The Kgáweqʼ inhabit the environs to the north of the river Sovadegh (Kgáweqʼ Sówadekg), bordering on the Bäigäs territories. They are the descendants of a group which migrated down from the north about two to three millennia prior and inhabited the regions along the river. The term kgáweqʼ itself roughly means "people group, nation", though via semantic drift it is often understood as meaning the Kgáweqʼ in particular unless otherwise specified, and the usage of the term kgáweqʼ to describe other people groups is rapidly becoming considered archaic. My conpeople paint others with a wide brush just like humans do: The Kgáweqʼ are often stereotyped as hyperintelligent, sometimes insufferable folk who pay great attention to detail. While science and engineering are quite advanced in the Kgáweqʼ state, it is by no means a universal pursuit; indeed, the position of the nation along the Sovadegh and the construction of the canal system mean that the transport of goods and trade is a major economic driver.
As for their language, the phonology and romanization is as follows:
|N| typically 〈n〉
/t tʼ d k kʼ g q qʼ ʔ/ 〈t t’ d k k’ g q q’ ’〉
/s ɬ/ 〈s ł〉
/t͜s t͜sʼ t͜ɬ t͜ɬʼ k͜x k͜xʼ q͡χ q͡χʼ/ 〈c c’ ƛ ƛ’ kg kg’ qg qg’〉 (convention for dorsal affricates based on romanizations of a South African lang I encountered reading The Seed Is Mine, which appear to have been created or influenced by the Dutch)
/l j w ʕ/ 〈l y w ‘〉
/a ə e i o u/ 〈a ǝ e i o u〉
/eə̯ aə̯ iə̯/ 〈eǝ aǝ iǝ〉
As stated above, stress is contrastive; primary stress is designated with an acute (if the second syllable is stressed or the word is a monosyllable, the acute is optional). Creaky voice is also phonemic and is denoted with an ogonek. If both creaky voice and stress are present, a caron is used. In cases of diphthongs, the ogonek applies to the first letter, whereas the caron is "spread out" over both letters (e.g., /e̤ə̤/ 〈èǝ́〉).
Vowel harmony, organized by height, exists in this language (/a(ə̯) e(ə̯) o/ vs. /ə i(ə̯) u/). Typically the vowels in the root determine the vowels present in the affixes (although dialectally, the qualifier suffixes can override this and determine the vowel harmony if they are present). For the sake of consistency, affixes in the citation form will typically be presented as part of the higher pair of vowels.
Sample minimal pairs:
’ǝ́sc’əd "harm" vs. ’ǝsc’ǝ́d "debate"
waən "strike with a closed fist" vs. wąən "boil sth."
dóƛ’ąs "slay" vs. doƛ’ǎs "stand (intransitive)" vs. dǫƛ’ás "kind of caffeinated beverage"
In general syllable structure is C(y/w)V(y/w)(C), though all words obligatorily end with a consonant.
The verb in Kgáweqʼ is highly marked; the verb template is typically as follows:
preverb - success - subject - version - object - TAM - root - qualifier
Preverbs are typically directional or concerning the manner in which something is done. Up to two preverbs may be combined, though this process is not often used. Typical morphophonemic alternations apply in this instance.
ni- along an incline
‘iə- in a circular motion, around and around
ƛį- lackadaisical, carelessly
ru- side-to-side, to-and-fro
qgə̨s- (towards) here
dəc-/daəc- away (from)
ʼis- from place to place
sil- along a path
də̨t- along an edge
cų- within, inside
gǝ̨r- downstream, away from relevant party/parties
łiʼ- upstream, towards relevant party/parties
The differences in the semantics of səd-, qʼul-, and ƛį- are hard for me to explain, but I'll try anyway. sǝd- most often gets used for processes that are apparently purely random from a probabilistic standpoint (it's the go-to affix in scientific and technical papers, for instance). qʼul- might be used to describe the actions of something getting blown about in the wind, tumbling down a cliff, or generally going about in an unpredictable manner while still being generally localized; a weak implication of danger may be present. ƛį- is much like qʼur-, although it implies that some agent is not exercising due diligence with respect to an action, and almost always connotes some sort of danger, hazard, and/or negative judgment.
ƛin-ir-iǝn-ə-déwįt’? "Were you just strutting around all willy-nilly?"
The secondary meanings of the downstream and upstream suffixes are based in cultural metaphors relating to the speaker's homeland—the farther downriver you went, the further you were going from the home territories, and vice versa. They can be applied to any relevant party, as long as it is understood from context (e.g., talking over a phone, one might say something is "upstream" or "downstream" from one of the participants in the conversation, or from some third party being referenced).
The success affix
Kgáweqʼ verbs also optionally inflect with an affix detailing how successfully the action was carried out. It can also connote conative or evidential force.
-g- accidental success
-t- partial success
-si- almost success
-(ʼ)s- catastrophic failure
-ƛ- conative, unknown outcome
If -ə̨- follows one of a e i, it forms the second part of a diphthong (ignoring vowel harmony rules if following a or e) and creaky-voices it; otherwise, an epenthetic w is inserted before the vowel, which obeys vowel harmony rules and does not spread the creaky voice. -ƛ- is essentially a bare conative, with the speaker unsure of whether the agent was successful or not.
wuʼ-ąd-yon-ęǝ-kʼ-ƛʼáʼas "he (successfully) threw it"
g-ąd-yon-ęǝ-kʼ-ƛʼáʼas "he accidentally threw it"
ąw-ąd-yon-ęǝ-kʼ-ƛʼáʼas "he tried (and failed) to throw it"
ƛ-ąd-yon-ęǝ-kʼ-ƛʼáʼas "he tried to throw it (but I don't know how it turned out)"
This is pretty straightforward.
-ǝ̨d- 3SG animate
-ųr- 3SG inanimate
-ug- 3PL animate
-səʼ- 3PL inanimate
-l- subjective version
-iqʼ- objective version: first-person
-iqr- objective version: second-person
-iqn- objective version: third-person animate
-iqs- objective version: third-person inanimate
-iəq- objective version: relative
-n- oblique version
-uʼ- causative version: first-person
-ur- causative version: second-person
-un- causative version: third-person animate
-us- causative version: third-person inanimate
-uyə- causative version: relative
Subjective version typically functions much as an autobenefactive or reflexive; objective version markers typically serve as benefactives or otherwise indicate an argument that is in some way affected by the action. If a direct object is present, the use of objective version often implies some sort of connection between the party signified by the objective-version marker and the direct object. Oblique version often serves an instrumental purpose and often has an anaphor later on in the phrase.
ʼer-Ø-yon-ęǝ-t-ƛówas sǝ̨gút "you boiled some porridge"
ʼer-l-yon-ęǝ-t-ƛówas sǝ̨gút "you boiled yourself some porridge"; "you boiled some porridge for yourself"
ʼer-eqʼ-yon-ęǝ-t-ƛówas sǝ̨gút "you boiled my porridge"; "you boiled porridge for me"
Inversion is essentially a passive, promoting the direct object to a subject and demoting the agent to the indirect object.
ʼor-ǝ̨ł-yon-ęǝ-t-ƛówas sǝ̨gút "porridge was boiled"
Causative version turns the verb into a causative, with the signified party in the affix being the party caused to do something.
ʼer-oʼ-yon-ęǝ-t-ƛówas sǝ̨gút "you made me boil the porridge"
ƛin-ir-sy-u-cʼǝ́c "you almost make me stagger around dizzily" (cəc "walk")
ƛen-er-oʼ-yų-ƛʼáʼas "you (sg.) make me throw it"
You can tell I read Olga Gurevich's paper "Steal Me an Apple: Version in Georgian" to look up how version works, right?
The object slot of the verb can take either a pronominal affix or an incorporated noun. Incorporated nouns are more commonly used for what would be the head of a genitive phrase, especially for something possessed by an animate possessor; in these cases the possessor noun appears in object position in the sentence.
-wį- 3P animate
-yų- 3P inanimate
ʼer-eə-ƛʼáʼas "what you throw, thing that you throw"
Kgáweqʼ TAM is comprised of two tenses (past and nonpast), four aspects (momentane, continuative, imperfective, and perfective), and four moods (indicative, subjunctive, interrogative, and imperative).
As for imperatives:
-sə- imperative momentane ("do X once")
-si- imperative continuative ("keep doing X")
-ʼəs- normal imperative ("do X")
The subject argument can be omitted from the imperative unless emphasis or differentiation (e.g., commanding one person to do one thing and a group to do another) is desired or required.
yǫ-sa-ƛʼáʼas "throw it once!"
yǫ-se-ƛʼáʼas "keep throwing it!"
l-yǫ-ʼəs-ƛʼáʼas "throw it!" (general, e.g. in discourse on games involving throwing something—note the subjective version in this case, being that one would participate in the game for one's own amusement)
Default marking for nonpast tense, imperfective aspect, and indicative mood is zero. The past tense has a vowel affix -įǝ- past tense. The aspectual/modal affix follows:
-kgə- momentane interrogative
-‘ə- continuative interrogative
-ə- imperfective interrogative
-ƛʼə- perfective interrogative
-ku- momentane subjunctive
-gu- continuative subjunctive
-u- imperfective subjunctive
-tʼu- perfective subjunctive
-kʼ- momentane indicative
-k- continuative indicative
-Ø- imperfective indicative
-t- perfective indicative
Roots are typically disyllables, although it is not uncommon for native roots to have one or three syllables. Some roots have a final vowel which only surfaces if a qualifier suffix see below) is present.
The qualifier affix serves as an augmentative or diminutive to some argument in the phrase. It is not obligatory. If a verb root has a vowel
-luq augments subject, object neutral
-įq diminishes subject, object neutral
-ləw augments object, subject neutral
-iw diminishes object, subject neutral
-dəʼ/-daəʼ augments subject, diminishes object
-ǝ̨l diminishes subject, augments object
-ųg augments both subject and object
-tug diminishes both subject and object
The following phonological processes happen in verb affixes:
- If a word would begin with a vowel, a glottal stop is prepended.
- If a glottal stop and a voiceless stop or affricate come into contact, said stop or affricate becomes ejective. If a glottal stop and a voiced stop come into contact, the glottal stop is dropped.
- Voiceless stops plus /l/ become affricates (except for /ʔl/ sequences which become [ɬ]). /dl gl/ become [ɾ ʕ]; underlyingly /ʕl/ sequences drop the /ʕ/.
- In |VNC| sequences, the vowel typically becomes creaky-voiced and the nasal drops out.
- If two vowels are in hiatus and there is no default epenthetic consonant, one of the following occurs: If the first vowel is creaky-voiced, it loses its creaky voice and an [n] is inserted; if neither is creaky-voiced, an epenthetic /w/ is inserted if both vowels are central; if the unstressed vowel is central and the stressed one is not, a glide homorganic to the stressed vowel is inserted; if neither vowel is central, the vowel that would be unstressed (counting backward from the root) turns into a glide and stress otherwise proceeds as normal.
- Remaining illegal clusters are broken up with an epenthetic central vowel.
Now I have to think about how to handle nouns, connectives, and derivational morphology…