Celabrian

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Celabrian (Celabrian: gərṭeʒ [ˈɡəɾtʼed͡z]) is an Indo-European language.

Introduction

Etymology

The name Celabrian comes from the tribal name Celabri (Greek: Κελαβροί) < Proto-Celabrian *kelabʰras "warrior" (compare Modern Celabrian č̣łavr [t͡ʃʼɫavɾ]) < *kelas "spear" (< PIE *gʷelH- "to throw, pierce"; compare Modern Celabrian č̣ał [t͡ʃʼaɫ] "weapon") + *-bʰēr ~ -bʰras "bearer" (< PIE *bʰer- "to bear, carry").

The endonym gərṭeʒ comes from gər "Celabrian" (< PC *wīras "man" < PIE *wiHrós "man, warrior") + ṭeʒ "language" (< PC *tancūs "tongue" < PIE *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s). The formal language is known as bonṭeʒ [ˈbontʼed͡z], from bon "clear, eloquent" (< PC *bʰānas < PIE *bʰeh₂- "to shine; to speak"). The classical language is known as akrəṭeʒ [ˈakʰɾəˌtʼed͡z] (Classical Celabrian: akʰra tanci [ˈakʰɾa ˈtant͡si]), from akr "precise, sharp" (< PC *akʰras "sharp" < PIE *h₂ḱrós). The colloquial language is known as łøðṭeʒ [ˈɫ̪œtʼːed͡z], from łøð "masses, common folk" (< PC *aleudʰis < PIE *h₁léwdʰis "people").

Phonology

Orthography

Consonant phonemes of Standard Celabrian
Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m [m] n [n] ň [ɲ] ŋ [ŋ]
Plosive voiceless p [pʰ] t [tʰ] [cʰ] k [kʰ] q [q ~ ʔ]1
voiced b [b] d [d] ǵ [ɟ] g [ɡ]
ejective [pʼ] [tʼ] ḳ́ [cʼ] [kʼ]
Affricate voiceless c [t͡sʰ] č [t͡ʃʰ]
voiced ʒ [d͡z] ǯ [d͡ʒ]
ejective [t͡sʼ] č̣ [t͡ʃʼ]
Fricative voiceless f [f] θ [θ] s [s] š [ʃ] [ç] x [χ ~ h]1
voiced v [v] ð [ð] z [z] ž [ʒ] j [ʝ ~ j]2 h [ɦ ~ ʁ]1
Approximant central ř [ɻ]
lateral ł [ɫ̪] l [l] ľ [ʎ]
Trill [r]
Flap r [ɾ]

Notes:

1 The guttural consonants q, x, and h can be pronounced uvular or glottal depending on environment. The allophones are summarized in the table below. When two pronunciations are given, both are allowed but the first is more common.

Phoneme In roots In affixes
Adjacent to consonant
in same morpheme
Otherwise Adjacent to non-root consonant Otherwise
initial medial final
q q ʔ ~ q q ʔ
x χ χ ~ h h ~ χ χ h
h ʁ ɦ ɦ ~ ʁ ʁ ʁ ɦ

2 Pronounced [ʝ] syllable-initially and [j] otherwise.

Vowels

Vowel phonemes of Standard Celabrian
Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
Close i [i] y [y] ə [ə] u [u]
Mid e [e] ø [ø] o [o]
Open æ [æ] a [ɑ]

Prosody

Stress

Intonation

Phonotactics

Morphophonology

Vowel harmony

Celabrian has three vowel harmony systems: high, low, and mixed. These are shown in the table below:

Standard Celabrian vowel harmony systems
Harmony system Front Back
unrounded rounded unrounded rounded
High i [i] y [y] ə [ə] u [u]
Low e [e] a [ɑ]
Mixed e [e] ə [ə]

In this article, the following notation is used to represent vowel harmony in affixes:

  • ə: high harmonizing vowel (ə/u/i/y)
    • Represents back allomorphs (ə/u) when contrasted with i (= i/y), and unrounded allomorphs (ə/i) when contrasted with u (= u/y).
  • a: low harmonizing vowel (a/e)
  • e: mixed harmonizing vowel (ə/e)

Most prefixes and suffixes harmonize with the nearest vowel in the word they are attached to. Vowels within a word do not necessarily have to agree in frontness/backness.

Palatalization

Velar and post-velar consonants in harmonizing affixes are often palatalized when the harmonizing vowel is fronted. There are some exceptions, such as -q in the ergative suffix -əq/q. In this article, this is indicated with a ring above the consonant:

  • k̊: k ~ ḱ
  • g̊: g ~ ǵ
  • ḳ̊: ḳ ~ ḳ́
  • x̊: x ~ x́
  • h̊: h ~ j
  • q̊: q ~ ǵ
  • ŋ̊: ŋ ~ ň

Voice assimilation

When a prefix beginning in an obstruent attaches to a word ending in an obstruent, the initial consonant of the prefix assimilates to the final consonant of the root in voicing. If their places of articulation are close enough, there may be complete assimilation. Similarly, a final obstruent in a prefix assimilates to a following obstruent. A similar process takes place with the first component of compound words, but this is not indicated in writing.

Hiatus resolution

When vowels meet at morpheme boundaries, the following changes take place:

  • ə + ə > a
  • any other identical vowels merge into one of the same vowel
  • a + æ, æ + a > æ
  • æ + e, e + æ > e
  • ə > disappears / before or after any vowel except ə
  • close vowel > disappears / adjacent to homorganic mid vowel
  • v is inserted between rounded vowel (o, ø, u, y) and any adjacent vowel
  • e; i > je; ji / after any non-rounded vowel
  • a > ja / after unrounded front vowel

Vowel epenthesis

When an illegal consonant cluster would occur at a morpheme boundary, an epenthetic high vowel is inserted. This vowel harmonizes with the preceding vowel, or the following vowel if there is no preceding vowel.

Historical phonology

PIE to Early Proto-Celabrian (PC)

*h1e > e
*a, *h2e > a
*(H)o, *h3e > a 
*ē, *eh1 > ē
*eh2 > ā
*ō, *oH, *eh3 > ō
*iH > ī
*uH > ū
stress shifts (often to penultimate syllable/mora)
*w, *y > Ø / in long diphthongs
*CHC > CaC
*HC- > aC- / #_
*r̥H > ra
*l̥H > la
*n̥H > na
*m̥H > ma
*r̥ > ri, ar
*l̥ > li, al
*m̥ > am
*n̥ > an
-m > -n / _#, _C (assimilates to place of articulation of following consonant)
labiovelar > plain velar
palatovelar > plain velar / _r, _l, _n, _s
*p; *t; *ḱ; *k > pʰ; tʰ; cʰ /t͡sʰ/; kʰ
*b; *d; *ǵ; *g > p; t; c /t͡s/; k
*ǵʰ > *ʒʰ /d͡zʱ/ (other voiced aspirates preserved)
sbʰ; sdʰ; sʒʰ; sgʰ > spʰ; stʰ; scʰ; skʰ
*s > š / r_, u_, K_, i_ (ruki sound law)
Transcription differences without significant sound change:
*y > j
*Vy > Vi
*Vu > Vu

Early PC to Late PC

ē > ī / _ns
ē > ā
 In some dialects, this takes place after the palatalization of velars, affecting some words that were reborrowed into the standard dialect.
ei, eje > ī
e > i / with i in following syllable
s, š > Ø / _n, _m (lengthen preceding vowel, even if intervening consonant is present)
s > Ø / #_r, #_l
sr, šr > rr / non-initial
sl, šl > ll / non-initial
velar stop (k, kʰ, gʰ) > palatal stop (ḱ, ḱʰ, ǵʰ) / before front vowels or j - at this stage, palatalization is allophonic

Late PC to Old Celabrian

ḱ; ḱʰ; ǵʰ > č /t͡ʃ/; čʰ /t͡ʃʰ/; ǯ /d͡ʒʱ/
stop consonant + tʰ > ttʰ
ns > s / when non-final (lengthens preceding vowel)
s > š / ī_
-s, -š, -t > disappear / _#
s- > ž / #_
-s- > h / V_V
sT; sP; sC; sČ; sK > htʰ /θ͡t̪͡θ/; hpʰ /φ͡p͡φ/; hcʰ /s͡t͡s/; hčʰ /ʃ͡t͡ʃ/; hkʰ /x͡k͡x/
Kš > ččʰ
Ps, Ts, ss > ccʰ
sw > xv
w > gʷ / #_, after sonorant
Pj > *Pš > ččʰ (where P represents any labial stop)
Tj > ČČ
Cj > CC
Čj > ČČ
nj; lj; rj; sj > ň; ľ; ř; š / #_, C_
nj; lj; rj; sj > ňň; ľľ; řř; šš / V_V
mj > mň
Kn > ň-, -ňň-
Tn > nn
Pn > mn
j > ǵ / #_
bʰ; dʰ; ʒʰ; ǯʰ > b; d; ʒ; ǯ
gʰ > g / adjacent to nasal
gʰ > ɣ / otherwise
e > ja / before a, in non-final closed syllables
e > je / except when final, in diphthong, or immediately followed by nasal
ō > vø̄-, -ø̄-
ū > vȳ, -ȳ-
ai > jē-, -ē-
eu > jø̄, -ø̄-
au > vø̄, -ø̄-
o (from loanwords) > vo / #_
e > je / #_
ē > jē / #_
ā > vā / #_
Transcription differences without significant sound change:
 w > v
Old Celabrian phonology
Old Celabrian consonants
Labial Dental Alveolar Postalveolar/
Palatal
Velar Glottal
Nasal μ m [m] ν n [n] νι ň [ɲ] (γ n [ŋ])1
Plosive aspirated φ [pʰ] θ [tʰ] χ [kʰ]
tenuis π p [p] τ t [tʼ] κ, ϙ k [k]
voiced β b [b] δ d [d] γι ǵ [ɟ] (γ g [ɡ])2,
ϝ [ɡʷ]3
Affricate aspirated ψ [t͡sʰ] ξ čʰ [t͡ʃʰ]
tenuis ͳ c [t͡s] ͳ č [t͡ʃ]
voiced ζ ʒ [d͡z] ζ ǯ [d͡ʒ]
prefricatized4 hpʰ [φ͡pφ] htʰ [θ͡t̪θ] hcʰ [s͡t͡s] hčʰ [ʃ͡t͡ʃ] hkʰ [x͡k͡x]
Fricative voiceless σ š [ʃ] c h [h]
voiced ρσ ž [ʒ] γ ɣ [ɣ]
Approximant λ l [l] ι j [j], λι ľ [ʎ] υ v [w]
Trill/Flap ρ r [r] ρι ř [rʲ]
Old Celabrian vowels
Front Back
Close ι i, ει ī [i, iː] υι ȳ [yː] υ u, ου ū [u, uː]
Mid ε e, η ē [e, eː] οι ø̄ [øː] ο o, ω ō [o, oː]
Open α a, ā [a, aː]

Notes:

1 Allophone of n before nasals.

2 Allophone of ɣ adjacent to nasals.

3 All consonants can be labialized, but only behaves as an independent phoneme.

4 The prefricatized affricates may have been geminate affricates or fricatives.

Old Celabrian to Classical Celabrian

htʰ; hpʰ; hcʰ; hčʰ; hkʰ > θ; f; s; š; x
cʰ; ʒ; čʰ > s; z; š / except after n, l
ž, ř > ř /ɹ/
ā > ō / except in final syllable
Unstressed final syllable vowels (does not affect monosyllabic words):
 short vowel > ə / when not followed by consonant, if dropping would lead to forbidden consonant cluster
 short vowel > disappears / when not followed by consonant, otherwise
 ā > a
 ī, ē, ø̄, ȳ > i
Stressed final syllable vowels (including in monosyllabic words):
 ȳ; ø̄ > ī; ē

Classical Celabrian to Standard Modern Celabrian

v > ʷ / C_
a > ə / before nasal in closed syllable
-ə > disappears / word-finally
final unstressed -a > -ə
ē > æ / _C
long vowel > short
e; i; ø; y > a; ɨ; o; u / Cʷ_ (but not v_)
a; ə; e; o; ɨ; u > e; e; i; ø; i; y / when followed by i in following syllable
ji > i / C_
velar > palatal / before front vowel or j
Cʷ > uC / after stressed, open vowel
Cʷ > C / otherwise
iu > ju / _C
nj; (l)lj; (r)rj > ň; ľ; ř
j > disappears / after palatal or post-alveolar consonant
v > disappears / after rounded vowel in unstressed syllables
ou > o / _C
u > f/v / V_C (agrees with following consonant in voicing)
final unstressed -i > disappears
b; d; ǯ; ǵ; g > v; ð; ž; j; ɣ / V_, r_
mb; nd; nʒ; nǯ; ňǵ; ŋg > m; n; n; ň; ň; ŋ
mp; nt; nc; nč; ňḱ; ŋk > b; d; ʒ; ǯ; ǵ; g
mpʰ; ntʰ; ncʰ; nčʰ; ŋkʰ > nasal is dropped
p; t; c; č; ḱ; k > ṗ; ṭ; c̣; č̣; ḳ́; ḳ / #_
p; t; c; č; ḱ; k > b; d; ʒ; ǯ; ǵ; q / V_, r_, l_
h, x > x /χ ~ h/
r > ṙ /r/ / when initial or geminated
r > r /ɾ/ / otherwise
l > ł /ɫ/ / between vowels
ɣ > disappears / before sonorant
mn > m
mň > ň
geminate consonant > single consonant
Tr > Č (in some dialects, preserved or instead > Ḱ)
θr; ðr > š; ž
Kl, Tl > Ḱ
pre-tonic vowel loss whenever possible, otherwise generally > ə (but sometimes preserved)
 Forms consonant clusters that are resolved as follows:
  nasal + obstruent > nasal assimilates to place of articulation of obstruent
  obstruent clusters assimilate to voicing of final obstruent
  ṙ > r / in clusters
  N + r/ř/l/ł > stop homorganic to nasal is inserted (but ň + r > ndr; n/ň + l > ŋgl; n/ň + ł > ŋgł)
  N + ľ > ňǵ
  s + r/ř/l/ł > str/stř/skl/skł
  š + r/ř/l/ł > štr/štř/škl/škł
  z/ž + r/ř > epenthetic -d- inserted
  affricate + stop > affricate becomes corresponding appropriately voiced fricative
  ř + consonant > ř becomes post-alveolar fricative
  T + s/z > c/ʒ
  Č + s/z > č/ǯ
  etc
vowel harmony:
  unstressed vowels harmonize with stressed vowel in frontedness and sometimes roundedness (especially with high vowels)
   back (a; ə; ɨ, u) <-> front (e; e; i, y)
   unrounded (ɨ, i) <-> rounded (u, y)
  frontedness of stressed vowel may be affected by adjacent consonants (details TBD)
  stressed a sometimes > æ
l, ł, ľ > merge before obstruents - become ł before velar/post-velar, ľ before palatal, and l otherwise
ɨ, ə > merge to ə (trace of distinction remains in low vs mixed vowel harmony)
Transcription differences without significant sound change:
 ɣ > h /ɦ ~ ʁ/
 Cʰ > C

Morphology

Pronouns

Personal pronouns

Celabrian personal pronouns
Person and number Absolutive Emphatic1 Ergative Dative Genitive Ablative Locative Instrumental Adverbial Vocative Possessive suffix2 Copulative suffix3
1st Singular jam akam jaməq jaməd jaməx jama jaməm jaməv jaman jamo -am -am
Plural vom eḱne vomuq vomud vomux voma vomum vomuv voman vomo -na -om
2nd Singular Informal tjev akət tjeviq tjevid tjevix tjeve tjevim tjeviv tjeven tjevo -ət -as
Formal řan akka řanəq řanəd řanəx řana řanəm řanəv řanan řano -g̊a -g̊aθ
Plural vym eḱḱe vymyq vymyd vymyx vyme vymym vymyv vymen vymo -g̊a -g̊aθ
3rd Singular Animate řev akəř řeviq řevid řevix řeve řevim řeviv řeven řevo -əř -aθ
Inanimate an akən anəq anəd anəx ana anəm anəv anan ano -ən -an
Plural Animate tøt eḱiš tøtyq tøtyd tøtyx tøte tøtym tøtyv tøten tøto -əš -at
Inanimate peł eḱin pełiq pełid pełix pełe pełim pełiv pełen peło -ən -an
4th Singular əč akəč əčəq əčəd əčəx əča əčəm əčəv əčan əčo -əč -ač
Plural eḱič ečiq ečid ečix eče ečim ečiv ečen ečo -əč -ač

Notes:

1 Formed from the noun ak (pl. eḱ) "self" with possessive suffixes.

2 Possessive suffixes are unstressed. The third person inanimate suffix -ən is identical to the definite article.

3 Copulative suffixes are stressed.

Nouns

Cases

Case Usage Ending
Absolutive Citation form; subject of intransitive verb; object of transitive verb; object of adposition
Ergative Animate agent of transitive verb -əq
Dative Recipient, destination, motion towards (lative), purpose -əd
Genitive Possessor -əx
Ablative Origin, motion away, part of something (partitive), cause/reason -a
Locative Location -əm
Instrumental Instrument, means; inanimate agent of transitive verb -əv
Adverbial Forms adverbs, "as" -an
Vocative Used for addressing someone/something -o

Number

Nouns can be singular or plural. Regular plurals are formed with the suffix -an. Many common nouns have irregular plural stems.

Definiteness

There are three levels of definiteness in Celabrian:

  • Definite: Something specific that is known to both the speaker and listener, that has been previously mentioned, or that is uniquely specified. Equivalent to English "the" in "I saw the car."
  • Semidefinite: Something specific that is identifiable by the speaker but not the listener or that has not been previously mentioned. Equivalent to English "a" in "I saw a car."
  • Indefinite: Refers non-specifically to a member of a class. Equivalent to English "a" in "I need a car."

Nouns unmarked for definiteness are semidefinite by default. The definite article is -ən (added before case endings).

The indefinite article for singular, countable nouns is mə-. For plural and mass nouns, it is -a (equivalent to the ablative case ending and the partitive article).

Nouns with possessive suffixes do not take the definite article, but can take the indefinite article. Possessive suffixes come before case endings and the plural/uncountable indefinite suffix.

In addition to definite and indefinite articles, Celabrian has partitive and negative articles. The partitive article is -a (equivalent to the ablative case and the plural/mass indefinite article). It refers to a non-specific quantity of something. It is equivalent to English "some" in "I want some coffee."

The negative article is nə-. It specifies none of something, and is equivalent to English "no" in "I see no car."

The articles are summarized in the table below:

Article Usage Ending
possessed singular countable plural countable uncountable
Definite Something specific that is known to both speaker and listener, that has been previously mentioned, or that is uniquely specified. -ən
Semidefinite Something specific that is identifiable by the speaker but not the listener, or that has not been previously mentioned.
Indefinite A non-specific member of a class. (same as unpossessed noun) mə- -a
Partitive A non-specific quantity of something. -a
Negative None of something. nə-

Adjectives

Numbers

# Cardinal Ordinal
0 səfr səfrətə
1 řon pavrə
2 ǵøq ṭyte
3 či čite
4 štyr štyrte
5 peč pečte
6 x́aš x́aštə
7 šta štatə
8 te tete
9 ne nete
10 ṭjas ṭjaste
11 šæn šæntə
12 tjud tjude
13 ṭjasči ṭjasčite
14 ṭjasštyr ṭjasštyrte
20 ksət ksətə
21 ksətřon ksətřontə
30 ksətṭjas ksətṭjastə
31 ksətšæn ksətšænte
# Cardinal Ordinal
32 ksəttjud ksəttjudə
40 ṭyksət ṭyksətə
50 ṭyksətṭjas ṭyksətṭjastə
60 pečud pečude
70 pečudṭjas pečudṭjastə
80 štyrksət štyrksətə
90 štyrksətṭjas štyrksətṭjastə
100 ḱid (pečksət) ḱide (pečksətə)
101 ḱidřon (pečksətřon) ḱidřontə (pečksətřontə)
110 ḱidṭjas (pečksətṭjas) ḱidṭjastə (pečksətṭjastə)
120 seč sečte
130 sečṭjas sečṭjastə
140 sečksət sečksətə
200 ṭyḱid ṭyḱide
300 čiḱid čiḱide
1,000 zil zilte
2,000 ṭyzil ṭyzilte
10^4 myřð myřðe
10^6 ḱidmyřð ḱidmyřðe

Verbs

Syntax

Constituent order

Noun phrase

Verb phrase

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses

Example texts

Other resources