Che Sholazheths - The Alphabet
Chau Julars chak Zhahakfalímensang - The History of the Declensions
Chakh Zhahakfalímensath - The Seven Declensions
Chau Glémírs - The Negative
Chí Shövönzhahakfals - The Accusative
Chí Gamézhahakfals - The Dative
Chí Nékazhahakfals - The Instrumental
Chí Shövönezhdöls - The Passive
Chí Gamezhdöls - The Dative Passive
Chí Içtebezhahakfals - The Postpositional
Chí Venazhahakfals - The Genitive
Chí Cherzhahakfals - The Locative
Chí Toutals - The Plural
Chí Pungetals - The Dual
Chí Zhöshetals - The Septimal
Chöik Kütsöip (I) - Questions (I)
Chöik Kütsöip (II) - Questions (II)
Chí Éshevíls - The Past Tense
Chí Íshevíls - The Future Tense
Chau Noimírs (I) - The Speculative (I)
Chau Noimírs (II) - The Speculative (II)
Chau Noimírs (III) - The Speculative (III)
Chau Staumírs - The Conclusive
Chík Zhahakfalsíd Ésh Ezga'u Íe (I) - More About Nouns (I)
Chík Zhahakfalsíd Ésh Ezga'u Íe (II) - More About Nouns (II)
Chík Zhahakfalsíd Ésh Ezga'u Íe (III) - More About Nouns (III)
Chí Çédezhdöls - The Causative
Chí Babezhdöls - The Causative Passive
Chau Kfangölímírs - The Imperative
Chau Ngamathemírs - The Discoursive
Chau Ürafömírs - The Hortative
Chí Semezhdöls - The Reflexive
Chí Avíathezhdöls - The Impersonal
Chík Felhakfalsíp zhö Chak Stíapwerinsap Jörhölalöthep - Relative Pronouns and Clauses
Chík Felíhakfalsíp - Adjectives
Chík Ébefelíhakfalsíp - Possessive Adjectives
Chík Dvöhakfalsíp - Participles
Che Sholazheths - The Alphabet
Below are the forty-nine letters in Géarthnuns alphabetical order:
a, u, i, ö, e, au, öi, b, d, g, z, dh, j, v, p, t, k, s, th, sh, w, zç, kf, f, zh, ç, ng
m, n, l, r, rh, kh, ch, h, bs, rs, ts, ns, ks, ls, ths, khs, ms, dhs, ps, ds, fs, gs
Vowels: There are seven vowels in Géarthnuns. In the native script, a diacritical mark called a shumats is placed over the vowels to create seven additional vowel sounds. Vowels shumatsöin are not included in a normal recitation of the alphabet and are treated like their non-shumatsöin counterparts in alphabetization. However, akin to German and Hungarian, if two words are identical but for a shumats, the word without the shumats is collated first.
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Letter Name Romanization IPA “As In” Pronunciation asha a /a/ French: patte; German: Mahl asha shumatsöin ai /aɪ/ English: aisle; German: schreien ut u /u/ French: fou; German: Kuh ut shumatsöin ü /y/ French: bu; German: Übel imbe i /ɪ/ English: pith; German: Blick imbe shumatsöin í /i/ French: fil; German: Liebe (before another vowel) /j/ English: yarn; German: Jagd öne ö /ø/ French: deux; German: schön öne shumatsöin o /o/ French: faux; German: Lohn enga e /ɛ/ English: get; German: Bär enga shumatsöin é /e/ French: dé; German: weh aur au /ɔ/ English: austere¹; Danish: måle aur shumatsöin ou /aʊ/ English: county; German: bauen öize öi /øɪ/ Swedish: flöjt; French: deuil öize shumatsöin oi /ɔɪ/ English: foist; German: Freude ¹In Received Pronunciation.
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Letter Name Romanization IPA “As In” Pronunciation ba b /b/ English: boat; French: aube du d /d/ English: day; French: vide gí g /g/ English: good; French: figue zö z /z/ English: zoo; French: mise dhe dh /ð/ English: this; Icelandic: hvað jau j /dʒ/ Italian: gelato; English: bridge vöi v /v/ English: vale; French: chauve pa p /p/ Spanish: pato; French: tripe tu t /t/ Spanish: teja; French: chute kí k /k/ Spanish: culpa; French: phoque sö s /s/ English: sully; German: los the th /θ/ English: thistle; Spanish: antifaz¹ shau sh /ʃ/ English: shawl; German: Frosch wöi w /w/ English: wolf; French: oui zçéna zç /ʑ/ Shanghainese: zia; Polish: zima kw /kw/ Spanish: cual; Italian: quindi kfau kf /kf/ German: Quelle; Swedish: kvav fíl f /f/ English: fend; German: Lauf zharö zh /ʒ/ Hungarian: zseb; French: nuage çiku ç /ɕ/ Mandarin: xiao; German: ich nga ng /ŋ/ Shanghainese: ngu; English: sing mete m /m/ English: mayor; German: Traum nü n /n/ English: noose; German: Sinn lésa l /l/ English: lamp; German: Aal rín r /ɾ/ Italian: rovo; Spanish: cenar rhamas rh /χʁ/ Dutch: graag; Dutch: chrysant vaukh kh /x/ German: Buch; Spanish: reloj² chem ch /tʃ/ Spanish: chico; English: attach héfö h /h/ English: hard: Swedish: hedning ¹In Castilian. ²In certain varieties of Spanish.
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Letter Name Romanization IPA “As In” Pronunciation abs bs /bs/ English: absent; Italian: obsoleto urs rs /ɾs/ Spanish: morsa Italian: dorso its ts /ts/ English: vats; German: Schutz öns ns /~s/¹ French: prince; German: Chance eks ks /ks/ English: fox; German: Dachs auls ls /ls/ English: pulse; German: Unfalls öiths ths /θs/ English: berths; English: zeniths akhs khs /xs/ German: Bachs; Dutch: Haags ums ms /ms/ English: himself; German: Sums idhs dhs /ðs/ English: withstand²; Icelandic: biðstöd öps ps /ps/ English: hops; German: Gips eds ds /ds/ English: headset; Swedish: dödsäsong aufs fs /fs/ English: scoffs; Swedish: hyfs öigs gs /gs/ English: eggsalad; Swedish: lågsint ¹This class of nouns invokes nasalization: ans /ãs/ uns /ũs/ ins /ɪ̃s/ öns /ø̃s/ ens /ɛ̃s/ auns /ɔ̃s/ öins /ø̃ɪ̃s/ ains /ãɪ̃s/ üns /ỹs/ ins /ĩs/ ons /õs/ éns /ẽs/ ouns /ɑ̃ʊ̃s/ oins /ɔ̃ɪ̃s/ ²In certain varieties of English.
1) For vowels, two example pronunciations are meant to illustrate that vowel length is entirely allophonic. For consonants, two example pronunciations are meant to show how a consonant may sound at the beginning and ending of a syllable, if both environments are allowed.
2) Imbe shumatsöin: In indigenous Géarthnuns words, when imbe shumatsöin precedes another vowel, it is always read as /j/. In foreign words, however, whether to read imbe shumatsöin before another vowel as /i/ or /j/ depends on the word in question. As a result, Géarthçins children need to learn in school that the capital of Bulgaria, Saufíasars, is read [ˈsɔfiaˌsaɾs], while the Macedonian capital, Skaupíesars, is read [ˈskɔpjɛˌsaɾs]. Presumably, this will prove less of an issue for reasonably educated adult GSL learners.
3) Öne: The national standard hears and insists that it’s [ø] in all locations, but in reality, unlike /e/and /ɛ/, [ø] and [œ] are not phonemic. Do what you gotta do to get to /ø/.
4) Enga shumatsöin: In the native script, enga shumatsöin is read [i] in all words related to the first person singular pronoun. This is not an issue in romanization, where it is written as <í>, but it may cause initial confusion in the romanized dictionary where these words are alphabetized according to native script order. As an example, one will find the following dictionary entries in this order:
se indef. art. a(n), some (7th decl. sing. aff.).
sí pron. I (aff.).
séargnöz vi. come to a standstill, stop.
because in Géarthnuns, the pronoun sí meaning “I” is actually written with enga shumatsöin. The homophonous indefinite article sí, however, written with imbe shumatsöin, is right where one would expect to find it in the dictionary.
5) Aur: I don’t know about you, but I hear a variety of different sounds across languages represented by [ɔ]. Géarthnuns /ɔ/ is pronounced way down in the throat with lots of rounding, the best plum-in-the-mouth (hot-potato-in-the-mouth?) Received Pronunciation of [ɔ] you can muster.
6) Öize: As with öne, [øɪ] and [œɪ] are not phonemic, but you would be steered toward [øɪ] in an elocution class.
7) Pa, tu, kí: Romance language examples are given to show that English-style aspiration is not a recognized feature.
8) Wöi: Never written at the end of a word or syllable. The current trend, particularly in urban areas, is that wöi at the beginning of a word or between vowels is increasingly being pronounced as [ʋ], though [w] is certainly correct. Elsewhere, it is still read [w].
9) Zçéna: Only occurs at the beginning of a word or syllable. Though not an issue in romanization, there are two ways to read the native script zçéna, which may be broken down as follows:
Category 1) Words where zçéna is only read /ʑ/. The majority of words with zçéna fall in this category:
zçavels [ˈʑavɛls] pyramid
zçírhef [ʑiˈXʁɛf] find, discover
Category 2) Words where zçéna is only read /kw/ (again, Romance language examples given above to show that English-style aspiration is not a feature). A smaller group of words fall in this category:
kwídürs [kwiˈdyɾs] boss
kwaunöi [kwɔˈnøɪ] ebb, wane
N.B.: Since the letter zçéna is only written at the beginning of a word or syllable, in other environments where [k]+[w] occur, they are written out separately in Géarthnuns script as kí and wöi, not zçéna. For example:
fkwinats [fkwɪˈnats] (geological) basin
f-k-w-i-n-a-ts not f-kw-i-n-a-ts
Category 3) Words where zçéna may be read interchangeably as either /ʑ/ or /kw/. Many older words in the language fall into this category. Factors such as age, region, and class play a role as to which pronunciation an individual speaker opts for. /kw/ is used less often than /ʑ/ as the former is perceived as sounding slightly rural and quaint, but most speakers unwittingly mix and match to a certain degree:
zçörs² [ʑøɾs] or kwörs [kwøɾs] tiger
zçaith² [ʑaɪθ] or kwaith [kwaɪθ] contain
Category 4) Words where zçéna may be read as either /ʑ/ or /kw/, though not interchangeably. This is actually a case of a Category 1 word and a Category 2 word being spelled the same way:
zçöls [ʑøls] lizard but kwöls [kwøls] construction
zçith [ʑɪθ] reveal but kwith [kwɪθ] hum
In running indigenous text, this is something a reader simply needs to know, but in a native script Géarthnuns dictionary, /kw/-words are collated after /ʑ/-words and marked with an asterisk. Category 3 words are given a superscript 2 for “two possible readings”. While this is a non-issue in romanization, the category 3 tradition is carried over to romanized dictionaries, where the word is spelled once with <zç> and the superscript 2. Neophytes are also reminded to look up words starting with <kw> under zçéna and not under kí.
10) Kfau: Only occurs at the beginning of a word or syllable. Both my German and Swedish dictionaries give [kv] as the pronunciation for Quelle and kvav, respectively. Frankly, I just don't hear it. If that's really a [v]-sound in there, okay, but a Géarthçins won't hear it, so for “as in” pronunciations, they still work. Remember to look up words starting with <kf> under kfau, not kí.
11) Çiku: Usually a syllable onset, seldom a syllable coda, almost never seen at the end of a word. On the free German-language demo 45 I sent away for in the mail as a kid, I could swear the beguiling Fräulein was saying “ich möchte” with a [ɕ], but the prevailing wisdom seems to be that it's a [ç]. Well, fine! They're allophones in Géarthnuns then! Mandarin Chinese <x>, Japanese <shi> (even <hi> in a pinch), German ich-laut... all will get you close to Géarthnuns <ç>. The Géarthçins allow for a surprising degree of wiggle room here.
12) Nga, mete, nü: In addition to their use as onsets and codas, nga, mete, and nü may also appear at the beginning of a word as syllabic nasals, coinciding in point of articulation with the consonant that follows:
nga, as syllabic /ŋ/, occurs before g, k, kw, kf, rh, and h:
nggauls [ŋˈgɔls] neck
ngkokh [ŋˈkox] be necessary
ngkwörs [ŋˈkwøɾs] prosperity
ngkfubs [ŋˈkfubs] asteroid
ngrhíbs [ŋˈXʁibs] cork
nghats [ŋˈhats] funnel
mete, as syllabic /m/, occurs before b, v, p, and f:
mbanökh [mˈbanøx] scatter
mveks [mˈvɛks] gun
mpöríkens [mˈpøɾiˌkɛ̃s] cranberry
mfals [mˈfals] description
nü, as syllabic /n/, occurs before d, z, dh, j, t, s, th, sh, zç, zh, ç, l, r, and ch:
nders [nˈdɛɾs] healing
nzdanez [nˈzdanɛz] walk
ndharhals [n.ðaˈχʁals] debate
njégöths [n.dʒeˈgøθs] epiphany
ntesels [nˈtɛsɛls] grape
nsü [nˈsy] on behalf of
nthérauf [nˈθeɾɔf] simmer
nshöths [nˈʃøθs] apothecary
nzçaneks [nˈʑanɛks] coal
nzhükars [nˈʒykaɾs] satin
nçaiköls [nˈɕaɪkøls] awl
nlavers [nˈlavɛɾs] duty
nrels [nˈɾɛls] sixth declension
nchaçöts [n.tʃaˈçøts] muscle
With the addition of prefixes to a word, however, the syllabic nasal may be difficult to identify. For example, it may be hard for the novice to determine whether to read hembanökh as he-m-ba-nökh or hem-ba-nökh. Nevertheless, recognizing the syllabic nasal in this type of situation comes easily with greater familiarity with Géarthnuns vocabulary, and so these syllable breaks are not marked in the romanization.
13) Nü: The nasalization influence of the öns, a föths mentioned above, has expanded throughout the phonology such that whenever an [n] is followed by a
insürels [ˈĩsyˌɾɛls] elbow
nrönsets [nˈɾø̃sɛts] brake
zçüpénsöb [ʑyˈpẽsøb] blue, cyan
This phenomenon has existed long enough and is established firmly enough that it is now recognized as part of standard speech. However, this type of nasalization is beginning to bleed into environments where [n] knocks up against [θ], [ʃ], [f], and [x], so that one will hear in casual speech such pronunciations as:
inth [ɪ̃θ] read aloud
This trend still makes purists squeamish and has yet to receive the seal of approval as part of the national standard. Proceed at your own risk.
In addition, as the first part of a coda complex, nü may assimilate to the following consonant along the lines of the syllabic nasal above, yet still be spelled with a nü (unchanged in the romanization also, as <n>). This is found particularly in foreign imports:
skönks [skøŋks] skunk
14) Rhamas: Only occurs at the beginning of a word or syllable. It’s voiceless, heavily aspirated, uvular, and perceived as rhotic. It sounds like a very breathy voiceless French <r> in the allegro pronunciation of words like Chypre, battre, and encre, except that it’s syllable-initial. Dutch <gr> sounds pretty close, but I haven’t found an IPA transcription for that sound. We’ve rendered it here rather opaquely as /Xʁ/, but are open to suggestions as to how to more accurately represent the pronunciation of this letter.
15) Vaukh: Only occurs at the end of a word or syllable. Considered a kissing cousin of rhamas, vaukh may be in complementary distribution with rhamas, but is not considered by Géarthnuns speakers as an allophone.
16) Héfö: Only occurs at the beginning of a word or syllable. In the native script, héfö is a superscript letter placed over the vowel or vowel shumatsöin that follows it.
17) Föths: As outlined above, the föths is a letter representing a consonant plus an /s/ and is used at the end of a word in citation form to mark it as a noun. Although some of the “As In” examples show clusters coming together at word or morpheme boundaries, it should be taken into account that these come at the end of a word in Géarthnuns. Of particular difficulty for the novice may be the clusters involving a voiced consonant and an unvoiced /s/. For those wishing to perfect their Géarthnuns pronunciation, it is recommended that they say the “As In” pronunciations aloud, gradually attempting to drop the superfluous sounds. For those seeking only a working pronunication of the language, maintaining the integrity of the final /s/ sound is considered a higher priority than keeping the voicing of the initial consonant in the cluster. That is to say, in pronouncing abs, it is better to devoice the /b/ somewhat and approach /p/ than to voice the final /s/ and approach /z/.
18) Vowel breaking: In varieties of Géarthnuns to the north of the Vdözçébs Mountains - including that spoken in and around the city of Gdhírs, now considered the national standard - vowels are quite tense and rounded vowels are extremely rounded. This has resulted in a form of vowel breaking which is frowned upon in formal and polite speech as being uncouth and indecorous, but which occurs regularly in the informal speech of most idiolects except those of the most class conscious. Géarthnuns vowel breaking occurs with stressed final vowels in citation forms or at the ends of phrases and sentences, and involves the sudden release of the stressed vowel to a whispered, schwa-like position. This can occur with all vowels except a (/a/), i (/ɪ/), and e (/ɛ/).
Stressed final ai sounds akin to French aille (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈaɪʲə]
Stressed final u sounds akin to French boue (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈu:ə]
Stressed final ü sounds akin to French tue (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈy:ə]
Stressed final í sounds akin to French fille (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈi:ʲə]
Stressed final ö sounds akin to German Höhe : [ˈø:ə]
Stressed final o sounds akin to German hohe : [ˈo:ə]
Stressed final é sounds akin to French veille (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈe:ʲə]
Stressed final au sounds akin to Swedish å (plus schwa): [ˈɔ:ʷə]
Stressed final ou sounds akin to German Aue: [ˈaʊə]
Stressed final öi sounds akin to French feuille (“e” lightly pronounced): [ˈøɪʲə]
Stressed final oi sounds akin to German Reue: [ˈɔɪʲə]
A: Neskers zhö kfínörs! Chau shebers helker lé ngauzçur nöi!
A: [ˈnɛskɛɾs ʒø kfiˈnøɾs! tʃɔ ˈʃɛbɛɾs ˈhɛlkɛɾ le ŋɔˈʑuɾ ˈnøɪʲə!]
A: God, that class was boring!
U: Mva hö!/Flaní!
U: [ˈm.va ˈhø:ə]/[flaˈni:ʲə]
U: Wasn’t it just, though?/You said it!
A: Seth lav chí hakfalsít „already”latöilít cha géarthnunsan cheveçö höngamath?
A: [sɛθ lav tʃi haˈkfalsit “already”laˈtøɪlit tʃa ˌge.aɾθˈnũsan ˌtʃɛvɛˈçø høˈŋamaθ]
A: How do you say “already” in Géarthnuns?
South of the Vdözçébs, vowels are laxer and less dramatically rounded, so this phenomenon does not occur. Nor, it should be reiterated, does it occur in northern polite or formal speech where it would be considered quite brutish and likely give offense. This manner of speaking implies a high degree of familiarity and should only be used around people one knows well, in which case it lends an air of intimacy and conviviality.
19) With two exceptions which will be pointed out when they are encountered, no double letters are allowed in spelling. In environments where joining word elements would create a duplicated letter, one letter is dropped. For example:
Tunis + sars → *Tunissars → Tunisars
20) In the romanization, a small apostrophe is inserted between two letters if they are to be read separately and not as a digraph:
cherhan [tʃɛˈXʁan] how long but
cher'ha [tʃɛɾˈha] where
thauth [θɔθ] come but
tha'u [ˈθa.u] very
21) In the native orthography, there are three spelling anomolies which do not appear in the romanization but are explained here for the reader's information:
i) As has been mentioned, the first person singular pronoun in all its forms is written with enga shumatsöin, read [ i ], not [e].
ii) The verb hílel, “beseech”, is spelled with unmarked imbe which is read as imbe shumatsöin [ i ], not [ɪ].
iii) The Tetragrammaton, due to the nature of héfö, which is onset only and a superscript which cannot be written over a wöi, is transcribed in Géarthnuns with the impossible spelling Íhawheths, read [ˈjawɛθs]. It is romanized as Íaweths except in the encyclopedic appendix of the lexicon, where it is collated as Íhawheths with an explanatory note.
These irregularities should be borne in mind when reading texts exclusively in Géarthnuns script.
Chí Dvazhüls - The Syllable
The native Géarthnuns syllable takes the following form:
in which C = consonant, S = semivowel imbe shumatsöin /j/ or wöi /w/, and V = vowel.
In onsets where both C1 and C2 are present, the following initial consonant clusters my occur:
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b d g z dh v zh m n l r b bd bz bdh bv bzh bm bn bl br d dz dv dn dl dr g gb gd gz gdh gv gzh gn gl gr z zb zd zg zdh zv zm zn zl zr dh dhb dhg dhv dhm dhn dhl dhr j jd jv jn jl jr v vb vd vg vz vdh vzh vm vn vl vr zh zhb zhd zhg zhv zhm zhn zhl zhr m mn
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p t k s th f sh m n l r p pt ps pth pf psh pm pn pl pr t ts tf tn tl tr k kp kt ks kth kf¹ ksh kn kl kr s sp st sk sth sf sm sn sl sr th thp thk thf thm thn thl thr ch cht chf chn chl chr f fp ft fk fs fth fsh fm fn fl fr sh shp sht shk shf shm shn shl shr rh rhp rht rhk ¹Its own dedicated letter in the Géarthnuns script.
Chö Bzonebs - Stress
(near as one can figure...)
- • Stress is not phonemic.
• Once a noun or adjective takes a case ending, the penultimate syllable is always stressed.
• Adverbs ending in -a'u [ˈa.u] and adadjectives ending in -eu [ˈɛ.u] always stress the penultimate.
• Articles are never stressed; particles are seldom stressed.
• Mood prefixes are not usually stressed, but they can be.
• Syllabic nasals at the beginning of a word are not usually stressed, but they can be.
• The auxiliary always goes after the nominative, so it tends to draw stress so that it sounds like Japanese “noun wa/ga slight pause” -- but it does not have to.
• Secondary stress can occur in words of more than two syllables.
• Stress is prosodic.
For gentle GSL learners who want to get their phonology onto a 3x5 index card for study on the bus, we offer a condensed version below:
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p b t d k g m n ŋ ɾ f v θ ð s z ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ x χ h tʃ dʒ l j w
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i y u ɪ e ø o ɛ ɔ a aɪ aʊ øɪ ɔɪ
2) /p/, /t/, /k/ are not aspirated.
3) /m/, /n/, /ŋ/ may be syllabic nasals [m̩ ], [n̩ ], [ŋ̍ ] before another consonant at the beginning of a word.
4) /ɕ/ is realized as [ɕ] or [ç] in free variation; mostly onset, rarely coda.
5) /ʑ/ is realized as [ʑ], maybe [ʝ] (which would be in free variation); always onset, never coda.
6) Though considered separate sounds, albeit "cousins", by native speakers, [X] and [x] are probably allophones in complementary distribution, as [X] occurs only in the onset and [x] only in the coda.
7) /h/ is onset only.
8) /j/ occurs in the onset or intervocalically.
9) /w/ is realized as [w] or [ʋ] in the onset or intervocalically, but only as [w] when preceded by another consonant.
10) Vowel length is not phonemic.
11) /e/ and /ɛ/ are separate phonemes, but [ø] and [œ] are allophones of /ø/ in free variation.
12) /ɔ/ is realized along a continuum of [ɔ] ~ [ɒ] in free variation.
13) [øɪ] and [œɪ] are allophones of /øɪ/, in free variation.
14) In all environments where a vowel is followed by an [n] and
[a] + [ns] → [ãs] ; [aɪ] + [ns] → [ãɪ̃s]
+ [ns] → [ũs] ; [y] + [ns] → [ỹs]
[ø] + [ns] → [ø̃s] ; [o] + [ns] → [õs]
[ɛ] + [ns] → [ɛ̃s] ; [e] + [ns] → [ẽs]
[ɔ] + [ns] → [ɔ̃s] ; [aʊ] + [ns] → [ãʊ̃s]
[øɪ] + [ns] → [ø̃ɪ̃s] ; [ɔɪ] + [ns] → [ɔ̃ɪ̃s]
This phenomenon is currently gaining some traction in lower speech registers when [n] is followed by the other voiceless fricatives, [f], [θ], [ʃ], [x], and, in theory at least, [ɕ].