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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago

Neo Patwa


Last updated on July 26, 2006


Welcome to Neo Patwa.


First, a short technical note, which you should feel free to skip! This language is a modified proposal of Dunia Patwa, which I began working on in 2005. It keeps the same grammar and mostly the same vocabulary, but with a simpler phonology, which of course necessitates some changes in the vocabulary. One of the real problems I feel with the current version of Dunia Patwa is the phonology. I think that there are potential difficulties with the voiced/voiceless or aspirated/unaspirated distinction in consonants.


OK, so on to the language. Neo Patwa has a very simple phonology. Well, that may be a bit of an overstatement, because as you go along, you might find some fairly complicated ideas. What I mean is, Neo Patwa is made to be easy to pronounce and understand.


First, here are the sounds that are allowed.




A (father) (Open front unrounded)

E (pet) (Close mid-front unrounded)

I (sheet) (Close front unrounded)

O (coat) (Close mid-back rounded)

U (shoot) (Close back rounded)




P (pen/ben) (Bilabial plosive)

K (cat/gat) (Velar plosive)

T (ten/den) (Alveolar plosive)

C (cheat/jeat) (Bilabial plosive)

' (uh-oh) Glottal stop. There is generally no need to indicate it.


F (fast) (Dental fricative)

S (sit/zit) (Alveolar fricative)

X (shell) (Post-alveolar fricative)

H (loch) (Uvular or velar fricative)


M (mine) (Bilabial nasal)

N (not) (Alveolar nasal)


J (yard) (Palatal approximant)

W (water) (Labial velar approximant)

L (long) (Alveolar lateral approximant)


This leaves only 11 consonants (or 12 counting the glottal stop, which is not written), 2 semivowels and 5 vowels.


Word Shape


OK, so far so good. The sounds themselves are pretty straightforward. A new element is the shape of words. In Neo Patwa, syllables can only end in vowels or in nasal, liquid, or fricative consonants. I know that may sound like gibberish; what it means is that a syllable can end in all the vowels, plus M and N (nasals), L (a liquid) and S or F (fricatives).




The consonant clusters allowed as basically the same as in Dunia Patwa, though of course there are less consonants available.


Guide to Pronunciation


There are a couple of difficulties in pronunciation, mostly involving the consonant and vowel clusters. Otherwise it's quite easy.


For the consonant clusters, they can be pronounced as pure clusters, but it is preferable to insert a reduced vowel, like a schwa in English, in between them. This is not written into the words, however.


For the vowel clusters, they should not be pronounced as diphthongs. Rather, they should be pronounced as individual sounds. It is OK to place a glottal stop in between them (like in "uh-oh") but it is also OK to place a j- before o and u, and a w- before a, i and e. So in reality, "tai" would be prounounced "tawi," and "kau" would be pronounced "kaju".




A slight stress or accent or higher tone should be placed on the second-to-last vowel in a word. This doesn't include semivowels, so the stress in "citja" would be on the "i" and not the "j".

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