Syllable structure is (C)(C)V(C₂) where C₂ is a voiced nasal [n, ɲ, ŋ, m] or velar fricative [x].
Within a syllable, consonant clusters occur only at the onset, and consist of a voiceless obstruent [p,t,k,f,s,x,t͡s] followed by either a tap [ɾ] or a voiced sonorant [n,ɲ,ŋ,j,w]. These restrictions do not apply to consonant sequences across syllable boundaries.
Consonant clusters where the second consonant is a nasal may occur word medially but do not occur at word boundaries.
When the cluster of two nasals occur within a word, they will coalesce to the single consonant [ɲ]. In rapid speech, this may occur at word boundaries as well.
When two consecutive vowels occur in adjacent syllables, the sequences /ai/,/au/, and /oi/ are realized as diphthongs. In other sequences, consonant epenthesis occurs where [j] is inserted between front-to-back or central-to-back sequences, as well as between /uu/, and [w] is inserted between all other vowel sequences.
Vowels are optionally nasalized when preceding a nasal consonant.
In stressed syllables, voiceless plosives (p,t,k) are aspirated when directly preceding a vowel.
The voiceless plosives /p,t,k/ are realized as voiced [b,d,g] when preceded by a nasal consonant [n, ɲ, ŋ], unless directly preceding a vowel in a stressed syllable.
/w/ is realized as [ʍ] when preceded by [x].
Ngëh is a syllable timed language. All syllables are given roughly the same duration.
Stress is irregular and phonemic. Stressed syllables are louder and higher in pitch than their unstressed counterparts, but not significantly longer. When written in the latin alphabet, stress is marked with an acute accent. Accent marking is always omitted for monosyllabic words and optional for multisyllabic words without heteronyms.
Generally, sentences gradually fall in pitch, though speakers may end a sentence or clause on a rising intonation to indicate that they have more to say. A particular word may be pronounced with a sharp rise and fall in pitch to give it focus. In yes / no questions, pitch rises sharply on the stressed syllable of the focus word, and then gradually falls. In wh- questions, pitch rises sharply on the question word, and then gradually falls.
Ngëh does not have phonemic tones.
Phonetic realization of words are only listed below if they differ significantly from the phonemic.
|Phonemic||Phonetic||Romanized||Part of Speech||English Translation|
|/ŋəx/||ngëh||noun||the Ngëh language|
|/wakiˈyosə/||wakiyósë||verb||to make a long, tiresome journey|
|/foˈgə/||fogë́||adverb, exclamation||certainly / of course|
|/ˈbatnaegix/||[ˈbatnawegix]||bátnaegih||noun||a small obstacle or everyday annoyance|