User:Ceige/Kamunien

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The Kamunien, or Kamut language (Kamunien: Kamut, Kamunien) is spoken somewhere[where?]. Its alternative name is Ayunien, or Ayut. It is spoken by the Kamut/Ayut people, who themselves consist of finer ethnic groupings. The language bears similarities to various languages families but is considered a language isolate.

Classification

The language is widely considered an isolate, however it appears to carry traits of several language families and other language isolates, including but not restricted to Uralic, Eskimo-Aleut, Indo-European, Turkic, Mongolic, Japonic, Korean and Ainu. If the Nostratic hypothesis is confirmed, then it is likely a member of that superfamily. Skeptics however believe the similarities can be explained by areal interaction and coincidence.

Possible Relations

Uralic

There are a number of reasonable arguments for a grammatical relation to Uralic, however these are in part shared with arguments for relations to other language families.

  • The Abstract cases (abs, obj, gen, nom, abl) bear similarities to the Uralic case system. For example, the genitive and abstract-ablative resemble the Proto-Finnic counterparts (genitive and partitive).
  • The accusative resembles the Proto-Uralic accusative *m. This leaves the nominative as an odd-one out, but some[who?] believe that the labial stop arose from fortified hiatus, and thus could have arised spontaneously after splitting off from Proto-Uralic[when?][citation needed].
  • The three numbers of Kamut correspond perfectly to Uralic, as sg -Ø, du -k and pl -t.
  • The Kamut pronoun system appears[citation needed] to revolve around *m- and *t-, labelled the speaker pronoun and other pronoun respectively, when speaking of the underlying grammar. This mirrors the Uralic pronouns somewhat.

Eskimo-Aleut

The arguments for an Eskimo-Aleut relationship are similar to the arguments for a Uralic relationship.

  • The Spacial cases (loc, abl, ine, ill, ins dat, all, exe, ela, pro) bear strong similarities to the case systems of several Inuit languages, such as Greenlandic and Inuktitut. There appear to be additional innovations, and several absences, however.
  • The numbers correlate once again to Greenlandic and Inuktitut.

Possible Explanations

The similarities Kamut shares with Uralic and Eskimo-Aleut could be due to the existence of a protolanguage linking those two families (and in turn Kamut), such as Michael Fortescue's proposed Uralo-Siberian[1]. Skeptics[who?] claim on the other hand that the Kamut people were exposed to both groups[2] early on, and either borrowed from these groups, reinforced a preexisting case system through influence from these groups, or innovated something bearing similarity to both groups' languages.

Grammar

The Kamut language is underlyingly rather agglutinating, although due to assimilation, sandhi and other processes appears borderline fusional. This is addressed in the relevant sections.

Nouns

There are 2 sets of cases and 2 sets of numbers. The first set of cases are the old noun cases, which trace back to the original declension system. The second set are the "new" noun cases, which were innovated at an indefinite time between the old noun cases and the older form of the language. The second set of cases are concerned with temporo-spacial information primarily, while the first set are more abstract. Thus, they are also called the abstract and spacial case sets.

The 2 sets of numbers are the old numbers (singular, dual and plural) and the agglutinative new numbers, which involve infixing a number root between the noun and case.

The Abstract Cases

The old abstract cases are as follows:

Case Singular Dual Plural Semantic Range
Absolutive -V -(i)k -(i)t [nom/abs]
Objective -(e)m -(i)k(em) -(i)t(em) [acc/dat/ben]
Genitive -(e)n -(i)ken -(i)ten [gen/nom/ben]
Nominative -(e)p -(i)kep -(i)tep [nom/erg]
Dialectal Nominative -(e)pa -(i)ppa/kka -(i)ppa [nom/erg]
Ablative -(e)ta -(i)kka -(i)tta [abl/par/gen/ben]

The objective case is similar to the accusative, but differs when the usage of multiple nouns in different cases is considered. For example, use of the nominative and objective will mimic an Indo-European nom/acc usage, while absolutive and objective will also do the same, with the absolutive taking place of the nominative. This gets more complicated when all 3 are used - nominative takes the ergative role, absolutive takes the absolutive role, and objective takes the indirect object role.

The use of all *four* can create a sense of someone acting on someone else's behalf upon something in order to affect someone else. GEN = benefactor, NOM = actor, ABS = obj, OBJ = indirect obj.

The old Ablative (often called the partitive for clarity, see the spacial cases) is a weak ablative in that it has multiple roles derived from an original ablative usage but little connection with the original use of the ablative (that is, signifying movement away). It can be used to clarify things better in the about 4-case example; if the genitive is being used for actual genitive uses, the old ablative will act to signify the benefactor instead.

All these restrictions are mostly for where they meet each other in the same sentence and clarify is desired.

The Spacial Cases

The new abstract cases are as follows:

Case Singular Dual Plural Usage
Locative -mi -ngi -ni at
Ablative -mit -ngit -nit from
Inessive -min -ngin -nin in
Illative -minen -nginen -ninen into
Instrumental -mik -ngik -nik by means of
Dative -mu -ngu -nu to, for, at
Allative -mut -ngut -nut to, towards
Exessive -mun -ngun -nun out, outside of
Elative -munen -ngunen -nunen outwards
Prosecutive -muk -nguk -nuk by way of

(There are also emphatic versions of the final -t series, using -tsi instead, which can be used when -t is too hard to hear over a bare vowel. The same applies for the final -k series, using -ki insted)

The new spacial noun cases are symmetrical in their own way. The are derived from the OBJ case in agglutination (and subsequent assimilation) with the old dative and ablative specifically (u and i). -t functions as a sort of intensifier, as seen in a comparison of -mu with -mut. -n has some sort of relation to orientation; its meaning may be lost thanks to symmetricalisation. -en is hypothesised to be a merger of reduplication with the abstractive properties of the genitive and -n- elsewhere in the language; the illative and elative thus must have arisen after the inessive and exessive.

Additional Cases

These cases do not follow symmetry or fit in a traditional paradigm.

Case Singular Dual Plural Usage
Locative-Genitive -mien -ngien -nien of a place, hailing from

The additional cases are more derivational than inflectional. While they can be used inflectionally, cases like the LOG/GEN -mien are lessed used in inflection where the genitive or locative would be better, and are instead used in things like adjectives and nouns more often (-mien in particular might translate to -ian or -ese).

Combined Cases

Case Singular Dual Plural Usage
Absolutive -V -(i)k -(i)t [nom/abs]
Objective -(e)m -(i)k(em) -(i)t(em) [acc/dat/ben]
Genitive -(e)n -(i)ken -(i)ten [gen/nom/ben]
Nominative -(e)p -(i)kep -(i)tep [nom/erg]
Dialectal Nominative -(e)pa -(i)ppa/kka -(i)ppa [nom/erg]
Ablative -(e)ta -(i)kka -(i)tta [abl/par/gen/ben]
Locative -mi -ngi -ni at, with
Ablative -mit -ngit -nit from
Inessive -min -ngin -nin in
Illative -minen -nginen -ninen into
Instrumental -mik -ngik -nik by means of
Dative -mu -ngu -nu to, for, at
Allative -mut -ngut -nut to, towards
Exessive -mun -ngun -nun out, outside of
Elative -munen -ngunen -nunen outwards
Prosecutive -muk -nguk -nuk by way of
Locative-Genitive -mien -ngien -nien of a place, hailing from

In total, there are approximately 15-17 cases (45-51 declension items), depending on who is describing the language.

Nominalisation of Phrases

An entire phrase in Kamut can be nominalised using -(a)no. This has been noted as a similarity between Kamut and Japanese (-no), although others have explained it as being an ablauted emphatic form of the Genitive ending.

Thus, kamungunen ano (bear-du-obl-ela nmz) = "the thing about exiting the two bears".

Alternatively, -(u)va exists, although this is used as a quotation and question marker amongst other uses. This can be clarified by prosody (questions have a change in pitch) or by context and judgement calls by the listener.

Kamunienami va... = "as for that thing you said about being with the Kamut people...".

Verbs

The default form of the verb is tyically given an aorist-indicative TAM assignment.

Personal Endings

Person Singular Dual Plural Usage
First Person Strong -mi -mek -met (-mep) The traditional first person pronoun
First Person Weak -vi -vek -vet (-vep) Comparatively more inclusive
First Person Proximal -ki -kek -ket (-kep) Refers to the self by proximity
Non-First Person Person Strong -ti -tek -tet (-tep) Refers often to the second person
Non-First Person Person Weak -tu -tuk -tut (-tup) Refers often to a third, or simply "another" person
Non-First Person Person Proximal -ku -kuk -kut (-kup) Refers to nearby second and third persons
Non-First Person Person Medial -si -sik -set(-sep) Refers to people medium distance away, such as second and third persons
Fourth Person Traditioanl -ni -nek -net (-nep) Standard indefinite pronoun
Third Person Distal -ani -anek -anet (-anep) Refers to people considerable distance away, such as third persons

The pronominal endings for verbs follow a similar system to noun-cases, but the i/u distinction is instead extrapolated the sense of the speaker being the source (-i-) and the other being the destination (-u-) of the speech activity. In this sense, the grammar of Kamut breaks the fourth wall of the sentence's semantics.

There is overlap between the case system and the pronominal system as far as -mi loc and 1s are concerned. This is normally solved by context.

References and Notes

  1. ^ Fortescue, M 1998, Language Relations Across the Bering Strait
  2. ^ Or a single Uralo-Siberian group, if Fortescue's hypothesis holds