The Bha language

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

The Bha language

Post by Sights » 16 Nov 2015 10:24

Phonology

Vowels and diphthongs
/a e i o u/ <a e i o u>
/aː eː iː oː uː/ <ā ē ī ō ū>

[au̯ ai̯] <au ai>
[eu̯ ei̯] <eu ei>
[ja je ju] <ia ie iu>
[wa we wi] <ua ue ui>

Consonants
/p t ʔ/ <p t ħ>
/mb nd/ <m̄ n̄> (for the purposes of this thread only, these will be romanized as <mb> and <nd>)
/m n ŋ/ <m n g>
/ɸ θ s h/ <bh dh s h>
/pɸ~ph tθ~th/ <ph th>
/ɾ/ <r>

Note: /t/ and /tθ~th/ are dental.

Allophony
-[pɸ] and [tθ] only occur in stressed syllables; [ph] and [th] only occur in unstressed ones.
-Word-medially, the prenasalized stop /mb/ is somewhat close to [mw] or [mbw].
-If a word has two adjacent syllables with /ʔ/, the vowel or diphthong following the second glottal stop becomes creaky-voiced.
-/u/ is always [w] before /a/, /e/ or /i/. It is [ʍ] between /h/ and /a/, /e/ or /i/. Word-finally and not stressed, it is [ɯ].
-/i/ is always [j] before /a/, /e/ or /u/. Word-finally, it is [ɪ].
-Word-finally and unstressed, /o/ is [ɤ̞].
-/h/ is [ɦ] between vowels and [ç] before /i/.

Phonotactics
(C)V(C2)
Where…
C= Any consonant.
V= Any vowel or diphthong (if V is a diphthong, the following sound can be a consonant only if it’s a rising diphthong)
C2= /ɾ ɸ m n s/ ( /s/ and /m/ cannot occur word-finally)

Stress
Stress is weight-sensitive, i.e., syllables are either light or heavy. A long vowel or a consonant coda makes a syllable heavy (I haven't decided if diphthongs make a syllable heavy or not). In words with only light syllables, stress is left-oriented (I'll stick to bisyllabic words for now):

tepa [ˈtepa]

In words with only heavy syllables, stress is right-oriented but also follows a sort of sonority hierarchy; that is, some syllables are "heavier" than others. The hierarchy is /aː eː iː oː uː/ > /n/ > /m/ > /ɾ/ > /s/ > /ɸ/.

This means that, in a word with two equally heavy syllables, stress will fall on the last syllable, but in a word with two heavy syllables of different weight, stress will fall on the heavier one:

bhanhan [ɸanˈhan]

bhanhar [ˈɸanhaɾ]

Since stress ignores morpheme boundaries (clitics being the only exception, of course) and is mostly predictable, it is not marked orthographically.

Morphology

Pronouns

Singular
1st - hau
2nd - ue
3rd - ħa

Dual - (This is only inclusive and is the only productive instance of dual number in the language so far.)
1st - homa

Plural
1st - hir
2nd - uan
3rd - sa

Nouns
-Nouns inflect for number and possession.
-They are typically bisyllabic, but can be monosyllabic and trisyllabic too. Longer nouns are usually compounds or plural forms.

Number
Plurals are formed by reduplicating the penultimate syllable of a word as a suffix.

gorō – mole
gorōgo – moles

pagame – blessing
pagamega – blessings

Words with affricates, prenasalized stops or diphthongs in the penultimate syllable have irregular (but predictable) plural forms. Affricates are reduced to only the stop ( /pɸ/ -> /p/, tθ -> /t/), prenasalized stops are reduced to the nasal (/mb/ -> /m/ , /nd/ -> /n/) and diphthongs are reduced to the full vowel:

pheu – stone
pheupe – stones

ndome - song
ndomeno - songs

Nouns that are usually talked about as groups do not take plural markers; the base form is taken as plural by default and a singulative prefix is added when singular meaning is intended:

mbei – clouds
ħimbei – cloud

dhugō – ants
ħidhugō – ant

gauhe – forest
ħigauhe – tree

impa – people
ħimpa – person

Possession
Some nouns are obligatory possessed. In such nouns, the possessor is expressed by a pronominal suffix. Predictably, these nouns are mostly body parts and kin members:

sapiu
sapi-u
fingers-1SG.POSS
'my fingers'

ħisapiu
ħi-sapi-u
SGV-fingers-1SG.POSS
'my finger'

huria
huri-a
brother-3SG.POSS
'his/her brother'

hurihua
huri~hu-a
brother~PL-3SG.POSS
'his/her brothers'

Some culturally important nouns are also obligatorily possessed. Examples:

ħeohe
ħeo-he
dog-2SG.POSS
'your dog'

pheāhu
pheā-hu
name-1SG.POSS
'my name'

Whenever the possessor of such nouns needs to be further specified, it simply follows the possessed noun (which keeps the possessor suffix):

ħeoha embe
ħeo-ha embe
dog-3SG.POSS man
'(the) man's dog'

Possession of other nouns is encoded by an enclitic that attaches to the possessed noun or the last word between the possessed noun and its possessor:

atheiu homa
athe=iu homa
house=POSS 1DU
'our house'

athe hibāiu ue
athe hibā=iu ue
house be.beautiful=POSS 2SG
'your beautiful house'

Prepositions
Most prepositions in Bha derive from body part nouns. The fact that these 'nouns' are obligatorily possessed basically means that prepositions inflect for person. Some examples:

pau - my head / 'above me'

ħorie - your face / 'in front of you'

pandiaha - his/her shoulder / 'beside him/her'

bhanthia - his/her lungs / 'inside of him/her'

(The exact meaning of some of these prepositions can vary. The noun pa can mean 'above' or 'on top of'. For example: paha peobhā - 'on top of the mountain' )


Some simple predicates

Pronouns cliticize to the verb in sentences with VS word order. They are full words in sentences with SV word order:

Hau pihē
1SG be.sick
'I am sick'

Neahau ue
Néa=hau ue
look=1SG 2SG
‘I look at you.’

Neaue hau
Néa=ue hau
look=2SG 1SG
‘You look at me.’

An unchanging particle is used as a copula between nouns:

Hau bhon sahotua
Hau bhon saho-tua
1SG COP hunt-AGT.NMZ
‘I am a hunter.’

Ħa bhon guihu
Ħa bhon gui-hu
3SG COP mother-1sg
‘She is my mother.’

Both existence and location are predicated with a series of postural verbs. Which of these verbs to use, and their actual semantic meaning, depends on the animacy and spatial proportions of the subject:

athē – (‘to stand’) This verb is the locative/existential copula for subjects (animate or inanimate) whose vertical axis is longer than their horizontal axis, like humans, trees, chairs, etc. Examples:

Indā peobhau athē umbera
Indā peobhā~u athē umbe=ra
many mountain~PL stand.at land=DEM
‘There are many mountains in that land.’

guħē – (‘to sit’). This verb has full postural meaning for most animate subjects, i.e., if the subject is human or mammal, it means "to sit". However, it works as the locative/existential copula for subjects which have no discernably longer axis, i.e., a pebble, a box, most insects, some plants or bushes, etc. Examples:

Ħeoha guħē renaha athe
Ħeo-ha guħē rena-ha athe
dog-3sg sit.at mouth-3SG.POSS house
'His/her dog sits by the door of the house.'

Ħindā guħē paha gimara
Ħi-ndā guħē pa-ha gima=ra
SGV-fly sit.at head-3SG.POSS fruit=DEM
'There is a fly on that fruit.'

ndaiē – ('to lie’). Much like the previous case, this verb has full postural meaning for most animate subjects, i.e., if the subject is human or mammal, it means "to be lying down." However, it also works as the locative/existential copula for subjects whose horizontal axis is longer than their vertical one, a blanket, snakes, clouds, etc. Examples:

Homa ndaiē hinue
Homa ndaiē hinue
1DU lie.at grass
'We (two) lie on the grass.'

Ibh hegihe ndaiē rohe
Ib hegi~he ndaiē rohe
few fish~PL lie.at river
'There are few fish in that river.'
Last edited by Sights on 21 Jun 2016 21:00, edited 21 times in total.

clawgrip
MVP
MVP
Posts: 2399
Joined: 24 Jun 2012 06:33
Location: Tokyo

Re: The Ba language

Post by clawgrip » 16 Nov 2015 11:34

It seems interesting. I like that the reduplication only does the penultimate syllable, like the final syllable got dropped at some point in the past.

I have one question: if some nouns are obligatorily possessed, how do you mark a noun whose owner is unknown? Like if you see a dog wandering around with no master, or you get sent a toe in the mail? If it takes a dummy "his" or something, how do you differentiate between, for example, "a dog" and "one of his dogs"?

Sumelic
greek
greek
Posts: 711
Joined: 18 Jun 2013 22:01

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sumelic » 16 Nov 2015 11:51

Yay, I remember you posting about this before!

Phonology: I really like it! For the transcription, why use /ɸ θ/ <b th> rather than <b d> or <ph th>?
Allophony: any plans to eventually incorporate a realization of /t/ as [k] along the lines of many Polynesian languages? (And possibly a merger of n with g along the lines of Samoan?) It also seems to me that [l] would fit in nicely as some kind of allophone of /ɾ/.

Morphology:
Is the 1st-person dual inclusive, exclusive, or both? I guess probably both, since you didn't say it was specifically either one.
The reduplicative plurals you listed are nice, and so is the different method of marking number on group nouns.

Obligatorily possessed nouns: is there an indefinite possessor affix ("someone's")? I've heard those exist in a lot of languages with this class of nouns. It's interesting to me that possessive suffixes can only be used with the obligatorily possessed nouns; I wouldn't have expected that. I guess the suffixes are still frequently used due to the "prepositions" falling into this noun class.

Regarding possessor suffixes: why is the first-person-singular one "hu" in the word for "my mother" but "u" in all the other words you listed?

sapiu
sapi-u
fingers-1SG.POSS

feau
feá-u
name-1SG.POSS
'my name'

gi-hu
mother-1sg
'my mother’

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 16 Nov 2015 12:54

clawgrip wrote:It seems interesting. I like that the reduplication only does the penultimate syllable, like the final syllable got dropped at some point in the past. I have one question: if some nouns are obligatorily possessed, how do you mark a noun whose owner is unknown? Like if you see a dog wandering around with no master, or you get sent a toe in the mail? If it takes a dummy "his" or something, how do you differentiate between, for example, "a dog" and "one of his dogs"?
Thanks! About your question: I haven't figured out how I wanna mark unknown possessors yet, but I'm leaning towards a dedicated suffix for that very purpose, because I think that would be the simplest way.
Sumelic wrote:Yay, I remember you posting about this before!
[:)]
Phonology: I really like it! For the transcription, why use /ɸ θ/ <b th> rather than <b d> or <ph th>?
Thanks! I know <th> for /θ/ is weird considering there are no other digraphs. However, I don't really like <d> or other options for it. I actually had considered <ph> before, but I like <b> better, and by now I'm so attached to this romanization that it'd feel a bit weird changing it...
Allophony: any plans to eventually incorporate a realization of /t/ as [k] along the lines of many Polynesian languages? (And possibly a merger of n with g along the lines of Samoan?) It also seems to me that [l] would fit in nicely as some kind of allophone of /ɾ/.
I *think* I remember you suggesting something along those lines when I posted in the random phonology thread! At this point, I'm certain that I don't wanna have [k] (I don't dislike it in other languages, I just like that this conlang doesn't have it). However, I do want to improve the allophony, because it seems a bit... weak at the moment. I was considering [ɺ] rather than [l] for /ɾ/, but I wouldn't know where to implement it. Probably between vowels? I don't know about a merger between /n/ and /ŋ/, but I haven't worked on diachronics that much to be honest. I should, actually... [:|]
Is the 1st-person dual inclusive, exclusive, or both?
It's only inclusive, I just forgot to add that. The speaker would use the 1st-person plural whenever talking about a group that includes himself/herself but not the listener.
Obligatorily possessed nouns: is there an indefinite possessor affix ("someone's")? I've heard those exist in a lot of languages with this class of nouns.
Heh, both you and clawgrip noticed this.
Regarding possessor suffixes: why is the first-person-singular one "hu" in the word for "my mother" but "u" in all the other words you listed?
Well, all those suffixes have allomorphs which I didn't bother to include (prolly because I haven't finished them all yet!) Anywho, /h/ is added whenever the "regular" suffix doesn't work due to morpheme boundaries and illegal clusters and such. (I actually mispellt the word for mother; the unpossessed form is gui, guihu with the 1st person possessive.)

Sumelic
greek
greek
Posts: 711
Joined: 18 Jun 2013 22:01

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sumelic » 16 Nov 2015 13:19

Sights wrote:I know <th> for /θ/ is weird considering there are no other digraphs. However, I don't really like <d> or other options for it. I actually had considered <ph> before, but I like <b> better, and by now I'm so attached to this romanization that it'd feel a bit weird changing it...
Personal preference is a fine reason! I agree that /θ/ <d> would be strange; while /ɸ/ <b> takes some getting used to, it looks nice to me. Also, it's shorter than <ph>.
Sights wrote:
Allophony: any plans to eventually incorporate a realization of /t/ as [k] along the lines of many Polynesian languages? (And possibly a merger of n with g along the lines of Samoan?) It also seems to me that [l] would fit in nicely as some kind of allophone of /ɾ/.
I *think* I remember you suggesting something along those lines when I posted in the random phonology thread! At this point, I'm certain that I don't wanna have [k] (I don't dislike it in other languages, I just like that this conlang doesn't have it). However, I do want to improve the allophony, because it seems a bit... weak at the moment. I was considering [ɺ] rather than [l] for /ɾ/, but I wouldn't know where to implement it. Probably between vowels? I don't know about a merger between /n/ and /ŋ/, but I haven't worked on diachronics that much to be honest. I should, actually... [:|]
I think I also remember suggesting it earlier. I believe there are other Polynesian languages without [k] at all, so that works as well. If you don't have /t~k/, then a merger between /n/ and /ŋ/ seems not as likely to me. Using [ɺ] as an allophone is certainly possible. A while back I tried to research /ɾ~l/ allophony in natlangs; you could look here and see if that's any help. Basically, it seems like free variation often occurs; when there is conditional allophony, the usual conditions are vowel quality or syllable/word position.
Sights wrote:
Regarding possessor suffixes: why is the first-person-singular one "hu" in the word for "my mother" but "u" in all the other words you listed?
Well, all those suffixes have allomorphs which I didn't bother to include (prolly because I haven't finished them all yet!) Anywho, /h/ is added whenever the "regular" suffix doesn't work due to morpheme boundaries and illegal clusters and such. (I actually mispellt the word for mother; the unpossessed form is gui, guihu with the 1st person possessive.)
I see; that's pretty much what I thought!

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 16 Nov 2015 23:42

Sumelic wrote: Using [ɺ] as an allophone is certainly possible. A while back I tried to research /ɾ~l/ allophony in natlangs; you could look here and see if that's any help. Basically, it seems like free variation often occurs; when there is conditional allophony, the usual conditions are vowel quality or syllable/word position.
Cool, thanks! I'll look into that [:)]

Anyway, I'll try to keep this thread going.

Demonstratives

There are two kinds of demonstratives, pronominal and adnominal, and two degrees of distance, proximal and distal.

Pronominal
ge - proximal
ga - distal

Ga mbathe bhon pihe
DIST.DET plant COP poison
'That plant is poison(ous)'

Adnominal
Adnominal demonstratives are enclitics. The proximal one is also the default marker of definiteness.
-re – proximal
-ra – distal

Peumira hibhā
Peumi-ra hibhā
girl-DIST be.beautiful
'That girl is pretty'.

Embe athē gauhera. Gan embere indā undau
Embe athē gauhe=ra. Gan embe=re inda unda~u
man stand.at forest=DIST. know man=DEF many secret.thing~PL.
'There is a man in that forest. The (this) man knows many secrets'.

(In some contexts, the definite marker -re can substitute possessive suffixes in obligatorily possessed nouns. See the following sentence.)

Questions

To express questions, Bha uses a number of particles that always appear at the beginning of a sentence.

Polar questions
Polar questions use the particle ħeħā.

Ħeħā ħeore gesā bhanthia athe?
Ħeħā ħeo=re gesā bhanthi-a athe?
Q dog=DEF be.asleep lung-3SG.POSS house
'Is the dog sleeping in the house?'

Content questions
Dhe – what
Utā – who
Inta - how much / how many
Namba – how/why (feedback on this conflation would be appreciated btw)

Dhe ga?
what DIST
'What is that?'

Utā ue?
who 2SG
'Who are you?'

Inta aoa?
how.many sun~PL
'How many days?'

Namba ge?
How/why PROX
'How/why (does) this (happen)'?
Last edited by Sights on 21 Jun 2016 20:12, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
gestaltist
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1768
Joined: 11 Feb 2015 11:23

Re: The Ba language

Post by gestaltist » 17 Nov 2015 10:24

A very nice project. I especially like your allophony rules.

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4501
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 18:32

Re: The Ba language

Post by Creyeditor » 18 Nov 2015 00:05

I think the conflation of how and why is very realistic. In German people frequently ask:

Wie konntest du das nur machen?
how be.able.PST.2SG 2SG.NOM 3SG just make.INF
Why would you do that?

I also like the whole possession-adposition-complex and your demonstrative affixes. I also have a question: is your 1st dual pronoun inclusive/exclusive or both or any other combination of the two?
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

HoskhMatriarch
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1779
Joined: 16 May 2015 17:48

Re: The Ba language

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 18 Nov 2015 00:43

OK, how does this language lack the common phoneme /k/ yet have the rare phoneme /p͡f/ as well as prenasalized stops? If this were my language, I would add /k/ (and probably /k͡x/ and /ⁿk/) but I would also have /f/ instead of /ɸ/ and there's nothing wrong with just having /ɸ/ so everything else is probably fine too.
No darkness can harm you if you are guided by your own inner light

User avatar
Creyeditor
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4501
Joined: 14 Aug 2012 18:32

Re: The Ba language

Post by Creyeditor » 18 Nov 2015 00:54

HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, how does this language lack the common phoneme /k/ yet have the rare phoneme /p͡f/ as well as prenasalized stops? If this were my language, I would add /k/ (and probably /k͡x/ and /ⁿk/) but I would also have /f/ instead of /ɸ/ and there's nothing wrong with just having /ɸ/ so everything else is probably fine too.
Maybe because it's the Ba language? [:D]
Actually, I think this is one of the few inventories, that really do work.
Also it's clearly visible, that there was once a aspirated non-aspirated contrast, where some of the plosives became affrictes and one became a fricative (see German for something similar). I think the glottal stop is a good substitute for /k/ (See some austronesian languages).Prenasalized stops are an areal feature on earth (with a real big area), but they could also be very common in an alternate universe. Also, as all voiced stops the front (labial, alveolar) ones are far more common than the back (velar, uvular) ones. So adding a /ⁿk/ would be a no go for me.
Creyeditor
"Thoughts are free."
Produce, Analyze, Manipulate
1 :deu: 2 :eng: 3 :idn: 4 :fra: 4 :esp:
:con: Ook & Omlűt & Nautli languages & Sperenjas
[<3] Papuan languages, Morphophonology, Lexical Semantics [<3]

HoskhMatriarch
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1779
Joined: 16 May 2015 17:48

Re: The Ba language

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 18 Nov 2015 05:15

Creyeditor wrote:
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, how does this language lack the common phoneme /k/ yet have the rare phoneme /p͡f/ as well as prenasalized stops? If this were my language, I would add /k/ (and probably /k͡x/ and /ⁿk/) but I would also have /f/ instead of /ɸ/ and there's nothing wrong with just having /ɸ/ so everything else is probably fine too.
Maybe because it's the Ba language? [:D]
Actually, I think this is one of the few inventories, that really do work.
Also it's clearly visible, that there was once a aspirated non-aspirated contrast, where some of the plosives became affrictes and one became a fricative (see German for something similar). I think the glottal stop is a good substitute for /k/ (See some austronesian languages).Prenasalized stops are an areal feature on earth (with a real big area), but they could also be very common in an alternate universe. Also, as all voiced stops the front (labial, alveolar) ones are far more common than the back (velar, uvular) ones. So adding a /ⁿk/ would be a no go for me.
Yeah, it woule be /ⁿg/ actually, but I guess that makes sense. However, I still think it would make more sense to have most of the common phonemes before adding in more unusual ones, as much as I like unusual ones.
No darkness can harm you if you are guided by your own inner light

Keenir
runic
runic
Posts: 2542
Joined: 22 May 2012 02:05

Re: The Ba language

Post by Keenir » 18 Nov 2015 05:42

I like Ba, as it has a nice feel, with constructions that build well together.
HoskhMatriarch wrote:Yeah, it woule be /ⁿg/ actually, but I guess that makes sense. However, I still think it would make more sense to have most of the common phonemes before adding in more unusual ones, as much as I like unusual ones.
Let it drop; this isn't your conlang.
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 18 Nov 2015 06:37

gestaltist wrote:A very nice project. I especially like your allophony rules.
Really? And here I was thinking they weren't that interesting. Thanks [;)]
HoskhMatriarch wrote:OK, how does this language lack the common phoneme /k/ yet have the rare phoneme /p͡f/ as well as prenasalized stops? I still think it would make more sense to have most of the common phonemes before adding in more unusual ones, as much as I like unusual ones.
This is a valid question. I guess my answer is that I know of a few languages that lack /k/ and have some weird phonemes (granted, not /p͡f/), like Dumo and Dusur, both Skou languages from Papua New Guinea.
Creyeditor wrote:I think the conflation of how and why is very realistic. In German people frequently ask: Wie konntest du das nur machen? / Why would you do that?
I didn't know that. Good to know. [:)]
I also have a question: is your 1st dual pronoun inclusive/exclusive or both or any other combination of the two?
The 1st dual pronoun is inclusive only. I forgot to edit that.
Actually, I think this is one of the few inventories, that really do work.
Also it's clearly visible, that there was once a aspirated non-aspirated contrast, where some of the plosives became affrictes and one became a fricative (see German for something similar). I think the glottal stop is a good substitute for /k/ (See some austronesian languages).Prenasalized stops are an areal feature on earth (with a real big area), but they could also be very common in an alternate universe. Also, as all voiced stops the front (labial, alveolar) ones are far more common than the back (velar, uvular) ones. So adding a /ⁿk/ would be a no go for me.
Good to know other people think this is a plausible inventory. This was one of my biggest worries. Also, really cool that you started going into how the phonology developed! As I said, I haven't thought an awful lot about this, but the contrast between aspirates and non-aspirates was in the back of my mind... [:)]
Keenir wrote:I like Ba, as it has a nice feel, with constructions that build well together.
Thank you all for your comments! [:D]

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 09 Feb 2016 21:55

Potential revision of phonology

I'm aiming for a slightly more naturalistic (and hopefully more stable) inventory. While this sounds like a lot of work, the only thing I really worked on was the previous asymmetry between affricates and fricatives. I feel the inventory makes more sense now, but I'm looking for a more experienced opinion:

/p t ʔ/
/mb nd/
/m n ŋ/
/pɸ~ph tθ~th/
/ɸ θ s h/

[ph] and [pɸ] and [th] and [tθ] are in complementary distribution, the aspirated stops being word-initial and the affricates word-medial realizations of the same phoneme.

Anyway, this introduces a bit of a problem for the previous romanization since I think marking /pɸ~ph/ as <f> and /tθ~th/ as <z> is a bit of a stretch. I was thinking of maybe romanizing /θ/ as <d>. That way <b> for /ɸ/ seems a bit less weird, and /pɸ~ph/ and /tθ~th/ could be <ph> and <th>, respectively. I'm not quite happy with /θ/ as <d>, but I don't know what else to do.

User avatar
DesEsseintes
cleardarkness
cleardarkness
Posts: 4672
Joined: 31 Mar 2013 12:16

Re: The Ba language

Post by DesEsseintes » 10 Feb 2016 05:42

I missed this thread when it was originally posted, so I'm really glad you're posting more. [:D]

This language looks promising. The lack of /k/ is a nice touch, and I strongly agree with gestaltist that you've got some lovely allophony going on. I especially like the allophony descriptions for /o u/ and the prenasalised labial stop.

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 18 Feb 2016 10:34

DesEsseintes wrote:I missed this thread when it was originally posted, so I'm really glad you're posting more. [:D] This language looks promising. The lack of /k/ is a nice touch, and I strongly agree with gestaltist that you've got some lovely allophony going on. I especially like the allophony descriptions for /o u/ and the prenasalised labial stop.
Thanks a lot! [:D] As it turns out, I might ditch [ɯ] and [ɤ̞] (I can pronounce [ɯ] just fine, but I never know if I'm pronouncing [ɤ̞] "correctly" and getting rid of only one seems wrong somehow [:|] ).

Anyway, I'm sharing some of my latest progress.

Verbs

So far, I know that I want to mark at least two things on verbs. These are volition/transitivity and imperative mood.

Volition/transitivity
Some verbal roots indicate a change in volition and transitivity by vowel lengthening (and a stress shift too I suppose, because long vowels are always stressed). This means there are verbal pairs like mahe [ˈmaɦe], which means 'to heat' , and mahē [maˈɦeː], which means 'to be hot'.

Maheħa hihe
mahe=ħa hihe
heat=3SG water
'He/she heats the water'

Ħa mahē
3SG hot
He/she (is) hot.

There are a lot of things that I haven't worked out yet, the most important being actions that wouldn't fall neatly into the transitive/volitional and intransitive/non-volitional division. For example:

a) Pe ropaue uidhe
Pe ropá=ue uidhe
PST drop=2SG knife
'You dropped your knife (accidentally)

b) Pe ropasa mbehame
Pe ropa=sa mbeha~me
PST lay.down=3PL weapon~PL
'They laid down (their) weapons'

c) Hau pe ropā
1SG PST drop
'I fell down'

I can work around this problem if I coin specific verbs for each kind of action in the examples, but to be honest I enjoy having one root mean all these different things. Anyway, should I decide not to do anything else, for cases like a) the stress shift would obviously only mark non-volition.

I really feel that's cheating, however, so I'm considering splitting verbs into two different classes: verbs which are either volitional/transitive or non-volitional/intransitive and verbs which admit different combinations of volition and valency. I'll probably develop a specific valency changing affix for the latter kind. There's also the issue of stative verbs. Almost by definition, they would be non-volitional, but having an entire set of verbs be stressed on the last syllable by default seems somewhat unnatural to me. As a way to avoid the problem, a lot of the stative verbs I've coined so far are monosyllabic [xD]. But eventually I'll have to decide if statives adhere to the system outlined above or constitute yet another class of verb, one in which stress doesn't mark anything.

*Some people have suggested that a stress shift might not be a "noticeable" enough marker, so I might throw in lengthening of the stressed vowel. The language would have phonemic vowel length then, I guess.

Imperative
A prefix! It turns out imperative prefixation is typologically rare, but when it does occur, it's often in VSO languages. Which happens to be the default order for my volitional/transitive sentences so this was a pretty straightforward choice.

Ħundome!
Ħu-ndome
IMP-sing
'Sing!'

Ħuege
Ħu-ege
IMP-listen
'Listen'

One thing I don't know about is whether to keep the subject pronoun or not. I *suspect* it's more common for imperatives to have no explicit subject marking, since it's pretty obvious the subject is a listener and number can often be inferred from context. But so many of my grammatical choices have been due to sound and phonoaesthetics that it's hard to refuse senteces like these, which I really like:

Ħundomeue! - [ʔuˈndomewe]
Ħu-ndome=ue
IMP-sing=2SG
'Sing!'

Ħuegeuan - ['ʔweŋewan]
Ħu-ege=uan
IMP-listen=2PL
'Listen'
Last edited by Sights on 21 Jun 2016 20:41, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
masako
shadowlight
shadowlight
Posts: 1973
Joined: 12 Aug 2010 15:42
Location: 가매
Contact:

Re: The Ba language

Post by masako » 21 Feb 2016 02:56

I like this...your prepositions are inspiring.

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Ba language

Post by Sights » 04 Mar 2016 21:56

masako wrote:I like this...your prepositions are inspiring.
Wow, thanks! That's really nice to hear! [:D]

I've decided to go through with most points in the phonology revision (with some slight changes, like the distribution of /pɸ~ph/ and /tθ~th/; it has to do with stress now). It's high time I stop messing about with the inventory, so I'm gonna edit the first post to reflect this update. I reeeally want to move on to something else so hopefully the following will be the last three aspects of the phonology I'll ever have to work out:

-Whether to add vowel lenght or not (I'm very tempted)
-Whether to keep the allophones [ɯ] and [ɤ̞]. I might restrict these allophones to word-final position only, instead of unstressed syllables. Makes the whole thing easier to pronounce, I found.
-Whether to add stress rules or make stress basically unpredictable.
Last edited by Sights on 15 Jun 2016 01:35, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
masako
shadowlight
shadowlight
Posts: 1973
Joined: 12 Aug 2010 15:42
Location: 가매
Contact:

Re: The Ba language

Post by masako » 05 Mar 2016 02:58

Sights wrote:-Whether to add vowel lenght or not (I'm very tempted)
Perhaps make it grammatical? Like use it to determine a mood or aspect...maybe to add severity or augmentation to an adjective or descriptive verb?
Sights wrote:-Whether to add stress rules or make stress basically unpredictable.
See above. If you add predictable stress, you can use it in unpredictable ways...voice, mood, etc.

User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: 04 Jan 2014 20:47

Re: The Bha language

Post by Sights » 18 Mar 2016 22:06

Update: Added vowel length and sketched out some stress rules. They conflict a bit with pluralization, but ehh, I'll handle that later.
masako wrote:Perhaps make it [vowel length] grammatical? Like use it to determine a mood or aspect...maybe to add severity or augmentation to an adjective or descriptive verb?
I had something like that in mind! For now I'm linking it to the whole marking of transitivity/volitionality. The stress shift will include a lengthening of the vowel (incidentally I think this makes sense because long vowels are always stressed in this language).

Post Reply