Etrandish dialects

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Language: English

The Etrandish language has a varierity of dialects. The vocabulary and grammar are overwhelmingly the same - other than slang - and the main difference is pronounciation.

Dialects versus mesolects

The city of Grandfolk has been the centre of power and authority in Etrand ever since the city has existed, As such, not only the standard language was based off it, but the elite of the country - the feudal elite (aristocracy), ecclesiastical elite (clergy) and plutocratic elite (high merchants) - has sought to conform to this standard. This created a top-down process during which the elites adopted the Grandfolk standard, and from them adopted the rest of the literate middle-class the accent.

The end result was the birth of mesolects, which are basically Standard Etrandish with some local characteristics, a compromise between the local flavors of the local dialect and the pan-Etrandish intelligibility of the standard language. As such, the mesolects are characterized by these characteristics:

  • Preservation of the distinction between all the phonemes still distinct in Standard Etrandish, bur merged in some dialects. Such examples include the popular merger of /θ/ and /f/, or that of /ð/ and /d/. The aim is to have the exact same number of distinct phonemes as in Standard Etrandish.
  • /r/ is pronounced as in the local dialect, rather than as in Standard Etrandish. The only exception to this is the Southern Etrandish-influenced mesolect, which (due to the low prestige of the dialect) imitates Standard Etrandish by using the alveolar flap/trill [ɾ~r] instead of using the local dialectal approximant [ɹ].
  • Full or slack-voicing of modally voiced stops word-initially and word-finally, just like in Standard Etrandish.
  • Aspiration of modally voiceless stops in non-coda positions, just like in Standard Etrandish.
  • Tendency to exaggerate vowels
  • Tendency towards hypercorrection for less confident speakers in a desperate attempt to immitate the Grandfolk dialect

Local dialects

Grandfolk dialect

While the Standard Etrandish spoken by the country's elite is largerly based off the dialect of Grandfolk - as the city has always been the seat of main power and authority in the kingdom - some differences still exist:

  • There is considerable amount of slang vocabulary local to the lower-class areas of Grandfolk, absent from Standard Etrandish.
  • The low-class population uses what is known as "lazy pronounciation" or "slurred pronounciation", which includes...
    • Removing word-final short vowels
    • Removing short vowels before sonorants, creating syllabic consonants that are nonexistent in every other variety of Etrand
    • Presence of of the alveolar trill - [r] or /rː/ - in positions that are not allowed in Standard Etrandish, such as after consonants and word-finally, due to the loss of short vowels before or after /rː/.
    • Tendency to pronounce the diphthongs /eɪ øʏ oʊ ɐɪ ɐʊ/ as [eːi̯ øːy̯ oːu̯ aːe̯ aːo̯] in open syllables, [ɪ ʏ ʊ ɛ ɔ] in closed syllables.
    • Open-syllable lengthening of any remaining short vowels
    • Tendency to lenite postvocalic /b d d͡ʒ g gʷ/ to [β ɾ̪ ʒ ɣ w], especially in fast, casual or slurred speech. Because intervocalic ungeminated /r/ is pronounced as an apico-alveolar/postalveolar flap [ɾ̺~ɾ̠], and intervocalic /d/ is pronounced as a denti-alveolar flap [ɾ̪], there is no risk of confusion between intervocalic /r/ and /d/.

Western Etrandish

  • Preservation of /θ/ as [θ], like in Standard Etrandish.
  • The merger of /ð/ and /d/
    • This new phoneme usually surfaces as a stop [d̪] word-initially and after nasals, and as a fricative / approximant / flap [ð~ð̞~ɾ̪] everywhere else. Some speakers may consistently use a weak stop [d̪], (rarely) an affricate [d̪͡ð], or (even more rarely) a fricative [ð].
  • Ungeminated /r/ is consistently pronounced as a flap [ɾ̺], even word-initially, where it would be pronounced as a trill in other dialects. The geminated /rː/ is still pronounced as a trilled [r̺].
    • Word-initial /r/ may be pronounced as [dɾ].
  • Nasal vocalization.

Northern Etrandish

  • Lack of nasal vocalization. Word-final nasals are fully preserved in their original state.
  • Preservation of /θ ð/ as [θ ð].
  • The modally voiced stops and affricates /b d d͡ʒ g gʷ/ are fully devoiced [p t t͡ʃ k kʷ] word-initially and word-finally. They are still fully voiced word-medially, and still distinct from the modally voiceless stops, which are aspirated.
  • Uvular articulations of /r/, for which this dialect is the most famous for. We distinguish between two types of speakers:
    • Type A speakers pronounce /r/ as a uvular trill [ʀ] when word-initial or geminated; a uvular flap [ʀ̆] word-medially (when prevocalic and ungeminated); a uvular approximant, glide, or even just the simultaneous lengthening and pharyngealization of the vowel before itself [ʁ̞~Vɐ̯~Vˤː] when not followed by a vowel. /ər/ is pronounced as [ɐ]. When not followed by another vowel, the clusters /ɛɑr œɑr ɔɑr ɪɑr ʏɑr ʊɑr eɪr øʏr oʊr iːr yːr uːr/ are respectively pronounced as [ɛɐ̯ œɐ̯ ɔɐ̯ iɐ̯ yɐ̯ uɐ̯ eɐ̯ øɐ̯ oɐ̯ iːɐ̯ yːɐ̯ uːɐ̯] or [ɛˤː œˤː ɔˤː iˤː yˤː uˤː eˤː øˤː oˤː iˤː yˤː uˤː].
    • Type B speakers consistently realize /r/ as a uvular fricative [ʁ̝]. /ər/ is pronounced as [əʁ̝].
    • Both types generally pronounce /pr tr t͡ʃr kr/ as [pχ tχ t͡ʃχ kχ].
  • Tendency to palatalize /s/ to /ʃ/ before and after front vowels, as well as other consonants. This is stigmatized and considered low-class.

Eastern Etrandish

  • Nasal vocalization.
  • Merger of /θ/ and /f/.
  • Merger of /ð/ and /d/.
    • This new phoneme usually surfaces as a stop [d̪] word-initially and after nasals, and as a fricative / approximant / flap [ð~ð̞~ɾ̪] everywhere else. Some speakers may consistently use a weak stop [d̪], (rarely) an affricate [d̪͡ð], or (even more rarely) a fricative [ð].
  • Medial non-geminated /r/ is consistently realized as an alveolar flap [ɾ].
  • Word-initial and medial geminated /r/ is realized as an alveolar or uvular trill [r~ʀ]. Traditionally the earlier was the mainstream, but the latter has been spreading and mainstreaming recently due to the enroaching influence of Northern Etrandish.
  • The lenition of postvocalic /b d͡ʒ g gʷ/ to [β ʒ ɣ w]. The lenition of /d/ is discussed above.

Eastern Mountains dialect

  • Nasal vocalization.
  • Th-stopping of /θ ð/ to [t̪ʰ d̪]. Both are also exempt from palatalization.
  • The palatalization of /n t d s z l/ to [nʲ~ɲ tʲʰ~cʰ~t͡ɕʰ dʲ~ɟ~d͡ʑ sʲ~ɕ zʲ~ʑ lʲ~ʎ] before front unrounded vowels and /j/. The extent of palatalization depends on the individual speaker's preference, ranging from just palatalized alveolar (with a palatal offglide) to fully alveolo-palatal (with optional affrication/assibilation for the stop consonants).
  • /tʃ dʒ ʃ/ are retroflexed to [ʈ͡ʂʰ ɖ͡ʐ ʂ]
  • /r/ is consistently pronounced as an alveolar or uvular trill [r~ʀ]. Flap and approximant pronunciations are never used.

Southern Etrandish

  • Nasal vocalization.
  • Merger of /θ/ and /f/.
  • Merger of /ð/ and /d/.
    • This new phoneme usually surfaces as a stop [d̪] word-initially and after nasals, and as a fricative / approximant / flap [ð~ð̞~ɾ̪] everywhere else. Some speakers may consistently use a weak stop [d̪], (rarely) an affricate [d̪͡ð], or (even more rarely) a fricative [ð].
  • The modally voiceless stops are either only weakly aspirated or completely unaspirated, in sharp contrast with other dialects that all aspirate the modally voiceless stops in prevocalic positions.
  • Modally voiced stops are consistently fully voiced.
  • /r/ is consistently realized as an approximant [ɹ], which may be elided when not prevocalic (non-rhotic). This stereotypical feature is less widespread than most would think, for example, the Talon-accent is rhotic.
    • Literate or otherwise aspiring prestige-seeking southerners may instead use the flap/trill [ɾ~r] as a means of imitating the much more prestigious Standard Etrandish over their prestige-lacking native dialect.
    • Rhotic accents follow the Standard Etrandish pattern of vowel allophony, turning /ɑr ɑːr ɛr œr ɔr ɪr ʏr ʊr iːr yːr uːr ɐɪr ɐʊr eɪr øʏr oʊr ɛɑr œɑr ɔɑr ɪɑr ʏɑr ʊɑr/ into R-coloured vowels or diphthongs [ɒ˞ ɔ˞ː ɚ ɚ ɔ˞ ɚ ɚ ɚ iɚ̯ yɚ̯ uɚ̯ ɛ˞ː ɔ˞ː eɚ̯ øɚ̯ oɚ̯ ɛɚ̯ œɚ̯ ɔɚ̯ ɪɚ̯ ʏɚ̯ ʊɚ̯].
    • Non-rhotic accents lengthen short vowels before the silent /r/, and replace the last element of diphthongs with a simple schwa, turning /ɑr ɑːr ɛr œr ɔr ɪr ʏr ʊr iːr yːr uːr ɐɪr ɐʊr eɪr øʏr oʊr ɛɑr œɑr ɔɑr ɪɑr ʏɑr ʊɑr/ into [ɒː ɔː əː əː ɔː əː əː əː iə̯ yə̯ uə̯ ɛː ɔː eə̯ øə̯ oə̯ ɛə̯ œə̯ ɔə̯ ɪə̯ ʏə̯ ʊə̯]. The long schwa is shortened [ə] word-finally, lowered [ɜː] otherwise.

Copperport dialect

The dialect of Copperport shares a lot of features with the Southern Etrancoasti dialect. It is unknown which influenced which historically. Among the shared features are the retroflex realization of /r/, retroflexion and affrication of /tr dr/, and the heavier palatalization of /tʃ dʒ ʃ/.

  • Nasal vocalization.
  • Merger of /θ/ and /f/.
  • Th-stopping of /ð/ to [d̪]. This dental stop is exempted from the retroflexion after /r/ that /d/ goes through.
  • Tendency to voice word-final modally voiceless consonants, the city Copperport's name essentially becoming Copperpord
  • The retroflexion of the clusters /rn rt rd rs rz rl/ to [ɻɳ~ɳː ɻʈ~ʈː ɻɖ~ɖː ɻʂ~ʂː ɻʐ~ʐː ɻɭ~ɭː].
    • This is where the city's nickname Capperpudd originates from.
  • /ɔ/ is raised to [ʊ] before /r/.
    • /ɔ/ lowered to [ɑ] in every other position.
  • /r/ is pronounced as an alveolar or uvular trill [r~ʀ] word-initially and when geminated; a retroflex flap [ɽ] when medial, prevocalic and ungeminated; a retroflex approximant [ɻ] when not prevocalic.
    • /tr dr/ are pronounced as [ʈ͡ʂʰɻ̊ ɖ͡ʐɻ]
  • The palatalization of /tʃ dʒ ʃ/ are a lot stronger than in other dialects, them being realized as [t͡ɕʰ d͡ʑ ɕ] or even [cʰ ɟ ɕ].

Cross-dialectal phenomena

Treatment of /θ/

The voiceless dental fricative /θ/ is traditionally meant to be pronounced as a strictly dental fricative [θ], which is preserved in Standard Etrandish (and the Grandfolk dialect off which it is based), the Northern Etrandish and Western Etrandish dialects as well as the various mesolects. Most other dialects - especially when spoken by lower-class speakers - tend to exhibit th-fronting, that is, pronouncing /θ/ as a labiodental [f]. Examples of such dialects include Southern Etrandish, Eastern Etrandish and the Copperport dialect.

Voiceless th-stopping is a much rarer phenomenon, occouring regularly only in the Eastern Mountains dialect. It is important to note, that even in that particular dialect, there is no complete merger of /θ/ and /t/, as the latter is subject to palatalization to [tʲʰ~cʰ~t͡ɕʰ] before front vowels and /j/, while the earlier is not, consistently pronounced as [t̪(ʰ)].

Treatment of /ð/

The voiced dental fricative /ð/ is traditionally meant to be pronounced as a strictly dental fricative [ð], which is preserved only in Standard Etrandish (and the Grandfolk dialect off which it is based), the Northern Etrandish dialect, and more formal registers of the various mesolects. All other dialects exhibit th-stopping in one form or another, in form of a complete or incomplete merger.

In Western Etrandish, Southern Etrandish and Eastern Etrandish, this merger is complete, which is safe, as /d/ is not a subject to any phenomena like palatalization or retroflexion. Speakers of dialects without this merger perceive these dialects as mispronouncing /ð/ as [d] (the common stereotype), when in reality, speakers of these dialects most commonly only use the dental stop [d̪] only word-initially and after nasals, a dental fricative / approximant / flap [ð~ð̞~ɾ̪] everywhere else. Some speaker may consistently pronounce both /d/ and /ð/ as either [d̪] or [ð], but this is rarer (the latter of which may be a result of hypercorrection).

In the Eastern Mountains dialect and the Copperport dialect, however, the merger is incomplete: while both dialects exhibit th-stopping, /ð/ is exempt from all the phonological processes /d/ goes through when influenced by neighbouring sounds (palatalization in the Eastern Mountains, retroflexion in Copperport)). In the Eastern Mountains dialect, /d/ is palatalized to [dʲ~ɟ~d͡ʑ] before front vowels and /j/, while /ð/ is consistently pronounced as [d̪]. In the Copperport dialect, /rd/ is retroflexed to [ɻɖ~ɖː~Vːɖ], while /rð/ is consistently pronounced as [ɹd̪] or even [ɾ̪d̪~ð̞d̪].

Nasal vocalization

In several dialects - namely Western Etrandish, Eastern Etrandish, Southern Etrandish, the Copperport dialect and the Eastern Mountains dialect - word-final nasals (so long as they are directly following a vowel) undergo varying degrees of vocalization.

In these dialects, word-final /V(ː)m V(ː)n V(ː)ɲ V(ː)ŋ/ are realized as [V(ː)ʊ̯̃ V(ː)ʏ̯̃ V(ː)ɪ̯̃ V(ː)ʊ̯̃]. /Vɪm Vɪn Vɪɲ Vɪŋ/ are realized as [Vɪ̯̃], /Vʏm Vʏn Vʏɲ Vʏŋ/ are realized as [Vʏ̯̃], /Vʊm Vʊn Vʊɲ Vʊŋ/ are realized as [Vʊ̯̃]. In the lowest-class registers, this nasal vocalization may go as far as completely removing the word-final nasal, nasalizing and lengthening the vowel it follows.

In Standard Etrandish, Northern Etrandish and the Grandfolk dialect, the word-final nasals /m n ɲ ŋ/ are preserved as [m n ɲ ŋ].

Foreign accents

Etrancoasti

  • /ɛ œ ɔ/ are realized as true mid [e̞ ø̞ o̞], halfway between /ɛ œ ɔ/ and /e ø o/
  • /ɛː ɔː eɪ̯ øʏ̯ oʊ̯/ are realized as [ɛe̯ ou̯ ei̯ øy̯ ou̯]
  • The modally voiced stops and affricates /b d d͡ʒ g gʷ/ are completely devoiced [p t t͡ʃ k kʷ] word-initally and word-finally, but still kept distinct from their modally voiceless counterparts /p t t͡ʃ k kʷ/ , which are aspirated [pʰ tʰ t͡ʃʰ kʰ kʷʰ].
    • Most speakers either soften /g gʷ/ to a continuants [ɣ w] or always pronounce them as a voiceless [k kʷ]
  • Etrancoasti-accented Etrandish is usually subject to the same variation as pure Etrancoasti is, such as the palatalization of velars before front vowels and /j/.

Artaburro Wood Elven

  • /ɛː ɔː/ are raised to /eː oː/
  • The lax /ɪ ʏ ʊ/ are tensed to /i y u/
  • /œ øʏ̯/ are usually replaced by /y yː/
  • /θ/ is usually mispronounced as either [s] (Th-alveolarization) or [f] (Th-fronting)
  • /r/ is always a trill/flap [ɾ~r]. This is correct in the syllable onset, but in the syllable coda, the correct usage would the approximant [ɹ] - Artaburrans use the flapped [ɾ] in coda position too.
  • The voiceless stops are pronounced as only slightly aspirated, as opposed to the stronger aspirated that is considered correct in Etrandish
  • Final /ŋ/ is split to /ŋg/

Dragoc Wood Elven

  • /ɛː ɔː/ are raised to /eː oː/
  • The lax /ɪ ʏ ʊ/ are tensed to /i ʉ/. /u/ and /y/ are merged into /ʉ/.
  • /œ øʏ̯/ are usually replaced by /ʉ ʉː/
  • /θ/ is usually mispronounced as [s] (Th-alveolarization)
  • The voiceless stops are pronounced as only slightly aspirated, as opposed to the stronger aspirated that is considered correct in Etrandish
  • /r/ and /l/ are merged and pronounced as a flapped [ɾ~ɺ]. Coda-position /r/ is usually elided and the preceding vowel is lengthened. /ər/ is replaced by [aː].
  • /s z n/ are palatalized to [ɕ ʑ ɲ] before /i/. Some speakers may palatalize /t d/ into [t͡ɕ d͡ʑ] before /i/, but this is rarer.
  • Final /ŋ/ is either merged with /n/ or extended into /ŋg/
  • /hʊ huː/ are replaced by /ɸʉ ɸʉː/
  • Tendency to insert prosthetic vowels - usually /ʉ/ - after voiced consonants, but not voiceless ones

High Elven

  • /ɛː/ is either lowered to [æː] or raised to [eː]
  • /ɔː/ is raised to [oː]
  • The diphthongs /eɪ̯ oʊ̯/ are replaced by long vowels /eː oː/
  • Problems with front rounded vowels:
    • The short /œ ʏ/ are usually merged with /ɛ ɪ/ or /ɔ ʊ/
    • The long /øʏ̯ yː/ usually become /eʊ̯ ɪʊ̯/
  • The schwa /ə/ is usually replaced by either [ɛ], except word-finally
  • /z/ is affricated to /d͡z/ word-initially and after nasals
  • /r/ is always a trill/flap [ɾ~r]. This is correct in the syllable onset, but in the syllable coda, the correct usage would the approximant [ɹ] - High Elves use the flapped [ɾ] in coda position too.
    • A lot of speakers may pronounce /ər/ as [aː] and/or elide coda-position Rs (non-rhotic accent). Others pronounce /ər/ as either [əɾ] or [ɛɾ], and always pronounce Rs (rhotic accent). The usage of [aː] is quite peculiar, as High Elven lacks the sound - it only has [ɑ] and [æː].
  • The voiceless stops are pronounced as only slightly aspirated, as opposed to the stronger aspirated that is considered correct in Etrandish
  • /θ/ is usually fronted to [f] (Th-fronting)
  • Final /ŋ/ is split to /ŋg/

Dark Elven

  • /ɛː ɔː/ are lowered to /æː ɒː/. /ɛ ɔ/ remain unchanged.
  • The lax vowels /ɪ ʏ ʊ/ are tensed /i ɨᵝ u/
  • The front rounded /œ øː ʏ yː/ are replaced by central rounded /ɜᵝ ɘᵝː ɨᵝ ɨᵝː/. Native speakers of Etrandish can rarely tell the difference.
  • The diphthongs /eɪ̯ øʏ̯ oʊ̯/ are replaced by long monophthongs /eː ɘᵝː oː/
  • /θ/ is usually mispronounced as either [s] (Th-alveolarization) or [f] (Th-fronting)
  • /r/ is pronounced as a uvular trill/flap/fricative [ʀ~ʀ̆~ʁ]
    • A lot of speakers may pronounce /ər/ as [aː] and/or elide coda-position Rs (non-rhotic accent). Others pronounce /ər/ as [əʀ~əʀ̆~əʁ] and always pronounce Rs (rhotic accent).
  • /h/ is pronounced as a velar/uvular [x~χ]
  • /gʷ/ is usually mispronounced as [g] or [w]
  • Voiceless stops are unaspirated. Some native Etrandish-speakers may mishear these unaspirated stops for voiced stops.
  • The schwa /ə/ is often completely removed, creating new syllabic consonants or complex consonant clusters that do not exist in Etrandish.

See also