I am coding a successor to my "Der Spracherfinder 1.5" which can handle diacritics (among many other improvements). I want the option to apply diacritics but only to consonants that would accept said diacritics. Yet I have little knowledge on which diacritics are allowed with which consonants. I would appreciate an explanation or referral. Thanks!

P.S. I was not sure what tag to apply to this question, so sorry for any confusion there.

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1 Answer 1


Many combinations of consonant and diacritic are nonsensical, but I'm not aware of any exhaustive list of these combinations.

For example, it makes no sense to velarize a velar consonant; kˠ is just the same as k (it already has a velar closure). An apical velar consonant isn't possible (you can't get the tip of the tongue back to the velum), so k̺ is a physical impossibility. Some combinations just aren't clear what they describe: a lowered stop k̞ presumably means a less-than-complete closure, but then it's not a stop any more.

However, I think it's fair to put this responsibility on your users, rather than the program itself.

  • 1
    "you can't get the tip of the tongue back to the velum" speak for yourself. I can just about stretch the tip of my tongue to touch my soft palate (the velum). Of course, this isn't something I could do rapidly or precisely enough to use it in fluid speech (it also requires me to lower my velum, so any apical velars I produce are necessarily nasal)
    – Tristan
    Sep 28, 2023 at 14:41

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