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The IstroRomanian alphabet is based on the standard Romanian alphabet and thus the pronunciation of most letters is quite similar. In addition to the letters found in the standard Romanian alphabet, IstroRomanian has three additional letters used to mark sounds specific only to this dialect: Å å | Ľ ľ | Ń ń. Of these, the last two, Ľ ľ | Ń ń, are also found in the alphabets used in the writing of two other Romanian dialects, Aromanian and MeglenoRomanian. These sounds are, however, found in spoken Romanian in certain areas of the country but are not considered part of the standardized language. The third sound Å å is a uniquely IstroRomanian sound.

Vowels:

A a | Å å | Ă ă | Â â1 | E e | I i | Î î1 | O o | U u

Consonants:

B b | C c | D d | F f | G g | H h | J j | K k | L l | Ľ ľ | M m
N n | Ń ń | P p | R r | S s | Ș ș | T t | ț ț | V v | Z z | X x 2


A a - [a]3 as the English "a" in "Mars" or "father".

Å å - no English equivalent; similar to the sound "wa" in "water".

 â | Î î - [ɨ] no English equivalent. These two vowels are phonetically and functionally identical. The letter  â is used exclusively in the middle of words; its majuscule version appears only in all-capitals inscriptions. The letter Î î is used only at the beginning and the end of words. The reason for using both letters is historical and denotes an effort to emphasize the language's Latin origin.

Ă ă - [ə] no English equivalent; similar to the English sound "er" in "other." This is a rather unique sound to Romanian though a similar sound exist in both Bulgarian and Afrikaans.

B b - [b] as the English "b" in "ball".

C c - [k] as the English "c" in "cat"; the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "k".

D d - [d] as the English "d" in "dog".

E e - [e] as the English "e" in "bed".

F f - [f] as the English "f" in "flag".

G g - [g] as the English "g" in "goat".

H h - [h] as the English "h" in "house"; it is never a silent letter.

I i - [i] as the English "i" in "machine" or the sound "y" in "boy"; the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "j".

J j - [ʒ] as the English sound "s" in "treasure"; the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "ž".

K k - [k] as the English "k" in "like"; only used with kilogram and its derivatives.

L l - [l] as the English "l" in "lamp".

Ľ ľ - [ʎ] as the English sound "lli" in "million;" the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "lj". The letter is correctly written as one character and not as an l with an apostrophe '. This sound doesn't exist in standard Romanian thou it is found in Aromanian and MacedoRomanian and in dialectal variations of Romanian.

M m - [m] as the English "m" in "mountain".

N n - [n] as the English "n" in "north".

Ń ń - [ɲ] as the English sound "ni" in "onion", (a rather short "n" followed by a short "y"-sound), similar to the Spanish "ñ;" the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "nj." This sound doesn't exist in standard Romanian thou it is found in Aromanian and MacedoRomanian and in dialectal variations of Romanian.

O o - [o] as the English "o" in "port".

P p - [p] as the English "p" in "post".

R r - [r] no English equivalent; it is a trilled "r".

S s - [s] as the English "s" in "song".

Ș ș - [ʃ] as the English sound "sh" in "shoe;" the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "š". The letter is correctly written with a coma (virgula) and not with a cedilla like in Turkish. However, most on line texts use the version with a cedilla because it is much more widely supported and because the correct version was introduced only in Unicode 3.0 at the request of the Romanian national standardization body. Most computers today still do not have fonts compatible with it (computers with Microsoft operating systems older than Windows XP do not have compatible fonts).

T t - [t] as the English "t" in "top".

ț ț - [ʦ] as the English sound "ts" in "cats;" the phonetic equivalent of the Croatian "c". The letter is correctly written with a coma (virgula) and not with a cedilla.

U u - [u] as the English "u" in "group" or the sound "oo" in "boot".

V v - [v] as the English "v" in "vision".

Z z - [z] as the English "z" in "zipper".

X x - [ks] as the English "x" in "six".

Notes

  1. The sound, in both forms, is found in all recent texts in Istro-Romanian, including: August Kovačec, Istrorumunjsko-Hrvatski Rječnik / Descrierea istroromânei actuale; Josif Popovici, Dialectele române din Istria; Sextil Pușcariu, Studii istroromâne; and Richard Sârbu and Vasile Frățilă, Dialectul istroromân. In some books, the authors use only one character for transcribing that sound: Kovačec and Pușcariu use  â, while Popovici uses only Î î. Pușcariu goes into more details when talking about these sounds that are specific to Romanian and Istro-Romanian. He notes that while  â | Î î is much more prevalent in Romanian, in Istro-Romanian it is often changed to Ă ă, especially in the sub-dialect spoken in the southern group of Istrian villages (but even there it may vary).
  2. Q q | W w | Y y are only used in words of foreign origin and their derivatives.
  3. In between the square parenthesis I have noted the phonetic value of each letter in accordance with the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). IPA is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. It is intended as a notational standard for the phonemic and phonetic representation of all spoken languages.


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