Alaian

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Micamo
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Alaian

Post by Micamo » 06 Oct 2016 03:45

I'm probably not going to be conlanging anymore so I figured I'd post this stuff while I still could

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Alai is an archipelago nation consisting of 7 large islands (and hundreds of smaller ones) off the western coast of the old Maskan empire, and was the last of its conquests before its final death 420 years ago. Covered with rainforests and and the corpses of old gods wrought of unbreakable glass and steel, Alai had and continues to have astounding amounts of material wealth and resources. Its greatest jewel, the Amber City, floats above the land, held down by chains the size of mountains. Built from millions of pieces of amber carved to fit together like an immense jigsaw puzzle. With its distant location and vast military resources, Alai should have been impossible for even Maskan to conquer.

But Alai was betrayed. A man who mattered gave up everything for the sake of a woman who did not, and the world itself would scream and shudder.

In truth, Maskan did not rule for long, and it did not rule in more than name: The existing power structures and culture of Alai were maintained until Maskan's end. As the rest of the empire shattered into the Diaspora, Alai held fast. But the touch of the empire corrupted Alai and awakened a great hunger within her, and the Alai nobility covet the diaspora and wish to re-form the empire with Alai as the center instead of Maskan.

In modern times, Alai is the largest and most powerful of the diaspora contenders. A religion has formed around a messianic prophecy, and the people wait with bated breath for the coming of their Last Emperor, who will end all strife by conquering the entire world and ruling it forever.

This thread concerns the prestige language spoken in the capital.

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Phonology

Alaian's phoneme inventory is rather simple.

/p t k b d g h s z m n r w y/
/a e i o u/

Syllable structure is C(y)V(V, r, n). There is also a system of pitch accent: There is one high tone allowed per phonological word, and this high tone is always present on either the first or second syllable (never both). Prefixation causes the high tone to shift leftward. /ty dy sy zy/ become [tS dZ S dZ]. Long vowels and diphthongs can't coexist with coda consonants.

Phonological Processes

The basic changes, applied to whole words once all the affixes are attached, can be summarized as follows:

{t d s z n r} -> {p b h y m w} / #_
a -> e / _Ce
a -> i / _Ci
a -> u / _Cu
{u i} -> a / {p b w m}_C
{o e} -> a / _Ca
{o e} -> {u i} / _{Ci, Cu}
{e o u} -> {a a i} / _Co

Vowels carrying a high tone are immune to mutation.

The final relevant rule, applied after all of these basic processes, is a rule called Byúshi. Basically, words in Alai must have one, and only one, voiced obstruent in any word containing multiple obstruents. Apply these steps in order:

- If a word has one or less phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, do nothing.

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {b d g z}, the one furthest to the left is unchanged, and all others apply the transform {b d g z} -> {h t k s}

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, but none in the set {b d g z}, then the phoneme of the set {p t k s} furthest to the right is unchanged, and all others apply the transform {p t k s} -> {w d g z}.

Examples of Byushi in action:

páyiimato -> páyiimado (rightmost obstruent gets voiced)
wenkongyusuu -> wénkongyusuu (no change)
parmájajomya -> parmájachomya (all voiced obstruents to the right of the first get devoiced)

Note that b when "devoiced" becomes /h/, not /p/, and /p/ when "voiced" becomes /w/, not /b/. This idiosyncracy only applies during Byushi and not for any other reason.

--------

Aspectual Stem Sets

There are eight regular conjugations of verbs in Alaian, though I never bothered to figure out all of them. Instead I'll just show off the various stems of one verb, jóhan "burn".

Perfective Direct: jóhan
Perfective Indirect: jóhini
Stative-Progressive Direct: jaháán
Stative-Progressive Indirect: jahááni
Habitual Direct: jówan
Habitual Indirect: jówini
Imperative Direct: jóóhan
Imperative Indirect: jóóhana

The imperative is classified as an "aspect" here because it deletes the aspectual information within the stem changes: Aspect disinctions in the imperative like "do it!" vs "be doing it!" vs "do it regularly!" must be expressed periphrastically. The imperative probably has some modal interaction that I haven't decided on yet.

The direct/indirect form concerns alignment. I haven't decided how the language deals with non-local hierarchies.


Some example very basic sentences:

kusúíchojahaama
ko-suicho-jaháán-wa
3pl-leaf-burn:STAT-1s
I'm burning the leaves.

maa wejíchaahan!
maa ryeji-jóóhan
DIST paper-burn:IMP
Burn that paper!
My pronouns are <xie> [ʒiː] / <xer> [ʒɚ]

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HoskhMatriarch
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Re: Alaian

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 06 Oct 2016 06:36

This is cool. Why are you not going to be conlanging though? Well, you said "probably", so that's not an "I solemnly swear to never conlang again".
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Re: Alaian

Post by Frislander » 06 Oct 2016 09:04

No, Micamo, don't go! This looks so promising!

I do have a small thing: is this incorporation of definite nouns?
Micamo wrote:kusúíchojahaama
ko-suicho-jaháán-wa
3pl-leaf-burn:STAT-1s
I'm burning the leaves.

maa wejíchaahan!
maa ryeji-jóóhan
DIST paper-burn:IMP
Burn that paper!
If it isn't, then these aren't the translations I'd give: I prefer to say "I'm burning leaves" and "Burn those papers/paper things".

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Re: Alaian

Post by Micamo » 06 Oct 2016 11:35

Frislander wrote:I do have a small thing: is this incorporation of definite nouns?
Yes
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Re: Alaian

Post by gestaltist » 06 Oct 2016 12:25

Micamo, you're like our godmother here. What will we ever do if you leave?

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Re: Alaian

Post by Creyeditor » 06 Oct 2016 20:57

Wow, I really like it, especially the pitch accent. [:)] I hope it's okay to ask some questions:
Micamo wrote: a -> e / _Ce
a -> i / _Ci
a -> u / _Cu
{u i} -> a / {p b w m}_C
{o e} -> a / _Ca
{o e} -> {u i} / _{Ci, Cu}
{e o u} -> {a a i} / _Co
Do these apply iteratively, i.e. is it local assimilation or vowel harmony?
Micamo wrote: Phonological Processes

The basic changes, applied to whole words once all the affixes are attached, can be summarized as follows:

{t d s z n r} -> {p b h y m w} / #_
[...]
The final relevant rule, applied after all of these basic processes, is a rule called Byúshi. Basically, words in Alai must have one, and only one, voiced obstruent in any word containing multiple obstruents. Apply these steps in order:

- If a word has one or less phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, do nothing.

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {b d g z}, the one furthest to the left is unchanged, and all others apply the transform {b d g z} -> {h t k s}

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, but none in the set {b d g z}, then the phoneme of the set {p t k s} furthest to the right is unchanged, and all others apply the transform {p t k s} -> {w d g z}.

Examples of Byushi in action:

páyiimato -> páyiimado (rightmost obstruent gets voiced)
wenkongyusuu -> wénkongyusuu (no change)
parmájajomya -> parmájachomya (all voiced obstruents to the right of the first get devoiced)

Note that b when "devoiced" becomes /h/, not /p/, and /p/ when "voiced" becomes /w/, not /b/. This idiosyncracy only applies during Byushi and not for any other reason.
Does the first phonological process chage one phoneme into another regarding Byushi or is it allophonic? In other words, does a word that starts with /z/ [y] count as having a phoneme from the set {b d g z} or not? I was a bit confused because you said "The final relevant rule, applied after all of these basic processes" and then used the term phonemes.
Also, was there a natlang inspiration for the word initial consonant mutation?
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Re: Alaian

Post by Micamo » 06 Oct 2016 23:08

Creyeditor wrote:Do these apply iteratively, i.e. is it local assimilation or vowel harmony?
Iteratively: CaCaCi -> CiCiCi
Does the first phonological process chage one phoneme into another regarding Byushi or is it allophonic? In other words, does a word that starts with /z/ [y] count as having a phoneme from the set {b d g z} or not? I was a bit confused because you said "The final relevant rule, applied after all of these basic processes" and then used the term phonemes.
It changes the actual phonemes, not just their phonetic expression, so no.
Also, was there a natlang inspiration for the word initial consonant mutation?
None in particular.
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Re: Alaian

Post by Nachtuil » 07 Oct 2016 05:19

Interesting language so far. Byushi is an interesting concept I have never really seen before.
Why do you suspect you'll be hanging your conlangers hat for a while?

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Re: Alaian

Post by Frislander » 07 Oct 2016 11:49

Nachtuil wrote:Interesting language so far. Byushi is an interesting concept I have never really seen before.
Why do you suspect you'll be hanging your conlangers hat for a while?
I appears to be a generalised form of one of the restrictions on Japanese rendaku - that the consonant isn't voiced when the word already contains a voiced consonant.

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Re: Alaian

Post by Nachtuil » 07 Oct 2016 14:41

Frislander wrote:
Nachtuil wrote:Interesting language so far. Byushi is an interesting concept I have never really seen before.
Why do you suspect you'll be hanging your conlangers hat for a while?
I appears to be a generalised form of one of the restrictions on Japanese rendaku - that the consonant isn't voiced when the word already contains a voiced consonant.
I will have to look into it. Thanks for the link! I wonder if a process like that exists in other languages if it ever has anything to do with stress systems. It might be an interesting thing to play with in regards to that.

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Re: Alaian

Post by Nachtuil » 07 Oct 2016 16:57

Micamo wrote: - If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, but none in the set {b d g z}, then the phoneme of the set {p t k s} furthest to the right is unchanged, and all others apply the transform {p t k s} -> {w d g z}.
OK I definitely see how this is related to rendaku except it basically ignores where compound words were joined. I like it. I don't follow the exclusion rule above that I have bolded. For the rule to take effect two or more of the first group must be present but none of the second group but the first group entirely overlaps the second. If you had b and d the rule wouldn't fire? I get the impression it is supposed to so I assume I am missing something. I assume their is some subtlety I am missing but maybe it is an error.

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Re: Alaian

Post by Micamo » 07 Oct 2016 18:45

Nachtuil wrote:OK I definitely see how this is related to rendaku except it basically ignores where compound words were joined. I like it. I don't follow the exclusion rule above that I have bolded. For the rule to take effect two or more of the first group must be present but none of the second group but the first group entirely overlaps the second. If you had b and d the rule wouldn't fire? I get the impression it is supposed to so I assume I am missing something. I assume their is some subtlety I am missing but maybe it is an error.
I wrote that rule backwards without realizing it because I'm a derp, here's the corrected version:

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, but none in the set {b d g z}, then the phoneme of the set {p t k s} furthest to the right applies the transform {p t k s} -> {w d g z}. All others are unchanged.

So a word like kaisato would become kaisado, and kaisano would become kaizano.
My pronouns are <xie> [ʒiː] / <xer> [ʒɚ]

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Re: Alaian

Post by Nachtuil » 20 Oct 2016 06:27

Micamo wrote:
I wrote that rule backwards without realizing it because I'm a derp, here's the corrected version:

- If a word has two or more phonemes in the set {p t k b d g s z}, but none in the set {b d g z}, then the phoneme of the set {p t k s} furthest to the right applies the transform {p t k s} -> {w d g z}. All others are unchanged.

So a word like kaisato would become kaisado, and kaisano would become kaizano.
It may just be my own unfamiliarity with the sets you are producing that caused me confusion too. I see what the rules does but I suppose I would except the rule to be "2 or more in the set {p t k} but none in the set {b d g z}

I wanted to ask you about your aspectual system. What it a direct aspect in comparison to an indirect aspect? What does that indicate?

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Re: Alaian

Post by Micamo » 20 Oct 2016 08:22

It's not an aspectual category, it's just fused with aspect as part of the stem mutation system.
My pronouns are <xie> [ʒiː] / <xer> [ʒɚ]

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