Modern Öklane is the language of Ökla, the largest nation-state on the continent of Umãka to the north of Aheku. It has a total of thirty-one phonemes. Their sounds vary surprisingly little according to their phonetic environment. They are arranged in moderately complex syllables.
The language has six points of vowel articulation. A long and a short vowel may be made at each point. Rounded alternative may be formed in two places. This gives sixteen vowels in all. Long vowels are written double. Some vowels are the fronted version of back vowels. They are shown with an umlaut in this transliteration.
/e̞, e̞: /
Where two monophthongs meet, a diphthong is formed. These may be falling or rising. The former are the more common. A hiatus is sounded between two identical vowels across word boundaries.
The language has fifteen consonants. There are two series of stops (voiced and voiceless), along with voiced and voiceless fricatives plus a small set of sonorants.
Notice that f and v represent bilabial sounds /β, ɸ/. As noted in an earlier post, the Ike cannot easily make labio-dental sounds. The presence of these sounds may account for the absence of w, as it would be difficult to distinguish /w/ from them, particularly from /β/.
The following types of consonant clusters are permitted:
- Stop OR nasal + liquid OR glide: bl-, mr-, ky-, etc.
- s + voiceless stop, nasal, OR liquid: st-, sm-, sl-, etc.
- v OR f + liquid: vl-, fr-, etc.
Öklane is a mora-timed language. Only the following syllable types are allowed:
Stress is quite pronounced and falls invariably on the first syllable. Secondary stress falls on alternate syllables thereafter. Consonant clusters, diphthongs and long vowels occur mostly in syllables with primary or secondary stress. The name of the language is an obvious exception to this.
Thanks to the levelling effects of modern media and education, regional and class-based differences in the modern language are not as strong as they once were. Nonetheless, some notable differences remain.
Öklane has three main dialects: Eastern, Western and Metropolitan. The Öklane spoken overseas is also non-standard. The standard language, as described above, is the language of the upper and middle classes in the Metropolitan dialect zone, in and around the capital Kuonavaari and the nearby second city of Blikuha.
The Öklane alphabet is written from left to right in simple, geometric characters. It is a unicase script without separate upper and lower case forms. It is largely phonetic. The alphabet is of local origin but shows an influence from various writing systems of North Aheku.