Introducing Qutrussan

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Davush
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Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Wed 02 Aug 2017, 13:12

Hello,

Qutrussan is what I hope to be the 'flagship' language of my conworld. By that I mean it will be the language of a large and successful empire which has presumably supplanted other languages over a large area. My main aims for the language are that it should look aesthetically pleasing and give off a kind of 'classical' feeling. Its phonology and grammar are therefore probably quite boringly IE, but hopefully distinct enough to have its own flavour.

The name 'Qutrussan' comes from the name of the area in which it was originally spoken (Qutrus). This name is also used to refer to whole continent. I haven't worked out an etymology for it yet and it may or may not change. I hope for it to be a kind of Latin/Arabic in that it's a fossilised standard, with other more contemporary varieties also being spoken.

Here's a quick sketch of the phonology:

Vowels

Short vowels: /a i u ǝ/ <a i u ë>
Long vowels: /a: i: u: e: o:/ <á í ú é ó>
Diphthongs: /ai au eǝ oǝ/ <ai au ea oa>

The short vowels /a i u/ may be realized as tense [æ ɪ ʊ] in closed syllables. Some speakers have the tense forms in most positions.
/ǝ/ can also be [ɨ~ɯ] depending on surrounding environment and speaker.
/a:/ is often more backed in the standard dialect, closer to [ɑ:] than the short counterpart.
/e: o:/ may be realized as [ei ou] word finally.
/ai au/ may be realized as [æi æu] or [ɑi ɑu] for some speakers.
/eǝ oǝ/ are subject to a lot of dialectal variability. The standard is generally [e:ǝ o:ǝ] with a lengthened initial segment. Other realizations include [iǝ uǝ ia ua ie uo].

Consonants
Stops: /p t ts k q/ /b d dz g/ <p t ts c q> <b d z g>
Nasals: /m n/ <m n>
Fricatives: /f v θ s ʃ ħ/ <f v th s sh h>
Liquids: /ɾ l/ <r l>
Approximants: /j/ <y>

Unvoiced consonants are weakly aspirated.
/q/ may be voiced [ɢ] intervocalically for some speakers.
/ts dz/ may be closer to [ʧ ʤ] or [tɕ dʑ] for some speakers.
/ħ/ in the standard dialect is always pharyngeal. For other speakers it can vary from glottal [h] to velar or uvular [x χ].

Stress
Stress is attracted to heavy syllables, i.e. closed syllables or syllables containing a long vowel/diphthong. Words with no heavy syllables are stressed on the initial syllable. Words with more than one heavy syllable receive stress on the initial heavy syllable, with further heavy syllables receiving secondary stress. Stress systems can vary considerably outside of the standard language.

Example sentence:

Nuva Qutrusmi daizanú da sëmi tsárcai nyú.

/'nu.va 'qut.ɾus.mi 'dai.dza.nu: da 'sǝ.mi 'tsa:ɾ.kai nju:/

['nu.væ 'ɢʊt.ɾʊs.mi 'dæi.dzæ.ˌnu: dæ 'sɨ.mi 'tsɑ:ɾ.kæi nju:]


I was thinking of indicating the long vowels with a macron, but I think the acute goes better with the overall look. I am unsure whether to use <sh> for /ʃ/. I don't really like <ş> or <ś>. Perhaps <ṣ>?
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 02 Aug 2017, 17:30

I don't think your language looks very SAE. You may have a lot of fricatives, but the short vowel-long vowel asymetry, the diphthongs and the allophony look really appealing to me.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Thu 03 Aug 2017, 10:48

Thanks Creyeditor, I'm glad the phonology doesn't look *too* IE to you. The grammar, however...

Here is an initial idea for the nominal inflection of nouns ending in a consonant (sing., pl.):

thar /θaɾ/ 'man'

Nom: thar, tharú /θaɾ θa.ˈɾu:/
Acc: thara, tharú /ˈθa.ɾa θa.ˈru:/
Gen: tharë, tharea /ˈθa.ɾǝ θa.ˈɾe:ǝ/
Dat: tharli, tharuvli /ˈθaɾ.li θa.ˈɾuv.li/
Loc: tharmi, tharuvmi /ˈθaɾ.mi θa.ˈɾuv.mi/
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Sun 06 Aug 2017, 11:55

Nouns do not have gender, but inflections depend on the final vowel/consonant. I'm unsure what to call these. Maybe consonantal stems, a-stems, i-stems, etc?

I am actually not really satisfied with my case system. It does seem very IE-ish, but as I wanted SOV word order and a 'classical' feel, I think it fits best.

Nouns ending in -a:

ména /ˈme:.na/ 'woman'

nom: ména, ménai
acc: ména/ménea, ménai
gen: ménar, ménayë(r)
dat: ménal, ménavli
loc: ménam, ménavmi

The acc. sing. may be ménea, although it is more commonly the same as the nom. form.
The genitive plural can be ménayë or méyanër. The latter form is more common in writing.
Some dialects have ménala and ménama for the dative and locative singular.

Nouns ending in -i:

qazi /ˈqa.dzi/ 'child'

nom: qazi, qazí
acc: qazea, qazí
gen: qazir, qazíyë/qazear
dat: qazil, qazivli
loc: qazim, qazivmi
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Mon 07 Aug 2017, 10:24

The Present
The present is formed by the addition of pronominal suffixes directly to the stem.

There are:
Vn, Vc, Vsh, únë, úcë, úshë

V = the final vowel of stem which is echoed.

thim- 'to speak'

1 sg. thimin /ˈθi.min/
2 sg. thimic /'θi.mik/
3 sg. thimish /'θi.miʃ/

1 pl. thimúnë /θi.ˈmu:.nǝ/
2 pl. thimúcë /θi.ˈmu:.kǝ/
3 pl. thimúshë /θi.ˈmu:.ʃǝ/

The present-negative is formed by the addition of the suffixes:

-Vhna, -Vhca, -Vhsha, -úhun, -úhuc, -úhush

thimihna, thimihca, thimihsha, thimúhun, thimúhuc, thimúhush
/θimiħna θimiħka θimiħʃa θimu:ħun θimu:ħuk θimu:ħuʃ/

Some verb stems end in a long vowel.

í and ú stems change to ea and oa respectively before adding the pronominal suffixes.
á change to au in the plural

murí-: murean, mureac, mureash, muríyunë, muríyucë, muríyushë
carú-: caroan, caroac, caroash, carúnë, carúcë, carúshë
yará-: yarán, yarác, yarásh, yaraunu, yaraucu, yaraushu
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Creyeditor » Mon 07 Aug 2017, 10:53

Okay, so maybe your language is similar in some aspects to some classical (or even recent) IE languages, but I feel like you only took the good parts. Stress shifts, declension classes, that's good stuff. Here's also a small question: is the a-declension stable wrt stress? And do the i-declension and consonantal declension show different patterns of stress shift? It would be nice to have some IPA for the i-declension.

Regarding your present tense conjugation. Echo vowels, yay. They might feel IE, but I've recently read up a lot on Oceanic languages, now I feel they are Standard Average Oceanic, too [:D] I also like how singular and plural affixes are related, still very different. And again, yay for stress shifts. And yay for vowel changes. Also another minor question. Could you say that the negation consists of an infix <h> and a suffix -a in the singular and of an infix <hu> in the plural?
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Tue 08 Aug 2017, 10:37

Thanks for the comments! I am torn between working on the map and the language at the minute.

Stress is attracted to heavy syllables, so actually the process is quite regular and probably not as interesting as it seems [:D] . The first heavy syllable (i.e. long vowel or CVC syllable) receives stress, so it moves in some cases. The example I gave /me:na/ will always have primary stress on the first syllable.

A word without a long syllable would indeed have shifted stress patterns:

zana, zanai /ˈdza.na dza.ˈnai/
zanea, zanai /dza.ˈne:ǝ dza.ˈnai/
zanar, zanáyër /dza.ˈnar dza.ˈna:.jǝr/
zanal, zanavli /dza.ˈnal dza.ˈnav.li/
zanam, zanavmi /dza.ˈnam dza.ˈnav.mi/

In fact, I am thinking of maybe having long vowels and diphthongs attract stress in all positions, but word final closed syllables do not attract stress. So zanai /dza.ˈnai/ but zanam /ˈdza.nam/.

Using this idea, i-stems would be:

/ˈqa.dzi qa.ˈdzi:/
/qa.ˈdze:ǝ qa.ˈdzi:/
/ˈqa.dziɾ qa.ˈdzi:.jǝ/
/ˈqa.dzil qa.ˈdziv.li/
/ˈqa.dzim qa.ˈdziv.mi/

Regarding the negative infix: Now that you mention it, it could be thought of an infix. Also, it might be better to analyse the present as having two stems: singular and plural, e.g. thimi- thimú-; murea- muriyó-, etc. with the pronominal suffixes then added.

I think I will change it so all vocal stems have the pl. pronominal suffixes: -nu, -cu, -shu in contrast to consonantal stems with -(ú)në cë shë.

So:

murí-: murean, mureac, mureash, muriyónu, muriyócu, muriyóshu /mu.ˈre:ǝn mu.ˈre:ǝk mu.ˈre:ǝʃ mu.ri.ˈjo:.nu mu.ri.ˈjo:.ku mu.ri.ˈjo:.ʃu/

carú-: caroan, caroac, caroash, carúnu, carúcu, carúshu /ka.ˈro:ǝn ka.ˈru:.nu/ etc.

yará-: yarán, yarác, yarásh, yarónu, yarócu, yaróshu /ja.ˈra:n ja.ˈro:.nu/ etc.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 12 Aug 2017, 06:09

Davush wrote:Qutrussan is what I hope to be the 'flagship' language of my conworld. By that I mean it will be the language of a large and successful empire which has presumably supplanted other languages over a large area. My main aims for the language are that it should look aesthetically pleasing and give off a kind of 'classical' feeling. Its phonology and grammar are therefore probably quite boringly IE, but hopefully distinct enough to have its own flavour.
As others have said, I don't think Qutrussan looks boring at all. In my opinion, you have succeeded in making the language aesthetically pleasing and in giving it a vague "classical" feeling.

What are the language's phonotactics like? Is /tħ/ a valid cluster?
Davush wrote:/ǝ/ can also be [ɨ~ɯ] depending on surrounding environment and speaker.
In what environments does it tend to be realized that way?
Davush wrote:I was thinking of indicating the long vowels with a macron, but I think the acute goes better with the overall look. I am unsure whether to use <sh> for /ʃ/. I don't really like <ş> or <ś>. Perhaps <ṣ>?
Hmm, I'd actually have thought that the macron would have fit better with the whole Latin/Arabic/classical look. I don't have any problems with the acute accents, though, and they have the benefit of making <é> and <ë> clearly distinct. I think <ṣ> would be a fine replacement if you don't want to keep using <sh>.
Davush wrote:Nouns do not have gender, but inflections depend on the final vowel/consonant. I'm unsure what to call these. Maybe consonantal stems, a-stems, i-stems, etc?
That sounds good to me.
Davush wrote:I am actually not really satisfied with my case system. It does seem very IE-ish, but as I wanted SOV word order and a 'classical' feel, I think it fits best.
Hmm, I'll admit that the case inventory is reminiscent of some Indo-European languages, but the forms of the cases themselves don't feel too IE to me.
Davush wrote:In fact, I am thinking of maybe having long vowels and diphthongs attract stress in all positions, but word final closed syllables do not attract stress. So zanai /dza.ˈnai/ but zanam /ˈdza.nam/.
Well, it's up to you, of course, but I personally like how it was before.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Sat 12 Aug 2017, 10:58

Thanks for the comments and questions! [:)]

Regarding phonotactics:
I only have these vaguely worked out in my mind at the minute, which is basically to say that clusters are rare initially and finally, and medial clusters tend to be C+/rlj/ or Fricative + C. I usually set the phonotactics before creating words, but this time I've decided to let the aesthetic aims guide word creation, and then figure out what the phonotactics are afterward. I think clusters like /tħ/ will probably be absent or very rare.

Regarding /ǝ/ and allophony:
This was also a vague idea which I will probably refine as I go on. In single syllable words, it generally approaches /ɨ/ in the standard dialect: qër /qɨɾ/. After /j/ when stressed it tends to be /ɨ/: yëca /jɨka/. If a neighbouring syllable was /u u:/ it tends to be /ɨ/: cúrë /ku:ɾɨ/

It tends to be /ɯ/ before bilabials so cëm /kɯm/ fësh /fɯʃ/. If a neighbouring syllable has /i i:/ it is also likely to be /ɯ/: nëri /nɯɾi/.

Word finally when unstressed, it is usually /ǝ/, it may also approach /ɐ/ if the previous syllable had /a a:/: táqë /tɑ:qǝ~tɑ:qɐ/.

It seems that /i i:/ and /u u:/ cause the realisation to be raised to /ɯ/ and /ɨ/ respectively. There's probably a neater way to describe this raising and/or backing. It is kind of a backing 'disharmony' (?)

Regarding stress placement:
This is also something I am still playing with, and I probably won't finalise anything till I have more examples to work with.

Ok, now for some new material...

Pronouns

Nom, Acc, Gen

1sg. na, ën, thna
2sg. ca, ëc, thka
3sg. sha, hé/hë, thé

1pl. nuva, noa, thnú
2pl. cuva, coa, thcú
3pl. shuva, hó, thú

Note that only the nom. forms have /ʃ/ in the 3rd person. /ʃa ħe: θe: ʃuva ħo: θu:/. Hé also appears as hë.

The nom. forms also have a separate emphatic or standalone form:
ána, áca, ásha, únuva, úcuva, úshuva

When the nom. and acc. sg. pronouns occur together, some changes take place. The initial <ë> of the acc. form is dropped, and the <a> of the nom. form is lengthened.
na + ëc > ná-c
ca + ën > cá-n
sha + hé > shá-h / sháhë



Shá-h yará-sh /ʃɑ:ħ jæɾɑ:ʃ/ OR Hé yarásh
3sg.NOM-3sg.ACC see-3sg.PRES
S/He sees it
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Wed 16 Aug 2017, 11:52

The Past

I still haven't fully decided on the verbal morphology, but I wanted something a bit different from just plain affixes. This form will probably be used for past tense or the perfect. I'm not sure whether I'll have separate forms for the two.

Consonantal Stems

A lengthened vowel is placed before the initial syllable of the stem. This vowel is usually a lengthend form of the vowel in the initial syllable:

thim-> íthim-
qah-> áqah-

In most cases, the initial stem vowel is then dropped, leading to a cluster:

íthim > íthm-

However, certain clusters are not permitted, so:
áqah- > áqah-

The pronominal suffixes are then added:
1sg -ën
2sg -ëc
3sg -ësh
1pl -un
2pl -uc
3pl -ush

If the stem did not undergo reduction, the suffixes become:
-na, -ca, -sha, -nu, -cu, -shu

thim- 'to speak'
íthmën, íthmëc, íthmësh, íthmun, íthmuc, íthmush
/'i:θ.mǝn 'i:θ.mǝk 'i:θ.mǝʃ 'i:θ.mun 'i:θ.muk 'i:θ.muʃ/

qah- 'to bring'
áqahna, áqahca, áqahsha, áqahnu, áqahcu, áqahshu
/ˈa:.qaħ.na ˈa:.qaħ.ka ˈa:.qaħ.ʃa ˈa:.qaħ.nu a:qaħku a:qaħʃu/

Example sentences:

Ména tsëbal-a mur-li á-qah-sha
/ˈme:.næ ˈtsǝ.bæ.læ ˈmʊɾ.li ˈɑ:.qæħ.ʃæ/
woman dog-ACC house-DAT PAST-take-3sg
The woman took the dog to the house

Thar-ú qaz-ivli íthm-ush
/θæ.ˈɾu: qæ.ˈdzɪv.li ˈi:θ.mʊʃ/
man-PL child-DAT.PL speak.PAST-3pl
The men spoke to the children

And the two sentences using an alternative orthography:
Mēna cĕbala murli āqahša
Tharū qazivli īthmuš


I am considering having reduction in nouns like 'tsëbal' with the accusative, so tsëbal > tsëbala > tsëbla when such clusters are permitted. Or perhaps this should be a dialectal feature? My main issue is that such reduction seems like it would go with overall reduction of unstressed vowels, however I don't really want reduction of unstressed vowels, only syncope.

I would like to add some other quirks to the verbal morphology (and possibly nominal morphology), so any ideas would be welcome, particularly if they appear in IE/Semitic languages.

I am also debating whether the languages should have geminates or not.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 16 Aug 2017, 13:38

I really like the formation of the past tense.

As for your question regarding syncope and reduced vowels, I don't see any reason why the former can't exist without the other. The Uto-Aztecan language Hopi has extensive syncope but as far as I know does not have vowel reduction (vowel shortening is a feature though).

I noticed that you asked about having syncope occur only in certain morphological forms, so here are two ideas to limit the pervasiveness of syncope in your language:

1. Syncope might only occur before or after the main accented syllable, so Cv́CvCv → Cv́CCv and/or CvCvCv́ → CvCCv́ while other environments remain unaffected. This could be further specified to only occurring before or after a long vowel, or similar.

2. Syncope might only occur if the two vowels are alike in quality. So CíCiCi → CíCCi but CíCeCi remains unaffected.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 15:04

Thanks DesEsseintes - Hopi is a language I know virtually nothing about, but it will hopefully provide some inspiration. The ways to limit syncope are also useful.

Overhaul of Nominal Declensions
I wasn't really happy with how the nominal inflection paradigms turned out, so I have changed them quite a bit. I still intend of having 5 main cases: nom, acc, gen, dat, loc. The first 3 are considered 'core' cases, the latter 2 are considered locative cases.

The shape of the noun stem determines how it is inflected. I want to think of some in-world names for the declension classes.

CVC Stems
The most basic stem type is CVC, where V is a short vowel. This is categorised by the vowel being lengthened in the accusative.
I am unsure about the genitive - there are two possible forms which I like, one of which appears in other declension classes. Perhaps both could exist?

Case: Sing. - Pl.
NOM: thar - tharú
ACC: thár (lengthen vowel) - thará/tharau
GEN: tharrë/tharnë - tharyón
DAT: tharli - tharuvli
LOC: tharmi - tharuvmi

I really like the genitive pl. in -yón. The genitive with <n> appears elsewhere, but I may have an alternative (and possibly more colloquial) form which is final consonant duplicated + ë. I don't know whether I prefer -á or -au for the acc. pl.

CVCVC Stems
These stems usually undergo syncope in certain forms, where the stem becomes CVCC-.

NOM: haral - harlú
ACC: harla - harlá/harlau
GEN: harlë/harallë- haralyón
DAT: haralli - harluvli
LOC: haralmi - harluvmi

As can be seen, haral becomes harl- in the singular ACC, GEN, and all plural forms except GEN PL.

For the genitive, I don't know whether I prefer harlë or harallë. I was also considering harlayón for the GEN PL, but I think I prefer haralyón.

Vowel stems
Noun stems may only (or overwhelmingly) end in a short vowel.

The main thing for vowel stems is the genitive sg. Transparently it is: -nV where V is an echo vowel leading to > CVCVnV which undergoes syncope to > CVCnV. So ménana > ménna; qazini > qazni; cuvunu > cuvnu.

The gen. pl. is not -yón but V:n where a, ë > én, u > ón, i > ín. Although I am considering -yón for all classes.

-a stems
ména - ménú
ménya - ménau
ménna - ménén
ménam - ménavmi
ménal - ménavli


-i stems
qazi - qazyú
qazea - qazai
qazni - qazín
qazim - qazivmi
qazil - qazivli


-u stems
cuvu - cuvú
cuvoa - cuvau
cuvnu - cuvón
cuvum - cuvuvmi
cuvul - cuvuvli


-ë stems
gilë - gilú
gila - gilau
gilnë - gilén
gilëm - gilëvmi
gilël - gilëvli


My main dilemma is whether to have n genitives n consonantal stems: thar / tharna / tharnë / tharrë / tharra? Too many decisions and choices!
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 15:14

Just wanted to mention that I really like Qutrussan for being so down-to-earth [:)]
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 18:43

[Edit: See newer posts for updated maps]
Last edited by Davush on Mon 06 Nov 2017, 12:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 18:58

So, I don't know much about geology, but Qutrussan would than be comparable to modern day (Mandarin) Chinese or (American) English, IINM. Maybe early modern Spanish would be similar. If this is what you're aiming for, I think you got it. But maybe wait for someone elses answer, some people are very experienced with maps here. (Including you [:D] )
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 19:09

I think English/Spanish/Mandarin are good analogues. I would have preferred a more medieval setting because I feel magic/mystical stuff is more suited to that general aesthetic and I would like to incorporate that, but then, I suppose it's unlikely a language/empire could exist over such a large area without the naval technologies of the early modern? The ocean currents within the white-line are also quite complicated, but I think they more or less allow for constant to-ing and fro-ing. I enjoy the geology side of mapping, but I'm so not good at the historical (human) side of things...!
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 19:16

So, one thing you could think about is multilingualism. Early modern arab was spoken in a very big area from Sansibar to Northern Africa to Arab to Indonesia, but it wasn't the only dominant language in some of these areas. Also they did not have political power as a nation state in the whole area, they were mainly trading in this area. If your area means it is somehow spoken in this area, but not neccesarily as the only and dominant language, it might even work with early modern naval power.
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[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]
Davush
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 19:34

Thanks - the Arab example makes sense. As you mentioned, I was aiming for a kind of multilingualism in certain areas with Qutrussan being the 'prestige' language not necessarily a full-blown political power.

On second look, I have realised that the two landmasses are basically separated by the equivalent of the doldrums. I imagine this would severely hamper the ability to maintain strong communication across the water...hmm, I might have to rethink. Of course, any comments regarding navigation and currents would be very welcome!
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ixals
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by ixals » Fri 18 Aug 2017, 19:42

First things first: I really like Qutrussan. It does indeed have a very classical feel to it and I always like to see a new post on here. I'm fond of the fused nominative and accusative pronouns!

Concerning the realism of the empire, I think I've read somewhere that empires tend to stretch out horizontally instead of vertically because the climates don't change as much and a very different climate from the homeland makes it harder for the emperors.
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Davush
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Re: Introducing Qutrussan

Post by Davush » Sat 19 Aug 2017, 10:47

Thanks ixals - now that you mention it, a more horizontally spread empire makes sense, both because of climate and also the way currents tend to work if considering naval power (i.e. crossing doldrums is mostly going to be a one-way or very long return trip). I think this means I will scrap the original idea as the empire/region of influence would contain mediterranean, desert and rainforest climates as well as having to cross equatorial waters!

Instead, I may expand Qutrussan to the neighbouring island/continent landmass which I have tentatively named Hutuppu.

Etymology of Qutrus

Qutrus is the name of the coastal homeland region of proto-Qutrussan speakers which has been expanded to include the whole province.

The etymology is likely from a pre-Qutrussan language, but the main two theories are that it is formed of something like *qutur (meaning fertile land or similar) and *-us/-rus (suffix of unknown origin, but it appears in other toponyms in the region: Tsmarus,Zallus, Naurus). Or, qúttu (an uncommon word for coast, which could also have been borrowed from a pre-Qutrussan language) + *us.

I intend on the pre-Qutrussan language being a (now) isolate still spoken by small groups of mysterious people in the region.

The language has various names:
Qutrussán - Qutrus + adjectival suffix -án
Thímasnu - Our speech
Galaithíma - The Beautiful Speech
Qutrussë Gilga - The language of Qutrus
Gilga sQutrus - The language of Qutrus (using the neo-genitive 's-' (tbc) )
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