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Taalen overview

From:Aidan Grey <grey@...>
Date:Thursday, January 2, 2003, 14:19
So here's the overview I promised. Comments appreciated greatly!

Phonology (I couldn't be bothered to arrange in tables)

Simple vowels: /A a @ E e I i o(tense as in English) o(lax) U u &/
   also umlaut o and u
Diphthongs: /@j aw aj Ew Ej Uj/ that last supposed to be the oo in book + /j/
Consonants: /p t k b d g f T x v D G s S h l K m n N r j/
   note that h is allophonic with /c-cedilla/ or the ch in German ich

Orthography
  Taalen has a native script, already designed and in a very poor font as well,
but this will discuss primarily romanization, as that's most likely to be seen.
  Syllables can't end in stops, so when a syllable derives from a stop, it is
indicated in romanization with an apostrophe: e.g. top- > top'h /to:f/. P'h
(and others) are almost exclusively word final, as word internally they tend to
move to the following syllable (topa /'to.pa/). Ph (without apostrophe) appears
initially due to mutation. In the native script, ph is written the same as f,
and p'h is p followed by h.
  Doubled consonants are indicated in native script by a special sign (called
_yadha_ 'doubler'), but in romanization by doubled consonants. For some of
these, this is difficult, as they are represented by digraphs. These digraphs
simple double only the first letter of the digraph: ch /x/ > cch, dh /D/ > ddh.
  These doubled cons., and clusters as well, change vowel pronunciation. Vowels
fall into 2 broad categories, short and long. Short vowels include those
written a o u e i y aa /A/ (I think) oe (umlaut o) ea /&/ and sometime ue
(umlaut u) and oa /@j/, though the last 5 are often called half-long because
they are digraphs. The diphthongs/digraphs are all long. Now, a short vowel has
two pronunciations, depending on what follows it. These two pronunciations are
called wide and narrow: wide is when the vowel is final or followed by a single
consonant, and narrow when it is followed by a cluster or doubled cons. An
example: wide a (final, 1 cons.) is /a/ but narrow (2 cons) is /@/. Long vowels
generally do not distinguish between wide or narrow pronunciations, a noted
exception being |au| wide /aw/ narrow /A/.

  Stress: not quite finalized, but basically the same as English

  Mutation:
  Heilas (aka aspiration, lenition in Irish)
  Shoma (aka nasalization, eclipsis)
      These are sufficiently like the Celtic langs to not need comment here.

  Nominals:
  Gender: 2, animate, inanimate. The distinction is primarily focused on
motility - _ora_ water is animate, but _tocha_ slate-stone is inanimate. There
are variations based on myth and folklore.
  Number: singular, plural. A special paucal form creates essentially a new
word, capable of taking sg or pl markers, with the meaning 'small goup of'. If
it can be easily counted, it's paucal. 3 beans could be paucal, as could 36
beans if arranged in an easily countable way (6x6 perhaps?). The paucal plural
then means 'several groups'.
  Case: 3, nominative (also serves as accusative), oblique (dative, ablative,
etc), and genitive.

  There are 3 declensions, strong animate (plurals in i-affection), strong
inanimate (no affection), and weak (no case distinction)

  Exx: (in Nom., Obl., Gen. order)

  ghora 'goat' strong animate
  Sg. ghora, ghera, ghore (OS has i-affection too)
  Pl. gheras, ghoerre, gheren

  dalcha 'dagger' strong inanimate
  Sg. dalcha, dalcha, dalche
  Pl. dalchath, dalchas, dalchan

  roe 'sort, kind' weak
  sg. roe, pl. roetha

Pronouns:

 Only two kinds, independent (or simple), and dependent (AKA suffixed). As for
person, 1, 2, 3 person, and an obvioative/impersonal 4th person, singular and
plural. 3s also differentiates for animate or inanimate.

  (details: simple, with suffix in parens)
  1: sg. ne (n)           pl. me (m, me)
  2: sg. ce, che (ch, h)  pl. va (v, va, u)
  3: an. (s)e (e, re, s)  pl. tha (th)
     in. (s)a (a, ra, s)
  4: sg. i, ye (i, y)     pl. re (r)

  Simple pronouns used for emphatic subjects, most objects, and possessive
adjectives (with heilas, i.e. _tal_ tree > _ne thal_ my tree). Suffixed for
objects of prepositions, after various particles, subjects of verbs, and
sometimes for verb complements (e.g. _eithanu_ = _eitha_ see + _n_ 1s + _u_
2p, 'I see y'all'). Options are simply that, though there is some possibility
of complex dialectial or register use.

Verbs:
  5 "tenses": present, imperfect, preterite, future, and subjunctive
(irrealis). 3san. of any tense is usually the stem, and the 3sin. is the stem
+ -a.
  There are two forms for each tense, the absolute and the conjunct. Conjunct
for after certain particles and as a relative, absolute in other cases. Stative
verbs are usually in the conjunct when modifying a noun. For example, imperfect
absolute _raena_ (weak verb, 3s an. and in. identical) "it was brought" versus
conjunct _raenna_ "which was brought" (both from the strong verb _rag'h_ "to
carry", ultimately).

Syntax:
  SVO, stative verbs/adj. follow their head nouns.

Example (just the one since it's 7 am and I haven't been to bed yet)
  I   dtocha   rangan         loena.
  ART Sh-slate bring-IMF-CONJ be_blue-PRES-ABS (Sh=Shoma from Article)
  /I 'do.x@ 'ra.N@n 'l6.n@/ (6=umlaut o)
  The slate stone I brought is blue.

  Aidan

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Dan Jones <dan@...>