Ancient Lathian

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Ancient Lathian
Λάθικαα Láthikā
Pronunciation [ˈlatʰikaː]
Created by
Setting
Region Lathia, Thamilia
Era Mid to Late 1st Millennium BCE
Language family
Indo-European
  • Nesic
    • Eastern Nesic
      • Ancient Lathian
Early forms:
Archaic Lathian
  • Ancient Lathian
Writing system Greek (Lathian Alphabet)
ISO 639-3 ltk

Ancient Lathian is the form of Lathian used during the period of time spanning from about the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE in ancient Lathia and other parts of the ancient world. It was predated in the late 2nd millennium and early 1st millennium BCE by Archaic Lathian. It would be later replaced by Gergalic Lathian in the late 1st millennium BCE.


Background

External history

After several attempts, and later deletions, I managed to create my first a posteriori conlang based on Proto-Indo-European. Originally, Lathian was meant to be a substrate language for a Romance conlang I was also working on, but in the end I decided to go ahead only with Lathian, and creating a modern Lathian conlang at some point in the future.

Internal history

Ancient Lathian was the language of the ancient Lathians, an Indo-European people that settled on the island of Lathia in the Mediterranean Sea, between modern day Libya and Greece. It is set in the distant past, beginning in the mid 1st millennium BCE. Before then, an earlier form called Archaic Lathian had been spoken not only in Lathia but also in other parts of the Mediterranean, such as Malta, Sicily, and northern Africa, as part of the Lathian Empire.

After losing a number of its colonies to Greece and Carthage, Lathia and its remaining colonies fell into a period of cultural and economic deterioration, also known as the Lathian Dark Ages, in which the once united kingdom had become a collection of warring city-states. During this time, Greek colonies were also established on the eastern coast of Lathia. After a number of years, however, Lathia managed to regain economic stability, unite its city-states, and take over the Greek colonies on its coasts. Shortly after, a new period of prosperity began in the mid 1st millennium BCE, known as Classical Lathia. During this time, trade with other Mediterranean civilizations, especially Greece, increased.

One of the most important innovations in the development of the Lathian language came from the Greeks: the Lathian Alphabet. Lathians borrowed the Greek alphabet and modified it to suit their language. Before this, Lathian had been written with a system called the Lathic Syllabary. During the dark ages, Archaic Lathian underwent numerous changes, and by the 6th century BCE a new form of Lathian, written with a new alphabet, had emerged.

Phonology

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ̩
Plosive Voiceless p t k
Voiced b d g
Aspirated
Fricative Voiceless s ʃ h
Voiced z ʒ
Trill or Tap r
Approximant Central j w
Lateral l ʎ

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː
Open ä äː

Phonetic Notes

  • /t/, /d/, and /tʰ/ are denti-alveolar.
  • /l/ and /n/ become homorganic to following obstruents.
  • /r/ is prototypically an alveolar tap /ɾ/. It becomes an alveolar trill /r/ word-initially. In the syllable-final position, either a trill or tap could occur with no semantic difference.
  • /s/ and /ʃ/ become voiced before voiced consonants.

Phonotactics

  • Any vowel may end a word, as well as any nasal, liquid, or fricative. If a stop ended a word in PIE, it was dropped in Ancient Lathian (or maybe as far back as Proto-Nesic).
  • /h/ may not be in the coda position. Syllable-final /h/ was dropped off in Ancient Lathian and the previous vowel was subsequently lengthened.

Orthography

Alphabet

Ancient Lathian was written with an adapted version of the Greek Alphabet, which began to appear around the 7th century BCE.

Letter Name IPA
Αα Άλφα /ä/
Ββ Βεέτα /b/
Γγ Γάμμα /g/
Δδ Δέλτα /d/
Εε Έφσιλυν /e/
Ζζ Ζεέτα /z/
Ηη Ηεέτα /h/
Θθ Θεέτα /tʰ/
Ιι Ιυύτα /i/
Κκ Κάππα /k/
Λλ Λάμβδα /l/
Μμ Μυυ /m/
Νν Νυυ /n/
Ππ Πιι /p/
Ρρ Ρυυ /r/
Σσς Σίγμα /s/
Ττ Ταυ /t/
Υυ Ύφσιλυν /u/
Φφ Φιι /pʰ/
Χχ Χιι /kʰ/

Diagraphs

There following diagraphs are used in Ancient Lathian:

Diagraph IPA
αα /äː/
εε /eː/
ιι /iː/
υυ /uː/
ζζ /ʒ/
λλ /ʎ/
νν /ɲ/
σσ /ʃ/

Any other doubled consonant indicates germination.

Diacritics

The only diacritic used in Ancient Lathian is the acute accent (′), which is used to indicate stress. In a diphthong, the accent in placed on the first vowel (ex. άυμερυ; σμεέικρυ). In a long vowel diagraph, the accent is placed on the second vowel (ex. αρθαά).

Grammar

Ancient Lathian grammar, similar to that of other Indo-European languages, is highly inflective, with complex declension and conjugation systems.

Nouns

Lathian nouns have three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter); two numbers (singular & plural); and five cases (nominative, vocative, accusative, dative, genitive). There are three declensions for Lathian nouns:

First Declension

The first declension (called the a-stem or alpha declension) comprises the largest class of nouns. It is derived from both PIE athematic a(eh₂)-stems and o-stems. The first part of this declension is comprised mainly of feminine nouns with a long alpha (-αα) at the end of the stem. It also includes a small group of masculine nouns.

The second part of the first declension is comprised mainly of masculine & neuter nouns with a short alpha (-α) at the end of the stem. It also includes a small number of feminine nouns.

Second Declension

The second declension consists of masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns with and (called the upsilun-iuta declension) at the end of the stem. It is derived from PIE u-stems and i-stems.

Third Declension

The third declension consists of nouns of all three genders ending in either a consonant or in the nominative singular. A number of nouns from the third declension have irregular oblique stems.

Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are highly irregular. The dual number inherited from PIE and lost in nouns and adjectives has been preserved in pronouns.

The genitive pronouns marked with an asterisk (*) are declined in the 1st and 2nd declensions to agree in number and case with the thing possessed.

Syntax