So let's begin.
Lihmelinyan /lɪx.mɛ.'lɪn.jən/ is a language of Manter, a region in a con-world that I co-created with an online friend. Manter is home to many closely related Mantian languages, and Lihmelinyan is the register of the capital, Lihmelī́nyā /lix.me.'liːn.jaː/, and the literary and religious language of Manter.
Lihmelinyan is an a priori/a posteriori combo lang. Its grammar and phonology derives mainly from PIE, in particular Sanskrit and Anatolian. Its vocabulary is a priori. In my conworld's classification, it's part of the Manto-Kuruan family, whose lineage looks something like this:
MANTO-KURUAN --> Mantic --> Greater Mantian --> Red Mantian --> Lihmelinyan
Greater Mantian is variously regarded as a family or a dialect cluster, with Lihmelinyan being a prestige variety of Eastern (or Red*) Mantian. It's sort of a Chinese/Mandarin situation.
*Manter is divided roughly into four regions corresponding to the four cardinal directions and their associated colors. Black (North), White (South), Yellow (West), and Red (East). The capital is located in the East.
Lihmelinyan is verb-final. The order of the other constituents can vary, but adverbs tend to be placed near the verb unless they function as sentence-connectives, adjectives often follow the noun, but there are postpositions rather than prepositions.
Nouns are grouped by stem and whether they're thematic or athematic. There aren't really nice neat "declensions" like in Latin. Nouns are declined in 9 cases, with a 10th showing up in neuter nouns (the ergative). Nouns have three numbers: singular, dual, and plural. All three numbers are fully functional, though plural has more syncretism than singular, and dual more than plural. There are three genders: masculine, neuter, and feminine.
Verbs are also grouped by stem type and athematic vs. thematic. Verbs tend to have three stems: present, aorist, perfect. The various TAM-combinations are formed from these. Three tenses: Present, Past Future. Three aspects: Perfective, Imperfective, Perfect. Seven moods: Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive, Optative, Jussive, Necessitative, Injunctive. Not all possible combinations occur!
I figured I'd put a sentence here before I dive into phonology. Here's a dopey beginner's sentence just to illustrate what Lihmelinyan sounds like:
Fā́ngus ilḗtas ḷti kamínya alàr, úfike yéntans rúdans zásans ūšéti.
/'faːŋ.gus i.'leː.tas 'l̩.ti ka.'min.ja a.'lar 'u.fi.ke 'jɛn.tans 'ru.dans 'za.sans uː.'ʃɛ.ti/
"The old farmer goes into the barn, and there he sees four brown cows."
fāngus - nominative u-stem masc. "farmer"
ilētas - nominative sing. masc. "old [of a living thing]"
ḷti - 3rd sing. present of ḷmi "I go"
kaminya - allative of kamínyas "barn, shed"
alar - postposition "into"
ufi - there (locative)
-ke - and (clitic)
yentans - accusative pl. masc. "four"
rudans - accusative pl. masc. "brown"
zasans - accusative pl. of zās "cow"
ūšeti - 3rd. sing. present of ūšémi "I see"
Okay then. So now I'm super nervous. Well, this is just to get started. I'll post more later. Any comments appreciated
The language, as I'm sure you intended, has a strongly Indo-European, and pleasant, look. I look forward to seeing what I'm guessing is a combination of tone and a length distinction in vowels, as it's a feature I love in Ancient Greek.
And yay! Syllabic resonants!
Yes, I definitely intended for it to be very Indo-European-like. My goal was to use as many ancient IE features as I could, including ones missing from the familiar ancient IE languages. I took most of the inspiration from Sanskrit, Proto-Celtic, Ancient Greek, and Hittite.
And yes, it has a pitch-accent system; I'll post the complete phonology overview tomorrow.
I guess I'll start with phonology. I'll try to organize it neatly, and I'm aware that "lists of phonemes" aren't very interesting. The phonological inventory is derived mainly from PIE and Anatolian. Update 6/19/17: I've made significant reductions.
Latin alphabet spelling that I use is to the left of the IPA in bold.
p /p/, t /t/, k /k/, b /b/, d /d/, g /g/
Notes: /t/ and /d/ are more dental than true alveolars. These sounds used to be unaspirated, but they are all aspirated in most instances now.
f /f/, h /x/
Notes: /f/ is my result of all the aspirated fricatives in PIE, minus the velars.
/x/ is a reflection of the PIE laryngeals as well as the aspirated velars.
s /s/, z /z/, š /ʃ/
<š> sometimes reflects PIE <sy> as well as <s> before i, e, or r.
Liquids and Nasals:
m /m/, n /n/, ng /ŋ/, ny /ɲ/, l /l/, r /r/ or /ɾ/
Notes: /ŋ/ is an allophone of /n/ before velars. <r> is pronounced /ɾ/ in unstressed syllables between vowels. Otherwise it is /r/
y /j/, w /w/
I'm spelling /w/ as <w> even though in some dialects the pronunciation is more like /v/. I'll show how this works in the conscript some day.
ku /kʷ/, gu /gʷ/
While I'm inconsistent about whether I spell as /kʷ/ as <qu> or <ku>, there is no difference in pronunciation if you see either one.
[TABLE COMING LATER]
Lihmelinyan has a basic four-vowel system. The short vowels are as follows:
a /a/, e /e/ or /ɛ/, i /i/, u /u/
Notes: a is a low front unrounded vowel. It sometimes tends toward /æ/ in other dialects. Unaccented it can sometimes sounds more like a schwa. e is pronounced /ɛ/ when in an accented closed syllable. In most other situations, it's /e/. The rest are straightforward, though u is a bit less rounded than a true /u/.
ā /aː/, ē /eː/, ī /iː/, ū /uː/
Notes: These are fairly straightforward. Long vowels are phonemic and are thus marked with macrons. Long vowels are often accented and since typing an accented long vowel is a pain, I often simply leave the accent mark out if a word's accented syllable contains a long vowel.
In addition to the above, Lihmelinyan has two syllabic resonants:
ṛ /r̩/, ḷ /l̩/
Notes: These do not distinguish length. Typing them in is tedious, especially the accented versions, so forgive me if occasionally I may forget to mark one as accented.
The following diphthongs occur:
ai /ai̯/, au /au̯/, ei /ei̯/, eu /eu̯/
Notes: ai and ei, especially ai, are very common. The rest are not as frequent.
All polysyllabic Lihmelinyan words have one accented syllable, marked with an acute accent mark (sometimes grave at the end of a word). The accent is more based on pitch than on stress. Accented syllables are pronounced with a higher pitch and longer duration than other syllables. If a word has no accent, it will not have an acute or grave mark on any syllable. These are generally monosyllabic clitics.
Accents shift between inflection patterns and ablaut grades. Accents never occur further back than the antepenultimate syllable. Accent is syllabic, not moraic.
I thought it would Finnish as well, but I'm very interested in its Indo-European nature as well.Dormouse559 wrote:This looks really cool! When I first saw the language name, I thought it would be more Finnish-y. ("Lihmelinyan" reminds me of "ihmeellinen", Finnish for "marvelous".) But having read through the thread, I can feel the Indo-European vibe.
I love Finnish, but I can't get enough IE, so this was my chance to make an IE-inspired language (I still prefer to make my own original vocab). But yeah, I'll show the nouns next. I tried to be pretty faithful to the reconstructed IE noun case forms and ablaut patterns.
I've been looking forward to this! I can relate to both of the reasons you haven't posted anything about your conlang so far, so I'm glad you've made it this far! No worries about not being a professional linguist or about changing things as time goes on.KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Hi everybody I figured it was about time to finally post my conlang as I've reached over 200 posts on this board without ever posting a conlang. Part of the reason is I have OCD and I'm super picky and constantly changing things and my conlang has undergone major changes and revisions just in the past couple months even though I started it years ago. I'm also a bit wary of sharing something I see as being very personal, like artwork or fan-fiction. That said, I did put a lot of work into this so I am pretty proud of it. I must mention a few disclaimers: I'm a high school student, not a linguist, so I might not always have all the technical stuff right. Feel free to correct me, but go easy I also know very little about phonology and it's my weakest area. I also can't guarantee that I won't change something I introduce later.
I'm afraid I don't have much to say at the moment, but I'm excited to see you get more into the specifics of the nouns and verbs and such!
No, no. We want the complex version!KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I have another version of this conlang that's simpler, and I guess I keep wondering if I should've posted that version instead and posted this more complex version later.
Seconded.DesEsseintes wrote:No, no. We want the complex version!KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I have another version of this conlang that's simpler, and I guess I keep wondering if I should've posted that version instead and posted this more complex version later.
spanick wrote:Seconded.DesEsseintes wrote:No, no. We want the complex version!KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:I have another version of this conlang that's simpler, and I guess I keep wondering if I should've posted that version instead and posted this more complex version later.
The fun is in the complexity!
The Lihmelinyans usually call their language Inētā. This endonym is used for a variety of Mantian languages (Inet, Inta, Inetas, etc. you'll find variations on it). The origin of the name is obscure. It seems to go back to an ancient name for the Mantian people, though the Lihmelinyans usually call themselves Mants (pl. Mántes). Another name for the language is mélgis tetayānās (tongue of the palace) or simply mélgis Lihmelīnyās.
The nominal system of Lihmelinyan is fairly complex. I would say that at this point, it's not even quite complete, but I will demonstrate what I have. Nouns are classed according to stem, but these classes do not form such neat declensions as in Latin or Greek. If I tried to create declensions, I'd probably have over 10 of them. I'll admit that I enjoy working on nouns more than I do on verbs, but I've tried to put an equal amount of effort into both. Either way, I'm starting with nouns because I do find them more interesting and everyone seems to do nouns before verbs :)
The largest division in nouns is between thematic and athematic nouns. Thematic nouns are marked by the presence of /a/ or /e/ before the case endings. These are also marked by a lack of ablaut in the root. Not every athematic noun ablauts in the root, but ones that meet certain conditions do (which I will explain later). The thematic nouns are a large class and the easiest to learn, so I will start with them.
Gender and Number
As I mentioned in my initial post, nouns have three possible genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and three possible numbers (singular, dual, plural). The neuter is distinguished mainly in the nominative and accusative cases. Neuter nouns also have an extra case not present in masculine and feminine, which is the ergative. Neuter nouns use the ergative case (a late addition to Lihmelinyan and absent in most other Mantian languages) when they are the subject of a transitive verb. I borrowed this idea from Hittite.
The feminine is fairly marginal as a class. In only a few instances does it even differ from the masculine at all (the long vowel stems ā, ī, and ū). Elsewhere, the feminine is indistinguishable from the masculine and is only marked in some adjectives and pronouns. This is because Proto-Manto-Kuruan had only two genders, common and neuter, and the feminine evolved fairly late. Other Mantian languages have developed the feminine further than Lihmelinyan, and some Mantian languages, like Tuhizawan, are missing it entirely.
There's not much to say about the numbers other than that the dual has a lot of syncretism, but it is still fully productive and fully utilized in standard Lihmelinyan.
Strong and Weak Cases
There are nine cases. Neuter nouns have an tenth, but since the nominative, accusative, and vocative are leveled in the neuter, neuter nouns effectively only have eight. Here's a brief overview of the cases and their uses.
First, the cases can be divided into strong (or "direct") and weak (or "oblique"). The strong cases are:
Nominative - Used for subjects and predicative nominatives--the reference form of the noun.
Vocative - Used for direct address and some exclamations.
Accusative - Used for direct objects and predicate accusatives.
These three cases form a unit, not only because they are leveled in the neuter, but also because in athematic nouns they ablaut differently than the weak cases. Many athematic nouns essentially have a "strong" stem and a "weak" stem. There is also one more case that is sort of in between strong and weak:
Ergative - Used for neuter subjects of an transitive verb.
The "weak" cases are as follows:
Genitive - Used for possession and other noun relations.
Locative - Used for location in time or space. Also for objects of postpositions that do not have a sense of motion.
Dative - Used for indirect objects, recipients, beneficiaries. Also used for syntactic direct objects of some verbs that have a more "indirect" sense of action.
Ablative - Used for motion away from or source. Also for objects of postpositions that have a sense of motion away from or coming from a source.
Instrumental - Used for instrument, means, manner, agents of passive constructions.
Allative - Used for motion toward or a goal. Also for objects of postpositions that have a sense of motion toward something.
One thing you'll find about Lihmelinyan is that the case endings might seem somewhat inconsistent from class to class, but this is usually the result of vowels merging or ablaut . Here, however, is a list of the case endings in their most basic forms. They should look familiar to anyone who knows PIE :) I can't figure out how to do the "Code" thing right, so I'll just screenshot what I typed up on Notepad:
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Case Singular Dual Plural Nominative -s -e -es -(endingless) -ih (neuter) -ā (neuter) -n (neuter) -(lengthening) Vocative -(endingless) -same as NOM. -same as NOM. Accusative -n -same as NOM. -ns Genitive -s, -es -eyaus -ān Locative -i -eyaus -su Dative -ei -ban -bas Ablative -at -ban -bas Instrumental -h, -eh -ban -bi Allative -a -nā -nas Ergative -anza -antā -antes
Thematic nouns, as I said before, are marked by the presence of an /a/ or /e/ (i.e. a- or e-grade ablaut of the stem) before the case endings shown above are attached. Thematic nouns also have a special genitive singular form not related to the endings given in the above table.
Thematic nouns are almost all masculine or neuter, though some masculine nouns that refer to people can take feminine agreement in special cases. There are no inherently feminine nouns in the thematic class.
For the masculine noun, I will use antīlas, which means "rabbit" or "hare". The hare is an important symbol of the Mantians, appearing on coats of arms and regalia. For this reason it's a good beginner word:
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Case Singular Dual Plural Nominative antīlas antīlā antīlās Vocative antīle antīlā antīlās Accusative antīlan antīlā antīlans Genitive antīlaša antīleyaus antīlahan Locative antīlei antīleyaus antīlaisu Dative antīlāi antīlaban antīlabas Ablative antīlāt antīlaban antīlabas Instrumental antīleh antīlaban antīlāis Allative antīla antīlanā antīlanas
The thematic nouns have the following special case endings (which differ from the athematic endings):
-genitive singular: -aša (from *-asya > PIE *-osyo)
-genitive plural: -ahan
-locative plural: -aisu
-instrumental plural: -āis
Here is an example of a thematic neuter. For this paradigm, I'll use the word lédian, which means "stream" or "brook":
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Case Singular Dual Plural NOM lédian lédiaih lédiā VOC lédian lédiaih lédiā ACC lédian lédiaih lédiā GEN ledíaša ledíeyaus ledíahan LOC lédiei ledíeyaus ledíaisu DAT lédiāi ledíaban ledíabas ABL lédiāt ledíaban ledíabas INS lédieh ledíaban lédiāis ALL lédia ledíana ledíanas ERG ledíanza ledíanta ledíantes
Note that the accent shifts one syllable to the right when a disyllabic suffix is added. Accents can never occur further back then the antepenultimate.
Most thematic nouns are only disyllabic. The two I used for example happened to be trisyllabic.
Well that's all I have for now. Hope this doesn't completely suck
No, not at all! Sorry for such a late response; you've explained everything so well that I didn't feel the need to comment, but I figured I'd make it clear that this hasn't gone unseen!KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Well that's all I have for now. Hope this doesn't complete suck
I thought today I would finally introduce the Lihmelinyan verbal system. The system is somewhat complicated and I don't even have it all worked out yet, but I'll start with the basics. There are two "conjugations": thematic and athematic. Thematic verbs are characterized by an intervening <a> or <e> between the verb stem and the personal ending. Athematic verbs attach the verb stem directly to the personal ending. Thematic verbs can be recognized by their 1st singular present indicative form ending in -ahi.
Thematic verbs are essentially the "hi-conjugation" and athematics are the "mi-conjugation". I borrowed the idea from Hittite, but the Lihmelinyan version is not exactly the same. The "hi" and "mi" conjugations differ only in the 1st singular present and the presence or absence of the thematic vowel. Otherwise, the personal endings are exactly the same.
Lihmelinyan verbs have both primary and secondary endings. The primary endings are used for present and future tenses, and the secondary are used for past. Here are the personal endings grouped by number. 1st person forms are listed first, second below, then third.
Note that Lihmelinyan doesn't allow final -m. You'd expect final -m in the first person singular secondary, but instead it is -n.
Each Lihmelinyan verb has up to six principal parts. They are as follows:
(1st singular present active indicative)(present active infinitive)(1st singular future active indicative)(1st singular aorist active indicative)(1st singular perfect active indicative)(nominative singular masculine past participle)
i- and u-stem Nouns
Time to foray into the complicated world of athematic nouns, so I thought I would start with the simplest of athematic nouns, the i- and u-stems. The i- and u-stem nouns are athematic because they attach the endings directly to the stem, and here, the stems are based on vowels (most athematic nouns are consonant stems). They are smaller classes of nouns compared to the thematic nouns, and they are not particularly productive as far as forming new nouns (most neologisms go into the thematic class or the athematic consonant stems), but they are important!
Like most athematic nouns, i- and u-stem nouns have complex patters of ablaut depending on the "strong" vs. "weak" stems. I covered which cases are considered strong and weak above, but to reiterate: nominative/accusative/vocative/ergative are "strong", the rest are weak.
I will address the different ablaut patters as they show up. The main thing to remember is that most i- and u-stem nouns contain an "e" or an "a" in the strong cases. This "e" or "a" may shift or disappear in the weak cases.
Masculine/Feminine i-stem Nouns
i-stem nouns are characterized by a stem ending in i, ei, or y (the semivowel form of /i/). It will alternate between cases and endings, but it's predictable. i-stem nouns fall under two classes: masculine/feminine and neuter. Most i-stem nouns are masculine.
Here are the endings for the masculine/feminine i-stem nouns:
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Case Singular Dual Plural Nominative -is -ī -eyes Vocative -i -ī -eyes Accusative -in -ī -ins Genitive -eis -eyaus -eyān Locative -ēi -eyaus -isu Dative -eyei -iban -ibas Ablative -īt -iban -ibas Instrumental -ih -iban -ibi Allative -ia -inā -inas Ergative -ianza -iantā -iantes
All i-stem nouns are essentially “proterokinetic” then, with accent falling on the root in the strong cases and on the stem in the weak. The endings are in “full grade” in genitive, locative, dative singular, and in nominative and genitive plural. They are otherwise in zero for the rest. The only ending that doesn’t receive any “i” coloring is the dual gen/loc. which you will find doesn’t seem to change at all for any noun.
And here they are applied to the masculine noun kélnis, "flame":
-Note that in the "weak" cases, the stem changes from kél- to kḷ-
-As is typical in the vocative, accent retraction also occurs if possible. No need for it here, but if the word had been, say, *sakélnis, the vocative would be *sákelni, not *sakélni.
Masculine/Feminine u-stem Nouns
U-stems are fairly straightforward. If you know the i-stem endings, then you know the u-stem endings. Simply replace all instances of <i> with <u> and all instances of <y> with <w>. The exception is the locative singular, where the u-stem ending is -ewi (remember the i-stem ending is -eii (-eyi) underlyingly; the sound /ji/ is just not allowed by Lihmelinyan phonotaxis). Here is the declension of the masculine u-stem noun skānus, "reed":
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Case Singular Dual Plural Nominative skānus skānū skānewes Vocative skānu skānū skānewes Accusative skānun skānū skānuns Genitive skanéus skanéyaus skanéwān Locative skanéwi skanéyaus skanúsu Dative skanéwei skanúban skanúbas Ablative skanūt skanúban skanúbas Instrumental skanúh skanúban skanúbi Allative skanúa skanúnā skanúnas
Neuter i- and u-stem Nouns
Neuter nouns are simple. The only differences are in the strong cases. The weak cases remain exactly the same as above.
Here is a table of the neuter i-stem noun, wédi, "game, play":
I know, this one’s like “whaaaat..?”. Here the zero-grade of “we” is “u”, hence the surprising weak stem forms.
The dual neuter ending is -ī, just like in the thematic nouns. Here we have a combination of i + ī, which results in just ī. The underlying form will be more apparent in the u-stem example below.
Here is a table of the neuter u-stem noun, káru, "leg":
-The weak stem here is zero-grade. Generally it will be zero-grade if the consonant cluster created is acceptable. kr- is an acceptable cluster. If the noun had been, say, "*datu", the weak stem dt- is not acceptable, so the weak stem would be det-. I haven't come up with the precise mathematical formula for all this yet. I mostly just do it on intuition. But I'm sure there will be more recognizable patters once I create more nouns.
-Since this noun refers to a body part that's a natural pair, when talking about an individual person's legs or your own legs, you would use the dual. The plural would only be used to refer to the legs of many people or to the legs of a four-legged animal.