Mar22 –  A Constructed Language

Mar22 Historical Development

Legend: Definitions, Terms, <Text>, [IPA], -Tags-, and "Glosses".

Protolanguage Phonology

The protolanguage has 20 phonemes: 5 vowels and 15 consonants.

Protolanguage Vowels
  front central back
high i i - - - u u
low-mid - ɛ e - - - ɔ o -
low - a a - -

Protolanguage Consonants
  labial coronal dorsal guttural
nasal voiced m m - - n n* - - ŋ n* - -
stop voiceless p - - t - - k - ʔ '
voiced b b - - d d - - g g - -
fricative voiceless - - s s - - x h - -
rhotic voiced - - ɾ r - - -
vocoid voiced - - l l - j y - w w - -

Protolanguage Syllables

In general, the possible syllables are C1(C2)V.

At all stages, coda nasals tend to assimilate to the following non-glottal onsets.

Protolanguage Prosody

The protolanguage stress is on the initial syllable.

Protolanguage Morphosyntax

At the earliest stage, the language is mostly isolating, with independent function words. Roots are from 1 to 3 syllables, with onset clusters rare outside of the initial syllable. Function words are 1 or 2 syllables.

Sequences of 2 or more roots are used for serial verb constructions, noun incorporation, and compounds. Function words tend to follow what they modify. In particular, verbs which change the aspect of the clause from the aspect implied by the final content verb follow the content verb immediately.


1.1. x, t, d, s > ç, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, ʃ / __ i
x > ɸ / __ u
1.2. i & u > 0 / VC __ CV
1.3. ɛ & ɔ & a > ə / VC __ CV
1.4. xj, tj, dj, sj, nj > ç, t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ, ʃ, ɲ
xw, kw, gw > ɸ, kʷ, gʷ
1.5. tl, dl > ɬ, t͡ɬ

The consonant inventory has reached its final form.

Multi-root sequences are combined into a single word or stem (both verbs and nouns). The aspect-marking verbs are suffixed to the content or auxiliary verb stem. The number suffixes are appended to the noun stems, followed by the suffixes for the genitive, vocative, locative, and core cases. The stress moves to the penult.

There are 2 sets of pronouns that follow the verb. One set consists of a relativizer and an imperative marker as well as the pronouns marking person and number. This set appears before the other, except that it doesn't appear after a verb used adverbially, as it marks the active agent, passive patient, or intransitive subject. The other set consists of the animacy-distinguishing 3rd person pronouns and the reflexive pronoun; these are enclitic. The 3rd person pronouns are originally used only as patients of active verbs, but come to also mark the animacy of any 3rd person or relativized patient.

Word Description Set
to Relativizer 1st
sa Imperative
mi 3rd person
hu 2nd person
le Unspecified
gu 3rd person animate 2nd
no 3rd person inanimate
si Reflexive

The relevent pronouns are shown in the table above; the combinations, as well as the stems, are subject to the following changes:

2.1. ɛ & ə, a, ɔ, u > i, ɛ, œ, y / __ Ci if stressed
ɛ, a, ɔ & ə, i > œ, ɔ, u, y / __ Cu if stressed
i, ɛ & ɔ & ə, u > ɛ, a, ɔ / __ Ca if stressed
2.2. V > 0 / VC __ #

This leaves the appearance of C-final roots with -VC suffixes. The vowels are now:

Intermediate Vowels
  front central back
high i y i ü - - - u u
high-mid - ə ë -
low-mid - ɛ œ e ö - - - ɔ o -
low - a a - -

The next thing that happens is that certain auxiliary verbs, along with their aspect suffixes, get appended to the content roots; these verbs either mark grammatical voice or are derivational; one of the former is a passive marker for originally transitive verbs and the other is a causative marker for originally intransitive verbs.

The oblique cases, which come from postposed adverbial forms are appended to the absolutive noun forms.

The personal pronoun combinations are now suffixed to the verb, determining the verb form's order. The use of these is extended to mark the animacy of any 3rd person or relativized patient.

3.1. j, w > i, u / __ (C, #)
3.2. V > 0 / VC __ #
V > 0 / VC(r, l, j, w) __ #
3.3. V > ə / __ #
3.4. ʔ > 0 / __ #

For some forms, there's an additional argument marked by personal pronouns; these get prefixed to the verb, along with any oblique case marker, which becomes an applicative prefix. The possessor prefixes are added to the nouns at this time.

There are now a bunch of redundant verb forms. Those with a local suffix (i.e. 1st, 2nd, or inclusive persons) fall out of use where an alternative exists, leaving only those with a suffixed 2nd person interacting with a prefixed 1st person. This has become a direct-inverse system, with most scalar and relational verbs marking direct and not inverse and all other verbs marking inverse and not direct.

4.1. ə > 0 / VC __ CV
4.2. rj, rw, lj, lw > ir, ur, il, ul
4.3. r, l, j, w > a, o, i, u / C __ (C, #)
4.4. ɛ & ə, ɔ > e, o
y, œ, a > i, ɛ, ɑ
4.5. ii, ei & ɛi, ɑi, oi > iː, eː, ai, ɔi
ɛu, ɑu, ou & eu, uu > au, ɑː, oː, uː
4.6. w > 0 / (#C, CC) __

Finally, certain formally impersonal auxiliary verbs are appended to the verb becoming the finite mode suffixes. The absolutive-ergative distinction (which applies only to animate nouns) is lost.After this, the stress shifts to a weight-based system.

page started: 2017.Mar.26 Sun
current date: 2017.Apr.02 Sun
content and form originated by qiihoskeh

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