Thrichian

From Linguifex
Jump to: navigation, search

PREFACE

Thrichian is a fictional language developed by myself, intended to be spoken by the race of people in the province of Thrichia, Lizge. Thrichian is a priori language, meaning that it is not connected in vocabulary or grammar to any living language. This does not mean, however, that there have not been real-world influences on the sounds and tendencies of the language. To name a few, the rhythm and consonant clusters were influenced by Northern Sami, while the stress-timed nature of syllables and reduced high schwa vowel are derived from European Portuguese. Finally, the slender-broad distinction in consonant pronunciations, as well as the consequent velarization of plosives and use of switch vowels, is inspired by Irish Gaelic. Despite many real-world inspirations having guided the language, all the words used in Thrichian have etymologies within the fictional world of Eytha. Although in modern Eytha, technologies such as the telephone, motor vehicles and computers exist, the names of these things are not derived from English, as many real-world languages tend to do. This book is a guide for learning and understanding the complexities of the phonology, orthography, syntax and morphology of the language, in a way that is comprehensible to someone who is familiar with linguistic terms. Prior general linguistic knowledge is necessary to understanding the resources within this book. However, concepts which are not present in English or commonly studied real-world languages are explained. Thrichian’s status throughout Antannuon extends only within the province of Thrichia itself. Outside of it, the language is regarded as vulgar or uncouth by the Lizgese of other provinces and by the peoples of Ifyria and Vemvor to the North and East. Thrichian natives are subject to prejudice and marginalization. They are disliked by Ifyrians and Vemvic for their association with the Lizgese whose conquest has been to wage war against the Isiat Alliance for traditional lands. The former range of Thrichian extended much further than its current geography. Before the unification of Imperial Lizge and its totalitarian regime, Thrichia was a sovereign state which traded often with the West Vemvic state of Wællor. This article details the modern Thrichian language as it is spoken by the characters in Antannuon.

Welcome!

Damhá!

PHONOLOGY

The Thrichian Alphabet contains 30 letters. Accented vowels count separately from their unaccented counterparts. The acute accent in Thrichian represents stress and is sometimes used to distinguish between to homonyms such as nu [nʊ] also and [nuː] word.

VOWELS

Aa /a/

Áá /a/

Ee /ɛ/ or /j/ between vowels or between consonant and stressed vowel

Éé /e/

Ėė /ɜ/ or silent

Ëë /æ/ or /e/ for some speakers

Ii /i/ or /ɪ/ unstressed

Íí /i/

Oo /ɒ/ or /ɞ/ unstressed

Óó /ɒ/

Uu /u/ or /ʊ/ unstressed

Úú /u/

1. Accented vowels are used to distinguish between diphthongs and switch vowels. They indicate stress as well as length. All vowels except for /ɞ, ʊ, ɪ, ɜ/ can be long or geminal when their orthographic representation is an accented vowel in a syllable which would already receive stress in the word. For example, páhtta has a long /ˈpaːʰtːa/ while pahttá does not /pahˈtːa/. Some nouns when pluralized will gain stress for this reason: alíg /aˈlig/ while alígas /aˈliːgaʃ/. Though the spelling doesn‘t change, lengthening occurs because in the second word, the extra syllable means the stress will fall on the penultimate li.

2. Accented vowels are counted as separate because they distinguish words like icastan (unrelenting) and icastán (disrespectful) or a critical distinction heloban (beautiful) and héloban (disastrous). The latter of these examples is a difference in pronunciation indicated, not in stress, as the pattern stays the same but the vowel is raised.

icastan /ɪˈkaʃtan/ icastán /ɪkaʃˈtan/ heloban /ˈhɛlɞban/ héloban /ˈhelɞban/

3. Switch vowels e, a are used to change the pronunciation of a consonant from slender to broad and vice versa.

4. Every vowel has an innate triggering quality, meaning that they trigger a preceding vowel to be pronounced either slender or broad. Vowels i, e, í, é, ë trigger slender pronunciations, while a, á, o, ó, u, ú, ė trigger broad.

5. Letter ė is only pronounced between three or more consonants which are difficult to pronounce together, it is mostly reduced to silent or a very short schwa /ɜ/

6. Diphthongs and triphthongs are always smooth and syllabic.

7. /a/ and /ɒ/ become /aʊ̆/ and /ɒʊ̆/ before /v/ or /f/ + consonant such as in davcig /ˈd̥aʊ̆v̥t͡siɣ/

8. /iɜ/ in stressed position becomes a lengthened vowel /ɪ:/ for some speakers, especially in the word Thriehčču.

VOWELS Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
close i u
near-close e ɪ ʊ
mid ɛ ɜ ɞ
near-open æ ɒ
open a
CONSONANTS broad slender word-final
Bb /b/ /pɣ/ -
Cc /k/ /ts/ /k/
Čč /tʃ/ /tʃ/ /tʃ/
Dd /d/ /tɣ/ /d/
Ff /f/ /f/ -
Gg /g/ /kɣ/ /g,k/
Hh /h/ /h/ -
Kk /k/ /k/ /k/
Ll /l/ /ʎ/ /l/
Mm /m/ /m/ /m/
Nn /n/ /ɲ/ /n/
Ŋŋ /ŋ/ /ŋ/ /ŋ/
Pp /p/ /p/ /p/
Rr /ʀ/ /ʀ/ /ʀ/
Ss /s/ /ʃ/ /s,z,ʃ,ʒ/a.
Tt /t/ /ts/ /t/
Vv /β/ or /w/ /v,f/ /v,f/
Zz /z/ /ʒ/ /z,ʃ,ʒ/

a. the second of the word-final pronunciation is for when the following word begins with a voiceless consonant.

b. /s/ before broad vowel /z/ before slender vowel /ʃ/ before voiceless consonant /ʒ/ before voiced consonant.

c. the consonants l and n only take on their slender forms when it is indicated with a switch vowel. Thus, the verb ni is phonetically /ni/ while alinneani is /aˈliɲːanɪ/.

d. /v/ is pronounced /f/ when before voiceless consonants in clusters such as vč /ftʃ/ it is pronounced with rounded lips in these scenarios when it appears after /u/ as in luvthu /ˈlufwθʊ/


1. The fricative /h/ is labialized as /hʷ/ when adjacent to the vowel /u/ such as in seúhkki /ʃuːhʷkːɪ/. It is palatalized /hj/ when adjacent to the vowel /i/ such as in nihtna /nihjtna/.

2. The allophones /w/ and /β/ usually appear depending on speaker. Some speakers will say /win/ for mhain, while some will say /βin/. However, in cases where it follows /u/ it will always be /w/ such as in lámhėn /lauːn/ (also realized as /laːw(ɜ)n/).

3. Voiced plosives in Thrichian are often semi-voiced or voiceless, while their ‘voiceless’ equivalents are often aspirated. Thus, bes (mast) and pes (five) are realized as /pɛʃ/ or /b̥ɛʃ/ and /phɛʃ/.

4. /kɣ tɣ pɣ/ are realized with brief velarization of the release. This is done by drawing the bridge of the tongue towards the back palate. This is not done in unstressed syllables.

5. nasal consonants /n, m, ŋ/ cause the vowel /ɪ/ to be raised /i/ as in dálin /daːlin/.

6. Geminate consonants are only distinct intervocalically. Word-finally, though they are represented orthographically, they do not register, making tavvė and tavė homophones /tav/


Notice that throughout this grammar the pronunciations for b, d, g appear as /b d k/ broad and /pɣ tɣ kɣ/ slender. However, this may be realized as /p t k/ OR /b̥ d̥ g̥/ unaspirated broad and /pɣ tɣ kɣ/ velarized slender, while p, t, k spellings have aspirated voiceless plosives /ph th kh/. This aspiration is most prominent in Hiannása, the Northern Dialect. In the South, most speakers voice b, d, g and do not aspirate p, t, k. For this reason, the grammar sometimes displays Northern pronunciations and sometimes South. There is no standard and variations differ only slightly between /b > b̥ > p > ph/. The two in the middle are used interchangeably. The chart below helps illustrate the uses and pronunciations of each.

Bilabial Alveolar velar
graded β iriguban ð míreada ɣ balagí
voiced b buor d g guohcea
half-voiced bisavdu dalgi gahíru
velarized pɣ bírea tɣ díu kɣ gími
voiceless p puonen t tazga k coahppa
aspirated ph páhtta th tárėhpi kh kien

This table shows all the plosives in every Thrichian dialect. The Northern Dialect uses the half-voiced, velarized and aspirated ones, as well as the graded when they follow an unstressed vowel. The Southern Dialect uses the voiced, velarized and voiceless sets. Now, the same set of example words from the table are shown below in their dialectal pronunciations:

Thrichian word - Hiannása - Kuhtása

iriguban [ɪˈɾig̥ʊβan] [ɪˈɾigʊban]

buor [b̥ʊɞɾ] [bʊɞɾ]

bisavdu [b̥ɪˈsɒăvd̥ʊ] [bɪˈsaʊ̆vdʊ]

bírea [pɣiːɾʲa] [pɣiːɾʲa]

puonen [pʰʊɞnɛn] [pʊɞnɛn]

páhtta [pʰɒăʰtːa] [paːʰtːa]


This shows that in Hiannása, b, d, g have each 3 allophones and p, t, k have each 1 pronunciation. In Kuhtása, b, d, g have each 2 allophones and p, t, k have each 1 as well.

Consonants in Thrichian can have several different pronunciations depending on their location and environment within a word. Broad pronunciations occur before a/o/u and slender pronunciations occur before e/i/ë and they can be either before ė. If the letter ė appears as a result of conjugation or noun declension, it assumes the slenderness or broadness of the vowel it was replacing. For verbs, that is usually a slender vowel; for nouns, that is usually a broad vowel.

Slender pronunciations of consonants tend to follow one of two rules: either they are palatalized or velarized. When the consonants b, d, g are slender in stressed syllables, they become velarized, meaning the lips are pursed upon release and the tongue is drawn back to make a velar approximant. It is important to make the distinction between velarization, involving the back of the tongue and the lips, and labialization, involving only the lips. When n, l, s, z are slender, their place of articulation gets drawn backward in the mouth and becomes postalveolar (s > ʃ, z > ʒ) or palatal (n > ɲ, l > ʎ). Generally, slender consonants move backward in the mouth from their broad equivalents, due to the shape of the mouth when producing the close-front vowels ë, i and e.

The slender/broad distinction extends beyond the boundaries of words. For example, most often the digraph mh can appear at the end of a word where it is usually pronounced [u] however, when the following word begins with i/e/ë it can be pronounced as [v] and before a voiceless consonant it can be [f / v̥]. Another example of environments extending beyond word boundaries is të mhė máhtė ná / tu máhtė ná? meaning do you love me? The IPA transcription for this phrase is [tu.ma:ht.na] The silent letter ė stands between the digraph mh and the consonant m, meaning they are treated as though they were together. Mh in mhė is pronounced [v] most of the time but since, phonetically, it appears before a consonant, its broad pronunciation is used. Switch Vowels, used to change the pronunciation of a consonant, appear in words like geahta [‘kɣahta]. We know the g is slender because an e comes after it to signify that it is. The e here is silent. Sometimes what can appear to be a switch vowel is indeed pronounced, such as in caiman [‘kai.man]. Slender pronunciations of b, d and g appear only in stressed syllables. However, if it is indicated with a switch vowel, an unstressed syllable can be slender. Thus, mandea [‘mantɣa] but gedin [‘kɣedin]. In the second instance, we see the d which, before i, would normally be slender, is broad. While the g in gedin is in the stressed syllable and so it is slender.

Sometimes, spelling of words includes two switch vowels, one to signify the slenderness or broadness of the original word, then a second which becomes silent because it was maintained as part of the suffix. For instance, seain [ʃin] is the allative form of si whose stem is sea-. The first e is a switch vowel, indicating that the s should be pronounced in its slender form [ʃ] while the a is pronounced in the root. Once the suffix -ain is added, it preserves the root, instead of removing the a since the vowel i triggers the slender pronunciation, thereby making the s [ʃ] rendering the spelling sin. Thus, seain has two switch vowels, which appear redundant, in that they switch twice between slender and broad.

INHERENCY

All Thrichian consonants have an inherent form which appears before another consonant. For many, this is the broad form, but for Ss, its inherent form is the slender /ʃ/. The same thing is true to Vv and Zz whose inherent forms are /v/ and /ʒ/. The inherent forms of consonants are often used to determine which pronunciation will be used before the letter ė as it can evoke either broad or slender. If the ė is present as a result of conjugation or noun declension, it will follow the pattern of the former vowel. Sometimes, it is used to correct a slender pronunciation of s, v or z before another consonant, or to make a compound. In these cases, it triggers a broad pronunciation, as it is silent. For example, the word issėti is pronounced /is:tsi/ and not /*iʃ:tsi/ in this case the vowel is used to distinguish from the inherent tendency of the s to be pronounced /ʃ/.

The letters k, c, t create a continuum among themselves, where any can represent a sound made by the one to their immediate left or right. K can represent /k/ while c can represent /k/ or /ts/ and t can represent /ts/ or /t/. Their inherent broad pronunciations remain distinguishable k > /k/ c > /k/ t > /t/. It is not too dissimilar to the pronunciations in English of the letters s, c, k, q. The reasoning for the existence of two consonants representing the sound /k/ is that, in Old Thrichian, an affricate consonant /kx/ existed, represented by the character c. This later merged with /k/ but was maintained in writing for distinction and ease of transcribing dialects where the merger had not yet occurred. Now, however, the affricate /kx/ is completely lost.

DIGRAPHS

broad slender word-final
zg /ʒ/ /ʒ/ -
gz word-initial form of zg. - -
mh /β/ or /w/ /v/ /u/ or /v/
th /ð,θ/ /ð,θ / /ð,θ/
hv /hw/ or /xw/ /hv/ or /xf/ -
ht /ht/ or /xt/ /hts/ or /xts/ -
ėmh /u/ /uv/ /u/
rr /ʀ/ /ʀ/ -

Thrichian allows for trigraphs involving preaspiration (h-) before voiceless plosives. Nasal consonants can also come after these digraphs, assimilating in place of articulation with the plosive. These consonant clusters are as follows.

single geminal with nasal
p hp hpp hpm
t ht htt htn
c hc hcc hkŋ
k hk hkk hkŋ
č hčč -

When these clusters go through the consonant gradation process, the preaspiration changes to /v/. The nasal clusters change to (hpm > vvm, htn > vvn, hkŋ > vvŋ) The vv in these clusters is geminal. Preaspitation can also occur word-initially, such as in htán, meaning young. When this occurs, the word is only aspirated if the preceding word ends in a vowel. In isolation, many speakers would say /ta:n/ for htán.

STRUCTURE OF CONSONANT CLUSTERS

In Thrichian, rules exist as to which consonants can follow, or be adjacent to, which others in clusters. Clusters can contain up to three consonants: an onset, core, and release. Thrichian sorts consonants into three categories: level-1 2 and 3. L1 consonants are nasals /n, m, ŋ/ while L2 consonants are glides and fricatives /h, s, z, ʃ, β, ʒ, f, v, w, j, r/ and L3 consonants are plosives and affricates /p, t, k, ts, tʃ/ Of these, L3 and /v/ can be geminal in clusters.

a. Onsets can be of an equal or lower level than their core. For example, fricative-plosive is permitted, while plosive-fricative is not.

b. The core must be the highest-level consonant in the cluster. These are usually plosives, but not always.

c. The release can be a semivowel or a nasal. There does not always have to be a release. They usually appear at the end of the stressed syllable of a root word like gëhkŋi. This word is an example of one which contains an onset h – L2, a core k – L3, and a release ŋ – L1. The pattern for triphthong structure can be memorized as 2-3-1


Sometimes consonant clusters are broken up with the schwa vowel ė. Of course, in colloquial language, this letter is not pronounced, allowing for pronunciations like /ɪˈgʊɞ̆hrtsa/ for iguohėrtea, which is counted as three syllables, not four. In the northern dialect, the presence of h can cause the adjacent consonant to become voiceless. Thus, lihtėli becomes /lihtl̥i/. This means that /r/ and /l/ have voiceless allophones, which also appear next to any voiceless consonant, such as in Thriehčču /θr̥iɜ̆htʃu/ or arcėrkámin /ar̥tsr̥ˈka:min/ Because of the schwa, it would appear that clusters consisting of more than 3 consonants are permissible, but this is not the case. These clusters are treated as separate syllables, the coda being a syllabic consonant. In the afforementioned example arcėrkámin, the second r acts as the coda for the second syllable. The word is still broken up into its syllables ar+cėr+ká+min but the second syllable, cėr, only consists of voiceless consonants /tsr/. Many words which have three syllables when properly enunciated, are reduced to two syllables in the colloquial. An example is čúrėmla which becomes /tʃu:rmla/. This syllable structure is very common in basic Thrichian words. The first is long, the second a schwa, and the final is short. Doarėhkku /ˈdɒăr̥hk:u/ is another example of this. Words tend to assimilate to this form, in that the first syllable is long and emphasized and the second or last is reduced, such as with dársa /ˈda:rsa/. Consonant clusters ht, hc, hč can be realized by some speakers as /sts, sts, ʃtʃ/ when slender and at the beginning of a word, as in htímh /stsi:v/.


PHONOTACTICS

Thrichian is a stress-timed language. The maximum syllable capacity is shown below, where C = consonant, V = vowel, G = glide. In this model, a geminal consonant is counted as one, as well as digraphs like th, mh which represent one phoneme. (C)(G)V(V)(CC) ie.: hkuaippu – dinner /hkwaip:u/

1. digraphs count as single consonants in this model, making possible syllables such as mhainth /winθ/ – our (dual)

2. any consonant can be geminal (held for twice as long)

3. only voiceless plosives and /v/ can be preaspirated (h-)


Consonant clusters which are permitted:

1. s + plosive

2. l, r, v + plosive, nasal or fricative

3. h + plosive or v

4. h + plosive + nasal

5. n + alveolar plosives or k, f, v, l

6. m, ŋ + plosives or l

7. kt, pt, thr, rst

- ė is pronounced if any of these rules appears broken between or within words. Some speakers may insert this same schwa sound between consonants which are difficult to pronounce, even if there is no ė in the written form.

- the only clusters of more than two consonants that is permitted, not including h-clusters, is rst.


STRESS

Stress in Thrichian always falls on either…

1. the first syllable, then every other consequent syllable

TAguBUONac

PAImheaGÍ

2. a syllable with a digraph or accented vowel

HAmuSTÁN

paLÁS

3. stress always skips over the vowel ė

RUANlėSIÁN

NUOrėvDAIN

Each diphthong is treated as a single syllable. Even triphthongs such as uoi and uai. Stress is highly dependent on how much phonetic information is being conveyed per syllable. If one syllable contains more phonemes than another, it will be stressed. The above rules work for words which are ambiguous, either unaccented or do not have diphthongs to signal the stressed syllable. Distinguishable from stress in Thrichian is rhythm, which involves for how long one must hold a sound. This duration of articulation is important for consonants, as it distinguishes between words such as anuogí (vocabulary) and annuogi (to frighten). Vowel length is also discernable in monosyllabic words such as nu/nú. The vowel in the second nú is held twice as long as in nu. Stress must be taken into account when silent ė is written. In the spoken language, often a short time is elapsed to suggest the presence of ė even though it is inaudible. In the compound buolėmhaesta (folk song) the ė causes a very brief pause or extension in the pronunciation of the l to indicate itself. To non-native speakers, the pause is often indiscernable, thus it is used as a gauge for fluency. In pronunciation, opening diphthongs are simplified when they are no longer on a stressed syllable, due to conjugation or inflection. For example, the name of Thrichia, Thriehčču becomes Thriehččása, meaning Thrichian Language. In the second example, due to the accented á, the diphthong ie simplifies in pronunciation to i. [ˈθɾiɜhtːʃʊ > θɾihˈtːʃasa] This same process applies to uo>wo, oa>wa, ea>e.

DIPHTHONGS

Thrichian diphthongs are mostly opening, not closing, by frequency. This means they start with a close vowel and end on a more open vowel (i>e) Closing diphthongs are few. Only five naturally occur /au, ai, ei, oi, ui/ and of those six, only one is common and not a result of conjugation and declension: /au/. If two vowels appear next to each other creating a diphthong which has not been listed above, it is most likely that the first vowel is a switch vowel and not pronounced, or in instances of vowel+mh, the mh is pronounced [v] Naturally occurring opening diphthongs are /ie, ea, uo, oa, ia, ua, ue/ These can lead to triphthongs with the addition of -i or -u. Diphthongs commonly seen are /uai, iau, oai, uei/ Triphthongs beginning in u are considered to start with the semivowel /w/ as well as those beginning in i to be /j/.


MORPHOLOGY

Thrichian is classified as agglutinative, though it exhibits some elements of synthetic tendency. Verbs and adjectives are highly inflected, while nouns are less so. A large percentage of grammatical information is conveyed via suffixing instead of particles or auxiliary verbs.


DERIVATIONAL MORPHOLOGY

The method which Thrichian employs for creating new words is agglutination. Compounds can be made of up to three components and often two words can be strung together to create a new compound whose meaning does not agree with that of its components, such as ëŋėpála, whose components are ëŋ (tongue) and pála (water) but which means backlash or backtalk. Evident from the former example is that the schwa vowel ė is used to ligate (join together) two consonants in a compound. It is pronounced if more than two phonemes are next to one another, otherwise it is silent, as usual. Compounds in Thrichian can be separated as noun phrases, verb phrases, etc... For example uvvėrávittá finagí (electromagnetic sensitivity) is a compound perceived as a noun phrase token, but composed of two words. The first word uvvėrávid is in the allative case and the second is in the default nominative. This is because the phrase is equivalent to saying sensitivity to electromagnetism. If one is to separate components to create a sensical phrase in Thrichian, one must grammatically relate them to each other in this way. The components can then appear in either order and still be intelligible.

Thrichian is suffix-heavy in grammatical processes, however in derivation, both prefixing and suffixing is common. Thrichian affixation has a tendency to denote prepositional or adverbial senses before the headword, much like in English. For example, the compound birdhouse, in English, can be expressed as a phrase: house of/for birds. To say housebird would imply bird in/of a house. The first of the two compounds is the descriptor and the second contains the main sense of the noun. Thrichian employs prefixes, affixes and a couple circumfixes to convey meaning. Listed here are the derivational affixes commonly used for building words in Thrichian.


affix Description example
-agí complex noun former abuolagí
-sián -less fuosián
-in, -un adjective former gearthin
-stán -ous, -ic adjective former ibuhtustán
-innė -er, -or agent noun marker icainnė
-uon noun former antaruon
-ani verb former arasčani
an- with, to, for antíegai
eá- of, to / not eánnaragain
i(c)- non- not, un icastan
-ar systemic noun former erávar
-astun -able gúrastun
-ami to cause hkigami
gae- self gaedomun
-inu amount, level pálinu
-dannu one who/which is (adj.) páhindannu
sa-ligu place, institution sagáligu
bi-lleagu device, tool, vessel bimálleagu
-veain feeling or aura húmveain
-ban physical characteristic aluban


Certain affixes are applicable to any word of a certain category. Thus, they are not considered derivational affixes, but grammatical affixes which convey highly specific information like the suffix -ulin which conveys something in the shape of… such as in the word haedulin – tree-shaped. Though some words ending in -ulin do not appear in the dictionary, they can still be words in their own right. For instance, even proper names like Hitás – Hitásulin which means in the shape of Hitás.

Other such suffixes are…


-uvvŋin (with the colour of)

híluvvŋin – the colour of lavender

-veaig (conveying the emotion/atmosphere of)

eóvinveaig – calming atmosphere

-uonnun (seeming like)

cuorgainuonnun – rich-looking

-tigain (somewhat, ish)

itámhaintigain – somewhat bored

i-ani (to cause to not do something)

icasthani – to suffocate (cause not to breathe)

i-ami (to cause to undo/redo something)

itulami – to cause to separate, unlink


COMPOUNDING

Compounds are an integral part of Thrichian morphology, as it is an agglutinative language. Many complex concepts are conveyed using smaller components. Rules exist to how these components are strung together; how consonants and vowels interact when put together. The most common method of compounding is the insertion of the schwa ė which, again, is often silent. This can be done for nouns ending in a vowel, such as in the compound geahtėrácu (grass-vegetable) which means leek. Sometimes, when a the first component ends in a vowel and the second begins with a vowel, they merge together and the final vowel of the first can be lost, as in gzamlór (gzamla-ór) lightning-eye meaning stare, gawk. A third way components can join is by assimilation. When a compound is used often enough, it tends to make the last consonant of the first compound assimilate in place or manner of articulation with the second compound. For example, cavda+hevit becomes cavvevit, meaning tablecloth. In this compound, the d is lost, while the h matches place of articulation of the lips and becomes voiced like the v. This assimilation also involved deletion of another consonant, which is not uncommon.


NOUNS

In Thrichian, nouns are declined for case (7) and number (4). There are three classes of noun: A-class, U-class and Neuter. A-class are identifiable by their ending -a. Nouns ending in -gí also follow the same pattern, removing the -í. U-class nouns are exclusively those ending in -u. Neuter nouns end in a consonant (s, n, g, l, r) or a diphthong, including words ending in a vowel + mh. It is important to note that the addition of suffixes such as -iktea, denoting smallness or inferiority, change the noun‘s declension class to the ending vowel of that suffix. Thus, hieg (door) is neuter in its regular declension, while hiegiktea (little door) is A-class.


A-CLASS NOUNS Singular Dual Paucal Plural
Nominative -a -óth -amh -as
Accusative -ėth -ėmh -ės
Genitive -ain -ainth -aimh -ains
Allative -áth -ámh -ás
Ablative -aen -aenth -aemh -aens
Perlative -agaith -agaith -aimh -agis
Comitative -ac -agath -agamh -agas

1. nouns ending in -e or -gí also follow this pattern.

2. nouns ending in -ea remove their -e- in the accusative.

U-CLASS NOUNS Singular Dual Paucal Plural
Nominative -u -uoth -umh -us
Accusative -ėth -ėmh -ės
Genitive -ain -ainth -aimh -ains
Allative -ua -úth -úmh -uas
Ablative -aen -aenth -aemh -aens
Perlative -ugaith -ugaith -aimh -ugis
Comitative -uc -ugath -ugamh -ugas
NEUTER NOUNS Singular Dual Paucal Plural
Nominative - -ath -ėmh -as
Accusative -ėth -ėmh -ės
Genitive -in -ainth -aimh -ains
Allative -í / -á -íth / -áth -ímh / ámh -ás / -ís
Ablative -en -enth -emh -ens
Perlative -agaith -agaith -aimh -agis
Comitative -ac -agath -agamh -agas
NOUNS ENDING IN A DIPHTHONG Singular Dual Paucal Plural
Nominative - -th -mh -s
Accusative -V -Vth -Vmh -Vs
Genitive -n -nth -mh -ns
Allative -A -Ath -Amh -As
Ablative -gaen -gaenth -gaemh -gaens
Perlative -gaith -gaith -gaimh -gis
Comitative -c -gath -gamh -gas


1. here, V stands for an accented version of the first vowel in the diphthong. Thus okkoa in accusative would be okkó.

2. here, A means an accented version of the second vowel in the diphthong, maintaining the first vowel. Thus mhinnua in the allative would be mhinnuá.

IRREGULARS: NÚ, TÚ, RÓ, HEÚ Singular Dual Paucal Plural
Nominative núvath númh núvas
Accusative núth númh nús
Genitive núvain núvainth núvaimh núvains
Allative nuvvá nuvváth nuvvámh nuvvás
Ablative núvaen núvaenth núvaemh núvaens
Perlative núgaith núgaith núgaimh núgis
Comitative núc núgath núgamh núgas
OR núvac núvagath núvagamh núvagas

- these four nouns follow the same declension pattern, by substituting nú/nu- for ró/ro- one gets the same result


THE CASES

Thrichian has 7 grammatical cases (sometimes considered 8 with the partitive prefix ton-). These cases convey information about the role of the noun within the sentence. Each one, although it can be assigned a name within real-world linguistic terms, has distinct uses and rules.

The nominative is used for the subject of the sentence, as well as being the form which appears after most prepositions.

The accusative is for the direct object of the sentence.

The genitive plays a role in possession. The genitive is used to show that an object is possessing something else. On the other hand, to show that an object is being possessed by, or is related to another, the suffix -ltha is used, instead. These two may be used in conjunction. The genitive can be used to create a noun possessed by, or related to, its headword, but not the word itself. For example, in the sentence Thriehččainne l‘ása puonen – Thrichian (ie.: the thing that belongs to Thrichia > its language) is the best language. Here the word ása is not used because it would be redundant. Instead, it is assumed to be the same as inferred by the suffix. This suffix is related to the -nne suffix of adjectives which does the same thing.

The allative marks the indirect object of a sentence. It also stands in for, or stands with, the preposition ar, meaning to/for. It expressed intention, destination and concepts of giving. In the phrase I‘m going to Thrichia or I‘m giving it to you, the allative would be used.

The ablative case is also used in the sense of giving and receiving and possession. It expresses place of origin or creator, as well as possessor of an object in the expression mhaen lė (from me is…) meaning I have. The ablative is also used in expressions of comparison. Más pealagazgė anthaen. – The sea is deeper than the lake. The preposition tíe can be added before the noun.

The perlative case has the widest variety of uses. The name may be misleading, because the least common of its uses is that of expressing adjacency. It can be used to turn an infinitive into a progressive (run > running) or express location within a city, country or neighbourhood (mhë lė Tígu vekagaith – I am on Tígu street). In conjunction with the preposition ë it can mean in, on, by or any generic location. The comitative expresses means or tools by which something is done. For example, one travels by train or one opens a door with a key. These are instances where the comitative would be used in Thrichian. It can also be used to express companionship or placement next to, or in conjunction with, another object or person. It would be used in the phrase I am with my friend or the car is with the mechanic. Although the meaning of these cases is explicit, sometimes prepositions can be used in conjunction with them. The above example given, ë with the perlative suffix -gaith expresses something different from the perlative on its own. The same can be said for the allative and the preposition ar. This topic will be discussed in the segment for prepositions.


IRREGULAR STEMS

Many monosyllabic nouns, or nouns ending in a lengthened vowel, have irregular stems when declined. Sometimes, voiced consonants appear in declension which do not appear in the default nominative singular, which is listed in dictionaries. These voiced consonants, most often v/g, are remnants from old pronunciations. For example, (word) becomes núvas in the plural. This is because, in Old Thrichian, the nominative singular was núvu, but the v was lost. In some words, the former consonant can still be found, such as in nuvin (verbose). The rule which caused this irregularity occurred in Middle Thrichian. It caused all voiced plosives between identical vowels would disappear. Thus, the nominative núvu was affected as , while nuvvá (to the word) in the allative, was not. The same rule applies to some verbs, so much so that in Modern Thrichian, it has become a grammatical rule to insert a -g- in conjugation of verbs ending in a diphthong. Many of these verbs which, in Middle Thrichian, would have been conjugated regularly. Some nouns are defective. They lack forms in certain grammatical cases. The most notable occurrence is má meaning love. This noun can appear in all cases except for the allative. This is likely because the allative suffix -á could not be added to the stem with ease. It would produce *máá or the homonym *má which may cause confusion. Therefore the preposition ar is needed in the allative and má stays the same.


one breath for love

co fuoz ar má

love is all that matters

má l‘auma eá finazgė



NOUN COUNTABILITY

Certain nouns which appear in the singular form are uncountable, meaning they do not have a specified quantity or unit. Such nouns include pála (water) tizgu (sand) and tima (wind). The prefix ton- can be added to form plurals, duals or paucals with inferred units. For example, pála can be pluralized as tompálas. This means waters, as in many units of water (seas, lakes, etc…) This prefix ton- is also used as a partitive. When a set number of units of an immeasurable substance is referred to, the ton- form appears in the nominative. 8 aitas tompála – 8 cups of water. The prefix ton- in conjunction with the diminutive suffix -iktea is used to mean a little bit of, such as in mhë tompáliktė vaim – I‘d like a bit of water. Thrichian, unlike most languages, has four distinct numbers. English speakers are used to only two: singular and plural. If there is more than one of something, there must be many. In Thrichian, this is not the case. There are four tiers to convey information about quantity.

Singular of course refers to one of something. A noun also appears in its singular form if it is a mass-noun like pála (water).

Dual refers to a set or pair of things. A couple people or eyeglasses are both examples of the dual. Because of the dual being expressed with suffixes (ending in -th) often the number mith (two) can be omitted, such as in mhë elėth uoló – I saw two reindeer.

Paucal refers to a small group of things, usually three to five, or even up to ten. This is used where one might use a plural in English for things which are very limited or scarce.

Plural is used generally for things which have an unknown or large quantity (over ten.)


CONSONANT GRADATION

In Thrichian, certain consonant clusters can gradate, or simplify, when they appear before a suffix containing a plosive, or a digraph. This also applies to the accusative of nouns and any eligible verb with a plural/paucal/dual subject.

hkk > vk hv > vv
hk > vg hvv > vv
htt > vth hč > vč
ht > vth/vd hčč > vč
hp > vv hc > vg
hpp > vp/vv hcc > vc
hkŋ > vvŋ hpm > vvm
pt > vt htn > vvn
kt > vt
Mhis seá tiehppó saec. We already saw it.
Mhis seá tievpavvė saec. We have already seen it.

(tiehpp+avvė) > (tievp+avvė)

Many of the processes applied to these consonant clusters follows the tendencies of assimilation. The v which replaces the preaspiration of the hk assimilates the k to be g because v is voiced. Similarly, ht becomes vth instead of vt because the t assimilates to become a dental fricative like the v. Single plosive consonants which are voiceless also gradate to become voiced, such as k > g, p > v, t > d/th… under the same circumstances.

While consonant gradation simplifies clusters, fortification intensifies them. This means they are held for a longer period of time. This occurs when the stress of a root word is changed due to a suffix. For example, the nominative singular of spear is guohcea, containing the consonant cluster hc. When put in the allative case, the stress changes to fall on the last syllable, producing guohcceá /guoht:'sa:/ Consonant clusters which are already geminal do not change, such as toahkka > toahkká. The table below shows the gradated and fortified forms of all applicable clusters, where def. refers to clusters permissible in root words.

Consonant fortification and degradation are used to change a root word from noun to verb or adjective, or vice versa. When a noun is turned into a verb, it often fortifies one degree, such as hčiallėvna (setting) to hčiallėhtni (to set up). Past participles always degrade their stems, such as linni (to take) to linin (taken). With these rules, it is possible for a single root word to have a lot of variance in conjugation or declension. Take the word linni again, it has three states of degradation: linin, linni, litnó. This is because its base-form can be fortified and degraded. Whereas, uoli (to see) only has two forms: uoli, uolló. Fortification / gradation exists within derivational processes as well as inflectional. Consonants c and g vary between related terms such as in kíluca (liesure) and kílugi (to rest). In these cases it is used to form adjectives or verbs from nouns. Consonants g and v vary in the same way, in regi (to untie) and irevigaith (unravelling) this only works from g to v, never the reverse.


Stress Change

As discussed on the previous page, changes in stress can occur due to suffixing, usually the two suffixes -á and -ó. When this happens, consonants before the new stressed syllable will fortify and if the word contained an internal accented vowel, such as in hára, it will be written without the accent, as such: hára > harróth. Here we see the fortification of the r as rr and the deletion of the accent over á. This, however, does not mean that two accented vowels never appear next to one another, because they do. In such cases, stress falls on both. Stress changes also help to distinguish words such as icastan and icastán. In that case, no phonological processes alter the word form, however it is important to get the stress right, as with English record (noun) and record (verb).


The Apostrophe

Apostrophes are often used to write colloquial speech. It is not considered improper, as it reflects the pronunciation. The apostrophe is used in place of ė and sometimes ë in monosyllabic words. The most common use of the apostrophe is in the personal pronouns, such as in the phrase mhë t‘oannė daigo (I miss you.) [væˈtɒɜ̆n.di.gɞ] Here the direct object second person singular pronoun tė has been shortened to t‘ as there is no vocalic presence. In extreme cases, double contractions can occur. Most notable, mh‘i t‘m‘aki /vitmaki/ meaning I don‘t know you (in response to a negative-assuming question.) This is a shortening of mhë i tė mė aki.


Order of Suffixing

The order in which suffixes are agglutinated onto a root word is important for meaning, as well as determining whether consonant gradation affects any of the internal clusters. For example, if one wishes to say with my little mother one may say aná+iktea+altha+c to attain the declension *anáktealthac, but this would not be correct. The correct order is aná+iktea+c+altha which gives us anákteagaltha. Here we see the comitative suffix -c go through consonant gradation to become -g- before the cluster lth. The order in which grammatical information is stacked can be broken down as follows.


FOR NOUNS

1. any derivational affixes

2. honorific suffixes (can overlap freely)

3. grammatical case

4. number

5. relation suffix -altha


FOR VERBS

1. tense and aspect (as shown in the verb tables)

2. reciprocal / reflexive suffixes -dírthi -davva

3. causative and permissive


When adding these suffixes on nouns or verbs, it is important to consider maintaining the slenderness or broadness of the consonant one is adding them to. For example, anágaltha (with my mother) poses no problems because the c gradates to g which is broad in this case before the -altha. For the suffix -iktea, however, when it is attached to consonant-final nouns, their broadness must be maintained. Thus, it becomes -aiktea when it attaches onto a word like čoag (flower).


Honorific suffixes in Thrichian can be added to proper names, verbs, pronouns and nouns to describe their importance or relation to the speaker.

-(a)mba implies importance, reverence, or wisdom

1. Seardú, Guvárisamba. – Thank you, Mr. Guváris.

2. Si hteamė hedómba. – He conquered the land.

-(i)ktea implies smallness, diminutive, or cute qualities

1. Mhëltha govguktea. – My sweet little boy.

2. Ithiktea! – Poor thing!

-(i)lcuz implies disassociation or contempt for an object or person

1. Mhë Nitalcuzac ruó hkuaippi. – I had to have dinner with Nita (I don’t like Nita)

1. Mhë Nitac ruó hkuaibilcuz. – I had to have dinner with Nita (I don’t like dinner)

-(a)ltha implies relation, as opposed to possession.

1. Tegavvė ná Bastuzaltha? – Have you met (my relative) Bastuz?

The last suffix -altha is used in possessive pronouns for expressing relation. Mhëltha aná – My mother. Although, mhain análtha is also acceptable, as long as the -altha is present.


Possession is shown with the ablative and genitive cases. The ablative is used for statements in conjunction with the verb lá, while possessive pronouns appear in the genitive case before their nouns. Possessors can appear before or after their possessions, as the case genitive marking -ain specifies the relation.

1. Mhaen lė mhinnua. – I have a house (ablative + copula lá)

2. Mhain mhinnua bargonazgė. – My house is large.

In Thrichian, there is no verb to have, as the same idea is expressed with the ablative case. To express that something is yours, one may use either the ablative or the genitive case (il taen / il tain).

The allative case can be used to show intention or direction. For example, when giving a gift, mhaen lig tá – I have something for you. Even taen mhá can serve as a full and proper sentence, meaning you give me something.

To represent an unknown thing which is possessed by a personal or relative/interrogative pronoun (that which is yours/mine/his) the suffix -dannu is used on the end of the genitive or ablative form of the pronoun.

3. Il taindannu ná? – Is this yours?

4. Ith lëna lė veaindannu? – Whose book is this?


VERBS

In Thrichian, verbs conjugate according to tense, aspect and mood, but not person. Person can sometimes, however, be indicated by consonant gradation when it is applicable.

I-VERBS present past perfect future
INDICATIVE -avvė -asai
SUBJUNCTIVE -e -avve -esai
CONDITIONAL -ari -avvari -arisai
IMPERATIVE -
INDICATIVE -avvė -asai
SUBJUNCTIVE -e -avve -esai
CONDITIONAL -ari -avvari -arisai
IMPERATIVE - -isai
PROGRESSIVE -atín -otín -avvetín -esaitín
POSSIBLE -asta -ósta -astavvi -astai
PROBABLE -az -óz -avvaz -azasai
DETRIMENTIVE -ar -ór -avvar -arasai
DEONTIC -im -óm -avvam -amasai
REFLEXIVE -adavva -ódavva -adavvė -adavvasai
infinitive -i -ivvi

-ó || -avvė || -asai

|- |SUBJUNCTIVE || -e || || -avve || -esai |- |CONDITIONAL || -ari || || -avvari || -arisai |- |IMPERATIVE || - || || || -isai |- |PROGRESSIVE || -atín || -otín || -avvetín || -esaitín |- |POSSIBLE || -asta || -ósta || -astavvi || -astai |- |PROBABLE || -az || -óz || -avvaz || -azasai |- |DETRIMENTIVE || -ar || -ór || -avvar || -arasai |- |DEONTIC || -im || -óm || -avvam || -amasai |- |REFLEXIVE || -adavva || -ódavva || -adavvė || -adavvasai |- | infinitive || -i || || -ivvi |}

EA-VERBS present past perfect future
I-VERBS present past perfect future
INDICATIVE -avvė -asai
SUBJUNCTIVE -e -avve -esai
CONDITIONAL -ari -avvari -arisai
IMPERATIVE - -isai
PROGRESSIVE -atín -otín -avvetín -esaitín
POSSIBLE -asta -ósta -astavvi -astai
PROBABLE -az -óz -avvaz -azasai
DETRIMENTIVE -ar -ór -avvar -arasai
DEONTIC -im -óm -avvam -amasai
REFLEXIVE -adavva -ódavva -adavvė -adavvasai
infinitive -i -ivvi
|SUBJUNCTIVE || -e || || -avve || -esai
CONDITIONAL -ari -avvari -arisai
IMPERATIVE - -isai
PROGRESSIVE -atín -otín -avvetín -esaitín
POSSIBLE -asta -ósta -astavvi -astai
PROBABLE -az -óz -avvaz -azasai
DETRIMENTIVE -ar -ór -avvar -arasai
DEONTIC -im -óm -avvam -amasai
REFLEXIVE -adavva -ódavva -adavvė -adavvasai
infinitive -i -ivvi


EA-VERBS present past perfect future INDICATIVE -ė -eó -eavvė -easai SUBJUNCTIVE -e -eavve -esai CONDITIONAL -eri -erivvi -erisai IMPERATIVE -i -isai PROGRESSIVE -eatín -eotín -eavvetín -esaitín POSSIBLE -easta -eósta -eastavvi -eastai PROBABLE -ez -eóz -eavvaz -ezi DETRIMENTIVE -er -eór -eavvar -eri DEONTIC -im -eóm -eavvam -eamasai REFLEXIVE -edavva -eódavva -edavvė -edavvasai infinitive -ea -eavva