UNT has an unusual consonant inventory, seen here on the right (the symbols in parentheses are practical orthography). From a Totonac point of view, UNT is notable for its lack of a lateral affricate (neutralized with the lateral fricative) and the absence of a uvular stop, now a glottal stop. Even more interesting is the presence of a series of three ejective fricatives, including the extremely rare ejectivized lateral fricative. These are typologically unusual sounds whose presence in the inventory is made even more startling by the lack of ejective stops.
The UNT vowel inventory is more typical of the languages in the Northern group of the family, having a five vowel system with each vowel quality showing a four-way distinction for laryngealization (creaky voice) and length. In practical orthography, long vowels are shown with a colon and laryngealized vowels with a straight apostrophe.
Further Reading on UNT phonology
- Beck, David (2006). The emergence of ejective fricatives in Upper Necaxa Totonac. In Robert Kirchner (ed.), University of Alberta Working Papers in Linguistics 1.
- Kirchner, Robert & Eleni Varelas. (2002). A cue-based approach to the phonotactics of Totonac. Presented at the 7th Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas. University of Alberta, March 23.