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A preview of Tech (from the hopefully final version, long post)

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Monday, January 28, 2002, 20:36
I'm getting to work on the homepage right now. I'll probably have to be some
.gif files since we're working with Ethiopic/Ge'ez text, which has its place
in Unicode but there is a dearth of fonts that have such characters
(GeezFree Zemen Unicode, TITUS Bitstream Cyberbit, and the one I use,
Ethiopian Jiret. And maybe Code2000.) The Hebrew and Arabic can be handled
with core fonts in Windows if you use IE 5.0 or later (don't know about
Macintosh or Netscape) but Syriac only works if you use OpenType tables,
which are only available for Windows 2000 and XP users so far.

So here's a semi-formal rough guide, kept to a level of brevity for list
purposes as the details will be hashed out on my homepage.


Tech is a personal artlang -- "art" meaning both artificial and artistic in
this case. The foundation of the language, both lexically and grammatically,
is Semitic and Afro-Asiatic in general. The first "stage" or "layer" of
language development will be primarily based on the most
historically-important Semitic languages (Akkadian, Hebrew, Assyrian-Syriac,
Arabic, Epigraphic South Arabian and Ge'ez-Amharic-Tigrinya) as well as
Egyptian-Coptic and Common Berber (most likely dominated by Tamazight). If
there is a culture connected with this language, it would be that of an
African people originating in Ethiopia but becoming nomadic and spread
throughout North Africa, Southern Europe and the Middle East.

Features of Tech grammar include Semitic verb classes, where vowel shifts,
prefixes and infixes indicate intensivity, causativity and reflexiveness,
four numbers (singular, dual, small plural and great plural), three genders
(masculine, feminine and common/neuter), four basic cases (nominative,
accusative, genitive and vocative) with numerous sub-cases formed by
prepositions, case "swapping" in many passive sentences that form a type of
ergative system, and the distinction of contextual word forms (absolute,
emphatic and construct) along the lines of Syriac. Another peculiar feature
is in grammatical initial mutation (fortis, lenis, nasalized etc.) much like
Celtic languages such as Irish Gaelic and Welsh; there is also internal
lenition which takes the form of spirantization of stops, which is found in
the Semitic languages Hebrew, Syriac and Chaha.

The "second stage" of Tech will be Indo-European with its three-gender,
three-number system (with a Semiticism applied to form a fourth number,
which is derived from Arabic etc. "broken plurals"), and new case endings to
extend the number of cases to seven or eight. A vigintesimal number system
(with bases of numbers being 1, 20, 100 and 10000 instead of 1, 10, 100 and
1000) will also be used. After than, the "third stage" will introduce
polysynthesis, phonological and other features found in Kartvelian
languages. Ultimately, Tech will be a sort of "modern Nostratic".


The twenty-nine traditional consonants of Semitic are carried over in Tech,
but since Ge'ez only uses twenty-five of these (with the additions of <p'>
and <p>, which in Tech will be mostly borrowings from IE languages like
Greek and Latin), some of the letters are taken from altered fidelat
(syllabic letters). Fricativization of stops occurs when a consonant is not
initial or geminated/doubled, as shown below after a tilde ~. The order used
is the traditional "abjad" order.

The six short vowels are a, e, @ ("schwa"), i, o and u, and a seventh form
of the letter is used for a consonant with no vowel. Long vowels are
indicated by a following vowel-less ?, w or y, as in Arabic.

? (aleph), the glottal stop, also used to mark long a
b ~ v or B [beta]
g ~ G [gamma]
d ~ D [edh]
j [dZ] ~ Z [ezh]
(-h = the feminine marker which becomes -t before vowel-initial words and
causes lenition in consonant-initial words)
w, also used to mark long o and u
z (may have the value [dz])
H [h-bar], the voiceless pharyngeal fricative
X [chi], the voiceless uvular fricative
t' (C' = ejective)
c' [tS']
y, also used to mark long e and i
special -y (from Arabic alif maqsurah), indicates final long a or e
k ~ x
l (may be pronounced [dl])
m possibly ~ v~ (nasalized v)
n possibly ~ D~ (nasalized edh)
s (may have the value [ts])
6 (ayin), the voiced pharyngeal fricative
R (inverted Cyrillic ya), the voiced uvular fricative
p ~ f or F [phi]
(p' from non-Semitic words)
s' [ts']
L' [tL'], with L being IPA l-curl
q', the voiceless uvular stop, always ejective
(k' from non-Semitic words)
r, an alveolar trill (fortis) or flap (lenis)
S [esh] = Hebrew shin, pronounced [s] in some dialects (shibbolethization)
L [l-curl] = Hebrew sin, may be pronounced [tL]
t ~ T [theta] (see h above for the feminine suffix)

{Whew, that was fun....}

That's all I have for now, and maybe I'll get the gumption to make a webpage
that treats this with more justice.


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