Ungglish Writing System

Ungglish has a phonetic writing system but still looks and sounds a lot like English. Generally, pronounciation is preserved better than spelling. It is not easy to balance pronunciation and spelling, mainly because English represents at least 14 vowel sounds (more than that in some dialects), with only 5 vowel letters. To make this easier, I eliminated two “basic” English vowels from Ungglish, leaving 7 basic vowels and 5 diphthongs.

Ungglish is phonetic in one direction: the pronunciation of every word is determined by spelling and is easy to predict if you know all of the rules, although some sounds have more than one spelling, and some letters can make (or participate in) more than one sound.

Ungglish spelling rules cause a few words to become longer (e.g. “oepen” instead of “open”) and I felt it would be best, on balance, to eliminate double letters except in special cases, so that Ungglish writing need not be longer than English writing.

Generally, English speakers can simply “sound out” the words, except that double consonants are avoided. For example, “killer” is spelled “kiler” in Ungglish. So when you see a single letter that might have originally been a double letter in English, try assuming that it was, e.g. ofis = office and comun = common.

There are several sequences of letters with a special pronounciation rule, e.g. OE is a single vowel pronounced as in TOE.

Consonants

Vowels

There are seven basic vowels or “monophthongs” (eight, if the schwa is considered distinct from U as some linguists prefer):

Diphthongs and vowel combinations:

There are five diphthongs here plus a two-syllable sound (IA) and some alternate spellings.

Special pronunciation rules:

At end of word (or before a dash):

The overall pronunciation of a word is determined by scanning the word from left-to-right, repeatedly matching the longest known letter combination. For example, the letter sequence UEE is pronounced UE-E (UE as in value, E as in bed). It is incorrect to treat this as U-EE.

Word stress

Typically, in a multi-syllable (multi-vowel) word, the first syllable is stressed. However, another vowel takes the stress instead in these situations:

  1. There is a dot (period) inside the word. The dot marks the beginning of the syllable to be stressed. Examples: ie.dia (idea), be.leeva (believe) The dot does not affect pronounciation, except that “TH.”, with a dot, is pronounced as TH in “thin” rather than TH in “then”.
  2. The word ends in -ia, -tion, -cial (and does not contain a dot). In these cases, the syllable before that suffix is stressed.
  3. The word contans -ology or -ologic. The first O is stressed in -ology and the second O is stressed in -ologic.

Correspondence between Ungglish and English words

Most of the time, Ungglish word stems are pronounced the same as in English (if one ignores allophonic differences).

However, there are some words that have a nonstandard pronunciation so that the spelling can stay the same or similar to the English word. This is done only for

Other notes

A dash (-) can be used to break up a sequence of letters in a way that changes pronounciation; it affects pronounciation the same way as as a space character, except that the sequence is treated as a single word for the purpose of choosing stress. Dashes may be used or needed to separate word roots in compound words, or to indicate how a name is pronunced without introducing new letters (e.g. Mon.go-lia).