by BD Mitchell
Brief guide to pronouncing the Eraknian language.
Naikuno is very systematic; if you know the basics, you can pronounce anything. It’s based on a syllable system. That is to say, instead of spelling out words with “a, b, c, etc..,” the Naikuno alphabet represents sounds, like “ka, li, ru, etc…” As every single word is made with these standard syllable sounds, every word is basically spelled the way it sounds.
Like English, Naikuno has five vowels (I’m not counting “y” here). Unlike English, there is only one way to pronounce each vowel (except "i"). For example, the letter “u” in English can be pronounced oo, uh, yoo, and so on. In Naikuno, it is always just oo.
i- meet; sit
In addition, there are eighteen consonant sounds that can be paired with any of the five vowels. This means that altogether (including the original five vowels) there is a total of ninety-five syllables in the Naikuno system.
The eighteen consonants are: h, f, v, k, g, l, r, m, p, n, s, z, j, t, d, y, w, ks.
A few further notes on consonants. “G” is always like “gate” and never “germ.” “Z” is more like the ts in “pizza” than “zoo.” “J” is more like the zh in “bonjour” than “joke.” “Ks” is like the “x” in “exact.” “R” is pronounced more like a Spanish “r” than an English one, with a very slight roll to it.
When reading a Naikuno word, you would pronounce every syllable. The verb “sinaiu” would be pronounced si-na-i-u. Some words are written in the Roman alphabet so that there are two consonants together with no vowel in between, like “ankilo.” Technically, there is still an “i” sound in between, but it’s so subtle it almost disappears. So a-ni-ki-lo is spelled “ankilo.” The same with double-consonants. U-ku-ki-ra becomes “ukkira.” An actual Eraknian would pronounce both “k”s, but the distinction is easy to miss.
A few example words:
oyaniziru (to blame)- oh-yah-nih-tsee-roo
otojak (storm)- oh-toh-zha-k(oo)
ukirai (hotel)- oo-kih-rah-ee
iekir’li (demand)- ee-eh-kih-r(oo)-lee
zinksiru (to make)- tsih-n(oo)-ksee-roo
pizirkiu (to become)- pih-tsih-r(oo)-kee-oo
tyiel’na (glorious)- t(ee)-yee-eh-l(oo)-nah
Erakni’vna (an Eraknian person)- eh-rah-k(oo)-nih-v(ee)-nah
Erakni’na (Eraknian)- eh-ra-k(oo)-nee-nah
As far as foreign words go, there are some sounds that don’t exist in Naikuno, like “th” or “b.” This is easy to work around by substituting the foreign sound with its closest equivalent. For example, an Eraknian can’t pronounce “Earth.” He will instead say “Aruto.” He won’t say “shuttle,” he’ll say “jottalu.” And so on.