Highly Regular Agglutinative Language Scratchpad

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Highly Regular Agglutinative Language Scratchpad

Post by Davush »

This is a scratchpad for some ideas I've been playing with for a highly regular, highly agglutinative language, i.e., there will be very few complex morpho-phonological processes, but lots of transparent morpheme stacking. It is partly inspired by languages such as Turkish, Inuktitut, and Japanese, but with an even greater degree of "regularity". I thought it might be fun to make a language where morphemes can be strung together in a regular manner for lots of nuance and lots of derivational possibilities (even if somewhat "unnatural" in its regularity).

Not going to focus a lot on the phonology for now. It is intentionally rather plain (mostly because more interesting phonologies make me want to include lots of morphophonological stuff).

Stops: /p t ts k b d g f v s z h m n r (w) j/. Not sure if there will be a /w~v/ contrast. Voiced stops quite rare.
Vowels: /a e i o u/.
Syllable structure: Mostly CV, with some CVC permitted.

Orthography as IPA, except /j/ = <y>.


Most basic verb roots are in the form of (C)VC-.

tak- 'to eat'
sap- 'to see'
im- 'to say, speak'

Roots can then be further extended to mark voice, mood, etc. Most morphemes occur as suffixes, although there are also quite a few infixes.

Three "principle" stem extensions include:

Passive: -Vr-, where V is an echo vowel of that of the previous syllable.
Potential: -Vz-, where V is an echo vowel of that of the previous syllable.
Causative: <-n->, an infix which is placed before the final consonant of the stem.

These are called "principle" extensions, as they are tightly bound to the stem, showing a small amount of morphophonology (echo vowels) or appearing as an infix. So, we have:

tak- 'to eat'
tak-ar- 'to be eaten'
tak-az- 'to be able to eat'
ta<n>k- 'to make eat, to feed'

sap- 'to see'
sap-ar- 'to be seen'
sap-az- 'to be able to see'
sa<n>p- 'to make see, to show'

im- 'to say'
im-ir- 'to be said'
im-iz- 'to be able to say'
i<n>m- 'to make say'

These can also be combined, except the passive-potential is -Vrz-, rather than -Vr-Vz-:

sap-ar-z- : eat-PASS-POT- : 'to be able to be eaten'
sa<n>p-ar- : eat<CAUS>-PASS 'to be made to eat, to be fed'
sa<n>p-az-: eat<CAUS>-POT 'to be able to feed'
sa<n>p-ar-z- : eat<CAUS>-PASS-POT 'to be able to be fed'

Tense-Aspect Markers

There are three main Tense-Aspect markers:

Progressive: -ik-
Past: -is-
Future/Irrealis: -if-

These can also be combined, resulting in -iCC- rather than -iCiC- forms. The past marker always follows other markers.

-ik-s- : PROG-PST
-ik-f- : PROG-FUT
-if-s- : FUT-PST (i.e., conditional)
-is-s- : PST-PST (i.e., anterior past)

Before person markers are added, the verbaliser suffix -u- is inserted. This can also be attached directly to verb stems where it functions as aorist/unmarked. So, the maximal verbal template using the above forms is:


An example of some verb forms using the 1sg suffix -n:

sap-u-n : see-AOR-1sg : 'I see'
sap-ik-un : see-PROG-1sg 'I am seeing'
sap-is-un : see-PST-1sg 'I saw'

sap-ar-ik-un : see-PASS-PROG-1sg 'I am being seen'
sap-az-is-s-un : see-POT-PST-PST-1sg 'I had been able to see'
sa<n>p-az-if-s-un : see<CAUS>-POT-FUT-PST-1sg 'I would have been able to show'
sa<n>p-ar-ik-s-un : see<CAUS>-PASS-PROG-PST-1sg 'I was being shown'
sap-ar-z-is-un : see-PASS-POT-PST-1sg 'I was able to be seen'
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