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From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 17:27
I wish to support the recent vogue for longish posts on Conlang ;)

I have a reason for that. You may remember my complaints about my main
problem: proliferation. My conlangs multiply, and I cannot duly elaborate
each of them.

I've just sketched a new group of five related dialects (historical
phonology in much detail, plus some grammar). And I am applying
for advice to the list as for which of them is worth further elaboration
more than others. So maybe at least one of them will become
something more than a few tables on paper sheets.

* * * *

I still have no names for the five dialects, so I simply mark them:
A, B, C, D, E. They used to be spoken in the would-be world of Nadeia, to
which belong some other conlang projects of mine, including a few very old

In medieval Nadeia, all the five dialects featured below acquired the
status of _Aulic_ languages (linguae aulicae) - that is, new literary
languages that were considered inferiour to real classical langs (like
Latin or Greek) but superior to numerous unwritten vernaculars. All five
are dead now. However, they are still taught in schools, used in liturgy
and sometimes otherwise, and serve as the source of technical terms
borrowed into modern languages of Nadeia.

* * * *

All the five tongues are related. They are descendants of a dialect of
Arabic spoken in Nadeia of ca. 7th century by a tribe known from the Latin
chronicles as _galvini_, which is why present-day Nadeian scholars
include them in the Galvinic subfamily of Semitic. All five evolved in
neighboring areas, and present an example of convergent evolution:
belonging to different dialectal groups of Galvinic, they acquired many
similar features in phonology and grammatical structure. Specifically, in
their attested forms they have nearly identical phonemic inventories and
very similar sound combinatorics, which allows me to use the same
transliteration scheme for all five.

Vowels - < a o u i e > are roughly as in Spanish; y [@] (absent in E);
double letters stand for long vowels (but [@:] is spelled < eo >); < ea oa
ie uo > are falling diphthongs ending in schwa; < u > and < i > following
another vowel are glides (mind in particular < ui > [uj], < iu > [iw]).

No vowel clusters are allowed. Every syllable begins with a consonant.
Word-initial vowel letters are pronounced with a preceding glottal stop.
Before a non-initial vowel, the glottal stop is marked with an apostrophe,
before a consonant - with acute on the preceding vowel.

Each consonant phoneme is denoted with one letter (combinations like
< sh > denote two sounds, double letters stand for geminates). Special
comments are required for x [x] (voiceless velar fricative), j [j] (palatal
glide); r (always syllable-final, absent in A) resembles the syllable-final
r in rhotic accents of English; syllable-final n or m following a *long*
vowel or diphthong denote merely the nasalization of the vowel (in A, this
vowel nasality is opposed to syllable-final consonantal [m / n / N] which
can follow only *short* vowels).

In E, syllable-final fricatives get voiced before [v] and all resonants,
which is reflected by the orthography only for [f] > [v]: _seavmota_
[se@vmota] 'seven', but _tiismota_ [ti:zmota] 'nine'.

* * * *

To let you see what each of the five dialects sounds like, I give below
a comparative table of numerals (1 - 10, 100, 1000). Please use fixed-
width fonts and set line length to 77 or more.

For some numbers (1, 2, 1000) Proto-Galvinic offers more than one
potential protoform, and I haven't decided yet which of the concurrent
etyma survives in which dialect. However, as the historical phonology has
already been settled, I can predict the result of sound development for
each form in each tongue. In the table below I mark the concurrent
candidate forms for same numeral with lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.).

Dialect:  A           B           C           D           E

1 a   peuhytu     pouhijy     poohetu     pauhije     vauhita
  b   ehatu       ahajy       ahotu       ahaje       eheta
  c   faaltu      faaljy      foaltu      foalje      foalta
  d   foupo       tiupu       fuipy       teupu       tiuvu
  e   heexxu      joaxxy      jaaxxy      joixxe      xaixka
  f   muniuwu     mynaupy     munauhu     meniufe     maneuva
  g   mounu       miuny       muinu       meune       miuna
  h   hoinu       hoiny       heenu       hiine       haina
  i   paifmousu   poofmiusy   poasmuisu   poameuse    voivmiusa
  j   fimiuxai    timauxei    fimauxoi    timiuxoi    timeuxee
  k   xounmiufee  xeunmautii  xoonmoofai  xeunmiutee  koonmeutii
  l   foleu       fylou       fyloo       fulau       fulau
2 a   eifniuni    iefnauni    iesnauni    ieniuni     iivneuni
  b   feinfiuni   fiintauni   siinfauni   hiintiuni   fiinteuni
  c   houffu      juofty      juuffu      leufte      loofta
  d   liifmo      liufmu      lief'y      liefmu      lief'u
3     feneufefu   fanoufaty   sanoosafu   hanauhate   fenaufeta
4     ielpe'afu   aalpa'oty   aalpamofu   aalpahote   ealpemota
5     xaunsefu    xounsaty    xoonsafu    xounsate    xaunseta
6     seiffefu    siiftaty    siffafu     siftate     siesteta
7     sief'afu    sauf'oty    saafmofu    saafhote    seavmota
8     femiunihefu famaunijoty samaunijafu hamiunijote femeunixeta
9     fiis'afu    ties'oty    fiesmofu    tieshote    tiismota
10    axelafu     oxaloty     moxalofu    hosalote    moselota
100   mi'efu      mi'aty      mi'afu      mi'ate      mi'eta
1000a ealfo       aulfy       aulfy       oolfu       eulfu
    b haliulo     halaulu     holauly     haliulu     heleulu
    c xeulhiuwu   xealjoupy   xeuljauhu   xauljiufe   xoolxeuva
    d xynaihefu   xeneijoty   xenoijafu   xynoijote   xaneexeta
    e xeulhu      xealju      xeulju      xeulje      xoolxa
    f xainai      xeinei      xoinoi      xoinoi      xeenee

(Comments to the concurrent forms)

1a is the main form of the numeral in the proto-language. It is preserved
in all dialects, but in some with an altered meaning (to 'sole', 'alone',
'the same', etc.), and then is superceded by another word as the numeral

1b is preserved in all dialects as the form required in compound numerals
(21, 1001, etc.) and as a pronoun ('a person', 'someone', 'anybody', etc.).
It never becomes the main word for the numeral 'one' in other uses.

1c-d were originally adjectives that meant 'single', 'sole'. 1c becomes the
main form of 'one' quite often.

1e-l are borrowed words. They may supercede the native words only in some
of the Galvinic langs. In others, they may or not be preserved with various
related meanings ('one time', 'one point in a game', 'apiece', etc.).

2a and 2b were concurrent forms of the numeral already in the protolang.
2a is masculine (its regular feminine derivate is not shown in the table),
2b was used for both genders. In some dialects both 2a and 2b may be
preserved with a new differentiation by gender (2a for m., 2b for f.).
All dialects preserve at least one of these lexemes as the mandatory
form used in compounds (32, 102, etc.) but in other uses they are often
superceded by 2c or 2d.

2c and 2d are loanwords with similar original meaning ('a pair', 'a
couple'), in which use they are mostly preserved even in those dialects
where they don't become the main form of 'two'.

1000a is the main form in the protolang. 1000b-f are early loans that
sometimes supercede it.

* * * *

All the numerals above are given in the form used with masculine nouns (all
Galvinic langs have two genders, masculine and feminine). Note that for
3-10 the f. form would be shorter than the m. one.

Besides, all the forms chosen for illustration are in conjunct status,
without any suffixed article or pronoun. This is not the form that can be
used independently, but morphologically it is usually the simplest.

Finally, all words are in the nominative case. In Proto-Galvinic as well
as in its daughter langs, numerals (as well as adjectives) are basically
nouns, and nouns mostly have three cases.

Just to show you what various forms of same word can look like (and to
illustrate the morphological differences between the five dialects), I
provide below a comparative table of some forms of the lexeme 1a (which,
as I already mentioned, survives in all dialects but may have an altered
meaning in some). This word is inflected as a regular adjective.

                A            B            C            D            E

def cj m N:  el peuhytu   al pouhijy   al poohetu   ol pauhije   el vauhita
def cj m G:  el peuhyti   al pouhiji   al pooheti   ol pauhiji   el vauhiti
def cj m A:  el peuhyte   al pouhija   al pooheta   ol pauhija   el vauhite
def cj f N:  el peuhytefu al pouhijaty al poohetafu ol pauhijate el

idf cj m N:   peuhytuin   pouhijoin    poohetuin    pauhijein    vauhiteen
idf cj m G:   peuhytein   pouhijiin    poohetiin    pauhijiin    vauhitiin
idf cj m A:   peuhyteen   pouhijain    poohetain    pauhijeen    vauhitain
idf cj f N:   peuhytefuin pouhijatoin  poohetafuin  pauhijatein  vauhiteteen

p3sm cj m N:  peuhytuho   pouhijyhy    poohetuhy    pauhijehe    vauhitaha
p3sm cj m G:  peuhytihy   pouhijihi    poohetihe    pauhijihi    vauhitihi
p3sm cj m A:  peuhyteho   pouhijahy    poohetahy    pauhijahe    vauhiteha
p3sm cj f N:  peuhytefuho pouhijatyhy  poohetafuhy  pauhijatehe  vauhitetaha

def idp m N:  al peuhytul al pouhijyf  al pooheef   ol pauhijef el vauhitoo

def idp m A:  al peuhytel              al poohetaijau           el vauhiteu
                          al pouhijaf               ol pauhijaf

def idp f N:  al peuhyteef             al poohetaf              el vauhiteas
                          al pouhijaif              ol pauhijaf

def idp f A:  al peuhytefef            al poohetafa'ie          el
                          al pouhijatar             ol pauhijatar

idf idp m N:  peuhytou    pouhijeu     poohetuu     pauhijeu     vauhitoo
idf idp m G:  peuhytiu    pouhijiu     poohetiu     pauhijiu     vauhitiu
idf idp m A:  peuhytea    pouhijau     poohetau     pauhijoo     vauhiteu
idf idp f N:  peuhytefou  pouhijateu   poohetafuu   pauhijateu   vauhitetoo

p3sm idp m N: peuhytuu    pouhijeo     poohetuo     pauhijea     vauhitaa
p3sm idp m G: peuhytii    pouhijie     poohetie     pauhijie     vauhitie
p3sm idp m A: peuhytie    pouhijaa     poohetaa     pauhijaa     vauhitea
p3sm idp f N: peuhytefuu  pouhijateo   poohetafuo   pauhijatea   vauhitetaa


Determination statuses: def - definite ('the'); idf - indefinite ('a');
p3sm - pronominal (or possessive), 3rd person singular ('his', 'its').

Phrase position statuses: cj - conjunct; idp - independent (AKA emphatic or

Cases: N - nominative, G - genetive, A - accusative (or

Genders: m - masculine, f - feminine. The above forms of the lexeme 1a are
all singular.

* * * *

So, my 2 questions (to those who've read so far) are:

1) Which of the five dialects (A-B-C-D-E) looks, at a glance, more pleasant
(or less awkward) than others?

2) Which of the candidate forms for the numerals 1, 2, 1000 suit your chosen
dialect best?

Of course, you can mention more than one lang/etymon, for example:
'B, C nice, E ugly, 1c best for B, 1e for C.'

I'll be grateful for any suggestions - thanks in advance!