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Vjatjackwa (the result of all those sound changes!)

From:Amanda Babcock <ababcock@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 9, 2003, 17:02
This message is, as far as I can tell, being sent in Latin-1.

Thanks to all those who suggested sound change rules to me when I was
trying to make a Polynesian-sounding language end up sounding Germanic.
Here is the phonology I settled on (which actually ends up sounding
pretty Slavic, which is even cooler; thanks, Nik, for the i->ja and
u->wa rules!  I never would have thought of that!).  In the next message
I'll discuss what I know so far of verb structure in Wítickú (a nice
polysynthetic mess which unfortunately is lost by the time Vjatjackwa
rolls around).

A Description of the Vjatjackwa Language Family

Vjatjackwa (/vjat'jatSkwa/, and yes those are /a/'s not /A/'s) descended
from Wítickú (/"wititS'ku/), which meant "they speak it" and was
descended from a Proto-Witicku form *wititeku.  Some other words descended
from this form are those ending in -vjactikwa /vjatStikwa/ and -Ptjatig
/p\tjatig/, descended from the Wítickú prefixed forms -wictéku
/witS'teku/ and -Ptíteg /'p\titeg/.

Proto-Witicku was an agglutinative, polysynthetic language built of CV
syllables with the following sound system:

                Consonants                      Vowels

        p       t       k                       i       u
                s               h               e       o
        w       r l                                 A

Words were regularly stressed in a dactylic pattern beginning with the
first syllable, with syllables divisible by three being minimally stressed
and very short.

In Wítickú, the following changes occurred:

        . Every third vowel dropped (except those following h) after
          causing certain mutations upon the previous consonant.  If
          a vowel divisible by three followed h, h dropped.
        . Doubled consonants created by the vowel deletion underwent

The mutations upon consonants before deleted vowels were as follows:

        . Before i or e, p->f, t->tS, k->x, s->S, w->p\, and m->w
        . Before o or u, p->b, t->d, k->g, s->z, l->5, and w->m

The dissimilations of doubled consonants were as follows:

        . pp->fp
        . tt->tSt
        . kk->xk
        . mm->wm
        . ll->jl->il
        . rr->wr->ur
        . ss->ts

The polysynthetic grammar remained, although now made fusional by the
sound changes.

In the next stage of evolution, Vjatjackwa, further sound changes led
to the fossilization and abandonment of the polysynthetic grammar by
obscuring the origins of words.  The sound changes were as follows
(assume 'a' before -> represents Wítickú /A/):

        . w->u between a vowel and a consonant, or at ends of words
        . w->v everyhere else
        . monopthongization: oi->y, ae->E, ea->jE, oe->2, ai->e, ao->o,
                au->o, ei->i, eo->jo, eu->ju, oa->wa, ou->u, ui->y,
                ue->2, uV->wV, iV->jV
        . vowel shift: a->O, o->u, e->i, u->wa, i->ja
        . degemination: doubled vowels keep their original values but
                become single-length

The phonetic inventory by this stage was:

        Consonants                              Vowels

        p b     t d     tS      k g             i y     u
        f v     s z     S       x       h       e 2     o
        p\ w    r l     j       5               E       O
        m                                           a

The old stress pattern had disappeared and a new pattern of stress on
the penultimate syllable (and alternate syllables before it) had
replaced it.

A few more examples.  Vjatjackwa did not keep all the forms below; their
nouns typically come from the vocative or naming form listed first.  The
starred forms are those which would have existed had the forms persisted
to the present day.  Alternate forms, however, are sometimes kept with
a different meaning, such as "Rwaf" as a common name for dogs, and
"Mjatwam" as a title with which to address married women.

                Proto-Witicku     Wítickú         Vjatjackwa

Cat             mimi              mími            mjamja
a cat           mamimi            mámiw           *mOmju
the cat         kamimi            kámiw           *kOmju
my cat          sikumimi          síkuwmí         *sjakwumja

Dog             rupi              rúpi            rwapja
a dog           marupi            máruf           *mOrwaf
the dog         karupi            káruf           *kOrwaf
my dog          sikurupi          síkurpí         *sjakwarpja

Mother          wimituwo          wímidwó         vjamjadvu
a mother        mawimituwo        máwiwtúwo       *mOvjutwavu
the mother      kawimituwo        káwiwtúwo       *kOvjutwavu
my mother       sikuwimituwo      síkuPmítum      *sjakwaPmjatwam

Up next (after I write it): some stuff about verbs!



Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>