Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

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Zythros Jubi
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Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

I'm recently considering making a conlang spoken in Reunion, Mauritius and Seychelles (even including Chagos Archipelago as well), supposed to be spoken by descendants of Northern Chams after the fall of Indrapura in 982 (as refugees). Assume that some of them managed to escape through Malaccas onto Sumatra, then discovered Chagos/Mauritius accidentally during an exploration. However, I'm uncertain about whether those islands are suitable for settlement, and what population could sustain in such an isolated environment (Chagos Archipelago, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion; especially the former two), and to what degree their society would be degraded (by level of civilization, e.g. the loss of domesticated animals except chicken in Polynesian societies). Will chiefdoms/state emerge in Mauritius and Reunion, and can they still use metals? How many kinds of domesticated animals will they bring there?
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

Despite the small size of these island, they may be accidentally found by passers-by; the explorers may have landed on Madagascar or even mainland East Africa first before moving to Mascarenes. What I intended is a mercantile, seafaring population with Indian-influenced feudal society; however the route of migration is not certain yet, esp. when it comes to Chagos Islands, which I originally considered to be a resting place and melting point of cultures, but they're too small.
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Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

The Papuan Language of Tambora
Author(s): Mark Donohue
Source: Oceanic Linguistics, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Dec., 2007), pp. 520-537
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20172326

Perhaps one can also make a Papuan conlang spoken elsewhere (Africa or Australia), given that Tambora was a seafaring/commercial civilisation. Or even more interestingly, some Papuans taken as slaves by Austronesian sailors to African islands, and the descendant of their language became the lingua franca of a community there, while the language itself became extinct in its homeland (Urheimat); is it possible?

PS: the definition of Papuan is simply non-Austronesian. So I can make it a priori as well?
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Salmoneus
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Salmoneus »

Regarding small islands, one interesting benchmark are the Pitcairns.

The Pitcairns are slightly smaller than the Chagos Islands, but only very slightly. They were settled by the Polynesians, who lived there for centuries... but that settlement was only viable due to interaction with the larger community on Mangareva. When Mangareva was engulfed in civil war, Pitcairn was cut off, and the remaining population there seems to have either died or fled soon after.

The Pitcairns were then repopulated by a mixed European/Polynesian group. They almost died out immediately due to violence, but through developing a less liberal, more Biblically-obsessed culture they managed to survive for about twenty years in almost total isolation. From that point on, they did have the benefit of occasional visitors, but remained mostly isolated. An overpopulation crisis then developed about fifty years after that - the population had reached 193, everyone had to leave, and only 48 returned. However, the population managed to reach into the 200s in the 20th century.

The Chagos by comparison reached a population around 1,500, and now has a population of up to 5,000 Americans. However, the Chagossians were probably only able to reach those numbers due to their enmeshment in a wider trading network (they were a plantation, able to concentrate on growing a cash crop and able to trade that for other necessities) and the American occupation is of course supported from the homeland. Apparently the Chagos were considered not worth settling by the Maldivians.

The Maldives, on the other hand, are obviously able to support a large population independently.


EDIT: Tahiti apparently had a population in 1760 of around 40,000, across around 1,000sqkm, which would predict a population of around 2,000 for Chagos and Pitcairn - but of course, habitability isn't linear. The Marquesas, with a similar size to Tahiti, apparently had around twice the population. [ironically, they now have around 9,000 people to Tahiti's 140,000]. I don't know about the Marquesas, but Tahiti had apparently relatively recently (and only partially) transitioned to a modern state at that time.

Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

Some preliminary sound changes from Proto-Chamic:
Pre-consonants:
*p- > p-
*t- > t-
*c- > c-
*k- > k-
*s- > s-
*h- > 0-
*b- > b-
*d- > d-
*j- > z-
*g- > g-
*m- > m-
*ñ- > n-
*l- > l-
*r- > r-

Onsets:
*p > f
*t > t
*c > ts
*k > x
*ʔ > 0
*s > s
*h > h
*b > v
*d > r
*j > z
*g > x
*m > m
*n > n
*ñ > ɲ
*ŋ > ŋ
*l > l
*r > r
*w > w
*y > j
*ph > p
*th > t
*ch > s
*kh > k
*bh > b
*dh > d
*gh > g
*ɓ > b
*ɗ > d
*ʔj > j

*pl > ʧ
*kl > ʧ
*bl > ʤ
*gl > ʤ
*pr > ʈ
*tr > ʈ
*kr > ʈ
*br > ɖ
*dr > ɖ

Final:
*-p > pu
*-t > ti/tu
*-k > ti/tu
*-ʔ > 0
*-c > tsi
*-h > hu
*-s > si/su
*-m > mu
*-n > -ni
*-ŋ > -nu
*-l > -li/-lu
*-r > -ri/-ru

As you can see, many changes are influenced by Malagasy.
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

Vowel changes:
*-i- > -e-
*-u- > -o-
*-əy > -ai
*-əw > -au
*-a- > -a-
*-a > -a
*-aː- > *-uə- > -u-
*-ay > -e
*-aw > -o
*-uy > -oi

*ia > ia
*-i > -i
*ua > ua
*-iəw > -iu
*-iaw > -io
*-uəy > -ui
*-uay > -ue
*ɛ > ia
*ə > *ɨ > i
*ɔ -ɔː- > ua
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

Stress usually lies in penultimate syllable; when the main syllable is open or used to end with a glottal stop, the accent lies in the last syllable, and is marked by an acute accent in Romanization.
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dva_arla
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by dva_arla »

Some suggestions:

-h is more likely to be elided than be augmented by a vowel.
-m > -w and -n -ŋ triggers nasalisation?
And perhaps -r > -j or lengthening?
*p > f
*ph > p
Wouldn't *p ph > p f be more likely to happen?

However, I'm uncertain about whether those islands are suitable for settlement, and what population could sustain in such an isolated environment (Chagos Archipelago, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion; especially the former two), and to what degree their society would be degraded (by level of civilization, e.g. the loss of domesticated animals except chicken in Polynesian societies).
A continuous stream of colonisers would be necessary in order to "Chamise" the islands; therefore, its civilisation wouldn't be "degraded" that much as the Chams import their technology and their culture etc. from the motherland, which will perhaps in turn influence those societies on the African mainland (Swahilis etc.)?

Your conlang would need to include (older) Sanskrit loanwords and (newer) Bantu and Arabic ones.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of much help here, as I'm not familiar with the Chams or their language... By the way, have you obtained a Chamic lexicon?

Zythros Jubi
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Re: Ideas for African Chamic conlanging

Post by Zythros Jubi »

By the way, have you obtained a Chamic lexicon?
Just a wordlisit and reconstruction by Graham Thurgood.

Actually p>f k,g>x d>r kh,gh>k are inspired by Malagasy (the last rule apply to Sanskrit loanwords). For details, see
Malay and Javanese Loanwords in Malagasy, Tagalog and Siraya (Formosa)
by K. A. Adelaar.

Proto-Austronesian *-p > Malagasy -ka/tra, *-k > -ka, *-t, -d, -j > -tra, *-m, -n, -ŋ, -l > -na (My changes are more or less inspired by Japanese, Sino-Japanese and modern loanwords in particular), *ŋɡ *ŋk > k, *nd *nj > ndr.
Lostlang plans: Oghur Turkic, Gallaecian Celtic, Palaeo-Balkanic

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