Sound Changes

Consonant Assimilation
When consonants come into contact, either between two syllables in a word or between two words, they may undergo certain sound changes (assimilation), depending on the consonants involved.  Generally speaking, these are spoken sound changes only and do not show up in writing.  Once place they do show up is in some noun inflections or verb conjugations, especially where aspirated consonants are geminated (doubled).  These will be noted in the section on morphology.  Another instance where assimilation is in the writing is in compound words, especially those that are very well known, such as Khazad-dûm.  Even here, though, the writing is sometimes inconsistent, as can be seen in the case of Felak-gundu vs. Felag-gundu.  Indicating assimilation in writing then is not a major concern.

The following list shows the conditions and sound changes that occur with consonant assimilation.  All consonants are shown in English orthography.

1)  Unvoiced, plain consonants become voiced when next to their voiced counter parts.

Example:  d-t
d-d  :  Khazad-tûm Khazad-dûm

-pb-  →  -bb-
  →  -bb-

-td-  →  -dd-
  →  -dd-

-cj-  →  -jj-
-jc-  →  -jj-

-kg-  →  -gg-
-gk-  →  -gg-

-fv-  →  -vv-
-vf-  →  -vv-

-sz-  →  -zz-
-zs-  →  -zz-

-shzh-  →  -zhzh-
-zhsh-  →  -zhzh-

-hygh-  →  -ghgh-
-ghhy-  →  -ghgh-

2)  Unvoiced <s> and <sh> become voiced next to voiced alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives.

-szh-  →  -zzh-
-zhs-  →  -zhz-

-shz-  →  -zhz-
-zsh-  →  -zzh-

3)  When next to palatal and velar stops and fricatives, the gottal stop < ' > is assimilated.

Example:  '
→ k  :  Nulu'-khizdîn  →  Nuluk-khizdîn

-'k-  →  -kk-
-k'-  →  -kk-

-'g-  →  -gg-
-g'-  →  -gg-

-'hy-  →  -hyhy-
-hy'-  →  -hyhy-

-'gh-  →  -ghgh-
-gh'-  →  -ghgh-

4)  Aspirated stops followed by voiced stops become unaspirated and also devoice and aspirate the (previously) voiced stop.

-phb-  →  -pph-
-phd-  →  -pth-
-phj-  →  -pch-
-phg-  →  -pkh-

-thb-  →  -tph-
-thd-  →  -tth-
-thj-  →  -tch-
-thg-  →  -tkh-

-chb-  →  -cph-
-chd-  →  -cth-
-chj-  →  -cch-
-chg-  →  -ckh-

-khb-  →  -kph-
-khd-  →  -kth-
-khj-  →  -kch-
-khg-  →  -kkh-

5)  Aspirated stops followed by another aspirated stop become unaspirated.  This occurs when aspirated consonants are geminated (doubled) as part of an inflection or conjugation.  When this is the case, the sound change is usually reflected in the writing, not just in speech.

-phph-  →  -pph-
-phth-  →  -pth-
-phch-  →  -pch-
-phkh-  →  -pkh-

-thph-  →  -tph-
-thth-  →  -tth-
-thch-  →  -tch-
-thkh-  →  -tkh-

-chph-  →  -cph-
-chth-  →  -cth-
-chch-  →  -cch-
-chkh-  →  -ckh-

-khph-  →  -kph-
-khth-  →  -kth-
-khch-  →  -kch-
-khkh-  →  -kkh-

6)  Unvoiced, plain stops that follow a nasal become voiced.  Also, <n> before <b> becomes labial.

-mp-  →  -mb-
-mt-  →  -md-
-mc-  →  -mj-
-mk-  →  -mg-

-np-  →  -mb-
-nt-  →  -nd-
-nc-  →  -nj-
-nk-  →  -ng-

7)  Voices fricatives that follow an aspirated stop become unvoiced.

-phv-  →  -phf-
-phz-  →  -phs-
-phzh-  →  -phsh-
-phgh-  →  -phhy-

-thv-  →  -thf-
-thz-  →  -ths-
-thzh-  →  -thsh-
-thgh-  →  -thhy-

-chv-  →  -chf-
-chz-  →  -chs-
-chzh-  →  -chsh-
-chgh-  →  -chhy-

-khv-  →  -khf-
-khz-  →  -khs-
-khzh-  →  -khsh-
-khgh-  →  -khhy-

Substitutions for Weak Consonants

-ayi-  →  -ai-
-iyi-  →  -î-
-eyi-  →  -ê-
-uyi-  →  -î-
-oyi-  →  -ai-

-âyi-  →  -ai-
-îyi-  →  -î-
-êyi-  →  -ê-
-ûyi-  →  -û-
-ôyi-  →  -ô-

-ëyi-  →  -e-
-üyi-  →  -ai-

-awu-  →  -au-
-iwu→  -u-
-ewu→  -o-
-uwu→  -û-
-owu→  -au-

wu→  -au-
wu→  -î-
wu→  -ô-
wu→  -û-
wu→  -ao-

wu→  -u-
wu→  -au-