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New Language - Altsag Venchet

From:Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 27, 2002, 0:26
Thanks to Peter Clark for suggesting what exactly to put here.  I've got a
number of languages that are reasonably developed, and Altsag Venchet is one
of them.  It is descended from the earlier language Chovur, which I have
also developed.  All of my languages are set in a world I'm working on, so
they have histories, related languages, borrowings, etc.  Most words in
Altsag Venchet are the natural inheritance of Chovur, though many are
borrowed from Thungwaz to the east.

This is a reasonably in-depth look at Altsag Venchet, so there's plenty here
to read.  I'm interested in any sorts of comments about the language,
specifically the following:
1) If it seems workable.
2) If I've unwittingly assumed something from English, as that is my first
3) If I've used some grammatical term in the wrong way, or need a different
way of describing something.

Altsag Venchet is an agglutinative language, VSO in structure.  The phonemes
are as follows:

stops: b, d, t, g, k, q
approximants: r, l, y
nasals: m, n, ng
fricatives: v, s, z, sh, zh, kh, gh
affricates: ts, j, ch

round: ö, ü
front: i, e, a
back: o, u

If anyone wants, I could give IPA equivalents, but these sounds are all
pretty much as expected.  The umlaut-vowels are front rounded, as in German.

Within a word, all vowels must be of compatible classes.  Round vowels are
not permitted to go with back vowels.  Any affixes containing a round or
back vowel change to match the word they are added to.

Stress is always on the first syllable.

Consonants may only cluster between vowels - any consonant may cluster with
approximants or nasals, before, after, or both.  Vowels may only cluster in
the form vowel + i.

Nasals match the place of articulation of any following adjacent consonant.
Fricatives are voiced between vowels.

If an affix creates an illegal vowel cluster, add the nearest consonant from
the _affix_ to break it up.  If there is none, use "n".  For illegal
consonant clusters, use the nearest vowel from the affix, using "a" if there
is none.  Two of the same vowel in a row reduce to one.  If "n" is followed
by "g", it assimilates into "ngk".

Suffixes and prefixes to a noun are added in the pattern:

--- Intensity ---
u-   makes a noun more intense
i-   makes a noun diminutive, attenuated

- kelgai "cold", ukelgai "bitterly cold", ikelgai "a bit chilly"

--- Gender ---
Every noun is either animate or inanimate.  Animate nouns are living things,
parts of living things, and other things being viewed as capable of action.
There are a number of irregulars, of both genders.

--- Number ---
Nouns are singular by default.  To make them plural, use an ending based on
the gender and form of the word.
-ur   animate
-tukh   animate, ending in a vowel
-ok   inanimate
-ra   inanimate, ending in k or q
-t   inanimate, ending in a vowel

- checher "winter", checherok "winters"
- jörad "hand", jöradur "hands"
- kaina "land", kainat "lands"
- khalda "river", khaldatukh "rivers"  (khalda is animate)

--- Case ---
-   nominative
-en   accusative
-at (-ash after a stop)   predicative
-ang   dative
-il   genitive

Objects of prepositions are in the dative case.  Adjectives used as
predicates are in the predicative case.

Personal pronouns are declined in a regular fashion, using the same affixes
as nouns.  There are three basic roots, which have different forms when they
have no affixes, this independant form listed after a slash.

te / te   1st person
kazh / kad   2nd person
tsev / tseb   3rd person

The impersonal pronouns fall into five categories, person, thing, place,
time, and way.  Each of these has three forms, query/relative, this, and
that.  For example, this-time is "now" in English, query-time is "when",

     query, this, that
person - jeng, yet, kul
thing - jan, karta, kul
place - shairu, kartu, kültü
time - janat, tseira, balqü
way - öghra, öghra, urgai

Affixes to a verb are in this order:

--- Intensity ---
same as nouns

--- Mood ---
infinitive / indicative   -
interrogative / conditional   -akh (-ak if no other suffixes, or after a
optative   -nor (-or after m)
exhortative   -te (-se after a stop)

--- Tense ---
present   -
present progressive   -aj (-ai after ch or j)
past   -un
future   -ar

--- Aspect ---
perfective   -ge (-ghe after a stop)
habitual   -us (-ut if no further suffixes, -ut after a fricative, but -us
after a stop)
inceptive   -je
cessative   -tona (-sona after a stop)
medial   -em
intentional   -var (-bar after a fricative)
unintentional   -gai (-ghai after a stop)
causative   -ilka

Perfective is for completed actions.  Habitual, actions repeatedly or
habitually done.  Inceptive means "to begin to X", cessative "to stop Xing".
Medial, "in the middle of Xing", "while Xing".  Intentional and
unintentional reflect the speaker's intent.  Causative means "to cause to

--- Person ---
-tse   1st
-ad (-az after a stop)   2nd
-   3rd

Adjectives and Adverbs
These are largely uninflected.  They can use the same intensity markers as
nouns and verbs.  I may end up adding more about these.

Derivational Morphology
one who does X   -jin
the place of X   -uk (-ukh after a stop)
the act of Xing   -rur

The word order is strongly VSO, with modifiers before the words they modify.
Adverbs are almost always next to their verb, but may go before or after.
Relative clauses in the middle of a sentence are concluded with the particle

I haven't given too much thought to compound sentences yet.  I'm just sort
of winging it for now.

In my next e-mail (hopefully in a few minutes), I'll have the text of August
Schleicher's "The Sheep and the Horses" in Altsag Venchet.  It's already
translated, so I'm going to write up a morpheme by morpheme interlinear

Thank you very much for reading over all this mess, and for the patience to
get all the way to the bottom.  Perhaps I'll write up some more descriptions
of my other languages, if anyone's interested.

Joe Fatula


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>