|From:||Amanda Babcock <langs@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, January 5, 2003, 19:31|
No idea whether this one will last beyond yesterday.
Yesterday I put together a few ideas that had been tumbling around my
head: a weird phonology, and a polysynthetic grammar.
The phonology was inspired by recent discussions about languages lacking
labials, combined with me finally investigating X-Sampa and the clickable
mp3 IPA map :) I decided to go for something really unnatural and
eliminate the alveolar column entirely (except for l, and the dental and
postalveolar fricatives). To make up for it, I included uvular stops,
nasal and fricatives, in addition to labial, palatal and velar stops,
nasals, fricatives and approximants :)
In order to make sure that I remembered to use the new sounds, I made
up a written alphabet for it and resolved to work on it only in paper.
Any online representation would be for documentation of previous work
only. The written alphabet is not online; I don't have my scanner
hooked up, and anyway the alphabet is not mature yet (I want to see what
it wears into with use :)
Here is the phonology, in X-Sampa (looks best in non-proportional font):
lab. dent p-al pal. vel. uv. glot.
p b c J\ k g q G\ '
m J N N\
f v T D S Z C j\ x G X R h
w l j M\
The order of the alphabet, which was assigned capriciously:
S a m b l e N k T N\ G\ o J p M\ f x c w G q j\ D i v Z J\ u C g X h Q R ' j
It doesn't have letter-names yet.
Attested morpheme structures so far: CVCVC, -CVC, CV-, VC-, with a tendency
for middle consonants to be fricatives or approximants, and final consonants
to be nasals or fricatives, based on an admittedly small sample size of
nine morphemes :) Consonant clusters will probably be limited to two
phonemes, and vowel clusters may well be outlawed.
As for the grammar, it's basically Mohawk, or what I understand of Mohawk.
Word roots have both a noun and a verb meaning, though an individual word
may be more commonly used as a verb or a noun. All known CVC words have
so far been used as verbs exclusively. There is noun-incorporation,
so typically a word will look like:
Tense/aspect prefixes - pronomial prefixes - [ noun [ noun [...]]] - verb
The pronomial prefix system is shamelessly modeled on Tepa, which is a
beautiful and compact language that makes me feel like there's nothing
left to be done in the field of conlanging every time I look at it. It
may end up being slightly more complicated than Tepa's system if I don't
go with an inversion affix.
The tense and aspect prefixes will consist of the following:
It may end up with some mood or evidentiality prefixes as well.
Known pronomial prefixes:
1>3 qa- First person acting on third
3>3' 0- Third person acting on third person (if animacy
turns out to be a distinction, this will refer
to inanimate third person)
Having all null prefixes thus indicates third-person present habitual.
Habitual also covers what something does as its nature. If I had a word
root for "blue", by itself it would also mean "it is blue". A word root
for "run, running gait" would, by itself, mean "it generally runs".
(The verb meaning of an unadorned root is thus different from its noun
meaning, which I believe makes this language different from Mohawk. This
presents interesting questions as far as telling standalone nouns apart
from brief sentences :)
The following are attested utterances in the language, in X-Sampa (primary
and secondary stress " and %):
a proper place/to be in order: "kalaS
to put something in or at X: jem
it puts things in order/in their proper places: "kalaS%jem
I am putting things in their proper places: Qmqa"kalaS%jem
small human-made things/to collect: "biM\aX
(Once morphemes for good/bad/useful are discovered, there will be variations
on biM\aX to indicate meanings such as treasure/junk/gear.)
I am putting my junk in its proper place: Qmqa"biM\aXkalaS%jem
food/to eat: "loTeS
to prepare: pQN
I am making food: Qmqa"loTeS%pQN
money/to pay: "viJ\QN\
to save or invest: "viJ\QN\kalaS%jem ("To put away money", basically)
writing (book)/to write: "G\exab
to record finances: "viJ\QN\G\exab%jem ("To put money in the book")
I am recording my finances: Qmqa"viJ\QN\G\exab%jem
There will also be a quirky and interesting romanization scheme, if I
ever get that far :) With t, d, r, s, z, and n free, there might be some