| For the description of this language as reconstructed in the 2011-2014 Relay, see Proto-Dumic (reconstructed).|
Also available: Proto-Dumic (reconstructed)/Lexicon
| Proto-Dumic |
|Period||c. -2000 YP|
|Spoken in|| western|
|Basic word order||SOV|
|Created by|| WeepingElf|
Proto-Dumic is a language spoken in the hills to the west of the Great Bay (Tagimī) during the early Bronze Age. It is significant as the ancestor of the Dumic languages.
The term Dumic is derived from the Trinesian word for "people", dum.
- 1 Background
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Morphology
- 4 Syntax
- 5 See also
The speakers of Proto-Dumic lived in the warm, hilly lands to the west of the Great Bay around the start of the second millennium BP. They were a largely settled, agricultural people organised into loose chiefdoms. Authority was passed down patrilineally, and was both temporal and religious; each chief was expected to intercede with the gods and the ancestors, who resided in a parallel spirit world, for the benefit of their subjects.
In this and other ways, material and spiritual power were thoroughly intertwined in Proto-Dumic culture. Metal – a rare commodity – was especially viewed as having supernatural properties, and the ideas of lustre and radiance were associated with power. Notably, the symbols of rulership were an inalienably possessed bronze axe and spear.
Phonotactics and morphophonology
Syllable structure is CV(N). Most roots are bisyllabic, although a few are of the form CVN and a few are trisyllabic.
Voiceless and voiced (non-nasal) consonants alternate: a voiced consonant following a coda nasal is changed to its voiceless counterpart. (However, nasals do not assimilate in place of articulation.) Hence the only permissible form of cluster is a nasal followed by an unvoiced consonant or another nasal.
Proto-Dumic has a dynamic stress that falls on the penultimate syllable of the word. Postpositions may carry secondary stress, although there is no clear rule governing its assignment.
Proto-Dumic is a highly regular, mostly suffixing, agglutinative language.
Nouns decline for four numbers (singular, dual, trial, plural) and three cases (absolutive, ergative, postpositional), which are indicated by suffixes. The number suffix precedes the case suffix.
Possession can be indicated by the addition of a prefix – transparently identical to the corresponding pronoun – to the possessum. Prefixes ending in a nasal trigger the voiced-to-voiceless change in initial consonants as normal.
Some nouns are inalienably possessed, and cannot occur without a possessive prefix.
Personal pronouns distinguish inclusivity in the first person and gender in the third, and decline as regular nouns.
Note that the demonstratives ('this, that') are fully distinct from the interrogatives ('who, what').
Verbs take suffixes for reflexivity, aspect, mood, evidentiality, and voice, in that order (although the reflexive is properly a derived form and is not described here). A verb in a subordinate clause also takes the subordinating suffix after all other suffixes.
There is no separate class of adjectives in Proto-Dumic; verbs fill the same function. A verb used attributively takes the subordinator -ki.
|diminutive||-kin, -tam, -miri|
|a kind of X||-niri|
|sth. related to X||-pini|
|mass of X||-tumka|
|to make an X||-kanti|
|to be an X||-miði|
|to have an X||-ðuði/-tuði|
|ABS doer / done thing||-ða/-ta|
|result of action||-ninta|
|to begin X||-timi|
|to stop X||-mumpi|
|to continue X||-rini/-sini|
|to repeat X||-ririn/-sirin|
The valency-adjusting suffixes merit special attention. They work as follows:
- Causative I, -ku, also works as transitivizer. The argument in ABS remains, the old argument in ERG (in transitives) is demoted (but can be re-introduced using an appropriate postposition), and a new argument in ERG is added which denotes the one who causes, initiates or controls the whole situation.
- 'X(abs) is_red' → 'Y(erg) makes X(abs) red'
- 'X(erg) sees Y(abs)' → Z(erg) shows Y(abs) (to X(obl))
- Causative II, -taka, is applied to transitives only and can be viewed as causative I from antipassive: the argument in ABS is demoted (can be reintroduced), the old argument in ERG is put in ABS, a new argument in ERG denotes the causator.
- 'X(erg) makes Y(abs) red' → 'Z(erg) makes X(abs) make things red'
- 'X(erg) sees Y(abs)' → 'Z(erg) makes X(abs) see (e. g. cures X's blindness)'
- De-causitive/detransitive, -sun, is applied to transitives (including causatives), the argument in ABS remains, the argument in ERG is demoted together with the idea that the situation was caused/initiated/controlled by anyone.
- 'X(erg) opens Y(abs)' → 'Y(abs) is open'
- 'X(erg) sees Y(abs)' → 'Y(abs) is visible'
In an applicative construction, an oblique argument is promoted to the position of absolutive, while the former absolutive is demoted (but can be reintroduced with a semantically appropriate postposition). The morphological marking for such applicatives is based on the postposition taken by the original oblique argument. The marker can be derived from the respective postposition by a prefix tim- (with standard consonant alternations), and the whole derived marker is then prefixed to the verb.
Compounding is highly productive and head-final.
Basic word order
The basic word order is SOV, although any of the six orders is possible. The language has a strong tendency towards being head-final.
Appositions are used in the postpositional case and precede their head noun.
To express attributive possession between two alienable nouns, the genitive postposition ðin is used following the possessor, which is in the postpositional case, and before the possessum.
Some nouns - mostly body parts or social relations - are inalienably possessed. (They are identified in the lexicon.) Inalienably possessed nouns can only occur with a possessive prefix.
If the possessor is a pronoun, the possessive prefixes alone are normally used, whether the possessum is inalienably possessed or not.
However, it is possible to emphasise the possessor by using the personal pronoun with ðin. The possessive prefix is also used if the possessum is inalienable.