From Linguifex
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Location & Origin

Br'ga is spoken on an island about midway between Sri Lanka and Madagascar. The language has phonetic and grammatical features found in both African and Indic languages, though it appears to be an isolate. There are, however, very many loan words from various trade languages — some estimates place the portion of borrowed lexicon at between ⅓ and ½ of the attested roots. However, in everyday speech, this group of roots makes up well over ¾ of the common lexicon. Borrowings come from English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Sanskrit, Hindi, Pali, Arabic, and Swahili at the very least, with many "second generation" loans of words that were loaned into those languages from around the world.


The phonology is shown below using the Latin mode. There are a Devanagari-derived mode, and an Arabic mode, and an attempt is being made to create a featural alphabet that draws graphically from all of them.


Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Voiced Stops b d j g
Voiceless Stops p t c k
Aspirated Stops ph th ṭh ch kh
Implosive Stops bh dh ḍh jh gh qh
Nasals m n ñ
Plain Affricates ts ṭṣ kx
Plain Fricatives s ç x h
Voiced Fricative
Lateral Affricate tlh
Lateral Fricative lh
Trills br dr gr
Plain Click q
Nasalized Click nq
Lateralized Click lq
Rhotic Approximants r
Liquids w y ħ
Lateral l

Note: The implosive stops are voiced glottalic implosives, except qh, which is voiceless.

Note: Affricates and fricatives are unmarked for voicing (except h / ), but the "target" pronunciation is voiceless.


Written IPA
a ɑ
e e
ê ɛ
i ɪ
u ʊ
ü ʏ
' ə


Syllable sequence in root words is strictly CV. Word structure is (V)?(CV)+(C)? Single-phoneme particles / glue-word proclitics may be any non-obstuent, or any click. For instance, the noun class for languages is q-, thus q-Br'ga or q-Iṅ'laṃ (vs al-Br'ga and al-Iṅ'laṃ for Br'ga Island and England respectively). The full set of adpositional and noun class proclitics will be covered below.

Final Nasalization

In words ending with a vowel, that vowel may be nasalized by placing the letter after it, and this nasalization (and its mark) persist in compound words.

The most common place that this marking is found is in heṃ and naheṃ the positive and negavite copulas.



There are in fact many prefixed versions of heṃ with many different desiderative, optative, dubitative, meanings.

Form General meaning
heṃ Yes / is
naheṃ No / isn't
jiheṃ Doubt
küheṃ Want
ḥeheṃ "Yesno?"


Noun Prefixes

Prefix Meaning
ç danger
lu aquatic life
q language
al country
biṃ female