Kashmiri Phonology

The following is a modification of the Roman alphabet for Kashmiri language. It  has been devised primarily to cater to the language needs of the Kashmiri diaspora who do not have access to formal literacy in the native language nor sufficient training in Nastāliq (the official writing system of Kashmiri) or Devenāgri (alternate writing system for the language). The alphabet could also act as a bridge for cross communication between speakers of Kashmiri who cannot read either of the two aforementioned scripts. This is work in progress. Please feel free to provide feedback and suggestions and check back for updates.

(Note: Click here to type IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) or modified Roman symbols on your computer)

Phonetic description IPA symbol Spelling Examples in Kashmiri
Low central vowel (short) a a bar ‘fill; Imperative’
Low central vowel (long) aa aa / ā bār ‘weight, burden (n.)’
High front vowel (short) i i sir ‘secret (n.)’
High front vowel (long) ii ii / ī sīr ‘brick (n.)’
Mid-high front vowel (short) e e hety ‘bought (m.pl)’
Open mid front short vowel ɛ e   sekh ‘sand’, reth ‘month’
Mid-high front vowel (long) ee ee / ē sēr ‘sir (unit of weight)’, cēr ‘delay’
Mid-high back round vowel (short) o o kol ‘mute (m.sg)’, lot ‘light (m.sg)’, son/sron ‘deep’
Open mid back round vowel (short) ɔ wa kwal ‘stream’, khwan ‘lap (n.)’, swan ‘gold’
Mid-high back round vowel (long) oo oo /ō ōl ‘nest’, khōl ‘open; Imperative’
High back round short vowel u u hum ‘they (prox.)’
High back round long vowel uu uu /ū mūl ‘root(s)’
High central vowel (short) ɨ ɨ kɨm ‘who (pl.)’, tɨr ‘rag’,  ‘I (1.sg)’
High central vowel (long) ɨɨ ɨɨ / ɨ̄ kɨ̄c ‘how much (f.sg.), tɨ̄r ‘cold (n.)’
Mid central vowe (short) ə  ə kəc ‘how many’, kər ‘did (Obj.m.sg)’
Mid central vowe (long) əə əə /ə̄ kə̄m ‘work (n.)’, kə̄r ‘neck’
Voiceless bilabial stop (unaspirated) p p pan ‘thread’
Voiceless bilabial stop (aspirated) ph phal ‘fruit’
Voiced bilabial stop b b bar ‘door’
Voiceless dental stop (unaspirated) t t tīl ‘oil’,  tang ‘tight’
Voiceless dental stop (aspirated) th thakh ‘rest (n.)’
Voiced dental stop d d dan ‘handle (n.)’
Voiceless retroflex stop (unaspirated) ʈ ṭang ‘pear (n.)’
Voiceless retroflex stop (aspirated) ʈʰ ṭh ṭhuk ‘knock (n.)’
Voiced retroflex stop ɖ ḍokh ‘support, backing (n.)’
Voiceless velar stop (unaspirated) k k kan ‘ear’
Voiceless velar stop (aspirated) kh khan ‘dig; Imperative’
Voiced velar stop g g gal ‘melt; Imperative’
Voiceless palatal affricate (unaspirated) t͡ʃ čāy ‘tea’
Voiceless palatal affricate (aspirated) t͡ʃʰ čh čhal ‘wash; Imperative’
Voiced palatal affricate d͡ʒ j jad ‘ancestor’, jaay ‘place’
Voiceless dental affricate (unaspirated)  t͡s c cal ‘run away; Imperative’, coor ‘four’
Voiceless dental affricate (aspirated)  t͡sʰ ch chal ‘trap (n.)’, pach ‘trust’
Voiceless labio-dental fricative *(marginal) f f faraq ‘difference’ (marginal; also pronounced as pharakh; cf. Urdu faraq/Farsi farq)
Voiced labio-dental fricative v v vaan ‘shop’, varuk ‘page’ (cf. Urdu waraq)
Voiceless velar fricative x x xabar ‘news’ (marginal; also pronounced as khabar; cf. Urdu xabar)
Voiced velar fricative *(marginal) ɣ gh ghalat ‘wrong’ (marginal; also pronounced as galath)
Voiceless glottal fricative h h hath ‘hundred’, dah ‘ten’
Voiceless alveolar fricative s s sar ‘lake’, kus ‘who (m.sg)
Voiced alveolar fricative z z zar ‘deafness’, poz ‘truth’
Voiceless alveo-palatal fricative ʃ kheš ‘lock (of hair)’, šakh ‘suspicion’
Alveolar nasal n n nam ‘nail’
Bilabial nasal m m mal ‘dirt’
Voiced Lateral Liquid/Approximant l l lot ‘light (m.sg)’, pal ‘(big) rock’
Voiced Alveolar Liquid/Approximant r r rath ‘blood’, kuur ‘girl’
Palatal Glide y y yakh ‘ice’, lay ‘rhythm’
Palatalized Consonants   C+y  
Palatal nasal   ny nyuk ‘thin (m.sg)’, mony ‘kiss’
Palatalized bilabial nasal   my myul ‘association, likeness’, humy ‘he; Ergative’
Palatalized velar stop (voiceless unaspirated)   ky kyom ‘insect’, pəky ‘(they) walked’
Palatalized velar stop (voiceless aspirated)   khy khyol ‘(a) herd’, hokhy ‘dry (m.pl.)’
Palatalized velar stop (voiced)   gy gyav ‘ghee, vegetable oil’, drogy ‘expensive (m.pl)
Palatalized labial stop (voiceless)   py pyot ‘tip (n.)’, cəpy ‘bite (n.) (m.pl)’
Palatalized labial stop (voiceless aspirated)   phy phyūr ‘drop (n.)’
Palatalized labial stop (voiced)   by byul ‘blue/green-eyed (m.sg), dəby ‘washermen’
Palatalized voiceless dental stop (unaspirated)   ty tyūr ‘(a) sheep (m.sg)’, loty ‘light (m.pl)’
Palatalized voiceless dental stop (aspirated)   thy thyok ‘(he/she) bragged’, vəthy ‘open (m.pl)’, əthy ‘(to) this only’
Palatalized voiced dental stop   dy dyār ‘money’, pədy ‘feet/hoofs’ (cf. pod ‘foot.hoof’)
Pal. voiceless retroflex stop (unaspirated)   ṭy ṭyok ‘dot, drop (n.)’, pəṭy ‘slab (m.pl)’
Pal. voiceless retroflex stop (aspirated)   ṭhy ṭhyup ‘(small) cage (n.)’, koṭhy ‘knees’ (cf. koṭh ‘knee’)
Pal. voiced retroflex stop   ḍy ḍyol ‘loose (m.sg.)’, bəḍy ‘big (m.pl)’
Palatalized s   sy syod ‘straight’, syun ‘(cooked) vegetable/meat’, həsy ‘elephants’
Palatalized l   ly lyob ‘a blob (m.sg), lyodur ‘yellow’, həly ‘twisted (m.pl)’
Palatalized r   ry ryūnz ‘(certain small) insect’, dəry ‘firm/strong (m.pl)’

Note on abbreviations:

1 = First Person
f = Feminine
m = Masculine
n = Noun
Obj = Object
pl = Plural
sg = Singular

© Sadaf Munshi

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