Waqħuuj

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
Post Reply
User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 540
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Waqħuuj

Post by Davush »

Introduction

Waqħuuj /waʕuːdʒ/ is a vaguely Cushitic-inspired conlang set in the far future of a conworld where it has become a global lingua franca. Many of its elements are also inspired by Creoles, such as limited inflectional morphology, TAM marking being expressed pre-verbally in the order of TMA, and so on. While it has not replaced local languages entirely, much of the world’s education and media is conducted via Waqħuuj and so it exerts considerable influence. An institution was established to standardise and preserve the language. In some ways, it is kind of an in-world conlang which likely arose from a sort of trading Creole, later becoming standardised and codified. While ability in Waqħuuj varies, there are a significant number of people who speak it natively or even exclusively, and speaking good Waqħuuj has become a sign of prestige.

Phonology

This is just a quick sketch – I will probably update it with more details as I go along.

/p t k ʔ/ <p t k q>
/b d g/ <b d g>
/tʃ dʒ/ <c j>
/ð f s ʃ ħ ʕ/ <dh f s x ħ qħ>
/m n ŋ/ <m n ng>
/r l/ <r l>
/w j/ <w y>

/a i u/ <a i u>
/aː iː uː/ <aa ii uu>
/aj aːj aw aːw/ <ay aay aw aaw>


Syllables are maximally C(C)VC and minimally CV. Only /Cj/ and /Cw/ clusters are permitted in onset.

Any single consonant may appear word-initially. Initial /ʔ/ is not written and frequently elided in casual speech.

All consonants except unvoiced stops and /tʃ/ may appear word-finally, excluding /ʔ/.

Most CC clusters are permitted, including geminates, although geminates do not appear within roots.

Clusters do not occur after long vowels and diphthongs, e.g. *aarga *aylba

Short /a i u/ may be closer to [æ ɪ ʊ] in closed syllables.
/aj aw/ may be closer to [ej ow] for some speakers.
/iː uː/ may be closer to [eː oː] before pharyngeals.


Stress
Undetermined. Probably weight-sensitive.


Typology and Grammatical Features
Waqħuuj is largely SVO, with little inflectional morphology.
Sentences in Waqħuuj are characterised by the following obligatory elements:

Stative/Dynamic Marking
Focus Marking
Sentence Final Particles



Stative and Dynamic Predicates
A predicate must be marked either as stative (STAT) by the particle ib, or dynamic (DYN) marked by ab. I am terming these predicate markers as they stand before any TAM marking and can also introduce non-verbal copular predicates.

Verbs themselves are ‘inherently’ dynamic or stative. While dynamic verbs can take the stative marker in some circumstances, stative verbs cannot ‘become’ dynamic.

Stative verbs include the usual suspects of verbs of perception, stance, emotion, sensation, etc.

Dynamic verbs with no overt TAM marking are understood as ‘past’ by default.
Stative verbs with no overt TAM marking are understood as ‘present’ by default.


Sentence Final Particles
All sentences must end with a sentence final particle (SFP) which have various functions.
The basic declarative SFP is aa. Polar-questions have the SFP xu.


Focus
Every sentence must contain one element marked for focus. Only one element may receive focus. The most common focus marker (FM) is ay, which is suffixed to the relevant element. Focus-marking in Waqħuuj is not necessarily contrastive, rather it is used to highlight new information.

A ‘neutral’ sentence in which all of the information is new has focus marking on the predicate marker:

kwadis ab-ay ciil raqawf aa /kwadis ʔabaj tʃiːl raʔawf ʔaː/
/kwadis ʔabaj tʃiːl ɾaʔawf/
cat DYN-FM eat mouse SFP
The cat ate the mouse

kwadis abay ciil raqawf xu? /kwadis ʔabaj tʃiːl raʔawf ʃu/
cat DYM-FM eat mouse Q
Did the cat eat a mouse? (no specific element focused)

Subject Focus:

In answer to a question such as ‘Who/What ate the mouse?’ the subject receives the marker:

kwadis-ay ab ciil raqawf aa /kwadisaj ʔab tʃiːl raʔawf ʔaa/
The cat ate the mouse

Object Focus:

In answer to a question such was ‘What did the cat eat?’, the object receives the marker. Focus-marked objects are raised to the front of the sentence which are also marked with a resumptive pronoun on the verb. This is in some ways similar to clefting (i.e. “It was the mouse that the cat ate (it)”).

raqawf-ay kwadis ab ciil-aħ aa /raʔawfaj kwadis ʔab tʃiːlaħ ʔaː/
mouse-FM cat DYN eat-3sg SFP.
The cat ate the mouse

Verbal Focus:

In answer to a question such as ‘What did the cat do?’, either the predicate marker, or the verb receives the focus marker. Verbal focus emphasises the the verb itself.

kwadis ab ciil-ay raqawf aa /kwadis ab tʃiːlaj raʔawf ʔaː/
cat DYN eat-FM mouse SFP
The cat ate the mouse

If the verbal focus is contrastive, the sentence final particle qħad can also be used:

kwadis ab ciil-ay raqawf qħad /kwadis ʔab tʃiːlaj raʔawf ʕad/
cat DYN eat-FM mouse SFP
The cat really did eat the mouse

User avatar
Omzinesý
runic
runic
Posts: 2797
Joined: 27 Aug 2010 08:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: Waqħuuj

Post by Omzinesý »

Isn't it quite abnormal that voiceless consonants cannot appear word-finally but the voiced ones can? Somali has something like that but the distinction is rather between aspirated and unaspirated (with several allophones) consonants.

How is a normal topic-comment clause marked? A clause that has a "known" topic and something "new" is said about it?

User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 540
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Re: Waqħuuj

Post by Davush »

Omzinesý wrote:
30 Apr 2020 15:26
Isn't it quite abnormal that voiceless consonants cannot appear word-finally but the voiced ones can? Somali has something like that but the distinction is rather between aspirated and unaspirated (with several allophones) consonants.

How is a normal topic-comment clause marked? A clause that has a "known" topic and something "new" is said about it?
Thanks for the comment! I did consider that having only word-final voiced stops is unusual, but I suppose my aim here isn't total naturalism (and it's probably attested somewhere...). Perhaps it is better stated that word-finally, voicing distinction is neutralised, so they are actually unvoiced-unaspirated and/or the distinction in stops is actually aspirated-unaspirated rather than voiceless-voiced.

I'm not too sure about the topic-comment clause - could you give me an example so I can consider how it might be dealt with?

User avatar
Omzinesý
runic
runic
Posts: 2797
Joined: 27 Aug 2010 08:17
Location: nowhere [naʊhɪɚ]

Re: Waqħuuj

Post by Omzinesý »

Davush wrote:
30 Apr 2020 18:37

I'm not too sure about the topic-comment clause - could you give me an example so I can consider how it might be dealt with?
It's the "normal clause".
"I love you" is a clause about "I" which is the topic. The "new" info is that I love you.
Or is there any marker?

User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 540
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Re: Waqħuuj

Post by Davush »

Omzinesý wrote:
30 Apr 2020 20:21
Davush wrote:
30 Apr 2020 18:37

I'm not too sure about the topic-comment clause - could you give me an example so I can consider how it might be dealt with?
It's the "normal clause".
"I love you" is a clause about "I" which is the topic. The "new" info is that I love you.
Or is there any marker?
There's no overt topic marking, so in that case the focus marker would simply attach to the predicate marker which is considered 'default' when no specific argument is focused.

Number

Plural marking is not obligatory in Waqħuuj. There is particle which marks plural number, but it can only be used with specific reference. The plural particle is iyaan.

Similarly, the numeral 'one' afa can be used with specific indefinite reference. I.e. in sentences like 'there is a cat in the house' must refer to a specific cat.

alaj 'man'
alaj iyaan 'certain/specific men'
alaj afa 'a certain/specific man'

The focus marker follows any number marking, so: alajay, alaj iyaanay, alaj afaay.

Aspect

Aspectual marking prefixes directly to the verb. The following (among others) are used with dynamic verbs:

gi- progressive
dha- habitual
ħan- anterior

Using daag 'to hit' as an example:

alaj abay daag kwadis aa
man DYN.FM hit cat SFP
the man hit the cat (no overt aspect marking on a dynamic verb = implied past tense)

alaj ab gidaag kwadis afa aa
man DYN.FM PROG.hit cat one SFP
the man is hitting a (certain) cat

alaj afa abay ħandaag kwadis aa
man one DYN.FM ANT.hit cat SFP
a (certain) man (had) hit a/the cat

alaj abay dhadaag kwadis aa
man DYN.FM HAB.hit cat SFP
a/the man (habitually) hits cats

The anterior and progressive markers can combine for a past-progressive type of meaning:

alaj abay ħangidaag kwadis aa
man DYN.FM ANT.PROG.hit cat SFP
the man was hitting a cat

Additionally, the anterior marker ħan may be better considered an adverb, as it can be isolated from the verb and receive focus marking:

ħanay alaj ab daag kwadis aa
ANT.FM man DYN hit cat SFP
The man had hit the cat

Definiteness

Definite marking, like number, is not obligatory. It can only be used for pragmatic definiteness, i.e. if the referent has already been identified in the discourse.

It is marked by -am which occurs at the end of a NP, and can also receive focus marking. It is dispreferred for more than one NP to be marked for definiteness within a sentence.

alajam 'the (aforementioned) man'
alaj iyaanam 'the (aforementioned) men'

alajamay ab gipaal usuq aa.
man.DEF.FM DYN PROG.drink water SFP
the (aforementioned) man is drinking water ('the man' is focused, i.e. answering the question 'Who is drinking water?')

User avatar
Davush
greek
greek
Posts: 540
Joined: 10 Jan 2015 14:10

Re: Waqħuuj

Post by Davush »

Revision

I am unhappy with the focus marking and sentence final particles, and so will ignore these for now. Previous posts regarding these are obsolete. I think I want Waqħuuj to be typologically closer to a creole, which complex focus marking does not seem conducive to.

Pronouns
Pronouns do not make a gender distinction in the 3rd person and can function as both subjects and objects.

1sg in
2sg id
3sg ib

1pl inaa / naa
2pl idaa / daa
3pl ibaa / baa

When functioning as objects, they attach directly to the verb. The 3pl pronoun ibaa/baa frequently becomes -aa when cliticised.

Plural Marker
The plural marker is now ba/baa/aa which are in free variation. -aa is usually written as suffixed to the noun:

alaj ba / alaj baa / alajaa 'men'
saqan ba / saqan baa / saqanaa 'women'

Plural marking is optional, and dispreferred where context makes plurality clear.
Demonstratives

Demonstratives appear after the noun phrase, and make a three-way distinction:

ay~xay 'this'
aw~xaw 'that'
ataw~xataw 'that' (far from or invisible to speaker and listener)

They can also cliticise onto the plural marker: baay, baaw, baataw or aaxay, aaxaw, aaxataw 'this/those/those':

saqan baataw naaf qħari baay
'those women built these houses'

Dynamic and Stative Verbs

Unmarked dynamic verbs have past reference:

in raax-ib
1sg buy-3sg
'I bought it'

Stative verbs are always preceded by the particle qħa and have a default present reference:

alaj qħa raam kwadis
man STAT love cat
'the man loves the cat'

Aspect

Dynamic verbs can take a range of aspect prefixes, but stative verbs are more restricted. Aspect prefixes are attached directly onto dynamic verbs, but attach to the particle qħa for stative verbs.

The progressive and habitual markers only occur on dynamic verbs:

PROG: gi- in giraaxib I am/was buying it
HAB: dha- in dharaaxaa 'I (often) buy/used to buy them

The anterior marker gives a dynamic verb a past-before-past reference:

ANT: ħan- in ħanraaxib 'I had bought it'

With statives, it prefixes to qħa to give a past reference: in ħanqħa raamaa 'I loved/used to love them'

The irrealis marker can be used for both dynamic and stative verbs, prefixing to qħa with statives as usual. It is generally used as a future tense marker, but can also be used to describe non-actualised events in the past.

IRR: xa- in xaraax palag 'I will buy/would have bought eggs', in xaqħa raamib 'I will love it'

With dynamic verbs jir (from jiir 'to go') can also be used for a more definite future: in jirraaxaa 'I am (definitely) going to buy them'

The anterior marker ħan can combine with all aspect markers for more a explicit past-tense reference, but this is not obligatory. It is written as a standalone word in these cases.

ANT.PROG ħan gi- in ħan giraax palag 'I was buying eggs'
ANT.HAB ħan dha- in ħan dharaax palag 'I used to buy eggs'
ANT.IRR ħan xa- in ħan xaraax palag 'I would have bought eggs' in ħan xaqħa raamib 'I would have loved it'

alaj baay ħan dharaax palagaa xaw
/ʔaladʒ baːj ħan ðaɾaːʃ palagaː ʃaw/
These men used to buy those eggs

Post Reply