Peshpeg

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Introduction

The Peshpeg language, or Agalaion Kirmon Peshpega ("the way true humans speak"), is a seriously endangered language in the valleys of the Kilmay Rī Mountains and the prefectures of south-central Minhay. The language is considered moribund: according to the last census, only about ninety fluent speakers remain, all older than sixty years. Younger generations speak only Minhast, from either the Wolf Speaker, Stone Speaker, or City Speaker dialects. Efforts to revitalize the language have been largely unsuccessful; with the exception of the City Speakers, most Minhast are either apathetic or even actively hostile to revitalization efforts. Social and economic discrimination towards the Peshpegs has only accelerated the decline of the language.

Peshpeg is classified as a language isolate. Any similarities to the Minhast language are due to language contact, with most of the influences being unidirectional; only a handful of Peshpeg words, most of them related to the fauna and flora of their original homeland, have been adopted by the Wolf Speaker and Stone Speaker dialects. However, Minhast has had an enormous impact on the Peshpeg language; close to 70% of the Peshpeg lexicon come from Minhast, the original base-10 numerical system has been supplanted by the vegisimal system of the dominant language, and the loss of certain phonemes and adoption of new ones are due to Minhast pressure on the Peshpeg language. Even the root kirm- (language) in Kirmon Peshpega is of Minhast origin. Some linguists have explored the possibility of a relationship with Golahát, another endangered, non-Minhast language, but plausible evidence for such a relationship has not been demonstrated.


Phonology

Orthography

Consonants

Vowels

Prosody

Stress

Intonation

Phonotactics

Morphophonology

Morphology

Nouns

Peshpeg nouns fall into one of four declensions, based on the shape and/or behaviour of the nominal root. Four cases are recognized, although the second and fourth declensions are defective. Irregularities are common.

Case Noun Classes
First Declension Second Declension Third Declension Fourth Declension
Singulative Plural Singulative Plural Singulative Plural Singulative Plural
Direct peshpegas peshpega nafos nafon paefnes paefne kirs kirm
Construct peshpegas peshpegan nafnes nafnen pefes pefen kirmos kirmon
Dative peshpeganas peshpegana nafnesi pefnas pefna kirmok
Oblique peshpegas peshpega nafnis nafnik pifnis pifnik
Meaning man, human being bone tree speech

The plural form is the unmarked form, whereas the Singulative is marked with the suffix -s. Often this suffix elides the final consonant of the noun root.

Second declension nouns characteristically lose their final root vowel in the non-Direct cases.

Ablaut in the non-Direct cases is a feature of third declension nouns. Generally the root vowel of the noun changes to an /e/ or /ɪ,i/ if the root vowel is /a, /æ/; nevertheless, in the majority of cases the ablaut patterns must be memorized.

For all cases, the Oblique case marker is -k, or in the case of first declension nouns, -ka, but a preceding /g/ causes the affix to elide to it, as in the case of peshpega (not *peshpegka).

The fourth declension is associated with abstract nouns. Note that the Dative has merged with the Oblique.

Articles

Peshpeg has only definite articles; indefiniteness is expressed by lack of an article. There are four forms of the definite article, each which must agree with the declension of the noun they modify. In the modern language, articles appear before the noun they modify, in contrast with older forms of the language. The change in word order is a result of Minhast influence, where modifiers precede precede their heads. With the exception of the direct case, the stem for the definite article of first declension nouns is do-. Note that the in possessive constructions, definite articles agree with the declension class of the possessum but take the case of the possessor.

Case Articles
First Declension Second Declension Third Declension Fourth Declension
Singulative Plural Singulative Plural Singulative Plural Singular Plural
Direct tas tal talos talo talis tali talis talim
Dative dors dorhi tados tador tanos tanok tala
Oblique dorhas dorhat tados tadon tados tadok

Postpositions

Peshpeg has borrowed all of its postpositions from Minhast. These postpositions may be combined with different nominal inflections to modify spatial or locative relations, or to supplement areas not covered by the native case system. For example, the first declension lacks a locative case, but the suffix -ki, a locative clitic borrowed directly from Minhast, may be employed for first declension nouns if need be. Moreover, they may be combined with native positional nouns that are joined to their dependents in the construct case to add further distinctions, e.g. Taros enta naptenki tal unat sarbakol "Taros pulled out the gall inside the boy('s chest)" taros enta napt-en-ki unat sarbakol -> PN gall heart-CONSTR-LOC ART boy pull.out.

Postpositional Clitics
Case Postposition
Dative-Allative =āran
=(a)ran
Benefactive =nī
=ni
Ablative =yār
=yar
Locative =kī
=ki
Instrumental =pār
=par
Commitative =kān
=kan
Malefactive =dāš

Numbers

The Minhast number system has entirely replaced the native Peshpeg system in its original form. The only difference is that the verbal forms of the numbers have not been imported.

As an illustration of how pervasive the influence of Minhast was on Peshpeg, observe that /x/ and /ʃ/, the allophone /ħ/, and vowel length and consonantal gemination, which are otherwise not a part of the native Peshpeg phonological inventory, have been imported as well.

Number Cardinal Ordinal
one šūmi sanannūx, manx
two šānī šānāx
three duxt duxtāx
four meneħ menhāx
five kaħtam kaħtamāx
six silix silxāx
seven gelix gilxāx
eight mun munāx
nine karun karnāx
ten tazem tazmāx
eleven šiktāz šiktezāx
twelve sen senāx
thirteen halk halkāx
fourteen duggalk duggalxāx
fifteen āš āšāx
sixteen neš nešāx
seventeen manšat manšatāx
eighteen zenat zenatāx
nineteen zelkark zelkarkāx
twenty šentāz šentezāx
twenty-one šentāz-u-šum šentāz-u-manāx
twenty-two šentāz-u-šan šentāz-u-šanāx
twenty-three šentāz-u-duxt šentāz-u-duxtāx
thirty šentāz-u-tazem šentāz-u-tazmāx
forty saššentāz saššentezāx
fifty saššentāz-u-tazem saššentāz-u-tazmāx
sixty duššentāz duššentezāx
seventy duššentāz-u-tazem duššentezāx-u-tazmāx
eighty meneštazem meneštazmāx
ninety meneštazem-u-tazem meneštazmāx-u-tazmāx
one hundred gādi gādyāx
one thousand gaggādi gaggadyāx




Syntax

Constituent order

Old and Middle Peshpeg exhibited VSO order, but the modern language is now an SOV language due to Minhast influence. Because the nominative and accusative cases have merged into the direct case, word order is strict.

Noun phrase

Verb phrase

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses

Example texts

Other resources