|Date:||Saturday, June 17, 2000, 16:30|
Here's an extract from the Vaiysi grammar I'm writing. I'd like to hear your
comments, since I've promised to myself that I'll finish to write it in this
summer. Here you are:
First of all an introduction:
Vaiysi is an inflecting language. This means that it adds prefixes, suffixes
and infixes to some parts of the speech to change or specify their meaning.
It has a quite complex nominal and verbal morphology, but it's much simpler
than Latin or Greek. Vaiysi has inherited from Suimeni, its mother tounge,
an ergative / absolutive case system. This means that the subject of
intransitive verbs (verbs which can take the object) is marked for a case
called ergative, and that the subject of intransitive verbs and the object
of transitive verbs are generally unmarked, in a case called absolutive.
Vaiysi has four other cases: dative, genitive, locative and allative. Dative
is the case of the indirect object (I give you the book) or of the object in
antipassive constructions, genitive resembles English 's, locative carries
the meaning 'in' or 'on', while allative 'to' or 'into'. Adjectives are
usually declined as nouns, and adverbs are directly deviced by adjectival
stems. Vaiysi verb conjugation is another quiet complex argument. Verbs
distinguish tense, person, number, aspect and voice, and their conjugation
is as difficult as that of French or Italian verbs, far more difficult than
the English one. Vaiysi has five tenses: present, past, future, anterior and
posterior, plus an imperative mood. A particular construction is that of the
verb 'to be', which has become in Vaiysi a suffixed particle (-yeam...). The
language is largerly SVO, but the word order is not very rigid. There are
only prepositions, not potpositions; all prepositions govern the genitive
Here's the phonology:
Classical Vaiysi Phonology
The phonemic system of Classical Vaiysi is as follows (in Kirshenbaum IPA)
u.stops p t k q
v.stops b d g
u.fricatives f s h
v.fricatives v z
nasals m n
In transliteration, the affricate /tS/ is written ch.
h /h/ occurs only word initially, and is still pronounced by educated
people, but is generally dropped in many dialects and in rapid speech.
n /n/ usually becomes /N/ before /k/ and /g/, and m /m/ before /p/ and /b/
(we say it is assimilated in its place of articulation).
r /r/ is not to be pronounced as in English 'rose', but as in Spanish or
Italian 'caro', and it should never modify the pronounciation of the
q /q/ is a glottal stop, that is a stop is produced either by the suddent
opening of the glottis under pressure from the air below, or by the abrupt
closure of the glottis to block the airstream. The glottal stop is always
voiceless, as the complete closure of the vocal cords precludes their
It is very important to keep s /s/ and z /z/ apart: the former is
unvoiced, as in 'send', the latter is voiced, as in 'realize'.
Double consonants are not to be pronounced twice, but they mark a long
consonant: kyemma /k@'em:a/.
high i u
mid e @ o
In transliteration, schwa /@/ is written y.
Other vowels are pronounced a /a/, e /e/, i /i/, o /o/ and u /u/,
as in car, regulate, Jim, crow, full.
Suimeni had two series of vowels: short and long ones. Vaiysi has a series
of diphthongs directly derived from these long vowels (a > a; e > ye; i
> iy; o and u > ou), and treated as such in the vowels' reducer's mechanism.Alternations between vowels and diphthongs are very common in the language.
The accent is a stress accent. It generally falls on the last long vowel of
each word. If there are no long vowels, it falls on the first syllable.
Monosyllabic words obviously stress the only syllable they have.
tal = house
taleiy = houses /ta'lej@/
There are, anyway, a few exceptions: prepositions are proclitic, thus they
do not bear any accent.
riyt taluni = outside the house /ri@'t:aluni/
The vowels' reducer
Vaiysi has retined from its mother tongue the use of a long vowels' reducer;
this because, in both the languages, two long vowels can't stand in two
adjacent syllsbles, and the latter displaces the former. This mechanism is
rather innovative, and hasn't been observed in any of the other Hyarian
languages. There are rather complex reduction patterns, but the most
important ones affect those diphthongs derived from Suimeni's long vowels.
ya + long vowel > a
ye + long vowel > e
iy + long vowel > i
ou + long vowel > u (always, even when ou is from Suime:ni o:)
Example: S. eka, V. yego = he comes
S. eke, V. egeiy = he came
Suime:ni e:ka e:k+e: > eke:
Vaiysi yego yeg+eiy > egeiy
vyankeo = he is killed
vyank+yark(antipassive) > vankyarko = he kills
vyank+yark(antipassive)+eiy(past.3s) > vyankarkeiy* = he killed,
*Important: notice that the root's vowel in _vyank_ isn't shortened anymore:
the last syllable _eiy_, with his long vowel, has already shortened _yark_,
and this last one can't rearrange the root.
Well, Pablo proposed to call this last feature "shortening" or "length
dissimulation" because "vowels' reducer" sounds like a shrinking machine.
: ) Anyway I think this is one of the coolest features of the language.
I'm waiting for your reply.