First, the proto-language. It has a large consonant inventory with many pharyngealized consonants, which was inspired an insane reconstruction of Old Chinese initials I saw on Wikipedia (Baxter-Sagart system, it has 35 consonants, all of which can be pharyngealized!). Mine isn't quite that extreme:
And the following three vowels:
Sound changes aren't finalized, but I'm happy with the way tonogenesis works. To wit:
Old and Modern Don have two or three phonemic tones, depending on how you analyze things. Stress is preserved, but is always realized as a high tone. This affects the pitch contour of the entire word. Some affixes shift stress (those of older origin), while those affixes of more recent vintage do not. Rising tone is indicated by an acute accent, high tone by a macron, and middle tone is unmarked. The full romanization and older cyrillization is here.
*viqʷ-ɕa-buqˤ "I have laid down."
*i-viqʷ-ɕa-buqˤ "having laid down"
[vɪqʷ33-ɕɑ55-wuq515] “I have laid down.”
[e33-viqʷ55-ɕɑ33-wuq15] “having laid down”
Here, stress is preserved. But the more recent os- (from *us "self") does not shift stress:
[ip33-ɕɑ55-lu33dɪ33] “I washed (someone).”
[os33-ip33-ɕɑ55-lu33dɪ33] “I washed myself.”
The most developed daughterlang ("Standard Don", in-universe the only language with a literary standard), presented here, is the southern branch. The northern branch, consisting of two languages, Western Don and Satyan, is nontonal. It has distinct reflexes of pharyngeals. One notable common development in the Northern Don languages is the loss of unpharyngealized nasals in the coda, leaving behind a nasalized vowel. Compare Modern Standard Don emāsa, Western Don [æ̃sa], Satyan [ə̃ɑʃə]; Standard Don siŋ, Western Don [ɦisĩ], Satyan [qisĩ]. Western Don has further lost pharyngealized coda nasals, which are preserved in Satyan.
Southern, Western and Satyan Don all preserve the phonemic distinction between pharyngealized and tenuis consonants in some environments, although they do so in three different ways. Southern Don developed tones, but the distinction is lost in the onset. Thus we have homophones like ejud "phone" (from *akˤud "yell") and ejud "blue" (from *akud). Western Don preserves the distinction using creaky voice on the vowel— the same words are [ækṵð] and [ækuð]. However, both onset and coda pharyngealized consonants impart creaky voice to the vowel in the nucleus. Thus *mˤin "smile" and minˤ "crop" both yield [mḭ̃ ], while the words are distinct in Southern Don: [min33] and [min15]. Satyan preserves pharyngeals in all environments: [əkˤuð], [əkuð], [mˤĩ], [minˤ].
Here is the Modern Don consonant inventory:
And the vowels:
One notable feature of Don's morphology are its bipartite verbs. This is a feature inspired by the Native American language isolate Washo. The way it works is as follows: every verb consists of two distinct bound morphemes. The preverb is either a nominal classifier, an instrumental or an adverbial. The verb proper imparts specific meaning. Neither can exist without the other, but in Proto-Don, this was highly productive and constituted the principal method of new verb formation - both preverbs and verbs being semi-closed word classes which could combine in numerous ways to form new compound verbs. Examples follow:
ciɽ "1 dimensional object" + nan "walk" > ciɽ-nan "walk (along a road)"
ɦiŋ "2 dimensional object" + nan "walk" > ɦiŋ-nan "walk (across flat terrain)"
faf "3 dimensional object" + nan "walk" > faf-nan "walk (up or down a hill, in hilly terrain)"
Note that "walk (along/across)" here is semantically transitive. This might in isolation be analyzed as noun incorporation, and may in Pre-Proto-Don have actually been so, but none of the preverbs are independent nominals and exhibit no overt commonality between any nominals.
kʷid "liquid" + buq "set down" > kʷid-buq "pour"
kʷid + qas "eat" > kʷid-qas "drink"
ib "animate" + puʔ "help" > ib-puʔ "help (someone)"
ib + ɦis "love" > "love (familial)"
*ib- (modern eb-, ep-) is the most common preverb by far in Modern Don.
*pˤik "round object" + nan "walk" > *pˤik-nan "ride in a wheeled carriage"
*tumˤ "tongue" + qas > *tumˤ-qas "lick"
ɦas "spear" + istuqʷ "kill" > ɦas-istuqʷ "kill with a spear"
ɟaŋ "forcefully" + ɕi "speak" > ɟaŋ-ɕi "yell, speak angrily"
ɟaŋ + nan > ɟaŋ-nan "walk with heavy steps, stamp"
is "quickly" + nan > is-nan "run"
is + *dotˤ "leave" > *is-dotˤ "leave in a hurry"
viqʷ "in a forest" + um "gather" > viqʷ-um "pick berries"
viqʷ + ʔaɕ "hunt" > viqʷ-ʔaɕ "hunt in the forest"
tu "romantically" + ʔaɕ > tu-ʔaɕ "court, flirt with"
tu + ɦis > tu-ɦis "love romantically"
Verbs are conjugated by inserting an infix between the preverb and root:
"I am eating boar meat."
Preverbs are most commonly monosyllabic, but may be bisyllabic. In Modern Don, by analogical leveling, the infix is always inserted after the first syllable of a verb. In Modern Don, as in Washo, bipartite verbs are only marginally productive. There are two classes of verbs, the infixing and the prefixing verbs. The infixing verbs are older and slightly more numerous, although all newly coined verbs today are prefixing. Below are examples of infixing verbs:
eppuq "help": ollu eb-shā-puq "I helped a woman."
ollu eb-ū-puq "I am helping a woman."
chipnan "swim":chip-shā-nan "I swam."
chip-ēl-nan "You are swimming."
And prefixing verbs:
āsagōn “complete”: xusiten py-āsagōn “He completed his homework.”
dudu nímra el-āsagōn “They are completing the bridge.”
Finally, here is a short story in Modern Don. It's a cosmological creation story, involving the two gods or spirits, the trickster Tawi and Madōmék (Nothingness, the Void). What follows is the original, an English translation, and finally an interlinear gloss:
Madōmék ŋutasal gi pyat. Tāwi madōmék gi pyat. Tāwi madōmek tepȳmamish: oŋ "Ni omāmi duq mica!"
"Itta duq elatsu?" Madōmek eppȳqwam.
"Kwu láŋsang to elīssa mím hóm tunelāte jāsam."
Oŋ "Tos gi ebihālhoma," madōmek eppȳshi.
Oŋ "Ŋela hóm tun-ebēlhal ŋela okebānhal elqi ebīshiti itta," Tāwi eppȳshi.
Madōmek aq mupȳqámsa o.
Aq madōmék ṇdamā oshīme duq hóm melat, itta otún tumu elat. Madōmék es élām pyat teca gi ashȳmpytes nekw. Oŋ "Láŋsang to elīssa?" Issaq itta elātitta?
Issa madōmék gi hóm pyāt, madōmék láŋsang elīssa to es pyātti itta hóm tunȳmelchitsa tílmā. Madōmék elqi alwepȳcise lámqush ashēppytum. Ke madōmék elqi Tāwi welcise sapȳqaŋ tílmā.
Oŋ "Elqi goshāsagōnim," madōmék eppȳshi. "Kwu láŋsang to elīssa mím gi shat."
Oŋ "Láŋsang to elīssa hóm pyat," Tāwi eppȳshi. Tāwi elemāʝim, issa hóm pyat duq.
Issa hóm pyat duq, madōmék énnic gi eppȳtum, oŋ "Láŋsang to elīssa hóm pyat," Tāwi nétal eles tosu gi tunēbelshi. De issa ŋela elāsti madōmék ŋela tunebelshi Tāwi oŋ "Ke! Ni léb gi anat, issa ni gi léb elat duq."
Madōmék eqi alompȳtáke oktesēldím tílmā.
Oŋ "ʝechi elomāmi omutákti aq elat," Tāwi eppȳshi: "Issa anāsti, icis o."
In the beginning there was nothing. In that nothingness was Tawi. Tawi called out to nothing: "I have a bet for you!"
"What is it?" Asked nothing.
"I bet that you cannot be yourself for one turn of the moon."
"But of course I will," said nothing.
"If you cannot, you must do as I ask," said Tawi, and nothing agreed.
This was no hard task for nothing, which was all the world. But after some time had passed, nothing began to wonder. One turn of the moon? What is this moon? There was no moon in the nothingness, so nothing could not know how long one turn of the moon was. Slowly, nothing began to realize that it had been tricked. So nothing decided to trick Tawi right back.
"All done," said nothing. "I have been myself for one turn of the moon."
"One turn of the moon has not passed," said Tawi, and Tawi was right, for there was no moon.
Then it dawned on nothing that, since there was no moon, Tawi could continue to say, "One turn of the moon has not passed," until the end of time. And if nothing created a moon, then Tawi could say, "Ha! You are no longer yourself, for there is a moon in you."
And so nothing had to admit that it was defeated.
"As payment for the bet you lost, you shall create the moon," said Tawi. "And the earth too."
And so it was.
Code: Select all
Madōmék ŋutasal gi py-at. Tāwi madōmék gi py-at. Nothing beginning LOC 3PF-be. Tawi nothing LOC 3PF-be. Tāwi madōmek te<pȳ>mamish: oŋ "ni omāmi duq m-i-ca!" Tawi nothing call.to<3PF> QUOT "2 bet OBL BEN-1IMPF-have" "Itta duq el-at-sú?" Madōmek ep<pȳ>ȳqwam. "3OBJ OBL 3IMPF-be-Q?" Nothing ask<3IMPF>. "Kwu Láŋsang to el-īssa mím hóm tun-el-āt=e i-āsam." "Self turn one 3-moon for NEG can-3IMPF-be=NMNZ 1IMPF-bet." Oŋ "Tos gi eb<i>hal-homa," madōmek ep<pȳ>shi. QUOT "Future LOC do<3IMPF>-MIR," nothing say<3PF>. Oŋ "Ŋela hóm tun-eb<ēl>hal ŋela ok-eb<an>hal elqi eb<ī>shi=ti itta," QUOT "IRR NEG can-do<2IMPF> IRR must-do<2IMPF> 3 say<1IMPF>=REL 3OBJ," Tāwi ep<pȳ>shi. Tawi say<3PF>. Madōmek aq mu<pȳ>qámsa o. Nothing this agree.with<3PF> and. Aq madōmék ṇdamā oshīme duq hóm m-ēl-at, itta otún tumu el-at. This nothing task difficult OBL NEG BEN-3IMPF-be, 3OBJ world all 3IMPF-be. Madōmék es élām py-āt teca gi ash-ȳm<py>tes nekw. Nothing time some 3PF-be after ADV INCH-wonder<3PF> but Oŋ "Láŋsang to el-īssa?" Issa=aq itta el-āt=itta? QUOT "Turn one 3-moon?" Moon=this 3OBJ 3IMPF-be=3OBJ? Issa madōmék gi hóm py-āt, madōmék láŋsang el-īssa to es py-āt=ti Moon nothing in NEG 3PF-be, nothing turn 3-moon one time 3PF-be=REL itta hóm tun-ȳm<el>chitsa tílmā. 3OBJ NEG can-know<3IMPF> therefore. Madōmék elqi al-we<pȳ>cis=e lámqush ash-ēp<py>tum Nothing 3 ITR.PASS-trick<3PF>=NMNZ slowly INCH-understand<3PST> Ke madōmék Elqi Tāwi we<el>cis=e sa<pȳ>qaŋ tílmā. PART nothing 3 Tawi trick<3IMPF>=NMNZ decide<3PF> therefore. Oŋ "Elqi go-sha-āsagōn-im," madōmék ep<pȳ>shi. QUOT "3 PTCPL-1PF-complete-PRED," nothing say<3PF>. "Kwu láŋsang to el-īssa mím gi shat." "Self turn 3-moon one for ADV be.1PF" Oŋ "Láŋsang to el-īssa hóm py-at," Tāwi ep<pȳ>shi. QUOT "Turn one 3-moon NEG 3PF-be," Tawi say<3PF>. Tāwi el-emaʝ-im issa hóm py-at duq. Tawi 3PF-right-PRED moon NEG 3PF-be because. Issa hóm py-at duq, madōmék énnic gi ep<pȳ>tum, Moon NEG 3PF-be because, nothing then LOC understand<3PF>, Oŋ "Láŋsang to el-īssa hóm py-at," Tāwi nétal el-es tosu gi tun-ēb<el>shi. QUOT "Turn one 3-moon NEG 3PF-be," Tawi end 3-time until ADV can-say<3PF>. De issa ŋela el-āsti madōmék ŋela tun-eb<el>shi Tāwi oŋ "Ke! Ni léb gi FOC moon IRR 3IMPF-create nothing IRR can-say<3IMPF> Tawi QUOT "Ha! 2 now ADV an-at, issa ni gi léb el-at duq." 2IMPF-be, moon 2 in now 3PF-be because. Madōmék Elqi al-om<pȳ>ták=e ok-tes<el>dím tílmā. Nothing 3 ITR.PASS-lose<3PF>=NMNZ must-admit<3IMPF> therefore. Oŋ "ʝechi el-omāmi om<u>ták=ti aq el-at," Tāwi ep<pȳ>shi: QUOT "payment 3-bet lose<2PF>=REL this 3IMPF-be," Tawi say<3PF>: "Issa an-āsti, icis o." "Moon 2IMPF-create, earth too." Aq ash-pȳ-at. This INCH-3PST-be.