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YANC -- Nine

From:nicole perrin <nicole.eap@...>
Date:Monday, June 5, 2000, 22:13
Seems like there've been quite a few YANC's lately, but here's another
to add to the list.  Danny Wier came up with the idea for this one --
it's the one with only nine letters:

p       t       k
m       n       n'

a       i       u

No length, no tones.  (Note that in Danny's original post on this, "n'"
was "g," but I didn't like this.  In my notes it appears as an n with an
acute accent, but most fonts don't have that character.  Oh well.)Here's
what I have so far:

The phonology is pretty restricted.  Each POS has its own particular
structure (this may not be naturalistic seeming, but it's actually not
as weird as it seems.  When I give examples it'll probably seem more
normal.)  When I made this rule, I did it strictly for convenience,
because I knew there would only be a very limited number of short words
with so few letters.  But it came out okay.  This is how it works:

S-stop          N-nasal         C-cluster of nasal+stop with same POA
X-stop or nasal         Y-stop, nasal, or cluser        V-vowel

prepositions:  (S)V(S)

pronouns:  XVY

verbs:  XVYVNu (you can infix "YV" infinitely to make words of more

nouns:  VYV(Y) (again, you can infix "YV" infinitely)

adjectives:  NVCV(Y) (again, infixing  of "YV" is allowed)

adverbs:  SVCV(Y) (infixing of "YV" again)

conjunctions:  (N)V(N)

Note that the difference between adjectives and adverbs is only in the
first letter.  So to convert an adjective to an adverb, all you have to
do is change the nasal to a stop at the same POA:

nan'i - sad     tan'i - sadly

Also note that "nan'i" is from the noun "an'i," sadness.  It's pretty
easy to make affixes to change nouns (which are the roots of nearly all
words) into whatever POS you're going for:

n[noun] - possessing [noun] (adj)
um[noun] - opposite of [noun] (n)
nuk[noun] - lacking [noun] (adj)
num[noun] - possessing the opposite of [noun] (adj)
p[noun]mu - to have [noun] (v)
n[noun]nu - to want [noun] (v)
p[noun]n'u - to be [noun] (v)

Et cetera.  That's just all I have so far.

Verb stuff -- all verbs end in a nasal plus u in the infinitive.  There
are three classes of verbs, those that end in -mu, those that end in
-nu, and those that end in -n'u.  Each class is conjugated slightly
differently.  Verbs are conjugated for person, gender and number.
Tense, aspect and mood are marked on a separate particle that appears
before the verb in a declarative sentence and at the end of the sentence
in an interrogative sentence.  FWIW:
Tenses are distant past, recent past, present, near future and distant
Aspects are inceptive, progressive, perfective, imperfective, and two
that I don't know what to call:  to stop doing something, and to
continue doing something.
Moods are indicative, imperative, and something I believe would be
called irrealis, but if anyone could clarify this term for me that'd be
good too.

Noun stuff -- all nouns are either masculine, feminine or inanimate.
Masc/fem distinctions are *actual* masc/fem distinctions, like, a guy is
masc, a girl is fem, a ram is masc, a ewe is fem.  So pretty much
everythign left over is inanimate.  The plural is formed by the prefixes
ka/ki/ku (that's masc/fem/inan).  The indefinite articles are a/i/u and
the definite articles are ta/ti/tu.  These are pretty much the only
places where the gender distinctions show up.

Other stuff -- the language is VSO (I probably should have mentioned
that while ago, huh?), has prepositions, attributive adjectives before
nouns, genitives before nouns.  Adjectives take no agreement.  I think
the number system is going to be base ten.  And I don't think the
speakers of Nine had their own writing system before I discoved them, so
it's just written with the Roman alphabet.

One of the few things I don't have worked out though is a name.  The
word for "language' is "anam."  But I don't know if I want to use that.
If anyone has a pretty-sounding idea that's VYV(Y), tell me -- a conlang
feels so naked without a name!

By the way, I'm getting pretty into this lang, mainly because I want to
develop it so I can derive a bunch of daughter languages from it -- I
can just see the tones developing in some!  And the richer
consonant/vowel inventories in others!