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Californian Polynesian

Posted: 30 Nov 2019 04:23
by GoshDiggityDangit
A while ago, I was thinking of having a Japonic language in Hawai'i, alongside Hawai'ian as we know it today. Then it was Sinitic, but every time Hawai'ian was there. Naturally, I began thinking of the Polynesian languages. Can't do one for Hawai'i, because that's... what Hawai'ian is. But what about California? With that idea in mind, I started "working" on Californian Polynesian. Here are the fruits of my "work".

Sound Shifts from Proto-Eastern-Polynesian

•/p/ > /p/, /b/ intervocalically > /p/, /b/

•/t/ > /t/, /d/ intervocalically > /t/, /d/

•/k/ > /k/, /ʔ/ intervocalically > /k/, /ʔ/

•/ʔ/ > /h/ > Ø

•/m/ > /m/ > /m/

•/n/ > /n/ > /n/

•/ŋ/ > /n/ > /n/

•/w/ > /v/ > /v/

•/f/ > /f/ > /f/

•/l/ > /ɾ/ >/ɾ/

•/h/ > /h/ > Ø

•/a/ > /a/ > /a/

•/a.a/ > /a:/ > /a:/

•/i/ > /i/ > /i/

•/i.i/ > /i:/ > /i:/

•/e/ > /i/ > /i/

•/e.e/ > /e:/ > /e/

•/u/ > /u/ > /u/

•/u.u/ > /u:/ > /u:/

•/o/ > /u/ > /u/

•/o.o/ > /o:/ > /o/

Unstressed Vowels Disappear, Unless Long

•/V.u/, /V.o/ > /Vw/ > /Vw/

•/u.V/, /o.V/ > /wV/ > /wV/

•/V.i/, /V.e/ > /Vj/ > /Vj/

•/i.V/, /e.V/ > /jV/ > /jV/

•/V.a/ > /Vwa/ > /Vwa/

•/a.V/ > /awV/ > /awV/

if i can figure out how to make tables, i'll edit one in

EDIT: Thanks to DV82LECM for the table!

/m n/
/p t k/
/f v/
/ɾ/
/w j/

/i u e o a/
/i: u: a:/

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 30 Nov 2019 04:56
by VaptuantaDoi
This looks interesting! A divergent Polynesian language in California sounds like it should exist. The sound changes should have interesting results, because IIRC most Polynesian languages barely changed the proto- vowel system at all.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 30 Nov 2019 10:43
by Creyeditor
This sounds like a really interesting idea. I would love to see some results. Is the idea to make a Polynesian altlang that somehow resembles other Californian natlangs?

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 30 Nov 2019 11:04
by GoshDiggityDangit
Creyeditor wrote:
30 Nov 2019 10:43
This sounds like a really interesting idea.
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
30 Nov 2019 04:56
This looks interesting!
Thanks to both of you!
Creyeditor wrote:
30 Nov 2019 10:43
Is the idea to make a Polynesian altlang that somehow resembles other Californian natlangs?
No. I’m not actually all that familiar with the native languages of CA, I’m more familiar with those of AK. However, I knew Hawai’ian Sinitic was going to take areal features, and so will Californian Polynesian.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 30 Nov 2019 15:34
by DV82LECM
/m n/
/p b t d k ʔ/
/f v/
/ɾ/
/w j/

/i u e o a/
/i: u: a:/

I think this is right. Your directions almost melted my brain. LOL.

As for California, it depends upon where they landed; as much, they would either be the first or second farthest travelled Polynesian people, right behind the Rapa Nui. So, let's stick with SoCal. Those would likely be the Yuman-Cochimí or Uto-Aztecan families. Maybe more. Anyway, these phonologies would have drastically altered one of Polynesian phylum, adding more loaned phonemes, that is, unless, these people JUST arrived.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 00:18
by GoshDiggityDangit
DV82LECM wrote:
30 Nov 2019 15:34
As for California, it depends upon where they landed; as much, they would either be the first or second farthest travelled Polynesian people, right behind the Rapa Nui. So, let's stick with SoCal. Those would likely be the Yuman-Cochimí or Uto-Aztecan families. Maybe more. Anyway, these phonologies would have drastically altered one of Polynesian phylum, adding more loaned phonemes, that is, unless, these people JUST arrived.
I knew that kind of thing was going to happen. As you actually hypothesized, the language with the sound shifts I made and the phonology you put into a table for me (thanks btw) is in fact the language of the Polynesians as they landed in California around 1200, giving them a good 300 years or so to pick up loans, and other areal features, before the Conquistadors come in and kill them all (purposefully or otherwise).

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 02:47
by DV82LECM
How, exactly, did [b d ʔ] become word-initial?

As for where they land, I would have them land on Coronado Island, off of San Diego. (I'm from there, so I'm biased.) But you can ALSO make the word [koɾonado] in your language. It could be the precolonial, native word for the island -- completely irrespective to the Spanish.

Honestly, I would love to help you with the world building for this, if you decided upon that scenario. I'm thinking two groups: one on the island, one on the mainland. Mainland "Coronado" would go through a rapid sound shift close to the end of the time allotted.

/b d/ would merge with /m n/, initially; /v ɾ/, medially. /ʔ/ would become /h/. /p/ would merge with /f/, initially; /w/, medially. And /e o/ would merge with /i u/.

Mainland "Coronado"

/m n/
/t k/
/f v h/
/w ɾ j/

/i u a/
/i: u: a:/

Just a thought...

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 04:28
by GoshDiggityDangit
DV82LECM wrote:
01 Dec 2019 02:47
How, exactly, did [b d ʔ] become word-initial?
Now that you mention it, I cannot think of an instance in which /b/ or /d/ contrasts with /p/ or /t/, same with/k/. My thought process was that, since /b/ and /d/ are allophones of /p/ and /t/ in between vowels, if I get rid of some vowels, they will be phonemes. Even when I was writing “Unstressed Vowels Disappear, Unless Long”, I was doubting that it would work ‘cause I don’t know how Proto-Polynesian stress worked. So I guess that /b/, /d/, and /7/ are still just allophones.

DV82LECM wrote:
01 Dec 2019 02:47
Honestly, I would love to help you with the world building for this, if you decided upon that scenario. I'm thinking two groups: one on the island, one on the mainland. Mainland "Coronado" would go through a rapid sound shift close to the end of the time allotted.

/b d/ would merge with /m n/, initially; /v ɾ/, medially. /ʔ/ would become /h/. /p/ would merge with /f/. And /e o/ would merge with /i u/.

Mainland "Coronado"

/m n/
/t k/
/f v h/
/w ɾ j/

/i u a/
/i: u: a:/

Just a thought...
Sounds good to me! I’m really awful when it comes to worldbuilding, so any help is appreciated. That’s a cute lil phonology you got there, too!

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 05:38
by DV82LECM
Stress is penultimate in Hawaiian, so you could go with that.

As for how to form new initial phonemes, Hawaiian is actually making /a/ quite lax. I suggest initial /i e/ lax to [ɪ], /u o/ lax to [ʊ], and /a/ lax to [ɐ]. Inevitably, all lax to [ə], gradually...then nullify, altogether. Loss of */h/ makes new initial vowels.

This could influence vowels of initial CV; you can decide how that works, as it does seem to be in line with your own sound changes. 😁

I hope you know I'm not trying to control your project. I just REALLY like your idea. (I'm sad I didn't think of it.)

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 17:08
by Salmoneus
I'm no expert in the languages of southern california, but is that really an environment in which mass mergers and tiny phonologies are commonplace? I would have assumed the opposite! Unless of course you want to keep the language stuck on some islands off the coast - but in that case, why bother making them get to california?

Speaking of which, 1200 is probably a bit too early. IRL, they reached the Societies in the 11th century, the Marquesas in the 12th, and Hawai'i early in the 13th, probably around the same time as the settlement of Easter Island. I would expect California would have been reached more like 1300, similar to New Zealand.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 17:19
by qwed117
well tmk, they aren't particularly phonologically complex. Like Cochimi has a smallish inventory compared to the other languages of North America. Only 20 consonants and 3 (or maybe 5) vowels

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 19:03
by Zekoslav
I wonder, is 700 years, assuming settlement around 1300 and no post-Columbian extermination, enough for a polynesian language to be thoroughly influenced by native Californian languages? Would there be enough multilingualism for that?

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 20:09
by Salmoneus
Well, 20 consonants is a lot more than 13, let alone 10!

Looking at WALS, everything in and around southern california has an "average" consonant inventory - 19 to 25 consonants. In coastal northern california, they edge up to moderately large (26-33). There are some moderately small inventories (15-18) in inland california and in Mexico. But we're talking here about a polynesian language with a small inventory - the closest small inventory to southern california is Comanche in Texas, and after that you have go as far afield as Alabama (in Alabama) and Totontepec Mixe (in southern Mexico) to find anything similar.

These tendencies obviously aren't absolute (Mexico has one very large inventory in an area that's mostly small-to-medium), and of course WALS doesn't include every language (or even describe every language correctly). Nonetheless, the tendency exists. And while it's true that Polynesian languages progressively lose consonants as you go east, I still think it would be particularly remarkable for, as DV suggests, a language with a small inventory to arrive in an area with average inventories and react by getting an even smaller inventory, to the point of having one of the smallest inventories of any language in the world!

(a tiny vowel inventory, on the other hand, would seem to fit in perfectly).


And after all, what's the point of making a "Californian" Polynesian that doesn't take on Californian traits?


The big one of which phonologically would be syllable structure. Simple syllable structures like those in Eastern Polynesian are virtually unknown in North America, and southern california is dominated by complex structures, by WALS' definition. That is, they either allow more complex structures than CCVC, or else they allow one or both of the non-initial consonants to NOT be glides or liquids.

So yes, I'd expect some vowel loss.

And of course, complex syllable structures are associated with increasing inventory size.

So, for instance, if we take the word *takoto > tkoto, we could then have a conditioned change, > skoto.


Although I wouldn't, because I'd want some palatalisation...

So, I would probably have something like:
takoto > t'odu
tangata > tkada
huti > husi
mahina > mi:na
tika > si7a
palelau > padrag
kiko > che7u
talinga > tyega
katoa > gdo:



---------------------------

One thing I would question: hadn't /f/ already debuccalised to /h/ by the time of Marquesan?

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 20:11
by Salmoneus
Zekoslav wrote:
01 Dec 2019 19:03
I wonder, is 700 years, assuming settlement around 1300 and no post-Columbian extermination, enough for a polynesian language to be thoroughly influenced by native Californian languages? Would there be enough multilingualism for that?
I would have assumed so - 700 years is a long time in diachronics!


EDIT: well, it depends what you mean by "thoroughly". I wouldn't expect it to just merge into the surrounding languages grammatically, no, but I'd expect some phonological areal effects and possibly some grammatical influences, yes.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 20:42
by Zekoslav
Salmoneus wrote:
01 Dec 2019 20:11
Zekoslav wrote:
01 Dec 2019 19:03
I wonder, is 700 years, assuming settlement around 1300 and no post-Columbian extermination, enough for a polynesian language to be thoroughly influenced by native Californian languages? Would there be enough multilingualism for that?
I would have assumed so - 700 years is a long time in diachronics!


EDIT: well, it depends what you mean by "thoroughly". I wouldn't expect it to just merge into the surrounding languages grammatically, no, but I'd expect some phonological areal effects and possibly some grammatical influences, yes.
I thought, is 700 years enough for a language to develop in wildly non-Polynesian ways due to Californian influence, like the examples in your last post (Which seem reasonable for 700 years. Slavic turned from a Lithuanian clone into... well, Slavic, in approximately this amount of time.), or would it rather develop in a more typically Polynesian fashion.

Of course no Polynesian language ever doing syncope and apocope is possibly just due to chance and there's Oceanic languages which have done exactly that, so a Polynesian one might as well even without foreign influence.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 01 Dec 2019 21:58
by GoshDiggityDangit
In light of new information, I am going to rework the sound shifts, while trying to hold true to some of the original. These new sound shifts will: Include more deletion of vowels, Include voicing contrast in plosives, and Include both Island Coronado and Mainland Coronado. This list will be posted “soon”, because I need to get ready for school.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 02 Dec 2019 02:56
by GoshDiggityDangit
Shifts from Proto-Eastern-Polynesian to Old Channel Polynesian, ~1300

•/p/ > /p/, /b/ intervocalically

•/t/ > /t/, /d/ intervocalically

•/k/ > /k/, /ʔ/ intervocalically

•/ʔ/ > /h/

•/m/ > /m/

•/n/ > /n/

•/ŋ/ > /n/

•/w/ > /v/

•/f/ > /f/

•/l/ > /ɾ/

•/h/ > /h/

•/a/ > /a/

•/a.a/ > /a:/

•/i/ > /i/

•/i.i/ > /i:/

•/e/ > /i/

•/e.e/ > /e:/

•/u/ > /u/

•/u.u/ > /u:/

•/o/ > /u/

•/o.o/ > /o:/

•/V.u/, /V.o/ > /Vw/

•/u.V/, /o.V/ > /wV/

•/V.i/, /V.e/ > /Vj/

•Stress moves from Penultimate to where the First Long Vowel is, assuming there is one.

Sound Shifts form Old Channel Polynesian to Middle Channel Polynesian, ~1350

•Unstressed Short Vowels Disappear

•/i:/, /e:/, /a/> Ø / #_

•/b/, /d/ > phonemic

•/h/ > Ø

•/ʔ/ > phonemic

•/o:/ > /o/

•/e:/ > /e/

Sound Shifts from Middle Channel to Island Channel, ~ 1400

•/d/ > /n/ / unstressed

Sound Shifts from Middle Channel Polynesian to Mainland Channel, ~ 1400

•/d/ > /n/ / initial

•/d/ > /ɾ/ / medial

•/b/ > /m/ / initial

•/b/ > /v/ / medial

•/ʔ/ > /h/

•/e/ > /i/

•/o/ > /u/

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 02 Dec 2019 03:39
by DV82LECM
GoshDiggityDangit wrote:
02 Dec 2019 02:56
Shifts from Proto-Eastern-Polynesian to Old Coronado, ~1300

•/p/ > /p/, /b/ intervocalically

•/t/ > /t/, /d/ intervocalically

•/k/ > /k/, /ʔ/ intervocalically

•/ʔ/ > /h/

•/m/ > /m/

•/n/ > /n/

•/ŋ/ > /n/

•/w/ > /v/

•/f/ > /f/

•/l/ > /ɾ/

•/h/ > /h/

•/a/ > /a/

•/a.a/ > /a:/

•/i/ > /i/

•/i.i/ > /i:/

•/e/ > /i/

•/e.e/ > /e:/

•/u/ > /u/

•/u.u/ > /u:/

•/o/ > /u/

•/o.o/ > /o:/

•/V.u/, /V.o/ > /Vw/

•/u.V/, /o.V/ > /wV/

•/V.i/, /V.e/ > /Vj/

•Stress moves from Penultimate to where the First Long Vowel is, assuming there is one.

Sound Shifts form Old Coronado to Middle Coronado, ~1400

•Unstressed Short Vowels Disappear

•/i/, /e/ > Ø / #_

/b/, /d/ > phonemic

/h/ > Ø

/ʔ/ > phonemic

/o:/ > /o/

/e:/ > /e/

Sound Shifts from Middle Coronado to Island Coronado, ~ 1400
I'm STILL shocked to hell you took my idea and ran with it, but you missed one minor detail, unless I'm mistaken: Proto-Polynesian had *s.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 02 Dec 2019 06:15
by GoshDiggityDangit
DV82LECM wrote:
02 Dec 2019 03:39
I'm STILL shocked to hell you took my idea and ran with it, but you missed one minor detail, unless I'm mistaken: Proto-Polynesian had *s.
That’s true, but I’m not going from Proto-Polynesian. I’m going from Proto-Eastern-Polynesian, and /s/ merged with /h/ in Eastern-Polynesian.

Re: Californian Polynesian

Posted: 02 Dec 2019 06:28
by Khemehekis
As a Californian who adores the Polynesian languages, I will be following this.