Pazmat and Proto-Pasuu

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Pazmat and Proto-Pasuu

Post by Chagen »

Pazmat and Proto-Pasuu (Plus some Sefir)

Pazmat is an Eastern Pasuu language, spoken by the Paz people (the name itself means simply "Speech of the Paz") spoken in the country of Pazzel on the continent of Luqṣil (the name is a Pazmat word meaning "Massive Desert), an arid desert roughly equivalent to Saudi Arabia on Earth. It's closest relatives are Sefir (though Sefir is a Western Pasuu language) and Qulshni. Thanks to the Paz' incredibly military expertise, ingenuity, and some luck, Pazmat has become the de facto lingua franca of Thōselqat (another word from the language, meaning "Big Land"), and well over 3 billion of it's 7 billion people speak it in some shape, way, or form--despite only having about 500 million native speakers. Pazmat is the country on T-Selqat--much like the US on Earth, Pazzel pop culture spreads all throughout the planet, and much of the entertainment in the entire planet comes from there.

This article is to go over Pazmat mainly. However, Sefir cognates to both lexical and morphological entries will be given frequently, if only for interesting trivia. In addition, this first section covers Proto-Pasuu, as a small understanding of it will help explain certain features of Pazmat, especially the grade system and how its phonology developed.


Proto-Pasuu was not recorded--T-Selqat linguists have reconstructed it, though debates still rage on. Despite the disputes, however, most T-Selqat linguists agree on this sound inventory, first reconstructed by Uzzi Zazrela Feruta Źascena (cf. Pera ros Hissapasuudhûbun, Feru.Źascena, 1657 TSG):

/p ph bh t th dh k kh gh q qh/
<p ph bh t th dh k kh gh q qh>

/mb nd ŋg/
<mb nd ŋg>

/pj tj kj/
<pj tj kj>

/mbj ndj ŋgj/
<mbj ndj ŋgj>

/s z/
<s z>

/ɾ ɻ l w/
<ɾ r l w>

/a i e o u/
/a: i: e: o: u:/
/ay iw ew oy uy/
/ṛ ḷ ṃ ṇ/
/ṛ: ḷ: ṃ: ṇ:/
/ṛ: ḷ: ṃ: ṇ:/
<a i e o u>
<ā ī ē ō ū>
<â î ê ô û>
<ṛ ḷ ṃ ṇ/
<ṛ: ḷ: ṃ: ṇ:>
<ṛ:: ḷ:: ṃ:: ṇ::>

The above system seems incredibly bizarre--Uzzi herself thought she had done something wrong when she first reconstructed it, but the data seemed to fit. The utter lack of modally voiced stops is easily the most salient feature, but the daughter languages quickly fixed that problem. Also notice that the diphthongs were, even in the Proto-Pasuu time, pronounced as overlong vowels, hence their orthographical representation.

The oddest phoneme in the language was /ə/. It was reconstructed by Uzzi to provide a solution to a few problems PP-linguists were having. The first was initial and final nasals in Pazmat--under the modern reconstruction, Pazmat's nasals, /m n ŋ/, came from pre-nasalized stops inbetween a vowel and a consonant--for instance, PP *kondla ("pointer") gave Pazmat cona ("finger")(Nl/N/_ where N was a pre-nasalized stop also occurred) However, this meant that no nasals should appear in Pazmat in the coda or onset position--but they did, in words like mat- ("to speak") and con- ("to think"). Positing that PP had phonemic nasal stops was not a very good solution given that Sefir frequently had modally voiced stops where Pazmat had nasals--the Sefir cognates of the above two words were bos- (originally bot-) and

Eventually Uzzi decided to reconstruct /ə/, which dropped everywhere in both Pazmat and Sefir. This, mat- and con- came from *əmblat- and *kondə.

Uzzi's hypothesis wasn't that popular until it was realized that her theory helped solve another problem of initial clusters in Pazmat. Pazmat has many words with initial clusters which reconstruct to impossible PP forms. Two such roots are cṣis- [kȿis] ("to slide") and sjtars- [ɕtaɻs], "to move/dislodge". Reconstructed back to PP, these two came out to the impossible roots **kkjris ("to slip) and **kjtars ("to dislodge, budge) (clusters of stops in PP had to agree in articulation and onset geminates were strictly banned). The Sefir cognates were kris- ("to slip") and ksās ("to walk"). However, with /ə/, they could suddenly be reconstructed as *kəkjris and **kjətars.

The schwa was informationally useless--the above two roots were considered to be monosyllabic and it only ever shows up in certain places--between two consonants, and before and after pre-nasalized stops (indeed, no PP root exists that begins with a pre-nasalized stop--a schwa is always before one). Thus some PP-linguists posit that it was not even a phoneme, simply a useless epithetic vowel inserted into hard-to-pronounce roots.

/ɾ/ was another such phoneme, originally created solely to explain why Pazmat still had /bl dl gl/ clusters (The nasal stops of PP before /l/ would become /m n ŋ/, the /l/ later dropping), and why every Sefir cognate of these roots had /ɻ/ instead; cf. Pazmat glodj- ("to escape/flee") and Sefir gruñ ("to run"), whose PP root was eventually reconstructed to *əŋgɾondj. In Pazmat it merged with /l/, in Sefir with /ɻ/

In any case, the changes that led from PP to Pazmat were not very numerous, but they had a profound effect on Pazmat's look and sound:

Firstly, all aspirated stops lenited to their various fricative counterparts /ph bh th dh kh gh qh/ -> /f v θ ð x ɤ χ/ :

PP *bhṛdh ("to put down")-> Pazmat vṛdh-, same meaning (cf. Sefir bād)
PP *khu- ("to choose") -> Pazmat xu- -> hu- ("to select") (cf. Sefir ku-, "to choose")

Next, three of the new fricatives, /x ɤ χ/, merged into an uvular one (sometimes pronounced as trill). In Pazmat, this has resulted in verbal roots beginning with <h> to specify what they reduplicate with in things such as the Habitual:

(g)hu- to stand: hoyuna ("I am standing") but guhoyī ("I can stand")

Afterwards, all of the palatal stops except /pj mbj/ underwent palatization and lenition: /tj kj ndj ŋgj/ > /ʨ ɕ ʥ ʑ/:

PP *əndjṃk ("woman")-> Pazmat gjṃc ("woman") (cf. Sefir ŋānk)
PP *əŋgjətarz ("to burn") -> Pazmat zjdarz ("to burn") (Not attested in Sefir except for ŋdāzbokh, "fireplace"--lit. "place of burning")
PP *stṃkj- ("to use often") -> Pazmat stṃsj- ("to like") (cf. Sefir sānk-, "to love")
PP *nŋgērŋgj ("a far off light") -> Pazmat dgūzj ("Star")

/pj/ became /j/ after an intermediate stage (pj -> ɸj -> j) while /mbj/ simply became /b/ (in Sefir they became /p m/):

PP *pjḷkjrə ("to draw") -> Pazmat yḷṣū ("art", from *pjḷkjrəer) (cf. Sefir pālk, "to draw")
PP *qighīmbj ("man-GEN.SG") -> Pazmat qihēb (Cf. Sefir qigīm, same meaning)
PP *pjend ("blade") -> Pazmat yed ("sword") (cf. Sefir higged, "penis", from *qigh-pjend, lit. "man-blade")

After this, if the new palatal phonemes came in front of a /ɻ/, they became retroflex: /ʨɻ ɕɻ ʥɻ ʑɻ/ -> /ʈʂ ʂ ɖʐ ʐ/. This was another time where /ə/ proved helpful to reconstructions--since PP didn't allow Cɻ#, retroflex consonants shouldn't have shown up at the end of words/roots (which they did anyway)--but a schwa made that possible.

PP *pjungjrə ("to win") -> Pazmat yuj, same meaning (cf. Sefir pug)
PP *əndŋgjrarbh ("to live") -> Pazmat njarv- -> jnarv-, same meaning (cf. Sefir dgorb-, same meaning)

However, there were still words that had palatal + /ɻ/ clusters, such as sjrōz ("sound"). Yet again, the schwa provided an answer for this-- *kjərārz -> ɕərārz -> ɕrōz

Next, the pre-nasalized stops were completely screwed around with. They became modally voiced stops unless between a vowel and a consonant, at which point they became nasals.

PP *lumbi ("plant") -> Pazmat lubi, same meaning
PP *indqumb ("massive rumble") -> Pazmat inqub ("thunder")

As said above, the schwa helped explain coda and onset nasals appearing.

The final two changes were merely /ɾ/ merging with /l/ and /ṃ ṇ/ being deleted in front of a pre-nasalized stop:

PP *ṃndlit ("foot") -> Pazmat nit (cf. Sefir ānnis)

There was also some metathesis going on--see the above example with jnarv- for one example--but the specifics of that irrelevant.

On the vocalic side, Pazmat perfectly preserved the short vowel of PP. However, the long and overlong vowels went through quite some changes:

Long-vowel chain shift:

ā > ay > ē

ā(l,r) > au > ō

ē > ey > ī

ē(l,r) > eu > ū

ō > oy > ā

ṛ: > ar > ar

ḷ: > al > al

ṃ: > am > am

ṇ: >an > an

High-long lowering and vowel diphthongization/backing:

ī > ē > ō

ū > ō > oy

Overlong-vowel breaking (this comes after the previous changes, filling in the previous diphthongs):

â > ay > ey

â (l,r) > au > au

ê > ēy > ay

ê(l, r) > ēu > eu

î > iw > ī

û > uy > ū

ô > oy > oy

OLong.S > āR > āR (i.e ṛ:: > ār)

PP used vowel length as a sort of PIE-like grade system throughout roots. Thus, these changes resulted in turning what used to be a simple length alteration into straight-up ablaut. Take these PP forms:

*wērsendla: I am protecting
*wewērsē: I frequently protect
*wêrsombē: I am enterting a state of protecting/I begin to protect
*wērspjokh: place where one protects/is protected
*wêrsṛmb: one who protects

Note how the vowel merely changes in length throughout these derivations. Now compare these to their Pazmat reflexes:

wūsyoh (now "hospital")
wewsṛb (now "soldier")

Thankfully, the patterns are rather easy to learn. While each derivation (and these are FAR from the only ones, takes a different and completely random grade, assuming one knows the stem, the grades are predictable. In addition, since every verbal root in Pazmat has one of /a i e o u/ as its graded vowel, there are only 7 patterns to learn (historical ār/âr/ēr/êr collapsing to ō/au/ū/eu led to 2 more patterns developing).

In the literature, the three grades are called pyrti, musamiris, and rimmusamiris, Azenti for "short", "lengthened", and "very-lengthened", as Uzzi Daccos referred to them this way. Being the premier PP-linguist back then, they stuck. I will call them "short", "lengthened", and "overlong".

The next post in this article will concern Pazmat verbs and their ancestral PP forms. For now, however, this is an example of a PP verb, *əmblat- ("to speak, talk"), fully conjugated in the imperfective aspect, along with the Pazmat and Sefir reflexes:

mblātandla :I talk
mblātaphe: you talk
mblātaŋgjrārs : he/she/it talks

mblātandlēth: we (ex.) talk
mblātakjrandli: we (in.) talk
mblātaŋgugh: you all talk
mblātapjudh: they talk

Now, the Pazmat reflexes:



And the Sefir ones:



And finally, a whole sentence in PP and the same sentence in Pazmat and Sefir:

*kṛsār wurphārs əndetērmblə qērlumb əŋgīliŋgjrārs.

cṛso wurfōs detūm qūlub gōlijōs.

kāsā vurpās detüb qünub gīnikrās.

All three of these translate to "The girl hands the boy a gift of affection/an affectionate gift". They also all gloss to:
girl-NOM.SG boy-ACC.SG gift-DAT.SG affection-GEN.SG hand-THEME-3SG

Note that this does not mean that the three languages have exactly the same grammar--the fact that Sefir is Tripartite while Pazmat is halfway-between Split-S and Split-Ergative will quickly show that. Indeed, the Sefir version of that sentence sounds incredibly stiff and archaric. In addition, Sefir completely tore down and reworked the PP verbal system--the Stative shows up as a Passive and the Habitual is a Future, for instance.

But, of course, this is a thread about Pazmat, not Sefir.


Got this out. As I said before, next post is verbs.
Nūdhrēmnāva naraśva, dṛk śraṣrāsit nūdhrēmanīṣṣ iźdatīyyīm woḥīm madhēyyaṣṣi.
satisfaction-DEF.SG-LOC live.PERFECTIVE-1P.INCL but work-DEF.SG-PRIV satisfaction-DEF.PL.NOM weakeness-DEF.PL-DAT only lead-FUT-3P

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