Pronunciation is closely tied to politeness in Thalas'sian. So, take care to pronounce words correctly, or else you'll be rude!
To start out, we'll get familiar with a system of politeness that we don't have in English. In English, we have "cuss words" or "curse words" that we're not supposed to use when talking to people who we're supposed to be polite to. These words can only be used (without insulting someone) when talking to peers in informal situations, or when insulting someone. The level, or register, of speech reserved for polite, formal situations or talking to someone above you in the hierarchy, is called "Reverential". The register of speech reserved for informal speech to peers or for insulting someone is called "Familiar". Thalas'sian doesn't have cussing, (beyond insulting names to call someone) so, the easiest way to insult someone in Thalas'sian is to use the wrong register when talking to someone.
If you're talking to a close friend, using the Reverential register will put distance between you and your friend, saying that you aren't friends anymore.
If you're talking to someone you’re supposed to be polite to, like a superior or a stranger, and you use the Familiar register, you'll be dragging them to your level or below you, saying that you have no respect for them.
On the other hand, using the Familiar register when talking to a friend puts them on your level, stating your closeness. When using it with inferiors, (students, employees, subjects that you rule over) it reinforces the hierarchy, and lets people know who's boss.
When you use the Reverential register, it shows your reverence for the person you're talking to, elevating them and putting a polite distance between them and yourself.
Thalas'sian has Reverential and Familiar registers built into the language itself. The first we will study is in the pronunciation.
The Reverential Register is really breathy sounding. Whenever a vowel comes at the beginning of a word, or after an apostrophe, put an H before it. A word like "ana'a" sounds like "hanaha".
The Familiar Register is louder sounding, with no H's. There is a little twang in your vocal chords that you can hear when you start a word beginning with a vowel in English. Put a little extra emphasis on it, so the vowel is a touch louder, like when you say, "uh-oh!". This will make words like "ana'a" sound like "Ana-A".
Stress is emphasizing one syllable over others. When you do this, you say the syllable slightly louder and higher pitched than the other syllables. To hear this in English, compare the words "digest" (to digest food) and "digest" (Readers' Digest).
Stress will always fall on the first syllable in a word. Apostrophes mark the boundaries between compound words; so stress the second (or third) word in a compound a little less than the first.
|a||is always pronounced like the A in "father".|
In English, we tend to turn A's at the end of words into "uh"s, so watch out for that.
A is the only vowel that can be long in both dialects. ("Long" means "said for a longer period of time", NOT pronounced like the A in "ate")
|e||is usually pronounced like the E in "bet".|
When it's next to another vowel or elongated, it'll be pronounced like the E in "eight".
|i||is usually pronounced like the I in "machine".|
When an N or M comes after it in the same syllable, it is pronounced like the I in "pick". This makes the Thalas'sian word "sin" pronounced the same way the English word "sin", but the Thalas'sian word "sinu" would be pronounced like the English words "see-knew".
|o||is usually pronounced like the AW is "awful" (Western USAns, this is "awful" in the East-coast US or the Queen's English pronunciation. You don't have this vowel.)|
When it's next to another vowel or elongated, it'll be pronounced like the O in "boat".
|u||is usually pronounced like the U in "brute".|
When an N or M comes after it in the same syllable, it is pronounced like the OO in "look".
As I mentioned in the A section, When I talk about Length, I mean the Length of Time that a sound is said. Throughout the textbook and in the dictionary I provide, I’ll spell these long vowels the same way: as a double vowel (AA, EE, II, OO, UU). In the Non-Fiona material they will often be spelled with an H after the vowel, (AH, EH, IH, OH, UH) or as diphthongs (read the next section), but I will do my best to keep it as simple as possible.
A diphthong is two vowels side by side. To pronounce a diphthong, simply say the first vowel sound, then the second vowel sound without a break between them.
When writing in Runes, you’d use the older Quel'sian pronunciation for the spelling of words.
Here is a list of the consonants and their pronunciations. You’ll notice that many of them have special doubled forms. These forms are found inside words (not at the beginning or ends of words). A simple way to do them is to end the first syllable with them and start the next syllable with them. This will give the elongated sound that you’re looking for.
Only NN and MM break the pattern and can be found at the end of a word. They, like vowels, are simply held for a longer period of time.
(Not used by me)
|B||/b/||Like the B in “boat”|
|CH||TSH||/tʃ/||Like the CH in “cheek”. Became SH in Sin'sian.|
|D||/d/||Like the D in “desk”|
|DH||/ð/||Like the TH in “the”, “this” or “there”|
|DHH||/ðð/||Same as DH, just said for a longer period of time.|
|F||VH, PH||/f/||Like the F in “fun”|
|FF||VHH, PHH||/ff/||Same as an F, just said for a longer period of time.|
|G||/ɡ/||Like the G in “game”|
|J||DZH||/dʒ/||Like the J in “jump”. Became ZH in Sin'sian.|
|K||C, Q||/k/||Like the K in “skill”|
|L||/l/||Like the L in “like”|
|LL||/ll/||Same as an L, just said for a longer period of time.|
|M||/m/||Like the M in “mother”|
|MM||/mm/||Same as an M, just said for a longer period of time.|
|N||/n/||Like the N in “nope”|
|NN||/nn/||Same as an N, just said for a longer period of time.|
|NG||/ŋɡ/||Like the NG in “finger”, with both the N and G pronounced.|
|P||/p/||Like the P in “spot”|
|QU||KW||/kʷ/||Like the QU in “queen”|
|R||/ɹ/||Like the R in “rope”|
|RR||/ɹɹ/||Same as an R, just said for a longer period of time.|
|S||/s/||Like the S in “song”|
|SS||/ss/||Same as an S, just said for a longer period of time.|
|SH||/ʃ/||Like the SH in “shout”|
|SHH||/ʃʃ/||Same as an SH, just said for a longer period of time.|
|T||/t/||Like the T in “stop”|
|TH||/θ/||Like the TH in “thought”|
|THH||/θθ/||Same as TH, just said for a longer period of time.|
|V||/v/||Like the V in “very”|
|VV||/vv/||Same as a V, just said for a longer period of time.|
|W||/w/||Like the W in “win”|
|WW||/ww/||Same as a W, just said for a longer period of time.|
|Y||/j/||Like the Y in “yell”|
|YY||/jj/||Same as a Y, just said for a longer period of time.|
|Z||/z/||Like the Z in “zoo”|
|ZZ||/zz/||Same as a Z, just said for a longer period of time.|
|ZH||J, X||/ʒ/||Like the S in “treasure”|
|ZHH||JJ, XX||/ʒʒ/||Same as a Z, just said for a longer period of time.|
Now that you know all of the sounds, try sounding out this set of phrases. If you want more to practice, go through the dictionary sounding out the words, in both the Reverential register and the Familiar register.