Keley-i Orthography

 

The Keley-i orthography has 15 consonants and 5 vowels, shown in the charts below.

Table 1 Consonants

Bilabial

Alveolar

Velar

Stops

Voiceless

p

t

k

Glottal stop -

Voiced

b

d

g

Continuants

s

h

Oral

l

Nasal

m

n

ng6

Semi-vowels

w

y

Table 2 Vowels

Front

Central

Back

High

i

u

Mid

e

o

Low

a

The hyphen (-) is used to symbolize the glottal stop and is written only when it occurs as a part of a consonant cluster, e.g. tu-dak ‘to send someone’ and when there is a double glottal stop, e.g. ha-ad ‘to place something’. The glottal stop occurs as the initial consonant of words that are written as though they are vowel initial, e.g. apu ‘grandfather or grandmother’; however, when a glottal initial root is affixed with a prefix ending in a consonant, the glottal stop is written, e.g. abang ‘rent’ man-abang ‘to rent’ Although some words are written without the symbol of the glottal stop and thus appear to have vowel clusters, they are pronounced with a glottal stop between the vowels, e.g. toon ‘year’.

Aside from borrowed words like iskul ‘school and istet ‘States’, the consonant s is a variant of the consonant t before the vowel i as can be seen by the following forms where the infix -in- has been placed inside roots beginning with t with a resulting form with stakang ‘to open the mouth’, sinekang ‘opened mouth’; tugun ‘to advise’ sinugun ‘advised’.

The consonants have relatively free distribution except in a few words in which t or d are immediately followed by y as in ityu ‘we all’ and iyedya ‘it is here’. In these instances, the t and d are pronounced as single palatalized sounds; further, ityu is spelled itsu in the dictionary.

6 The digraph, ng, symbolizes the velar nasal, a single phoneme in the orthography.