Spelling and pronunciation

Pandunia is phonetic in two directions:

  1. When you read a word, you can always pronounce it.
  2. When you hear a word, you can almost always write it. (Foreign names can be an exception.)

Once you have learned the few rules and the way letters are pronounced, you can read Pandunia aloud and be understood.

Basic Latin Alphabet

Pandunia is written in the basic Latin alphabet – the same as English! It doesn't have any of the accented letters, which are different from language to language. So it can be typed, printed and used with computers and smart devices in most countries without any difficulty.

The alphabet of Pandunia is presented in the table below together with symbols of the Internation Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and pronunciation advise in plain English.

Pandunia IPA Pronunciation
a /a/ As A in father.
b /b/ As B in bill.
c /tʃ≈tʂ≈tɕ/ As C in church.
d /d/ As D in doll.
e /e/ As E in bet.
f /f/ As F in fluff.
g /g/ As the hard G in get. Never soft as in gel!
h /h≈x/ As H in hot or CH in loch.
i /i/ As I in machine.
j /dʒ≈dʐ≈dʑ/ As J in judge.
k /kʰ/ As K in kite.
l /l/ As L in lolly.
m /m/ As M in mom.
n /n/ As N in nun.
o /o/ As O in or.
p /pʰ/ As P in pill.
r /r≈ɹ/ As R in American English or the trilled R in Indian English. Never silent!
s /s/ As S in sissy.
t /tʰ/ As T in too.
u /u/ As U in rule.
v /w≈ʋ≈v/ As W in wet or V in vet.
x /ʃ≈ʂ≈ɕ/ As SH in shop.
y /j/ As Y in yes.
z /z≈dz/ As Z in zoo.

Sounds

Pandunia has its own sound system and its own spelling system that are mostly similar to those of the languages of continental Europe and Latin America.

Vowels

Pandunia has five oral vowels. They are represented by the five vowel letters A, E, I, O and U in the writing system.

There are also several common vowel sequences – au, eu, ou, ai, ei, oi – which are pronounced as the consecutive vowels with or without a hiatus in between.

Semivowels

A semivowel is a sound that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions like a consonant as the syllable boundary. Pandunia has two semivowels.

Semivocalic i is written as i in the end and as y in the beginning of a syllable. Therefore the i in rai (an opinion) changes to y in raya (to opine, to think). It is pronounced as the y in yet.

Semivocalic u is written as u in the end and as v in the beginning of a syllable. Therefore the u in deu (a god) changes to v in devi (godlike, divine). It is pronounced as the w in wet but some speakers may pronounce it more like the v in vet.

The letters y and v appear only in the beginning of a syllable and they are always followed by a full vowel.

Consonants

Pandunia has 18 consonant sounds. Each sound is represented by a unique letter. Most of them are pronounced in roughly the same way as in English. So pronunciation of b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, t, z is familiar and easy.

The following consonants are pronounced differently in Pandunia compared to English.

  • g is always hard like in girl, get.
  • r is preferably trilled like in Scottish English or the rr in Spanish carro. Also other pronunciations are acceptable, including the standard English /ɹ/. Note that r is never silent!
  • s is always voiceless like in sissy. z is voiced like in zoo.
  • x is always pronounced like SH in ship.
  • c is pronounced like CH in chip.
  • n is pronounced with the tip of the tongue except in combinations nk and ng, where it is velar /ŋ/ like in banker and finger. In the end of a word, the g in ng can be silent. So the word pang can be pronounced /paŋ/ as well as /paŋg/.

Note: n is pronounced with the tip of the tongue except in combinations nk and ng, where it is velar /ŋ/ like in banker and finger. In the end of a word, the g in ng can be silent. So the word pang can be pronounced /paŋ/ as well as /paŋg/.

Word Structure

Pandunia words are structurally rather simple. A syllable can include in maximum:

  • one initial consonant
  • one liquid consonant (l or r)
  • one or two vowels, and
  • one final consonant from the following: m, n, ng, l, r, f, s, x, h, y, and v.

Certain consonant clusters are also allowed only between vowels, like ks and zn.

Some of the heaviest words in practice are kristal and simpli.

Adapting Loan Words

As a general rule, loan words are adapted to the phonetic spelling system of Pandunia. This rule is applied to both common words and proper names.

Common words

A common word refers to a thing as a member of a group, not as an individual. For example dog is a common word but Sam is not, it is a proper name.

Common words, which are in general use, must fit into the normal word structure, and they can include only the normal sounds of Pandunia.

Most Pandunia words are structurally simpler than the corresponding English words. Difficult consonant groups are avoided in the beginning, middle and end of words, so stadium is estadia, act is ate, and saint is santi in Pandunia. Also final stop consonants are avoided, so for example soup is supe in Pandunia.

Proper names

Infrequently used common nouns and proper nouns can be more complex than ordinary words. They can even include sounds that don't belong to the normal sound inventory of Pandunia.

For example, family name Smith may remain Smith in Pandunia, although it is structurally more complex than common Pandunia words, and it has the external th sound. However, foreign people probably will pronounce this name incorrectly. Therefore it is advisable to adapt also proper names to the phonetic system of Pandunia.

Large and Small Letters

Pandunia is normally written only in small letters (i.e. lower case letters). Large letters are used only in special cases.

There are three reasons why large letters and rules about their usage are not necessary.

  1. Writing represents speech and there are no "capital letters" in speech. Still understanding spoken words is as easy as understanding written words.
  2. Most of the scripts and alphabets of the world have only one letter type, i.e. they don't have separate large and small letters.
  3. It is simpler to use only small letters. No need for special rules for capitalization.

Note! It's not a mistake to use the capital letters. Sometimes people do it because they are accustomed to them in other languages. But still capital letters are unnecessary and not recommended in Pandunia.

Capital letters are necessary in standard international acronyms. For example: 10 Mb (desi megobite), 100 Gb (honi gigobite), 2 mm (duli milometre), 1 kJ (un kilojul).

Proper names

Personal names and other proper names can be capitalized although it's not necessary or recommended. For example Thomas Stearns Eliot would be written Tomas Sternz Eliot in Pandunia, and it can be abbreviated to initial letters variously Tomas S Eliot, TS Eliot and TSE.

In titles of artistic works, like books, songs and films, every word begins with a large letter. For example, Putongi Loge Da Insani Hake (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Acronyms

Initialisms, like ASEAN, EU, NAFTA and UN, are always written in large letters. Other acronyms may use a mixture of large and small letters, like for example GULag, which is an acronym of the Russian words "Glavnoye Upravleniye Lagerey".

Capital letters are also used in the standard international acronyms. For example: 10 Mb (ten megabite), 100 GB (hunde gigabaite), 2 mm (due milimetre), 1 kJ (un kilojul).

Syllabification

« - » Words may be divided into syllables with a hyphen. The hyphen is placed between spoken syllables. For example: bus, ka-fe, yu-mor, pos-te, kon-ca-nis-tia.

Punctuation

« . » All kinds of sentences may end with a full stop.

« ? » Questions may end alternatively with a question mark.

« ! » Exclamation mark indicates loudness or emphasis.

« ... » Three dots (i.e. ellipsis) indicates incompleteness or uncertainty.

« : » Colon indicates the beginning of an explanation, quotation or list.

« , » Comma indicates a small pause or separation between clauses or listed items.

Because the first word of sentences is not capitalized, a space may be inserted before and after the punctuation mark that ends the sentence. This practice helps to put sentences clearly apart.

undeno, me vola laya bazar . me mita mi doste . le loga: salam ! suala te boni ? me javaba: me boni ! mes laya mi doste du dom e yama cai .

In informal texts, smileys, emoticons and emojis may be used to indicate mood. For example :) indicates happiness and :( indicates sadness.

me vida te :) = I see you.
te no vida me :( = You don't see me.