This is not a radical re-imagining of my primary conlang. It's an updated, more streamlined presentation of it. When I first presented Lihmelinyan here, I was still in high school; I had not even taken an intro linguistics course. Safe to say I knew a lot for my age, but I know more now and the knowledge and understanding I've accrued since then has influenced the course of this language since I first conceived it. I have made a few minor changes to the language since I first introduced it however.
The goal with Lihmelinyan was to create a partially a priori language that takes its grammar primarily from archaic PIE reconstructions but still maintains an original vocabulary. My main source for the PIE grammar is Andrew Sihler's "New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin", with some help from Don Ringe's "From Proto-Indo-European to Proto-Germanic". I also consulted Fortson.
Lihmelinyan takes influence especially from Hittite, as well as Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, and Latin.
Now, for the in-world stuff (skip to next section if you're not interested!):
Lihmelinyan is spoken in a medieval-esque fantasy kingdom called Manter. Manter is a large island roughly the size of France and is thus in essence a mini-continent. The Mantic languages are spoken across Manter and the family contains at least 7 primary languages and many dialects. Lihmelinyan is a language that originated in the area in and around Manter's capital and largest city, Lihmelinya. Lihmelinyan is a member of the Red Mantian branch of the Mantic language family.
Manter is roughly divided into four realms corresponding to the cardinal directions and their associated colors in Mantian lore: Black Manter (the north), Red Manter (the east), White Manter (the south), and Yellow Manter (the west). Red Manter is the most populous realm as well as Manter's cultural and historical heart. Lihmelinya has been the capital for almost 700 years when the four realms consolidated into a single kingdom. Following this, Lihmelinyan became the prestige language in Manter. It is a lingua franca spoken throughout the kingdom, especially by the educated, the clergy, and the ruling and noble classes. Lihmelinyan is slowly but surely displacing other Mantian languages and dialects. It is analogous to Mandarin's spread throughout China from the capital to the rest of the country.
I envision Manter as being like a medieval California. It has much the same climate, ranging from mountainous, forested, and green land in the north to the Italy-like warm Mediterranean climate in the center and east, and semi-arid in the south. Manter is hilly and mountainous in its center and northern regions, its hills are studded with oaks and chaparral-like scrub-land (if you've ever been to California's central coast, you'll know what I'm describing). Lihmelinya is located inland at the base of a range of hills (or low mountains) and my image of what it looks like is especially influenced by images I've seen of Volubilis in Morocco and I imagine the road to Lihmelinya's palace looking a lot like the palm-lined entrance to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. [:)]
The Mantian flag consists of four vertical bands of red, white, black, and yellow of equal length. I will add a flag soon.
Basic Language Info
Lihmelinyan, like the archaic PIE languages its based on, is highly inflexive. It has primarily SOV word order, though SVO also occurs. It has no articles. Adjectives tend to follow nouns, though many will precede. It has postpositions rather than prepositions. It is pro-drop. I have borrowed most inflectional endings and some function words (but not all) from PIE. Nominal and verbal lexemes are original creations.
Phonology has never been my primary interest in linguistics, so I won't get bogged down in it, but I'll present it first because my presentation of the phonology before was lacking.
First off, in borrowing grammatical elements from PIE (namely inflectional endings), I have made a few sound changes and I'll show them here:
/o/ --> /a/
/sj/ --> /ʃ/
/bʰ/ --> /b/
/dʰ/ --> /z/
tH (t followed by laryngeal) --> /f/
/sd/ --> /z/
One archaic feature of Lihmelinyan is its preservation of PIE laryngeals.
Lihmelinyan has a four-vowel system that come in long and short pairs:
Code: Select all
Front Central Back High i iː u uː Mid e eː (ɛ) (ɘ) Low a aː
a, e, i, u, ā, ē, ī, ū, á, é, í, ú
When long vowels are accented, I usually don't mark them due to the difficulty of using accented macron characters. Words can never have more than one accent, so if a word has no accent mark and one long vowel, assume the long vowel is accented. Long vowels are usually inherently accented outside of inflectional endings anyhow.
/ɛ/ occurs as an allophone of /e/, primarily in accented and closed syllables.
/ɘ/ occurs as an allophone of /a/, primarily in unstressed inflectional endings. This sound was inserted to break up certain undesirable consonant clusters.
In addition to the four vowel phonemes above, Lihmelinyan also has three syllabic resonants, ṇ, ṛ and ḷ. Unlike in Sanskrit, they do not have long counterparts. They are treated like vowels in syllables and they are typically the result of ablaut (zero-grade forms) and thus are nearly always unaccented. I often write them simply as <n>, <r> and <l> without the diacritic. It will not be hard to tell that they are syllabic since you will see them surrounded by consonants.
In word-final position, the syllabic resonants tended to attract a schwa sound, written <a>. Thus the accusative singular ending of consonant-stem nouns is -an, pronounced /ɘn/.
The consonant inventory is as follows:
Code: Select all
Labial Alveolar P-A Palatal Velar Labiovelar Stop p, b t, d k, g kʷ, gʷ Fricative f s, z ʃ (ç) x xʷ Nasal m n (ŋ) Liquid r, l Approx. j w
/ʃ/ is written <š>
/j/ is written <y>
/kʷ/ and /gʷ/ are written <ku> and <gu>. /xʷ/ is written <hu>. These sounds occur only before vowels.
/ç/ occurs as an allophone of /x/ before /i/
/ŋ/ occurs as an allophone of /n/ before /g/
/r/ is often pronounced as /ɾ/ between vowels.
Thus the Latin alphabet consonant inventory looks like this:
b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, š, t, w, y, z
Ablaut is a key feature of Lihmelinyan morphology. The typical ablaut alternations in Lihmelinyan are between /a/, /e/ and the absence of /a/ or /e/ (full-grade vs. zero-grade) Lengthened grade occurs as well, but is much rarer. Ablaut alternations occur between verb and noun stems as well as in derivations. Here are some common alternations found:
Code: Select all
Full-Grade Zero-Grade a - e - ei i ai i eu u au u we u wa u ye i ya i
In general, a verb and an athematic noun will contain a full-grade syllable in the present and direct stems and its zero-grade alternant in the aorist and oblique stems. This is a general rule but does not apply to every verb and athematic noun.
There is also sometimes an alternation between two full-grade syllables or between lengthened grade and un-lengthened. The key being that the present and direct stems of verbs and nouns tend to be more "marked" than the oblique and aorist stems, and there will be some way to differentiate the two.
Every polysyllabic word has one accent. This is marked with an acute mark on the vowel (or, as I said, when long vowels are accented, they are left without the mark). The accent is, in general, one of stress, but it's also characterized by a higher pitch. There are some general rules that can be said about Lihmelinyan accent:
-Disyllabic words are accented on the penultimate unless an inherently accented inflectional ending causes it to be accented on the ultimate. Some disyllabic function words are accented on the ultimate by default.
-Trisyllabic words are accented on the antepenultimate unless the penultimate is a long vowel in which case it will receive the accent.
-Words cannot be accented further back than the antepenultimate.
-Some inflectional endings are inherently accented. Some disyllabic inflectional endings will cause the accent to shift to the right.
-Some grammatical functions are marked by an accent retraction.
I'm not the best with phonotactics, but I'll try and describe some restrictions:
-voiced stops do not occur word-finally
-/ʃ/ and /f/ do not occur word-finally. /z/ occurs word-finally only in two inflectional endings. It otherwise never does.
-a schwa (written <a> and pronounced /a/ in some dialects) is inserted to break up disfavored consonant clusters like /tb/ or /td/.
-/m/ does not occur word-finally and is everywhere replaced by /n/.
-the voiceless stops, nasals, liquids, and /s/ can appear as geminates: tt, kk, pp, nn, mm, ll, rr, ss, etc. Other consonants are never geminated.
Okay, finally done with phonology. Before I go further (since this is turning into a wall of text), I thought I would provide some sentences with pronunciation guides to give you a general "feel" of the language. A little story:
Ándalas núrasku yégeman knte hástanti. Igémi nu, dágān šílān sahántan ntéī ušēnti. "Hris hési?" máti ándalas. "Memánī," stēti ándalā. Ándalas ra ntéī lar hásteti ra núras fílwat pi stelégeti. Ándalās núrasku ánka wī waiyénti.
A boy and an old man walk down a road. From the road, they see a beautiful young woman swimming in the river. "Who are you?" asks the boy. "Memani," says the girl. The boy walks into the river while the old man waits at the bank. The youths and the old man go home separately.
(I literally just made this up on the spot using some words I had created early on in my notebook). See if you can figure out what word means what and how they're all pronounced based on the phonological information above.