Polyglot Derivatives—Part II—Paul E. and Polly Glōttidēs SpecGram Vol CXC, No 3 Contents Mix & Match ‡‡—Max & Mitch Ninelette

Artik-U-l8 Phoneme Services

Train to Be a Phoneme
Help Support Languages With Small Phonemic Inventories

Do you have experience as a phoneme?
• Are you allophonically trained?
• Do you know what a phoneme is?
• Do you own a telephone?

If so, Artik-U-l8 Phoneme Services wants to hear from you! In a world in which noise surrounds us, be it in the moaning winds and crashing of waves or the roar of torrential rain in the latest climate change–inspired storm, the blaring TV of your elderly neighbours, the screaming of the newborn baby you agreed to have just so she wouldn’t leave you, or the groan of traffic across the world’s over-pressured road networks, it’s easy to forget that some languages with small phonemic inventories are desperate for literally more sounds.

Consider the Papuan language Rotokas which by recent estimates has fewer than 12 distinctive phonemes. We spoke to Rotokas recently and it said ‘[i] need m[o] v[o]ls [o]gently’. And what about Hawai’ian? Although safely in the double figures it has fewer consonant phonemes than main islands in its own archipelagoand is the only island language in the world with a negative phoneme:island ratio. This is a desperate situation. We must either remove some of the islands or obtain new consonant phonemes.

And this is where you come in. If you have any free time during the week, even up to just a few hours, you can make a difference to one of these languages. We will provide full training over a three-day course in one of seven places of articulation throughout the world which will equip you to undertake phonemic duties in a numerically low-phoneme inventory language of your choice.


I trained to become an ejective bilabial plosive with a nasal dental allophone for a language with only 14 consonant phonemesand I’ve never looked back! I hardly ever see the wife, don’t have to play bridge on a Tuesday night. It’s given me a whole new lease of life! Just [b’]rilliant!

Mr /b’/ → [n] / #__V [high front], 52; Michigan, US

I’m chilling in the equator as a low back vowel phoneme for Rutaskan. As a CV language with only 4 vowel phonemes you can imagine that my services are very much in need. It’s busy, but fun. Before a negative suffix, I’m realised as a front central vowelso there’s lots of variety and I need to keep my wits about me. Plus, I’m in a relationship with Chad, who’s a trainer for Artik-U-l8. He was a long mid vowel for a Siberian language before moving into training and he’s taught me so much! The fun never glottal stops.

—Chloe, 21; Aberdeen, UK

So don’t delay. Artik-U-l8 wants to hear from you in a very real and acoustically meaningful way. Send in your CV and we’ll assign you a C or V phoneme within days. If the phoneme feels right to you, the next step is to attend one of our training events and you’re off!

Apply to:
Unit 10
East Grimston

Polyglot DerivativesPart IIPaul E. and Polly Glōttidēs
Mix & Match ‡‡Max & Mitch Ninelette
SpecGram Vol CXC, No 3 Contents