Blog Post · THE SCHWAS-UH!


Posted On Saturday 20 October 2012 by Murray Colpman (Muzer)

(Sorry for this being the first timlan post in ages)

It has come to our attention recently that there are a few word-ending consonants that can be rather hard to say in Timlan without making it hard to distinguish between the consonants or inadvertently adding a vowel onto the end. Freddie has particularly noticed this with "r"-ending words like "lir".

So, we've added a new rule (probably will be added to fonti.txt at some point) - schwas that occur anywhere in words can safely be ignored. This is because Timlan has no schwas, and its vowels cannot be replaced by schwas unlike in English. Schwas, for the unaware, are basically that indistinct vowel sound you hear a lot in (mostly unstressed) English syllables, often transcribed literally by people as "uh" (but doesn't actually sound much like "uh"). It can be found, for instance, in "the" when spoken by a person who doesn't pronounce it as "thee" (I told you it was common), and as the first syllable in the word "above" for instance. So in this case, you could prononce lir as "lir(schwa)", which would probably be transcribed by an English person as "leeruh". Schwas are represented in IPA by the character 'ə'.

Schwas should be avoided when it is possible to say a word without one, but it is perfectly permissible to have them where it would decrease phonetic ambiguity or increase ease of speech.