p t k q <p t k q>
b d g <b d g>
m n <m n>
f s z ʁ <f s z r>
j w <j w>
Vowels contrast for height, but not backness or rounding (sort of); back vowels may be analyzed as allophones of front vowels following velar or uvular consonants; if the consonant in question is /w/, the vowel is also rounded. Vowels have a length distinction; consonants also have long counterparts, which occur only word-medially. Both are represented via doubling the letter. Short vowels in stressed syllables must be followed by either a geminate consonant or a cluster in the coda, while long vowels in stressed syllables must be followed by a single consonant; stress is initial, but secondary stress is less predictable and depends on the affixes - if any - present.
Syllable structure is (s)(C)(w/j/l)V(n/l)(F)(C). (C) in the coda excludes nasals and fricatives; these are permitted as the only consonants in the onset. Glides are permitted as the only consonants in a coda, but /w/ in the coda is realized as backness and rounding on the previous vowel (e.g. /dæ-w/>[dɒ]). (Thus you could technically say that vowels contrast for backness/rounding.) Progressive voicing harmony occurs with affixes; e.g. /is-dæ/ > [istæ]. The alveolar nasal assimilates to the POA of consonants following it; the bilabial does not.
Word order is SOV; the language is highly agglutinating and mostly head-final, with a mix of prefixing (on verbs) and suffixing (on nouns).
Plurality is indicated by the suffix -ab, or -w after vowels; note that if the consonant immediately preceding that vowel is /w/, the plural form will be indistinguishable from the singular. There is a historical dual suffix -eer used now only to refer to pairs of body parts and some familial relations: twins (staameer), parents (maldeer), a set of grandparents (fafteer), or a single parent-child unit (gesttreer).
- Nominative (unmarked)
- Accusative (-(e)w), used for direct objects of most transitive verbs
- Genitive (-(e)n), used for possession as well as direct objects of constructions using the light verb ska "take" (which appear between the light verb and its nominal component, rather than in typical object position)
- Locative (-(a)z), used with prepositions, or without a preposition as a dative
VPs are typically formed through a light verb combined with a noun; the verbs themselves are a closed class, of which I will list only a few here (since I haven't actually through through most of them, what with the speedlanginess of it all). Examples include aal "do", iq "put down", ska "take", and berd "watch". Many of these have implications about the transitivity or aspect of the full VP; aal verbs are only ever intransitive, for instance, while berd verbs are often intransitive (dealing with experiences) but may also form causatives. There is very limited derivation possible between these; the aforementioned causative berd generally has a non-causative aal counterpart, for instance. (e.g. saal ekkos I rise, samberd ekkos I lift you up)
Verbs agree for subject and object using a set of prefixes; the pronouns themselves may be dropped:
Code: Select all
Person Pronoun S O 1sg ez s e 1pl est st e 2sg am m am 2pl ebba br(u) br(a) 3sg ar n a 3pl fir w ir
Tense is generally described through prepositional phrases specifying a time frame, placed either before or after the nominal component of the verb (e.g. sirriq fimmaz peqwaar I presented the paper to them yesterday). The verb itself marks only a perfective/imperfective distinction in aspect; the former is unmarked, while the latter is shown with the suffix -ral.
Estawab glalten sirriqral peqwaar.
estaw-ab glalt-en s-ir-iq-ral peqwaar
councilmember-PL university-GEN 1sg-3pl-put.down-IPFV paper
I am presenting a paper to the university's board.
Naska fiddlaz glalt drambjelf.
n-a-ska fiddla-z dran-pjelf
3sg-3sg-take tomorrow-LOC breakfast-lunch
He will eat brunch tomorrow.
I'll likely come back and edit this with more later, but that's all I did as of Sunday and I won't have the time to continue it until Wednesday at the earliest. This was great fun - thanks, Omzinesý, for hosting it!