How does this phoneme inventory look and any roles for them? Like, how should these be used, what they look like, and how hard it may be for people to comprehend:

a - [a]

ā - [aː]

å - [ø]

ä - [ɛ/ɑ]

â - [ɒ]

æ - [æ]

b - [b]

c - [k/ɡ/t͡s]

č - [ʧ/t͡ɕ]

ç - [ɕ/s]

d - [d]

ð - [ð]

e - [e/ɛ]

ē - [eː/i]

ë - [ɘ]

ə - [ə]

f - [f/ɸ]

g - [ɡ]

ğ - [ɣ/ʁ]

h - [h]

ĥ - [χ/x]

i - [i]

ı - [ɨ]

ī - [iː]

ï - [ɨ/i]

j - [ʤ/j/i]

ĵ - [ʒ]

k - [k]

l - [l/ɫ]

ł - [ɫ]

m - [m]

n - [n]

ñ - [ɲ]

ŋ - [ŋ]

o - [o]

ō - [oː]

ô - [ɔ]

œ - [œ]

p - [p/ɸ]

q - [q/kw/kʷ]

ĸ - [q]

r - [r/ɾ]

s - [s]

š - [ʃ]

t - [t]

u - [u/ʊ]

ū - [uː]

ü - [ʏ/u]

v - [v]

w - [w/u/ʊ]

ŵ - [ʋ]

x - [ks/x/χ]

y - [y/i/j]

z - [z]

ž - [ʒ]

þ - [θ]

& - —

The alphabet itself: a ā å ä â æ b c č ç d ð e ē ë ə f g ğ h ĥ i ı ī ï j ĵ k l ł m n ñ ŋ o ō ô œ p q ĸ r s š t u ū ü v w ŵ x y z ž þ &

All letter categories:

Vowels: a ā å ä â æ e ē ë ə i ı ī ï o ō ô œ u ū ü

Consonants: b c č ç d ð f g ğ h ĥ ĵ k l ł m n ñ ŋ p q ĸ r s š t v ŵ x z ž þ

Semivowels: j w y

Other: &

EDIT: Draconis recommended me to include a spreadsheet, so here it is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/0/d/1V8HTUVOvpst9fFIOds_u27ue9JbeXOGjU2ns2JA6viY/htmlview

Pie chart.

Pie chart of every letter category, with each category shown as the first letter in it.

  • 1
    Do the slashes mean indecision about how to pronounce a letter? Or perhaps the pronunciation of ‹x› depends on a word's origin? Jan 24 at 3:26
  • Depends on the purpose of your conlang. If it's intended to be an "easily pronounceable" international auxiliary languages, then at least half of those phonemes need to go. But as the language of a fictional country, it's at least plausible.
    – dan04
    Jan 31 at 17:39
  • 1
    And again, the edits are annoying for the users here watching the "active questions". At the end of the day, this is a question-and-answer site for third party users to step by and look at. It is not a place to deposit documentation of a conlang (consider setting up a personal website for that purpose).
    – Sir Cornflakes
    Feb 5 at 8:29
  • 1
    @SirCornflakes You're lucky, the edits are over. Feb 5 at 19:42
  • 1
    & is not a phoneme, it is just a grapheme (presumably for the word "and"), and it spells out the three phonemes (or two, when a diphthong is considered one phoneme instead of two) /k/ /a/ /i/ (or /k/ /ai/).
    – Sir Cornflakes
    Feb 6 at 16:31

2 Answers 2


Thirteen vowel qualities (if I counted correctly) is a lot and makes the language hard to learn, but it is not outside the range some Germanic languages offer, I think specifically of the case of Danish here. Having two central vowels, ë - [ɘ] and ə - [ə], is probably a challenge, their coocurrence in one language is really rare. Giving them a bit more distance, e.g., by replacing [ə] with [ɜ], can help here.

The consonant system is not overly ambitious, it may provide some difficulties depending on the native language of the learners, the th's or the h-like sounds may be some obstacles.

  • But what about that one in between Thorn and the glottal stop, as well as the one AFTER the glottal stop (a.k.a. the last one.) Jan 13 at 0:49
  • 1
    @thesmartwaterbear Those aren't phonemes, they're letters.
    – Draconis
    Jan 13 at 17:09
  • @Draconis The alphabet was changed for the true LAST time. Anyways, I meant that letter that's this... thing: & Feb 1 at 22:05
  • @thesmartwaterbear Still not a phoneme I'm afraid.
    – Draconis
    Feb 1 at 23:36
  • @Draconis But it represents the [kai] sound as shown on the list. Feb 2 at 0:17

The most important point is, this isn't a phoneme inventory! It's an orthography. When you list multiple pronunciations for a letter, especially in brackets [] rather than slashes //, it's not clear if you want those to be separate phonemes, or different realizations of the same phoneme.

I'd recommend writing down a list of the phonemes specifically (with the orthography in parentheses if you really want to include it) and putting them in a table, like you'd find on Wikipedia. Any spreadsheet program (Excel, Calc, Google Sheets, etc) can make something like that.

The table will let you see whether there are any weird asymmetries, or whether any part of the consonant or vowel space is getting too crowded.


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