Updated on February 20, 2014

Alphabet and Pronunciation

The Romániço alphabet contains 25 letters — 5 vowels and 20 consonants — most of which sound very much like their English equivalents:

ROMÁNIÇO ENGLISH IPA EXAMPLE
a a a father
b b b boat
c k/ts k/ʦ kite before all letters except e and i, when it is [ʦ] as in mits. Written as ch to preserve the [k] sound before e and i, as ç (or, alternatively, cz) to preserve the [ʦ] sound elsewhere.¹
d d d deportation
e e e wet
f f f famous
g g/j g/ʤ gargantuan before all letters except e and i, when it is [ʤ] as in general. Written as gh to preserve the [g] sound before e and i, as j to preserve the [ʤ] sound elsewhere.
h h h homeward
i ee i teen
j j ʤ Jack
k k x loch (only appears before h; see below)
l l l long
m m m moat
n n n nautical
o o o olfactory
p p p political
r r r Spanish señora (with a trilled [r], but the American English [ɹ] will do in a pinch)
s s s suspend
t t t tank
u oo u boot
v v v invasion
w w w western
x ks ks box (even at the beginning of words)
y y j yodle (never a vowel, as in byte)
z z z zither
¹In earlier days, c represented [ʦ] in all positions, k [k] in all positions, which made spelling easier but more artificial-looking: Grekos parlan Grekenso, Francos parlan Francenso instead of Grecos parlan Grechenso, Franços parlan Francenso.

Like English, Romániço uses the letter h in combination with certain other letters to produce “husher” sounds:

ROMÁNIÇO ENGLISH IPA EXAMPLE
çh ch ʧ charming
ch/kh ch/kh x German achtung. Written kh before e and i, written ch elsewhere: Bacho “Bacchus”, Khios “Chios”.
sh sh ʃ shore
th th θ thank (or tank, whichever’s easier)

Note for the morbidly curious: For sorting purposes, the present author uses a slightly different orthography when adding words to the dictionary databases: c is written č instead of ch to preserve the [k] sound (e.g., máčino), g is written ǧ to preserve the [g] sound (liǧer) and ĝ to preserve the [ʤ] sound (linguaĝo), and ch is always [x] (Bacho, Chios).

Ordinarily, when two vowels come together in a Romániço word, each is pronounced separately. (Eg., coacter is pronounced co-ac-ter.) Some vowels, however, combine with other vowels to form sounds pronounced as a single (or close to single) syllable, as in English coin and couch. These combination vowel sounds are called diphthongs.

The letters i and u, when they are not the only vowel in a root and are immediately followed or preceded by another vowel in the same word, produce a diphthong. After the letters c or g, the letter u always produces a diphthong when followed by another vowel:

Francia ['fran-ʦja] / ['fran-ʦi-a]* France
filiiso [fi-'lji-so] / [fi-li-'i-so]* daughter
Januario [ʤa-'nwa-rjo] / [ʤa-'nwa-ri-o]* January
dio ['di-o] day
fluo ['flu-o] flow
cui [kwi] who
cuya ['ku-ja] whose
auro ['aw-ro] gold
feudo ['few-do] fief
*Whichever is easier for the speaker

Note that vowels in compound words do not form diphthongs if they belong to different roots:

neusata [ne-u-'sa-ta] unused
çhimpanzeucio [ʧim-pan-ze-'u-ʦjo] chimp

Tonic Stress

Generally speaking, words in Romániço are stressed on the next-to-the-last syllable, as in fortuno [for-'tu-no] and mentiono [men-'tjo-no]. The exceptions to this rule are infinitive verbs, which are stressed on the last syllable (eg., parler, “to speak”, pronounced [par-'ler]), and words whose stress falls on the third-to-the-last syllable, indicated by an accute accent mark (eg., ópero, ásino). These last words go back to being stressed on the penultimate syllable, however, when suffixes that change the stressed vowels’ position in the words are added: herédito “inheritence”, but hereditanto [he-re-di-'tan-to] “heir”.

These accent marks, while useful in print, need not be used in handwriting, and, if so desired, can be ignored altogether. (Words like spectáculo are generally more recognizable in speech with the accent mark left in, but the marks are not critical for understanding.)