Anthologica Universe Atlas / Universes / Miscellanea / Sebastic (Echqīli/Seqel) / A Reference Grammar / Phonology

This page is based on the phonology of Modern Literary Sebastic, which represents the standard pronunciation applied to Sebastic today, including to Classical texts. Variations will be discussed in the section on the historical development of Sebastic phonology.

Phoneme Inventory

Nasalmn+Can be syllabicɳ/n/g+Allophone [ɲ] in position _y; [ŋ] in position _.C, unless C represents a dental, retroflex, or palatal. Written <n> before dentals and retroflexes, <g> before anything palatal or further back, <ɳ> in all other positions.
Plosivebt dʈk gq
Fricativevs z(ɽ)+Allophone of /r/ in Modern Sebastic, sometimes written with this separate ghħ
Affricatech j
Approximantwyh ʕ+In some cases, <ʕ> can represent /0/,h+<h> sometimes represents /ɦ/
Liquidł+/ɬ/; can be syllabic l r+With allophone [ʑ] in position _# in Modern Sebastic



Historical Development of Sebastic Phonology


Plosivep bt ṭ dk q gʔ
Fricativeθ θ̣ ðs1+; Sometimes written <š>ḫ ġħ ʕh
Affricates3+Often <s>3 z
Liquidl r s2+[ɬ]; Sometimes written <ś>2

The so-called "emphatics" were most likely glottalized. Thus, ṭ q θ̣  ṣ32 were probably pronounced [t_ʔ] [k_ʔ] [θ_ʔ] [ts_ʔ] [ɬ_ʔ].

Proto-Semitic has long been constructed with four voiceless sibilants, traditionally labeled θ š ś s. To prevent confusion, a growing number of Semiticists used θ s1 s2 s3 respectively. Most likely, they were pronounced [θ s ɬ ts] (Faber 1981).

Vocalic Sonorants
Some evidence indicates that Proto-Semitic had syllabic liquids and nasals: [n] and [m] likely existed as nuclei, with proposals that [l] and [r] may have as well (Testen 1995, Blake 1910).

Proto-Semitic had /a/ /i/ /u/ as short vowels, each with a long equivalent. As diphthongs, it had /aw/ and /aj/.

Stress was not phonemic in Proto-Semitic, and occurred:
a) On the last CVC or CV: syllable, except if the ultimate syllable
b) In words only with syllables CV, stress fell on the propenultimate syllable, not counting most suffixes.

Pre-Classical Sebastic

Roughly two thousand years separated Proto-Semitic and our earliest attestations of Sebastic, although some recent discoveries may provide insight into the millennia in between. As such, most of the phonological changes that exist in Modern Sebastic had developed by the time of Pre-Classical Sebastic.

Consonantal diachronics from Proto-Semitic
*ʔ > *h ; *ɦ / #_, V'._V
*ʕ > *ʕ ; *ɦ / V_V, #_ ; *h / _#
*b > *β
*ð > *dʒ
*ɬ_ʔ > *ŋ ; *ɳ / _.Ct
*m̩ > *n̩
*n̩ > *ɬ (syllabic)
*p > *p or *b
*s3 > *tʃ
*s3_ʔ > *ʈ
*t_ʔ > *ʈ
*θ > *tʃ
*θ_ʔ > *ʈ
*z > *dʒ

Classical Sebastic

Consonantal diachronics from Pre-Classical Sebastic
*h > h ; ħ / _#, _.C(V)#
*ŋ > ŋ ; g / #_

Modern Sebastic

Consonantal diachronics from Classical Sebastic
β > v
*k_ʔ > q
l > l ; j / _.C
r > r̥ / _#
w > v

Colloquial Diasporal Sebastic

Colloquial Galilean Sebastic


Disclaimer: Most of the information contained on this page is creative work. The following references were consulted solely in the reconstruction of Proto-Semitic

Frank R. Blake, "Vocalic r, l, m, n in Semitic," Journal of American Oriental Society 31 (1910): 217-22.
Alice Faber, "Phonetic Reconstruction," Glossa 15 (1981): 233-62.
J. Huehnergard. Introduction to the Comparative Study of the Semitic Languages, Course Outline,
(Harvard, 2002), 14-16.
— "Appendix 1: Afro-Asiatic," The Ancient Languages of Syria-Palestine and Arabia, ed. Roger D. Woodard (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 229-32.
David Testen, "Secondary vowels in Semitic and the plural pronominal endings," Analecta Indoeuropaea Cracoviensia, II, ed. W. Smoczyński, (Universitas, 1995): 543-51.

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