Difference between revisions of "Proto-Rathmosian"

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! style="" |Nasal
 
! style="" |Nasal
 
|style="width: 68px; "|
 
|style="width: 68px; "|
| style="width: 68px; "| m
+
| style="width: 68px; "| '''m''' /m/
 
|style="width: 68px; "|  
 
|style="width: 68px; "|  
| style="width: 68px; "| n
+
| style="width: 68px; "| '''n''' /n/
 
| style="width: 68px; "|
 
| style="width: 68px; "|
 
|style="width: 68px; "|
 
|style="width: 68px; "|
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|-
 
|-
 
! style="" |Plosive
 
! style="" |Plosive
| p
+
| '''p''' /p/
| b
+
| '''b''' /b/
| t  
+
| '''t''' /t/
| d
+
| '''d''' /d/
 
|
 
|
 
|
 
|
| k  
+
| '''k''' /k/
| g
+
| '''g''' /g/
 
|-
 
|-
 
! style="" |Fricative
 
! style="" |Fricative
| ɸ  
+
| '''f''' /ɸ/
 
|
 
|
| s  
+
| '''s''' /s/
 
|
 
|
 
|  
 
|  
 
|
 
|
| x  
+
| '''h''' /x/
 
|
 
|
 
|-
 
|-
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|  
 
|  
 
|
 
|
| ts  
+
| '''ts''' /ts/
 
|
 
|
 
|  
 
|  
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|
 
|
 
|  
 
|  
| r
+
| '''r''' /r/
 
|
 
|
 
|
 
|
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! style="" |Approximant
 
! style="" |Approximant
 
|  
 
|  
| w
+
| '''w''' /w/
 
|
 
|
 
|  
 
|  
 
|
 
|
| j
+
| '''y''' /j/
 
|
 
|
 
|
 
|
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|
 
|
 
|
 
|
| l
+
| '''l''' /l/
 
|
 
|
 
|
 
|
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|
 
|
 
|}
 
|}
 
Consonants are generally single. The only consonant combinations permitted within a morpheme (either a root or an affix) are consonant + liquid (/l/ or /r/) at the start of a syllable and semivowel (/j/ or /w/) + consonant at the end of a syllable. Other combinations and geminate consonants may occur across syllable boundaries as a result of affixation and compounding.
 
 
The following processes of assimilation occur when certain sounds come into contact across syllables:
 
 
* voiced plosives /b, d, g/ are devoiced before voiceless plosives or fricatives /p, t, k, ɸ, s, x/.
 
* voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ are voiced before voiced plosives and nasals /b, d, g, n, m/.
 
* /t/ and /d/ assimilate to any following plosive or /n/
 
* /n/ assimilate to a following liquid /l, r/.
 
  
 
==Vowels==
 
==Vowels==
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|}
 
|}
 
<div style="font-size: smaller; line-height: 1.25em; margin-bottom: 0.33em"></div>
 
<div style="font-size: smaller; line-height: 1.25em; margin-bottom: 0.33em"></div>
 
The primary vowels /a, e, i, u/ may be long or short, but /ə/ is always short. Long vowels within the roots of words are originally the result of derivation from an active to a passive root, e.g. ''ker-'' "rule" > ''keer-'' "(is) ruled", but subsequent development of the derivatives of long and short roots has led to vowel length being phonemicised.
 
 
The semi-vowels /j/ and /w/ may occur after any vowel, effectively creating diphthongs, though for the purposes of syllable structure these are analysed as combinations of vowel + consonant: /aj, ej, uj, ij, əj, aw, ew, uw, iw, əw/. The combinations /ij/ and /uw/ may be analysed as [iː] and [uː]. The primary vowels may still be lengthened in these combinations, e.g. ''aay'' /aːj/, ''eew'' /eːw/. /iːj/ and /uːw/ are therefore equivalent of [iːː], [uːː].
 
  
 
==Orthography==
 
==Orthography==
Line 261: Line 248:
 
* /t/ and /d/ assimilate to any following plosive or /n/
 
* /t/ and /d/ assimilate to any following plosive or /n/
 
* /n/ assimilates to a following liquid /l, r/.
 
* /n/ assimilates to a following liquid /l, r/.
 
==Syllables and Roots==
 
Words are constructed from a root plus various derivational or morphological affixes. Roots are almost always monosyllabic and usually begin and end with a consonant, though some vowel-initial roots do occur. They may take one of the following forms:
 
 
 
Affixes may be V, VC, C, CV, CVC.
 
  
 
=Morphology=
 
=Morphology=
Line 294: Line 275:
 
Nouns are declined according to eight cases:
 
Nouns are declined according to eight cases:
  
* '''Absolutive''' denotes the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb.
+
* '''Absolutive''' denotes the patient of a verb, either the direct object of a transitive verb or the subject of certain intransitive verbs.
* '''Ergative''' denotes the subject of a transitive verb.
+
* '''Ergative''' denotes the agent of the verb, either the subject of a transitive or certain intransitive verbs.
 
* '''Dative''' denotes the indirect object of a verb and describes motion towards.
 
* '''Dative''' denotes the indirect object of a verb and describes motion towards.
 
* '''Genitive''' denotes the possessor of an object.
 
* '''Genitive''' denotes the possessor of an object.
Line 304: Line 285:
  
 
===Number===
 
===Number===
There are three numbers: '''singular''', '''plural''' and '''collective''', the last of which may denote a discrete group of objects or a class as a whole.
+
There are two numbers: '''singular''' and '''plural'''.
  
 
===Inflexion===
 
===Inflexion===
{| class="wikitable" width="80%;" caption-side:
+
{| class="wikitable" width="60%;" caption-side:
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Animate Common (''negu'' "woman")
+
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Animate Common: vocalic stem (''negu'' "woman")
 
|-
 
|-
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural !! colspan="2;" | Collective
+
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
 
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
| width="10%;" | - || ''negu'' || width="10%;" | '''''-ṷa''''' || ''neguṷa''|| width="10%;" | '''''-r''''' || ''negur''
+
| width="10%;" | - || ''nega'' || width="10%;" | '''''-wa''''' || ''negawa''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Ergative  
 
! Ergative  
| '''''-s'''''|| ''negus'' || '''''-ns''''' || ''neguns''|| '''''-ru'''''|| ''neguru''
+
| '''''-s'''''|| ''negas'' || '''''-ns''''' || ''negans''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Dative  
 
! Dative  
| '''''-(i̯)ep''''' || ''negui̯ep'' || '''''-nep'''''|| ''negunep'' || '''''-rep''''' || ''negurep''
+
| '''''-yep''''' || ''negayep'' || '''''-nep'''''|| ''neganep''  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Genitive  
 
! Genitive  
| '''''-i'''''|| ''negui̯'' || '''''-ni''''' || ''neguni'' || '''''-ri''''' || ''neguri''
+
| '''''-y'''''|| ''negay'' || '''''-ni''''' || ''negani''  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Ablative  
 
! Ablative  
| '''''-ta''''' || ''neguta''|| '''''-nta''''' || ''negunta'' || '''''-rta''''' || ''negurta''
+
| '''''-ta''''' || ''negata''|| '''''-nta''''' || ''neganta''  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Instrumental  
 
! Instrumental  
| '''''-ra''''' || ''negura'' || '''''-rra''''' || ''negurra'' || '''''-rra''''' || ''negurra''
+
| '''''-ra''''' || ''negara'' || '''''-rra''''' || ''negarra''  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Locative  
 
! Locative  
| '''''-(i̯)en''''' || ''negui̯en'' || '''''-nen''''' || ''negunen'' || '''''-ren''''' || ''neguren''
+
| '''''-yen''''' || ''negayen'' || '''''-nen''''' || ''neganen''  
 
|-
 
|-
 
! Comitative  
 
! Comitative  
| '''''-kun''''' || ''negukun''|| '''''-nkun''''' || ''negunkun''|| '''''-rkun''''' || ''negurkun''
+
| '''''-kun''''' || ''negakun''|| '''''-nkun''''' || ''negankun''
 
|-
 
|-
 
|}
 
|}
  
==Verbs==
+
{| class="wikitable" width="60%;" caption-side:
Verbal conjugation is agglutinative and verbs may be marked for aspect (imperfective, perfective), valency (transitive, intransitive, antipassive, causative), and argument (absolutive, ergative).
+
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Animate Common: consonantal stem (''ker'' "ruler")
 +
|-
 +
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural
 +
|-
 +
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
 +
| width="10%;" | - || ''ker'' || width="10%;" | '''''-wa''''' || ''kerwa''
 +
|-
 +
! Ergative
 +
| '''''-s'''''|| ''kers'' || '''''-əns''''' || ''kerəns''
 +
|-
 +
! Dative
 +
| '''''-ep''''' || ''kerep'' || '''''-nep'''''|| ''kernep''
 +
|-
 +
! Genitive
 +
| '''''-i'''''|| ''keri'' || '''''-ni''''' || ''kerni''
 +
|-
 +
! Ablative
 +
| '''''-ta''''' || ''kerta''|| '''''-ənta''''' || ''kerənta''
 +
|-
 +
! Instrumental
 +
| '''''-ra''''' || ''kerra'' || '''''-ərra''''' || ''kerərra''
 +
|-
 +
! Locative
 +
| '''''-en''''' || ''keren'' || '''''-nen''''' || ''kernen''
 +
|-
 +
! Comitative
 +
| '''''-kun''''' || ''kerkun''|| '''''-ənkun''''' || ''kerənkun''
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
{| class="wikitable" width="60%;" caption-side:
 +
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Animate Masculine (''keril'' "lord, king")
 +
|-
 +
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural
 +
|-
 +
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
 +
| width="10%;" | - || ''keril'' || width="10%;" | '''''-wa''''' || ''kerilwa''
 +
|-
 +
! Ergative
 +
| '''''-s'''''|| ''kerils'' || '''''-əns''''' || ''keriləns''
 +
|-
 +
! Dative
 +
| '''''-ep''''' || ''kerilep'' || '''''-nep'''''|| ''kerilnep''
 +
|-
 +
! Genitive
 +
| '''''-i'''''|| ''kerili'' || '''''-ni''''' || ''kerilni''
 +
|-
 +
! Ablative
 +
| '''''-ta''''' || ''kerilta''|| '''''-ənta''''' || ''kerilənta''
 +
|-
 +
! Instrumental
 +
| '''''-ra''''' || ''kerilra'' || '''''-ərra''''' || ''kerilərra''
 +
|-
 +
! Locative
 +
| '''''-en''''' || ''kerilen'' || '''''-nen''''' || ''kerilnen''
 +
|-
 +
! Comitative
 +
| '''''-kun''''' || ''kerilkun''|| '''''-ənkun''''' || ''kerilənkun''
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
The primary division in verbal morphology is made between '''dynamic''' ('''Class I''') verbs and '''stative''' ('''Class II''') verbs. Dynamic verbs denote actions and verbs of motion while stative verbs refer to states of being and include the large class of adjectival verbs, such as ''dreh-'' "to be red", ''mlak-'' "to be dead". A verbal stem belongs primarily to one or other class, depending on its semantics but the boundaries are not inflexible.
+
{| class="wikitable" width="60%;" caption-side:
 +
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Inanimate: vocalic stem (''hemaku'' "sky")
 +
|-
 +
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural
 +
|-
 +
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
 +
| width="10%;" | - || ''hemaku'' || width="10%;" | '''''-r''''' || ''hemakur''
 +
|-
 +
! Dative
 +
| '''''-m''''' || ''hemakum'' || '''''-rm'''''|| ''hemakurm''
 +
|-
 +
! Genitive
 +
| '''''-ya'''''|| ''hemakuya'' || '''''-rya''''' || ''hemakurya''
 +
|-
 +
! Ablative
 +
| '''''-ta''''' || ''hemakuta''|| '''''-rta''''' || ''hemakurta''
 +
|-
 +
! Instrumental
 +
| '''''-ra''''' || ''hemakura'' || '''''-rra''''' || ''hemakurra''
 +
|-
 +
! Locative
 +
| '''''-yen''''' || ''hemakuyen'' || '''''-ren''''' || ''hemakuren''  
 +
|-
 +
! Comitative
 +
| '''''-kun''''' || ''hemakukun''|| '''''-rkun''''' || ''hemakurkun''
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
Class I verbs are marked for aspect. The '''imperfective''', denoting incompleted or continuous action and often understood as non-past, is marked with the infix ''-n-''. The '''perfective''', denoting completed action and usually referring to the past, takes ''-t-''. For example ''yur-'' "run" → ''yurn-'' "runs, running", ''yurt-'' "ran". Class II verbs are not marked for tense. As stative verbs they are understood to be imperfective and general in time. Because of the way aspect marking occurs, verbs are able to pass between classes. Class I verbs may be treated as Class II (i.e. unmarked) in order to give a gnomic sense, though this is generally restricted to poetic and proverbial usage ''hedər hedus'' "birds fly". Far more common is the use of Class II roots with Class I aspect markers to give an inchoative sense, e.g. ''mlak-'' "be dead" → ''mlakn-'' "become dead die", ''mlakt-'' "became dead, died".
+
{| class="wikitable" width="60%;" caption-side:
 +
|+ style="caption-side: top;"| Inanimate: consonantal stem (''renadik'' "book")
 +
|-
 +
!  !! colspan="2;" | Singular !! colspan="2;" | Plural
 +
|-
 +
! width="15%;" | Absolutive
 +
| width="10%;" | - || ''renadik'' || width="10%;" | '''''-ər''''' || ''renadikər''
 +
|-
 +
! Dative
 +
| '''''-m''''' || ''renadikəm'' || '''''-ərm'''''|| ''renadikərm''
 +
|-
 +
! Genitive
 +
| '''''-ya'''''|| ''renadikya'' || '''''-ərya''''' || ''renadikərya''
 +
|-
 +
! Ablative
 +
| '''''-ta''''' || ''renadikta''|| '''''-ərta''''' || ''renadikərta''
 +
|-
 +
! Instrumental
 +
| '''''-ra''''' || ''renadikra'' || '''''-ərra''''' || ''renadikərra''  
 +
|-
 +
! Locative
 +
| '''''-en''''' || ''renadiken'' || '''''-ren''''' || ''renadikren''  
 +
|-
 +
! Comitative
 +
| '''''-kun''''' || ''renadikkun''|| '''''-ərkun''''' || ''renadikərkun''
 +
|-
 +
|}
  
The aspect markers, or the root directly in Class II verbs, are followed by valency markers: ''-a-'' for intransitive verbs, ''-i-'' for antipassive verbs and ''-u-'' for transitive verbs. The antipassive promotes the ergative agent of a transitive verb to the absolutive subject with no direct object, e.g. ''reykusem'' "I love him" → ''reykip'' "I love"
+
Note that inanimate nouns do not have ergative forms.
  
Conjugation is agglutinative, formed mostly with suffixes though there are several prefixes and changes to the stem of the verb.  
+
==Verbs==
 +
Verb forms in Rathmosian are largely agglutinative and the verbal system could be described as active-stative, in which verbs are marked differently according to the degree of agency the subject has. Verbal stems are divided into five classes, according to agency, transitivity and activity. Verb roots may change internally to indicate certain aspects, and derivational prefixes and suffixes may be added to the root to alter its basic meaning. However, the conjugation of the verb is largely carried out with suffixes to indicate aspect, voice, subject and object. The order of elements is fixed in the following ways:
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"
 
|+ '''Elements of the Verb'''
 
|+ '''Elements of the Verb'''
 
|-
 
|-
| Prefixes || '''Root''' || Derivation || Aspect Marker || Valency Marker || Absolutive || Ergative  
+
| style="width: 100px;" | Derivational <br /> Prefixes || style="width: 100px;" | '''ROOT''' ||style="width: 100px;" | Derivational <br /> Suffixes ||style="width: 100px;" | Aspect <br /> Marker ||style="width: 100px;" | Voice <br /> Marker ||style="width: 100px;" | Absolutive <br /> Marker ||style="width: 100px;" | Ergative <br /> Marker
 
|}
 
|}
  
The aspect markers are ''-n-'' for the imperfective and ''-k-'' for the perfective in Class I. Class II verbs are not marked for aspect.  
+
===Verbal Classes===
 +
Rathmosian verb roots are divided into five classes (I-V) according to whether they are active or stative, and how much agency the subject has. These classes affect the way in which the aspect and voice markers are used.
 +
 
 +
* '''Class I''' verbs are intransitives in which the subject of the verb is not the agent, and which describe fixed or ongoing states, usually translated into English with 'be' and an adjective, e.g. ''dreh-'' "be red", ''rin-'' "be alive, live".
 +
* '''Class II''' verbs are intransitives in which the subject is not the agent and which describe a change of state, e.g. ''mlak-'' "die", ''tum-'' "fall".
 +
* '''Class III''' verbs are intransitives in which the subject is not the agent, and which describe a temporary state or an uncontrolled action, e.g. ''fal-'' "sleep", ''kled-'' "stand".
 +
* '''Class IV''' verbs are intransitives in which the subject is the active agent of the verb, e.g. ''yur-'' "run", ''met-'' "speak".
 +
* '''Class V''' verbs are transitives.
 +
 
 +
Some roots may belong to more than one class with a change of meaning, e.g. ''yur-'' "run" may be Class IV when the subject is an animate noun and the sense is "propel oneself quickly" but is Class III when the subject is inanimate and the sense is "flow, move quickly".
 +
 
 +
===Aspect===
 +
Verbal aspect is marked by altering the form of the root itself or by adding suffixes to the primary root:
 +
* The primary root is considered to be '''generic''' or gnomic in aspect, describing states or actions without regard to their state of completeness, e.g. ''ker-'' "rule", ''mlak-'' "be dead"
 +
* The lengthened root is '''imperfective''', describing ongoing actions, e.g. ''keer-'' "rules, ruling".
 +
* The reduplicated root is '''perfective''', describing completed actions, e.g. ''keker-'' "ruled"
 +
* The addition of ''-n-'' to the root creates the '''inchoative''' aspect, describing the beginning of actions or 'becoming' a state, e.g. ''kern-'' "begin to rule", ''mlagn-'' "die"
 +
* The addition of ''-tsat-'' to the root creates the '''frequentative''' aspect, describing repetitive events or habitual states, e.g. ''kertsat-'' "rules (often)", ''kuktsat-'' "eats often, grazes", ''plustsat-'' "often be sick".
 +
* The addition of ''-t-'' to the root creates the '''intensitive''' aspect, describing more severe forms of the action or state, the latter equivalent to "very ...", e.g. ''kert-'' "tyrannise, subjugate", ''plust-'' "be very sick".
 +
 
 +
===Voice===
 +
Voice markers function in different ways for different verbs. They are distinguished primarily for the ways in which they focus the subject or object of the verb.
  
The valency markers are ''-a-'' for intransitive verbs, ''-i-'' for antipassive verbs and ''-u-'' for transitive verbs.
+
* '''Patient focus''' is marked with '''''-a-''''' and is mainly used with intransitive verbs in which the subject is the patient of the verb (i.e. Classes I-III), e.g. ''dreha-'' "be red", ''tuma-'' "fall". Used with semantically transitive verbs of Class V, it is effectively a passive marker e.g. ''keyka-'' "is seen". The subject of patient focus verb is in the Abs. case and there can be no direct object.
 +
* '''Dual focus''' is marked with '''''-i-''''' and is used only with Class V (transitive) verbs in which both the subject and direct object are stated, e.g. ''keri-'' "rule". The subject of the verb is in the ergative case and the direct object in the absolutive.
 +
* '''Agent focus''' verbs are marked with '''''-u-''''' and are used with Class IV and V verbs, where the subject is the agent of the verb, but where no direct object is stated e.g. ''kuku-'' "eat", ''yuru-'' "run". The subject is in the ergative case for both transitive and intransitive verbs.
 +
* '''Medial''' verbs are marked with '''''-e-''''' and are used with Class V transitive verbs when the agent and the patient refer to the same entity, creating a reciprocal or reflexive meaning, e.g. ''sape-'' "wash oneself". The subject here is in the ergative case.
 +
* '''Causative''' verbs are marked with '''''-im-''''', which is added to intransitive verbs (Class I-IV) to create a transitive, or to transitive (Class V) verbs to make a ditransitive, e.g. ''mlak-'' "die" > ''mlakim-'' "kill", ''keyk-'' "see" > ''keykim-'' "show, explain". The subject ('causer') of the verb is always in the ergative. The subject of an originally intransitive verb or the direct object of an originally transitive verb remains in the absolutive case. The subject of an originally transitive verb is demoted to the dative.
 +
* '''Patient Causative''' verbs take '''''-am-''''' and are used to describe an action or state which is assumed to be caused, but without reference to the 'causer', creating a passive causative, e.g. ''keyk-'' "see" > ''keykam-'' "is made to see, understands", ''mlak-'' "die" > ''mlakam-'' "is killed"
 +
* '''Autocausative''' verbs take '''''-em''''' and create a causative in which the agent causes the action to itself, e.g. ''mlakem-'' "kill oneself".
  
The absolutive markers agree with the subject of a intransitive verb or the direct object of an transitive verb. The 3rd person may be animate or inanimate. The 1st and 2nd person forms differ depending on whether they are followed by an ergative marker.  
+
===Subject and Object Markers===
 +
The absolutive markers agree with the subject of a intransitive verb or the direct object of an transitive verb. The 3rd person may be animate or inanimate.
  
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"
 
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"
Line 367: Line 488:
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 1
 
! 1
| ''-f-, -p'' || ''-mf-, -mp''
+
| ''-n'' || ''-l''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 2  
 
! 2  
| ''-h-, -k'' || ''-nh-, -nk''
+
| ''-ts'' || ''-h''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 3an
 
! 3an
| ''-s-'' || ''-ns-''
+
| ''-d'' || ''-w''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 3in
 
! 3in
| ''-b-'' || ''-w-''
+
| ''-b'' || ''-r''
 
|}
 
|}
 +
 +
Where the previous element ends in a consonant, the epenthetic vowel ''ə'' may be inserted, e.g. ''mumubnaməd'' "he was saddened", ''
  
 
The ergative markers agree with the subject of a transitive verb. Since inanimate nouns cannot be the agent of a verb, by definintion, there are no inanimate ergative markers.
 
The ergative markers agree with the subject of a transitive verb. Since inanimate nouns cannot be the agent of a verb, by definintion, there are no inanimate ergative markers.
Line 387: Line 510:
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 1
 
! 1
| ''-em'' || ''-ib''
+
| ''-u'' || ''-an''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 2  
 
! 2  
| ''-en'' || ''-ig''
+
| ''-isk'' || ''-enk''
 
|-
 
|-
 
! 3an
 
! 3an
| ''-er'' || ''-id''
+
| ''-et'' || ''-af''
 
|}
 
|}
 +
 +
Examples:
 +
* ''reeykinu'' "I love you"
 +
* ''kekeykiran'' "we saw them"
 +
* ''faalad'' "they are sleeping"
 +
* ''yuyurut'' "he/she ran"
  
 
=Syntax=
 
=Syntax=
 
=Vocabulary=
 
=Vocabulary=

Revision as of 13:52, 17 July 2019

Background

Phonology and Orthography

Consonants

Consonant Inventory
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar
Nasal m /m/ n /n/
Plosive p /p/ b /b/ t /t/ d /d/ k /k/ g /g/
Fricative f /ɸ/ s /s/ h /x/
Affricate ts /ts/
Trill r /r/
Approximant w /w/ y /j/
Lateral app. l /l/

Vowels

  Front Near- front Central Near- back Back
Close
Blank vowel trapezoid.svg
i
u
e
ə
a
  Near-close
Close-mid
Mid
Open-mid
Near-open
Open

Orthography

Proto-Rathmosian is written with the Roman alphabet using the following graphs.

a b d e f g h i k l m n p r s t ts u w y ə

The following table shows the sound to spelling correspondences:

graph a aa b d e ee f g h i ii k l m n p r s t ts u uu w y ə
IPA a b d e ɸ g x i k l m n p r s t ts u w j ə

Phonotactics

The basic building block of most Proto-Rathmosian words is the primary root, a simple morpheme which cannot be broken down further. Most primary roots are verbal stems though some nominal elements such as body parts, landscape and family terms are primary.

Primary roots may be formed into other words by (a) the direct addition of derivational and morphological affixes; (b) internal changes within the root to create a secondary or derived root; (c) a combination of both.

A number of grammatical words or particles are not considered roots and do not follow the rules set out below.

Primary Roots

Primary roots are monosyllabic and must have the minimal form VC, in which V represents a single primary vowel (a, e, i or u) and C any consonant. Most roots will also have an initial consonant (vowel-initial roots are relatively rare and may have developed from the loss of an initial /h/ or glottal stop /ʔ/, e.g. */had, ʔad/ > ad-).

Consonant clusters within roots are limited to CL in onset position, in which L represents a liquid (l or r). The initial consonant in these clusters cannot be l, r, w or y. In coda position the only consonant cluster permitted is GC, in which G represents a glide (w or y).

The vowels of primary roots are always short. Diphthongs are not considered to occur and in the combination of vowel + w or y the second element is analysed as a consonant.

Primary roots may take one of the following forms:

  • CVC, e.g. ret- "go, move", ker- "rule"
  • CLVC, in which L represents a liquid (l or r), e.g. glis- "live, stay", mlak- "be dead"
  • CVGC , in which G represents a glide (w or y), e.g. tiyk- "touch, feel", reyk- "love"
  • CLVGC, e.g. trayh- "strangle, choke", sluyn- "seep, ooze".
  • VC, e.g.
  • VGC, e.g.

Secondary Roots

Secondary roots are derived from primary ones by one of three clearly defined and mostly predictable phonological processes:

  • Vowel Lengthening doubles the vowel of the primary root, e.g. ret- > reet-, tiyk- > tiiyk.
  • Vowel deletion removes the primary vowel enitrely, e.g. ker- > Vkr-, hed- > Vhd-. Where this creates an impossible consonant cluster, the reduced vowel ə /ə/ is inserted (its position depends on the order of the consonants), e.g. mlak- > Vməlk-, dreh- > Vdərh-. Where a glide w or y remains after the deletion of a vowel, it becomes vocalic u or i, e.g. reyk- > Vrik-, trayh- > Vtrih.
  • Reduplication involves the addition of the first consonant plus the reduced vowel ə to the beginning of a word, e.g. ret- > rəret-, sluyn- > səsluyn-.

Affixes

Affixes may take any of the forms: V, VC, C, CV, CVC. They may also be combined into more complex structures. The addition of affixes sometimes requires the insertion of the reduced vowel ə between consonants, or of a linking glide w or y between vowels.

The following processes of assimilation occur when certain sounds come into contact across syllables:

  • voiced plosives /b, d, g/ are devoiced before voiceless plosives or fricatives /p, t, k, ɸ, s, x/.
  • voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ are voiced before voiced plosives and nasals /b, d, g, n, m/.
  • /t/ and /d/ assimilate to any following plosive or /n/
  • /n/ assimilates to a following liquid /l, r/.

Morphology

Nouns

Nouns belong to one of three classes and are declined into eight cases and three numbers.

Noun Classes

Nouns are divided into two main classes: animate and inanimate. The fundamental distinction between these two classes is that animate nouns may be the agent of a verb, i.e. they may actively carry out the action of a verb, whilst inanimate nouns may not. Animate nouns therefore include all humans, deities and spirits, animals and certain celestial bodies such as belan "the sun". Inanimate nouns include all other common objects, plants and abstracts.

The class of animate nouns is further divided into masculine and common nouns. The distinction is based on natural gender, so that all male humans, deities and spirits are masculine, as are male animals where the sex is known. All other animate nouns are common. Masculine nouns are generally marked forms, with a base form usually ending in l or k. Thus, ker means "ruler; queen" and is common, but keril means "lord, king" and is masculine.

Summary of Noun Classes
Animate Common Female humans, deities and spirits; female animals and those with unspecified gender
Masculine Male humans, deities and spirits; specifically male animals
Inanimate All plants and non-living objects; abstracts

Case

Nouns are declined according to eight cases:

  • Absolutive denotes the patient of a verb, either the direct object of a transitive verb or the subject of certain intransitive verbs.
  • Ergative denotes the agent of the verb, either the subject of a transitive or certain intransitive verbs.
  • Dative denotes the indirect object of a verb and describes motion towards.
  • Genitive denotes the possessor of an object.
  • Ablative denotes motion away from.
  • Instrumental denotes use of.
  • Locative denotes location in, at or on.
  • Comitative denotes location with or beside.

Number

There are two numbers: singular and plural.

Inflexion

Animate Common: vocalic stem (negu "woman")
Singular Plural
Absolutive - nega -wa negawa
Ergative -s negas -ns negans
Dative -yep negayep -nep neganep
Genitive -y negay -ni negani
Ablative -ta negata -nta neganta
Instrumental -ra negara -rra negarra
Locative -yen negayen -nen neganen
Comitative -kun negakun -nkun negankun
Animate Common: consonantal stem (ker "ruler")
Singular Plural
Absolutive - ker -wa kerwa
Ergative -s kers -əns kerəns
Dative -ep kerep -nep kernep
Genitive -i keri -ni kerni
Ablative -ta kerta -ənta kerənta
Instrumental -ra kerra -ərra kerərra
Locative -en keren -nen kernen
Comitative -kun kerkun -ənkun kerənkun
Animate Masculine (keril "lord, king")
Singular Plural
Absolutive - keril -wa kerilwa
Ergative -s kerils -əns keriləns
Dative -ep kerilep -nep kerilnep
Genitive -i kerili -ni kerilni
Ablative -ta kerilta -ənta kerilənta
Instrumental -ra kerilra -ərra kerilərra
Locative -en kerilen -nen kerilnen
Comitative -kun kerilkun -ənkun kerilənkun
Inanimate: vocalic stem (hemaku "sky")
Singular Plural
Absolutive - hemaku -r hemakur
Dative -m hemakum -rm hemakurm
Genitive -ya hemakuya -rya hemakurya
Ablative -ta hemakuta -rta hemakurta
Instrumental -ra hemakura -rra hemakurra
Locative -yen hemakuyen -ren hemakuren
Comitative -kun hemakukun -rkun hemakurkun
Inanimate: consonantal stem (renadik "book")
Singular Plural
Absolutive - renadik -ər renadikər
Dative -m renadikəm -ərm renadikərm
Genitive -ya renadikya -ərya renadikərya
Ablative -ta renadikta -ərta renadikərta
Instrumental -ra renadikra -ərra renadikərra
Locative -en renadiken -ren renadikren
Comitative -kun renadikkun -ərkun renadikərkun

Note that inanimate nouns do not have ergative forms.

Verbs

Verb forms in Rathmosian are largely agglutinative and the verbal system could be described as active-stative, in which verbs are marked differently according to the degree of agency the subject has. Verbal stems are divided into five classes, according to agency, transitivity and activity. Verb roots may change internally to indicate certain aspects, and derivational prefixes and suffixes may be added to the root to alter its basic meaning. However, the conjugation of the verb is largely carried out with suffixes to indicate aspect, voice, subject and object. The order of elements is fixed in the following ways:

Elements of the Verb
Derivational
Prefixes
ROOT Derivational
Suffixes
Aspect
Marker
Voice
Marker
Absolutive
Marker
Ergative
Marker

Verbal Classes

Rathmosian verb roots are divided into five classes (I-V) according to whether they are active or stative, and how much agency the subject has. These classes affect the way in which the aspect and voice markers are used.

  • Class I verbs are intransitives in which the subject of the verb is not the agent, and which describe fixed or ongoing states, usually translated into English with 'be' and an adjective, e.g. dreh- "be red", rin- "be alive, live".
  • Class II verbs are intransitives in which the subject is not the agent and which describe a change of state, e.g. mlak- "die", tum- "fall".
  • Class III verbs are intransitives in which the subject is not the agent, and which describe a temporary state or an uncontrolled action, e.g. fal- "sleep", kled- "stand".
  • Class IV verbs are intransitives in which the subject is the active agent of the verb, e.g. yur- "run", met- "speak".
  • Class V verbs are transitives.

Some roots may belong to more than one class with a change of meaning, e.g. yur- "run" may be Class IV when the subject is an animate noun and the sense is "propel oneself quickly" but is Class III when the subject is inanimate and the sense is "flow, move quickly".

Aspect

Verbal aspect is marked by altering the form of the root itself or by adding suffixes to the primary root:

  • The primary root is considered to be generic or gnomic in aspect, describing states or actions without regard to their state of completeness, e.g. ker- "rule", mlak- "be dead"
  • The lengthened root is imperfective, describing ongoing actions, e.g. keer- "rules, ruling".
  • The reduplicated root is perfective, describing completed actions, e.g. keker- "ruled"
  • The addition of -n- to the root creates the inchoative aspect, describing the beginning of actions or 'becoming' a state, e.g. kern- "begin to rule", mlagn- "die"
  • The addition of -tsat- to the root creates the frequentative aspect, describing repetitive events or habitual states, e.g. kertsat- "rules (often)", kuktsat- "eats often, grazes", plustsat- "often be sick".
  • The addition of -t- to the root creates the intensitive aspect, describing more severe forms of the action or state, the latter equivalent to "very ...", e.g. kert- "tyrannise, subjugate", plust- "be very sick".

Voice

Voice markers function in different ways for different verbs. They are distinguished primarily for the ways in which they focus the subject or object of the verb.

  • Patient focus is marked with -a- and is mainly used with intransitive verbs in which the subject is the patient of the verb (i.e. Classes I-III), e.g. dreha- "be red", tuma- "fall". Used with semantically transitive verbs of Class V, it is effectively a passive marker e.g. keyka- "is seen". The subject of patient focus verb is in the Abs. case and there can be no direct object.
  • Dual focus is marked with -i- and is used only with Class V (transitive) verbs in which both the subject and direct object are stated, e.g. keri- "rule". The subject of the verb is in the ergative case and the direct object in the absolutive.
  • Agent focus verbs are marked with -u- and are used with Class IV and V verbs, where the subject is the agent of the verb, but where no direct object is stated e.g. kuku- "eat", yuru- "run". The subject is in the ergative case for both transitive and intransitive verbs.
  • Medial verbs are marked with -e- and are used with Class V transitive verbs when the agent and the patient refer to the same entity, creating a reciprocal or reflexive meaning, e.g. sape- "wash oneself". The subject here is in the ergative case.
  • Causative verbs are marked with -im-, which is added to intransitive verbs (Class I-IV) to create a transitive, or to transitive (Class V) verbs to make a ditransitive, e.g. mlak- "die" > mlakim- "kill", keyk- "see" > keykim- "show, explain". The subject ('causer') of the verb is always in the ergative. The subject of an originally intransitive verb or the direct object of an originally transitive verb remains in the absolutive case. The subject of an originally transitive verb is demoted to the dative.
  • Patient Causative verbs take -am- and are used to describe an action or state which is assumed to be caused, but without reference to the 'causer', creating a passive causative, e.g. keyk- "see" > keykam- "is made to see, understands", mlak- "die" > mlakam- "is killed"
  • Autocausative verbs take -em and create a causative in which the agent causes the action to itself, e.g. mlakem- "kill oneself".

Subject and Object Markers

The absolutive markers agree with the subject of a intransitive verb or the direct object of an transitive verb. The 3rd person may be animate or inanimate.

Absolutive Markers
Singular Plural
1 -n -l
2 -ts -h
3an -d -w
3in -b -r

Where the previous element ends in a consonant, the epenthetic vowel ə may be inserted, e.g. mumubnaməd "he was saddened",

The ergative markers agree with the subject of a transitive verb. Since inanimate nouns cannot be the agent of a verb, by definintion, there are no inanimate ergative markers.

Ergative Markers
Singular Plural
1 -u -an
2 -isk -enk
3an -et -af

Examples:

  • reeykinu "I love you"
  • kekeykiran "we saw them"
  • faalad "they are sleeping"
  • yuyurut "he/she ran"

Syntax

Vocabulary