Syllable breaks are placed between two geminate consonants.


If there are no geminates, then the final vowel, and every second vowel going backwards are their own syllables.




These two rules are in order of priority, and two closed syllables can only appear next to one another if they both end in geminates, thus:


There are four levels of stress which are assigned to particular forms of syllables. Stress effects the quality and pitch of vowels.

Primary Stress

Primary stress is characterised by tense vowels with a high pitch. In polysyllabic words, primary stress falls on the last closed syllable. Monosyllabic content words also receive this stress, although this is not explicitly marked in the pronunciation guide.








Secondary Stress

Secondary stress is also characterised by the use of the tense vowels, however, the pitch is lower than the average. This falls on any other closed syllables.



Tertiary Stress

Tertiary stress is charateristed by use of tense vowels with a median pitch. This stress falls on any open syllable after one with quaternary stress. It is also the stress attracted by monosyllabic functional words. It is not explicitly marked; instead denoted by use of a tense vowel symbol with no stress mark.


/pʰi/ (functional word)

/kʰə.lu/ (functional word)

Quaternary Stress

Quaternary stress is characterised by a lax vowel with median pitch. It is not explicitly marked. This stress falls on any open syllable directly following one with primary or secondary stress, or an initial syllable that has not yet received a stress. This latter implies that quaternary stress is assigned before the tertiary, despite being of lower rank.



Vowel Length

Vowels in syllables with primary or secondary stress are slightly longer than other vowels. They are lengthened even further when the syllable coda is null, the consonant /h/, or a sonorant (/mnŋlɽ/).


Interrogative and imperative sentences (questions and orders) are denoted by tone. This tone is either a rising tone (ǎ) or a falling tone (â), placed on the syllable of the appropriate word which has the greatest stress.

Falling tone can also be used to bring focus to a particular word.