INITIAL SOUNDS IN DRÁJYÓR

In the following interactive table, partially inspired by the traditional Tibetan order of consonants, but adapted to the Drajyor phonetic transcription system, syllables are ordered in columns (1-6) and lines (1-14) according to the way they are pronounced. The columns (in lines 1-4, the first three of the 5th, 8th, and 9th) group sounds on the base of criteria such as voice (phonetics), tone (high or low), aspiration (absent, strong, slight) and prenasalization. (NOTE Prenasalisation is audible in Central Tibetan only when found between the two syllables of disyllabic words in which the first ends with a vowel and the second starts with a prenasalization. For example: མཁའ་འགྲོ་ wylie: mkha’ ‘gro, Drajyor: KÀDRÒ, roughly pronounced ‘Khandro’). In Eastern Tibet it is more evident also at the beginning of words).

 

The six columns contain respectively:

  1. Unvoiced, high tone, non aspirated
  2. Unvoiced, low tone, slightly aspirated
  3. Voiced, low tone, non aspirated
  4. Voiced, low tone, non aspirated, prenasalised (note that the intensity of prenasalization differs greatly in various Tibetan dialects)
  5. Unvoiced, high tone, aspirated
  6. Unvoiced, high tone, aspirated and prenasalized

 

The first 5 lines contain respectively:

  1. The consonants pronounced in the throat (velars),
  2. With the tongue touching the palate (alveo-palatals)
  3. With the tip of the tongue behind the teeth (dentals)
  4. Closing the lips (bilabials)
  5. Alveolar affricates

 

Lines 6 to 8 contain:

6. Velar + ya sound

7. Palatal + ya sound

8. Apical postalveolar retroflex stops (😂) (curling the tongue backward)

The remaining lines contain various sounds which are easier to reproduce by listening to them rather than to describe them if that is not already the case with the ones described above.


A note on line 16.
The first three letters of this line are: A is an ‘a’ vowel, starting from a closed throat (the common ‘a’ in western languages) HǍ is an ‘a’ vowel starting from an open throat HA is simply an aspiration

 

Accents

Accents, or their absence, have to be paid great attention: they define how the consonant before the vowel on which they sit is pronounced, not the vowel itself. In other words, the characteristics of a consonant in DRÁJYÓR are defined by the accent, or its absence, on the following vowel.

 

There are four possibilities:

  1. No accent indicates a high tone, unvoiced, unaspirated consonant; except for lines 11-15 where consonants are in low tone.
  2. Caron or háček accent ( ˇ at times seen as ˘ ) denotes a low tone, unvoiced, slightly aspirated consonant. The consonants marked with this accent (in column 2) become voiced when found in syllables beyond the first, in two or more syllable words (see below).
  3. Acute accent ( ´ ) indicates low tone, voiced, non-aspirated consonants (third column, lines 1-9). In other instances see the heading.
  4. Grave ( ` ) accent adds a pre-nasalisation to the consonant in the previous column (lines 1-9, silent in Central Tibetan).


Many DRÁJYÓR initial sounds correspond to several different spellings in Tibetan script. These syllables are pronounced in exactly the same way, but their meaning is different and they belong to completely different words.


(please click on the players to listen to the sounds)

 
1 Unvoiced, high tone 2 Unvoiced, low tone  3 Voiced, low tone  4 Voiced, low tone, prenasalised 5 Unvoiced, high tone, aspirated 6 Unvoiced, high tone, aspirated, prenasalised
1
VELARS
GA
KA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཀ་ རྐ་ ལྐ་ སྐ་ དཀའ་ བཀའ་ བརྐ་ བསྐ་ ག་ རྒ་ ལྒ་ སྒ་ དགའ་བགའ་ བརྒ་ བསྒ་ མགའ་ འགའ་ ཁ་ མཁའ་ འཁའ་
2 ALVEOPALATALS
JA
QA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཅ་ ལྕ་ གཅའ་ བཅའ་ ཇ་ རྗ་ ལྗ་ བརྗ་ མཇའ་ འཇའ་ ཆ་ མཆའ་ འཆའ་
3
DENTALS
DA
TA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཏ་ རྟ་ ལྟ་ སྟ་ གཏའ་བཏའ་
བརྟ་ བལྟ་ བསྟ་
ད་ རྡ་ ལྡ་ སྡ་ གདའ་ བདའ་ བརྡ་ བལྡ་
བསྡ་ ཟླ་ བཟླ་
མདའ་ འདའ་ ཐ་ མཐའ་ འཐའ་
4
BILABIAL
BA
BǍ
PA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
པ་ ལྤ་ སྤ་ དཔའ་ བ་ རྦ་ ལྦ་ སྦ་ འབའ་ ཕ་ འཕའ་
5
AFFRICATE
ZA
ZǍ
CA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཙ་ རྩ་ སྩ་ གཙའ་ བཙའ་ བརྩ་ བསྩ་ ཛ་ རྫ་   བརྫ་ མཛའ་ འཛའ་ ཚ་ འཚའ་ མཚའ་
6
WITH -Y (subscr.)
GYA
GYǍ
GYÁ
GYÀ
KYA
KYÀ
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཀྱ་ རྐྱ་ སྐྱ་ དཀྱ་ བཀྱ་ བརྐྱ་ བསྐྱ་ གྱ་ རྒྱ་ དགྱ་ བགྱ་ བརྒྱ་
སྒྱ་ བསྒྱ་
འགྱ་ ཁྱ་ མཁྱ་ འཁྱ་
7
PALATALS WITH -Y (subscr.)
JYA
JYǍ
JYÁ
JYÀ
QYA
QYÀ
Corresponds to Tibetan:
པྱ་ སྤྱ་ དཔྱ་ བྱ་ སྦྱ་ འབྱ་ ཕྱ་ འཕྱའ་
8
WITH -R
(subscr.)
DRA
DRǍ
DRÁ
DRÀ
TRA
TRÀ
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཀྲ་ ཏྲ་ པྲ་
སྤྲ་ དཔྲ་
གྲ་ དྲ་ བྲ་ སྒྲ་ དགྲ་ བགྲ་
བསྒྲ་ སྦྲ་
མགྲ་ འགྲ་འདྲ་ འབྲ་ ཁྲ་ ཐྲ་ ཕྲ་ མཁྲ་ འཁྲ་ འཕྲ་
 

 

 

 

 

   
 

Unvoiced high tone

Unvoiced low tone

Voiced low tone

Unvoiced reinforced

   
9
FRICATIVE
XA
XǍ
   
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཤ་ ཞ་ གཞའ་  བཞའ་ གཤའ་  བཤའ་ ཤྲ་    
10
SIBILANT
SA
SǍ
   
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ས་ ཟ་ གཟའ་ བཟའ་ སྲ་ གསའ་ བསའ་ བསྲ་    
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Low tone

High tone

More nasal

Low tone

High tone

More nasal
11 NASALS N̂A
N̂Á
ŊÀ
ÑA
ÑÁ
ÑÀ
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ང་ རྔ་ ལྔ་ དངའ་ མངའ་ སྔ་ བསྔ་ ཉ་ རྙ་ གཉའ་ མཉའ་
བརྙ་ མྱ་ རྨྱ་
སྙ་ བསྙ་ སྨྱ་
12 NASALS NA
MA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ན་ རྣ་ མནའ་  བརྣ་ གནའ་ སྣ་ བསྣ་ སྣྲ མ་ རྨ་ དམའ་ སྨ་ སྨྲ་
 
           
 

Low tone

High tone

Low tone

High tone

   
13 GLIDES YA
WA
   
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཡ་ གཡའ་ དབྱ་  རྱ་ ཝ་ དབའ་    
14 LIQUIDS RA
       
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ར་ དབྲ་        
15 LIQUIDS LA
       
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ལ་ ཀླ་ གླ་ བླ་ རླ་ སླ་        
 

 

 

       
 

Unvoiced,

high tone

Unvoiced,

low tone

Unvoiced, aspirated,

high tone

Unvoiced,

high tone

Unvoiced,

low tone

Voiced low tone

16 OTHER  A
HǍ
HA
HRA
LHA
-VA
Corresponds to Tibetan:
ཨ་ འ་ ཧ་ ཧྲ་ ལྷ་ -བ་