Main Menu

D'ni phonetics and transliteration system.

This section has been added to provide information about how to pronounce D'ni words. As usually, I have to admit that we do not know everything that would be necessary, and not everything is absolutely sure. But I hope that it is all correct, and at least some pieces have been confirmed by Richard A. Watson on the Riven Lyst.
The second part on this page is about transliteration, i.e. the process of using English (Roman) letters instead of D'ni letters when writing D'ni words. This has to be done very often, e.g. in most Iternet publications, including our word list. So, a certain "standard" is necessary to make sure that everyone uses the same transliteration tables. The Guild of Linguists uses a system that is very common on the web, and most other systems are only slightly different. However, it would be more "professional" to use a different system where every D'ni letter is translated to only one Roman letter. That would rule out any misunderstandings, but also causes the texts to be very cryptic and un-readable. In most cases it will be better not to apply such a system. But since Richard A. Watson, the creator of the language, has published his one-letter-table, I thought it might be interesting to include it.

Some notes:
a) The phonetic function of the "dot" or "accent" in consonants.
  Consonants without a dot are "fricative", "meaning it's produced by air passing continually between the tongue and lips" .
   A dot makes them non-fricative, they "contain a stop, meaning that the air is cut off" [FMTR].
   Example: "b" is a "v" with a dot. "v" is fricative, that means basically that you can pronounce "vvvvv". But as soon as you stop, you get a "b".
b) Vowels are also only slightly changed by a dot, but not with such a strict rule.
c) The first column gives the numbers of the D'ni characters, according to the Riven Schoolroom and to the number-letter-connection.
d) The 4th column lists alternative transcriptions that are found on the web.
e) The codes in the 5th column (RAWA) are the ones used by Richard A. Watson (see
f) Those codes are equivalent to Andy Moriarity's D'ni font, except for 22 (å) that is "q" there.
g) The (?) means that the pronunciation listed is neither obvious nor clarified by RAWA.

 No.  D'ni  Transcr. Alternative  RAWA  Pronunciation
 01  v  -  v like English v(very), German w, Italian v
 01'  b  -  b like English/German/Italian b(blue)
 02  t  -  t like English/German/Italian t(tower)
 03  s  -  s like English/German/Italian s(safe)
 03'  sh  sch  S like English sh(shore), German sch(Schiff), Italian sc(scirocco)
 04  j  -  j (?)possibly like English j
 04'  g  -  g like English/German/Italian g(gate)
 05  y  -  y (?)like English y(you), German j, Italian y(yacht)
 06  kh  -  k like Scottish ch(loch), German ch(Dach)
 06'  k  -  K like English/German k(key), Italian c(casa)
 07  ah  a  a long English a(far), German ah(nah), Italian a(casa)
 07'  i  -  I (?)like English i(nice), German/Italian ai
 08  f  -  f like English/German/Italian f(far)
 08'  p  -  p like English/German/Italian p(power)
 09  ih  i, I  i (?)like English i(sit), German i, Italian i
 09'  ee  -  E (?)like English ea(seat), German ie, Italian long i
 10  eh  e  e like English e(send), German/Italian e
 10'  ay  ai  A like English ay(hay), German ej, Italian ei(dei)
 11  r  -  r like English/German/Italian r(rich)
 12  m  -  m like English/German/Italian m(main)
 13  th  TH  T like English hard th(thorn)
 14  dh  th  d like English soft th(this)
 14'  d  -  D like English/German/Italian d(double)
 15  h  -  h (?) like English h(hope), German h
 16  o  oh  o like English o(chord), German/Italian o
 16'  oy  oi  O (?)like English oy(toy), German/Italian oi
 17  ch  -  c (?) maybe like English ch(chair), German tsch, Italian c(cinque)
 18  w  -  w (?) like English w(win)
 19  u  uh  u (?)like English u(push), German/Italian u
 19'  oo  -  U (?)probably similar to (19)u, but longer
 20  ts  -  x like English/German/Italian ts
 21  l  -  l like English/German/Italian l(lane)
 22  a  -  å like English a(cat), German ä or e
 23  z  -  z (?)like English z
 24  n  -  n like English/German/Italian n(now)

Any additions and corrections are always welcome!


Feel free to send your comments & questions:

Guild Master Josef

August 1999

Myst ® , Riven ® , D'ni ® and the D'ni language are registered trademarks of Cyan, Inc.
©1993, 1996, 1997 Cyan, Inc.