Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.
I. Directory (links to the other big posts)
this post for 1 - 2 (Phonology, Orthography)
Out of Date
click here for 3 - 5 (Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives)
click here for 6 (Verbs)
click here for 7 (Determiners)
click here for 8 (Negation)
click here for 9 (Numbers)
A = alveolopalatal consonant
C = all consonants
D = dental consonant
F = labiodental consonant
G = velar or glottal consonant
L = labial consonant
N = nasal consonant
P = palatal consonant
R = uvular consonant
S = syllable
U = syllabic vowels and semivowels
V = all syllabic vowels
Y = semivowels
# = chain boundary (see 1.6 Chains)
1.1 Consonant phonemes
/m n ɲ ŋ/
/p b t d k g/
/f v s z ɕ ʑ h/
All consonants, other than /j w ŋ/, have geminate forms. /ɕ ʑ/ geminate as /ttɕ ddʑ/. Historically, there were short affricates corresponding to the geminate affricates, but the former deaffricated, leading to the current situation.
/ŋ/ is an archiphoneme. It is the only non-geminate nasal consonant that can appear in coda position, assimilating to the POA of the following consonant. It also nasalizes the preceding vowel. /e o a ə/ are the only vowels that precede it. It usually gets elided before vowels, liquids and stressed syllables. Geminate nasals can be analyzed as /ŋN/ sequences.
/ɲ/ is only attested phonemically as a geminate. Short [ɲ] does show up allophonically.
1.2 Vowel phonemes
/i y u/
/e ø ə* o/
* restricted to unstressed syllables
/iː yː uː/
/eː øː oː/
The phoneme inventory above is intended to show meaningful contrasts. It doesn't always present actual pronunciation, especially where nasals are concerned. Apply the following changes to phonemic transcriptions to get a true pronunciation:
eː øː oː aː -> ɛː œː ɔː ɑː
e ø o -> ɛ œ ɔ, _(ŋ)S[+stress]
V -> Ṽ, _ŋ
ŋ -> ∅, _V or _S[+stress]
ə̃ -> ŋ̩, _S[+stress]
ŋ -> m ɱ n ɲ̟ ɲ ŋ ɴ, _[L F D A P G R]
ã -> ɑ̃
∅ -> ʔ, V#_V
1.4 Syllable structure
Naturalized Silvish words have limited codas. Geminate consonants, which are heterosyllabic, are allowed word-medially. The maximal codas are word-final /ʁt lt ŋt/. Borrowed words can contain other coda consonants, but in practice, speakers may elide them or insert epenthetic vowels after them.
Most /CC/ combinations are split over a syllable boundary when they appear within chains (see 1.6). For instance, /ˈaʁti/ is syllabified /ˈaʁ.ti/. But most /Cʁ/, /Cl/ and /sC/ combinations are considered to be part of the onset of a syllable, so /ˈtestu/ is syllabified as /ˈte.stu/, not /ˈtes.tu/. Exceptions are /ʁʁ ll ss ʁl lʁ/, which are all heterosyllabic.
The most complex chain-medial clusters have the structure (ʁ/l/ŋ).C(ʁ/l/Y) or C.C(ʁ/l/Y) or (ʁ/l/ŋ/).sC or s.sC(ʁ/l/Y).
A quick note: The following subsections contain examples with orthography. See Section 2 for discussion of Silvish orthography.
Naturalized words can only be stressed on the penult or the ult.
1.5.1 Stress-based reduction
Both consonants and vowels are affected by stress. Syllables adjacent to a stressed syllable must be monomoraic; that is, they can contain at most an onset and a short-vowel nucleus. This requirement is met through reduction. Among vowels, short /a e o/ merge into /ə/ in open syllables, and long vowels are shortened. For consonants, this rule means that /ʁ l/ are deleted and geminates are shortened in the coda of a stress-adjacent syllable. Below is a description of the alternations. Since they are phonemic, think of them as happening before the allophonic rules from Section 1.3.
a e o > ə, _S[+stress]
Vː > V, _S[+stress]
ʁ l > ∅, _S[+stress]
CC > C, _S[+stress]
Note how after the rules are applied, /a e o/ in syllables that originally contained more than one mora (closed syllable or long vowel) retain their qualities. They also retain nasality, which is analyzed as an allophone of /ŋ/ (See Section 1.3). But /a e o/ in syllables with one mora reduce to /ə/.
The verbs portê and rebaillyô are good examples of all of these processes. Portê is pronounced /poˈteː/, with the underlying /ʁ/ going unpronounced because it is in the coda of a stress-adjacent syllable. The conjugated form porta puts the stress on the initial syllable, allowing the /ʁ/ to be pronounced, which gives /ˈpoʁ.tə/.
Rebaillya, a conjugated form of rebaillyô, is pronounced with penultimate stress, giving /ʁəˈbaʎ.ʎə/. The first <e> is adjacent to stress and so is reduced to /ə/. Note additionally how the second syllable is closed. Rebaillyô has stress on the final syllable, giving the pronunciation /ʁe.baˈʎɔː/. The /ʎʎ/ has reduced adjacent to the stressed syllable. Now away from the stress, the <e> is pronounced /e/. As for the /a/, despite being adjacent to the stressed syllable, it does not reduce because its syllable was originally closed.
The phonological processes of Silvish are organized around structures called "chains" (hin-a in Silvish). Each chain is one or more words long and contains only one stressed syllable, either on the ult or penult. Within a chain, all words behave as if part of one larger word. (My IPA transcriptions reflect this, with spacing only between chains.) An example of how words within chains act as part of larger word is the sentence Ê m' a cru /eː.məˈkʁy/ (He believed me), the verb a is reduced from /a/ to /ə/ because it is adjacent to a stressed syllable in the same chain, as if a and cru were one word.
Certain words - mainly content words - always take stress and as a result always end chains. They include nouns and the vast majority of verbs and adjectives. Other words only take stress when they fall at the end of an utterance, the stress being necessary to end the chain. A is part of the latter group, which is why it wasn't stressed in the above example. Now compare Ê m' a cru with the following sentence:
Combyé d' amî qu' elly à ?
/koŋˈbje dəˈmiː keˈʎa/
How many friends does he have?
In the above sentence, a has been placed at the end of the utterance. Since there is no other word after it to finish the chain it is part of, it takes stress (which in this case is also marked in the orthography with a grave accent) to end the chain itself.
For more information on which words and word classes end chain, see the dedicated sections for nouns, verbs, adjectives etc.
Changes can occur at morpheme and word boundaries within a chain. The umbrella term for these phenomena is inhin-aman or "linking together". There is little phonological distinction between a morpheme boundary and a word boundary, so the effects described in this section apply in both areas. Additionally, because these processes operate on the level of chains, they are blocked by chain boundaries.
1.7.1 Emergent consonants
Many a word or morpheme has a latent, unpronounced final consonant that becomes pronounced if it is followed by another word or a suffix that begins with a vowel or liquid.
The most common emergent consonants are /z t/. The former tends to appear after a word that ends in a vowel. The latter after a consonant. See some examples below:
bella /ˈbel.lə/ + ettela /eˈte.lə/ = bella-z ettela /bel.la.zeˈte.lə/
nou /nu/ + avon /əˈvoŋ/ = nou-z avon /nu.zəˈvoŋ/
dellisoù /del.liˈsu/ + -a /a/ = dellisouza /del.liˈsu.zə/
gran /ˈgʁaŋ/ + ambrou /ˈaŋ.bʁu/ = grant ambrou /gʁaŋˈtaŋ.bʁu/
ver /ˈveʁ/ + -a /a/ = verta /ˈveʁ.tə/
Some words also have emergent nasals, specifically /ŋ n/:
anchã /aŋˈɕɑ/ + atteû /aˈtøː/ = ancha-n atteû /aŋ.ɕa.ŋaˈtøː/
itallyã /i.taˈʎɑ/ + -a /a/ = itallyan-a /i.taˈʎa.ŋə/
jour /ˈʑuʁ/ + -i /i/ = journi /ˈʑuʁ.ni/
1.7.2 Consonant mutation
Before vowels and liquids, some final consonants undergo changes, most commonly gemination. But final /t/ becomes /z/, and final /s/ is sometimes replaced by /tt/ or /ŋn/.
bel /ˈbɛl/ + atteû /aˈtøː/ = bell atteû /bɛl.laˈtøː/
bas /ˈbas/ + -a /a/ = basse /ˈbas.sə/
/t/ to /z/:
grant /ˈgʁaŋt/ + ambrou /ˈaŋ.bʁu/ = granz ambrou /gʁaŋˈzaŋ.bʁu/
/s/ to /tt/, /s/ to /ŋn/:
t' es /ˈtes/ + amat /əˈmat/ = t' ett amat /tet.təˈmat/
gous /ˈgus/ + -i /i/ = goutti /ˈgut.ti/
has /ˈhas/ + -i /i/ = hanni /ˈhaŋ.ni/
1.7.3 Initial gemination
Some words and morphemes cause the initial consonant of the following word or morpheme to geminate. These words often end in /s/ or /t/ when stressed. Gemination also occurs after morphemes with an emergent /z/. If the coda of the first morpheme contains additional consonants, gemination is blocked.
Gemination after /s/ and /t/:
t' es /ˈtes/ + jantit /ʑaŋˈtit/ = t' e djantit /ted.dʑaŋˈtit/
bet /ˈbet/ + cottet /koˈtet/ = be ccottet /bek.koˈtet/
Gemination after emergent /z/:
nou /vu/ + sorton /soˈtoŋ/ = nou ssorton /nus.soˈtoŋ/ (cf. nou /nu/ + avon /əˈvoŋ/ = nou-z avon /nu.zəˈvoŋ/)
Gemination blocked by additional coda consonant:
grant /ˈgʁaŋt/ + cottet /koˈtet/ = gran cottet /gʁaŋ.koˈtet/
1.7.3 Vowel elision
Most short, unstressed vowels are elided before a following vowel. Elision also happens between consonants, if the resulting cluster will be valid. Additionally, coda cononants must stay be in the coda, and onset consonants must stay in the onset, otherwise elision is blocked. Elided vowels are not considered when applying the reduction rules in Section 1.5.1.
li /li/ + O /ˈo/ = l' O /ˈlo/
tu /ty/ + es /ˈes/ = t' es /ˈtes/
si /si/ + que /ke/ = s' que /ske/
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Yy Zz
2.2 Sound-Letter Correspondence
/m n ɲ ŋ/ <m n ny* n ~ n- ~ m**>
/p b t d k g/ <p b t d c~qu† g~gu†>
/f v s z ɕ ʑ h/ <f v s z ch j h>
/l ʎ/ <l ly>
/j w/ <y w>
* not yet attested
** <n-> before vowels; <m> before <p b m>
† before <i e y>
/ŋm ŋn ŋɲ/ <mm nn nny>
/pp bb tt dd kk gg/ <pp bb tt dd cc~cqu** gg~ggu**>
/ttɕ ddʑ/ <tch dj>
/ff vv ss zz hh/ <ff vv ss zz hh>
/ll ʎʎ/ <ll lly>
/i y u/ <i u ou>
/e ø ə o/ <e eu e~o~a o>
/a ɑ/ <a ã>
/iː yː uː/ <î û oû>
/eː øː oː/ <ê eû ô>
/eŋ əŋ oŋ/ <in in~on~an on>
Silvish uses four diacritics: acute accent (´), grave accent (`), circumflex (ˆ) and tilde (˜). In a digraph, diacritics go on the second letter.
Acute: Marks stress on final <e>, one of the vowel letters that can appear in an unstressed syllable at the end of a chain.
Grave: Marks stress on final <a i ou>, the other vowel letters and digraph that can appear in an unstressed syllable at the end of a chain.
Circumflex: Lengthens the vowel.
Tilde: Only appears in <ã> /ɑ/.
2.4 Respresenting stress
As mentioned above, <a e i ou> receive explicit stress marking — an acute or grave accent — when they represent a stressed, chain-final vowel (chain-final: dellisoù /del.liˈsu/, not chain-final: dellisout /del.liˈsut/, dellisouza /del.liˈsu.zə/).
There is no other explicit stress marking; the rest is implied by chain boundaries. Unmarked <a e i ou> at the end of a chain represent unstressed vowels; in these cases, the preceding syllable is stressed. Other vowel letters at the end of a chain represent stressed vowels. A chain-final syllable that ends in a consonant letter is always stressed. All other syllables are unstressed.
2.4.1 Respresenting stress-based reduction
Stress-based reduction is largely ignored in the orthography. Spellings are based on the underlying shape of a word suggested by all its forms taken together, rather than the surface pronunciation of any given form. An example is portê /poˈteː/, so spelled because of the /ʁ/ that emerges in forms with initial stress, like porta /ˈpoʁ.tə/. In addition, when unpronounced, the <r> clues the reader in that the <o> represents /o/ rather than /ə/.
2.5 Representing inhin-aman
Inhin-aman within words has a simple representation, with the letters needed to represent the new sound simply being added in (gous /ˈgus/ + -i /i/ = goutti /ˈgut.ti/). Between words, it is important whether the alternation will result in a closed final syllable for the first word.
When the alternation is an emergent consonant and the final syllable of the first word is closed, the emergent consonant is appended directly to the end of the first word (gran /ˈgʁaŋ/ + ambrou /ˈaŋ.bʁu/ = grant ambrou /gʁaŋˈtaŋ.bʁu/). If the final syllable will be open, the emergent consonant is appended to the first word with a hyphen (nou /nu/ + avon /əˈvoŋ/ = nou-z avon /nu.zəˈvoŋ/).
When consonant mutation results in the first word having a closed final syllable, the original consonant letter is simply replaced with the normal spelling of the new sound (bel /ˈbɛl/ + atteû /aˈtøː/ = bell atteû /bɛl.laˈtøː/). If the final syllable will be open, the original consonant letter is replaced with a hyphen followed by the appropriate spelling of the new sound (bet /ˈbet/ + O /ˈo/ = bê-z O /beˈzo/).
Initial gemination is represented by doubling the first letter of the following word (bet /ˈbet/ + cottet /koˈtet/ = be ccottet /bek.koˈtet/). When a word with initial gemination is capitalized, the added consonant is left in lower case, with the original first letter taking capitalization (e.g. Be cCottet, BE cCOTTET).
Vowel elision is represented by replacing the dropped vowel with an apostrophe. The space between the two words is retained (tu /ty/ + es /ˈes/ = t' es /ˈtes/).
Silvish marks some grammatical categories by lengthening the stressed vowel of a word. Besides lengthening, some vowels also change their quality. Multiple parts of speech experience ablaut. When to apply it will be explained in the individual part-of-speech sections.
2.6.1 Vowel Shift and Representation
Ablaut is represented by replacing <a e> with <ê> and <o eu ou> with <eû>. <i u> take a circumflex to become <î û>.
<a e o i u eu ou> = /a e o i y ø u/
<ê ê eû î û eû eû> = /eː eː øː iː yː øː øː/
These letter combinations don't necessarily represent ablaut since they are the only way to transcribe their corresponding long vowels in general.
I thought I'd finally write down the information I have on Silvish. I hadn't realized how much of its inner workings I was simply remembering, so I'm a bit shocked by how much space it all takes up (and how little I've worked on allophony ). Here is a post on Silvish phonology, orthography and "orthophonology" (places where phonology and orthography are too tangled up to be neatly separated).
Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.
I. Directory (links to the other big posts)
this post for 1 - 3.3 (Phonology, Orthography, Orthophonology)
click here for 3.4 - 6 (Ablaut, Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives)
click here for 7 (Verbs)
click here for 8 (Determiners)
click here for 9 (Negation)
click here for 10 (Numbers)
C = all consonants
V = all syllabic vowels
S = semivowels
U = syllabic vowels and semivowels
/m n ɲ ŋ/
/p b t d k g/
/f v s z ɕ/
* restricted to unstressed syllables
Nasalization is phonemic before oral consonants and word finally. Theoretically, nasalization is also phonemic before nasal consonants. I haven't discovered minimal pairs yet, but there is no reason why they couldn't turn up.
/VS/ except */ue̯ uo̯ ie̯/
/o̯ɑ/ (this has merged into /o̯ɔ/ among young people)
Vowel length is phonemic in stressed syllables. All monophthongs and diphthongs have long counterparts.
/e o/ > [ɪ ʊ], _[-stress]
/e̯ o̯/ > [ɪ̯ ʊ̯], _[-stress]
/e̯/ > [ɪ̯], e_ or _e
/o̯/ > [ʊ̯], o_ or _o
U[+back] > U[+front, +round], _U[+front]
The following changes are dialect-specific. The dialects do not have names yet. I will call them Dialect A and Dialect B.
dʑ > ʑ, V_V
dʑ > dz, _U[-front]
1.4 Syllable Structure
Inherited Silvish words only allow /ɾ/ or /l/ in syllable codas, and these are often elided in unstressed syllables. Borrowed words can contain other coda consonants, but these are often elided as well.
Most /CC/ combinations are split over a syllable boundary. For instance, /ˈpasta/ is syllabified /ˈpas.ta/. But /Cɾ/ and /Cl/ combinations are considered to be part of the onset of a syllable, so /ˈmɛːdɾə/ is syllabified as /ˈmɛː.dɾə/, not /ˈmɛːd.ɾə/
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Zz
2.2 Sound-Letter Correspondence
The orthography is quite morphophonemic, with most letters having more than one reading, so these correspondences are merely trends.
/m n ɲ ŋ/ <m n~nn** gn n>
/p b t d k g/ <p b t d c~ch* g~gh*>
/tɕ dʑ/ <ch gz~g*>
/f v s z ɕ/ <f v s~ss† z~s† cz~c*>
/ɾ r/ <r~d†† r~rr†>
/l ʎ/ <l gl>
* used before <i e>
** used between vowel letters
†† When word final and preceded a vowel letter, <d> is pronounced /ɾ/, both in liaison and when a suffix is added to an inherited word or suffix
Note that <ch> can represent both /k/ and /tɕ/. It usually represents /k/ before <i e> and /tɕ/ before <a o u>, but exceptions are common (e.g. visitochi /vezeˈtɔtɕe/, not */vezeˈtɔke/)
/i u/ <ie~í uo~ú>
/e o/ <i~é u~ó>
/ɛ ɔ/ <e~á o>
/ẽ õ/ <i(n/m/gn)~é(n/m/gn) o(n/m/gn)~uo(n/m/gn)>
/e̯ o̯/ <i u>
/o̯ɛ o̯ã/ <ue ue(n/m/gn)>
/o̯ɑ e̯a/ <uó ia~ié>
2.3 Diacritics and the Interpunct
Silvish uses four diacritics: grave accent (`), accute accent (´), circumflex (ˆ) and trema (¨). It also uses the interpunct (·).
Grave: Marks stress. See 3.3.1 for more information.
Acute: Marks ablaut (<a e o i u ie uo> /a ɛ ɔ e o i u/ > <á é ó í ú ié uó> /ɛ e o i u e̯a o̯ɑ/) and stress. Silvish ablaut will be explained in a later post.
Circumflex: Lengthens the vowel and marks ablaut, if possible (ablauting: <â ê ô î û iê uô> /ɛː eː oː iː uː e̯aː o̯ɑː/; non-ablauting: <ie uo> /i u/ > <îe ûo> /iː uː/).
Trema: Marks when two vowel letters that are normally pronounced as a diphthong are pronounced as two syllables or when two vowel letters that are normally pronounced as a monophthong are pronounced as a diphthong. (<ai> /ae̯/ > <aï> /a.e/, <uo> /u/ > <uö> /o̯ɔ/)
Interpunct: Differentiates a nasal vowel + /n/ sequence from an oral vowel + /n/ sequence (<an·na> /õ.na/, <anna> /a.na/). When representing the pronunciation of a prefix-root sequence would otherwise require changing the spelling of the root, the interpunct is placed between the two elements and the root isn't respelled (co- + ródre = /kɔˈroː.dɾə/ = *<corródre> = <co·ródre>.
2.4 Silent Letters
All consonant letters except <gl gn l m n r> are unpronounced word finally. If a string of these consonant letters appears finally, the full string is silent. For example, both <gzat> and <gzats> are pronounced /ˈdʑa/.
<l r> are silent when they appear alone word-finally. If other consonants besides <s> follow them, they are pronounced. For example, <col> = /ˈkɔː/, <cold> = /ˈkɔːl/.
<n m gn> are not pronounced when they appear word-finally or are followed by a consonant, but the preceding vowel becomes nasalized. While the vowel letter doesn't change, the quality/quantity may (<ta> = /ta/, <tan> = /tõː/). Exceptions are the personal pronouns <son san> and the negative particle <nen>, which are liaison forms pronounced /sə.ŋ‿ sa.ŋ‿/ and /nə.ŋ‿/.
An exception exists to the rules for determining pronunciation. It is possible for certain phonemes to remain pronounced and for vowel length (see 3.1) to not change from one form to the next, even if a spelling change suggests the opposite. Example: <salsa> /ˈsalsa/ > <sáls> /ˈsɛl/. The normal orthography rules suggest that <sáls> should be */ˈsɛː/, but because it's the oblique form of <salsa>, it inherits the short vowel and /l/ from the nominative.
If there were a second-declension noun <sal> /ˈsaː/, its nominative plural form would also be spelled <sáls>, but it would be pronounced /ˈsɛː/.
Following are descriptions of vowel length, liaison and stress. These concepts are rather unpredictable when viewing Silvish from a purely phonological angle, but are normally indicated in writing. As a result, it is easiest to discuss them and the corresponding orthography rules at the same time.
3.1 Vowel Length
Silvish has developed phonemic vowel length. However, it has a rather convoluted way of representing this in writing. When a vowel letter represents a stressed vowel, its length is indicated by the letters that follow it.
3.1.1 Dark and Light Letters
In terms of their role in showing vowel length, the letters of the alphabet are conventionally divided into three groups:
a b d e g gh gz i l m n o r u v z
c ch cz f p q t
3.1.2 Vowel Length Rules
Rules for determining vowel length from orthography:
1) All stressed vowels are long.
2) If a stressed vowel has a circumflex (<â ê î ô û>), it is unaffected by the following rules.
3) If a stressed vowel ends a word, or is followed only by plural-marking <s>, the vowel becomes short.
4) If the coda of the stressed syllable - including silent consonants - contains a light letter, the stressed vowel becomes short.
5) If the onset of the syllable following a stressed vowel contains a light letter or <s>, the vowel becomes short.
3.1.3 Examples of the Rules
2) <alô> - After applying 1), we have /aˈloː/. Because the stressed vowel has a circumflex, the rules after 2) aren't considered. If it didn't have a circumflex, 3) would apply and shorten the vowel.
3) <ò> and <or> - After 1), both words are /ˈɔː/. Because <ò> ends in just a stressed vowel it is shortened to /ˈɔ/. In contrast, <or> ends with a consonant other than plural <s>, so it does not shorten. To sum up, <ò> = /ˈɔ/, <or> = /ˈɔː/.
4) <vert> and <verr> - After 1), both are /ˈvɛːɾ/. Because the coda of <vert> - including silent letters - contains a light letter, <t>, the vowel shortens. The coda of <verr> contains no light letters, so it remains long. <vert> = /ˈvɛɾ/, verr = /ˈvɛːɾ/.
5) <czata> and <czara> - After 1), <czata> = /ˈtɕaː.ta/ and <czara> = /ˈtɕaː.ɾa/. Because the onset of the syllable following the stressed vowel in <czata> contains the light letter <t>, the vowel shortens. The onset of the syllable following the stressed vowel in <czara> does not contain a light letter or <s>, so it remains long. <czata> = /ˈtɕa.ta/, <czara> = /ˈtɕaː.ɾa/.
The major exception to these rules is un (and its derivatives, like chicun). Even though its spelling suggests it should, no form of un contains a long vowel. They should all be pronounced short, so un is pronounced /ˈõ/ not */ˈõː/.
Liaison (or liazun in Silvish) operates much like in French, in that underlying consonants emerge at word boundaries in certain environments, often where two vowels would have come in contact. The difference is that Silvish liaison is much more extensive, even appearing before consonants.
3.2.1 Liaison Sounds
Most consonant letters can represent liaison. When they do, most represent their usual value. Here are the less predictable ones:
<d> - /d/ (after a consonant letter) /ɾ/ (after a vowel letter)
<ch> - /k/, regardless of whether it means /k/ or /tɕ/ elsewhere
<g> - ∅
<s> - /z/ (before vowel) /s/ (before consonant)
3.2.2 Liaison Conditions
22.214.171.124 Phonological Conditions
Liaison only occurs at word boundaries. The first word must end in a silent consonant and the second word must begin with a vowel or /l/. If the grammatical situation is correct (see 126.96.36.199), the silent consonant will become pronounced, according to 3.2.1. Examples: <és> /ˈe/ + <ét> /ˈe/ = <és ét> /eˈz‿e/; <ents> /ˈã/ + <le> /lə/ = <ents le> /ˈã.s‿lə/
188.8.131.52 Grammatical Conditions (and Complexes)
Liaison is limited grammatically, so that it only occurs within certain groupings of constituents and never between them. These groupings are traditionally called "complexes". They are as follows:
Verb complex - Comprises the subject, verb, direct object and indirect (≈dative) object of a clause as well as any clitic pronouns.
Adverb complex - Comprises the adverbs modifying a verb.
Complement complex - Comprises an adverbial/prepositional phrase modifying a verb, excluding that containing the indirect object.
Conjunctions are considered part of the smallest complex containing them and so experience liaison like any other word in that complex.
A complex can be interrupted by another. It is common to see the adverb complex interrupt the verb complex.
Gzo t'ò maut lenta-mint donad le scérp quela nuet a Parizi.
/dʑɔ tɔ ˈmao̯ˈt‿lã.ta ˈmẽ dɔˈŋaː.ɾ‿lə ˈɕeɾ ˈko̯ɛː.la ˈno̯ɛ a paˈɾeː.ze/
I very slowly gave you the scarf that night in Paris.
Verb complex: "Gzo t'ò … donad le scérp" (I gave you the scarf)
Adverb complex: "maut lenta-mint" (very slowly)
Complement complexes: "quela nuet" (that night), "a Parizi" (in Paris)
In the sentence above, liaison (indicated by a tie bar) occurs twice. Since "maut" and "lenta-mint" are both within the adverb complex, they can experience liaison. Since "donad" and "le" are both in the verb complex, they can experience liaison. There is one spot where liaison is blocked by complex boundaries - between "nuet" and "a". Were these words in the same complex, they would be pronounced /ˈno̯ɛ.t‿a/.
3.3.1 Word Level
Word-level stress usually falls on the penult or the ult in Silvish. The orthography often indicates this. To start, grave accents and acute accents always mark the stressed syllable in a word, and circumflexes almost always do. In a word with no diacritics that ends in a vowel letter or <s>, stress is penultimate. If a word with no diacritics ends in a consonant other than <s>, stress is final. Monosyllables may be stressed or unstressed (e.g. "a" /a/ is unstressed, while "à" /ˈa/ is stressed), though this often isn't indicated.
184.108.40.206 Interaction with Vowel Quality
<e> represents /ɛ/ in stressed syllables and /ə/ in unstressed ones. This can set up stress-based vowel alternations, like in these two forms of "amâ" (to like): <amessi> /aˈmɛse/ > <amessions> /aməˈse̯õː/. This only applies at the word level; <e> is does not change pronunciation if its stress is changed at the phrase level.
3.3.2 Phrase Level
At the phrase level, stressed monosyllabic words are liable to lose stress based on their environment. When a word loses stress, this has certain phonological effects. 1) Long vowels shorten, 2) codas are deleted 3) /e o/ reduce (allophonically). Stress loss can only occur within complexes, just like liaison, so if you are determining the stress of a verb, only words from the verb complex can have an effect on it.
For the rest of 3.3, I will be switching to a phonetic transcription to show the allophonic variation of /e o/.
220.127.116.11 Long Monosyllables
A long monosyllable loses stress if it is both immediately preceded by a long syllable and immediately followed by one. Ex. <vird-blau chen> goes from *[ˈveːɾ ˈblaːo̯ ˈtɕãː] to [ˈveːɾ blaʊ̯ ˈtɕãː]
18.104.22.168 Short Monosyllables
A short stressed monosyllable loses stress if it is immediately followed by a stressed syllable of any length or preceded by a long syllable. Ex. "Ét furt" goes from *[ˈe ˈfoɾ] to [ɪ ˈfoɾ], "ét" de-stressing in contact with a following stressed syllable. As another example, "chen furt" goes from *[ˈtɕãː ˈfoɾ] to [ˈtɕãː fʊ], "furt" de-stressing because a long syllable precedes it.
22.214.171.124 Applying the Rules
These rules operate based on the underlying stressed or unstressed status of a syllable, not on its surface realization. As a result, it is common to see whole strings of short monosyllables de-stress, each reacting to the underlyingly stressed syllable that follows it. Take "És ét maut furt", which goes from *[ˈeˈz‿e ˈmao̯ ˈfoɾ] to [ɪ.z‿ɪ maʊ̯ ˈfoɾ]. "És" loses stress because it is followed by "ét", which in turn loses stress because it is followed by "maut", which itself loses stress because it is followed by "furt".
While most words follow these rules, there are several common exceptions, words that remain stressed at all times or lose stress where others wouldn't.
Noun phrase heads are always stressed. Ex. "viau chen gren", which means "big old dog", is pronounced [ˈve̯aːo̯ ˈtɕãː ˈgɾãː], even though the rules for long syllables point toward *[ˈve̯aːo̯ tɕã ˈgɾãː]. "Chen" (dog) is the head of the noun phrase, so it keeps its stress.
As mentioned above, there are also words that lose stress where others don't. They are demonstratives and possessive determiners. All of these words lose stress when in contact with a stressed syllable of any length. As examples of both:
quél fén·ne > *[ˈko̯eː ˈfẽː.nə] > [kʊ̯ɪ ˈfẽː.nə]
miév gzát > *[ˈme̯aː ˈdʑɛ] > [mɪ̯a ˈdʑɛ]
Both of these words - quél and miév - are underlyingly long, stressed syllables, meaning they "shouldn't" lose stress in these environments, but they do anyway.