Hirathic

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Hirathic (hirathis [χiˈɾaθis] or vepos hirathōn [ˈvɛpɔs ˈχiˈɾaθɔːn]) is the name of the Indo-European language spoken in antiquity around the Mediterranean basin. A centum language, it is believed by some to be closely related to Greek, by some to Armenian and by yet others to Albanian.

Hirathic
ΧΙΡΑΘΙΣ
hirathis
Pronunciation [χiˈɾaθis]
Created by
Setting
Region Eurasia
Native speakers -  (2013)
Language family
Indo-European
  • (unclassified) (?)
    • Hirathic
Writing system Latin, Greek
ISO 639-3 qhi

Name

The Hirathic noun hirathis can be translated as “that which is tall; that which is grown; that which is cultivated; that which is refined”. It is a nominal of the root hir- “to grow; raise; make high”.

The similarly sounding auto-ethnonym of its speakers hirathēi (also hiratēi) is directly related to hirathis and means something akin to “the tall ones; the refined ones”.

Other names for the language include hirathōn “of the high ones”, vepos “speech”, a combination of both, and vepos nim “our speech”.

Background

External history

Hirathic is my latest attempt at making an a posteriori language based on Proto-Indo-European. It is primarily inspired by developments found in the Greek and Albanian branches of the Indo-European language family. It also serves as yet another opportunity for me to delve into Indo-European linguistics. Hirathic has furthermore a set of words from an in-universe pre-Indo-European language termed the Hirathic substrate language which is basically my excuse to plop in words here and there without having to take them from a PIE root.

Unlike Dhannuá which was originally envisioned as a plausible modern Indo-European-descended language, I aim for Hirathic to be more like Old Norse, Sanskrit, Old Latin, Ancient Greek, that is, a language of epic cants and myths that is no longer spoken.

Internal history

Hirathic is descended from a centum dialect of the Proto-Indo-European language. Not much is known about its origins although there have been attempts to link it with the Illyrian languages, Phrygian, and Greek. While sharing several common sound changes with Greek, it displays many oddities which preclude it from being firmly set in a Hellenic family. What is known is that Hirathic of some sort was spoken around the first millenium BCE to the late fourth century BCE in the Balkans and Southern Italy before being overtaken by Greek and Latin.


Phonology

The phonology of Hirathic is relatively simple with 15 distinctive consonants and six vowels with distinctive length. This table represents the pronunciation of the widespread dialect spoken in the Balkan Peninsula in the 6th century BCE. It is a direct continuation of phonemes found in Proto-Indo-European as modified by regular sound changes and as such have cognates in many European languages like English, Greek, or Lithuanian.

Consonants

Hirathic consonants
  Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Velar Uvular
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative v θ s χ
Trill r
Lateral approximant l

Vowels

The common dialect of Hirathic distinguishes three heights (a-e-i), front and back (e-o, y-u), roundedness (i-y), and length (e - e:) in its vowel system. This is very similar to other older Indo-European languages. Cognates of the vowels are found in many European languages, even in English, e.g., yoke and Hirathic thugon, both reflecting common Proto-Indo-European *yugóm


Front Back
  unrounded rounded
Close ι

i

υ υι

y

υ ευ

u u:

Close-mid ε

e

ο

o

Open-mid η

ɛː

ω

ɔː

Open α

a aː

Phonotactics

Stress

Grammar

Hirathic is a highly inflected language TODO

Nouns

Adjectives

Verbs

Verbs are highly inflected in Hirathic, similar to many other older Indo-European languages such as Latin, Sanskrit, Old Irish, or Old Church Slavonic. A student of any of the aforementioned languages will surely recognise many similarities between them and Hirathic. Like their relatives, the Hirathic verbs inflect or conjugate for person (1st, 2nd, 3rd), number (singular, plural), tense, aspect, voice, and mood.

Tense

Hirathic has three primary time distinctions: the present (pres), the past (past), and the future (fut). While the present and the past are inherited straight from Proto-Indo-European, the origin of the future tense, formed by affixing -s to the stem, is probably a shared innovation from Late PIE, cf. Latin faxo.

Aspect

Verbs are innately either perfect (perf) or imperfective(ipfv) in aspect. To switch between these two aspects, most verbs demand a suffixation or a stem vowel change. Some verbs that have a bound preposition usually belong to a specific aspect, e.g., εχσειμι (ekseimmi) is perfective, derived from the union of the preposition εχς ‘out’ and ειμι ‘I go’, an imperfective verb, while the verb αθακαουθωμι (āthākā́outhōmi) ‘I listen anew, repeatedly’ is imperfective, a situation not unlike the modern Slavic verbal system.

Mood

Voice

Syntax

Compounding

Writing system

Hirathic natively used an archaic variant of the Greek alphabet. In modern times, the Hirathic variant of the Greek alphabet is often replaced with the standardised Ancient Greek alphabet for reasons of typesetting convenience.

IPA a b g d ɛ v ɛː θ i k l m n ɔ p r~ɾ s t y χ ps ɔː
Hirathic Greek Alpha 04.svg Greek Beta 01.svg Greek Gamma archaic 1.svg Greek Delta 03.svg Greek Epsilon archaic.svg Greek Digamma oblique.svg Greek Eta archaic.svg Phoenician teth.svg Greek Iota normal.svg Greek Kappa normal.svg Greek Lambda 06.svg Greek Mu 06.svg Greek Nu 06.svg Greek Omicron 04.svg Greek Pi rounded.svg Greek Rho 07.svg Greek Sigma Z-shaped.svg Greek Tau normal.svg Greek Upsilon normal.svg Greek Phi 03.svg Greek Chi normal.svg Greek Psi V-shaped.svg Greek Omega 04.svg
Modern Α α Β β Γ γ Δ δ Ε ε Ϝ ϝ Η η Θ θ Ι ι Κ κ Λ λ Μ μ Ν ν Ο ο Π π Ρ ρ Σ σ ς Τ τ Υ υ Φ φ Χ χ Ψ ψ Ω ω

Romanization of Hirathic Greek script

Changes from Indo-European

Loans

A specific subset of the lexicon contains a substantial amount of loanwords from an unidentified substrate language, primarily in marine, religious and warfare contexts. The Hirathic substrate language does not appear to be related to any known language and is usually considered an isolate.

Some examples:

χαφταψ χaphtaps 'warlord', from xaphdáph of the same meaning.
δαϝοτυς davotus 'priest of a particular god', from dáwátus 'lighter of the flame'
φεθαχς phethax 'axe-bearer, bodyguard', from fexa 'axe'
nωθη nōthē 'the Ocean', from nōthē of the same meaning.
θηθυψ thēthups 'temple', from sēdhuf of the same meaning.
ϝυχοτυς vuχotus 'orator', from wuhkotus 'who makes speech'.
ϝυναχς vunax 'poet', from wuhnako 'who has speech as a profession', from wuhko + infix -na- 'profession'
νωναθηι nōnathēi 'fisherman' from nōnathē 'who has the sea as a profession', from nōthē + infix -na- 'profession'

Language sample

Hymn to Vukhodava (local deity),

Hirathic (Greek): θη θανες εθι τυ φρατηρ η ϝατε ϝυναχωι δε θυγον ορεχων
Hirathic: thē thānes ethi tu phratēr ē vāte vunakhōi de thugon orekhōn
English: O wind of poet, how thou art the brother of thought and yoke of kings!

Adapted from Beowulf,

Hirathic (Greek): θη ϝη περθενων ην δαθηδιτε τύθωρεχων νωρεν εχίλευμος δε θη τοι χαφταφωι βελτων μιμων
Hirathic (Latin): thē vē perthenōn ēn dathēdite, tūthōrekhōn nōren ekhíleumos, de thē toi khaphtaphōi beltōn mimōn
English: How we of the spear-danes in yesterdays, of people-kings' glory heard, and how those warlords courage took!