Apparently this language still exists.
About six years ago at a Navajo language workshop, I messed around with verbs. The thing that emerged as a result has gone through a lot of revisions, to the point where the old thread would require a massive overhaul to be up-to-date. Thus, a new one. This is a scratchpad where I can work through things as I fiddle with them and try to get Lulaál/Lazáal/Alǐkal/Alǐhaal (context-specific endonyms for the language here called Alál) into a form that I find satisfactory, if never complete. Don't expect these notes to be following any particular direction of thought; I'll be posting things as I think of them, and using this more as an update hub than anything else as morphemes get wiggled around. I want to have all of this written down in one place to keep it organized, and to get feedback.
I tend to write my notes in a vaguely sketch grammar / textbook-esque format, which can be a bit verbose, and I make a lot of references to things elsewhere in my notes that I haven't gotten around to discussing on here yet, so hopefully it's readable.
Nouns: A Brief Description of Stuff
Alál nouns consist of a root, falling into a particular class, and a case affix.
The root takes the shape C(C)V[*]C. The center V is referred to as the root vowel, and may be any of the three resting vowels, ı, a, or u. Roots are henceforth written in small caps (e.g. RIH); for a given noun, the class (1-3) is given following the root (e.g. RIH3 'honey', RIH2 'yellow (color)',).
• The root vowel may not be any of these vowels' standing (í á ú) or pulling (ì à ù) counterparts. Thus KAX 'log' is a valid root, while KÁX is not.
• The [*] here refers to one of a wide variety of partially-lexicalized, partially-derivational 'axis' markers, which may be of the very broad pattern (C)(C)V(V)(C)(C)(V)(C). Their mechanics will be discussed later. When written, vowels that are part of axis markers within a noun are not restricted to the resting type (e.g. while there can be no root KÁX, there may be a root KAáaX with incorporated áa axis).
• Roots with a Class-N# derivative infix are written with the infix in small caps following the root vowel (e.g. KATAH3 'paint sponge', HTAḶAIK3 'bug repellent').
Alál has three simple noun classes, numbered Class 1-3. There is also a fourth "Class N#", which is used for certain derived forms. A noun's class, together with its root vowel, dictates a noun's declension patterns. All nominal roots are presented here in their C(C)V[*]C citation form, written in small caps (axis markers in lower case) with their class number immediately following, as it is often the case that two or three nouns have identical roots and differ only in class: for example, HRAS2 'cake / layered pastry' and HRAS3 'sheet of paper'. There are general semantic tendencies, as seen below, but a noun's class must largely be memorized.
Class-1 tends to appear with:
• abstract concepts as experienced by a group or society (e.g. war, peace, language, economic recession)
• large objects, particularly animate ones, geographic features, or natural forces (e.g. wind, sun, ocean)
• groups of abstract or concrete objects taken as a whole (e.g. flock, year, homework, psychology)
Class-2 tends to appear with:
• many concrete nouns (e.g. rock, tree, person)
• abstract concepts as experienced by an individual (e.g. most emotions)
• foods comprised of multiple combined ingredients (e.g. chicken pot pie)
• most kinship terms (e.g. father, sibling, great-aunt's cousin in law's ex-wife)
Class-3 tends to appear with:
• small objects, particularly those that tend to come in groups (e.g. marble, pebble, drink can)
• foods comprised of a single ingredient, or very few (e.g. tomato soup)
• undeveloped or unfinished things (e.g. infant, seed, draft of an essay)
• kinship terms for younger relatives (e.g. little brother)
• pieces of things (e.g. eggshell, letter [in a word])
There is a semi-productive derivational pattern for concrete Class-2 nouns in which, when instead declined in Class-1 or Class-3, they indicate an augmentative or diminutive (respectively) form of the concrete noun in question. For example, ZIL2 'river/stream' may become ZIL1 'large river'. However, this is not universally possible; ZIL3 does not correspond to 'small brook' but rather to 'drainage pipe' or 'sewer'.
While a semantic relationship between the ZIL roots is clear, this is not always the case. The meaning of a Class-1 noun (or any other) cannot always be predicted from that of its Class-2 or Class-3 counterparts, if they even exist. ḲMAM1 is lightning, while ḲMAM3 is thread. And so on.
The case affix takes one of three shapes: infix, (prefix+)infix, or infix+suffix. These three behave slightly differently in particular morphological situations; notably, the (prefix+)infix type loses its prefixed counterpart in most cases except in formal speech (glossed as HON), or to differentiate what we might consider a proper noun. As an example, LAL1 lál 'language.OBL', but LAL1 alál 'The/This Language.HON.OBL'.
Even in formal speech, the (prefix+)infix type will also lack its prefixed component when it is the first noun in a compound (e.g. záz 'ocean.OBL' > azáz 'The Ocean.HON.OBL' > zázukatu 'saltwater fish.OBL') or when in any complex noun (e.g. zîaıáz 'his ocean.OBL', zatùıáz 'The Northern Sea.OBL'). The other case affix types undergo no such change and do not have honorific variations.
Case affixes always consist entirely of vowels and vowel clusters; the complete chart of them will be given shortly, and the three types are identified via their notational convention: V, (V-)V, and V-V, respectively.
Regarding the root vowel and noun complexity:
• If the noun is possessed and/or has an axis or TV marker, then it is considered complex.
‣ Complex nouns retain their root vowel.
• (ZIhkáL3 'waterfall' + ı = zıhkáıl 'waterfall.AGT')
• (HUhaS3 'confidante' + a-u = huhaasu 'confidante.OBL')
• If the noun is unpossessed and does not have an axis or TV marker, then it is considered simple.
‣ Simple nouns that are not in Class-N# delete their root vowel.
• (ZIL1 'river' + ı = zıl 'river.AGT')
• (HUS2 'fire' + a-u = hasu 'fire.OBL')
‣ Simple nouns in Class-N# retain their root vowel, though the # determines its quality (standing, resting, or pulling)
• (KUMAL1 'organizer' + ŕ.a = kúmal 'organizer.OBL')
• (HAHAṬ3 'round tablecloth' + r̀.à = hàhàṭ 'round.tablecloth.PAT')
How the case affix is applied:
• An infixed component appears between any axis markers and the final consonant of the root.
‣ (XUurS2 'intestines' + ıu = xuurıus 'intestines.AGT')
• A suffixed component appears precisely where one would expect it: word-finally. Let's not worry about compounds just yet.
‣ (XUurS2 'intestines' + a-u = xuurasu 'intestines.OBL'.)
• A prefixed component always appears before the first consonant of the noun. This may seem obvious, as such is the nature of prefixes, but this is worth noting to distinguish this vowel from one added via root vowel epenthesis (RVE) as a result of 'initial pulling'. A pulled vowel will appear either word initially or between the consonants of a word-initial CC cluster, if possible. Thus the initial a- in the example below is part of a case affix, but the initial u- in utàuh 'plate/platter.PAT' is not; it is instead the result of TUH3 + ù, where the pulling vowel triggers RVE.
‣ (LAL1 'language' + (a-)á = alál 'The/This Language.HON.OBL'.)
Nouns in Alál, as hinted above, are declined for one of three cases: agent (A), patient (P), and oblique (O). The usage of each of these cases will be described later; roughly, the oblique is used in isolation and for adpositional constructions, while the agent and patient indicate arguments of a verb, with the exact nature of those arguments depending on the verb's voice, valency, and volition (as Alál has fluid-S alignment). The case affix used differs depending on the noun's root vowel and class; thus, the declension pattern for KAT2 'light' differs from those of both KAT1 'sun' and KIS2 'child'. The full paradigm is as follows:
A specific case marker may be referred to by giving the root vowel, class number, and case, traditionally in this order; e.g. A1A is the aì affix that corresponds to the agent case for Class-1 nouns with the root vowel a, while I2O is the a-ı affix for the oblique case in Class-2 nouns with the root vowel ı. Specific patterns and the nouns that use them may be identified by only root vowel and number; this is considered the declension class. Thus we may refer to A2 nouns such as HAH2 'wind' and may also refer to the A2 pattern [aı|a-a|aú] (in the order AGT|OBL|PAT), which when applied to HAH2 produces haıh 'wind.AGT', haha 'wind.OBL', and haúh 'wind.PAT'.
Loanwords and foreign names are typically analyzed as if the final vowel is this case marker, or if the word ends in a VC(C)V pattern, as if the final two vowels are part of an infix+suffix pair. Thus the name Bob, interpreted as Papa (with final /a/ deleting and causing the preceding consonant to become voiced) would decline as if in declension class A2: Paıp|Papa|Paúp. The country of Australia, interpreted as Astrìlıá, would be in class I1: Astrìlı|Astrìlıá|Astrìulı. Note that the u-ı marker in the patientive keeps the ı word-finally but moves the u to precede the final consonant. Similarly, Canada (Káḳataa) uses an A2 pattern but retains the extra final a: Káḳaıta|Káḳataa|Káḳaúta. My username (Kíuîkamí) would take I3: Kíuîkamí|Kíuîkamàı|Kíuîkamùı.
Below are examples of simple nouns illustrating all non-Class-N declension patterns.
Code: Select all
AGT OBL PAT 1A ZAZ1 'ocean' zaìz záz zuaz 2A HAH2 'wind' haıh haha haúh 3A RAL3 'melody' ríla ràl arùla 1I RIḶ1 'temperature' rìḷ rıáḷ ruḷı 2I RIẒ2 'food' rıẓ raẓı rıúẓ 3I ḲIṢ3 'stick' ḳíṣ ıḳàıṣ ıḳùıṣ 1U KUḲ1 'glacier' ukìuḳ kuáḳ kuḳ 2U LUK2 'vine' lıuk laku lúk 3U LUT3 'awl' líut ulàut lùt
Code: Select all
AGT OBL PAT 2U ḲUR̀2 'bag' ḳıù uḳàu ḳúr 2A MZAŔ2 'friend' mzaí mzáa mzaúr 1A ḶAŔ1 'war' ḷaìr ḷár ḷuá
Class-N# nouns are those that incorporate one of a restricted set of derivational infixes; for these nouns, the infixes themselves carry the case information, and regular case markers are not used. They are identifiable in citation form by the presence of an additional CV or CCV component in the root before the final consonant. They themselves have three varieties (Class-N1, -N2, -N3) which only describe the quality of the root vowel (i.e. whether it is standing, resting, or pulling, respectively). This combines with the V in this second CV component to produce what could be called nine additional declension patterns, but which are better described as three patterns with varying root vowel qualities.
For example, KAX2 is a root meaning 'log'. It is a simple noun in Class-2, and its forms are kaıx|kaxa|kaùx.
There are some derived terms KASAX1, KAḶIX3, KAṬUX2.
KASAX1 - "log cabin"
• Class: NA1, because of the second vowel being A.
• Class-NA# declension: aı|a|à - 1 indicates a standing root vowel, typically written as ŕ.
• Declension pattern for KASAX1: kásaıx|kásax|kâsax
KAḶIX3 - "wood pulp"
• Class: NI3, because of the second vowel being I.
• Class-NI# declension: ıı|aı|àı - 3 indicates a pulling root vowel, typically written as r̀.
• Declension pattern for KAḶIX3: kàḷııx|kàḷaıx|kàḷàıx
KAṬUX2 - "lumberjack"
• Class: NU2, because of the second vowel being U.
• Class-NU# declension: ıu|u|àu - 2 indicates a resting root vowel
• Declension pattern for KAṬUX2: kaṭıux|kaṭux|kaṭàux
These infixes are related to the set of handling verbs, which I'll get to later.
...Alright, time to get back to actual work. I'm certain this is filled with typos but it's far too late in the night for me to be worried about that.
This episode of "Kiwikami Has An Important Paper To Be Writing Right Now But Instead Is Procrastinating" was brought to you by the letter M. Which Alál has now.