Sowaár

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Sowaár is highly diglossic; unless stated otherwise, this page describes the modern standard register. For the other varieties, see the subpages devoted to individual varieties.
Sowaár/Classical
Sowaár/'Onápaam
Sowaár/Jikhoó'ii
Sowaár/Camánreh
Sowaár/Hosne'éh
Sowaár/New Urban
Sowaár/Wordlist
Sowaár/Swadesh list
Sowaár/Names
Sowaár
Sowaár dasrég
Pronunciation /sʊ̀wɑ̌ːɻ tɑ̀ʂɛ́k/
Created by IlL
Setting Tricin
Region Sowaár daSóol, in Txapoalli
Language family
Writing system Sowaár alphabet
Official status
Official language in Sowaárp'í (de facto)
Regulated by none
ISO 639-3

Forms of Sowaár (English: soo-WAHZH; Amísreg: Sowaár da·srég /sʊ̀wɑ̌ːɻ tɑ̀ʂɛ́k/, gloss: Sowaár 3pl-language-INAL) are the dominant languages in Sowaárp'í in Verse:Tricin/Txapoalli. Sowaár is a non-configurational polysynthetic language with a complex verbal morphology.

Sowaár forms a single dialect continuum and is otherwise an isolate.

External history

Sowaár is made for a Japan- and Britain-inspired country in Tricin but is intended to be very different from Japanese or English. It is aesthetically inspired mainly by Navajo, and secondarily by Hmong and Vietnamese. On the other hand, its grammar is Inuit-inspired. Sowaár has a wide variety of accents and dialects in a small area and a posh accent associated with the upper class, and it also ablauts verbs; that's where the similarities with English end.

Internal history

The name Sowaár literally means "good people" (from so- 'good' + waár, an obsolete root meaning 'people'; some draw a connection to Proto-Quame *kwarom).

Some speculate that Sowaár is related to the Quame languages.

Diglossia

Sowaár is strongly diglossic, with the diglossia influenced by social class. Standard Sowaár, the prestige variety, is a cousin of Classical Sowaár with some borrowing from Classical Sowaár, is the standard language used in literature, formal writing, newsreading, and public announcements. The Amísreg (lit. 'noble language') accent of Standard Sowaár plays a similar role to the RP accent in British English: it is the accent associated with the upper class, and the accent used in public announcements and traditionally in Sot'oó broadcasts. An upper-class person will speak Standard Sowaár natively and speak with an Amísreg accent. On the other end of the spectrum, the lower class speak local lects which are sometimes mutually unintelligible. Amísreg is not a static entity; it is defined as whatever the Sowaár upper class speaks at the time.

The diglossia is also influenced by gender: urban women are more likely than other groups to use more neutral forms and accents (i.e. closer to an abstract pseudo-Amísreg "gynelect"). Since the 1340s (fT), a greater permissiveness towards regional and "nonstandard" varieties of Sowaár has taken hold in education. However, due to greater travel and the mass media, marked features in Sowaár varieties have also begun to disappear. Today, a quasi-"gynelect", New Urban Sowaár, is taking root as the canonical non-posh colloquial dialect.

The hierarchy of lects is roughly as follows:

  • Upper class: Amísreg
  • Professional class: accented Standard Sowaár
  • Middle class: local vernacular + Standard Sowaár
  • Working/lower class: broad local vernacular

Standard Sowaár is the variety taught in Sowaár schools. Non-native learners are first taught Standard Sowaár and are taught to speak in an Amísreg accent. Though most natives are able to speak the proper language from learning it in school, they only choose to use it in certain situations, like greeting a customer, or talking to a stranger over the phone.

The language encountered in Sowaár pop culture is usually Standard Sowaár, with accent depending on the region and social class of the characters. The most frequently used Sowaár varieties in pop culture are the urban middle-class lects (most creators live in or near one of the major urban centers, e.g. 'Onápaam, Jikhoó'ii, Camánreh). Using more unusual lects mark certain types of characters (e.g. rural lects for country hicks, broad urban lects for hypermasculine bros, a caricatured "gynelect" for ditzy teenage girls, Amísreg for posh villains, ...)

Generally, less polysynthetic Sowaár dialects tend to be more fusional and preserve more of the ablaut system of verbs. Conversely, more polysynthetic dialects have simplified their ablaut system drastically, or have no ablaut at all. Standard Sowaár is in the middle of this spectrum.

Todo

  • Badly irregular ablaut like Navajo
  • Some really short roots
  • Should be different from Navajo and Roshterian but still polysynthetic
  • Some Quame-ish words

Phonology

The following describes Amísreg phonology.

Consonants

Amísreg has a large consonant inventory of 36 consonants:

Consonant phonemes in Amísreg
Labial Dental Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral central lateral
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ nr /ɳ/ ny /ɲ/
Stop tenuis b /p/ d /t/ dl /tl/ dr /ʈ/ dlr /ʈɭ/ j /tɕ/ g /k/ ' /ʔ/
aspirated p /pʰ/ t /tʰ/ tl /tɬʰ/ tr /ʈʰ/ tlr /ʈɬʵʰ/ c /tɕʰ/ k /kʰ/
ejective t' /tʼ/ tl' /tɬʼ/ tr' /ʈʼ/ tlr' /ʈɬʵʼ/ c' /tɕʼ/ k' /kʼ/
Fricative s /s/ ł /ɬ/ sr /ʂ/ łr /ɬʵ/ x /ɕ/ kh /x/ h /h/
Approximant w /w/ l /l/ r /ɻ~ɭ/ y /j/

Notes

All consonants in Amísreg are long, compared to English and other Sowaár dialects: with plain stops the hold is longer, with aspirated stops the aspiration is longer, and with affricates the frication is longer. The voice onset time of the aspirated and ejective stops is twice as long as that found in most other languages.

Amísreg retroflexes are subapical (like Tamil retroflexes), unlike retroflexes in other accents. Native speakers describe subapical retroflexes as "posh", "deep" or "dignified".

Vowels

Amísreg has only 4 vowel qualities, although there is phonemic vowel length.

Amísreg oral vowels
Front Back
short long short long
Close i /ɪ/ ii /iː/ o /ʊ/ oo /uː/
Open e /ɛ/ ee /ɛː/ a /ɑ/ aa /ɑː/

Tone

Modern Amísreg has a two-level tone system - every word will have at least one high pitched mora but may have more than one, especially in longer words. A mora with high pitch is marked with an acute accent.

Other Sowaár lects have different tonal systems or none. For example, the Cyamányeh lect has no tone.

Phonotactics

Sowaár allows no initial clusters.

Accents

Main article: Sowaár/Accents

There are two dimensions of linguistic variation in Sowaár:

  • Vocabulary and grammar: Standard Sowaár (He'aásreg) and regional dialects. New Urban Sowaár is a koiné consisting of a mixture of the two, with register changes.
    • He'aásreg itself is a mixture of a local dialect and Classical Sowaár.
  • Accent: Even when speaking Standard Sowaár (not a regional dialect), one is usually expected to keep a regional accent. Having no regional accent at all is associated with being upper class. An Amísreg speaker will speak in Standard Sowaár, but the converse is not usually true.

Orthography

All varieties of Sowaár are written in the Sowaár alphabet, which was originally developed as a phonetic notation system like the IPA. Amísreg spelling is based on Conservative Amísreg.

  • no dot: mid tone
  • one dot below: high tone
  • two dots below: low tone (unpronounced)

Writing vernaculars

Sandhi

All Sowaár lects have extensive sandhi systems. The following describes Standard Sowaár sandhi.

Consonants and vowels

Tone

Morphology

Main article: Sowaár/Morphology

Sowaár is strongly head-marking, like many indigenous languages of North and Central America. More information is conveyed by verbs than in most other languages.

Sowaár has a large number of noun-like constructions which appear on the surface to be phrases, but which are fixed in both meaning and morphology.

Example:

Sowaár tasr la'dat'oóweyiid
/sʊ̀wɑ̌:ɻ tʰɑ̀ʂ lɑ̀ʔtɑ̀tʼǔ:wɛ̀jì:t/
Sowaár da-hasr la'-da-t'oó-e-iid
Sowaár 3PL.AN-for "all directions"-3PL.AN-radiate/REG-REG=NOMZ.AN (REG = TAM for "regularly does something, as in a job")
Sowaár Broadcasting Corporation
Literal translation: "those who regularly send things out in all directions for the Sowaár people"

Syntax

Word order

Amísreg is non-configurational. Noun phrases are head-final.

Clitics

Most conjunctions obey Wackernagel's law; they come after the first syntactic phrase or the first stressed word in a clause.

Nominalizers

Nominalized relative clauses are formed by attaching the nominalizing clitic =in after the clause.

Examples:

  • lisdrój /lɪ̀ʂtʂʊ́c/ = 'I love you' > lisdrójeh /lɪ̀ʂtʂʊ́ceh/ = 'the fact that I love you'
  • sriilohóokh = 'they pile up forming a line' > sriilohóokhin = (a type of scale used in Sowaár music)

Vocabulary

Sowaár vocabulary is nearly exclusively native. A sparse number of words are from Naquic and Tsimulh languages, and recently, Skellan. Borrowed words are almost all nouns.

For example:

Khópab daSóol = Clofabolocin (via Skellan Clofab)

glah → gakháh /kaxah/

Hnawcas Amlad → Náwokas Ámkhad

Iña's Moh > Íikhasmoh

To abbreviate words, Sowaár uses clipping.

Transliterating Skellan

Consonants:

  • /m n ŋ/ = m n n
  • /p t k/ = b d g
  • /pʰ tʰ kʰ/ = p t k
  • /ts tʃ/ = c c
  • /f θ ç χ h/ = p d x kh h
  • /v ð j/ = w d y
  • /s ʃ/ = s x
  • /z ʒ/ = s x
  • /w r r̥ ʟ/ = w r sh kh

Vowels:

  • /i y ə u e~ɛi ø~œy o~ɔu ɛ œ a ɔ/ = ii ii a oo i/eyi i/eyi o/awo e e a a
    • /e ø o/ = i i o for Skellan Eevo, eyi/ewi/awo for Fyxoomian Eevo
  • /ai ui au ɛu iu iə yə uə/ = ayi owi awo ewo iyo iya iya uwa'
  • Fyxoomian: /õˁ ẽˁ~ø̃ˁ ɛ̃ˁ~œ̃ˁ ɔ̃ˁ ãˁ/ = oN iN eN aN aN
  • Skellan: /iɤ yɤ uɤ eɤ øɤ oɤ ɛɤ aɤ ɔɤ/ = iwa iwa owa iwa ewa owa ewa awa awa

Study by non-native speakers

Due to the popularity of Sowaár pop culture across the globe, Sowaár is commonly learned by Sowaárophile otakus. Sowaár is considered one of the most daunting languages for speakers of most Northern languages, due to its morphological complexity and high degree of diglossia.

Poetry

Sowaár poetry uses quantitative meters, like Sanskrit.

(LLLLSLLSSSSSSLLSLLSLL)

(LLLSSLSLSSSLLLSLLSL)

Lyoóshaant’ ólo·sjecyida'eéch’ óna' da·sk’onyáad shéb (LLSSSSSLSSSSLS)
Gáadeéncyok’ oon·táshojyekaad wehacóozh bijháalyin (LLSLSSSLSSLSLS)

Phrasebook

  • 'Áa'weh khéh, mehonol'é? = Hello, how do you do? (gloss: good place, 2SG-CONT-peaceful-INTERR)
  • Khahonolíi. = reply to Mehonol'é? (gloss: 1SG-CONT-peaceful-TVF)
  • Lihosdróy = I love you.
  • Nótr'ahgará be'saambój. Khooh 'ésjol be'saambojáyee'. = "All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others."

Sample Texts

UDHR

Nórkhantóo...
all=human 3PL-GNOM-be-born 3SG.INAN-from GNOM-STAT-free, 3PL-STAT-PASS-honor=NOM=also and 3PL-GNOM-STAT/deserve=NOM 3INAN-GNOM-STAT/equal
Literally: All people from being born are free; their dignity and rights are equal. They-can-TELIC-think=NOMZ and they-can-know-good=NOM, they can use it, they must thus move themselves in the face of each other as if they were brothers.

Serenity

Literally: May I be at peace with what I cannot change, boldly change what I can change, and by thinking wisely, tell the two situations apart.