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qis iscijat a linuva "afer?"

From:Leo Caesius <leo_caesius@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 19, 2000, 0:00
    Afer, a hypothetical Romance language, is my first organized attempt at
language construction ("costrutijo de linuvas") - as a tribute to my
interest in the culture(s) of the Maghreb, I envisioned a language that
would have developed among the Latin speaking inhabitants of North Africa,
based upon colloquial varieties of Latin that did develop among that
population ("*GASP*" - I can hear my detractors already - "another Neo-Latin

    For starters, I have about 8000 words derived from Latin, a loose idea
of the grammar, and a few texts which I have translated into Afer.  The
standard written form of the language was created by Afer's greatest
iscrithur, M. Porcius Iasucthan, a centurion in the area of what is today
Algeria and was then Numidia.  Naturally, the pronunciation has changed a
bit since then, but the written form remains the same.

    I thought it most appropriate to quote St. Augustine (or, as he is known
in Afer, Sathus Ogustinus) in Afer, regarding the pronunciation of Latin in
North Africa in his time:

"Ores afares non judicat a curetijo bel a produtijo de bocales."

    The original Latin text is:
Afrae aures de correptione uocalium uel productione non iudicant – St.
Augustine, De doctrina christiana IV.10.24. "African ears do not judge
between shortening or lengthening of vowels."

A few notes on the text:
    This constitutes a (bad) translation of a learned text.  IMO, bel (while
extant in the vocabulary of Afer) is unlikely to be the most common word for
"or," just as the meaning given here for words like "curetijo" or
"produtijo" would probably be unknown to the Afer-on-the-Street.  The word
afares is the adjectival form of "Afer;" generally, in Afer, Lat. *e > a
/_r, but the word Afer itself is borrowed from Classical Latin.
    Vowels are pronounced as in Italian or Spanish; "b" is a voiced bilabial
fricative, "j" is an approximant as in German.  I have yet to decided if c,
g, t, and d have become affricates before front vowels (as you can see, I'm
leaning towards a semi-etymological orthography, so this would not
necessarily be represented in the script).
    Scholars of Romance languages will note two unusual features in this
text: 1) the nouns here are all derived from the Latin nominative form; 2)
Afer conserves all of the vowels of Latin, even if length has been lost,
diphthongs have collapsed, and vowels in hiatus have been eliminated through
a variety of strategies;  these two traits occur in Sardu (the language of
Sardinia) as well as colloquial texts from North Africa, so I thought them
appropriate enough for Afer.

   The subject of this letter, qis iscijat a linuva "afer?", means "who
knows the 'Afer' language?" -- note that "v" should be pronounced as a
bilabial approximant /w/.  I'm debating whether I should substitute
something for the etymological "q" (perhaps ch? the h in Afer indicates
aspiration) as it only appears in words that contain the Latin *qu, and
whether the Afer would use the verb iscijare for languages (perhaps
itejulegare, Lat. intellegere? I'm trying to avoid polysemy).

   Naturally, I'm very eager to hear any suggestions, comments, or other
observations.  Thanks,
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