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.
|Nasal||m||n+Can be syllabic||ɳ/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.|
|Plosive||b||t d||ʈ||k g||q|
|Fricative||v||s z||(ɽ)+Allophone of /r/ in Modern Sebastic, sometimes written with this separate character.||kh gh||ħ|
|Approximant||w||y||h ʕ+In some cases, <ʕ> can represent /0/,h+<h> sometimes represents /ɦ/|
|Liquid||ł+/ɬ/; can be syllabic l r+With allophone [ʑ] in position _# in Modern Sebastic|
Historical Development of Sebastic Phonology
|Plosive||p b||t ṭ d||k q g||ʔ|
|Fricative||θ θ̣ ð||s1+|; Sometimes written <š> |ḫ ġ||ħ ʕ||h|
|Affricate||s3+Often <s> ṣ3 z|
|Liquid||l r s2+[ɬ]; Sometimes written <ś> ṣ2|
The so-called "emphatics" were most likely glottalized. Thus, ṭ q θ̣ ṣ3
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
respectively. Most likely, they were pronounced [θ s ɬ ts] (Faber 1981).
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.
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
_ʔ > *ʈ
*t_ʔ > *ʈ
*θ > *tʃ
*θ_ʔ > *ʈ
*z > *dʒ
Consonantal diachronics from Pre-Classical Sebastic
*h > h ; ħ / _#, _.C(V)#
*ŋ > ŋ ; g / #_
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.