Adwan

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Adwan, which shares the same name with its older predecessor, is the revival and renewal of a rediscovered conlang project that began somewhere around 2011.

Adwan has a highly inflectional morphology, falling somewhere between synthetic and agglutinative. Moreover, Adwan is particularly motivated by algebra and further intersections of linguistics and other formalized studies of structure. Adwan's syntax and morphology is motivated by categorial grammar theory and the theory of freely generated modules. One goal in Adwan is to develope a system for linguistic representation structurally similar to that of many natural languages, but with fundamentally different expressions.

Adwan exhibits large amounts of symmetry in seemingly unrelated aspects. Key features of Adwan include morphism-generated synthetic fusional inflection, the impersonal 4th person, satellite markers, a wide inventory of fricatives, and the complete lack of some verbs such as "to be", "to have", "to want/to want to", and "to go", instead expressed using compound forms and morphims on endings to express equivalent meanings. The existence of special morphisms aid in the formalisms behind the grammar, and are theoretically what students would be taught in schools when learning grammar.


Phonology

Adwan has 27 consonants and 7 base vowels, along with 5 diphthongs that function as realizations of vowel nasalization in the form of concatenating a vowel with /ɰ̃/.

Orthography

Clearly there are more consonants than graphemes available from the alphabet, and so therefore the Adwan alphabet is defined as the set of graphemes from which any other sound can be written. As such, the alphabet is essentially the basis for the graphemes used to describe phonemes, and therefore shorter than the actual sound inventory of the language.

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Yy


Consonants

The consonants 'g', 'h', and 'm' are used with other a finite amount of other consonants to form further graphemes that represent distinct sounds. Moreover, consonant sound realizations change based on position in the syllable. Therefore, a consonant typically varies depending on whether it lies in the onset of a syllable or the coda. Moreover, for the semivowel consonants representing the sounds /j/ and /w/ are represented by their vowel forms 'i' and 'w' when preceding a vowel and after a consonant, and by 'gh' and 'mh' otherwise, respectively. Consonants in the onset of a syllable are also denoted by the term 'initial' state, while those in the coda are said to be in the 'final' state.

grapheme b bh c ch d dg dh f g gh h hg l lh m mh n p ph r rg s sg t tg th v
initial b β k x d ð f g j h ç l ɬ m w n p φ ɾ ʐ s ʃ t θ v
final -- β k x ð f γ j -- ç l ɬ m w n p φ ɾ ʐ s ʃ θ v

Notice that 'd', 'g', and 't' are the only consonants for which the pronunciation varies.

Vowels

There are a number of 7 non-nasal, non-diphthong vowels in Adwan.

Vowel a e i o u w y
IPA a e i o ø u ɪ

Furthermore, the following vowels can be "nasalized", in which a diphothong involving a nasal consonant is introduced. On introducing the nasal consonant, notice that the vowel pronunciation is also slightly changed.

Vowel amg emg omg umg wmg ymg
IPA ɐɰ̃ ɛɰ̃ oɰ̃ œɰ̃ uɰ̃ ɨɰ̃

Morphophonology

Phonomorphisms

Morphisms on objects perform the same function as adding an affix with variable parts. In particular, this is easily seen in conjugations, where there exists a set of endings marking person and number, of the form -VC, where V is a vowel and C is a consonant. The aspect morphism is a set of rules describing just which affixes to be added for which aspect depending on the person and number, and vice versa. For example, the (present) first person imperfective ending is '-um', while in the perfective it is '-em'. So the 'u' becomes an 'e', and the 'm' stays the same. This is the case for morphing between verb aspects -- i.e., conjugating a verb in dichotomous aspects. In particular, we have the rules listed below for the verb aspect morphism:

  • 'u' becomes 'e'
  • 'e' becomes 'y'
  • 'y' becomes 'u'
  • consonants stay the same

Therefore, one may distinguish between aspects of a given verb based on the vowel paradigm involved. For example, the verb for 'to eat' is morgan, and so to say "I eat", one would either say morgum or morgem, where morgum translates closer to "I am eating", or refers to the ongoing action of eating, while morgem would refer to the complete action of eating, a distinction further covered in detail below, but which can be seen as the difference between talking about eating at a restaurant, and one's entire experience of eating at a restaurant.

Such a morphism is a constant factor behind the subtle permutations of a single lexeme.

Morphology

Lexemes are given types, and are further distinguished amongst other lexeme types via different inflection paradigms. A lexeme typically consists of a root and an ending. A great deal of Adwan grammar may effectively be described using the correct operations of concatenation of strings (i.e., adding strings of letters to words) and vowel and consonant morphisms, in which parts of current endings are changed rather than having any new endings appended). Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and determiners are declined according to four morphological cases and two numbers, while verbs are conjugated for person, number, tense, mood, aspect, and follow a pattern of conjugating pronouns in compound constructions. Nouns follow a relatively simple declension paradigm, while verb conjugations follow a more complex pattern of use. Adjectives have two separate declension paradigms and the distinction between the two paradigms plays a large role in further compound verb constructions. Furthermore, determiners share the same declension paradigm as verb participles used in certain constructions.


Nouns

While many roots themselves may seemingly describe nouns alone, there is no empty nominative case in Adwan, and therefore all dictionary form nouns end in 'a'. In particular, all nouns adhere to the same following paradigm. This paradigm declines nouns for number, and for four grammatical cases:

  1. Nominative case, marks subjects of verbal constructions, topics of sentences, and is also used in a vocative manner
  2. Accusative case, marks the direct objects of a verb and the arguments of lexical morphisms
    1. An example is the instrumental morphism, which transforms a lexeme (or potentially a string of lexemes) into a verb phrase, and marks the instrument with the accusative case. In a sense, similar to expressing "I write with a pencil" by "I use a pencil to write".
      1. Ceviuthemgdus caghyvw, 'one plays a musical instrument.' Note that 'instrument' is 'caghyvw', which is in the accusative. In a more literal translation, can be described as saying 'one uses an instrument to operate sound'.
      2. Corphuvyghem sonw, 'I went to work by car.' Note that the word for car, 'sonw', is in the accusative. Closer in translation to 'I used a car to get to work'.
  3. Dative case, marks indirect objects which are the directions of actions, also merged with lative use, i.e., direction toward, motion (in)to, etc.
  4. Genitive case, marks indirect objects which are the sources of actions, also marks possessive nouns and merged with ablative use, i.e., direction away from, motion from, etc.

Below is a table of the endings used to mark noun cases.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative -a -amg
Accusative -w -y
Dative -u -omh
Genitive -yn -ynna

Verbs

Verbs are perhaps the most heavily used part of speech in the Adwan language as a whole, and aside from a few crucial inflections, follow a relatively simple agglutivative structure. Verbs all end in the same infinitive ending of -an. In finite forms, verbs are inflected according to person and number (these inflections are simultaneously structurally distinct but not phonemically separable), tense (where the present tense indicative, the marker is null), mood (indicative vs conditional vs subjunctive), and aspect (perfective vs imperfective). Verbs have a large inventory of constructions, and are thus divided into simple constructions, consisting of verb conjugations acting on the same stem as the verb, and into compound constructions, which are the verbal forms associated with certain morphisms. Verb endings are given in pairs of the form a/b, where a = imperfective aspect, b = perfective aspect.

The vowel morphisms on verbs determines which combinations of vowels determine which grammatical meaning. In our case, we can view vowel morphisms as permutations of vowel phonemes, denoted by an asterisk. So if 'u' were to get mapped to the vowel 'e', then we would write u* = e. Below is a table of the vowel morphism used.

vowel (U) new vowel (U*) identity
a o a* = o
e y e* = y
i i i* = i
o w o* = w
u e u* = e
w a w* = a
y u y * = u

Realis

There is only really one realis mood, and that's the indicative mood.

Present
Person Singular Plural
1 -um/em -amg/omg
2 -et/yt -utg/etg
3 -yr/ur -erg/yrg
4 -ys/us -eth/yth
Past

Notice that the past tense is formed by inserting a variable infix after the root of the verb but before the personal endings.

Person Singular Plural
1 -eghum/yghem -ocamg/wcomg
2 -yghet/ughyt -ecutg/ycetg
3 -ughyr/eghur -ycerg/ucyrg
4 -ughys/eghus -yceth/ucyth

Example texts

Other resources

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