Weyon

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Weyon language
Weyón ela
Settameric Weyon.png
Pronunciation /we.ˈjɔ́n.ˈè.lɑ/
Created by Raistas
Setting planet Liifam
Ethnicity Kuoleet
Language family
Settameric languages
  • Mountains languages
    • Weyon language
Early forms:
Proto-Settameric
  • Weyon language
Writing system none
ISO 639-3

Weyon is a group of closely related languages (or dialects of a single language), spoken in the central part of the Kahaaler Mountains to the west of the Northern continent. Weyon forms a dialect continuum from the north to the south, its dialects are divided into four major groups, which are often treated as separate languages, because of a low mutual intelligibility between them. These four groups are: Imára, Wealla, Renta and Últaun. The grammar and the examples used here are from the Wealla group, specifically from a dialect near the town Eraas, but data on other dialects will be given as well. It is spoken by approximately 40,000 people across the central part of the Kahaaler Mountains (Kuola eamet) on their western slopes. Imára and Wealla dialect continuum has no clear geographical boundary between these two groups and many Imára traits can be found in eastern parts of the Wealla territory. A similar situation is with some Wealla and Renta dialects, which can have more common traits between each other than with other neighbouring dialects. Últaun, the more obscure dialectal branch, is sometimes included in the Renta group, but it developed its own unique features not shared other branches. All branches still retain a degree of mutual intelligibility, higher than with the closest Weyon relative - the Yiraan language, spoken to the north.

Phonology

Consonants

Bilabial Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
central lateral plain labialized
Nasal m n ny /ɲ/
Stop plain p t ky /c/ k kw /kʷ/
aspirated ph /pʰ/ th /tʰ/ kh /kʰ/
Fricative f θ s š /ʃ/ ł /ɬ/ h
Affricate c /t͡s/ č /t͡ʃ/
Approximant w ð r l y /j/

All varieties of Weyon have a distinction between aspirated and non-aspirated stops. Imara and Wealla groups retain the phoneme /θ/, which is realized as [ð] between vowels and word-finally and thus these consonants are in the allophonic distribution. In Renta /θ/ disappeared, while /ð/ is a separate phoneme. Most Wealla dialects contrast /l/ with /ɫ/ ("light" and "dark l") and also /n/ with /nˠ/, the "dark" consonants are pronounced longer and are noticeably velarised, compared to their "light" counterparts. Imara dialects merged their sibilants (/t͡ʃ/ and /ʃ/ are the same as /t͡s/ and /s/), which also occured in Renta. Ultaun dialects have the phoneme /ç/ where other dialects have /θ/, which can only appear word-initially. The phoneme /pʰ/ is rare in all dialects, except for Ultaun, other dialects usually have /f/ or /p/ instead.

Vowels

The vowel inventory of Weyon differs significantly from dialect to dialect. The North Weyon dialects underwent vowel mutation, which increased the amount of phonemes, compared to South Weyon, which instead had the southern vowel shift. Thus vowels in cognates can vary greatly between various dialects, for example: the word for "horse" is ilor in Imára, eloor in Wealla, eliir or äliir in Renta and yalin in Ultaun. The Ultaun group differs the most, as it lost the length distinction completely.

North Weyon Front Back
Unrounded Rounded
Short Long Short Long Short Long
Close i [ɪ] ii [iː] ü [ʏ] üü [yː] u [ʊ] ū [uː]
Mid e [e~ɛ] ee [eː] ö [ø~œ] öö [øː] o [ɔ] oo [oː]
Open ää [æɪ~æː] a [ɑ] aa [aː]
Renta Front Back
Short Long Short Long
Close i [i] ii [iː] u [u] uu [uː]
Mid e [e] ee [eː] o [o] oo [oː]
Open ä [æ]* a [ɑ] aa [aː]
Ultaun Front Back
Close i [i] u [u]
Mid e [ɛ] o [ɔ]
Open ä [æ]* a [ɑ~a]
  • The phoneme ä [æ] is only found in a few dialects on the Renta-Últaun border.

Some Imára and Northern Wealla dialects have another phoneme /ɤ/, represented with "ë". This phoneme usually corresponds to "o", "a" or "ie" in other dialects, for example: mëëya "two", which is moya in the Northern group and mie in Southern Weyon.

Accentuation

In the Weyon language, stressed syllables may be pronounced in one of two prosodically distinct ways that are determined by accent and pitch, either the acute or rising accent, or the grave or falling accent. Stress is free and can occur on any syllable of the word. However, it usually falls on the first syllable. Most nouns and verbs have a fixed stress, that is, an accent remains on the same syllable in all the inflections, though there are some words (usually with an an initial grave accent) that have a mobile stress. Polysyllabic compound words and prefixed words, usually have one main stress, but can also receive a secondary stress, for example: keall-eniéka - "to pick blackberries" (imperfective), where only the main word receives stress (acute accent). In dialects, there are cases when words may be differentiated only by the use of accents. One example is where an accent determines the declensional case: haí "eye" and hài "with one's eyes"; sùuðe "he/she lies down" and suúðe "he/she lies". The are also words that only differ in accent: éla "mist" and èla "language", aràš "of blood, bloody" and aráš "saltiness"; however, this may differ significantly among various dialects. Some Renta dialects lost the difference in pitch accent, but instead the stress influenced vowel quality: uore "salty" - areeš "saltyness". A similar process occurred in Ultaun, but it kept the original pitch accent intact.

Grammar

Weyon a moderately inflected language with high levels of nominal and verbal inflection. Most of the fused morphemes are retained in the Northern Weyon dialects, especially in regard to verb conjugation, whereas South Weyon in comparison has moved towards more analytical word structures (mostly in nouns, as verbs tend to preserve better in the Mountains languages).

Nouns

Like in other Settameric languages, there are two noun classes: animate and inanimate. Verbs must agree in animacy with all its arguments. All nouns, are declined for case and number. Animate nouns are declined in thirteen grammatical cases, while most inanimate nouns have ten or even less cases, depending on a particular noun. The noun cases are represented in the table below:

"woman" (animate)
Case Singular Dual Plural
Absolutive áakki áakki áakket
agentive áakka áakku áakkat
genitive áakkaš aakkáwaš aakkáhaš
dative óokkur óokkoor óokkurur
inessive óokku óokkuo óokkut
elative áakkomu óokkumu áakkottu
illative áakkaš áakkawaš áakkataš
adessive áakke áakkewe áakkete
ablative áakkei áakkewi áakketi
essive áakkon áakkawon áakkaton
translative áakkam áakkawam áakkatam
comitative éakkii éakkewii éakketii

When an object is possessed by the first or the second person, it is marked by a possessive marker. All possessive prefixes are represented in the table below:

Possessive prefixes
singular dual plural
1st ke- ku- kil-
2nd te- tu- til-

Verbs

Weyon verbs mark information not only on the subject (their animacy, person, and plurality) but also on the object. There are several different classes of verbs in the language, which differ based on whether they are transitive or intransitive, impersonal or mediopassive. Verbs mark aspects with root modifications, but there are also many prefixes, that convey a great amount of additional information about an action. For example, the verb eara, "to be," along with the prefix am-, which means "in such a way," makes the verb ameara, "to be a certain way." Many of those prefixes are used with verbs of motion such as wia "to go" (as in ewia "to go up, to ascend"). Occasionally, a prefix can change the meaning of the verb entirely, for example hoámeka means "to introduce" and comes from the verb eka "to carry".

Intransitive verbs

Below are all person markers for the subject of intransitive verbs:

Person marker Singular Dual Plural
1st -kan -šši -mi
2nd -ko -ši -kki
3rd an. -ket -šot -hiit

Only an animate noun can be the subject of a particular verb. If a sentence does not contain any animate nouns, an impersonal verb will be used instead. When used with the prefix ši- a verb gains a detransitive meaning, for example: šönyekkan (ši-o-nyen-kan) "I see" from nyena "to see", or šiekkan "I continue" from eka "to carry".

Transitive verbs

Weyon, like other Mountains languages, exhibits a direct–inverse alignment, in which transitive verbs are marked for whether or not the direction of the action follows a "topicality hierarchy" of the language. The hierarchy is: 1 > 2 > 3An.> 3Inan. which means one prefix determines the direction of the action. In order to change to direction of an action an inverse suffix is used. Below are all person markers for transitive verbs:

AGENT DIRECTION PATIENT Prefix
1st person 2nd person m(e)-
1st person 3rd person n(e)-
2nd person 3rd person k(e)-
3rd person animate 3rd person animate hu-
3rd person animate 3rd person inanimate ru-
Indirect object
singular dual plural
θi- θir- θit-
θa- θar- θat-
ha- har- hat-

When inverse marker -o- is used, the direction changes to 3An.>2>1 (an inanimate noun can not be a subject), for example: menyen means "I see you", but with the inverse marker menyeno the meaning changes to "you see me". This is different from the passive construction: "I am seen (by you)" is θakyeni (θa-k-nyen-i).

The number of both the direct object and the subject is marked by a suffix, attached after the verb stem.

Number Direct object Subject
singular
dual -ro -šo
plural -ri (An.)
-ni (In.)
-it

Mediopassive verbs

As a middle voice, it can be thought of as passivizing an action without using passive voice syntax. These verbs often have a refilexive meaning. This usage of reflexivity is paralleled in English with sentence pairs such as "he sat down" and "he sat himself down." Reciprocal and autocausative verbs also belong to this category. These verbs use the prefix ni- and prefixal subject markers: The number of both the direct object and the subject is marked by a suffix, attached after the verb stem.

Number Singular Dual Plural
1st person ku- ku-_-šo ku-_-it
2nd person θa- θa-_-šo θa-_-it
3rd person -šo -it

Impersonal and anticausative verbs are quite similar to this class, but usually apply to inanimate nouns. They use a different marker - ši- instead of ni-, that marks middle verbs.

Vocabulary

The following table shows words in a selection of some Weyon dialects. From it a number of similarities and some differences can be seen, mostly phonological.

Imára Wealla Eastern
Wealla
Renta Últaun
"morning" lyani lyana lyiine liina lin
"fire" onyákkʷa onyákkʷa ëënyë́kkʷe wanyonka wanyonka
"horse" ilor eloor eloor eliir yalin
"leaf" pelákka pelákka pelákke peluón pelón
"man (male adult)" yutóka yutóka yutókë yotuóka yautóka
"my younger sister" kenöłi kenöłi kenöłe kyenöłe kyanöłe
"my mother" kääni keana keana keene kene
"s/he eats" koíket koósket köö́sket kónce kánce
"s/he swims" ulket ulket ulket olke olke
"yes" äla ela ai yoo yo
"no" eið eið iiθ yie yi

Sample text

Coastal Wealla Weyon English translation
Alakkaš höüni ean Kuolámau: The nature is beatiful in the Kuola region:
yiénin eamet, haikáphinin tall mountains, covered
leáðikwete kóllete käi küǘmen, with green spruces and pines,
höürete wuokon. white on their tops.
Foleat luoleen ka oaittet üstöön Singing stream and rivers rush
yiikwama nöðöün fuoiket ka yeiket nyüłešu. through the forest full of mushroom and berries.
Oaittut eaniit θuut nyüłešu. There is a lot of fish in the rivers.