I haven't run into any words that have oi in them that I recall. Is it a valid construction? How is it pronounced if so?


Searching Tekstaro for “oi”, I found a lot of examples of words with that vowel combination. Here are some examples:

  • soifo
  • heroino
  • egoisto
  • koincido
  • troigo

As for pronounciation, as usual in Esperanto, it is “read what you see”. :) That is, it should be clear that it is “o” then “i”. One should not read it as if it was “oj” but I cannot give much more advice as I am not much of an expert on explaining pronounciation.

  • Phonetically there'd be a 'glottal stop' (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottal_stop) between the 'o' and the 'i', so they're pronounced as two separate sounds. You can see that they are on morpheme boundaries, ie where two word components come together, never within a single unit. Oct 14 '16 at 8:19
  • 1
    @OliverMason no, there's no glottal stop; a glottal stop is when you suddenly close off the airflow in your throat (as in some pronunciations of "t"); a very noticeable sound. Also, you can see that "soifo" and "koincido" have "oi" within the same root.
    – kristan
    Oct 14 '16 at 8:43
  • 1
    @OliverMason Could not that depend on where the accent is? I could see a glottal stop in egoisto, but not koincido.
    – apaderno
    Oct 14 '16 at 9:19
  • 1
    @OliverMason It might be a localized issue - since a glotal stop is not phonemic in Esperanto, you are free to insert it, but I do not think I've heard it in these positions (it would certainly be discouraged in some/many natural languages in cognates of these words). I'll try to listen carefully when I have the next oportunity. Oct 14 '16 at 10:44
  • 1
    @OliverMason "unless you pronounce it like engl. 'coin' there is a glottal stop" This is wrong. There are more ways to have a syllable boundary between two vowels than the glottal stop. One way to say "soifo" without glottal stop is holding your mouth at the [o] position for a while, quickly glide to the [i] position, and then hold that position. Long [o], tiny [oi̯], long [i]. You can even pronounce "coincide" without glottal stop this way. (The [ʊ] in the middle almost sounds like a /w/ then.) In fact, I think most English speakers pronounce it this way at normal conversation speeds.
    – Raizin
    Oct 15 '16 at 1:00

There is a syllable boundary between the "o" and the "i" ("i" is the next syllable in fact). This is especially noticeable when the "i" becomes stressed, and even more noticeable when the speaker lengthens stressed syllables. A diphthong would be written "oj" and considered a vowel+consonant phonemically.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.