| To Be Continued...|
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| ʔuulhemoo |
|Period||c. 100 YP|
|Spoken in||Peilaš Northwest Coast|
|Total speakers||c. 20,000|
|Classification|| Western |
|Basic word order||SVO|
ʔuulhemoo is a language in the Steppe branch of the Western language family, spoken in a mountainous region of temperate rainforest along the coast west of the Peilaš steppe during the early centuries YP. It is descended from a peripheral dialect of Satnímʔa, but possesses a more analytic grammar and an innovative syntax, possibly suggesting the influence of a non-Western substratum.
The speakers of ʔuulhemoo are the ʔuuleo, roughly the "wolf people", who live in small, seasonally transhument communities practicing mixed agriculture supplemented with fishing, hunting and gathering. They are known for their complex system of inter-village politics that govern shifting territorial boundaries, as well as their skill as warriors and aggression toward most outsiders.
- 1 Phonology
- 2 Morphology
- 3 Syntax
- 4 Sample Text
- 5 See Also
ʔuulhemoo employs 34 consonant phonemes, including a four-way contrast between voiceless, voiced, aspirated, and ejective stops and affricates, as well as a system of 8 vowel qualities. It is unusual within the Western family in that it lacks both phonemic stress distinctions and phonemic tone.
- p t k ʔ /p t k ʔ/
- ph th kh /pʰ tʰ kʰ/
- p' t' k' /p' t' k'/
- b d g /b d g/
- c /t͡s/
- ch /t͡sʰ/
- c' /t͡s'/
- j /d͡z/
- m n ŋ /m n ŋ/
- m' n' ŋ' /ˀm ˀn ˀŋ/
- s h /s h/
- z /z/
- l r y ʋ /l ɹ j ʋ/
- l' r' y' ʋ' /ˀl ˀɹ ˀj ˀʋ/
|Close||i iː||u uː|
|Near-close||ɪ ɪː||ʊ ʊː|
|Mid||e eː||o oː|
|Open||a aː||ɔ ɔː|
Any height-harmonic pair of vowels may form a falling diphthong, giving the following possible combinations:
/iu ui ɪʊ ʊɪ eo oe aɔ ɔa/
- i u /i u/
- ị ụ /ɪ ʊ/
- e o /e o/
- a ọ /a ɔ/
Long vowels are marked orthographically by doubling the vowel letter (i > ii).
- Glottalized resonants in ʔuulhemoo (/ˀm, ˀn, ˀŋ, ˀɹ, ˀl, ˀj, ˀʋ/) are pre-glottalized, which may be realized by pronouncing a preceding vowel with creaky voice or by constricting the glottis while pronouncing the sonorant during the brief period before the onset of voicing.
- The Glottalized nasals [ˀn, ˀŋ] in syllable codas alternate with the voiceless obstruents [t, k] before other consonants.
- A glottal stop (/ʔ/) in coda position causes the preceding vowel to be pronounced with creaky voice.
- Clusters consisting of /h/ followed by a resonant (/m, n, ŋ, ɹ, l, j, ʋ/) are pronounced as voiceless resonants ([m̥, n̥, ŋ̊, ɹ̥, l̥, j̊, ʋ̥]).
- /h/ is pronounced as [x] in syllable codas.
- Nasal and approximant consonants may act as syllable nuclei when not adjacent to a vowel. Syllabic /j/ and /ʋ/ are realized as close or near-close vowels front and back vowels, respectively.
Sound Changes From Satnimʔa
The variety of Steppe Western ancestral to ʔuulhemoo was similar to Satnimʔa in most respects, with a few exceptions. Iŋomœ́ /ɯ/ is reflected in ʔuulhemoo as /ɪ/, rather than merging with /i/ as in most varieties of Satnimʔa, and the palatalization of alveolar and velar consonants which took place in Satnimʔa is not reflected in ʔuulhemoo. Furthermore, it is likely that the lenition of Iŋomœ́ /z/, which in most varieties of Satnimʔa is resulted in [ɾ], had already resulted in [ɹ] in pre-ʔuulhemoo. The following sound changes subsequently resulted in the attested ʔuulhemoo language:
- Lexical stress shifts to rightmost long vowel or diphthong, after which all unstressed vowels elide
- Pre-stopped nasals simplify to nasals or stops in clusters (according to the pattern already found in Satnimʔa), and nasals assimilate to adjacent stops and following nasals. If a nasal falls between two stops or a stop an a nasal, it assimilates to the following consonant rather than the preceding one.
- Clusters consisting of a voiced stop and a homorganic nasal simplify to a geminate nasal
- /s/ debuccalizes to /h/ before non-glottal consonants other than s
- Geminate glottal consonants, geminate /s/, and all voiced geminates are reduced to singleton consonants
- The second of two clustered glottal consonants elides
- Clusters of a glottal stop with a non-glottal consonant become ejective obstruents and glottalized resonants
- Glottalized /s/ merges with /t͡s'/
- Geminate stops and affricates, clusters of a stop and /h/, and stops preceding another stop consonant become aspirated, after which adjacent /h/ elides
- Obstruents become plain following aspirated stops, and elide following ejectives
- Stops become voiced before /z/
- Pre-stopped nasals merge with glottalized nasals
- Vowels in secondary stems shift to match the direct stem vowel (sometimes the reverse occurs when two stems would otherwise become homophones)
- Glottalization shifts from a glottalized resonant to any preceding consonant
- The second element of a diphthong harmonizes in height with the first element, with vertical diphthongs becoming long vowels
- /h/ deletes when adjacent to /s/; /s/ does not debuccalize if this sound change results in it falling before another consonant
- Short front vowels become diphthongs before coda /h/
- Coda /h/ deletes after long vowels and diphthongs and before consonants, lengthening a preceding short back vowel
Primary and Secondary Stems
All Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives in ʔuulhemoo have two distinct stems, which are most commonly distinguished by the position of the final vowel in the stem, but they may involve other changes as well. Primary stems my end in a vowel or a consonant, while secondary stems always end in a vowel. Nouns always have distinct primary and secondary stems, which correspond to the direct and oblique cases (see below), but for other types of word the secondary stem may be identical to he primary stem
One of the most crucial developments int the history of ʔuulhemoo is its reinterpretation of the noun classes it inherited from Satnímʔa. While ʔuulhemoo's adjectives, cataphoric pronouns, demonstratives, and numerals are still marked to agree with the class of their referent, these categories are defined more strictly by semantics then they were in the parent language, and as a result many nouns have migrated from on class to another. In addition, the precise semantics of most classes have been significantly modified, and the animacy hierarchy has become defunct, rendering the direct-inverse voice distinction unproductive and contributing to a fundamental shift in the basic constituent order of the language.
As in Satnímʔa, ʔuulhemoo nouns are marked for two cases: the direct and the oblique. The direct case is used for the agent of transitive verbs, the patient of transitive verbs, and the argument of intransitive verbs. The oblique case is used to mark the possessor in genitive constructions, as well as nouns acting as the object of a preposition.
A noun's case is distinguished solely by which stem is used, which usually means that the oblique is formed by shifting the position of the vowel:
In many cases, primary and secondary noun stems will show differences in vowel length in addition to position, or alternations between a diphthong and a monophthong:
Finally, some nouns do not show alternations in vowel position, and are distinguished for case based solely on vowel length:
Satnímʔa possessive prefixes have become defunct in ʔuulhemoo, and possession is indicated by simply placing the possessor of the head noun before it in the oblique case. In many cases, particularly when the possessor is the speaker, possession is implicit and the possessor is omitted.
"(My) father's wife"
ʔuulhemoo verbs are inflected for evidentiality, mood, and the person of the verb subject, using a set of 18 fusional suffixes:
The secondary verb stem is used with suffixes marking evidentials II, III, and IV, while the primary stem is used with all other suffixes. When the primary stem ends in a voiced stop, it undergoes additional mutations before every suffix except the 3rd person, evidential V (which is a null morpheme).
When "E" and "O" appear as part of a suffix, they indicate front and back vowels matching the height of the stem vowel, which form diphthongs or long vowels as appropriate.
The evidential II is unusual in that it is marked not only a suffix but also an infix, ⟨l⟩, which is placed immediately before the stem-final vowel. The 3rd person, evidential II suffix is realized as -h after a back vowel and -O after a front vowel.
When a primary verb stem ends in a plosive, the 1st person, evidential V ending assimilates to its place of articulation. If the stem vowel ended in a voiced plosive which would normally have shifted to an aspirated plosive, it is elided instead.
ʔuulhemoo verbs are marked for five types of evidentiality, organized into a hierarchy as follows. Speakers will generally indicate the highest-ranked type of evidence that applies:
This is the highest level of evidence, used for knowledge gathered visually, as well as for one's own thoughts and emotions.
Knowledge gathered directly by senses other than vision, or from observing physical evidence of an event.
Knowledge gathered by being told by someone else.
Knowledge inferred from past experience or which is considered general knowledge.
Information known not to be true or based on pure speculation. This evidential may also be used for hearsay reported by what the speaker considers to be an unreliable source.
Verbs in subordinate clauses doesn't take an evidential, but instead are marked for the subjunctive mood.
ʔuulhemoo has innovated case distinctions in its first person pronouns, and generalized the use of honorific second person pronouns for all referents. Subject pronouns are often dropped, and are typically used only to place special emphasis on their referent, or (in the case of a first person subject) when the speaker wishes to distinguish a singular or plural referent.
ʔuulhemoo lacks third person pronouns per se, and third person pronominal objects are instead indicated using an appropriate demonstrative. In addition, ʔuulhemoo retains Satnímʔa's cataphoric pronoun, a specialized pronoun which is used in forming compliment and relative clauses. The cataphoric pronoun takes five distinct forms, the use of which is governed by the semantics of its referent:
|ʔuu||people, beings capable of speech|
|ʔoo||animals, beings incapable of speech|
|ʔo||places, geographical features (rivers, mountains, etc.)|
|ʔuuk||solid inanimate objects|
|ʔuuʔ||liquids, granular masses, intangible things (air, fire, ideas, celestial objects, etc.)|
More information on the use of these pronouns is found below, in the sections on compliment and relative clauses.
Demonstratives in ʔuulhemoo may be used both adnominally and pronominally, and are used in many cases where other languages might employ a third person pronoun. They express a three-way spatial deixis: proximal ge(e)-, medial rụ-/rọ-, and distal ta-. Each of these stems is marked to agree with the same five semantic categories distinguished by the cataphoric pronouns.
Like many Western languages, ʔuulhemoo has a base-8 numeral system. Like adjectives and demonstratives, cardinal numerals are marked to agree with the noun they modify, though in many cases these forms have fallen together, becoming identical as a result of sound changes. Ordinal numerals, on the other hand, are invariant.
Higher numbers are formed using the conjunction ka, "and".
Multiples of eight are formed with the appropriate form of the numeral for eight preceded by an ordinal indicating how many times it is multiplied.
ʔuulhemoo is characterized by a left-branching phrase structure typical of the Western family, paired with an innovative SVO constituent order.
Noun Phrase Structure
The Noun Phrase (NP) minimally consists of a single noun or pronoun. Nouns may be preceded by adjectives, modifier nouns, and demonstratives, while pronouns may not. Both nouns and pronouns may be preceded by a postpositional phrase and/or a relative clause, and may be followed by a postposition. If there are multiple elements preceding the head noun, the adjective(s) (if any) will come immediately before the head noun, preceded by any demonstratives, which in turn are preceded by modifier noun(s) and postpositional phrase(s), which at last are preceded by any relative clause(s). ʔuulhemoo's overall NP structure may therefore be summarized like so:
(relative clauses) (modifier nouns/postpositional phrases) (demonstrative) (adjectives) head noun (postposition)
When two NPs are joined with a conjunction, the conjunction follows the second NP.
The neutral constituent order of the ʔuulhemoo sentence is is SVO/SV. Satnímʔa's direct/inverse voice distinction permitted a relatively free constituent order, but the subsequent erosion of the animacy hierarchy in pre-ʔuulhemoo led to word order taking on more semantic weight.
In ʔuulhemoo, the direct case is used for the sole argument of an intransitive clause and for the subject and object of a transitive clause. It is also used for the recipient of a ditransitive clause, and as a vocative (people or things called by name).
The oblique case is used for all non-core arguments, including modifier nouns, possessives, and the heads of prepositional phrases.
The recipient of a ditransitive clause comes immediately after the verb, before the direct object.
Other non-core arguments, such as postpositional phrases, typically come first in the clause.
In ʔuulhemoo, copular clauses are formed with a zero-copula. Such clauses are structured in the same manner as clauses containing a monotransitive verb, omitting only the verb itself.
Negation is handled with the negative particle e, which normally comes immediately after the verb. When a particular noun phrase is to be negated, however, the particle follows that NP instead.
In all questions, the speculative evidential suffix (evidential V) must be used, in conjunction with the interrogative particle soe.
Polar (yes-or-no) questions are formed by placing the interrogative particle after the constituent to be questioned. Neutrally it is placed after the verb, but it may also follow an NP that is to be questioned.
Content questions are formed by placing another element before the interrogative particle, with the resulting phrase being placed in the sentence in the same manner that the particle alone would be when asking a polar question.
To ask where, the formula is mọ soe "place?". This formula does not require an explicit verb when asking the location of a referent, but can simply follow an NP in the direct case, forming a complete sentence.
To ask why, the formula is el soe "because?".
To ask how, the formula is mo soe "by means of?"
There is no single formula for asking when, but various terms referring to periods of time may be paired with the interrogative particle. Perhaps the most common is si soe "day?".
To ask who, what, and which, an appropriate cataphoric pronoun is paired with the interrogative particle.
When two clauses are coordinated, the coordinating conjunction is placed between them.
As demonstrated in the above example, noun phrases are never omitted in coordinated clauses when the first clause involves multiple core arguments. When the first clause involves only an intransitive verb, however, the subject of that verb may be represented in the second clause by a demonstrative, which may be dropped as normal if it would stand as the subject of the clause.
A complement clause is one that stands as a core argument of another clause, called the matrix clause. The matrix clause typically contains a verb of cognition or volition (want, believe, think, etc.), though this construction is also used for reported speech.
In ʔuulhemoo, the verb in a complement clause must be in the subjunctive mood, and therefore is not marked for evidentiality. The matrix clause will precede it, and either the subject or object position will be filled with a cataphoric pronoun marked for noun class 5.
A relative clause is one that acts as a modifier in a noun phrase. The noun modified by the relative clause is represented in the clause itself by a cataphoric pronoun which agrees with it in class. As in a compliment clause, the verb in a relative clause is marked for the subjunctive mood.
As this is a fictional narrative, the speculative evidential is used throughout the story, except in the dialogue. The animal characters are consistently referred to with noun class 1, as though they are people, because they can speak. This carries over into the dialogue; the storyteller assumes that talking animals will speak of each other as though they are humans as well.
C'o tọ san' keod moŋ'. Ụụŋ vos tọọs ŋo tịl, ʔol lọd sis moŋ', ka lọọ ụg nụục moŋ'. M'a ʔa nọọ ʔoh moc moŋ'.
Ŋo ʔe san' gak ʔuuʔ "ʔuuʔ ịịk' nọọ am' rịị tatụ moŋ'!"
Hna ʔe thọọ moŋ' gak ʔuuʔ "kiin’ ʔuuʔ siiv’k nọọ. ʔuuʔ ịịk' nọọ am' phciv ka eov ʔuu sooʔ seev san'. Am' un'oe e ʔuuʔ tatụ lrọ sooʔ. ʔo ton un'oe. Rịị ka m'a soov!"
San' siiv’ taọʔ ʔụk nhlọ ʔe seeg.
On a hill, a horse saw some sheep. A woman was cutting the wool of the first sheep, a child was milking the second sheep, and a man was slaughtering the third sheep. On the humans’ fire, they cooked a fourth sheep.
The horse said this to a sheep: "It pains me that humans use sheep this way!"
One sheep said this to the horse: "I want you to listen to me. It pains me that humans shoot and eat the horse who runs quickly. Humans do not know how to use your quickness. But next year they will know. Then you, too, will become a slave of the humans!"
Having heard that, the horse fled into the plain.