Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Goals
  3. Phonology
  4. Orthography
  5. Alphabet
  6. Basic phrases

A draft of the Mahusetan Language | En kladde fon dii Mathuuslãndische Tal

Intro

Mahusetan is an a posteriori constructed language, largely based on the common vocabulary of English, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Low German, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Bokmål, with the goal of being mostly regular in grammar, spelling and phonology and being relatively easy to learn and understand for speakers of English and Dutch while having a unique character.

A typical Mahusetan word is close to the mean word in its source languages but this isn't necessarily the main goal in its creation.

Goals

The Mahusetan language has multiple goals in its development, which are listed here:
  1. Large level of regularity in grammar, spelling and phonology
  2. Relative ease of learning for speakers of Dutch and English
  3. Having a unique character, even if this may complicate certain aspects of the language in regards to things like diacritics and inputting characters digitally

Phonology

Vowels
Short vowels

[ɑ] like in English path

[a] like in German Hand

[ɛ] like e in English bed and e in German Bett.

[ə] like a in English tuna or alike and like the final e in German Freude.

[ɪ] like i in English sing and i in German singen.

[ɔ] like o in German hoffen. Like oa in English broad but shorter. Similar to English o in sock but with the mouth slightly more closed.

[u] like u in English lunar or oo in mood. Like u in German Fuß or uh in Kuh.

[y] like ü in German über or üh in kühn. English speakers can say this by saying ee as in feet, but holding the lips rounded.

Long vowels and diphthongs

[ɑː] like a in English path.

[aː] like a in German Hand. Like a in Northern or Scots English hand.

[ɛː] like e in English bed and e in German Bett.

[æː] Similar to a in English cat but drawn out longer. Similar to ä in German spät or Zähne but said with the mouth more open.

[eː] like eh in German Lehm. Like the first part of the vowel in English take, but lengthened. This is near to the Scots pronunciation of the vowel in take. Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as the diphthong [eɪ] instead.

[eɪ] like ay in English day or ai in rain. Depending on dialect, can be pronounced as the vowel [eː] instead.

[aɪ] like i in like or y in my. Like ei in German Gleich or ai in Main.

[oː] like o in German rot or oh in ohne. Similar to oa in English load.

[øː] like ö in German König and like eu in French directeur. English speakers can approximate this vowel by saying ur as in burst but keeping the lips rounded.

[uː] like u in English lunar or oo in mood. Like u in German Fuß or uh in Kuh.

[yː] like ü in German über or üh in kühn. English speakers can say this by saying ee as in feet, but holding the lips rounded.

[œy] like ui in Dutch uit or ou in Scottish English house.

[aʊ] like ou in English loud. Like au in German Haus.

[iː] like ee in English deep. Like ie in German tief.

[iu] like ew in English ew.

[ɑi] like i in English price.

Nasal vowels (rare)

[ɑ̃ː] roughly like an in French croissant

[ɔ̃ː] roughly like en in French doyen, like oa in English broad. Similar to English o in sock but with the mouth slightly more closed.

[ɛ̃ː] roughly like on in French montag.

Consonants

[b] like b in English bait

[d] like d in English duck

[f] like f in English feats. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [f] and [v] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

[ɣ] like g in Dutch gaan. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [ɣ] and [x] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

[ɦ] like h in English behind

[j] like y in English yard

[k] like ch in English school

[l] like l in English land

[m] like m in English man

[n] like n in English neck

[ŋ] like ng in English long

[p] like p in English sport

[r] like a trilled r. Depending on dialect, the rhotic can be pronounced in whatever way is preferred, uncommon but acceptable pronounciations are [ʀ], [ɾ], [ɹ] and even the non-rhotic [ʋ]

[s] like s in English sock. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [s] and [z] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

[t] like t in English stop

[v] like v in English very. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [f] and [v] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

[ʋ] like w in Dutch wang, pronunciation lies between w in English wine and v in English vine

[x] like ch in Scottish English loch. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [ɣ] and [x] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

[z] like z in English zip. Like in Dutch, the distinction between [s] and [z] is generally unimportant and depends on dialect.

Marginal consonants

[c] like ch in English cheer.

[g] like g in English goal.

[ɟ] like j in English jeep.

[ɲ] roughly like ny in English canyon.

[ʃ] like sh in English shall.

[ʒ] like si in English vision. Can merge into [ʃ] depending on dialect.

[ð] like th in English father, this sound is uncommon in other languages and can be substituted for other sounds based on dialect, typically [d] or [f].

[θ] like th in English thigh, this sound is uncommon in other languages and can be substituted for other sounds based on dialect, typically [f] or [v].

[ʔ] like the catch in English uh-oh.

Orthography

Etymology
Regularity
Devoicing of voiced stop and fricative consonants at the end of syllables

Like German and Dutch, voiced stop and fricative consonants de-voice when their inflection puts them at the end of a word. Unlike German and Dutch, this is not reflected in writing. An example would be: sgrijve/sgrijvt instead of the Dutch schrijven/schrijft.

Other characteristics
Mandatory Oxford comma

Usage of the Oxford comma is mandatory in Mahusetan.

Use of inverted question and exclamation marks

Mahusetan makes use of inverted question and exclamation marks to begin interrogative and exclamatory sentences or clauses. They may be substituted with non-inverted question and exclamation marks when inverted question and exclamation marks aren't available. A non-standard usage in highly informal speech allows you to fully omit them.

Use of diacritics
Vowel length

The distinction between checked and free vowels determines the vowel length. A checked vowel is one that is followed by two or more consonants in the same syllable (the syllable is closed) while a free vowel ends the syllable, is followed by a single consonant or is followed by a single consonant, an apostrophe and another consonant (the syllable is open). Vowels are long in most free syllables. Vowels are short in most checked syllables but in checked syllables, a vowel can be long if it is doubled. This distinction can apply to pronunciation or spelling independently, but a syllable that is checked in pronunciation will always be checked in spelling as well (except in some unassimilated loanwords).

Final "e"

Normally a single -e at the end of a word will be an unstressed suffix and should be pronounced as [ə]. But there are words that end in a stressed syllable with a long [eː] sound. In such cases, the e is doubled to indicate it’s not an unstressed [ə].

Suffixes and compound words

For the purposes of determining if a syllable is open or closed, consonants in a following suffix or parts of compound words are not considered.

Unstressed syllables

Vowels in unstressed syllables are always short, regardless of whether they are open or closed. Often they are also schwas [ə]. Normally a final -e will be an unstressed [ə] sound.

Special monosyllabic words

Mahusetan has a set of special monosyllabic words in which vowels are assumed to be short even in free syllables. These words are almost all prepositions, conjunctions and pronouns.

Concrete use of graphemes
Spelling IPA Pronunciation Examples Notes
A a [a] dat, an, katt, akt, kladde
E e [ɛ] ett, agent, direkt, heggefark
A̋ a̋ [ɛ] a̋lkejn, ha̋lderhijd, dja̋kket
Ő ő [ə] kolőr, stőf, rőkworst, jőtsjrupse
Ű ű TBD TBD
Å å TBD TBD
Û û TBD fûûtball, dûûsj, djûûs, sjû
Ð ð TBD TBD
Þ þ TBD TBD

Alphabet

will depend on orthography and phonology

Basic phrases

basic phrases