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.

A B C Ch D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S Sh T U V W X Y Z

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 six oral vowels. They are represented by the five vowel letters A, E, I, O and U in the writing system, where E represents both /e/ and /ə/.

Pandunia IPA Pronunciation advise
A /a/ As in father.
E /e/ As in bet when it is in accented syllable.
E /ə/ As in happen when it is in unaccented syllables.
I /i/ As in machine.
O /o/ As in or.
U /u/ As in rule.

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

Consonants

Pandunia has 21 consonant sounds. They are represented in the writing system by 19 Latin letters and their combinations.

Pandunia IPA Pronunciation advise
B /b/
C /ts/ Like ts in bits or alternatively like c in city.
Ch /tʃ/ Always like ch in chat.
D /d/
F /f/
G /g/ Always hard as in get. Never soft as in gel.
H /h/
J /dʒ/ Always like J in judge_ or the soft g in gel.
K /k/
L /l/
M /m/
N /n/
P /p/
R /r~ɹ/ Always voiced as in American English. Can be trilled as in Indian English. Never silent!
S /s/ Always voiceless like s in sissy.
Sh /ʃ/ Like sh in shop.
T /t/
V /v/
W /w/
X /ks/
Y /j/ Like y in yes.
Z /z/

External Sounds

There are also additional letters and letter-combinations, which can be used only in external words, which do not belong to the common Pandunia vocabulary, like names of specific places and individual people. They are not used in any common Pandunia words.

Pandunia IPA Pronunciation advise
Kh /x/ Voiceless velar fricative, like ch in Loch in Scottish.
Gh /ɣ/ Voiced velar fricative
Ph /ɸ/ Voiceless bilabial fricative
Bh /β/ Voiced bilabial fricative
Q /q/ Voiceless uvular stop
Qh /χ/ Voiceless uvular fricative
Rh /ʀ~ʁ/ Voiced uvular trill or fricative like rh in rhume in Parisian French.
Th /θ/ Like th in thing.
Dh /ð/ Like th in they.
Zh /ʒ/ Like z in azure.

The additional letters and digraphs are used locally. Their purpose is to help to transfer names in the local language to the international language, so that the local people can recognize them. It's OK if you don't know how to pronounce any of these sounds. Just pronounce the first letter and ignore the H.

For example, the capital of Greece is called "Αθήνα" /aθina/ in the local language, Greek. The Pandunia version of this name is "Athina". It can be pronounced either /aθina/ (as the Greek do) or /atina/ (in the simplified international accent). We want to preserve the sound of this word as much as possible, but we can't use any of the non-Latin letters, so it becomes "Athina" in Pandunia.

Examples:
Athina Athens (the capital of Greece)
Khartum Khartoum (the capital of Sudan)
Rhone Rhône (a river in France and Switzerland)
Rhein Rhine (a river that flows through Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, France and the Netherlands)

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, and SH.

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

In addition, the following middle consonant groups are allowed: -kn-, -ks-, -tn- and -tm-. They are found in a handful of loan words from Greek and Latin, like tekne (technique), akse (axis), etne (ethnicity) and ritme (rhythm).

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 Mutt 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 state becomes estate, actor becomes ater, and saint becomes sante in Pandunia. Also final stop consonants are avoided, so for example good becomes gude in Pandunia.

Pandunia doesn't have the TH sounds that exist in English, so they are usually realized as T and D in words that are borrowed from English. For example da (the), de (they), tri (three), and ting (thing).

Proper names

Infrequently used common nouns and proper nouns can be more complex than ordinary words, and they can include external 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.

Large and Small Letters

Both large and small letters (i.e. upper-case and lower-case letters) are used in writing Pandunia.

Large letters are used in two situations: to begin a proper name, and to represent a name or another word with only the initial letter.

The first word of sentences is not capitalized.

Proper names

Personal names and other proper names are capitalized mostly in the same way as in English. For example Thomas Stearns Eliot is 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, Da Senyer Of Di Ring (The Lord of the Rings).

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, a-me-ri-ka-nis-me.

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.

un dei, mi wan gow to da bazar . mi mite mi's frende der . he sey: halo ! yu gude, wa ? mi sey: mi gude ! den wi gow to mi's haus en yam som piza .

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

mi love yu :) = I love you.
yu no love mi :( = You don't love me.