Tumetıęk/Grammar

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Tumetıęk is a T1 language spoken alongside with Omari in the northern reaches of the Wohata plain in eastern Tuysáfa, roughly contemporaneously with classical Edastean languages such as Adāta and Fáralo.

Phonology

Phoneme inventory

Consonants

The consonant inventory of Tumetıęk is given in the table below. Where phonemes are arranged in pairs, the voiced phoneme is found to the right of the middle dot.

labial coronal palatal dorsal
nasal m n
stop p · b t · d k · ɡ
fricative s · z
rhotic r
glide j
  • Voiceless stops aspirate to [pʰ tʰ kʰ] word-initially before a vowel.
  • Voiced stops lenite to [β ð ɣ] between vowels. In some dialects, this change is confined to the onsets of unstressed syllables.
  • Voiced obstruents prenasalise after a nasal vowel.
  • The palatal /j/ labialises to [ɥ] before a rounded vowel.
  • The velar plosives palatalise to [c ɟ] before front vowels. The aspirated allophone of /k/ before front vowels is [cʰ], and the lenited allophone of /ɡ/ before front vowels is [ʝ]. The prenasalised and palatalised allophones of /g/ before front vowels are [ᶮɟ] and [ᶮʝ], with the latter allophone found in the same environment as other lenited allophones.
    • Coronal consonants can palatalise to [n̠ʲ t̠ʲ ~ ts̠ʲ d̠ʲ ~ dz̠ʲ s̠ʲ z̠ʲ r̠ʲ] before front vowels in several dialects closer to Omari territory.
    • The onglide of a diphthong may drop after an allophonically palatalised consonant: kıayu [ˈcʰɑɥʊ].
  • The palatal /j/ is written y. Other consonants are written as in IPA, or with the text equivalent of their IPA representation (e.g. /ɡ/ is written g).

Vowels

The four phonemic monophthongs of Tumetıęk are organised into a square-shaped system, which is shown in the table below.

front back
close i u
open e a
  • The vowels can combine to form the diphthongs /ae ai au ea ei eu ia ie iu ua ue ui/.
  • All vowels can occur nasalised, in which case they are marked with an ogonek: ı̨ ę ą ų. As for the diphthongs, nasalisation is not marked on glides: ąı ąu ıų uı̨.
  • The low vowels /e a/ are generally realised as [ɛ ɑ].
  • The high vowels /i u/ reduce to [ɪ ʊ ~ ɔ] in unstressed syllables. The [ʊ] allophone is preferred over [ɔ] in phonetic transcription.
  • The high vowel /i/ is written as a dotless ı in the orthography. Other vowels are written as in IPA.

Phonotactics

The syllable structure of Tumetıęk can be summarised as (C)(C)V(C)(C). This is very oversimplified, and there are many constraints which make syllables such as pzer, tųrk, and mba illegal. For example, clusters with three or more consonants are disallowed.

Onset

Tumetıęk permits two consonants in an onset at most. The onset can be anything from zero consonant or one consonant, to more complex clusters such as ps and gr. The list of permitted onset clusters follows below.

A stop followed by a sibilant which agrees in voicing:

  • ps, ts, ks, dz, gz

A sibilant followed by a stop which agrees in voicing:

  • sp, st, sk, zb, zd, zg

An obstruent followed by a rhotic consonant:

  • pr, br, tr, dr, kr, gr, sr, zr

It is worth noting that clusters in grey, except for maybe /sr/, do not appear in root words; all instances of these clusters are produced by affixation (e.g. s-2SG.POSS” + dan “father” → zdan “your father”).

The said /sr/ appears in only one word: nasrı̨gru “impediment”, and this in a word-medial position. This means it can be either an onset cluster: /ˈna.sri.gru/, or spread across two syllables: /ˈnas.rĩ.ɡru/. Either way, /ˈna.srĩ.ɡru/ and /ˈnas.rĩ.ɡru/ would both develop to nósřıyra /ˈno.ʂɽij.rɑ/ in Tantšák, so the state of /sr/ remains unclear.

Nucleus

The syllable nucleus can consist of a single vowel or of a single diphthong. Triphthongs and syllabic consonants are disallowed.

Coda

Tumetıęk permits two consonants in a coda at most. The coda can be anything from zero consonant or any single consonant except r y, to more complex clusters such as nd. Coda clusters are rare, though, and are limited to a nasal followed by a voiced homorganic stop: mb nd.

Stress

Primary stress is weight-sensitive in Tumetıęk, falling on the heaviest syllable in a word: kuęgren [kʰʊ̯ɛˈɡrɛn], deądın [dɛ̯̃ɑ̃ˈðin]. If there are two or more equal-weight syllables, the first such syllable is stressed: gara [ˈgɑ.rɑ], etkun [ˈɛt.kʊn]. Stressed syllables can carry a higher pitch, bur this is left out from the phonetic transcription for the sake of readability, especially when a nasal vowel receives stress.

Morphophonology

Consonant voicing

The voiceless obstruents p t k s sometimes voice to b d g z between vowels or next to a sonorant. Plosives prone to voicing will be indicated with a middle dot ‹·›.

  • kenet· “bone” + -akgen” → kenedak “of bone”
  • - “1s” + ·kębʳ “cut off” → nıgęb “I cut off”

Consonant insertion

Some words end in a consonant which only surfaces before a vowel. Such consonants are superscripted (e.g. ᵐ ᵖ ʳ).

  • kųbʳ + “tooth” -akgen” → kųbrak “of tooth”
  • rıųgrıupˢ + “you annoy them” -eimp” → rıųgrıupse “annoy them”

If possible, words ending with such a consonant inflect as if they end with a vowel, so the genitive form of tumetıęᵐ’ “newcomer” is tumetıęk, instead of a hypothetical *tumetıęmıak.

Consonant lenition

Lenition is a type of consonant mutation which occurs at certain morpheme boundaries. Lenition generally makes consonants more sonorous, with the exception that the voiced plosive g lenites to a voiceless k. Leniting environments will be indicated with a plus sign ‹+›.

  • ak’· “water” + +̀ uacc” → agıu “water (acc)”
  • yęgʳ “be slow” + +ęᵐ’ “agentive” → yenę “slug; snail”

The outcomes of lenition are given in the table below.

plain lenited
p t k k’ b d g g’
Ṽbr Ṽdr Ṽgr Vm Vn Vn
Ṽbʳ Ṽdʳ Ṽgʳ
z g g’ r k y

Vowel nasalisation

If a nasal consonant comes before another consonant, it is realised as nasalisation of the previous vowel. However, some instances of n can resist nasalisation. Such instances will be indicated with a ring above ‹°› when word-final.

  • mun° “seven” + - ̀ kıkgen.med” → munkık “of those seven”
  • nın°- + “1s›2stıu “see” → nıntıu “I see you”

Some words that begin with a voiced obstruent (b d g z) can cause the previous vowel to nasalise. Such words will be indicated with a tilde ‹~› before the nasalising consonant.

  • nı-1s” + ~brat· “sibling” → nı̨brat “my sibling”
  • rı-1p” + ~zrı̨grıe “give” → rı̨zrı̨grıe “we give”

Rhotacism

If a nasal consonant, excluding , comes into contact with an obstruent, it nasalises the preceding vowel, voices that obstruent if it undergoes, and changes to a r which appears after the obstruent.

  • n-1s” + dan “father” → dran “my father”
  • s·-2s” + nęb “goat” → zręb “your goat”

Nasal assimilation

A fairly minor, yet regular process is the assimilation of to m before a labial stop. The stop undergoes voicing if applicable.

  • pun°-3›2s.pst” + bumunı̨ “avoid” → pumbumunı̨ “they avoided you”
  • pun°-3›2s.pst” + pekı “choose” → pumpekı “he chose you”

Deletion

If three or more consonants come into contact with one another, all consonants in the resulting sequence except the last two are deleted. The same holds for three-vowel sequences.

Some affixes are able to delete preceding vowels. They will be indicated by a grave accent ‹`›.

  • grıeka “duck” + -·`tınom.med ”→ grıektı “this duck”
  • madu “lips” + -`kanom.med” → matka “those lips”

Obstruents are regularly deleted before nasals, and clusters of two identical consonants are resolved to a single consonant.

  • ınd “be blue”+ naba “water” → ınaba “blue water” (via *innaba)
  • nęb “goat” + nęıya “cheese” → nęnęıya “goat cheese”

Voicing assimilation

If obstruents with different voicing come next to each other, regressive voicing assimilation applies.

  • kųbr “tooth” + -·`tınom.prx” → kųptı “this tooth”
  • madu “lips” + -`kanom.med” → matka “those lips”

Nominals

Nominal words in Tumetıęk fall into two distinct categories: nouns and pronouns, each with a little different morphological behaviour.

Nouns

Tumetıęk nouns inflect for case, deixis and pronominal possession by means of affixation. The case-deixis suffixes exhibit a considerable degree of fusion, and as such they are best treated as a single suffix type.

The exact ordering of noun inflections is given below.

-1 0 +1
possession stem case and deixis

Pronominal possession

Possession is marked on Tumetıęk nouns by means of prefixing. There is a small class of inherently possessed nouns, which mandatorily take a possessive prefix agreeing with their possessor. The most typical words in this class include body part terms, but some other nouns referring to parts of a larger whole, such as terms referring to people, especially kinship terms, are treated as such.

The possessive prefixes are given in the table below.

singular plural
_V _C _V _C
first person n’- n-¹ t- te-²
second person r- s-³ k’- kıe-⁴
third person bru- nu-
  • ¹ nı- before a sonorant or a consonant cluster.
  • ² sı- before a consonant cluster or one of /s z m n/, z- before prevocalic /b d g r/, combines with /j/ into sı-.
  • ³ t- before a prevocalic /s/, d- before prevocalic /z r/.
  • k’- before a prevocalic /s/, g- before prevocalic /z r/.

Case and deixis

Tumetıęk nouns inflect for case and deixis by means of fusional suffixes.

The case system is quite simple, with three cases: the nominative, the accusative, and the genitive.

Case usage is relatively straightforward: the accusative case marks direct objects and is used with some prepositions; the genitive case marks possessors in alienable possession constructions, and is also used with some prepositions. The nominative case is used elsewhere; for example, subjects and predicative nouns take the nominative.

The deictic suffixes have a considerably larger amount of morphophonological complexity compared with the rest of Tumetıęk morphology. In total, there are three degrees of distance from the deictic centre: proximal, medial and distal.

no deixis proximal medial distal
_V _C _V _C _V _C _V _C
nominative -`·tı -·tı -`ka -ka -`·pe -·pe
accusative +`u +u -`·tu -·tu -`ku -ku -`·pu -·pu
genitive -k -ak -`·tık -·tık -`kık -kık -`·pık -·pık
  • If a noun ends in one of -b(rV), -d(rV), or -g(rV), the deictic suffixes devoice the stops to p, t, and k, and replace the stem-final vowel with the suffix vowel if possible (e.g. psųdıebra “bridge” → psųdıeprı “this bridge”).

Pronouns

There are two types of pronouns in Tumetıęk: personal pronouns and interrogative pronouns.

Personal pronouns

Personal pronouns inflect for number, case and politeness.

There are two numbers: singular and plural, and a three-case system which is also used with nouns. Case inflection show a considerable amount of irregularity when compared with nouns, though.

The polite form is used when speaking with one’s kin, and with people with a higher social status. It is also quite common to use the polite pronouns for referring to oneself when speaking from a position of authority.

speaker
singular plural
casual polite casual polite
nominative nı̨ru tęru
accusative tuı nı̨ruı suı tęruı
genitive tuya nı̨za sa tęza


non-speaker
singular plural
casual polite casual polite
nominative nąru grı kıęru
accusative nuyu nąruı gruı kıęruı
genitive nuya nąza gra kıęza

Interrogative pronouns

Tumetıęk has only one interrogative pronoun. It irregularly inflects for number and case.

singular plural
nominative kıe kıan
accusative kıabı kıanı
genitive kıaba kıana

Verbs