Maaþak ilþaataqo þaradsamasi hiimbal karaxon.
Today we’re going to learn the sounds of Adzamasi.
We will be starting with the consonants. I will write about them in this post, and later on I will try to do an audio recording (until then, supplement the recording with spoken IPA charts. This post relies on some understanding of phonetics.
Several of the consonants in Adzamasi are also found in English: m n t k b d s v h l y w are some of these. There are others which we have in English but that are romanized with different letters: these are þ (th) and z (sh). The IPA symbols for all these sounds are [m n t k b d s f h l j w θ ʃ].
The other consonants in Adzamasi are the palatal series, the uvular and x, and ejectives.
The palatal series
There are three palatal sounds in Adzamasi, which are written c cc j. We’ll worry about cc later. c and j ([c] and [ɟ]) are quite similar to English ch and j ([t͡ʃ] [d͡ʒ]) in sound and placement, but they are true stops and not affricates. They are pronounced with the tongue in a similar position to y [j]. Try pronouncing a sound halfway between a k and ch. It might come out sounding like “ty” [tj].
If you cannot pronounce these sounds, substitute ch or ty and j or dy.
The uvular series and x
These are three sounds produced with the back of the tongue.
x is present in some dialects of English, and a lot of English speakers use it in just a few loan words from German or Gaelic, such as loch or Bach. It is made with the same place of articulation as k and g.
The uvulars are r q. The former is a fricative, while the latter is a stop. r [ʁ] is present in many dialects of French, written r. It also appears in German. It is similar to x but a bit further back in the mouth, and sounds absolutely nothing like English r.
q [q] is in the same place of articulation as r but it is the uvular stop, not a fricative. q is similar to k but further back in the mouth.
Neither are pronounced in the throat, as those would be laryngeal or pharyngeal sounds.
The ejectives, tt cc kk qq [t` c` k` q`] are the most difficult to pronounce for native English speakers. While all sounds in English are pulmonic (“powered” by air from the lungs), ejectives get their energy from air pushed by the larynx (throat) itself. It is important to pronounce the ejective sounds differently from the pulmonics, as there are words which are differentiated by these sounds: manka 'white' and mankka 'to help,' or cat ‘downwards’ and ccat ‘to go’.
There are a number of bad and incorrect guides on the Internet as to how to pronounce ejectives. This guide (starting at about the 01:50 mark) seems to be decent in describing how to produce the sounds and the speaker makes at least a passable pronunciation (to me) of the ejectives.
If you don’t think you’re pronouncing the ejectives correctly, in Adzamasi you can substitute a stop followed by a glottal stop.
And there are the consonant phonemes for Adzamasi.