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Received Wisdom on Waponi (LONG)

From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Monday, July 24, 2000, 17:57
So far, we have the following sound changes suggested:

BP Jonsson:
CC > VC (e.g. FACTU > fait, ACTU > auto -- Rumanian also has pt > ut)
VN > V~ (e.g. -TIONE > /sa~o~/ in Portuguese
#CL > Cj (CLARU > chiaro /kjaro/
imagine CRASSU > kiasu or even giasu!
P/B > u -- CAPIO > kauio (or P > u? => kau'io
T/D > r -- MEDIU > meri
K/G > i -- LOCU > loi
Or what about PTK all > glottal stop?  BTW Spanish mostly loses intervocalic
DG, as in veer, leer < VIDERE, LEGERE.

Roger Mills:
The simple sound changes:
p, f > f
b, mp/mb > p
t, nt > t  (> ts or s /_i
k, kw, Nk, Nkw > k
g, gw, Ng, Ngw > N (velar nas.)
w > w
j > i
h, ks > ? (glottal stop)
s > h;     in s+stop, stop+s (except ks)  > 0
ns > ts or s
z > ts or s

a > a
i > i, tendency to > e/ aC_
e > e  (-er- > E / _C-, perhaps other sources too)
o > o  (-or- > O/ _C      ditto  )
u > u, tendency to > o/ aC_

More problematical:
d > t initially, elsewhere (via **r) merges with l
nd > t
r, l > l :  retained between front vowels, but velarized > w elsewhere--
this /w2/ < l I believe should be distinct from /w1/ < w; perhaps w2 a
non-syllabic _u_, w1 a weakly articulated _v_??
retain at least initial Stop+r/l, plenus:  pwenu;  gratia: kwatse.  This /w/
is lost next to rounded vowels:  pluvium:  puvi;  plorare:  po(w)aa (?) ~
plorat: po(w)a.

QUESTION: Actually, which form of the verb would be chosen-- 1sg,, 3sg,
infinitive less -re?, and which of nouns-- nom. or oblique?).

CGH:  Since we are probably dealing with a contact language rather than a
the standard variety, I think that it is safe to play by the rules of the
Mediterranean Lingua Franca.  In fact, Ian Hancock (who, by some happy
coincidence, is also distinguished through his work on Polari) believes that
the Lingua Franca was derived from a "Jewish Trading Latin" of Late
Antiquity.  This view was also held by Keith Whinnom.
      So, this "Jewish Trading Latin" or "Greco-Latin Sabir" would be the
ancestor of both Lingua Franca and the Waponi language.  In LF, the unmarked
form of the verb is the infinitive (less -e), and the verb is "conjugated"
by removing the final -r (to form the imperative) and adding -to (to form
the past tense).  The future was formed by using besonya (It. bisogna) -
however, this was an innovation in LF; we should probably use "va" or a
similar reflex of the verb "to go" to produce the future.

        The nouns should probably all descend from an oblique case, although I see
no practical reason why we could not also derive them from the nominative
case as you have.

QUESTION: had Latin at this time begun to affricate /k/ and /t/ before
/i,e/? tsise?  tsitse?  sise? (t> ts before i is found in PN).

CGH:  Yes, I believe that it had, by the period in which the Waponi language
is introduced.  Let's assume that it had in the Trading Latin ancestor of

      I like Roger Mill's particles, and I think we should try to
incorporate them into the grammar of the language:

PN Morphology:
*faka- ‘causative pfx.’
*fei- ‘reciprocal pfx.’;
*-(C)i or *-aki ‘transitive sfx., often with locative sense (do VERB
full and partial reduplication; compounding.
prefixes *ta- ‘accidental’ and *ma- ‘stative/adjectival’
Latin could contribute fe- (per- or prae-), ko- (cum-), a- (ad-), af(a) or
a(f)- (ab-); e(k)- or ek(e)- (ex-).

postposed:  pa (< -ba-) past;
tu (-tus) participial, adjective;
to (-tor) agent nouns;
e, fu, or ia (est, fuit, iam) perfective;
e, i or vou (est again, ire, volo) future (assuming afe(e) <
habere is for possession).

Pronouns:  blend of aku/ego as above; tu or wo 2d per. superior, native ko
inferior; i le/i la/i lo 3d pers. could be viewed as native i(a) + (il)le.

Plurals: PN distinguishes inclusive/exclusive we, also IIRC dual and trial;
this would need work.

CGH:  Does anyone have any ideas for Greek particles that we can borrow?

Roger Mills:
"Given the above, can anyone come up with a source for Waponi?  Or perhaps a
different name-- we would'nt want the Legal Dept. of Paramount or whoever to
descend on us."

    Tell me, how do folks in the Malayo-Polynesian world generally refer to
themselves, and their language?  Perhaps we can calque something on a
Polynesian term.  That way we would have an indigenous name for the language
and not worry about legal ramifications.

    For the time being, I intend to work out the sound changes above and run
them through a Latin vocabulary list as I have with Afer.  That way we'll
have some vocabulary to start with.  I'll post my synthesis of the above
sound rules soon.

    As for the writing system, I have an idea.  Let us assume that the
original inhabitants of the ship were illiterate, and that literacy, on the
island of Waponi Woo, was limited to the Priestly Class for several
generations.  Then, some enterprising Waponi, using the texts at hand (which
would have been, no doubt, a variety of Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and possibly
Ogham) might devise a syllabic system for writing his language -- without
any reference to the original meanings of the signs (ala Sequoyah).  The
priests would, of course, continue to use Aramaic and/or Ogham, although
they might have to adapt the script to accomodate the sounds of Waponi.  I
would probably pass these scripts through a Redjang filter to give them the
right look.  How does this sound?

Let me know,
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