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// Forked from User:Ceige/Sketch v2

New vocabulary

Oldest stage (~2nd century BCE)

  • womų ‘cow’ < Tengos [ʋomɯn] 'cattle', transparently formed on **vom + plural suffix -Un, from unknown IE source, ultimately loaned from a form deriving from PIE *gʷṓm presumably


Internal developments in Eastern? Wemenį before split

  1. *ę → *jə
    Breaking of ę the resulting diphthong had an unclear vowel quality , probably somewhere between *e and *ä.
  2. tense → +voice
    p' t' tl' tʃ' k' ʔ: → b d d͡l dʒ g ɦ — the “tense” glottalic series is reinterpreted as having +voice. The system now contrasts: +aspiration vs. -aspiration, and +voice.
  3. The -idä affix becomes used more and more in a purely affective sense rather than diminutive.
    E.g. *ïňïdä for ‘private family name’

Archaic Stage (~400 BCE)

  1. *ą → *ɔː / _#
    E.g. *närhą → närhɔː. This split creates a compl. distribution of *ɔː and *ą (final vs. non-final).





The places of articulation are defined as follows:

  • labial: using the lips
  • dental: near the teeth or alveolar ridge
  • lateralised dental laterals and lateralised dental affricates
  • post-alveolar: either palatal or retroflex
  • dorsal: allophonically palatal, velar and uvular, probably
  • and finally, glottal: provided for a symmetry's sake, see phonemic brackets

Plosives are distinguished by place of articulation and phonation. The three phonations are fortis (with a positive VOT and/or preaspiration, i.e. voiceless), tense (not well defined, but perhaps having a neutral VOT, glottalisation, or some other feature), and lenis (with a neutral to negative VOT, i.e. voiced).

Nasals (and other normally voiced continuants) are described as being distinguished based on voicing, but this is a simplified approach. In actuality, voiceless nasals can be pre-stopped, may have a negative VOT, or be glottalised. Post-stopped nasals (e.g., mp) are accounted for by vowel nasalisation (see the relevant section)

Note that tl and tš can be substituted with ƛ and č respectively.

🦌 Labial Dental Lateralised Post-Alveolar Dorsal Glottal
Plosives Fortis pʰ ⟨pʰ⟩ tʰ ⟨tʰ⟩ tłʰ ⟨tlʰ⟩ čʰ ⟨tšʰ⟩ kʰ ⟨kʰ⟩ ʔʰ /h/ ⟨h⟩
Tense p' ⟨p'⟩ t' ⟨t'⟩ tł' ⟨tl'⟩ č' ⟨tš'⟩ k' ⟨k'⟩ ʔ' /ʔ/ ⟨', ʔ⟩
Lenis b~p ⟨p⟩ d~t ⟨t⟩ dl~tł ⟨tl⟩ ž~č ⟨tš⟩ g~k ⟨k⟩ ʔ /∅/
Sonorants #1 Voiceless m̊ ⟨hm⟩ n̊ ⟨hn⟩ l̥ ⟨lt⟩ ɲ̊ ⟨hň⟩ ŋ̊ ⟨hŋ⟩
Voiced m ⟨m⟩ n ⟨n⟩ l ⟨l⟩ ɲ ⟨ň⟩ ŋ ⟨ŋ⟩
Fricatives s ⟨s⟩ ł ⟨ł⟩ š ⟨š⟩ x ⟨x⟩
Sonorants #2 w ⟨w⟩ r ⟨r⟩ j ⟨j⟩

Some additional notes:

  • Fortis and tense plosives, voiceless sonorants, nasals and /r/ can only occur at the start of a syllable. If one occurs at the end of a syllable, it implies that there is a new syllable with a null-nucleus, and as such the consonant is still often released, and a dummy vowel may be inserted.
N.B.: This is an area people creating daughter languages can explore.


Vowels are distinguished horizontally (frontness) and vertically (openness), and by roundedness or nasality.

N.B.: This vowel system was chosen as it has a few areas which could lead to a breakdown in symmetry and thus an entire rearrangement of the vowel system. In addition, as rounding is not distinguished in nasal vowels, there is an opportunity for vowel shifts to occur there too in order to bring in extra symmetry. Nasal vowels are also often quite unstable, at least going by French and the Slavic language family, and can also have weird effects on following consonants too. Lastly, vowel harmony can be tweaked given the number of dimensions vowels are distinguished by here. So people making daughter languages should have plenty of options available to them.

Roundedness as a feature can be achieved by lip rounding, cheek rounding and lip compression together in various degrees.

Oral Vowels
🦌 Front Back
Unrounded Rounded Nasal 🐘 Unrounded Rounded Nasal 🐘
Closed i ⟨i⟩ y ⟨ü⟩ ĩ ⟨į⟩ ɯ ⟨ï⟩ u ⟨u⟩ ũ ⟨ų⟩
Mid e ⟨e⟩ ø ⟨ö⟩ ẽ ⟨ę⟩ ɤ ⟨ë⟩ o ⟨o⟩ õ ⟨ǫ⟩
Open a ⟨ä⟩ ã ⟨ą̈⟩ ɑ ⟨a⟩ ɑ̃ ⟨ą⟩

In addition, an epenthetic schwa /ə/ can be used.

Vowel Harmony

Vowel harmony is in effect for rounding (with an exception for nasal vowels) and dialectally for frontness and backness. In describing the #Grammar, vowels are written in upper-case (e.g. I, A, E) to signify that they change according to vowel harmony.

N.B.: Vowel harmony is not set in stone and can be tweaked a lot in daughter languages. Like with every description of the language on this page, don't feel too bad if you decide to get rid of vowel harmony or decide to go nuts with it and expand it. That's why I've added vowels out the wazoo!

For example

  • I: i, ü (for frontness harmony: i, ü, ï, u)
  • E: e, ö (for frontness harmony: e, ö, ë, o)
  • A (can only do frontness harmony): a, ä
  • O: ë, o
  • U: ï, u

(Naturally, Į, Ę, Ą, Ǫ, Ų signify the relevant nasal vowels)


There are two marked accents: high-pitch and low-pitch. High pitch uses an acute accent (á) and low pitch uses a grave accent (à). Words could have one accent, both accents, or perhaps even no accents. Different dialects had different accent systems which makes them difficult to reconstruct.

N.B.: If you see a word has no accent marked, that's probably because I forgot to actually assign accents to words when making the lexicon. So, uh... whoops? Just assign whatever accents you want, I guess.



Word Order

Word order is generally SOV and left branching, with words following their modifiers. However, within that framework, it is possible for VSO and SVO sentences to emerge as long branching is respected on a phrasal level. Note, however, that S and O are not strictly speaking the actor and patient in a sentence; see #Morphosyntactic alignment for more information.



Nouns can optionally be distinguished by number. The three numbers are singular, plural, and collective. Plural markers can come before or after case markers.

Noun Number Suffixes
Number Suffix Example
Singular Ø k'ut = a house
Plural -mE k'utmö = the houses
Collective -kI k'utkü = the 'hood

Verbs agree with nouns in number depending on what noun phrase is being focused (see #Verbs).


Nouns use case markers which agree with them in vowel harmony. These markers or particles are actually analysable as nouns in their own right, and thus in certain styles of speech can go before or after the noun they modify. But traditionally, they are marked after the noun.

Using <code /> tags on case forms for orthographic clarity:

Noun Cases
Name Case Form Semantic role Examples
Actor -nO See #Morphosyntactic alignment murno = the river (does something)
Patient -mU See #Morphosyntactic alignment murmu = the river (has something done to it)
Direct -(ʔ)Ap or -Ø See #Morphosyntactic alignment murap, mur = the river
Oblique -(I)s Can stand in for any of the following cases murüs = (of/by/with/to/along) the river
Genitive #1 -nĮ < Earlier -nIŋ "of X", "belonging to X", "to do with X" murnį = of the river
Genitive #2 -kA, -ŋA "of X", "belonging to X", "to do with X" (Inalienable) murka mitšəmitš = along the path of the river
Lative -kE, -ŋE Lative ("to X"), Dative ("to X, for X") murkö
Instrumental -ŋI Instrumental ("by means of"), Comitative ("with") murŋü = by use of the river
Locative -p'E Locative ("at X"), Proximative ("near X"), Comitative ("with X") murp'ö = by the river
Ablative -xU Ablative ("from"), Abessive ("without") murxu
Equative -sĄ "Like a X", "as X as a"; a late innovation mursą = like a river
Prolative -mItš "Via X", "by way of X"; a late innovation murmütš = via the river
Reportative -jO "Apparently like a X" murjo = like a river, they say...

Genitive #2 is used for inalienable possession - for example, family relationships, body parts, creations, actions, essential qualities and the like. The normal genitive (Genitive #1) can also be used in the same place, but does not carry the special meaning. Genitive #1 is simply the default genitive.

The reportative is actually an evidentiality marker that can be affixed to any unit of speech, including verbs or even entire phrases and sentences.


There are a variety of suffixes that can be used for nominalisation. These include:

  • -mA, often used for nominalising verbs, adjectives and phrases,
  • -wE, used for nouns about people, and sometimes actor nouns
  • -mǫ, used for things, phenomena (which -mA is often used for too)
  • -mIx, used for certain tools and helpful objects
  • -ti, a fossilised nominaliser of unknown meaning

In addition, the masculine, feminine and inanimate suffixes might also be of use (see #Verbs).

In theory, any noun can be used to nominalise another phrase.



Verbs can mark for a range of categories, and are also pro-drop as far as some of these categories are concerned too. The categories are:

  • Gender: male, female, inanimate and honorific (note that verbs tend to only mark for a gender or honorific, thus its inclusion in this category)
  • Number: singular, plural, collective
  • Person: 1st (I, we), 2nd (you), 3rd (he, she, it) and 4th (one)
N.B.: since the language is pro-drop, 4th person can also be done by not marking at all in certain contexts

Personal affixes are generally prefixed to the start of the verb. The honorific often overrides person affixes, resulting in listeners needing to use context to understand who the actor and patients are. Personal affixes can also be detached from the verb and treated as pronouns. In doing so, they may be suffixed.

Person Affixes for Verbs
🦌 First Second Third Fourth
Direct affix mI- nI- mA- A-

The collective is interchangeable with both the plural and singular when appropriate.

Number Affixes for Verbs
🦌 Affix Example Use Cases
Singular I, you, a bird
Plural -mE we, you all, the birds
Collective -kI we together, the flock of birds

Note that the honorific marker is a verbal prefix, and when not o- may be preceded by w- (e.g. wë-).

Gender Affixes for Verbs
🦌 Affix Example Use Cases
Male -nA Father, son, boy, buck
Female -mI Mother, daughter, girl, doe
Inanimate -lų Rocks, grass, hydrodynamics
Honorific (w)O- (prefix) Anything including the above

Auxiliary Verbs

Verbs mark for tense, aspect and mood and other senses using auxiliary verbs.

Either the main verb or the auxiliary verb can be marked for gender, number and person.

Auxiliary Verbs
🦌 Verb form Other uses
Copula n(e)- Stative, Continuative
to work sąk- Frequentative, Intensive
to drive tšʰäy- Causative
to find lu- Perfect, Past tense
to hold tʰas- Historic past tense
to rest imï- Imperfect, Past tense
to want k'aw- Optative
to go sąp- Future tense
to need höt'- Necessitative
to be blessed są̈tʰi- Benedictive
to exhort jëha- Imperative, Jussive

Note that the copula sometimes had different vowels. The semantic effects of this are unknown.


Standard verbal nouns, gerunds or participles end with -mA.


Negatives either use anna or ąna (orthographical variants of the same word) before the verb or any given word being negated, or they inflect ąna as though it were an auxiliary verb.

There is also a prohibitive, which is ją̈, which works similarly to ąna.

Morphosyntactic alignment

The language has something close to Austronesian type "direct" alignment. This means that either the actor or patient is marked with the actor or patient marker, and the one that isn't marked as such is marked with a generic direct case marker (#Case).

For example, given "the bird helps the warrior eat the leaves", there are several ways for this to be phrased.

N.B.: For the sake of brevity I am truncating the direct to -p here.
  • the bird being marked with the actor case and the warrior with the direct case
kïłnë k'osöp tésikimï kʰąplųkümas matul
kïł-nO k'os-wE-Ap tési-kI-mU kʰąp-lŲ-kI-mA-s mA-tul-
bird-ACT fight-guy-DIR leaf-COLL-PAT eat-INAM-COLL-NMZ-OBL 3-eat
The bird helps the warrior eat the leaves
  • the warrior being marked with the patient case and the bird with the direct case
k'osömu kïłap tésikimï kʰąplųkümas matul
k'os-wE-mU kïł-Ap tési-kI-mU kʰąp-lŲ-kI-mA-s mA-tul-
fight-guy-PAT bird-DIR leaf-COLL-PAT eat-INAM-COLL-NMZ-OBL 3-eat
The warrior is helped by the bird to eat the leaves
  • both being marked with their appropriate actor and patient cases, and the direct being used for something else.
kïłnë k'osömu tésikimï kʰąplųkümap matul
kïł-nO k'os-wE-mU tési-kI-mU kʰąp-lŲ-kI-mA-Ap mA-tul-
bird-ACT fight-guy-DIR leaf-COLL-PAT eat-INAM-COLL-NMZ-DIR 3-eat
The bird helps the warrior eat the leaves
  • And then there's other crazy arrangements like:
kïłnë (o)k'osöp tésiki okʰąpma tul
kïł-nO (o)k'os-wE-Ap tési-kI- kʰąp-na-mA- mA-tul-
bird-ACT (HON)-fight-guy-DIR leaf-COLL-(DIR) HON-eat-NMZ-(DIR) 3-eat
The bird helps the honourable warrior eat the leaves (honourably)

An example using only person affixes, "We will fight you for it":

  • Nimemï map mük'os sąp – You will be fought by us for it
  • Mimenë map nük'os sąp – We will fight you for it
  • Mas münük'os sąpme – We(.INCL) will fight you for it
  • Mas nük'os müsąpme - For it, we will bring the fight to you
  • Minë nimï maŋe k'osme sąp – We(.FOC) will fight you(.FOC) for it(.FOC)


## TODO?


Adjectives are generally morphologically indistinguishable from verbs or from nouns followed by verbs.

To form an adjective from a noun, simply place the copula n- or any other suitable auxiliary verb between it and the noun being modified.

To form an adjective from a verb, simply place the verb before the noun it is modifying, or turn the verb into a participle and follow the above advice for a noun.


Adverbs are formed using various case markers.


Not-Quite Schleicher's Fable


  1. Hnuskap'ö, tšʰełaxï hŋeminë pulmöp sar ŋemi-tʰas:
  2. omüsno kʰąta tl'arka orunamas, omüsno doł t'uxmǫ otuxmas,
  3. omüsno saywe käysäs otʰǫsamas wa neme-tʰas.
  4. Hŋeminë susąmǫ pulmöp pëš-tʰas: "Saywenë otʰošmö tšʰäyma ŋemimas, minį tšo tʰär".
  5. Pulmöp šątis apëš-tʰas:"K'ötšəjoha, hŋemi: –"
  6. "Osaywenë, otʰǫsano, hŋeminį tšʰełap topxa kʰarxįs mas oyar."
  7. "Mamitšwa, hŋeminë tšʰełaŋi ąna-ne. Manë minį tšome ų̈mü tʰärme"
  8. Įma k'ötǫtəp'e, hŋemi wëtškïsŋe tełkäyur-tʰas.


  1. On a hill, a sheep without wool saw three dogs:
  2. one of them pulling a heavy sled, one of them carrying a big load,
  3. and one of them leading a man quickly.
  4. The sheep said the following: "My heart hurts, seeing a man driving such noble wolves".
  5. The dogs said this in return: "Listen, sheep: –"
  6. "The man, the honourable master, makes the sheep's wool into a warm garment for himself."
  7. "And because of that, the sheep has no wool. That certainly hurts our hearts."
  8. Upon hearing this, the sheep fled into the plain.


[On a hill,] a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.


Word List

Google Sheets Wordlist