Ox-Yew

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Ox-Yew
Adzaay
Pronunciation[ädˈɮäːtɬʼ]
Created byBenJamin P. Johnson,

creator of:

curator of:

Date2019
SettingSiberia or Somewhere
  • Ox-Yew
Language codes
BRCLoxyw

Adzaay (or Adɮāλ) is an a priori, possibly non-terrestrial language whose phonology, morphology, grammar, and really whose entire weltanschauung is inextricably tied to sets of three. Their number system is nonal (3×3); there are three vowels; there are three of each type of consonant; there are three noun classes (or “genders,” but that word really isn’t useful here); there are even three finite grammatical moods.

Since [ädˈɮäːtɬ’] doesn't really roll off the tongue of the average native speaker of most European languages, the alternative name “Ox-Yew” (or the Language of the Ox-Yew People) is derived from a mistranslation of what early researchers believed the people to be called; in reality, the people of a nearby village who directed them where to find the main Ox-Yew village had said something more along the lines of: “Why would you want to go there? It's just cows and trees.”

Phonology

Vowels

Short: /i a u/

Diphthongs: /ia̯ iu̯ ai̯ au̯ ui̯ ua̯/

Long: /ī ā ū/

Long Diphthongs: /īa̯ īu̯ āi̯ āu̯ ūi̯ ūa̯/

Diphthongs are always falling, but if a diphthong starting with /i/ or /u/ appears at the beginning of a word (i.e. with no onset), it is realized as a glide ([j] or [w], respectively).

Because of the limited range of vowels, a vowel chart is almost wasted for Adzaay, but here you go:

  Fronty Middlin’ Backish
High: ⟨i⟩ /i/
⟨ii⟩ /iː/
  ⟨u⟩ /u/
⟨uu⟩ /uː/
Mid:    
 
 
Low:   ⟨a⟩ /a/
⟨aa⟩ /aː/
 

The diphthongs do not vary other than by length:
Adzaay diphthongs

Stress

Stress is moraic with a dactylic substructure. Stress falls on longest, left-most syllable. Where morae are equal, long vowels have a higher priority than diphthongs, which have a higher priority than final consonants. There are xxxxxx possible syllable weights:

  Morae Priority Description Examples
V 1 12 Short vowel, no coda. qu, tra, ci
VC 2 11 Short vowel, monomoraic coda. zib, plif, dan
VV̯ 2 10 Diphthong, no coda. wau, nui, kai
2 9 Long vowel, no coda. ii, kuu, traa
VCC 3 8 Short vowel, bimoraic coda. vrihk, truvk, tutt
VV̯C 3 7 Diphthong, monomoraic coda. kais, zaud, bzuim
VːC 3 6 Long vowel, monomoraic coda. aax, kiic, dzuuq
VːV̯ 3 5 Long diphthong, no coda. giiu, maai, nuua
VVCC 4 4 Diphthong, bimoraic coda. kaist, hiapp, vruahk
VːCC 4 3 Long vowel, bimoraic coda. aant, uukk, liist
VːV̯C 4 2 Long diphthong, monomoraic coda. waaum, qaais, bziiuv
VːV̯CC 5 1 Long diphthong, bimoraic coda. muuivk, faaitt, yiiaft

Non-stressed syllables are reduced. (See Phonotactics).

Consonants

  Fronty Middlin’ Backish
Unvoiced Stop: ⟨p⟩ /p/ ⟨t⟩ /t/ ⟨k⟩ /k/
Voiced Stop: ⟨b⟩ /b/ ⟨d⟩ /d/ ⟨g⟩ /ɡ/
Fricative: ⟨s⟩ /s/ ⟨f⟩ /ʃ/ ⟨h⟩ /x/
Homorganic Affricate: ⟨c⟩ /t͡s/ ⟨q⟩ /t͡ʃ/ ⟨j⟩ /d͡ʒ/
Heterorganic Affricate: ⟨w⟩ /d͡v/ ⟨y⟩ /t͡ɬ/ ⟨x⟩ /t͡x/
Liquid: ⟨z⟩ /ɮ/ ⟨r⟩ /r/ ⟨l⟩ /l/
Nasal: ⟨m⟩ /m/ ⟨n⟩ /n/ ⟨v⟩ /ŋ/

Phonotactics

Syllable Structure

Front   Mid   Back
  Onsets Medial
Clusters
Codae     Onsets Medial
Clusters
Codae     Onsets Medial
Clusters
Codae
Any single phoneme.
/p/ p p p [ɸ] /t/ t t t [θ] /k/ k k k [χ]
/b/ b b b [β] /d/ d d d [ð] /ɡ/ g g g [ɣ]
/t͡s/ c c c [t͡sʼ] /t͡ʃ/ q q q [t͡ʃʼ] /d͡ʒ/ j j j [d͡ʒˑ]
/d͡v/ w w w [d͡vˑ] /t͡ɬ/ y y y [t͡ɬʼ] /t͡ʀ/ x x x [t͡χʼ]
/m/ m m m /n/ n n n /ŋ/ v v v
/ɮ/ z z z /r/ r r r /l/ l l l
/s/ s s s /ʃ/ f f f /x/ h h h
Any single stop or nasal followed by a liquid.
/pɮ/ pz pz /tɮ/ tz tz /kɮ/ kz kz
/bɮ/ bz bz /dɮ/ dz dz /ɡɮ/ gz gz
/pr/ pr pr /tr/ tr tr /kr/ kr kr
/br/ br br /dr/ dr dr /ɡr/ gr gr
/pl/ pl pl /tl/ tl tl /kl/ kl kl
/bl/ bl bl /dl/ dl dl /ɡl/ gl gl
/mɮ/ mz mz /nɮ/ nz nz /ŋɮ/ vz vz
/mr/ mr mr /nr/ nr nr /ŋr/ vr vr
/ml/ ml ml /nl/ nl nl /ŋl/ vl vl
Any geminate consonant.
/pː/ pp pp [p] /tː/ tt tt [t] /kː/ kk kk [k]
/bː/ bb bb [b] /dː/ dd dd [d] /ɡː/ ɡɡ ɡɡ [ɡ]
/t͡sː/ (There are no geminate affricates.) /t͡ʃː/ (There are no geminate affricates.) /d͡ʒː/ (There are no geminate affricates.)
/d͡vː/ /t͡ɬː/ /t͡ʀː/
/mː/ mm /nː/ nn /ŋː/ vv
/ɮː/ zz /rː/ rr /lː/ ll
/sː/ ss /ʃː/ ff /xː/ hh
Any nasal followed by any stop.
/mp/ mp mp /nt/ nt nt /ŋk/ vk vk
/mb/ mb /nd/ nd /ŋɡ/ vg
Any nasal followed by a voiced stop and a liquid.
/mbɮ/ mbz /ndɮ/ ndz /ŋɡɮ/ vgz
/mbr/ mbr /ndr/ ndr /ŋɡr/ vgr
/mbl/ mbl /ndl/ ndl /ŋɡl/ vgl
/n/ followed by any affricate.
/nt͡s/ nc /nt͡ʃ/ nq /nd͡ʒ/ nj
/nd͡v/ nw /nt͡ɬ/ ny /nt͡ʀ/ nx
Any unvoiced fricative followed by any unvoiced stop.
/sp/ sp sp sp /ʃp/ fp fp fp /xp/ hp hp hp
/st/ st st st /ʃt/ ft ft ft /xt/ ht ht ht
/sk/ sk sk sk /ʃk/ fk fk fk /xk/ hk hk hk [χ]
  • All syllables must have a nucleus, but onsets and codas are not required. Syllables in the same word must have either a coda or an onset dividing them (i.e. two syllable nuclei must be separated by at least one consonant.)
  • In words with no consonantal onset beginning with a short diphthong, the diphthong switches from falling to rising; that is, the initial element of the diphthong is realized as a glide. (This does not apply to ⟨ai⟩ and ⟨au⟩.)
    • ⟨iu, ia, ui, ua⟩ → [ju, ja, wi, wa] / #_
  • In words with no consonantal onset beginning with a long diphthong, the long element of the diphthong is subject to fracture. (This does not apply to ⟨aai⟩ and ⟨aau⟩.)
    • ⟨iiu, iia, uui, uua⟩ → [jiu, jia, wui, wua]
    • In some dialects this may even cause the “length” to shift to the second element: ⟨iiu, iia, uui, uua⟩ → [juː, jaː, wiː, waː]
    • Single stop consonants become spirantised in coda position.
      • ⟨p, t, k, b, d, g⟩ → [ɸ, θ, x, β, ð, ɣ] / _#
    • Geminate stop consonants become non-geminate in coda position.
      • ⟨pp, tt, kk, bb, dd, gg⟩ → [p, t, k, b, d, ɡ] / _#
    • Unvoiced affricates have an ejective release in coda position; voiced affricates have a lengthened release.
      • ⟨c, q, j, w, y, x⟩ → [t͡sʼ, t͡ʃʼ, d͡ʒː, d͡vː, t͡ɬʼ, t͡xʼ] / _#

Liquid Dissimilation

  • When two identical liquids occur in the same or adjacent syllables, the right-most liquid changes: l → r → z → l, e.g.:
    • bzaukzi → bzaukli
    • graar → graaz
    • brulaaul → brulaaur
  • In words where three liquids appear, all liquids are dissimilated even if a different liquid separates two of the same. This may cause chain shifting in compound words until the order described above can be observed, e.g.:
    • bratluir → bratluiz
    • raagraz → raagzaz → raagzal
    • dravglal → dravglar (but regularization does not wrap, so here, two /r/s are acceptable.)

Vowel Reduction in Syllables with Non-Primary Stress

  • Vowels with secondary stress are reduced by their right-most mora. Secondary stress is almost always separated primary stress by two unstressed syllables.
ia
iu
ii
→ i ai
au
aa
→ a ui
ua
uu
→ u
iia
iiu
→ ii aai
aau
→ aa uui
uua
→ uu
    • E.g. ááidlaavaicùùap → aaidlavacuup
  • Unstressed vowels are reduced to their left-most mora:

ia
iu
ii
iia
iiu

→ i

ai
au
aa
aai
aau

→ a

ui
ua
uu
uui
uua

→ u

Cluster Reduction between Syllables with Non-Primary Stress

The number of consonant clusters which can occur intervocalically between syllables with non-primary stress is dramatically reduced. Somehow. Probably. I think.

Also, stress is primarily dactylic, somehow, probably, I think.

Particles and affixes may be reduplicated in order to maintain the dactylic meter, especially in formal or poetic speech.

Orthography

Adzaay has three distinct orthographies. There is a native writing system (patent pending...); a “presentational” orthography, which uses some diacritics and some non-standard characters to present the language a little more compactly and with a few slightly more intuitive graphemes; and a “utility” orthography, which uses 24 letters of the standard 26-letter Latin alphabet. (The letters O and E are not used.)

Function Form IPA Series
⟨p⟩⟩ p stop, unvoiced
⟨t⟩⟩ t stop, unvoiced
⟨k⟩⟩ k stop, unvoiced
⟨b⟩⟩ b stop, voiced
⟨d⟩⟩ d stop, voiced
⟨g⟩⟩ g stop, voiced
⟨s⟩⟩ s fricative
⟨f⟩ ⟨⟨š⟩⟩ ʃ fricative
⟨h⟩⟩ x fricative
⟨c⟩⟩ t͡s affricate, homorganic
⟨q⟩ ⟨⟨č⟩⟩ t͡ʃ affricate, homorganic
⟨j⟩⟩ d͡ʒ affricate, homorganic
⟨w⟩ ⟨⟨ȸ⟩⟩ d͡v affricate, heterorganic
⟨y⟩ ⟨⟨λ⟩⟩ t͡ɬ affricate, heterorganic
⟨x⟩ ⟨⟨ӿ⟩⟩ t͡x affricate, heterorganic
⟨m⟩⟩ m nasal
⟨n⟩⟩ n nasal
⟨v⟩ ⟨⟨ŋ⟩⟩ ŋ nasal
⟨z⟩ ⟨⟨ɮ⟩⟩ ɮ liquid
⟨r⟩⟩ r liquid
⟨l⟩⟩ l liquid
⟨i⟩⟩ i vowel, short
⟨ii⟩ ⟨⟨ī⟩⟩ vowel, long
⟨ia⟩⟩ ia̯ diphthong, short
⟨iu⟩⟩ iu̯ diphthong, short
⟨iia⟩ ⟨⟨īa⟩⟩ iːa̯ diphthong, long
⟨iiu⟩ ⟨⟨īu⟩⟩ iːu̯ diphthong, long
⟨a⟩⟩ a vowel, short
⟨ai⟩⟩ ai̯ diphthong, short
⟨aa⟩ ⟨⟨ā⟩⟩ vowel, long
⟨au⟩⟩ au̯ diphthong, short
⟨aai⟩ ⟨⟨āi⟩⟩ aːi̯ diphthong, long
⟨aau⟩ ⟨⟨āu⟩⟩ aːu̯ diphthong, long
⟨u⟩⟩ u vowel, short
⟨ui⟩⟩ ui̯ diphthong, short
⟨ua⟩⟩ ua̯ diphthong, short
⟨uu⟩ ⟨⟨ū⟩⟩ vowel, long
⟨uui⟩ ⟨⟨ūi⟩⟩ uːi̯ diphthong, long
⟨uua⟩ ⟨⟨ūa⟩⟩ uːa̯ diphthong, long

Morphology

Articles, Demonstratives, and other Determiners

Numbers

The number system of Ox-Yew is nonal (base 9) which developed from an earlier ternary (or trinary) system.

lif 0 “Teens” Non Dec “Tens” Non Dec “Hundreds” Non Dec &c Non Dec Exp
kai 1 traz 11 10 ya 10 9 lip 100 81 qu 3 3
tra 2 yatra 12 11 tray 20 18 tralip 200 162 ya 10 9
qu 3 qucih 13 12 quuam 30 27 duual 300 243 quuam 30 27
ci 4 yaci 14 13 ciy 40 36 cilip 400 324 lip 100 81 3⁴
wau 5 yawau 15 14 wauy 50 45 waulip 500 405 duual 300 243 3⁵
faa 6 yafaa 16 15 faay 60 54 faalip 600 486 fak 1,000 729 3⁶
nui 7 yanui 17 16 nuiy 70 63 nuilip 700 567 fakuuam 3,000 2,187 3⁷
aax 8 yaax 18 17 aaxa 80 72 aaxip 800 648 yafak 10,000 6,561 3⁸
ya 10 (9) tray 20 18 lip 100 81 fak 1,000 729 quuamblip 30,000 19,683 3⁹

Pronouns

The personal pronouns are borrowed directly from the “animate” correlatives, below. They inflect for first, second, and third “person” which correspond directly to the proximal, medial, and distal deixes. They also inflect for “inanimate” non-persons as well as “abstract” non-persons, though here it is important to be familiar with the noun class system, as not everything in the abstract class is necessarily intangible, nor is everything in the inanimate class non-living. For that matter, the animate class contains many nouns we might not consider animate, yet they are “conjugated” as people.

Correlatives

The correlatives are a group of “base” words which make up a wide variety of roots forming pronouns, adverbs, and conjunctions.

  Proximal Medial Distal Interrogative Relative Negative General Quantal Universal
ka- tu- pi- qui- jua- jai- mlai- vlu- kua-
Animate -m kam
I
tum
you
pim
he, she
quim
who
juam
who
jaim
no one
mlaim
someone
vlum
some (people)
kuam
everyone
Inanimate -t kat
this (thing)
tut
that (thing)
pit
yon (thing)
quit
what
juat
that, which
jait
nothing
mlait
something
vlut
some things
kuat
everything
Abstract -b kab
this (matter)
tub
that (matter)
pib
yon (matter)
quib
what (matter)
juab
that, which
jaib
no matter
mlaib
some matter
vlub
some matters
kuab
every matter
Local -n kan
here
tun
there
pin
elsewhere
quin
where
juan
where
jain
nowhere
mlain
somewhere
vlun
some places
kuan
everywhere
Temporal -d kad
now
tud
then
pid
elsewhen
quid
when
juad
when
jaid
never
mlaid
sometime
vlud
sometimes
kuad
always
Manneral -g kag
like this
tug
like that
pig
somehow else
quig
how
juag
how
jaig
no way
mlaig
somehow
vlug
in some ways
kuag
in every way
Qualitative -l kal
this kind
tul
that kind
pil
a different kind
quil
what kind
jual
which kind
jail
no kind
mlair
some kind
vlur
some kinds
kual
every kind
Explicative -tt katt
because
tutt
therefore
pitt
for another reason
quitt
why
juatt
why
jaitt
for no reason
mlaitt
for some reason
vlutt
for some reasons
kuatt
for every reason
Quantitative -v kav
this much
this many
tuv
that much
that many
piv
another amount
quiv
how much
how many
juav
how much
how many
jaiv
no, none
mlaiv
some amount
vluv
some
kuav
all

The base correlatives can be further modified by various affixes, such as –an, which converts the General correlatives to Electives (i.e. it changes the sense of “some” to “any”).

Nouns

Everything below this sentence is a lie.

Cases

Adzaay has several cases which regulate the roles various words play in a sentence.

Absolutive

The absolutive case is used for the subjects of intransitive verbs.

Ergative

Ergative is used with the subjects of transitive verbs when there is a direct object present. (Only animate nouns can be in the ergative case.)

Accusative

Accusative indicates a direct object.

Dative

The use of the dative in Adzaay is slightly more restrictive than it may be in other languages. It specifically invokes the meaning of ‘to’ or ‘towards’.

Locative

The locative is used to indicate that the noun or noun phrase modified by an adposition is stationary.

Delative

The delative is the exact inverse of the dative, invoking the meaning of ‘out of’ or ‘from’.

Genitive

The genitive deals with relationships between nouns. There is a bit of overlap with the possessive and delative cases.

Possessive

The possessive indicates the possession of one noun by another. Certain types of possession, however, such as inalienable possession (my father, your hand, her talent, &c) are expressed in the genitive.

Instrumental

The instrumental shows a noun (phrase) being used to achieve a goal. It can usually be translated as ‘by’, ‘with’, or ‘by means of’.

Classes

There are three main noun classes in Adzaay, so one might be tempted to call them “genders,” but that term really doesn't work well here, considering that all of the human genders which usually serve as examples of the various grammatical genders all fall into a single noun class. Each of classes are further divided into three sub-classes.

Animate

Animate nouns are comprised of things which are alive and have some semblance of sentience (whether actually, or just culturally). The Animate class is divided into three sub-classes:

Humans & Animals – This one is pretty self-explanatory, though it doesn’t quite evenly line up with the boundaries of the Animalia kingdom: Some corals, sponges, barnacles, and other “lower” animals may be classified as herbs or rocks.

Trees & Sentient Plants – This group includes nearly all trees, all mushrooms and toadstools (though not all other types of fungi), sacred herbs, and plants used for medicine.

Fae Propaganda – A rough translation (the Adzaay term for this class is kzuvgaan ‘dragons’), this sub-class contains deities, mythical or supernatural creatures, cryptids, and elemental forces (fire, water, wind, &c), celestial orbs (sun, moon, stars, planets), certain sacred or haunted spaces, certain forests, beer.

Inanimate

Inanimate nouns are things which are not considered to be alive. The Inanimate class is divided into three sub-classes:

Rocks & Weeds – Rocks, sticks, plants that are considered “useless.”

Geological Formations – Lakes, mountains, rivers, oceans, plains, ravines, forests, tundras, icebergs…

Appendages – This class is comprised of nouns which belong inalienably to nouns of the Animate class: body parts, parts of plants, and even characteristics of Dragon-class nouns, such as “sparks” belonging to fire or “telepathy” belonging to cryptids.

Abstract

Abstract nouns are concepts, ideas, or non-substantives, like feelings, concepts, and symbolic thought. The Abstract class is divided into three sub-classes:

Ideas & Concepts – The truly abstract: feelings, thoughts, ideas, moods, all verbal nouns.

Uncountable – This sub-class isn’t “abstract” in the sense we would normally thing of it, but instead it is comprised of nouns which are neither singular nor plural, often substances, ingredients, or building materials, including most liquids and gasses: water, sand, marble, wood, flour, rice, honey, beans, wine.

Artifice – Finally the last sub-class refers to objects made, created, or modified by animate nouns: Prepared meals, books, houses, animal nests and dens, art.

Adjectives

Verbs

Don't delete my stuff just because I'm lazy and haven't filled it out yet, you jerk!

Tenses

Past
Present
Future

Aspect

Perfect
Progressive/Imperfect
Iterative/Habitual

Mood

Indicative
Potential/Conditional
Imperative/Jussive

Syntax

Alignments

Typology

The typology of Adzaay is predominantly SOV or verb-final. Marked order is OSV. A morphological particle is inserted between the subject and the direct object which is ostensibly a case suffix combined with a case prefix; a different particle is used in marked order.

Morphosyntactic Alignment

Adzaay alignment is tripartite, so nouns and pronouns are differentiated for subject, object, and agentive roles by use of case affixes and/or particles. Only animate nouns can be ergative.

The structure of Adzaay is moderately agglutinative and fusional. Noun phrases are made up of particles which combine them into set phrase-words, including adjectives which they subsume.

Headedness

Adzaay is predominantly head-initial, and this is reflected in many of its more granular alignments.

Noun Phrases

A typical noun phrase is structured in the following order:

  1. NOUN
  2. Adposition
  3. Determiner
  4. Numeral
  5. Adjective (Phrase)
  6. Genitive (Phrase)
  7. Relative Clause

Adjective Phrases

In adjective phrases, (adverbial) measurements of degree (very, less, too, &c.) follow the adjective.

  1. ADJECTIVE
  2. Degree Adverb (Phrase)

Verb Phrases

As mentioned in Typology, Adzaay is a verb-final language, and as such, adverbs always immediately precede the verb. Verbs inflect for person, number, polarity, voice, mood, tense, and aspect.

Vocabulary

Key vocabulary can be found here.