U Ishe

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U Ishe
[u iʒe]
Period c. -700 YP
Spoken in Ishe
(Lukpanic coast)
Total speakers c. 80,000
Writing system Lukpanic script
Classification Lukpanic
 Isi dialect
Basic word order head-initial
Morphology agglutinating
Alignment unknown
Created by Dunomapuka;
this dialect: Thedukeofnuke

This is a short description of the Lukpanic dialect, called by its speakers U Ishe, spoken in Isi (local name Ishe) in the eighth to seventh centuries BP. Ishe was one of the largest and most central cities of the Lukpanic civilisation, and its dialect was correspondingly one of the most prestigious in the region.

From the late second millenium BP onwards, the Coastal Western peoples of the northeast started to migrate into the Lukpanic lands. During the 7th century BP, the city-state of Ishe experienced a major influx of Coastal Western people, who had already come to dominate the eastern Lukpanic cities. Wars were fought intermittently between the Western and Lukpanic nations, but ultimately the Western peoples gained dominance due to their greater mobility and numbers and their longer experience with warfare. In -589 YP, the Western chieftain Ùgabadá took advantage of a period of political turmoil to seize power in Ishe and have himself proclaimed king. By the end of the fifth century BP the Lukpanic population of Ishe had been subsumed by the Western immigrants, and their dialect gradually became extinct - although its influence remained as a robust substratum in Ishoʻu ʻOhu, the Coastal Western language of the area.


Consonant Phonemes.

Labial Alveolar Post-alveolar Velar Glottal
Plosive p /p/ b /b/ t /t/ d /d/ ch /ʧ/ j /ʤ/ k /k/ g /ɡ/
Fricative v /β/ s /s/ sh /ʃ/ h /ɦ/
Nasal m /m/ n /n/ ŋ /ŋ/
Liquid l /l/

Vowel Phonemes.

Front Back
High i /i/ u /u/
Mid e /e/ o /o/
Low a /a/ å /ɒ/

Phonetic detail and phonotactics

[z ʒ] were allophones of /s ʃ/ between vowels. /p t k ʧ/ were probably lightly aspirated.

A number of phonemic distinctions were rather marginal. Alveolar and post-alveolar obstruents only contrasted before /e/; /ɡ/ could only appear initially; /ɒ/ only appeared before /m n ŋ β l/, while /a/ did not appear before /β l/; /i/ did not appear finally.

Syllable structure was generally (C)V, as in Proto-Lukpanic, with /p b m l/ permitted word-finally. Vowels in hiatus were common, but sequences of two identical vowels were broken up with /ɦ/.

Sound changes from Proto-Lukpanic

The phonological developments in the Isi dialect show most similarity to those in the dialects of Doanu and Iəvaku to the west, and to a lesser extent the dialect of Siŋmeasita (the other prestige dialect). The Isi dialect is relatively conservative, especially considering that the city was a major trade centre.

  • /t d s/ palatalise to [ʧ ʤ ʃ] before [i]
  • [ea oa] (phonemically /ia ua/) become [e o]
  • /i/ merges with /e/ finally
  • /a/ becomes [ɒ] before resonants and [β]
  • /aə iə uə/ merge with /a e o/
  • /h/ is lost unconditionally
  • /g/ lenits to [ɦ] unconditionally
  • /s ʃ/ lenite to [z ʒ] intervocalically
  • /ŋ͡m k͡p ɡ͡b/ merge with /ŋ k ɡ/ initially and /m p b/ otherwise