Latgalian phonology

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is about the phonology of the Latgalian language.



Monophthong phonemes of Latgalian[1]
Front Central Back
unrounded unrounded rounded
short long short long short long
Close i (ɨ) u
Mid ɛ (ɛː) ɔ (ɔː)
Open æ æː a
  • Phonologically, /ɨ/ is a back counterpart of /i/. As they occur in complementary distribution, they can be regarded as allophones of a single /i/ phoneme.[2]
  • Long /ɛː, ɔː/ are rare and occur only in interjections. The phonological long counterparts of the short /ɛ, ɔ/ are the diphthongs /iɛ, uɔ/.[1]
  • There are very few minimal pairs for the /ɛ–æ/ opposition. In some dialects, [æ] is simply an allophone of /ɛ/.[3]
  • /a, aː/ are phonetically central [ä, äː].[1]


Diphthong phonemes of Latgalian[4]
Ending point
Front Back
Close (ui) iu ɨu uɔ
Mid ɛi (ɔi) (ɔu)
Open æi ai au
  • In contrast to other diphthongs, /iɛ, uɔ/ are monophonemic.[2]
  • /ui, ɔi/ occur only in some words.[3]
  • /iu, ɨu, ɛi, æi, ai, au/ are very common.[5]
    • Some dialects merge /iu/ and /ɨu/ into [ɛu].[6]
    • Some dialects merge /au/ and /ɔu/ into [ɔu].[6]
  • /ɔu/ occurs only in onomatopoeias and loanwords.[6]


Consonant phonemes of Latgalian[7]
Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
hard soft hard soft hard soft hard soft hard soft
Nasal m n
Stop voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ ɡʲ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡sʲ t͡ʃ (t͡ʃʲ)
voiced d͡z d͡zʲ d͡ʒ (d͡ʒʲ)
Fricative voiceless (f) s ʃ (ʃʲ) (x)
voiced v z ʒ (ʒʲ)
Approximant l j () w ()
Trill r ()
  • /m, mʲ, p, pʲ, b, bʲ/ are bilabial, whereas /f, v, vʲ/ are labiodental.
    • /f/ occurs only in some loanwords, such as ortografeja 'orthography'. In other loanwords, it is replaced by /p/, as in kopejs 'coffee'.[8]
    • /v, vʲ/ are traditionally classified as approximants [ʋ, ʋʲ] which phonetically may be fricatives [v, vʲ].[8]
  • /t͡ʃʲ, d͡ʒʲ, ʃʲ, ʒʲ/ occur only in some non-standard dialects, with the fricatives /ʃʲ, ʒʲ/ being more common than the affricates /t͡ʃʲ, d͡ʒʲ/.[6]
  • /x/ occurs only in some loanwords, such as tehnologeja 'technology'. In other loanwords, it is replaced by /k/, as in kokejs 'hockey'.[8]
  • /w, wʲ/ are labialized velar.[9]
  • The phonemic status of /wʲ/ and especially /jʲ/ is questionable.[9]
  • /rʲ/ occurs only in a minority of non-standard dialects.[6]



The stress is most often on the first syllable.[9]

Tonal accents

There are two phonemic tonal accents in Latgalian, which appear only on long syllables, i.e. those with a long vowel, a diphthong, or a sequence of a short vowel and a sonorant. These are falling (also called level) and broken (also called sharp). However, there are only a handful of minimal (or near-minimal) pairs, such as [rɛ̀itʲ] 'swallow' and [rɛ̂it] 'tomorrow', both written reit.[9]

Phonetically, both of the tonal accents are falling; the falling accent is realized as an even decrease in intensity and pitch, whereas the broken accent is realized as a sudden decrease in intensity and pitch.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nau (2011), p. 9.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nau (2011), pp. 9–10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nau (2011), p. 10.
  4. Nau (2011), pp. 9–11.
  5. Nau (2011), pp. 10–11.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Nau (2011), p. 11.
  7. Nau (2011), pp. 11–13.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Nau (2011), p. 12.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Nau (2011), p. 13.


  • Nau, Nicole (2011), A short grammar of Latgalian, Munich: Lincom Europa, ISBN 978-3-86288-055-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>