Sandhi is any of various types of sound changes that occur at a word boundary. While Toki Pona generally has no such features, speakers have experimented with sandhis for stylistic and artistic effect, and learners may involve them in their pronunciation unconsciously. They tend to be used to avoid hiatus, two adjacent vowels.
Coda nasal assimilation[edit | edit source]
The coda nasal -n at the end of a syllable can be pronounced as any nasal consonant, and often assimilates to the same place of articulation as the following consonant. It is less common for this to happen between words than within a word, but it may still occur, especially in rapid speech. For example, pilin pona would become [ˈpilim‿ˈpona].
Glottal stop[edit | edit source]
Vowels in hiatus may be split with a glottal stop, catching all airflow at the very back of the throat. This is the sound at the beginning and hyphen of English "uh-oh" [ˈʔʌ.ʔow].
Glide[edit | edit source]
Learners may do this unintentionally, leading to ambiguities between phrases like mi jo pona e ni ("I'm holding this fine") and mi o pona e ni [mij‿o ˈpona e ni] ("I should fix that"). Practice keeping the vowels "flat" to avoid this.
Some proficient speakers add glides intentionally in certain contexts, to split the hiatus in phrases like wile e [ˈwilej‿e]. There is very little risk of confusion with je, an obscure nimi sin, and the syllables *ji *wo *wu are disallowed, so [σj‿i σw‿o σw‿u] will be understood as /σ.i σ.o σ.u/ instead.[b]
Crasis[edit | edit source]
A resulting diphthong may be a semivowel glide, as in pona e ni [ˈpona‿j ni] creating the glide of English "eye". This can be done in music to reduce the syllables in a lyric, such as toki e [ˈtokj‿e] going from 3 to 2 syllables (to‧kje or tok‧je).
Notes[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Dr Geoff Lindsey [@DrGeoffLindsey]. (22 October 2021).Why these English phonetic symbols are all WRONG. YouTube