo"

j

 

z

 

 French "zero"

 

z

 

 ʐ

 

Furthermore, Kah phonology allows for  four combinations of consonant + glide:

Combination

Example

IPA-value

py

 Korean "Pyongyang"

 py 

kw

 English "quarter"

 kw

mw

 Swahili "mwalimu"

 mw

sw

 Swahili "Swahili"

 sw

 

Vowels

b

Kah uses the five most basic vowels:

Vowel

Example

IPA-value

Allophones (IPA)

a

 

 Spanish "mal"

 a

 

 æ  ɑ

e

 Spanish "el"

 ɛ

 e  ei

i

 Spanish "si"

 i

 y  ɪ

o

 Spanish "no"

 ɔ

 o ɔu

u

 Spanish "su"

 u

 ɯ  ʊ

 

Vowel sequences

Kah has no true diphthongs. It does have a number of possible vowel combinations in which each vowel is pronounced separately thus creating two syllables:

dia

bua

kai

[di.a]

[bu.a]

[ka.i]

All vowel combinations allowed in Kah are:

Combination

Example

IPA-value

Allophones (IPA)

ai

 English "bye"

a.i

 ai 

au

 English "how"

a.u

 au  ao ao 

ea

 Swahili "endelea

e.a

 

eo

 Swahili "kipepeo"

e.o

 eo eu

ia

 Spanish "dias"

i.a

 

io

 Spanish "dio"

i.o

oa

 Swahili "ndoa"

o.a

 

oi

 english "koi"

o.i

 oi 

ua

 Swahili "jua"

u.a

 

Phonotactics

Kah allows a limited yet diverse number of syllabic structures. The basic patterns are: V, CV, CGV, VC, CVC, CGVC with a very limited number of consonants that can occur in the coda (only m, n, ng, l and s) and even fewer that can occur as a glide after the initial consonant in the onset (only y or w). This can be summarized as (C/CG)V(C).  

An extensive description of possible syllable structures along with examples can be found in the following table:

Structure

Description

Example

V

one vowel in rhyme

e

VN

" " " "  plus nasal stop in coda

en

VL

" " " "  plus l in coda

al

VS

" " " "  plus s in coda

is

CV

consonant in onset, vowel in rhyme

tu

CVN

" " " "  plus nasal stop in coda

bon

CVL

" " " "  plus l in coda

kal

CVS

" " " "  plus s in coda

sus

CGV

consonant plus glide in onset, vowel in coda

pyo

CGVN

" " " "  plus nasal stop in coda

kwan

CGVL

" " " "  plus l in coda

mwel

CGVS

" " " "  plus s in coda

pyus

Some more consonant clusters in word-medial position bring a great deal of audible diversity to it:

mb nd nj ng mp nt nch nk nz ns nsh mw

 lp lt lk

sp st sk

Note the occurrence of the cluster ng which represents a velar nasal [ŋ] when it appears at the end of a word (song), but is expresses [ŋg] in word-medial position (tengi). This slight irregularity is permitted in order to sustain the legibility of the romanization, since most readers are familiar with this phenomenon already through the spelling of languages like English, Spanish and so on.

 Stress

The stress always falls upon the penultimate syllable, unless the final syllable is "heavy" because the rhyme is filled by a vowel sequence or ends with a consonant in the coda. This was realized to allow for some variation in the rythm and feel of the language:

 Word

Pronunciation (IPA)

luba

['lu.ba]

aka

['a.ka]

bua

['bu.a]

huan

[hu'an]

papau

[pa'pau]

weyun

[we'yun]

okwan

[o'kwan]