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(LONG) Sketch by a novice, please criticize/help/flame/etc

From:Paul Bennett <paul.bennett@...>
Date:Monday, September 13, 1999, 18:45
Here is an up-to-date sketch of a foetal conlang (work in progress, not a CL for
zygotes!) that I've been monkeying around with for a while on and off

Please post any and all comments, especially as regards my horrendous and
probably inconsistent terminology.

I'm an enthusiastic but inexperienced beginner, so I really want to hear
that comes into your head when you read this, even if it's horribly negative and
I'm well aware that a little knowledge can be an embarassing thing.

Sorry about the length, I have no webspace at the moment to post it on.  Also,
sorry about
the line-length, as possibly already noted, we have a new email doodad and I've
yet to
get to grips with the bells and whistles.

WENETAIC IN BRIEF (best read in a fixed-pitch font)

[Note, no lexicon is yet available, and this tract refers to lexical forms from
a "proto"
(or at least "idealised" or "sister") form, there are "real" forms pending,
based on
sound-changes from a vaguely PIE root-list]


Phonological terms are as classified by native speakers, rather than being

         Orthographic      ASCII-IPA
         Front Mid  Back   Fr  Md  Bk
Plosive  p     k    t      p   k   t
Aspirate ph    kh   th     p_h k_h t_h
Nasal    m     n    ng     m   n   N
Sibilant s     s'   c      s   S   tS
Liquid   w     r    y      w   *   j

Open     i     e    a      i   e   a
Closed   u     e"   o      V   @   O
L Open   ii    ee   aa     i:  e:  a:
L Closed uu    e"e" oo     V:  @:  O:

(note /V/ is "wedge", the sound in English (British RP) "cut", /a/ is the first
vowel in
English "carpet", /O/ is the "turned c" in English "caught", * is an alveolar
tap (I don't
know the symbol!))

Open refers to unrounded vowels, closed refers to rounded vowels.

Consonants have voiced and voiceless allophones, these are believed to be purely

idiolectical.  The sound s' appears to possibly have allophones in /S/ and /ts/,
this is possibly an archaism.

The following symbols are interchangeable with the orthography listed, although,
always, consistent use of one form rather than the other helps clarity:

s' s-acute
ng n-hook
e" e-umlaut

The "native" Wewnet alphabetical order can be seen by reading the grid above in
row-by-row order, except it begins with the Plosive and Aspirate rows
interleaved, ie it
starts "p, ph, k, kh, t, th ..."  Terms in the lexicon are listed in this order.
  Within the lexicon,
bracketed parts of roots are listed in the order they would appear if the
brackets were
not present, regardless of the spelling of any particular form of the root.  For
 example the
lexicon pairs the(kha), thekhu and sungi, su(nge") occur in that order.

Basic Paradigm

Examples of each of the types of root.

         NS   NP      VI      VC       LX
Minimal  su   susnge" sungse" sunguse" su(nge")
Reduced  ame  arme    amre    amare    ame(r)
Regular  taki tatki   takti   takati   taki
Extended moru motru   mortu   morotu   moru(t)

NS - Noun Singular
NP - Noun Plural
VI - Verb Instant (or complete)
VC - Verb Continous
LX - The way the root is presented in the lexicon.

Regular roots form over 40% of the lexicon.  Extended and Reduced roots together
up another 50% in combination.  The remainder of roots are Minimal.

Affixes and Word Order

The three methods of forming words are:

1)   (mutated)[root]+[root flexion] alone
2)   [location]+(optional)[particle]+[particle flexion] alone (known as an
3)   (1)+(2) in that order


Flexions are used to represent either or both of the person and/or gender of a

Speaker   -m-
Adressee  -s-
Human    -t-
Animal   -r-
Inanimate -p-
Abstract  -k-

Eg, morup is a corpse, moruk means death, morukise"t is "his death", mortuk is
infinitve "to die", and morotus is "you are dying".


-a-   Near
-o-   Far
-e"-  Obscure
-u-   Apparent
-e-   Probable/Beleived
-i-   Improbable/Disbelieved


ce - component (a seperate part of an object, (eg) a limb of a body or a brick of a house) s'e - possessive (normal genetive, something which is possessed) ya - trapping (an habitual or required possession) pa - familial (a family member) ta - attributive (used to form similes, metaphors, and so forth) tuu - partative (a section of an "indenumerable" object, or made of something) taa - nominalising (used to form verbal nouns) nu - productive (that which is made by something)
nge"e" - past ngoo - future
yi - directionsl ru - locational
khu - definately true khe" - seemingly/probably/partly true ye" - indeterminate truth/falsehood the" - seemingly/probably/partly false thu - definately false
ke - "yes/no" questions. ("ket?" means "is it him?") kii - "which" questions. ("kiit?" means "which of them?") Pronomials Pronouns are formed as particles specifying the pronomial function Word Order Not Sure. Generally using "whatever feels right". Possibly SOV, although S is often a bit "implied" and tends to be "smeared" throughout the sentance by particles, and V can sometimes be a bit "shady". Possesors (and other strictly qualifying words) come directly after the qualified word, before any modifying or verbal particles. Particles that clarify or specify are bound. Erm, beyond those guidelines, further research is required. Examples The best way to give a rough sketch is to demonstrate a few sample utterences makhum - I know this to be true because I experienced it takhum - I know this to be true because he caused me to experience it kokhum - I know this to be true because I have been told/shown it tokhum - I know this to be true because he told/showed me directly te"khum - I infer this to be true due to his (scant) evidence tukhum - I deduce this to be true from his (plentiful) evidence tekhum - I have faith in the truth of this, imparted to me by him tikhum - He indicates this is true, but I do not believe it [1] tatkiraces - your hands lekhepas'es atuup - some of your milk lekhepayas atuup - (the same, to someone who's stock-in-trade was milk) lekhepatuup as'es - the [part of the milk] you own, ie "your portion of milk" lekhep phowe"ranup atuup - some of the cow's milk [2] lekhepatuus - you divide the milk (this shows a difference between bound and unbound particles) phos'ke"r anum - my words phos'ke"rataam - I (am) the speaker [3a] (at) we"kur atat - he is like a wolf [3b] as taktitangoot ange"e"t - he was about to touch you as taktitange"e"t angoot - he is about to have touched you [4] lekhep phowe"ranup atuup inritange"e"t angoot - he is about to have taken the cow's milk [1] Truth/Evidentiality forms do not imply any specific tense relation [2] Note the final -p in _phowe", in this compound genetive, marking agreement with lekhep, although this is the unmarked word-order for this type of construction [3] Parenthesised word not required. [3a] A comma could replace the (am) [4] The forms _arus takti..._ can be used for explicitness or emphasis if needed ************************************************************* This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender. This footnote also confirms that this email message has been scanned for the presence of computer viruses. *************************************************************