Lakovic languages

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Lexicon of Proto-Lakovic roots
Swadesh lists for the Lakovic languages
Lakovic languages/Sketchbook

Originally Bjeheond, Talma and Txapoalli; today worldwide
Linguistic classification:One of Tricin's primary language families
Txapoallian Lakovic

The Lakovic languages (/ləˈkoʊvɪk/ lə-KOH-vik; Windermere: fi imbrits Lăcof Bjeheondian: [vɪ (ʔ)ɪmˈbrits ləˈkaov]) are a major Trician language family, originally native to Bjeheond. The family is inspired by Semitic, Mon-Khmer and Austronesian languages.

The family is named after *läkoF, the PLak reconstructed word for 'human'. *läkoF is the etymon of Windermere Wen Lăchua '(poetic) Wen Dămea', Tseer lakow 'free', and several other ethnonyms of Lakovic-speaking peoples such as Dak'ox.


Language with dissimilated reduplicated plurals/verbs

some confusion between derivational affixes and trigger/applicatives in Ashanic

an ergative Lakovic language

a Txapoallian Lakovic language with a possessed classifier system


The Proto-Lakovic urheimat is thought to have been Bjeheond, based on the distribution of the family and reconstructed Proto-Lakovic vocabulary for Bjeheondian fauna and flora and tropical rainy and dry seasons.

Proto-Lakovic culture


Most scholars agree on the following major branches:


The reconstructed phonology of PLak


Labial Dental Domed Palatal Velar Laryngeal
Nasal *m /m/ *n /n/ /ŋ/
Plosive voiced *b /b/ *d /d/ *g /ɡ/
voiceless *p /p/ *t /t/ *k /k/ *Q, /ʔ/
Affricate *c /t͡s/ /t͡ʂ/
Fricative *F /ɸ/ *s /s/ /ʂ/ /ʃ/ *X, *H
Resonant *w /w/ *l /l/ *r /r/ *y /j/

Little is known about the laryngeals *Q, *H, *X. Some conjectured realizations are:

  • Q = /ʔ/ or /q/
  • H = /ʁ/ (causes pharyngealized vowels in Æ)
  • X = /h/, /x/ or /ç/

The laryngeals may have developed allophones in different environments, leading to conditioned reflexes in daughter lnaguages.


i u e o ä a

ä is thought to have been short /a/ or /ɐ/ while a was long /aː/.


Proto-Lakovic was dominated by CV or CVC syllables. Some prefixes and infixes resulted in CC- initials.

Proto-Lakovic morphology

Should be less like Idavic/Netagin

Root structure

Roots consisted of a sequence of consonants plus an inherent vowel. There was schwebeablaut: the vowel could change position within the root. The roots could be of the form

  1. biconsonantal roots alternating between CVC and CCV. Example: sep ~ spe 'to walk'
  2. triconsonantal roots alternating between CCVC, CVCC, and CVCVC. Example: ptsun ~ putsn ~ putsun 'to live'
  3. 4-consonant roots like cpalg ~ cplag 'to cry out' (Wdm. tspong 'to demand' and tsloc 'to cry out')

Statistically, biconsonantal roots in Lakovic are somewhat more common than in Semitic; triconsonantal roots are derived from biconsonantals via root extensions.

Various prefixes, infixes and suffixes were added to derive words. Some infixes had 2 allomorphs, either as an infix or as a prefix: C<əC>CVC or C-CVC/C-CVCC.

Three-consonant roots had 3 ablaut grades, traditionally called:

  • Verbal grade: CCVC
  • Nominal grade: CVCC
  • Long nominal grade: CVCVC

The CVCC grade had some reflexes with either the first C assimilating into V or the second C (explain some words like muad, yar or -b, -d finals)

Weak roots

Weak roots such as *yriš 'to think' and *sapQ 'to pull' have irregularities in their allomorphs, like weak roots in Semitic. The weak consonants are y, w, H, and Q.

With week roots, either the verbal stem (e.g. yriš > riš) or the nominal stem (sap' > sap 'to pull, to drag') or both are shortened, and either drops or assimilates the weak consonant.


Nouns were pluralized by total reduplication:

  • lakof 'person' > lakof-lakof 'people'
  • ptek 'flesh' > ptek-ptek 'a large quantity of flesh'

There was an honorific suffix -is/-s. The semantic shift from honorific to feminine was an areal feature of Talman Lakovic languages.

Nouns had no morphological case; genitive noun phrases were formed by concatenation.

Ashanic developed a new associative plural suffix -am, from PLak päm 'that; those' (the -am in Modern Windermere plural pronouns łănam, ănam).

Case markers

Case markers came before the noun:

  • xu = direct case (the noun in focus)
  • Hit = indirect case


Most branches of Lakovic show evidence for the following PLak pronouns:

  • *riH = I
  • *bəŋ = we (dual inclusive)
  • *śen = thou
  • *śens = thou (hon)
  • *Qin = he
  • *Qins = he (hon)

PLak had no plural pronouns; it made do with associative plurals or demonstratives instead.

Verbs and adjectives

Proto-Lakovic was a verb-heavy language: verbs contained enough information that a sentence could consist of just a verb, and context made sense of the meaning.

Verbs inflected for triggers, TAM, pluractionality, evidentiality, and gender agreement. Present-day Lakovic languages preserve these inflections to varying levels.


  • wa- = honorific


  • unmarked or li- = imperfective
  • -H = perfective
  • hem- = change of state for statives?
  • various reduplifixes for other TAMs:
    • F(M)ä- = iterative
    • FaL- = intensive
    • iL, qol-iL- almost X, X a little
    • saL- = inceptive
    • HenFa- = frequentative
    • taFi- = graduative
    • ongFa- = X for oneself, X in advance


Triggers (giving the noun in the direct case specific semantic roles) were marked by adding infixes to the verbal grade of the root. Proto-Lakovic had eight triggers:

  • agent trigger: unmarked?
  • patient trigger: əp
  • destination trigger: əŋ
  • locative trigger: it
  • ablative/cause trigger: əm/nəm
  • instrument trigger: əg
  • benefactive trigger: əkəm
  • comitative trigger: lis

In most branches (Ashanic, Tseeric, Tumhanic, Pfiunic, Häskä, Tsrovesh), the original trigger system became a set of derivational affixes, much like binyanim (originally marking voice) in Semitic languages. Txapoallian Lakovic reinterpreted the trigger system into a more head-marking, polysynthetic system. Only some modern Eta-Lakovic languages retain a trigger system today.


The most common ways to form deverbal nouns were:

  • Using the nominal grade CVCC of the root
  • The ay infix
  • using instrument, place and agent affixes.

Derivational morphology


Three-consonant roots had 3 ablaut grades, traditionally called:

  • Verbal grade: CCVC
  • Nominal grade: CVCC
  • Long nominal grade: CVCVC

Root extensions

There is much evidence that the truly basic roots were CVC~CCV roots, and CVCC~CCVC roots were derived from CVC~CCV via suffixing a third root consonant.

  • ngit = to happen
    • ngitw~ngtiw = new


  • -s: honorific, nominalization
    • Source of breathy voice ablaut in Wdm.
  • r prefix or infix: non-volitional or passive verbs
    • Ashanic *àr, Wdm. , năr/măr
  • ay = deverbal noun
  • ong = place noun
  • X = agentive or instrument
    • Wdm root vowel breathiness
  • aH = verb forming prefix or infix
    • Wdm initial voicing, sometimes also breathy root vowel
  • biH- = agentive
    • Wdm. pă- + voicing (not productive)
    • Tseer ba-
  • ha- = resultative (passive in Windermere)
  • t- = intensive, denominals
    • Wdm. th- or t- (not productive)
  • Qu- = intensive
    • Wdm. th-u-
  • ya- = adjectivizer; from ya 'with'
    • Wdm. yă-, Tseer xi-, Häskä yə-
  • f- = negative; the opposite or undoing of X
    • not productive in Wdm
    • Tseer ø-

Proto-Lakovic syntax

Proto-Lakovic had flexible word order, but the most common word order was VSO.


  • spe-H Hit Qopr-is Xu riH (walk-PFV IND height-FEM DIR 1SG) = I walked up high (neutral)
  • s<əŋ>pe-H Hit riH Xu Qopris (<DEST>walk-PFV IND 1SG DIR high) = I walked up high (emphasis on "up high")

Copular sentences

Proto-Lakovic was zero-copula (different descendants use different etymologies for the copula).

This caused some triggers to be reinterpreted as noun-deriving affixes in some daughter languages. Demonstration by contrived example, with the instrument trigger:

pəktuś Hit riH Hit Qin Xu məHokis.
INSTstab IND 1SG IND 3SG.M DIR stone-F
I stabbed him with the stone.

was reinterpreted as something like "The stone was my stabbing-instrument [for piercing] him".