Lotoka

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Lotoka
[ˈlo.to.ka]
Period c. -200 YP
Spoken in Lotoka
Total speakers unknown
Writing system unknown
Classification Peninsular languages
 Lotoka
Typology
Basic word order SOV
Morphology agglutinating
Alignment variable
Credits
Created by Cedh (based on ideas by Legion and Zhen Lin)

Lotoka is a language of the Peninsular family, spoken on the Lotoka peninsula east of Affalinnei, halfway between Huyfárah and Siixtaguna. Among the Peninsular languages of its time, it is the one spoken furthest from the original homeland (Myšowo; < PPI *mrisaŋfa): Around -1000 YP, the ancestors of the Lotoka people crossed the Bay of Kasca by boat, settling on the jagged coast near the southern tip of the Siixtaguna subcontinent, and contributing to the high linguistic diversity of the greater Sumarušuxi region, where languages of at least four major families were spoken in the late 1st millennium BP – Lotoka (Peninsular); Tâhasūna (Núalís-Takuña); Affanonic, Naxuutayi and Thokyunèhòta (Isles); and various dialects of Doroh (Eigə-Isthmus).

Phonology

Consonants

labial coronal palatal velar
nasal m n ɲ ŋ
plosive p · b t · d k · ɡ
fricative s ʃ
approximant w l j
  • /ɲ ɡ ʃ/ are transcribed ñ g š. All other consonants are written as in IPA.

Vowels

front back
high i · y u
mid e · ø o
low a
  • All vowels are transcribed with their IPA symbols.

Prosody

Lotoka has a very simple syllable structure. All non-initial syllables are of the form CV; word-initially, an empty onset (V) is also allowed.

There is a dynamic stress accent, which falls uniformly on the first syllable of a word.

Vowels in stressed syllables are lengthened noticeably. A phonemic vowel length distinction was recently lost from the prestige dialect; however, some varieties (notably in the easternmost regions of the Lotoka peninsula, adjacent to an area where Núalís-Takuña languages are spoken) preserve historical vowel length.

Sound changes from Proto-Peninsular


Nominal morphology

Lotoka nominals (a word class which includes full nouns, pronouns, and determiners) inflect for number and a total of nine cases.

Number

Plural number is usually indicated via reduplication of the first syllable of the word; some extremely common nouns and a few pronouns have irregular plurals. There is also a class of uncountable nouns which are inherently plural; these can form a singulative by suffixing -je. Number is only ever marked on the last word in a noun phrase, so the noun itself remains unmarked if a determiner is present.

Case

Case is marked with suffixes. The regular forms of the case markers are given in the table below. Many nouns use an extended stem for suffixed forms; usually this entails reappearance of an etymological root-final consonant. Extended stems are unpredictable and must be learned as a principal part along with the root. Some extended stems cause mutation of suffix-initial consonants; the relevant forms will be treated as irregular and given in the lexicon.

direct indicates a syntactic core participant of the action (subject, primary object)
accusative -wo indicates a patient, theme or goal which is not a primary object
possessive -je indicates possession or inalienable association, e.g. composition or partition; also the subject of nominalised verbs
genitive -to indicates alienable association, subjective viewpoint, standard of comparison, instrument or means, or an agent that is not a subject
benefactive -ŋe indicates beneficiary, target or recipient
locative -ni indicates location or circumstance
allative -ñø indicates movement towards a location
ablative -lu indicates origin, source, or movement away from a location
coordinative -ko indicates companionship, apposition, or secondary predication

Like number, cases are only marked once per noun phrase, being suffixed to the determiner if present. It could thus be argued that the case markers are not true suffixes, but enclitics.

The meaning of all cases may be negated by suffixing the negative morpheme -mi.

Pronouns

singular plural
1 2 3 refl. 1 excl. 1 incl. 2 3 refl.
direct we na je uje wewe wena nana jo unu
accusative no ijo ujo weŋø wenawo nawo jawo unuwo
possessive wi i uje weje wenaje naje jaje unuje
genitive weto nato ito ujeto weweto wenato nanato jato unuto
benefactive weŋe naŋe iŋe ujeŋe weweŋe wenaŋe nanaŋe jaŋe unoŋe
locative weni nani ini ujeni weweni wenani nanani jani unyni
allative weñø nañø iñø ujeñø weweñø wenañø nanañø jeñø unyñø
ablative welu nalu ilu ujelu wewelu wenalu nanalu jalu unylu
coordinative weko nako iko ujeko weweko wenako nanako jako unuko

Determiners

   topic    proximal   distal   cataphoric anaphoric interrogative
direct ma gu o tu su ko
accusative mawo guwo owo tuwo syjo kowo
possessive maje ø
genitive mato guto oto tuto syto koto
benefactive maŋe goŋe oŋe toŋe søŋe køŋe
locative mani gyni oni tyni syni køni
allative mañø gyñø eñø tyñø syñø køñø
ablative malu gylu alu tylu sylu kølu
coordinative mako guko oko tuko syko koko

The distal determiner forms its plural by prefixing Vw- (nom.pl owo, poss.pl øwø, all.pl eweñø etc.).

Verbal morphology

The template for verbs is as follows:

STEM  
applicative augment    ROOT    extension tense voice polarity mood & aspect

Applicative prefixes

Lotoka has six grammaticalised applicatives, which are prefixed to the verb. When attached to intransitive verbs they increase valency by adding a new primary object in the role specified by the prefix; when attached to transitive verbs they promote an oblique object to the primary object slot, demoting the original object to oblique.

All of these prefixes have different allomorphs used with consonant-initial and vowel-initial verb stems respectively; note that the benefactive and locative applicatives merge before vowels.

  • benefactive (ben): ŋe-/ñ-
  • locative (loc): ni-/ñ- (causes devoicing of stem-initial voiced plosives)
  • dative, allative, accusative (dat): a-/am-
  • genitive, ablative (gen): lu-/l-
  • instrumental (instr): uda-/ud-
  • essive, adverbial (ess): dø-/daj-

Augment

Many verb stems exhibit an augment, which consists of reduplication of the first syllable (usually CV~ for consonant-initial stems and VC~ for vowel-initial stems). The semantics of these augmented stems are lexically determined and often quite idiosyncratic; the most common meanings are habitual, frequentative, iterative, distributive, reciprocal, or intensive.

Occasionally, verbs with applicative prefixes have been reanalysed as a new root, from which augmented forms were subsequently formed; e.g. uma- 'cook' > ñ-uma- 'cook for' > ñuma- 'host, invite' > ñu-ñuma- 'be friends with'.

Stem extensions

PPI's system of semi-derivational aspect stems has become unproductive in Lotoka, though many of the suffixes survive as stem extensions of mostly rather vague meaning. Only a few of the original aspect suffixes, whose semantics have remained fairly coherent, can still be used to derive new lexical items. However, several new derivational verb-to-verb suffixes have been created through compounding.

A list of frequent stem extensions is given below, along with some notes regarding their productivity.

  • -(j)yg- - forms progressive or durative verbs (no valency effects; fairly productive)
  • -mi- - forms intransitive verbs of becoming (fully productive, especially with roots denoting occupations or qualities)
  • -(i)s- - forms stative verbs from intransitive verbs of becoming (unproductive, but common in the lexicon)
  • -we- - forms statives from transitive verbs (mostly unproductive)
  • -(u)be- - forms statives from a variety of bases (somewhat productive, especially with nominal roots)
  • -(i)ta- - forms resultatives and telic perfectives (always transitive; fairly productive)
  • -aš- - forms causative verbs (original agent becomes oblique; fully productive)
  • -lo- - forms abilitative verbs, both stative and dynamic (no valency effects; fairly productive)

Tense

Lotoka verbs mark past tense with a series of lexically selected suffixes that are technically stem extensions, but which have retained their status as productive inflectional morphology (even though tense marking has become optional in many situations). Most of the past tense suffixes have the shape /i/ + coronal consonant; the exact forms are -(i)s-, -(i)t-, -(i)d-, -(i)n-, and -(w)y-. The variant -(w)y- causes a preceding voiced plosive to become voiceless; the variant -(i)t- causes following u o to front to y ø.

Voice

As in other Peninsular languages, voice is arguably the most important verbal category. Lotoka distinguishes five morphological voices:

  • intransitive active (act): -Ø-
  • intransitive passive (pass): -(a)l-
  • transitive active (tr.act): -e(j)-
  • transitive passive (tr.pass): -is-
  • reflexive (refl): -uš-

Polarity

Negative polarity is marked with the suffix -an-, which becomes -on- in the passive or reflexive voices or when directly following a past tense morpheme that ends in a consonant, and reduces to -n- when directly following a vowel. In the imperative mood, negative polarity is expressed differently; however, this is best treated as a separate prohibitive mood because it can actually co-occur with the regular negative morpheme (even though the bare imperative cannot).

Mood and aspect

The last section of the Lotoka verb features slightly fusional marking for a variety of semantic categories, which are traditionally summarised as "mood and aspect", even though this is arguably inaccurate. The markers appearing in this slot are as follows:

  • indicative perfective (pfv): -u (fronted to -y after š ñ ŋ and when directly following the tr.pass marker; -wo after u o a)
  • indicative imperfective/negative (ipfv): -i (-je after i e a; -wi after other vowels; coalesces with some stem-final o into )
  • subjunctive/irrealis (subj): -a
  • optative/future (opt): -(e)ŋø
  • imperative (imp): -e (-ja after vowels)
  • prohibitive (proh): -(y)no
  • perfective gerund (ger.pfv): -aku
  • imperfective/negative gerund (ger.ipfv): -aki

It should be noted that the perfective/imperfective contrast in the indicative and the gerund (which descends from PPI phase marking) is actually agreement with inherent semantic properties of the verb, not "verbal aspect" per se. For example, using -u with lexically durative verbs is simply ungrammatical; it does not change the aspectual value. A similar relation holds for polarity: all negated verbs that do not stand in the subjunctive or optative mood must end in -i or one of its allomorphs.

Stative verbs

An important distinction, both semantically and (morpho-)syntactically, is drawn between dynamic and stative verbs. Only dynamic verbs can be the head of a clause; statives always act as modifiers to a clause or noun phrase.

From a semantic point of view, the distinction is mostly based on telicity. Goal-oriented or punctual events, achievements, and accomplishments are usually described with dynamic verbs; states, static positions, and ongoing atelic activities are usually described with statives. With regard to motion, dynamic verbs are used to convey direction and path shape, and statives are used to describe the manner of motion. Similarly, dynamic verbs are used to encode the result of a process, while stative verbs are used for the process itself. Most concepts that are typically referred to by adjectives in other languages are expressed by stative verbs in Lotoka.

Morphologically, stative verbs are simpler than dynamic ones. They do have augmented forms (usually with intensive meaning; this is actually more predictable than it is for dynamic verbs), but while some statives diachronically contain applicative prefixes and/or the reflexive voice marker, these affixes are merely used for derivational purposes. Stative verbs truly exhibit inflection only for polarity and phase, i.e. the perfective/imperfective/subjunctive contrast. In the majority of situations, statives take the imperfective suffix -i; however, the perfective -u appears on statives that are used adverbially in a perfective clause (agreeing with the main verb), as well as on statives used as noun modifiers when they presented contrastive information, and the subjunctive -a appears on all statives with semantic irrealis value or used adverbially in a non-indicative clause. Unlike dynamic verbs, negative polarity is independent of mood/aspect marking.

Stative verbs often take a nominal complement, which generally appears in the direct case.

The copula

Lotoka has two copulae; ag- (past tense: ed-) for temporary or alienable predicates, and uje- (past tense: wis-) for permanent or inalienable predicates. Morphologically these are slightly irregular transitive verbs that do not inflect for voice, but can take the full set of polarity and mood/aspect endings. The copula can take as its object a noun phrase or an inflected stative verb, which must always appear immediately before it.

The following table lists the inflection of both copulae:

temporary permanent
non-past past non-past past
positive negative positive negative positive negative positive negative
perfective (pfv) agu anu edu edonu ujø ujenu wisu wisonu
imperfective (ipfv) agi ani edi edoni uje ujeni wisi wisoni
subjunctive (subj) aga ana eda edona uja ujena wisa wisona
optative (opt) aŋø anoŋø edeŋø edoneŋø yŋø ujeŋø wiseŋø wisoneŋø
imperative (imp) ajo ajono uje ujeno

In existential clauses and with statives, the bare copula is used. Nominal predicates use a copula with the essive applicative prefix, which replaces the initial vowel in the permanent non-past (giving e.g. the following perfective forms: temporary npst dajagu dajanu, past dajedu dajedonu; permanent npst døjø døjenu, past døwisu døwisonu).

Syntax

The basic sentence order in Lotoka is SOV. The main verb almost always comes last; the subject NP always immediately precedes the primary object, if there is one. Adverbial statives are normally placed in pre-verbal position. Postpositional phrases or oblique noun phrases may be placed in pre-verbal or sentence-initial position; the latter construction has a topicalising function.

Only a few discourse-level particles such as the interrogative ka, the mirative la, the contrastive miko, the coordinative ko, or the quotative ini may regularly appear after the main verb. An innovative construction, however, allows these particles to take postposed NP complements, which must correspond syntactically but not referentially to an argument of the preceding clause (this construction originates from omitting all identical constituents, notably the verb itself, from a coordinated clause).

Within noun phrases, constituent order is also largely head-final. Most modifiers go before the head noun; among these, relative clauses generally come first, followed by postpositional modifier phrases, nouns in an oblique case, and stative phrases. Determiners appear immediately after the noun (carrying case marking over to themselves), and quantifiers (including numerals, which are a subclass of statives) take up the final slot in a noun phrase.

relative clauses postpositional phrases oblique nouns statives HEAD NOUN determiner =CASE quantifier

It is also possible to form headless noun phrases, which consist of exactly one modifier constituent and a mandatory determiner (optionally inflected for case and/or taking a quantifier).


  • Wi imada magaminejaku ma døni šysitadu.
    wi imada magam-in-e-aku ma døni šys-ita-d-u
    1SG.POSS boat break-PAST-TR.ACT-GER.PFV TOP CIRC sink-RES-PAST-PFV
    With my breaking the boat they drowned.


Sample text

The fisherman and the fish

Main article: The fisherman and the fish


Bi tyni pade, tuja ma bi su šyme lowototo šynani nitybesi miko, mišigi wiso pade peju gatøteloseju. Wiso godødu ini, "Tuja la, we ma gajesoni agi. Lowoto ma taje weto gagajesi wiwiso bašo ñolisi. We ypañø wanoda amajupašaleŋø ko, gajesa gamina ka? Weko gajesa aga mato, na we umumuna mabajena ka? Dølu weŋe ajubitaŋø ugyde!"

Tuja ma šoŋøñø mimijodu ko, godødu ini, "Unyna aga. Wiso la, gumu ma we na šøŋy gatøtadeju. Naŋe ajubita ugydeja mato, we na gatøtejaku lošalulowena. Dølu we ma wanaluni ko, unyni na ypañø wanodø amajupašani."

Interlinear gloss

Bi
bi
day
tyni
tu=ni
CATA=LOC
pade,
pado-i
one-IPFV
tuja
tuja
fisherman
ma
ma
TOP
bi
bi
day
su
su
ANA
šyme
šyme
all
lowototo
lowoto=to
ocean=GEN
šynani
šyna=ni
coast=LOC
nitybesi
ni-tybe-s-i
LOC-fish-PAST-IPFV
miko,
miko
CONTR
mišigi
mišig-i
small-IPFV
wiso
wiso
fish
pade
pado-i
one-IPFV
peju
pej-u
only-PFV
gatøteloseju.
gatøt-lo-s-e-u
catch-ABIL-PAST-TR.ACT-PFV
On one of these days, a fisherman had been fishing at the coast of the ocean all day, but he had been able to catch only one small fish.
Wiso
wiso
fish
godødu
goda-d-u
speak-PAST-PFV
ini,
ini
QUOT
The fish said,
"Tuja
tuja
fisherman
la,
la
MIR
we
we
1SG
ma
ma
TOP
gajesoni
gajes-on-i
big-NEG-IPFV
agi."
agi
be.TMP.IPFV
"Fisherman, look, I am not yet big."
"Lowoto
lowoto
ocean
ma
ma
TOP
taje
ta-i
much-IPFV
weto
weto
1SG.GEN
gagajesi
ga~gajes-i
COMP~big-IPFV
wiwiso
wi~wiso
PL~fish
bašo
bašo
many
ñolisi."
ni-olis-i
LOC-stay-IPFV
"The ocean contains many fish that are much larger than me."
"We
we
1SG
ypañø
ypa=ñø
water=ALL
wanoda
wanodo-a
again-SUBJ
amajupašaleŋø
amajupaš-al-eŋø
throw-PASS-OPT
ko,
ko
and
gajesa
gajes-a
big-SUBJ
gamina
gami-n-a
grow-NEG-SUBJ
ka?"
ka
Q
"I should be thrown into the water again, and wouldn't I then grow big?"
"Weko
we=ko
1SG=COORD
gajesa
gajes-a
big-SUBJ
aga
aga
be.TMP.SUBJ
mato,
ma=to
TOP=GEN
na
na
2SG
we
we
1SG
umumuna
um~umun-a
COMP~good-SUBJ
mabajena
maba-e-n-a
eat-TR.ACT-NEG-SUBJ
ka?"
ka
Q
"And if I was big, couldn't you then eat me much better?"
"Dølu
dølu
therefore
weŋe
we=ŋe
1SG=BEN
ajubitaŋø
ajub-ita-ŋø
fall-RES-OPT
ugyde!"
ugyd-e
give-IMP
"So let me fall!"
Tuja
tuja
fisherman
ma
ma
TOP
šoŋøñø
šoŋø=ñø
sky=ALL
mimijodu
mimi-id-u
look-PAST-PFV
ko,
ko
and
godødu
goda-d-u
speak-PAST-PFV
ini,
ini
QUOT
The fisherman looked towards the sky, and he said,
"Unyna
unyn-a
no.way-SUBJ
aga."
aga
be.TMP.SUBJ
"No way this will happen!"
"Wiso
wiso
fish
la,
la
MIR
gumu
gum-u
now-PFV
ma
ma
TOP
we
we
1SG
na
na
2SG
šøŋy
šøŋ-u
certain-PFV
gatøtadeju."
gatøt-ta-d-e-u
catch-RES-PAST-TR.ACT-PFV
"Fish, look, now I have caught you for certain."
"Naŋe
na=ŋe
2SG=BEN
ajubita
ajub-ita-a
fall-RES-SUBJ
ugydeja
ugyd-e-a
give-TR.ACT-SUBJ
mato,
ma=to
TOP=GEN
we
we
1SG
na
na
2SG
gatøtejaku
gatøt-e-aku
catch-TR.ACT-GER.PFV
lošalulowena."
lošalu-lo-e-n-a
repeat-ABIL-TR.ACT-NEG-SUBJ
"If I let you fall, I might not be able to repeat catching you."
"Dølu
dølu
therefore
we
we
1SG
ma
ma
TOP
wanaluni
wanalu-n-i
change.mind-NEG-IPFV
ko,
ko
and
unyni
unyn-i
no.way-IPFV
na
na
2SG
ypañø
ypa=ñø
water=ALL
wanodø
wanodo-i
again-IPFV
amajupašani."
amajupaš-an-i
throw-NEG-IPFV
"So I won't change my mind, and I will not throw you back into the water."

Lexicon

See also