Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lesson 1: Pronunciation and Stress

I'm going to start with pronunciation and stress, like any self-respecting tutorial. Before I begin, though, I'm going to assume you know the difference between a consonant and a vowel, and at least a little bit about grammar.

Naboovian has most of the same consonants as English, and most of the same vowels. The following consonants are pronounced the same as in English: B, C, D, F, K, L, M, N, P, S, T, V, Y. J is pronounced as in "jump" or as in the the Z in "azure." R can be trilled, or not. Myself, I can't trill/roll my Rs, so I don't.

Vowels are reminiscent of Spanish/Italian. A as in father, E as in set, I as in machine. O is more like "aw", but think round when you say it. U rarely occurs, but is prunounced as in mute. É only occurs at the ends of some words, and is pronounced "ay." Y as a vowel is pronounced the same as the dipthogn AI, that is, "eye."

Dipthongs are two vowels smashed together, usually producing a different sound. Naboovian has seven: AI, AE, AO, EU, IE, OE, OO and EE. AI like "eye", AE is "ay," AO a quick "ah-oh," EU a quick "ay-oo," IE is "ee," OE is like "way." OO and EE are how you would imageine they'd be pronounced.

Digraphs are combinations of consonants. Naboovian has nine: PH, TH, RD, RM, RS, DM, RN, LL, RR. PH is "f", TH is actually DH. DH is a softer TH. It's a very fine difference, try comparing "this" to "these." Say it out loud a few times. RD, RM, RS, DM, RN, LL, and RR only occur in the middle of words, between two vowels, so they are pronounced more or less separately. Padmé, Eirtaé, Dormé, Versé.

Stress is simple. Two syllable words have stress usually on the first syllable. Three or more have it on the second- to-last syllable.


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