Kaidu

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Kaibeni flag 3.png


Background

Real Life History

Kaidu is currently three years old as of August 2015. I started making this language when an older language of mine died. Kaidu is used mainly as a personal artlang, there is currently no specific conworld for it, but I use it in a number of stories. I have drawn inspiration from several languages, namely English, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, and some Bantu languages. Conlanging has been my hobby for many years. Kaidu’s grammar is simple for English speakers; the hardest parts are the verbs and adjectives because they are different from English. Kaidu’s syllable structure is simply (C)V(C). Kaidu has a lot of the basic consonants, but it has some unique consonants as well. For instance, it has prenasalized consonants that can occur in initial positions. I have designed Kaidu’s lexicon to be somewhat more minimal than English. Kaidu words are created in the style of Chinese compounds.

Fictional Settings

Kaidu has four potential settings, three of which are currently realized in at least some capacity. For the most part Kaidu is spoken in Fu Kaibeni Venmiowio, the Kaibeni Republic.

Historical Real World

This first is one that occurs in a nebulous location on Earth in the past. I like to imagine an equatorial archipelago somewhat like Indonesia but not quite as big. There is not particularly a republic in the historical setting, instead loose tribes inhabit the various islands but they trade and interact often enough that a coherent single language exists.

Current Real World

The second is one that is contemporaneous with the modern day. This is the one where I like to build up the idea of Cantias, the capital, as a metropolis. In the historical one, there are no big cities. It's location on Earth is similar or maybe identical to the historical setting.

Fantasy

The third is a fantasy setting, which is on the planet Sinwio. The Kaiben still live in the Kaibeni Republic, and there is still Cantias, which is still huge but isn't modern, more like an anachronistically advanced large Asian city. In this setting there is a magic called miosi, the control of the elements.



Phonology

Consonants

Bilabial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular
Plosive p
p
t
t
[c]
c
k
c
q
k
Prenasal Plosive ᵐp
mp
ⁿt
nt
[ᶮc]
nc
ᵑk
nc
ᶰq
nk
Nasal m
m
n
n
[ɲ]
n
Fricative f[ɸ] v
f v
s z
s z
[ɕ ʑ] [ç ʝ]
s z h g
χ ɣ
h g
Approximant β̞
b
ð̞
d
ɻ
r
ɰ
w

Orthography in bold.

Consonant Allophony

Several of the velar and alveolar consonants also have palatalized allophones when preceding the diphthongs of /ia/ /io/ and /iu/. The alveolar fricatives become alveo-palatal fricatives, while the velar stops and fricatives and alveolar nasal become pure palatal. /f/ is also [ɸ] at the end of syllables. /m/ also lightly palatalizes before the aforementioned diphthongs.

Vowels

Front Central Near-back Back
Close i [ɨ] u
Near-close [ɪ] [ʊ]
Mid e o
Open-mid [ɛ] [ɔ]
Near-open [ɐ]
Open a

Vowels come in stressed/unstressed pairs, except for /i/.

Unstressed Stressed
/e/ [e] [ɛ]
/o/ [o] [ɔ]
/u/ [u] [ʊ]
/a/ [ɐ] [a]

Diphthongs

There are six phonemic diphthongs in Kaidu, each getting it's own letter in the native script.

Rising Falling
/a/ /ai/ /ia/
/o/ /oi/ /io/
/u/ /ui/ /iu/

Rising diphthongs all are realized with the second element as nonsyllabic: [aɪ̯], [oɪ̯], [uɪ̯]. Falling diphthongs work similarly, the second element is also usually nonsyllabic, but the realization of the /i/ in the diphthong depends on the preceding consonant. In most cases, it will be [ɨ], but in a few others it is different. /t/ and /f/ have the /i/ be [j] and the second element is syllabic. With /ð̞/ the first element remains as [i] and the second element is nonsyllabic.

Phonotactics

In Kaidu syllables are (C)V(C). C can be any consonant in either position, including prenasalized stops in initial positions. When a prenasal stop is syllable final, it becomes a homorganic cluster of nasal+stop. Certain consonants become palatal versions when before the diphthongs ia, io and iu. When compounding causes two like consonants to meet (except for prenasalized consonants), the first of the two is deleted. This is reflected both in Latin and Kaikak. A further exception to this is verbal endings, which can cause double r, m, and w, which is not deduplicated. Any medial cluster is allowed.

Stress

Kaidu stresses the last syllable of the root, previous to any verbal inflections.

Mutations

When compounding, the marginal consonants of the morphemes involved undergo mutation. The final consonant of an initial element, the initial of a final element, or both of a medial element, changes in a specific sequence for certain consonants. The consonants that mutate and what they mutate into are described in the following table:

Before After
p f
f v
v β̞
β̞ p
t s
s z
z ð̞
ð̞ t
k χ
χ ɣ
ɣ ɰ
ɰ k

Orthography

Kaidu's Latin alphabet, called Romakak, is very straightforward, as it is a 1 to 1 correspondence with the conscript, called Kaikak. Kaikak is extremely phonemic but there are a couple deviations from purely phonetic.

Quarter sized Kaikak


Grammar

Morphology

Personal Pronouns

singular plural Possessive Plural Possessive
First person ka kar kai kari
Second person mpu mpur mpui mpuri
Third person se ser sei seri

Nouns

There are no cases in Kaidu. Possession is shown with -i on the possessor. Plurals exist but the rules are different than English. They are optional when number is being specified, and in general as well.

Verbs

Verb conjugate for tense and moods. The available tenses are past, present, and future. There is also a progressive suffix after the tense. The moods in Kaidu are imperative, volitional, necessitative, desirative, permissive, abilitative, suggestive, attemptive and samplative. They are all first created by making the verb irrealis with -oi, suffixed with the mood and then conjugated for tense (except imperative and volitional). There are also several aspect prefixes that are lexical in nature. These are negative (different from grammatical negative), causative, dynamic, cessative, defective, intensive and moderative. There is also the present and non-present participles.

Adjectives

Adjectives work almost exactly like verbs, they end in -ra instead of just -a. One does not use the verb for "to be" with adjectives and instead conjugates the adjective ending to the appropriate tense. You use the participle ending to apply an adjective to a noun.

Adverbs

Adverbs are just adjectives. To make an adjective an adverb, use the participle adjective before a verb instead of a noun.

Derivational morphology

Syntax

Kaidu word order is SVO. Adpositions are prepositional.