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Author:  vo1dwalk3r [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 3:56 am ]
Post subject:  Ȧbhannı

View my (very WIP) LaTeX grammar here!

Ȧbhannı is an a-priori artlang, with phonological influences from predominantly Basque and Japanese, as well as some conlang ideas I had years ago. This post contains a bit of phonology and most of what I've done on its morphosyntactic alignment, which is fairly complex. I would really appreciate any feedback or criticism you have about formatting/writing/organization/etc.!


The following phonemes are present:

/m n̪/ ⟨m n⟩
/t̪ ɟ̟ k/ ⟨t ȷ k⟩
/β θ̱ ɕ ʑ x/ ⟨b z s ȷh h⟩
/ɺ j/ ⟨r y⟩

/i/ ⟨ı⟩
/e eɪ ɔ ɔɪ ɔʊ/ ⟨e eı o oı ou⟩
/ai aɔ/ ⟨aı ao⟩

Progressive vowel harmony exists in the mid vowels, i.e. words are either e-grade or o-grade (notably, ⟨eı⟩~⟨ou⟩ and ⟨aı⟩~⟨ao⟩).

Syllable structure is (C)V(C), but vowel hiatus is disallowed. The following are the valid intervocalic consonant clusters:

mm, mz, ms, mh, mr
nn nt, nk, nh
tt th kk kr
bn, bt, bk, bb, bz, bs, bȷh (⟨bȷ⟩), bh, br
zm, zt, zk, zz, zh
sm, st, sk, ss, sh,
hm, hn, ht, hz, hs, hh, hr,
rm, rk, rb, rh, rr

Ȧbhannı is very much a fan of dissimilation and nonhomoganicity (as already seen in the clusters), going as far as causing things like ıror > ıron, boba > bora and hıhı > hısı, and also likes vowel-initial words.

Morphosyntactic Alignment (the interesting bit)

Morphosyntactic alignment is expressed through four "core" cases for which verbal arguments are marked: stative, active, dative, and vocative. The following will not explore the vocative case, which is outlined in the linked grammar.

The case used for an argument is dependent on whether the verb is of the volitional or non-volitional class. Since these classes are fixed, i.e. a verb cannot change its class, Ȧbhannı could be classified as a split-S active-stative language. However, this is not entirely accurate, as will be seen below, since the volitionality class also applies to transitive verbs (active-stative languages are also called split-intransitive, since the S argument, the subject of an intransitive clause, can take different markings).

Active and Stative

The stative case is the default case, taking a null ending. It is generally associated with objects of volitional verbs and subjects of non-volitional verbs. In contrast, the active case is associated with subjects of volitional verbs and objects of non-volitional verbs. Moreover, in contrast to the dative case, the stative case analyzes verbs as being merely events or actions, rather than experiences. The following examples demonstrate the stative case (henceforth unmarked) and the active case in their uses as verbal arguments:

hama ȧhıro-n
eat cat-ACT
‘the cat is eating’

mikkar bırama
rock boat
‘the boat is rocking’

ohta-n rah-ar okon-nı
cut_down-PST man-ACT tree-PL
‘the man cut down the trees’

ėhaȷ-an enık sabah-ar
wash_away-PST water dust-ACT
‘the water washed away the dust’

Note that in the fourth example, the agent is marked stative, because the verb is non-volitional.


The dative has two main uses in Ȧbhannı. The first as an indirect object, and the second is as a replacement for the stative case. Both of these uses function as verbal arguments. The use as an indirect object is seen on trivalent verbs, which take active and stative arguments as usual. Many occurences of the dative as an indirect object are a result of valence-increasing operation. The dative argument is classically associated with an allative meaning (‘to’), but can take others depending on the verb, especially given different valence-increasing operations. The following example shows its use as the direct object of a “true” (i.e. underived) trivalent verb:

amȷat ȷȧo abır berrak-ı-m
sent_to food 3pl.ANIM.ACT village-PL-DAT
‘they have sent food to the villages’


However, the dative case can also replace the stative (but not active) argument of a monovalent or divalent verb. This usage focuses on the experience impacted upon the stative argument, particularly the emotional state caused. For example:

tezka-n e ar
hit-PST 1sg 3sg.ANIM.ACT
‘he hit me’ (a retelling of events, I don’t care anymore, etc.)

tezka-n em ar
hit-PST 1sg.DAT 3sg.ANIM.ACT
‘he hit me’ (it hurt, I cried, he should be punished, etc.)

Note that (c) is emotionally charged, effectively blaming the agent (the hitter), while (b) takes a (relatively) neutral stance on the occurence. The following examples show this dative-substitution used with a monovalent verb:

hȯzo-n a
fall-PST 3sg.ANIM
‘she fell’

hȯzo-n am
fall-PST 3sg.ANIM.DAT
‘she fell’

As before, the second example conveys emotional meaning. However, since there is no agent and the subject is not the first person, the use of the dative conveys empathy toward the subject rather than emphasizing the experience. In a case where the subject is not an experiencer, the dative substitution can be used to express empathy towards those effected by the situation.

Here, with the dative-substitution, we see another way in which Ȧbhannı differs from a standard split-S ACT-STAT language, in that the dative can freely replace the stative case regardless of the verb in question; this bears resemblance to a fluid-S ACT-STAT alignment. However, as already seen, it again differs in that the argument split occurs with transitive verbs as well.

Author:  mèþru [ Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı


Author:  vergil [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

What even is this phonology O.O

Is there a reason not to use dots on <i>'s and <j>'s? (Also what is <ȧ>? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Unless the dot is supposed to mark stress?)
I guess it just seems in general you make a few strange orthographical choices.

That said, it does look nice.

Author:  vo1dwalk3r [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

Thanks guys!

vergil wrote:
What even is this phonology O.O

Yeah, it's pretty weird and asymmetric. I evolved it (roughly) from /mʲ mˠ nʲ nˠ pʲ pˠ kʲ k ʔ sʲ sˠ h rʲ rˠ j w/, but I'm not focusing too hard on the historical aspect here other than keeping everything somewhat naturalistic and self-consistent. But if you imagine /θ̱/ were /s/, and /β/ were /p/ and /w/ (true historically), then it's really only the palatal series which is out of line.

vergil wrote:
Is there a reason not to use dots on <i>'s and <j>'s? (Also what is <ȧ>? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Unless the dot is supposed to mark stress?)
I guess it just seems in general you make a few strange orthographical choices.

Ah, right. I mark the pitch accent (which does occur only on stressed syllables) with an overdot, so the default i (and j, for consistency) are undotted.

Author:  Travis B. [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

vo1dwalk3r wrote:
Ah, right. I mark the pitch accent (which does occur only on stressed syllables) with an overdot, so the default i (and j, for consistency) are undotted.

Why not just mark pitch accent with an acute diacritic? Then you don't need to use an un-dotted i or, for consistency, un-dotted j.

Author:  mèþru [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

I was skimming and didn't pay attention to the phonology. That part makes no sense.

Author:  vo1dwalk3r [ Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

Travis B. wrote:
Why not just mark pitch accent with an acute diacritic?

æ s t h e t i c

mèþru wrote:
I was skimming and didn't pay attention to the phonology. That part makes no sense.

What don't you understand? The phonology section of my post is just an outline but it's more fleshed out in my grammar.

Author:  vo1dwalk3r [ Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ȧbhannı

Okay, this has taken a while, but I'm gonna talk about the last two cases (skipping the vocative for now I guess) which I call the "peripheral" cases (since they don't mark arguments, unlike the "core" cases, and are suffixed after those cases).


The possessive case differs from the other cases in that it is head-marking, that is, it is placed on the head noun of a genitive phrase. Because of this, nouns marked with the possessive case will often also be marked with one of the core cases.


The main use of the possessive case is to mark ownership or possession and similar relationships. Possession which is deemed alienable is marked with -z after the genitive ending. Each noun is inherently either alienable or inalienable and is always (un)marked as such when possessed, although they are only marked when the possessive case is used in this sense (semantically).

kouma-bıto-kke-z izzan-ı
egg-DIM-POSS-AL snake-PL
‘the snakes' eggs’

The following shows the possessive used with a core case:

tare tenı-kke-z Yȧra ar
hold gift-(PAT)-POSS-AL Yara 3sg.HUM.AGT
‘she has Yara's gift’

on sȧmar-ra-kko-ka em
talk brother-AGT-POSS-2sg 1sg.DAT
‘your brother was talking with me’

Parts of a Whole

A closely related function of the possessive is to represent constituents of a whole which are in some way distinguished from the rest. As stated above, this does not use the alienable ending.

‘my arm’

hatem-akke ȧyı
table-POSS ground
‘the flat part of the ground’


The final basic function of the possessive is as a locative case, conveying that the possessed noun is at the location of the possessor. This usage is only used to convey temporary locative states, i.e. those which are not inherent to the possessive-marked noun.

Moreover, the use of the possessive as a locative has a very general meaning. This contrasts with the locative preposition za which conveys the default, most contextually salient relation with the noun (this seems to be roughly analogous to English dropping the determiners of nouns in prepositional phrases, i.e. ‘he's in the court’ vs. ‘he's in court’). The use of za also draws greater attention to the spatial relation between the nouns. For example:a-kke hatasakkıma
3sg.HUM-POSS school
‘he's at the school’ (conveying only locational information)

a za hatasakkıma
3sg LOC school
‘he's at school’ (implying he is occupied with school-related activities)


The partitive case, unlike the possessive, is dependent-marking. The partitive is marked by the suffix -tat, which can be reduced to -tt- if preceding a vowel-initial determiner suffix.


The stereotypical use of the partitive is to mark subsets of a group of entities or subsets of a mass noun which are relatively homogenous with respect to the whole. Determiners which mark the size of a subset may be suffixed to the partitive ending; in these cases, the noun it describes acts as the head of the genitive clause, and can take a core case.

ha ti aı-tt-os
there.MED stand 3sg.HUM(.PAT)-PTV-none
‘none of them were there’

imat amrah ishar-atat
dry.up much(-PAT) blood-PTV
‘much of the blood has dried’ (yes I shamelessly stole ishar from PIE *h₁esh₂r̥)

Note the similarity between the previous example and ‘the flat part of the ground’ example; both distinguish some portion of a mass noun from the rest of it. The difference between these two is that, in the former, the head of the genitive phrase, ‘some’, does not make this distinction, while in latter it does, with ‘flat part’.


The partitive has a number of closely related prepositional functions (which, of course, may only modify nouns). These all have to do with expressing some intrinsic property of the genitive phrase head.

The first of these is as an “intrinsic” locative, in which the location begin expressed somehow expresses some inalienable quality of the referent. For example:

zabo rabke-tat
wind north-PTV
‘the north wind’

The second use is as an ablative. Specifically, this is used for describing past locations.

ėmenkı haz-tat
cup there.DIST-PTV
‘the cup (which came/you brought/etc.) from over there’

A very closely related use is for place of origin, which can often overlap semantically with the above two functions.

mıyo-u ahme-tat
face-PL ocean-PTV
‘the people of the ocean’

Note that many of the above functions can also be done by compounding, i.e. zaborabko ‘north wind’ and mıyohmou ‘ocean people’.

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