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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:08 pm 
Avisaru
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I've been pretty burnt out on working on Eresic languages for quite a while now, so I'm starting a new major project with the hopes that I'll eventually become un-sick of Eresic and finally write the posts on historical syntax and whatnot that I've been promising for years. This is a scratchpaddy thing, but I'm putting it in C&C so I don't forget to update it and let it get deleted.

Arrakum [ˈarːaˈkum] is one of the major languages of the Arrish branch of the Ar-Mazdri family. It is spoken by several million people, primarily of the Arrāk ethnic group, in and around the region of Ūrusa-Bai in southwestern Emedua, and is the majority and prestige language of that region.

Its phonology is strongly inspired by Akkadian, but morphophonologically it is influenced by (= it blatantly rips off) Aymaran languages (particularly Jaqaru) as well as one particular quirk from Piro and a bit of influence from Malagasy. It is in its barest grammatical infancy, but current plans are to have it be influenced by Aymara (help me I can't stop) as well as Australian languages (I'm especially looking at Kuuk Thaayorre right now). It is a primarily-to-exclusively suffixing, generally head-final language. Like Aymara, it is relatively non-configurational, but in practice is generally SOV. Unlike Aymara, it's going to be pretty damn ergative or some sort of active-stative. It definitely has grammatical gender, but the genders are currently yet to be decided.

Phonology:
Phonemes
The phoneme inventory of Arrakum is as follows:

Code:
            labial alveolar palatal velar uvular glottal
nasal:      m      n                ŋ                     
stop:       p b    t d              k g   q      ʔ
ejective:          t'               k'
fricative:  v      s z      ʃ       x
l. fric:           ɬ~θ                           
trill:             r
approx:            l        j       w

vowel:      a e i u a: e: i: u: ai au


I am tempted to just make /ɬ~θ/ be /θ/. Gemination is distinctive intervocalically on all obstruents except the glottal stop as well as /r/, and is morphophonologically distinct from clusters.

Orthography:
In my romanization, everything is as it is in IPA except:

/? S ɬ~θ x j a: e: i: u:/ → <' š ł h y ā ē ī ū>

Geminate consonants are doubled.

In-world it is written in the Īsumai script, now explained in a post below.

Allophony:
I tend to find allophony the most boring aspect of phonology (don't hurt me), so just moving on. Something something high vowels lower next to the uvular stop, though, and /r/ is tapped intervocalically unless it is geminated, in which case it is trilled. /n/ assimilates to following stops, the other nasals don't.

Phonotactics:

The maximal syllable structure of most syllables of Arrakum is CVC, with CV, VC and V also allowed. Word-final syllables occasionally allow final clusters, and I'm still deciding what those clusters are. Words minimally have two vocalic moras; a few monomoraic stems exist, but they obligatorily undergo the addition of a vowel mora when occurring independent of suffixes.

Prosody:

It has iambic rhythm, with stress falling equally on the strong beat of each iamb. Feet where the first syllable is heavier than the second are disallowed. There are three syllable weights: light, heavy and superheavy, where light syllables consist of 1 mora (μ), heavy syllables are 2μ, and superheavy syllables are 3μ. Both long vowels and consonant codas contribute to syllable weight, even though codas are not counted in the morphophonology. Light syllables are (C)V. Heavy syllables are either (C)V: (where V: is a long vowel or a diphthong) or (C)VC. Superheavy syllables are CV:C. Geminate consonants contribute one mora to the weight of the syllable preceding them.

Feet are right-aligned within a word. A foot must minimally contain two vowel moras (it would be really useful here to have a separate term here specifically for vowel moras...). They are maximally disyllabic, and the second syllable must outweigh or be equal in weight to the first syllable in number of moras. When two syllables would generally be footified together but the second syllable is lighter, the second syllable becomes extrametrical and remains unstressed (and is deleted in some dialects, maybe), such as in the name of the region where the Arrāk live, Ūrusa-Bai, which is divided into feet as [Ū]ru[sa-Bai].

Morphophonology post next. Already having way too much fun with that shit, so be warned.

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Last edited by Risla on Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:16 am, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Arrakum language
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:07 am 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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din wrote:
What did you get yourself into :D

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

They do! I've been working idly on a summary of Aymara morphophonology directed at conlangers (it's got both complex mora adjustment processes, like what I'm absconding with, and intramorphemic laryngeal harmony, both of which are super interesting). Aymara suffixes only (~only~) specify mora deletion or addition (or lack of change) to stem-final vowels, but a number of them also specify the status of their own vowels in neutral environments without a following specifying suffix or syntactic position. There are seven (!) different suffixes in Aymara /-ta/ with different morphophonological properties, given below, largely followed by /-wa/ because that is a truly unspecifying suffix (= it allows right-edge specifications to show) and it can occur word-finally on anything. I'll just use the standard Hardman notation for this stuff (which is supposed to specify if stuff aligns with consonants or vowels; it is, however, moraic, so that doesn't really hold up), where preceding subscript C means deleted stem-final vowel, preceding subscript V means retained stem-final vowel, preceding subscript colon means lengthened vowel, following subscript C means obligatorily deleted vowel in neutral contexts (yes, Aymara suffixes can morphologically specify deletion on themselves!) and following subscript V means obligatorily retained vowel in neutral contexts. There's also some syntactic positions that trigger or block deletion, but I won't really go into that.

/q'ipi-CtaC-wa/ q'iptwa "I carry" (-CtaC)
/q'ipi-CtaV-wa/ q'iptawa "you carry" (-CtaV)
/q'ipi-VtaC-wa/ q'ipitwa "of the backpack" (-VtaC)
/q'ipi-VtaV-wa/ q'ipitawa "the carried thing" (-VtaV)
/q'ipi-:taC-wa/ q'ipi:tawa "you will carry" (-:taV)
/q'ipi-:taC-wa/ q'ipi:twa (good job, me, I don't remember what this one means (it marks some variety of first person) and I am having trouble finding it atm in the Compendio, but I swear to God it exists) (-:taC)
/q'ipi-Cta-Vɲa/ q'iptaɲa "to pick up a backpack" (-Cta; here it is a verbal derivational suffix, which means it must always be followed by a suffix that specifies the state of its vowel, thus overriding any autospecification features it could have)

Since most Aymara vowels are short, this stuff is less obviously moraic, but it still is:

/warmi-:-Vɲa/ > warmi:ɲa "to be a woman" (the
/warmi-:-CtaC-wa/ > warmitwa "I am a woman"; *warmtwa

In the above, the predeleting suffix -CtaC only gets rid of one mora on the stem, instead of deleting the whole vowel.

There's also a set of suffixes, alluded to above, which only delete final vowels if the stem is trisyllabic or larger; here exemplified by the reciprocal suffix -pura:

/warmi-2pura/ > warmipura "between women"
/qama-Ciri-2pura/ > qamirpura "between rich people"

This pattern also occurs word-finally on non-head elements in complex noun phrases:

/tʃʼuχɲa uta/ > tʃʼoχɲa uta "green house"
/tʃʼijara uta/ > tʃʼiyar uta "black house"

In Arrakum, I've just extended this general principle to every suffix.

I really don't know all that much about Piro; basically everything I know comes from this paper by Joe Pater, which you are, of course, welcome to read yourself! Very short summary of what I've taken from it, though: Piro, like Aymara and Jaqaru, has suffixes that can delete or not delete the final vowels of stems; this deletion is blocked when a complex (=trisyllabic) cluster would arise from it; and there are also morphemes (especially one morpheme -wa) that lexically specify that their vowels may not undergo deletion regardless of morphological environment.

As for Jaqaru, here's a quote from Adelaar in Languages of the Andes that gives a pretty good idea:

p. 302-303 wrote:
Vowel suppression is common in Jaqaru. Both morphophonemic and syntactically based rules are represented (cf. sections 3.3.3 and 3.3.5) . Interestingly, vowel suppression can also affect vowels inside a root or ending, in contrast to Aymara, where this is exceptional. Furthermore, non-contiguous, as well as contiguous affixes can exert an influence upon the shape of a morpheme (Hardman 1966: 32–9; 1983a: 55–72). Vowel suppression in Jaqaru is dominated by a bewildering variety of ad hoc rules, which are much more difficult to formulate in general terms than in the case of Aymara.

In summary, shit's fucked, yo. And just one example from this book (which I, implausibly, managed to acquire on Amazon for $17):

iŋaca "serf, to hire an agricultural worker"
/iŋaca-ŋa1/ > iŋacŋa "my serf"
/iŋaca-ŋa2/ > iŋcaŋa "I will hire a serf"
(p. 33)

Much as in Arrakum, Jaqaru deletion is essentially only blocked on stem-initial vowels.

So there is no one language that has a pattern exactly like what I've described above (Jaqaru is probably the closest, but Arrakum is far more systematic), but all of the elements of it are attested in natlangs.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:22 pm 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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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 
Avisaru
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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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Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
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.

Thanks!

I'm probably going to work on diachronics (backwards) eventually, since I do want to work on other languages in the family (especially Arhitian and Mazdrivonian), but it's made more difficult by not really having a clue what sorts of things have led to similar patterns elsewhere. If anyone else knows of a language with good diachronics which morphologically jettisons half its vowels, do let me know!

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 1:58 pm 
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Risla wrote:
If anyone else knows of a language with good diachronics which morphologically jettisons half its vowels, do let me know!


Well, Indo-European languages spring to mind. PIE dropped a lot of its vowels as a result of both derivational and inflectional processes, ultimately (I think) as a result of stress movement. Iirc some slavic languages also had vowel reduction that could be morphologically influences, although maybe I'm confusing that with something else? The elephant in the room must presumably be Old Irish here. Old Irish verbs are fucked up, and part of that is due to vowel deletions. Wikipedia offers examples including "doróscai", "he surpasses", vs "ní-derscaigi", "he does not surpass", and "immsoí", "he turns around", vs "ní-impaí", "he does not turn around").

Semitic languages also, of course, lost a lot of their vowels in certain morphological contexts, and had others rendered alexical by analogical processes.

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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 this 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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Risla wrote:
Do you have any good book (or article, or whatever) recommendation on the diachronics of any of these (especially Old Irish)? I found this 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.

For Old Irish, the standard introduction remains McCone's Towards a relative chronology of ancient and medieval Celtic sound change. For all that McCone is wrongheaded on the nature of the relationship between Brythonic and Goidelic, it's pretty comprehensive even for a relatively slim (195 pages) volume.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:36 pm 
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Dewrad wrote:
Risla wrote:
Do you have any good book (or article, or whatever) recommendation on the diachronics of any of these (especially Old Irish)? I found this 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.

For Old Irish, the standard introduction remains McCone's Towards a relative chronology of ancient and medieval Celtic sound change. For all that McCone is wrongheaded on the nature of the relationship between Brythonic and Goidelic, it's pretty comprehensive even for a relatively slim (195 pages) volume.

Fantastic, thanks. Now to try to find a PDF of that or something; unfortunately, I had to go and graduate so I don't have access to the university library anymore.

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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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Risla wrote:
Do you have any good book (or article, or whatever) recommendation on the diachronics of any of these (especially Old Irish)? I found this 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.


Iirc there's a great thread somewhere around here, presumably in the archivy subforum, about the development of triconsonantal languages.

For PIE, I'd just look at the wikipedia page on [url=en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_nominals]PIE nouns[/url] (with similar things happening in verbs).

But the really simple version is that the pre-PIE language only had one vowel, and had stress that was moved rightward one syllable when certain affixes were added. In PIE, the result of this was that vowels before the stress had been deleted, stressed vowels were /e/, and vowels after the stress were /o/.

[This simple version is wrong, because:
a) PPIE is unlikely to have only had one vowel, because languages don't just have one vowel
b) although stress normally moves one syllable rightward, in so-called 'amphikinetic' nouns it jumps two syllables for some reason. The 'skipped' syllable is a suffix that also occurs in stressed form, so this may be due to analogy? (eg the X-tor nouns end up with the same X-tr-é oblique forms that the X-tér nouns naturally have)
c) apparently we think it only moved one syllable in amphikinetics in the locative case. But then the locative case is problematic in lots of ways, iirc.
d) in some nouns the stress didn't move at all. Analogy?
e) sometimes there are stressed ó's and unstressed e's. A lot of that can be blamed on analogy, but not necessarily all of it?
f) there are also ó/é alternations. This may 1: reflect some old process unrelated to stress, 2: reflect PPIE having had more than one vowel, or 3: reflect a process of analogy (i.e. maybe all unstressed vowels become /o/, but then stress is returned to the first syllable of some nouns (analogy?), giving ó, and only then does pretonic unstressed /o/ drop?).
g) there are some nouns that just have /o/ in them when they should have /e/ - this may be a further analogy from f), or may reflect original vowel differences.
h) in some nouns, post-tonic vowels are deleted rather than being /o/. However, this may be due to analogy - maybe there never were vowels there, and the /e/ of the oblique forms is added by analogy with oblique forms of other nouns?
i) probably other stuff too]

But that's the basic idea, anyway.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Herra Ratatoskr wrote:
You and me both. Of all the things I miss about college, the library was the most surprising.

I pretty much miss everything pretty desperately right now. I find myself wishing I could ungraduate.

And wow, thanks for the summary, Sal! I'm not going to focus on diachronics just yet, but that sort of thing will definitely useful once I do, and I appreciate you taking the time to help me make sense of that.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:28 pm 
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Salmoneus wrote:
Iirc there's a great thread somewhere around here, presumably in the archivy subforum, about the development of triconsonantal languages.

I believe this was the thread in question, correct?

@Risla Oh, I miss plenty more. The library was just one of the ones I didn't see coming. It's okay though. The transition is rough, but I'm sure good times will come for you. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:56 am 
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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.

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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.

Image

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 
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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 
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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 
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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 
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I'm glad people approve!

OKAY, a bit of diachronic stuff:

It makes a great deal of sense to make the moraicization of syllable codas be a recent change; this should allow me to fully take advantage of prosody in the development of the whole mora adjustment system thing. I do need to do quite a bit more work

I've also set it up so that at some point the consonant phonemes of some pre-Arrakum (I really want to make a dirty joke about that) language could have been like:
Code:
            labial alveolar palatal velar uvular glottal
nasal:      m      n        ŋ
stop:       p b    t d      k g   q
ejective:   p'     t'       k'    q'
fricative:  f v    s z      x ɣ   χ
l. fric:           ɬ ɮ
tap:               ɾ


...and then at some point, all the following changes occurred; conditions largely yet to be determined, of course. (changes are not separated by line where ordering is relevant)

ejective > ʔ / _σ
p' > ɓ > b

q' > ʔ

x ɣ > ʃ ʒ / maybe _[i e] + [i e]_
f χ > x
ɣ > ∅ /
i u > j w / _V

ɮ > l

ɬ > θ

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:33 pm 
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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 
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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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