Common Minervan

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Common Minervan (c) Rebecca Ashling 2019. I assert that Common Minervan is my intellectual property and confirm that Linguifex may post this material on their site.


Common Minervan (CM:Tīnaqa Telkun) is a polysynthetic, fluid-S split intransitive language with VSOX word order that is employed as a lingua franca by the Minervan Economic Community (CM:Tinkada Nanakte Telkun) throughout its territory on Minerva (CM: Telku). It has become the language of international trade and science and most Minervans know it as at least a second language. Minerva is the fourth planet from the sun. It has one large natural satelite Mavors (CM: Lūhi) which has two small close moons of its own, Timor (CM: Tinha) and Metus (CM: Ulmeb).


Introduction

Minervans are currently believed to have been transplanted to Minerva by unknown means about a 100,000 years ago. Thus Common Minervan cannot feasibly be linked to any known language family on Terra although the more enthusiastic 'lumpers' among linguistic scholars and outright Goropists have certainly given it a try. Common Minervan derives from the primary language spoken in the former Empire of Teloddo and its trading sphere. The standard dialect of the language as prescribed by the Minervan Economic Community is described here.



Phonology

Orthoɡraphy

General Remarks On Orthography

Common Minervan is written in a variant of the script commonly used in Xobde which was derived from an earlier featural abugida. Script direction is from right to left, top to bottom. The spelling of Common Minervan is phonemic although it does change to reflect the effects of morphophonology.

Common Minervan Alphabet

Common Minervan Letter IPA Value Latin Transliteration
⟨o⟩ /h/ ⟨h⟩
⟨ɔ⟩ /b/ ⟨b⟩
⟨c⟩ /m/ ⟨m⟩
⟨y⟩ /t̪/ ⟨t⟩
⟨ʎ⟩ /d̪/ ⟨d⟩
⟨v⟩ /ts/ ⟨z⟩
⟨ʌ⟩ /dz/ ⟨j⟩
⟨x⟩ /n/ ⟨n⟩
⟨w⟩ /tʃ/ ⟨x⟩
⟨ʍ⟩ /dʒ/ ⟨g⟩
⟨n⟩ /k/ ⟨k⟩
⟨u⟩ /j/ ⟨y⟩
⟨m⟩ /kʷ/ ⟨q⟩
⟨ɯ⟩ /w/ ⟨w⟩
⟨z⟩ /kʟ̝̊/ ⟨r⟩
⟨s⟩ /ʟ/ ⟨l⟩
⟨h⟩ /i/ ⟨i⟩
⟨hh⟩ /eɪ/ ⟨ī⟩
⟨ɥ⟩ /ɛ/ ⟨e⟩
⟨ɥɥ⟩ /aɪ/ ⟨ē⟩
⟨b⟩ /u/ ⟨u⟩
⟨bb⟩ /oʊ/ ⟨ū⟩
⟨q⟩ /ɑ/ ⟨a⟩
⟨qq⟩ /aʊ/ ⟨ā⟩

Common Minervan Punctuation

1) ⟨:⟩ which marks the end of a sentence.

2) ⟨.⟩ which marks a pause.

3) ⟨-⟩ which before and after a sentence or clause function as parentheses.

4) ⟨~⟩ which before and after a quoted sentence or clause function as quotation marks.

Consonants

Common Minervan has a total of 16 consonants which according to the World Atlas of Lanɡuaɡe Stucture is a moderately small inventory. The most striking features of the inventory, according to WALS, are missing /p, ɡ/, the presence of /kʟ̝̊/ and /ʟ/ as the sole lateral consonants, and the absence of phonemic fricatives. The lack of phonemic fricatives is an areal feature of the languages of Xobde. The consonants are displayed in the table below:

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palato-Alveolar Palatal Central Plain Velar Central Labialised Velar Lateral Velar Glottal
Voiceless Stop /t̪/ /ts/ /tʃ/ /k/ /kʷ/ /kʟ̝̊/
Voiced Stop /b/ /d̪/ /dz/ /dʒ/
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ʟ/†
Approximant /j/ /w/ /h/

† /ʟ/ is not phonetically a nasal but patterns with them.

Vowels

Common Minervan has a total of 8 vowels. It has 4 vowel qualities. According to the World Atlas of Lanɡuaɡe Structures this is a small vowel quality inventory. Common Minervan has a consonant to vowel quality ratio of 4.0 which according to WALS is an average ratio. The diphthongs are phonologically long vowels. The vowels are displayed in the table below:

Short Front Long Front Short Back Long Back
Hiɡh /i/ /eɪ/ /u/ /oʊ/
Mid /ɛ/ /aɪ/ /ɑ/ /aʊ/

Allophony

1) In word-initial position, /t̪, ts, tʃ, k, kʷ, kʟ̝̊/ are realised as [t̪ʰ, tsʰ, tʃʰ, kʰ, kʷʰ, kʟ̝̊ʰ].

2) In intervocalic position, /t̪, ts, tʃ, k, kʷ, kʟ̝̊/ are realised as [d̪, dz, dʒ, ɡ, ɡʷ, ɡʟ̝].

3) In coda position /kʷ/ is realised as [p].

4) In intervocalic position, /b, d̪, dz, dʒ/ are realised as [v, ð, z, ʒ].

5) In coda position, /ts, tʃ, kʟ̝̊, dz, dʒ/ are realised as [s, ʃ, x, z, ʒ].

6) In coda position /n/ is realised as [ŋ].

7) In onset position position following a coda of /m, n, l/, /h/ is realised as [x].

8) The consonant clusters /t̪h, tsh, tʃh, kh, kʷh, kʟ̝̊h/ are realised as [θ, s, ʃ, x, xʷ, ʟ̝̊].

9) In closed syllables /i, u/ are realised as [ɪ, ʊ].

Prosody

1) Words in Common Minervan bear primary stress on the initial syllable.

2) Common Minervan words bear secondary stress on every odd-numbered syllable following the initial syllable.

3) Rhythm type is trochaic.

4) To an English speaker, Common Minervan would appear to be spoken with a slower tempo than English is.

Phonotactics

1) The syllable template is (C)V(C).

2) Only plosives and nasals are permitted in syllable ncoda position.

3) Consonant clusters may not have more than two seɡments.

4) Consonant clusters may only occur across syllable boundaries.

5) Permitted consonant clusters are as per the table below:

T Z X K Q R B D J G M N L
- - - kt qt rt - - - - mt nt lt T
- - - kz qz rz - - - - mz nz lz Z
- - - kx qx rx - - - - mx nx lx X
tk zk xk - - - - - - - mk nk lk K
tq zq xq - - - - - - - mq nq lq Q
tr zr xr - - - - - - - mr nr lr R
- - - - - - - db jb gb mb nd lb B
- - - - - - bd - - - md nd ld D
- - - - - - bj - - - mj nj lj J
- - - - - - bg - - - mg ng lg G
- - - - - - - - - - - nm lm M
- - - - - - - - - - mn - ln N
- - - - - - - - - - ml nl - L
- - - - - - by - - - my ny ly Y
- - - - - - bw dw jw gw mw nw lw W
th zh xh kh qh rh - - - - mh nh lh H

NOTES:

a) Latin transliteration used for clarity.

b) First consonant of cluster runs along top of table, second consonant of cluster runs down right of table.

c) A dash indicates that that consonant cluster does not occur.

6) /j/ may not follow a long front vowel.

7) /w/ may not follow a long back vowel.

8) High front vowels may not follow /tʃ, dʒ, j/.

9) High back vowels may not follow /kʷ, w/.

10) A lonɡ vowel may not occur before a coda consonant or a consonant cluster.

11) Vowel clusters do not occur.

12) All morphemes must consist of properly formed syllables.

13) Suffixes may have a morpheme-final allomorph consisting of a single coda consonant.

15) Roots must consist of more than one and no more than three syllables.

16) No affix may have more than two syllables.

Morphophonology

1) Consonant clusters resulting from affixation are treated as per the table below:

T Z X K Q R B D J G M N L
Vːt Vːt Vːt kt qt rt Vːt Vːt Vːt Vːt mt nt lt T
Vːz Vːz Vːz kz qz rz Vːz Vːz Vːz Vːz mz nz lz Z
Vːx Vːx Vːx kx qx rx Vːx Vːx Vːx Vːx mx nx lx X
tk zk xk Vːk Vːk Vːk Vːk tk zk xk mk nk lk K
tq zq xq Vːq Vːq Vːq Vːq tq zq xq mq nq lq Q
tr zr xr Vːr Vːr Vːr Vːr tr zr xr mr nr lr R
db jb gb Vːb Vːb lb Vːb db jb gb mb nb lb B
Vːd Vːd Vːd Vːd bd ld bd Vːd Vːd Vːd md nd ld D
Vːj Vːj Vːj Vːj bj lj bj Vːj Vːj Vːj mj nj lj J
Vːg Vːg Vːg Vːg bg lg bg Vːg Vːg Vːg mg ng lg G
mt mz mx mk mq mr mb md mj mg Vːm nm lm M
nt nz nx nk nq nr nb nd nj ng mn Vːn ln N
lt lz lx lk lq lr lb ld lj lg ml nl Vːl L
g g g Vːy by ly by g g g my ny ly Y
dw jw gw Vːw bw lw bw dw jw gw mw nw lw W
th zh xh kh qh rh Vːh th zh xh mh nh lh H

NOTES:

a) Latin transliteration used for clarity.

b) First consonant of consonant cluster runs along be top of table, second consonant of consonant cluster runs down riɡht of table.

c) Vː indicates precedinɡ vowel is lenɡthened

2) If a vowel cluster results from affixation then an epenthetic /n/ is inserted after the first vowel in the cluster.

3) If through suffixation a long vowel should precede a coda consonant or a consonant cluster then it is reduced to its corresponding short vowel.

4) If through affixation /j/ should follow a front long vowel then that front long vowel is reduced to its corresponding short vowel.

5) If through affixation /w/ should follow a long back vowel then that long back vowel is reduced to its corresponding short vowel.

Morphology

General Remarks On Morpholoɡy

1) The morphological cateɡories used in Common Minervan are summarised in the table below:

Category Description Inflected?
Noun Nouns, pronouns, numerals Yes
Verb Verbs, many adjectives, adpositions Yes
Affix Prefixes and suffixes expressing adjunction, inflection or derivation No
Particle Conjunctions, some adverbs, interjections No

2) Common Minervan is an affixal polysynthetic lanɡuaɡe and only one root per word is permitted.

3) Compoundinɡ of roots does not occur.

4) According to the World Atlas of Language Structures, Common Minervan has a moderate preference for suffixinɡ.


Nominal Morphology

General Remarks On Nominal Morphology

1) Nouns indicate distinct entities. Nouns are inflected for number, possessor, demonstration or case.

2) Maximal nominal structure:

demonstrative or possessive prefix + adjectival prefix(es) + nominal or verbal root + derivational suffix(es) + number suffix + case suffix

Number

1) There are two main systems of nominal number in Common Minervan:

a) Sinɡular-Plural

b) Collective-Singulative

2) Singular nouns are singular by default and take the plural suffix to indicate more than four instances.

3) Collective nouns indicate more than four instances by default or are mass nouns. They take the singulative suffix to indicate a singular instance or a small part of the whole.

4) Common Minervan also has a paucal number which is used to mark nouns that are greater than one or fewer than five in number. When used with mass nouns has the sense of 'some'.

5) Number suffixes are summarised in the table below:

Number Suffix
Plural -ad
Singulative -in
Paucal -uk

Case

1) Case marks relationships between noun and noun or noun and verb.

2) Common Minervan cases are summarised in the table below:

Case Abbreviation Suffix (Allomorph) Functions
Absolutive ABS -∅ a) Marks citation form of nouno

b) Indicates O argument of a transitive verb

c) Marks S argument of a stative intransitive verb

Nominative NOM -na (-n) a) Indicates A argument of a transitive verb

b) Marks S arɡument of an active intransitive verb

c) Indicates the possessor

Dative DAT -hē a) Marks X argument of active intransitive verb

b) Marks beneficiary of action

c) Indicates purpose or intent

Instrumental INST -tik a) Marks X argument of stative intransitive verb

b) Marks use of tool or instrument

c) Indicates proximal cause

Equative EQU -te (-t) a) Indicates similarity in function, manner or behaviour

b) Marks the S arɡument of copula

c) Indicates similarity to, alike to

c) Made or consisting of a particular substance d) Indicates the comparative

Comitative COM -qe(-q) a) Marks physical proximity or social connection to someone

b) Indicates collaborative effort with someone in a joint activity

c) Marks reciprocicity

Locative LOC -li (-l) a) Indicates place where

b) Marks time when

Allative ALL -bu (-b) a) Marks motion towards

b) Indicates time until

c) Marks destination or goal

Ablative ABL -gā a) Indicates motion away from

b) Marks time since

c) Indicates the source or origin

d) Marks aversion to or opposition to

e) Indicates the source of comparison

Perlative PERL -am a) Marks motion across, along, through or by way of

b) Indicates duration

c) Marks mode or means of transport or transmission

d) Indicates reason, motive or ultimate cause

e) Marks topic of conversation

NB: Parenthesised allomorphs are when in morpheme-final position following a short vowel.

Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

1) Common Minervan personal pronouns and their associated possessive suffixes are summarised in the table below:

Person Abbreviation Possessive Prefix
1st Person Singular mi min-
2nd Person Singular ki kin-
3rd Person Singular ti tin-
4th Person Sinɡular li lin-
1st Person Paucal Exclusive muk munka-
1st Person Paucal Inclusive buk bunka-
2nd Person Paucal kuk kunka-
3rd Person Paucal tuk tunka-
4th Person Paucal luk lunka-
1st Person Plural Exclusive mad manda-
1st Person Plural Inclusive bad banda-
2nd Person Plural kad kanda-
3rd Person Plural tad tanda-
4th Person Plural lad landa-

2) Personal pronouns take case in the same manner as nouns.

Demonstratives

1) Adnominal demonstratives are suffixes attached to the noun as per the table below:

Name Locus English Equivalent Prefix
Proximal Near speaker this, these inti-
Medial Near listener(s) that, those unku-
Distal Away from speaker and listener(s) yon ondo-

2) Demonstrative pronouns are formed by adding the appropriate demonstrative suffix to the appropriate third person pronoun.

Emphatic Pronouns

These are no emphatic pronouns but as the verbs mark A, S and O arguments, the use of the pronouns correlating with these can be used for emphasis.

Reflexive Pronouns

These are no reflexive pronouns in the nominative or the absolutive cases although there is an absolutive reflexive pronominal suffix on the verb. Reflexive pronouns for obliques are formed by prefixing the appropriate possessive prefix to the reflexive pronoun yet which derives from the word yevet 'shadow'.

Interrogative Pronouns

1) There is one interroɡative pronoun: je 'who, what' which is undifferentiated for number.

2) All other interrogatives are built from this by adding the appropriate case. Eɡ: jex 'where?', jebwe 'with whom?'

3) There is an interrogative pronominal possessive prefix: jen- 'whose?'.

4) Prefixing je- to a noun gives the sense of 'which?'.

5) The canonical word-order of Common Minervan is VSOX. Interrogative pronouns or nouns taking an interrogative pronominal possessive prefix violate this by being fronted to before the verb.

Indefinite Pronouns

There is one indefinite pronoun jeyet 'somebody, something'.

Verbal Morphology

General Remarks On Verbal Morphology

1) Verbs express actions, processes or states of being. Verbs are inflected for A, S and O arguments, negation, aspect, valency and mood.

2) Maximal verbal structure:

interrogative prefix + nominative pronominal prefix + negative prefix + auxiliary prefix + causative prefix + verbal or nominal root + derivational suffix(es) + applicative suffix + aspect suffix + adverbial suffix(es) + absolutive pronominal suffic

Pronominal Affixes

Person Absolutive Suffix (Allomorph) Nominative Prefix
1st Person Singular -mi (-m) min-
2nd Person Singular -ki(-k) kin-
3rd Person Singular -ti(-t) tin-
4th Person Sinɡular -li (-l) lin-
1st Person Paucal Exclusive -muk munka-
1st Person Paucal Inclusive -buk bunka-
2nd Person Paucal -kuk kunka-
3rd Person Paucal -tuk -tunka
4th Person Paucal -luk lunka-
1st Person Plural Exclusive -mad manda-
1st Person Plural Exclusive -bad banda-
2nd Person Plural -kad kanda-
3rd Person Plural -tad tanda-
4th Person Plural -lad landa-

NB: Parenthesised allomorphs are when in morpheme-final position following a short vowel.

Voice

1) Transitive verbs in Common Minervan have three voices:

a) Active

b) Passive

c) Antipassive

2) These are indicated by the presence or absence of verbal pronominal affixes as per the table below:

Voice Abbreviation Nominative Prefix? Absolutive Suffix? Promoted Argument Case Of Demoted Argument Function
Active ACT Yes Yes N/A N/A No topicalisation of either argument
Passive PASS No Yes ABS INST Topicalisation of O argument
Antipassive ANTIP Yes No NOM DAT Topicalisation of A argument

Syntax

Constituent order

Noun phrase

Verb phrase

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses

Example texts

Other resources