Proto-Muyan

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To Be Continued...
Frislander is still working on this article. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.
Proto-Muyan
Period c. -2000YP
Spoken in NW Tuysáfa
Total speakers unknown
Writing system none
Classification unknown
Typology
Basic word order unknown
Morphology agglutinative w. some polysynthesis
Alignment ergative
Credits
Created by Frislander

Proto-Muyan is the reconstructed ancestor of the Muyan languages spoken in Northwest Tuysáfa. It was likely spoken around -2000 YP. It is thought to belong to the Mediundic phylum. Its speakers have long had contact with Ronquian and Wendoth speakers, and indeed some terms in Proto-Muyan appear to be loans from those languages. However, resemblances between the grammatical structure of Muyan and other Mediundic languages of southern Tuysáfa have led to speculation that its speakers originally migrated from further south than the Muyan homeland.

Muyan is not the native name. The speakers of Proto-Muyan would most likely not have referred to themselves as a single people: if asked what they called themselves they would likely respond by giving the name of their local settlement or band. However, if asked for the name of their language they would almost certainly reply with [[]].

IMPORTANT NOTE: the project is currently undergoing major revision in all areas, so expect the page to change radically

Phonology

Consonants

Consonants Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular
Aspirated Stops *pʰ *tʰ *cʰ *kʰ *qʰ
Implosive stops
Nasal stops *m *n
Approximants *w *l *j

Note that for the rest of this description for ease of reading aspiration will be unmarked.

Vowels

*iː *ɯː
*e
*æː *ɒː

Phonation

In Proto-Muyan vowels had either a breathy or glottal/creaky phonation. In many of the daughter languages this led to the addition of vowel quality distinctions.

Phonotactics & Distribution

Syllable structure was C(G)V(C), where initial clusters consisted of stop + approximant, and coda consonants consisted of *m, *n, *l, where *n would assimilate to a dorsal place of articulation.

Additionally there were restrictions on the occurrence of dorsals and certain vowels. The palatals could only occur before front vowels, *l then a front vowel, and *j, while the uvulars could not occur in the same position.

Morphology

General

Stem derivation

Compounding & incorporation

Reduplication

There are multiple reduplication strategies reconstructable to Proto-Muyan. The most notable processes are initial CV- reduplication, which represented a plural with animate nouns and may have also been used as a pluractional marker in verbs; and full reduplication which gave an augmentative meaning. Other reduplicative patterns may have been present but have since become unproductive in the daughter languages, while in some of the languages new ones have arisen.

Derivational affixes

There were a few productive derivational affixes in Proto-Muyan, covering a few basic semantic roles. All of these were limited to deriving new nouns from verbs; there was no productive means of deriving new verbs directly from root nouns, with all such forms being achieved using noun incorporation into verbal words. A list of reconstructable forms is given below.

  • *ce̤-: agent noun from verb without prefixes.
  • *-nḭː: agent noun from verb with prefixes.
  • *tlʌ̰n-: instrument noun from verb without prefixes.
  • *-lɯ̤ː: instrument noun from verb with prefixes.
  • *mje̤--nʊ̤: product/result noun (the *-nu part is the passive prefix).
  • *mæ̰ːl-: abstract noun.

Nominal Morphology

Case

Proto-Muyan nouns showed a very simple case system, with likely three cases being distinguished; an unmarked absolutive, an dative/accusative in -m(ʊ̤) and a locative/instrumental in -ɲjʌ̰l.

Number

There was a simple number-marking system in Proto-Muyan, whereby animate nouns were marked as plural by initial CV- reduplication.

Verbal Morphology

Verbal morphology in Proto-Muyan took the form of templatic polysynthesis.

-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4
Clitic Incorporate Deixis Mood Person Root Voice Aspect Local Object Marker Classifier

Clitics

The verbal complex could be preceded by a number of bound clitics of varying semantics.

  • *nʌ̰m=: negative
  • *qɯ̤ːl=: partially
  • *mʌ̤kæ̰ː=: too much/in excess
  • *ɠlʌ̰lḛ=: again/also/as well
  • *cjʊ̤ɓe̤=: already
  • *wi̤ːnnʌ̰=: go and do X

Incorporate

Proto-Muyan verbs could incorporate a nominal root, with restrictions on what roles the nominal could fulfill, likely along the ergative pattern of an intransitive subject or a transitive patient.

  • *wi̤ːnnʌ̰kḭːcḛɠwʌ̤mʊ̤nʌ̤ci̤ːl
    wi̤ːnnʌ̰=kḭːcḛ-ɠwʌ̤-mʊ̤-nʌ̤-ci̤ːl
    go_and=fish-DIST-IRR-1-spear

    "I'll go and spear some fish over there"

Deixis

In Proto-Muyan the verb was the main site of the marking of deixis, to the point that there were no demonstrative pronouns as such. There were three degrees distinguished: proximal, distal and absent or remote, the latter being used for arguments not immediately visible or that were visible at some point in the past. These were marked on verbs, and like other verbal morphology could appear on the definite root ŋe̤, thus forming a set of demonstrative pronoun equivalents.

Proximal *ʄe̤-
Distal *ɠwʌ̤-
Absent *ʛʌ̰-
  • *ʛʌ̰nɑʌ̤ɴwɒ̤ːɲḭːpjæ̰ː
    ʛʌ̰-nʌ̤-ɴwɒ̤ː-ɲḭː-pjæ̰ː
    ABS-1-kill-PRF-IND

    "I killed someone there"
  • *tɯ̤ːm ʄe̤ŋe̤plḛ
    tɯ̤ːm ʄe̤-ŋe̤-plḛ
    pull PROX-DEF-flexible

    "Pull this rope thing"

Mood

There was also marking on the verb for mood, which also included some marking of evidentiality. There was a generic irrealis marker, and two other markers for reported information and information gained by inference, while the indicative, imperative and interrogative moods were unmarked.

Irrealis *mʊ̤-
Indirect/Reported *qɒ̤ː-
Inferred *cḭːn-

Person

While in some daughter languages a passive-inverse system developed, in Proto-Muyan the verb only showed full person marking for the subject (supplemented by the Local Object marker and the Impersonal/Indefinite suffix), with no additional marking for number. The only persons which take overt marking are 1st and 2nd, with 3rd person not receiving any marking.

1st Person *nʌ̤-
2nd Person *je̤-

Voice

Voice marking in Proto-Muyan was to some extent independent of transitivity, though this is made more difficult by the reflexes of many of the prefixes having wildly different functions between the different daughter languages. Currently 3 voice prefixes are reconstructed, however commonalities between some of the other prefixes found in the duaghters could also date back to the proto-language as well.

Passive/Inverse *-nʊ̤
Applicative/Antipassive *-tlæ̰ː
Reflexive/Reciprocal *-wḛl
  • *ɠwʌ̤ʄæ̰ːwḛltlæ̰ːɠwḭː lɒ̤ːkʊ̰m
    ɠwʌ̤-ʄæ̰ː-wḛl-tlæ̰ː-ɠwḭː lɒ̤ːkʊ̰-m
    DIST-gather-REF-ANT-animate hut-DAT

    "We'll gather together in that hut over there"
  • *nʌ̤tjɯ̰ːltlæ̰ːɲḭːɠwḭː cḛmpʊ̰ɲjʌ̰l
    nʌ̤-tjɯ̰ːl-tlæ̰ː-ɲḭː-ɠwḭː cḛmpʊ̰-ɲjʌ̰l
    1-hunt-ANT-PRF-animate deer-LOC

    "I hunted some deer"

Aspect

Aspect marking in Proto-Muyan was relatively simple, having overt marking for a perfective suffix *-ɲḭː and a progressive suffix *-ɗe̤, which most of the daughter languages have kept pretty much the same.

Local Object Marker

The Local Object Marker suffix *-n(ʌ̤) (the (ʌ̤) being inserted when the suffix comes after a consonant) was likely used to mark that the direct object of the verb was 1st or 2nd person, though again the function of this suffix varies in the languages that retain it.

Classifier suffix

In this slot many verb roots could take an optional suffix classifying their absolutive argument based on shape and animacy. The exact composition of this slot is uncertain, as all the daughter languages either added to this system, reduced it, or sometimes lost it altogether. A tentative list of the best-attested classifiers is given below.

  • *-ɗʌ̤: round objects
  • *-kʊ̤n: long, stiff objects (likely related to kʊ̤nwʌ̰l "stick")
  • *-tɯ̤ːm: sheets
  • *-plḛ: flexible objects (likely related to pæ̰ːplḛ "rope")
  • *-ɠwḭː: live animals, humans

The Indefinite suffix *-pjæ̰ː was also found in this slot. This is the only such suffix which has survived in all the daughter languages, however its functions have often been altered, from marking an indefinite argument to an inclusive subject.

Pronominals

Personal pronouns are based off of the definite root *ŋe̤, with prefixed personal prefixes for 1st and 2nd persons, while indefinites are formed from the root *jæ̰ː.

Syntax

General

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Usage of Morphology

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Complex Constructions

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Relative Clauses

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Other Subordinate Clauses

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See Also

Proto-Muyan/Lexicon