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Re: Ustekkli: a new project (longish)

From:Doug Ball <db001i@...>
Date:Thursday, January 31, 2002, 1:58
Etona a Dirk (Tirik for monolingual Skerre):

> I thought I'd introduce some features of a new project that is > underway. This is something that I don't usually do; while I enjoy > the discussions here, I tend to view conlanging as a solitary > activity, and I have been reluctant to share volatile features of > projects in progress. So I'm new at this :-). That said, here are > some things I find interesting in my latest project, tentatively > called Ustekkli ["ust@kli] (nominalized plural of the perfective > _ust_ of _usta_ 'speak', hence 'words'. I know, I know, but I gotta > call it something).
Based on the recent discussions of what names conlangs begin with, you seemed to have picked a good name, since few conlangs start with letter "U." (Uatakassí is the only one I can think of).
> Inventories > > > consonants > > > p t kj k > b d gj g > f th s sj h > m n > r,l > w j > > > The consonants are presented in the orthography with one exception; > <th> is written with <thorn>. <kj, gj, sj> are alveopalatal > consonants rather than clusters; <kj> and <gj> are voiceless and > voiced affricates, respectively, <sj> is [S]. <j> is jod.
Why not have /j/ be written as {y} as to avoid any possible confusion with the {kj}, {gj}, and {sj} digraphs? (snip Vowels and some phonology)
> syllable contact > > > The driving force of Ustekkli prosody is syllable contact. Syllable > contact refers to the nature of the connection between a vowel and a > following consonant. Two kinds of contact are distinguished: close > contact and loose contact (these are translations of Jespersen's 1912 > 'fester Anschluß' and 'loser Anschluß'). Close contact describes the > connection between a short vowel and a consonant within the same > syllable, while loose contact describes i) the connection between a > long vowel and a consonant within the syllable or ii) the connection > between a vowel of any length and a consonant in the next syllable. > (Trubetzkoy 1939 [1969] discusses this kind of prosodic distinction > and makes the claim that loose contact is the unmarked member of the > pair -- hence its wider distribution.) > > > Here is how syllable contact plays out. In Ustekkli, stressed > syllables must be heavy; this is accomplished by gemination or vowel > lengthening. The choice between the two depends on if there is close > contact or loose contact between the vowel of the stressed syllable > and the following consonant. If there is close contact, the consonant > is geminated; this creates a heavy syllable: > > > If there is loose contact between the vowel of the stressed syllable > and the following consonant, the vowel is lengthened, which also > creates a heavy syllable: >
> nikk-r /nikr/ ["nIk.k=r] (close contact) > nik-r /nikr/ ["ni:.k=r] (loose contact) > oatt-n /oatn/ ["wat.t=n] (close contact) > oat-n /oatn/ ["o@_^.t=n] (loose contact)
Can you illustrate step-by-step how these are derived? I'm still a bit unsure how close contact and loose contact work in action. (snip rest of phonology) (snip nouns--unfortunate use of the term "absolutive" in Uto-Aztecan--do the Ustekklists use a different term to avoid the confusion?)
> verbs > > > Verbs do not agree with their subjects, but do carry object prefixes > if transitive. The object prefixes are: > > > sg pl > > > 1 ne- te- > 2 me- pe- > 3 o- (refl) > > > (The prefix _o-_ is only used in reflexive sentences; there is no > object prefix for non-reflexive third person objects.) > > > Verbs do show aspect distinctions; imperfective verbs are unmarked, > while perfective verbs truncate the final vowel, if present. > > > usta 'speak' > ust 'spoken' > > > hipi 'drink' > hip 'drunk' > > > bieme 'jump' > biem 'jumped' > > > (Object prefixes and truncation are shamelessly stolen from O'odham, > a Uto-Aztecan language of central and southern Arizona and > neighboring Mexico.) There is a derivational process of reduplication > which carries an iterative meaning; so from _hipi_ 'drink' there is > also _hippi_ 'sip' (some opaque phonological alternations going on > there), and from _bieme_ 'jump' you get _bibieme_ 'hop'.
What about reduplication of 'usta'--how does Ustekkli reduplicate vowel-initials? (couldn't resist this question :-)) (snip aux paradigms)
> > The auxiliaries always occur in the second position of the clause. > > > Here are some sentences in orthography, X-SAMPA, morphological parse, > interlinear gloss, and translation: > > > hippi se a hrenkli a luotne > ["hIppisA"r_0ENkliA"lu@_^tn@] > hippi se a hrenk -l -i a luot -n -e > sip AUX:3 DET man -ABS -PL DET water -ABS -OBL > > > The man sips the water. > > > > > a hrenkl se hippi a luotne els touth > [A"r_0ENk=ls@"hIppiA"lu@_^tn@ls"to:T] > a hrenk -l se hippi a luot -n -e el -s touth > DET man -ABS AUX:3 sip DET water -ABS -OBL AUX:SUB -3 pour:PERF > > > The man sips the water which he poured. > > > > > a hrenkl ast hipp a luotne alst touth > [A"r_0ENklAst"hIppA"lu@_^nAlst"to:T] > a hrenk -l a -s -t hipp > DET man -ABS AUX -3 -PAST sip:PERF > > > a luot -n -e a -l -s -t touth > DET water -ABS -OBL AUX -SUB -3 -PAST pour:PERF > > > The man sipped the water which he poured. > > hippi ne a luotne alnt touth > ["hIppinA"lu@_^nAlnt"to:T] > hippi ne a luot -n -e a -l -n -t touth > sip AUX:1s DET water -ABS -OBL AUX -SUB -1s -PAST pour:PERF > > > I sip the water which I poured.
The syntax seems to be vaguely like O'odham, too, although with some differences--Ustekkli keeps initial determiners, but if I remember things correctly from my experience with O'odham, O'odham doesn't.
> Not too exciting right now, but there are some promising features, I think.
Depends on what you consider exciting, but I think Ustekkli is pretty interesting already--I've never seen any language manipulate syllable contact, so that's interesting, and it's always nice to see a slightly less-than-configurational AUX2 language. So, please explain more, as you develop it and have a chance to either post here or put something up a on webpage. Doug Ball CLI v1.1 !l§ cN:R:S:H a++ y n2d:7 B? A-- E L* N1 Is/m/p k-- ia+ p+ s++ m-- o+ P- S Skerre


Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>