Posts about Reisu every Monday and Thursday

Monday, January 18, 2010

Alphabet with examples - Vowels

For my first post I'm going to cover the vowels and how they sound, with example words in English as well as the Reisu.

The five vowels only make a small range of sounds. On the left is how I am writing them with a Latin based alphabet, in the middle is their IPA symbols, and on the right is an example in an English word.
a - ɑ - as in father
i - i - as in see
u - ø - as in food
e - ɛ - as in bed
o - o - as in home

Now to pair them up with words of Reisu.
Ata - Cup
Inoko - Corn
Ulemi - Egg
Etaro - Eye
Okoko - House

And some common verbs.
Amu - Eat
Iyavi - Put
Ukago - Take
Eroro - Get
Oki - See

I plan at some point to release videos with pronunciation, so that you can hear and see examples of the words. For now please just do the best you can with this.


  1. Hi Karen,

    as a fellow conlanger I just want to make a few comments on your choice of IPA symbols. It just doesn't seem to fit with the English examples you're giving in two cases (unless the English examples are *very* approximative).

    The first case is when you write that _u_ is /ø/ as in "food". However, as far as I know, /ø/ is extremely rare in English dialects (it seems to occur, long, in South African English, but not in "food"). It's the vowel in French "feu" (fire). As for "food", its vowel in IPA is usually noted /u(ː)/. The closest English has to /ø/ is the vowel sound in "bird", if you remove the rhotic part.

    The second one is _o_, which you give the IPA /o/, as in English "home". It's possible, but only in relatively marked dialects of English, like Scottish English or Irish English. In standard British pronunciation it's closer to /əʊ/, and in standard American pronunciation it's more like /oʊ/. In both cases it's a diphthong. An English example that would probably be closer to /o/ (if that's really the sound you mean) would be "thought" or "caught".

    But that second one is not too bad. Still, I'm curious which sound you mean by the vowel written _u_ in Reisu. If it's really /ø/, then you have a weird vowel inventory. Not an impossible one, but an uncommon one (it's very rare in a vowel inventory to have a front rounded vowel without its front unrounded counterpart present as well), an interesting one :) .

    If you want to revise your English examples words, you might want to look at the following page:
    It should give you a good idea of the range of sounds (especially vowel sounds) used in various English dialects, and should help you choose English examples words wisely.

    Hope it helps!

  2. I do wish I had a better example of ø. It doesn't occur in English in a way that works as an example. I'm hoping to have some sort of recording soon, and when I do it'll be clarified better. Of course it's also a work in progress at this point, which I may go back and revise if I find out it's not working.

    Thanks for the comment!