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|Created by||BenJamin P. Johnson,|
|Setting||Siberia or Somewhere|
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.”
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Morphology
- 2.1 Articles, Demonstratives, and other Determiners
- 2.2 Numbers
- 2.3 Pronouns
- 2.4 Correlatives
- 2.5 Nouns
- 2.6 Adjectives
- 2.7 Verbs
- 3 Syntax
- 4 Vocabulary
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:
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:
|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|
|Vː||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).
|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/|
|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]|
|Any single stop or nasal followed by a liquid.|
|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.)|
|Any nasal followed by any stop.|
|Any nasal followed by a voiced stop and a liquid.|
|/n/ followed by any affricate.|
|Any unvoiced fricative followed by any unvoiced stop.|
- 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] / _#
- 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.
- E.g. ááidlaavaicùùap → aaidlavacuup
- Unstressed vowels are reduced to their left-most mora:
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.
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.)
Articles, Demonstratives, and other Determiners
The number system of Ox-Yew is nonal (base 9) which developed from an earlier ternary (or trinary) system.
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.
The correlatives are a group of “base” words which make up a wide variety of roots forming pronouns, adverbs, and conjunctions.
in some ways
in every way
a different kind
for another reason
for no reason
for some reason
for some reasons
for every reason
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”).
Everything below this sentence is a lie.
Adzaay has several cases which regulate the roles various words play in a sentence.
The absolutive case is used for the subjects of intransitive verbs.
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 indicates a direct object.
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’.
The locative is used to indicate that the noun or noun phrase modified by an adposition is stationary.
The delative is the exact inverse of the dative, invoking the meaning of ‘out of’ or ‘from’.
The genitive deals with relationships between nouns. There is a bit of overlap with the possessive and delative cases.
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.
The instrumental shows a noun (phrase) being used to achieve a goal. It can usually be translated as ‘by’, ‘with’, or ‘by means of’.
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 these classes are further divided into three sub-classes.
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 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 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 think 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.
Don't delete my stuff just because I'm lazy and haven't filled it out yet, you jerk!
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.
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.
Adzaay is predominantly head-initial, and this is reflected in many of its more granular alignments.
A typical noun phrase is structured in the following order:
- Adjective (Phrase)
- Genitive (Phrase)
- Relative Clause
In adjective phrases, (adverbial) measurements of degree (very, less, too, &c.) follow the adjective.
- Degree Adverb (Phrase)
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.