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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: The Arrakum language
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:07 am 
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Morphophonology part #1
Moraphophonology
ha ha look at my stupid wordplay

There is a great deal of fuckery with vowel moras in Arrakum. This is directly inspired by the many hours I have done making ??? faces while trying to analyze Aymara mora adjustment in Optimality Theory (I said people could read the analysis in question, but it is so bad that I'm not letting anyone see it), and also by the intricate and eldritch patterns of its sister language Jaqaru. A suffix in Arrakum specifies adjustments to the number of moras in both the final and penultimate syllables of the stem to which it attaches, and can delete or add a mora to either of these (or both). These rules only apply to vocalic moras (Aymara codas are nonmoraic, and this is based off of that, so.). I don't have any vocabulary yet, but here are two nonce stems (one consonant-final, one short-vowel-final, one long-vowel-final) which best-exemplify these patterns:

Basic moraic alternations:

akilus

/akilus-ka/ > akiluska : -ka leaves all stem moras intact
/akilus-+iš/ > akilūsiš : -+iš adds a mora to the stem-final syllable
/akilus-&um/ > akīlusum : -&um adds a mora to the stem-penultimate syllable
/akilus-$ēk/ > akissēk : -$ēk deletes a mora from the stem-final syllable
/akilus-%ū/ > aklusū : -%ū deletes a mora from the stem-penultimate syllable
/akilus-+&ti/ akīlūsti : -+&ti adds moras to both the stem-final and stem-penultimate syllables
/akilus-+%uvā/ aklūsuvā : -+%uvā adds a mora to the stem final syllable and deletes a mora from the stem-penultimate syllable
/akilus-$&ī/ akīlsī : -$&ī deletes a mora from the stem-final syllable and adds a mora to the stem-penultimate syllable

senahe

These are pretty similar to the above, except for the addition of /r/ to resolve vowel hiatus (which you'll be seeing a lot of).

/senahe-ka/ > senaheka
/senahe-+iš/ > senahēriš
/senahe-&um/ > senāherum
/senahe-$ēk/ > senahēk
/senahe-%ū/ > senherū
/senahe-+&ti/ senāhēti
/senahe-+%uvā/ senhēruvā
/senahe-$&ī/ senāhī

yēšūvā

...wherein we see that this is definitively moraic, because long vowels are shortened rather than deleted, and also that there are only two permitted vowel lengths in Arrakum.

/yešūvā-ka/ > yešūvāka
/yešūvā-+iš/ > yešūvāriš (as the vowel that would be added to is already dimoraic, a mora-additive suffix does nothing)
/yešūvā-&um/ > yešūvārum
/yešūvā-$ēk/ > yešūvarēk (only one mora deleted)
/yešūvā-%ū/ > yešuvārū
/yešūvā-+&ti/ yešūvāti
/yešūvā-+%uvā/ yešuvāruvā
/yešūvā-$&ī/ yešūvarī

Diphthongs:

When mora deletion is applied to either of the diphthongs /ai au/, they do not reduce to [a a] but rather to [e o]: /nemai-$ēk/ > nemerēk, /łalaud-$ēk/ > łalodēk.

Complex cluster blocking:

This is the rule I'm stealing from Piro. Aymara and Jaqaru both allow stupid amounts of vowel deletion, to the point that while neither allows clusters of more than two consonants intramorphemically, a sentence like "I didn't ask you" in Aymara becomes [xaniw xisktʼksmati] because of the stacking on of mora-deleting suffixes, which is frankly a silly thing to do and I will have no part in it. The rule here in Arrakum (and Piro) is simple to describe: where mora deletion would result in a cluster of three or more consonants, moras are simply not deleted.

/ašuldis-$ēk/ > ašuldisēk; *ašuldsēk
/umalemb-$ēk/ > umalembēk; *umalmbēk

This is where geminates do not behave like clusters, but rather like singlet consonants, since deletion is not blocked by them as it is with clusters. Instead, geminates are reduced in length:

/semerrak-$ēk/ > semerkēk; *semerrakēk, *semerrkēk
/marahhe-%ū/ > marherū; *marahherū, *marhherū

Minimal stem enforcement and initial vowel minimality

A major confounding factor in these moraic alternation patterns is stem minimality, which can be summed up as such: any stem that contains two or more vocalic moras in the input must contain at least two vocalic moras in the output. This is, again, based on a feature of Aymara (specifically the suffixes that only delete final moras if the stem is trisyllabic or larger), but is a more broad rule than in Aymara and applies to the set of all suffixes rather than just a subset. This constraint on deletion is why all of the above examples are trisyllabic; disyllabic things are full of bees. Additionally, initial vowels (short or long) of stems cannot under any circumstances undergo deletion, although they may still undergo lengthening.

sanu

/sanu-ka/ > sanuka
/sanu-+iš/ > sanūriš
/sanu-&um/ > sānurum
/sanu-$ēk/ > sanurēk; *sanēk (deletion is blocked by stem minimality)
/sanu-%ū/ > sanurū; *snurū (deletion blocked by both stem minimality and initial vowel faithfulness)
/sanu-+&ti/ sānūti
/sanu-+%uvā/ sanūruvā; *snūruvā (deletion blocked by initial vowel faithfulness)
/sanu-$&ī/ sānurī OR sānī; I'm still deciding if lengthening on the initial vowel should mean that the stem meets its minimal moraic requirements.

qūl

/qūl-ka/ > qūlka
/qūl-+iš/ > qūliš
/qūl-&um/ > qūlum
/qūl-$ēk/ > qūlēk; *qulēk (deletion blocked by both stem minimality and initial vowel faithfulness)
/qūl-%ū/ > qūlū (impossible to delete stem-penultimate vowel mora here since there is no such thing; and it would be blocked anyway)
/qūl-+&ti/ qūlti
/qūl-+%uvā/ qūluvā; *quluvā (deletion blocked by both stem minimality and initial vowel faithfulness)
/qūl-$&ī/ qūlī (essentially same deal as with /qūl-%ū/

qet

The stem /qet/ only has one vowel mora, so vocalic dimoraicity cannot be preserved. Unlike in minimal word processes (see part #2, tomorrow), stem dimoraicity is also not produced in these derived environments; vowel-monomoraic stems remain vowel-monomoraic when suffixed to.

/qet-ka/ > qetka
/qet-+iš/ > qētiš
/qet-&um/ > qetum
/qet-$ēk/ > qetēk
/qet-%ū/ > qetū
/qet-+&ti/ qētti
/qet-+%uvā/ qētuvā
/qet-$&ī/ qetī

arrāk

The stem /arrāk/ is tri-vowel-moraic but disyllabic. As a result, processes that delete one mora may still apply, since a single suffix cannot make it go below the two-v-mora limit. Initial minimality, however, is still in play here.

arrāk

/arrāk-ka/ > arrākka
/arrāk-+iš/ > arrākiš
/arrāk-&um/ > ārrākum (not the name of the language; that suffix is, rather, -$um)
/arrāk-$ēk/ > arrakēk
/arrāk-%ū/ > arrākū; *rrākū, *rākū (blocked by initial minimality)
/arrāk-+&ti/ ārrākti
/arrāk-+%uvā/ arrākuvā; *rrākuvā, *rākuvā (blocked by initial minimality)
/arrāk-$&ī/ ārrakī

That's all I'll cover for now. Feel free to ask questions! Morphophonology part #2 tomorrow. I'll cover consonant alternations and minimal word processes, as well as probably more moraic stuff wrt multiple suffixes. Stay tuned or something.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:26 am 
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What did you get yourself into :D

Cool, though. I didn't know languages went to such lengths... Fun to read.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:16 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:22 pm 
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Awesome, thanks for the elaboration!

So, do you have any idea how things got to be this way? Did these suffixes have different forms before, which later merged with each other, leaving similar forms on the surface, but leading to different results when combined? Like, the one -ta (which loses its /a/) used to have a different vowel which later got deleted in certain environments, and changed to /a/ where it didn't?

What I'm trying to say is: there's got to be something to blame for this mess! ;)



[I don't think I've ever written, re-written and deleted as many sections of a post before clicking 'submit' as I have this time, thanks to many failed thought experiments. Thanks, Aymara & co!]

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:39 pm 
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I wish I knew! Unfortunately, Aymara is a near-isolate; its only living relative is Jaqaru, which is the exact opposite of helpful for figuring this stuff out, since Jaqaru is even weirder (in essentially every regard; you should see its assorted series of affricates at PoAs between alveolar and velar...), and since these bizarre deletion patterns happen in both languages, it's hard to reconstruct an ancestor without them, and thus it's hard to reconstruct how these patterns might have arisen. There does exist a book on Aymaran historical linguistics (Lingüística aimara by Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino), which I unfortunately don't have access to, that might have some ideas about this in it, but as far as I know it's largely an unanswered question.

I am suspicious that these things may have resulted from the syncope of voiceless vowels and subsequent grammaticalization of that---this hypothesis is supported by things like the fact that most (but certainly not all) of the suffixes that delete prior vowels have voiceless onsets---but there are a whole lot more difficult to answer questions from that (like why are these processes specifically moraic? and what explains the grammatically- and phonologically-similar suffixes (especially first and second person) that have different morphophonological properties? just to name two).

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Morphophonology part #2
More o' moras

Serial moraic adjustment in morphologically complex environments

So I left off on the last post without talking about what happens when more than one mora-adjusting morpheme occurs in sequence. I was considering making this more complicated than I am, with constraints that optimize no clusters over medial clusters over final, et cetera. I have, however, decided to take a simpler route, and make the moraic adjustments in such environments serial, where an affix will take the output form from a previous (less-peripheral) affix's application as a base, and all the rules discussed above still apply. So:

/akilus-$um-$uk-$ar/
akilus
> /akilus-$um/ > akilsum
> /akilsum-$uk/ > akilsumuk (deletion that would be triggered by -$uk blocked by a complex cluster)
> /akilsumuk-$ar/ > akilsumkar

Note that in the above, each round takes the previous form's output as the input for the attachment of a further suffix. This is what I mean by serial application.

This is actually pretty straightforward (yay!) so moving on.

Morphologically-conditioned deletion blocking?

I'm still deciding whether to include something akin to deletion blocking in Piro (or the blocking of optional deletion in Aymara), but I'm leaning towards no. It's complex enough as it is, I think, but stay tuned in case I change my mind (and I could probably be goaded into it...).

Minimal word processes

When a morpheme that is underlyingly smaller than two vocalic moras occurs in an environment that would be predicted to result in a monomoraic word (generally independently, although there will be suffixes that only surface as mora adjustment without any additional material, and these could feasibly lead to such a result as well), these forms are forced to conform to the vowel-dimoraic minimal word restriction in Arrakum. Depending on whether the base form has an onset consonant, this occurs in two different ways: forms with an onset consonant undergo initial reduplication of that consonant followed by the vowel /i/, and forms without an onset consonant undergo lengthening or diphthongization of their vowels (from /a e i u/ to [ā ai ai au]):

/qet#/ > qiqet (but still qet- in derived forms, as illustrated in the previous post on this stuff)
/su#/ > sisu (same deal as qet)

/el#/ > ail (same deal as qet)
/amb#/ > āmb (and again, same deal as qet)

The first one is, again, borrowed from Aymara (surprise!), which has one morpheme (sa "say") which in certain derived environments would lead to monosyllabic output forms like *stwa "I say," but where in most dialects (though some do just have stwa!) this surfaces as sistwa.

Final underlying gemination

Finally out of moraic stuff! All that follows is simple in comparison. First of all, some morpheme-final consonants, when they occur intervocalically, become geminated (it then makes sense to think of these as being underlyingly geminate, since gemination is not contrastive in non-intervocalic positions):

/rihašš#/ > rihaš
/rihašš-+iš/ > rihāššiš

Simple enough. Moving on...

Consonant alternations

Nasalization:

A number of suffixes cause preceding consonants to nasalize. These are inspired by the behavior of the Malagasy verbal prefix aN- (eg /m-aN-petraka/ > mametraka, and lots of similar stuff), such as in the examples below:

/akilus-Nim/ > akilunim
/arrāk-Nim/ > arrāŋim
/eldig-Nim/ > eldiŋgim
/surradiv-Nim/ > surradimim

If the suffix is stop-initial, then a preceding alveolar consonant just becomes homorganic with that stop, and the other consonants become either m or n depending on the same rules as the list below. Otherwise, what these change to is dependent on the consonant being altered:

/p v/ > m
/b/ > mb
/n t s z ł r l '/ > n
/d t'/ > nd
/ŋ š k x q/ > ŋ
/g k'/ > ŋg
no preceding consonant: n

If the final consonant being nasalized is underlyingly geminate, gemination is maintained, unless it becomes a nasal+stop sequence. Final consonant clusters also become geminate, depending on the second element of the cluster:

/rihašš-Nim/ > rihaŋŋim
/valadd-Nim/ > valandim
/qerask-Nim/ > qeraŋŋim

Spirantization:

Spirantizing suffixes cause stem-final non-nasals to become fricatives:

mebennud-Sārr > mebennuzār
arrāk-Sārr > arrāšār

/b/ > v
/t, t'/ > s
/d/ > z
/l/ > ł
/r/ > š
/k/ > š OR h (depending on the word)
/p, h, g, k' q, ʔ/ > h
no coda: š

These affect clusters and geminates in similar ways to the nasalizing suffixes described above.

Devoicing:

Devoicing suffixes, predictably, cause voiced stops to become devoiced. (Surprise!). This is not quite as predictable as would be expected. It also causes /r l/ to be spirantized.

/t'anub-Tsek/ > t'anupsek

The changes caused by these are as follows:

/b/ > p
/d/ > t
/g/ > k OR q (depending on the word)
/r/ > š
/l/ > ł
no coda: š

(I am too lazy to actually diachronics this stuff right now, but with stuff like this I'm at least hopefully giving the illusion that there did occur some consonant changes in the language's history; especially a shift among the voiceless dorsals)

Again, these pattern the same way wrt geminates and clusters as the patterns described above.

Palatalization:

Palatalizing suffixes cause the fricatives /ł s x/, as well as /l r/, to become š (ditto with the epenthetic /r/ when there's no coda). There's not much more to them than that; they have no effects on other consonants:

/šebbeh-+Yti/ > šebbēšti
/nu'ūł-+Yti/> nu'ūšti

Gemination:

Finally, geminating suffixes cause the final consonant to become geminated, if it isn't a cluster or already geminated. I'm sure you're shocked. These can combine with palatalizing, devoicing, spirantizing and nasalizing suffixes in ways that are probably pretty predictable.

/arrāk-:$&kāsti/ > ārrakkāsti

All of these can combine with the mora adjustment processes described earlier.

Annnnd I think that's all I have for now. I'll resume working on making the script presentable.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:31 pm 
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Badass. Brain-melting, but badass. I've thought about something a bit similar for a language I've been tinkering with, but never got anything that I could wrap my head around. I'm digging what you're producing, though I too wish that there were diachronics to go along with this.

Also, liking the wordplay in the titles.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:33 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:58 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:34 pm 
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Do you have any good book (or article, or whatever) recommendation on the diachronics of any of these (especially Old Irish)? I found with a bit of Googling, but IE historical linguistics is a vast swamp of confusion for me (as someone whose effective specialty is the synchronic morphophonology of some South American languages!) and I really don't know where to start.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:24 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:36 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:39 pm 
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You and me both. Of all the things I miss about college, the library was the most surprising.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:05 pm 
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as though her heart was brook: Why, why, why! Weh, O weh
I'se so silly to be flowing but I no canna stay!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:22 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:28 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:56 am 
Avisaru
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Now presenting the Īsumai script. This is essentially an extensive reworking of the script of an otherwise long-scrapped conlang. I am afraid that the examples given in the first post are now barely relevant at all; in the days since I posted that, I've done a lot to change it. There it was written in horizontal syllable blocks; but now I've switched it around so that the syllable blocks are vertical, right-to-left, and I have also re-reassigned a number of characters (I found my old reference sheet for when it was still the script for Nalchast, and reassigned characters based on that to help them better-match their original values, whereas before I was working off of texts I had written in an adapted version of the script for writing in Ojibwe).

Bit of explanation beyond this sheet: as I've said, it is written right-to-left in vertical syllable blocks. Onsets are the top of the character, the vowel is immediately below it, and then a coda can follow that. Some coda characters are different from their onset equivalents, eg the character for /b/ ends up flipped upside-down. There are no spaces, and the only punctuation is the end-of-sentence thingy shown in the sheet below. Intervocalically, the glottal stop is written as the character that is also used for writing ejectives. Finally, it's the sideways H thing, which is also the character for word-initial null onsets. Characters that take up too much vertical space are split in half, so as to not invade the space for the next line.



It is supposed to be written with a brush on paper in-world, but all I have is pens and markers; this explanation sheet is thus written in pen (for clarity), while the sample below is written with a marker (for ~style~). I hope the above is readable; it didn't scan as well.

And now, for the best part; I wrote a whole bunch of nonsense in the script, just to give you a taste of what it actually looks like in practice.



Any questions or comments are welcome, of course! I'm sort of bad at explaining how scripts (and everything else) work, so do let me know if anything is unclear, or if you just viscerally loathe Īsumai and want me to burn all my notebooks.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:58 am 
Avisaru
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That's quite pretty (and relatively self-explanatory, so don't worry).

How should the syllable blocks be aligned? Do they all start at a line which goes over the blocks (the most logical and esthetically pleasing option), or do they rest on a line under the blocks?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:18 pm 
Avisaru
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They're aligned based on a top bar. The hooks on some of the characters (specifically the characters for p, t, š, h, m and r) go over the line.

Time to work on the grammar and making some vocabulary, I guess.

(alternatively, I might just play videogames)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:20 pm 
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That's a very attractive orthography.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:24 am 
Avisaru
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I'm all about dis

it's like curly Tibetan meets Hangul or something.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:44 pm 
Avisaru
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:33 pm 
Smeric
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Looks like possibly you were influenced by Siddham script, or it just coincidentally appears somewhat similar. Looks nice.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:10 pm 
Lebom
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This looks like an awesome language. I especially love the script. My brain hurts but it's inspiring to say the least.

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