Gomah

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Gomah
Gomahgaa
Pronunciation /ŋo˥ma˩ŋa:˥/
Created by
Setting
Native speakers ½  (2013)
Language family
Gomah languages
Early forms:
None worthy of note
  • Gomah
Writing system Latin, Gomahtaata
ISO 639-3

Gomah (Gomahgaa) refers to the varieties of the Gomah language. It is the spurious brainchild of Burke, whose original intention for it was to be a progenitor of many other languages to be derived from it. Once that over zealous project derailed, the conlang continued to develop now without the restriction of being bound to some poor tribe of hunter-gatherers who would have been forgotten anyhow.

It draws inspiration from many sources. The basic phonology was a naive nod towards Polynesian languages tied up in a twisted experiment of a simple tonality and how said tonality interacts with prosody and cadence. The structure is highly analytic in nature, but word building makes ample room for compounding and derivation. The basic grammar is vaguely reminiscent of Chinese languages or oversimplified English, but also makes use of structures and tendencies more common in Mesoamerica, such as relational nouns and inalienable possession.

Phonology

Vowels

Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Mid e o
Low a

Length

Vowels in Gomah are either long or short. Long vowels are roughly twice as long as short ones. Much of the time vowel quality is identical between the two, but under some circumstances short vowels may lower in quality.

Tone

Each vowel segment is either high or low tone. The difference is not based in absolute pitch but realized in environment. Though both high and low tones can be analyzed as simple level tones, the mechanics of how tone is realized depends on the length of the vowel and prosody for the segment in which it exists.

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop p t k ʔ1
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative s h
Tap r
Approximant w j

1 - The Glottal stop acts only as a form of hiatus to separate word ending vowels and word initial vowels. It does not occur in other environments.

Phonotactics

The only syllable structure present is CV. Words that appear with initial vowels start with a glottal stop almost always.

Only a small handful of syllables will not occur in Gomah. In the following, note that the vowel is used to represent all possible forms of that vowel quality.

The syllables /wu/, /wɨ/, /ji/, and /jɨ/ are all unattested and are avoided when words are loaned into Gomah.

Sound Mutations

Much like any other language, the actual sound realizations in Gomah do not fit the phonemes squarely. Below is a description of various sound changes that occur naturally.

Tone Sandhi

Tone in long vowels is subject to rises and falls depending on the following syllables. If the syllable following a long vowel is not the same tone as it, the tone will either rise or fall towards the end of its timing in anticipation of the tone change for the following syllable.

Short high vowels are also typically slightly lowered in pitch if they directly follow a long high syllable. There is no analogous change for low tone vowels.

Short Vowel Lowering

Short vowels are subject to a shift, called lowering since it is what the majority of them do, within certain environments. When this occurs, the following is observed:

a-/ʌ/

ɨ-/ə/

e-/ɛ/

i-/ɪ/

o-/ɔ/

u-/ʊ/

For short high vowels, this occurs when it follows a long high syllable. For short low syllables, this mutation occurs whenever it follows a high toned syllable. However, this does not occur across word boundaries. This mutation is most pronounced in the final syllable of the word, and more so among low toned vowels.

Changes of /h/

The /h/ morpheme will move forward to /x/ if the following vowel is /u/,/o/,or /a/ or one of their mutations.

Consonant Voicing

The /k/,/t/,/p/,/s/and /x/ sounds are subject to voicing to /g/,/d/,/b/,/z/, and /ɣ/ if they are not word initial and the following vowel does not undergo lowering.

Prosody

Orthography

There are two main modes of orthography: Romanization and Gomahtaata. The romanization exists for articles like this and for introduction to the sound of Gomah. Gomahtaata is a native logography made for Gomah. Characters almost always have a one to one correspondence with either sound or meaning, but some deviate from this. Very rarely, a character might be used purely for its phonic realization.

Romanization

The Romanization scheme is very simple, and it has been made so that no diacritics need to be used. Alternative and equally valid romanization that use diacritics are very possible, but the romanization that intentionally avoids them is preferred. Capitalization does not represent any sound change.

Vowels

Vowels are written to note all 3 phonemic properties: quality, length, and tone.

The orthography matches the IPA symbols in the original table except for /ɨ/ which is represented with [y].

Long vowels are represented by doubling the vowel. [a] is short. [aa] is long.

High toned vowels are unmarked, and low toned vowels are marked with a following [h]. [aa] and [y] are high tone. [iih] and [uh] are low tones.

Consonants

Consonants also follow a one to one mapping. Since there are no phonetic distinction like gemination or voicing, there are no changes that can be noticed orthographically. The letters selected match the IPA representations on the first chart, with the exception that the velar nasal is written as [g] and the glottal fricative is written as [x].

Gomahtaata

Gomahtaata (lit. Gomah pictures or Gomah letters) is a system of logograms evolved from a pictographic mnemonic system. Because Gomah is highly analytic in structure, the taata are used exclusively with no supplement from phonetic characters. Since it is an open system, redundancy does occur and variants of some characters exist, but normally they are not so contrived as to cause confusion. [John, add some picture examples or something.]

Grammar

Gomah's grammar is highly analytic. It relies heavily on word order and constructions derived from that to convey meaning.

It follows a Direct Alignment scheme where subjects and objects of verbs are distinguished by position, but otherwise show no differences. The basic word order is SVO. This persists into substructures as well where the verb or verb like word acts in a sense as a delimiter. However, in regards to objects, Gomah is thoroughly secundative, treating the indirect object of ditransitive verbs identically to the direct object of monotransitive verbs. Direct objects of ditransitive verbs are handled with separate structures. Verbs can typically act with any valency possible, but there are a few verbs where multiple words are used for different valencies of semantically similar words.

Gomah lacks prepositions and postpositions completely; instead, relational nouns are used to convey what prepositions do in English.

Gomah also has a strong aversion from subordination, with the relative clause in particular. Instead other strategies such as use of adjectival structures or possession cover what subordinating structures do in English.

Largely, Gomah can be analyzed as having 4 parts of speech: Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, and particles and miscellaneous items. Adjectives fall within both the Noun and Verb classification

Nouns

Nouns indicate only that which they represent. Concepts like definiteness and number are left to implication or, if needed, are explained via substructures.

Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

There are only 3 personal pronouns in Gomah, divided along the category of person. Plurality, deixis, and other concepts are either left to implication or other structures.

Person Gomah
1st koonih
2nd muhtee
3rd noo

Each of these can function for either singular or plural, but there exist some extra constructions for when absolute clarity is needed.

Usage Gomah
Inclusive We koonih muhtee
Exclusive We koonih noo
Plural 2nd* muhtee noo
  • the Plural 2nd person comes with some caveats. It does not indicate T-V distinctions like French's tu and vous do. It also carries the nuance that the other person not being addressed (the noo) is absent or not present to the discourse; however, if it is needed for absolute clarity, the 3rd person may be present, but this usage is seen as odd at best and typically wrong.

Possesion

Possession is shown by directly preposing pronouns before the possessum. For Example:

koonih noomah - my food

noo ruusih - his birth

For specific nouns to show possession, the 3rd person "noo" is used:

maahpi noo garii - the man's friend / the friend of the man

Modification via Nouns

Verbs

Adverbs

Particles and Miscellaneous

Syntax