Proto-Dahu-Kemba is reconstructed as having 21 phonemes. It was characterised by its few points of vowel articulation, a lack of voicing contrast amongst consonants and the prominence of velar, uvular and pharyngeal sounds. Syllables were simple or moderately complex.
The standard model of PDK has stood the test of time, but some uncertainties remain. These are indicated below. The language was unwritten. We must assume that it had dialects, but nothing is known about them.
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There were seven dialects in Eastern Dahu, four of which were represented on Mohai. By the modern era these have reduced to three thanks to a mixture of education, broadcasting and increased travel. The three modern dialect areas are: Northern, Central and Southern. The Central dialect has most speakers.
The phonology of Modern Standard Lemohai (MSL) is based on educated speech from the capital Orisu and the surrounding area. This lies within the Central dialect zone, half way up the east coast.
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Modern Standard Lemohai has five oral monophthongs plus a nasal equivalent for each, making ten monophthongs in all. Nasal monophthongs are written with a trailing nasal consonant.
Oral: a, e, i, o, u = /a, ɛ, i, ɔ, u /
Nasal: an, en, in, on, un
OR: am, em, im, om, um = /ã, ɛ̃, ĩ, ɔ̃, ũ/
Historical VN and CVN syllables gave rise to of the modern nasal vowels. Hence trailing -N are retained in the native script and in transliteration.
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