Oksirapho Phonology and Alphabet How to pronounce and read the language of the Ksreskézai

Phonology


The Ksreskézaian tongue is a multisegmented, forking organ capable of blocking up to three distinct airways at the same time. As a result it is impossible to exactly describe Ksreskézaian phonology in terms of the IPA or any other system meant for modelling human speech, much like the Peseneyi tongue of Paligú, which uses a mixture of chirps and clicks in its native form. However, as the Lilitai were forced to learn and use Oksirapho, they developed an alternative phonology based on Rotomem pronunciation. At first this phonology was very imprecise and elided several distinct letters into one, but over generations the Lilitai became more skilled at reproducing their masters' nuanced speech. Presented here is the phonology in its last form, from c. 2 lilpo when the Lilitai were just starting to switch over to their own dialect. By that point, most of the phonemes had slid into positions more comfortable to the Lilitai.

Written language


Oksirapho has three different alphabets: an ornamental case for titling and display, a minuscule case used for everyday communication, and a formal case which was primarily found in business and the military. Generally, Oksirapho writing exhibited no punctuation or work breaks for most of its history, but certain forms of syntactic sugar were introduced over time following the arrival of the Rotomem.

Early Ksreskézaian written language was more true to the form of the speech itself; text was written in three columns, each representing one speech organ, or elsewise the three were combined into a more complex character set. It was only after the Dashro Oasis Civilization that a mono-linear form, influenced by Rotomemi, started to gain favour.


"Rough breathing" may be approximated with a glottal stop, and is frequently transcribed as an apostrophe or other suspension mark.

Phonotactics


The three registers are roughly modelled as syllable onset, vowel, and coda, meaning that each syllable spoken by a human tongue corresponds to one simultaneous sound by an okse. The first and third organs are capable of making comparable sounds while the second has more limited control over the airflow. Because of the characteristic twist of the middle tongue, phones from the first organ favour coronal-like consonants, and phones from the third usually sound more dorsal, but they can be forced into each others' domains with effort, making the two comparable. Labial consonants can be produced with ease by either organ, or by both organs simultaneously. The middle tongue can furthermore tilt and block the airway entirely, producing aspirations and a single nasal-like sound on either side. Thus:

Syllable = L(NV|V|VN)R | L | R
L = R = s,t,d,y,sh,v,w,r,l,f,dt,k,g,p,b,ph,bh,th,dh,zh,kh,gh,dz,dzh,ts,tsh
N = n,m,ñ (depends on environment)
V = S|W|SS|hS|hW|'S|'W
S = o,a,e,i,u
W = ó,á,é,í,ú

Where the difference between S and W indicates a change in how long the whole syllable is held for (diphthong of two short vowels last as long as one long one).

Note that not all dialects or historical forms demanded all of these consonants out of every position in the mouth.

Note that the same sound may affect a register at a distance; for example, in "gegloko", all three syllables start with a velar stop; i.e. the first organ is producing roughly the same sound. A word that frequently changes back and forth between consonants in the same position may create a tongue-twister for the oksete, even though one is not evident to a linear reader. This has caused a unique form of apparently long-distance assimilation.

Since some syllables appear to contain nothing but plosives and would be very difficult for the human tongue to render, the real phonology of Oksirapho involves a great many affricates; e.g. "Ksreskézo" itself is pronounced [kx.s̪ɻɛs̪.'kʰɛɪ.zo:].