Unlike English, NS words are pronounced the same way they are written. This is good news. It means that once you learn how to pronounce individual NS characters, you will be able to pronounce any NS word.
Stress is on the first syllable of short words. That syllable is only slightly emphasized, just like in the English words "table", "memory". Long words have stress at internal syllable finishing by three or more consonants just like in the English word "December".
However, Neoslavonic is an artificial language and therefore allows different kinds of stressing. Polish speakers, for example, will tend to put stress always on the second to last syllable of a word; Czechs will tend to put stress on the first syllable of a word.
Neoslavonic actually uses two equivalent alphabets: Latin and Cyrillic. In addition, it also has a transcript available in ASCII and Greek alphabets, and it is possible to use the first-ever Slavic script: Glagolitic for your pleasure.
In this course we will use the Latin alphabet with a brief outline of its transcription in Cyrillic. Do take notice that Neoslavonic uses the English version of the Latin alphabet supplemented by three diacritic marked consonants č, š, ž and one diacritic marked vowel ě. These letters can be written using combinations of non-accented Latin letters as cz, sz, zh and ie (example: člověk = czloviek = a man).
There are no other accented letters or other "non-English" characters except those four. Neoslavonic Latin alphabet is derived from the international standard ISO 9 and the Russian state standard GOST and the United Nations standard UN 1987 made by the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN). Neoslavonic letters can be found in many Slavic languages (for example marked Latin letters č, š, ž, ě are in Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, Slovak, ... and Cyrillic letters are the same in Church Slavonic, Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, ...). For your information, this system of Latin character diacritics has been introduced in the early 15th century by the Czech thinker, martyr and reformer Jan Hus.
NS also has an auxiliary letter, which is actually a character without its own sound. It is the letter "j" after consonants from the Latin alphabet and is called a "jer" or a "soft sign". It has its own shape "ь" in the Cyrillic alphabet. This soft sign letter is used to represent a change in the pronunciation of an immediately preceding consonant - which in linguistics is called palatalization - by which the pronunciation of a consonant comes to be produced with the tongue in a position in the mouth near the palate.
Examples: dj=дь, tj=ть, nj=нь, lj=ль
soft pronunciation of consonants versus simplicity
Eastern (partly also western) Slavic languages are known for their softness and jotization. However this soft pronunciation can be a problem especially for southern Slavs and many non-Slavic people. Therefore, the Neoslavonic phonology design principle keeps following simplistic principle:
palatalization and euphony
Slavic languages are known by the consonant softening in some situations of word derivation, declension or conjugation. This process is called palatalization. Neoslavonic it has also included, but in a very limited way of only three regular rules related with the soft consonants č, š, ž as
člověk (a man N), člověče! (man! V);
prah (a dust, noun), prašny (dust, adj.);
dlgy (long, adj.), dlžejši (longer, adj.).
In order to sound almost like an ordinary natural Slavic language, we need to improve certain artificially generated sound combinations caused by application of grammatical endings to verbs in order to create personal form and participles. There are only three euphony rules related to the same soft consonants č, š, ž as
prositi (to please, inf.), prosju→prošu (I please), prosjenje→prošenje (pleasing, verbal noun).
loosing "e" and "o"
As in Latin, Greek, Germanic and Romanesque languages, there is loosing vowel "e" in Neoslavonic word endings. The most frequent case of this loosing effect is declension, where loosing wovel is present only in the nominative.
pes (a dog N), p-sa (a dog G),
December (December N), Decemb-ra (December G).
članok (an article N), član-ka (an article G)
(You can hear these words in attached file example-1.wav)
voda [vɔda] water
hlěb [xljɛb] a bread
auto [aʊtɔ] a car, an automobile
slnce (s'lnce) [sɜ̆lncɛ] a sun
člověk [tʃlɔvjɛk] a man (human being)
muž [mʊʒ] a man (masculine)
žena [ʒɛna] a woman
dětko [ɟɛtkɔ] a child
imaju [imajʊ] I have
imaješ [imajɛʃ] you have
imajemo [imajɛmɔ] we have
veliky [vɛliki] big (sg. m. adj.)
maly [mali] small (sg. m. adj.)
doma [dɔma] at home (adv.)
jedin [jɛdin] one (m.)
dva [dva] two (m.)
tri [tri] three
četyri [tʃɛtiri] four
pet [pɛt] five
deset [dɛsɛt] ten
sto [stɔ] hundred
(You can hear these words in attached file example-2.wav)
Vsi ljudi rodjut se svobodni i rovni v svojem dostojenstvu i pravah.
[vsi ʎʊdi rɔɟʊt sɛ svɔbɔdni i rɔvni v svɔjɛm dɔstɔjɛnstvʊ i pravax]
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Oni sut obdareni razumom i svěstju,
[ɔni sʊt ɔbdarɛni razʊmɔm i svjɛscʊ]
They are endowed with reason and conscience,
i trěba jim jest postupati drug s drugom v duhu bratstva.
[i trjɛba jim jɛst pɔstʊpati drʊg s drʊgɔm v dʊxʊ bratstva]
and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(article 1. of preamble of the universal declaration of human rights by the United Nations)