Lakovic languages

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

Created by
Bjeheond, Talma, Etalocin, Txapoalli
Linguistic classificationOne of Hmøøh's primary language families
  • Naengic
  • Häskä
  • Tseer
  • Tumhanic
  • Txapoallian Lakovic
  • Pfiunic

The Lakovic languages (/ləˈkoʊvɪk/ lə-KOH-vik; Naeng: fi imbrits Lăcof Bjeheondian: [vɪ (ʔ)ɪmˈbrits ləˈkaov]) are a major Hmøøhian language family, originally native to Bjeheond. The most populous members of the family are the Nakwax dialect continuum spoken in Txapoalli, the Æ language of northwest Taivíor, and the (usually mutually intelligible) vernaculars derived from Classical Tseer. The family is inspired by Semitic, Mon-Khmer and Austronesian languages.

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


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

A Dinka-like language


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 Mediterranean-climate rainy winters and dry summers.

Proto-Lakovic culture


Most scholars agree on the following major branches:


The reconstructed phonology of PLak


Labial Dental/Alveolar Lateral Palatal Velar Laryngeal
Nasal *m /m/ *n /n̪/ /ŋ/
Plosive voiceless *p /p/ *t /t̪/ *k /k/ /ʔ/
voiced *b /b/ *d /d̪/ *g /ɡ/
implosive /ɓ/ /ɗ/
Affricate *c /t̪͡s̪/ /t͡ɬ/
Fricative *f /ɸ/ *s /s̪/ /ɬ/ /ʃ/ *x /χ/ *h /ɦ/
Resonant *w /w/ *r /r/ *l /l̪/ *y /j/

The voiceless stops p t k ts tś were weakly aspirated like Japanese voiceless stops.

m n l r could be syllabic in unstressed affixes.


i u e o ă a

ă is thought to have been short /a/ or /ɐ/ while a was long /aː/. a could not occur unstressed and regularly reduced to ă.


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

Proto-Lakovic morphology

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. One example is *Hedn "being" and *Hdek "to inhabit", both derived from the root *Hed "to exist".

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)

The long nominal grade first arose in Late Proto-Lakovic: the nominal grade CVCC turned to CVCVC when doing so epenthesized less "nice" consonant clusters. Then CVCVC became analyzed as a new ablaut grade.

Weak roots

Weak roots such as *yriš 'to think' and *săpQ '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. This leads to apparent irregularities like nominal yirš ~ verbal riš.


Nouns were pluralized by total reduplication:

  • lăkof 'person' > lăkof-lăkof 'people'
  • lban 'water > lban-lban 'a lot of water'

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

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


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

  • *riH = I
  • *băŋ = we (dual inclusive)
  • *śen = thou
  • *śens = thou (hon)
  • *ʔin = s/he
  • *ʔins = s/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.


The following verb affixes marked lexical aspect and voice/transitivity/denominality.

  • unmarked or li- = imperfective
  • -H = perfective
  • hem- = change of state for statives?
  • various reduplifixes for other TAMs:
    • F(M)ă- = iterative
    • FaL- = intensive
    • iL, qol-iL- almost X, X a little
    • săL- = inceptive
    • HenFă- = frequentative
    • tăFi- = graduative
    • ongFă- = X for oneself, X in advance
  • ăp
  • ăŋ
  • it
  • ăm/năm
  • ăg
  • kăm
  • lis


The most common ways to form deverbal nouns were:

  • Using the nominal grade CVCC of the root
  • The ăy 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

The distinction is best preserved in non-Talman Lakovic languages, and to an extent Naeng; the Talman ones went fast and loose with ablaut grades just like most branches of IE did.

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. , ngăr/măr
  • ăy = deverbal noun
  • ong = place noun
  • X = agentive or instrument
    • Wdm root vowel breathiness
  • ăf = verb forming prefix or infix
    • Wdm initial voicing, sometimes also breathy root vowel
  • bif- = agentive
    • Wdm. pă- + voicing (not productive)
    • Tseer ba-
  • xă- = resultative (passive in Windermere)
  • t- = intensive, denominals
    • Wdm. th- or t- (not productive)
  • Qu- = intensive
    • Wdm. th-u-
  • yă- = adjectivizer; from '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 unmarked word order VSO.


  • spe-f fit Qopr-is ŋă rif (walk-PFV IND height-FEM DIR 1SG) = I walked up high (neutral)
  • s<əŋ>pe-f fit rif ŋă 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:

păktuś fit rif fit Qin ŋă măXokis.
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".

Copular sentences are zero-copula and do not use case markers except Hit: biHdaŋ Hit lakoF. = 'The person is a soldier/warrior.'

Some "adjectives" are actually prepositional phrases instead of verbs:

*Xu Qopr fit fedn Xtăr. (PRED high.NOM DIR creature black) 'The black one is up high.'

Sample text

The Round Table

**ŋift ntor mangār se dak kaft. "mef raq śen ʔam?" dambic pin bindaq PN. mi qangfnung katkfat nataX qemrecal sen Hdān: "šruk day qatsHiw: dak manknas, tap day amfuc ftom, liw qatsalfiw, tak malfuc, n-dHon talak." "fna mef raq, sru fenfden grāt nataX? dambic pin bindaq PN. "gaŋaX, pin bindaq: cār bindik panratfaŋ, day fanpsak binkawantik nataX ya pin grāt pi!" "qaruy šaX-kaft se caruŋ sen tapal panaw panaw." empsfŋim šaX pin kaft pin bindaq PN.

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