Syllabification and Stress

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Syllabification

Syllabification in Dothraki depends only on the phonetic structure of the word, compound words and affixes are attached seamlessly. All syllables have exactly one vowel as a nucleus. Onset of the syllable always carries a maximal consonat cluster, if such is available. Coda takes consonants only if they are word final or if the onset of the next syllable can't carry them all.

Dothraki syllables have no consonant clusters bigger than two phonemes. Of two consonant pairs, for onset the first consonant must be less sonorant than the last.

Phoneme groups, from most sonorous to least sonorous:
w, y, r, l > m, n > th, s, sh, z, zh, kh, f, v > j, ch, q, t, d, g, k

There are two exeptions: Fricatives (th,s,sh,z,zh,kh,f,v) can't precede nasals (m,n), and h can come either before or after nasals (m,n) and approximants (w,y,r,l).

For codas the same rules apply, but in reverse.

Examples: a·chra, am·mi·thrat, ag·gen·dat, ath·nith·me·nar, at·thi·ra·ri·de, a·thas·tokh·de·ve·shi·zar, as·fa·vir·zeth, a·nho·on, ma·hrazh

Stress

Word stress in Dothraki is quite simple and predictable.

  1. Words that end in the consonant (ie. the final syllable is heavy) will have the stress on the final syllable.
  2. Words that end in a vowel (ie. the final syllable is light) will most often have the stress on the first syllable with one exception.
  3. The exception is that when a word ends in a vowel and a penultimate syllable ends in consonant (ie. the ultimate syllable is light but penultimate is heavy) the stress will be on the penultimate syllable.
  4. Things like complementizers that attach to a word do not change the stress. For example the subordinante clause complementizer /me-/ often attaches to a word like me (he, she, it). The stress will still be on the original word rather than on the complementizer (so it's memé rather than méme).


Example of an exception.

  • tolorro. This word breaks down as to-lor-ro. As we see the final syllable is only -CV while the penultimate syllable is longer. This means the exception applies and the stress is on the middle /o/, tolórro.

A couple of sentences from the actual script have been released and there the stress has been marked to help the actors with proper stress:

Ánha tih mahrazhés fin kásha chakát karlín.

Eyél várthasoe she ilekaán ríkhoya arrekaán vékha vósi yeroón vósma tolórro!

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