2.2. Pronunciation

Detailed pronunciation and spelling rules are given in Chapter 3, but what follows will keep the reader from going too far astray while digesting this chapter.

Lojban has six recognized vowels: a, e, i, o, u and y. The first five are roughly pronounced as a as in father, e as in let, i as in machine, o as in dome and u as in flute. y is pronounced as the sound called schwa, that is, as the unstressed a as in about or around.

Twelve consonants in Lojban are pronounced more or less as their counterparts are in English: b, d, f, k, l, m, n, p, r, t, v and z. The letter c, on the other hand is pronounced as the sh in hush, while j is its voiced counterpart, the sound of the s in pleasure. g is always pronounced as it is in gift, never as in giant. s is as in sell, never as in rose. The sound of x is not found in English in normal words. It is found as ch in Scottish loch, as j in Spanish junta, and as ch in German Bach; it also appears in the English interjection yecchh!. It gets easier to say as you practice it. The letter r can be trilled, but doesn't have to be.

The Lojban diphthongs ai, ei, oi, and au are pronounced much as in the English words sigh, say, boy, and how. Other Lojban diphthongs begin with an i pronounced like English y (for example, io is pronounced yo) or else with a u pronounced like English w (for example, ua is pronounced wa).

Lojban also has three semi-letters: the period, the comma and the apostrophe. The period represents a glottal stop or a pause; it is a required stoppage of the flow of air in the speech stream. The apostrophe sounds just like the English letter h. Unlike a regular consonant, it is not found at the beginning or end of a word, nor is it found adjacent to a consonant; it is only found between two vowels. The comma has no sound associated with it, and is used to separate syllables that might ordinarily run together. It is not used in this chapter.

Stress falls on the next to the last syllable of all words, unless that vowel is y, which is never stressed; in such words the third-to-last syllable is stressed. If a word only has one syllable, then that syllable is not stressed.

All Lojban words are pronounced as they are spelled: there are no silent letters.