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A new, slightly bizaare, conlang

From:Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 20, 2005, 1:50
  A co-worker and I have been working on and off on a
conlang for the a few weeks. I thought it was time to
talk about it a bit on the list. I'll be using a kind
of orthography that uses no diactritics, but in the
actual orthography (which I wont show on the list just
now) there are several diactritics.

 The phonology is kind of extraordinary:

  /a/     _a_
  /E/     _e_
  /i/     _i_
  /O/     _o_
  /u/     _u_
  /Y/     _y_

The vowels may be long, short, creaky long and creaky
short.  (diactrics: /:/, /_k/, /:_k/)

In the orthography, a doubled vowel is long, and a
creaky vowel is followed by a _~_

After uvulars, /i/ becomes /@j/
After a creaky voiced syllable, all vowels become

  /p_>/  (bilabial unvoiced ejective)    _p_
  /b_</ (bilabial voiced implosive)      _b_

  /d'/  (retroflex voiced plosive)       _d_
  /t'/  (retroflex unvoiced plosive)     _t_

  /q_>/ (uvular unvoiced ejective)       _q_
  /g\_</ (uvular voiced implosive)       _g_

  /m/    (bilabial nasal)                _m_
  /F/   (labiodental nasal)              _w_
  /n'/  (retroflex nasal)                _n_
  /N\/  (uvular nasal)                   _ng_

  /r'/   (retroflex rhotic)              _r_

  /K/   (alveolar lateral unvoiced fricative) _lh_
  /K\/  (alveolar lateral voiced fricative)   _lz_
 /|\|\/  (lateral alveolar click) (I use || below
since it's easier)                            _!_

  /?/    (glottal stop)                  _'_

 /f_>/  (labiodental unvoiced ejective fricative) _f_
 /v_</  (labiodental voiced implosive fricative)  _v_

 (While the last two dont seem like the actual
descriptions, they are distinct sounds.)

Some words:
 /FaKp_>i/     after        _walhpi_
 /dae_k/       before       _dae~_
 /Ka:m/        sibling      _lhaam_
 /b_<Y:t'i/    parent       _byyti_
 /mEKa:/       child        _melhaa_
 /b_<Yt'i:/    flatbread    _bytii_
 /Ki:/         kiln         _lhii_
 /Ef_>a:_k/    take, eat    _efaa~_

(more will be given below)

 Nouns are inflected only for regular plural and for
collective or mass plural.

 the "regular" plural is formed as follows:

 A nasal is prefixed to the beginning of the word that
assimilates in place of articulation to the first
sound. (Thus, uvular with uvualr, bilabial with
bilabial, retroflex with retroflex, labiodental with
labiodental). Where things get tricky is with
laterals, nasals and vowels.  Before front vowels, the
sound /F/ is used as a plural marker, before back
vowels the sound /N\/ is used. Before laterals the
retroflex nasal /n'/ is used.

Before nasals the nasal itself is reduplicated and
then followed by the vowel /i/.

 du'  /d'u?/      fish   >  ndu' fish /n'd'u?/
 byyti /b_<Y:t'i/ parent >  mbyyti parents /mb_<Y:t'i/
 gen /g\_<En'/    person >  nggen people /N\g\_<En'/

 lze' /K\E?/  spoon >  nlze' spoons /n'K\E?/
 !aalza /||a:K\a/ squirrel > n!aalza /n'||a:K\a/

 efaa~!i /Ef_>a:_k||i/ eater > wefaa~!i /FEf_>a:k||i/
 o'di!i /O?d'i||i/ possessor > ngo'di!i /N\O?d'i||i/

 we'e  /FE?E/ fly   > wiwe'e /FiFE?E/     flies
 ngalh /N\aK/ I, me > ngingalh /N\@jN\aK/ we, us
 melhaa /mEKa:/ child > mimelhaa /mimEKa:/ children
 (I dont have an example of a retroflex nasal yet)

The collective plural is relatively simple after all
that. It is formed with the prefix ba- /b_<a/:

  toon /t'O:n'/ water >  batoon /b_<at'O:n'/ downpour

  lhpaa~ /Kp_>a:_k/ fog > balhpaa~ /b_<aKp_>a:_k/ lots
of clouds.

  ngooro /N\O:r'O/ locust > bangooro /b_<aN\O:r'O/ a
locust swarm.


These guys are pretty interesting. The tense system is
pretty easy. There's just an inflected past tense. The
bare stem is used as the present. Other verbal ideas
are derived by means of particles. The past tense is
formed by reduplicating the verbal root.

 efaa~  /Ef_>a:_k/  to take, eat
 efaa~efaa /Ef_>a:_kE_kf_>a:_k/   ate
(no need to write the ~ for creaky voice more than
once, since creaky voice spreads)

 vi  /v_<@j/      hold
 vivi /v_<@jv_<j/ held

 Some verbs are compounds, these still just
reduplicate the verbal root:

 to:nefaa~ /t'O:nEf_>a:_k/   to drink
 to:nefaa~efaa               drank

 lze'vi  /K\E?v_<@j/         to cook, serve
 lze'vivi                    cooked, served

From this basis however, different directional and
manner prefixes can be added to the root to talk about
different types of action.

 lh(e)-  /K(E)/  adds a meaning of _fast and random_
 i'-  /i?/  adds a meaning of _slow and deliberate_
 da-  /d'a/ adds a meaning of _roundtrip_

That's all we have so far, but others are planned.
These change the meaning of the verb considerably:

 di  /d'i/  to be located, be at
 lhdi /Kd'i/ to be scattered all about haphazardly

 lze'vi     /K\E?v@j/  to serve, cook
 lhelze'vi /KEK\E?v@j/ _to dole out fast and with
little regard to where the food winds up_
 i'lze'vi  /i?K\E?v@j/  to carefully apportion out
 (or in the cooking sense:) _to cook slowly and
evenly_ In a passive sense, this becomes: to be
simmering, to be slow-roasting.

 qi /q_>@j/  to go, move on foot, be well, function
 daqi        to go and come back, to make a trip
 lhdaqi      to run about willy-nilly and return
 lhqi        to scatter about
 i'qi        to move carefully testing out the path"

In all of these cases, the past tense is formed by
reduplicating only the root.


 These come divided into three types. First there are
proclitic role particles which help define a noun's
role in the sentence. Then there are enclitic clausal
particles that show how the phrase or clause that
preceded them is viewed by the speaker. The third is a
grab bag.

The role particles so far are:

 o'   commitative   with
 nga  benefactive   for, to (or untranslatable)
 mi   experiencer
 pe   source        from

The clausal particles so far are:

 ea~  emphatic or contrastive (and vocative with
 lha   interrogative
 pe    causal
 be    volitional
 lhovi softener particle _so be it, anyway, you know_
 olhelh regret particle

The other particles so are are:

 ge  negative particle (precedes the word/phrase like
a proclitic)
 qa  future tense particle
 te  malefactive particle


Nouns may be marked with any proclitic particle if the
semantics of the sentence allows:

  efaa~  nga  ngalh  du'
  take   ben. I      fish

"I eat fish"   (where the fact that you're being
benefited by eating, nourished etc, is being marked by
the benefactive).

You can further change this sentence by applying an

 nga ngalh ea~  efaa~ du'
 be. I     emph. take fish

"I am eating fish for myself"

Or you can emphasize and deemphasize the subject the

 du'  ea~   efaa~ ngalh
 fish emph. take  I
"the fish are eaten by me"

Another sentence:
  lhpaa nga  ngalh  "I am being rained on"
  rain  ben. I

This specifies that the rain is falling down upon you.
If you want to specify that you and the rain were in
the same set of circumstances and setting, then you'd

  lhpaa mi ngalh   "It's raining, I (am there)"
  rain  exp. I

Or you can emphasize the fact that you're being
adversely affected by the rain:

  lhpaa nga  ngalh te    "It's raining on me"
  rain  ben. I     mal.

And you can further emphasize this with the emphatic

  lhpaa nga ngalh tea~  (contraction of te ea~)
  rain  be. I     mal.emph.
 "It's raining on me!!"

I think that's okay for right now, since this is a
large post, and I need to do some actual work now..


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