User talk:Caedes

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Notes for Diachronics Relay II Çetázó to Źéylak, which is going to replace Hośər

Period c. -500 YP
Spoken in Eastern part of the mountain range to the north of the lukpanic coast
Total speakers  ???
Writing system none
Classification Western languages
       Lake languages
Basic word order SOV
Morphology agglutinating, fusional
Alignment ERG-ABS
Created by caedes

Źéylak [ˈʑejlʌk] or Źeylag moź [ʑejˈlʌg moʑ] is a member of the Western language family of Akana. In this family it belongs to the Lake Languages and thus is a descendant of Çetázó. The particular dialect described here was spoken around -500 YP in the mountainous region to the north of Pigbaye, bordering the Great Western Steppe in the north and the Wañelinlawag Empire in the east.

The name Źéylak is actually the name of the tribes speaking this dialect and literally means “Hill people”, the longer version Źeylag moź means “language of the hill people”. The latter was usually in use as a language name only by foreigners that made use of the language, native speakers rather used suu moź “our language” instead. For an adverbial use the instrumental form of moź was used, thus Źeylag / suu moźuuk.


Źéylak underwent some major changes referring to its consonantal system, especially the development of palato-alveolar affricates and fricatives from former palatalized velars.

Phoneme inventory


Bilabial Labiodental Alveolar Postalveolar Palato-alveolar Palatal Velar Labial-velar Glottal
Plosives p b t d k g
Affricates ts͡ tʃ͡ tɕ͡
Fricatives f v s z ʃ ʒ ɕ ʑ x ɣ h
Nasals m n
Laterals l
Approximants j w

/ ts͡ tʃ͡ ʃ ʒ tɕ ɕ ʑ j/ are written as <c č š ž ć ś ź y>. There is no phonemic gemination.


Front Back
Close i y u
Mid e ø o
open æː ɑ

/ɑ æː ø y/ are written as <a aa ö ü>. Every vowel other than /a/ has its long counterpart that is written than as a doubled vowel.

Distribution and phonotactics

The syllable structure of the language is (C(C))V(C(C)).

  1. Syllable onsets may consist of any consonantal phoneme , a plosive + lateral / approximant, a fricative + lateral / approximant or a lateral + approximant. Syllables without an onset only appear word-initially.
  2. A syllable nucleus always consists of a single vowel, which can be long only in stressed syllables.
  3. Word-internal syllable codas may consist of a single unvoiced plosive, lateral or approximant. Except the latter, they can be preceded by a single approximant. Word-final codas can end in any consonant other than /h/. Younger speakers usually tend to apply the latter rules to word-internal codas as well, see below.
  4. */aː/ always appears as [æː].
  5. */ij/ is always realized as /iː/ before consonants and word-finally.


The language is characterized by a stress accent pattern with the main accent on the ultimate or penultimate syllable, which is phonemic. A syllable with a long vowel as nucleus is always stressed, otherwise the last syllable or the penultimate does (which, in the case of the latter, is marked then with an apostrophe (<áéíóú>) or a double apostrophe (<őű>). The old NC1 marker -wa, which was lost and is now represented by the null suffix, still has the theoretical value of a whole open syllable. Monosyllabic words, unless nouns in a phrase, are usually accent-less. Secondary stress falls onto the anterior syllables in an alternate stressed-unstressed pattern.

  • tagahegum [tʌˌgaheˈgum]
  • šiino [ˈʃiːnɤ]

Phonetic detail

There are two major alternations in terms of vowel allophony, which are applied also beyond word boundaries:

  • Vowel unrounding: The rounded vowels /o u ø y/ and other rounded vowels being allophones of vocalic phonemes appear rounded only when adjacent to a labial consonant, otherwise they are unrounded [ɤ ɯ e i].
  • Vowel backing: actual [ɑ æː e i ø y] become [ʌ ʌː ɤ ɯ o u] before velars.

Other allophonic realizations are the following:

  • /ɑ/ is usually realized as /ɐ/ in unstressed syllables and in stressed syllables as /ɑ/, unless the rules of vowel backing are applied.
  • Long vowels in unstressed monosyllabic words are usually shortened.

Younger speakers usually tend to leave close vowels out in unstressed open syllables (with progressive voice assimilation), except for initial onset-less syllables. Beyond that, they normally omit intervocalic /h/ (creating onset-less syllables word-internally or, in less careful speech, merging the two vowels):

  • źibad [ʑi.ˈbɑd] → [ʑbɑd]
  • ɣooćizay [ˌɣɤː.tɕi.ˈzɑj] → [ɣɤːtɕ.ˈsɑj]
  • suukudan [ˌsɯː.kɯ.ˈdɑn] → [sɯːk.ˈtɑn]
  • nahuz [nɐ.ˈhɯz] → [nɐ.ˈɯz], [nɯːz], [nɯz]
  • süglatagad [sɯ.ˌglɑ.tʌ.ˈgɑd] → [ˌsklɑ.tʌ.ˈgɑd]


There are four important morphophonological processes:

  • With just a few exceptions, short unstressed vowels are lost in final position:
    • möŋu-Ømöŋ but möŋu-kmőŋuk
    • ɣooći-zaɣoćiz but ɣooći-za-yɣooćizay
      However, vowels before former *x in word-final position have been kept:
    • šiinohšiino
  • Long vowels in unstressed syllables become short:
    • źeeši-gźešig but źeešiźeeš
  • Historical velars underwent palatalization before front vowels, which finally led to the new palato-alveolar row. This palatalization is no longer productive, but its results still appear in the language insofar as velars can become palato-alveolar in some situations, especially when inflecting a-stems, where the ergative singular ending -aa evolves from former -eː and hence triggers palatalization:
    • šeeka-Øšeek but *šeekaašećaa
  • Former /*ji, *je, *wo, *wu, *ɥø, *ɥy/ were shortened to /j, w, *ɥ/ (the latter later >j), which became i u ü word-initially before consonants. However, if a prefix is attached to an affected word, these i, u ,ü change back to /j, w, j/ :
    • iza-na-yizanay but suu-iza-na-ysuuyzanay


Nominal inflection

Nouns in the Źejlak language inflect for 2 productive categories, namely Number and Case. Different to its neighboring sister languages, it has maintained the difference between the ergative and the oblique case of Çetázó, while it developed a new ergative plural suffix (evolved from former *-gʲi < Çet-gʷi). The former five declination classes merged into another group of four classes, depending on the ergative and oblique singular forms and some specific stem alternations. In all those the instrumental marker *-umök is shortened to -uk in this dialect.

Case / number endings

Case and number are realized via suffixing the following core endings, which often merge with stem-final vowels, creating the mentioned declension classes:

Singular Dual Plural
and stress on the penultimate syllable

Stem-final vowel can be lengthened or altered. Unless lengthened, stress falls onto the penultimate syllable.


Stress usually falls onto the penultimate syllable.

Ergative lengthening of the stem-final vowel (with a e o ö becoming aa ii uu üü)

-n with stress on the last syllable

Oblique -uu

lengthening of the stem-final vowel
-n with stress on the last syllable

lengthening of the stem-final vowel (a becoming aa) -g
Instrumental -(n)uk -h-uk -g-uk
Locative -(n)um -h-um -g-um
Ablative -(n)uź -h-uź -g-uź
Ablative -(n)uz -h-uz -g-uz

First declension (-a)

The first declension is based on the A-stems of Çetázó. It is characterized by a stem-final -a which disappears in the absolutive singular but is present in all plural forms and becomes -o in the dual forms.

Stems in -ija and -uwa show -ii and -uu in the absolutive singular.

Singular Dual Plural
Absolutive -Ø, -ii, -uu -o
stress on the penultimate syllable
stress on the penultimate syllable
Ergative -aa
triggers palatalization
-o-ź -a-ź
Oblique -uu -oo -a-g
Instrumental -uuk -o-h-uk -a-g-uk
Locative -uum -o-h-um -a-g-um
Allative -uuź -o-h-uź -a-g-uź
Ablative -uuz -o-h-uz -a-g-uz

Second declension (-Ø, -e, -ö,)

The second declension is based on the former e-stems.
Every stem maintains its specific vowel in the absolutive singular and all dual and plural forms. In the ergative singular, stems ending in and -e in the absolutive singular share -ii as ending, while stems in have -üü then. Stems in take -ee as ending for the oblique dual.
Stems ending in always end in an approximant.
Included in this declension group is a very small number of nouns with stems ending in -Vhe < -Vdɮe like tagahe- “grassland”, which lose the final consonant in the absolutive singular, causing compensatory lengthening (tagaa), turn it into in the ergative singular (tagaźii) and keep it elsewhere as -Vhe (tagahek).

Singular Dual Plural
Absolutive -Ø, any long vowel -Ø, -e, -ö
stress on the penultimate syllable
-(Ø, -e, -ö)-k
stress on the penultimate syllable
Ergative -ii, -üü -(Ø, -e, -ö)-ź -(Ø, -e, -ö)-ź
Oblique -uu -ee, -öö -(Ø, -e, -ö)-g
Instrumental -uuk -(Ø, -e, -ö)-h-uk -(Ø, -e, -ö)-g-uk
Locative -uum -(Ø, -e, -ö)-h-um -(Ø, -e, -ö)-g-um
Allative -uuź -(Ø, -e, -ö)-h-uź -(Ø, -e, -ö)-g-uź
Ablative -uuz -(Ø, -e, -ö)-h-uz -(Ø, -e, -ö)-g-uz

Third declension (-Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -wuu)

The third declension is based on former i-stems and u-stems. In contrast to the first and second declension, ergative and oblique in their singular forms are not distinguished.
Almost every stem maintains its specific vowel in the absolutive singular and all dual and plural forms. In the ergative singular, stems with and -i in the absolutive singular share -ii as ending, while stems in -u have -uu then and stems in have -üü. In the oblique dual, the ending -ii stand with stems in -i and .
Included in this declension group is a small number of stems based on former u-stems ending in -ˈCuðu that are now characterized by a stem-final -wuu that changes to -uu in the absolutive forms and to -u in the dual and plural forms of instrumental, locative, allative and ablative.

Singular Dual Plural
Absolutive -Ø, -uu -Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -uu
stress on the penultimate syllable
-( Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -uu)-k
stress on the penultimate syllable
Ergative -ii, -uu, -üü, -wuu -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -wuu)-ź -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -wuu)-ź
Oblique -ii, -uu, -üü, -wuu -ii, -uu, -üü, -wuu -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü, -wuu)-g
Instrumental -uuk -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-h-uk -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-g-uk
Locative -uum -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-h-um -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-g-um
Allative -uuź -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-h-uź -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-g-uź
Ablative -uuz -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-h-uz -( Ø, -i, -u, -ü)-g-uz

Since it is not directly clear to tell which noun declension a noun with the null ending in the absolutive singular belongs to, the stem is usually the cited form in the lexicon together with the oblique dual if necessary.

Fourth declension (-n)

The fourth declension is based on the former n-stems, hence it is characterized by the null morpheme -n in all singular forms.

Singular Dual Plural
Absolutive -n
stress on the penultimate syllable

stress on the penultimate syllable
stress on the penultimate syllable
Ergative -n
stress on the last syllable
Oblique -n
stress on the ultimate syllable
lengthening of the stem-final vowel -g
Instrumental -n-uk -h-uk -g-uk
Locative -n-um -h-um -g-um
Allative -n-uź -h-uź -g-uź
Ablative -n-uz -h-uz -g-uz

Noun classes

As in the other Western languages, nouns in Źéjlak always belong to a particular noun class, which are not marked on the nouns themselves but on adjectives, numerals, pronouns of the third person and verbs agreeing with their particular head noun. Seven of the former nine classes survived into Źéjlak, strictly speaking the former fourth noun class merged with the third and the eighth with the fifth. The first noun class is marked by the null morpheme .

Gloss Number Used for
NC1 Humans and other beings capable of speech,
including gods, demons, speaking animals in tales etc.
NC2 -da Solid edible things
NC3 -za Solid inedible things
NC4 -ːći Granular masses and liquids, wind, flames etc.
NC5 -če Mushy edible things
NC6 -śüü Mushy inedible things
(declined as if it was an ü-stem,
but maintains -üü in all cases where it is stressed)
NC7 -ši Intangible things


As in the other Lake Languages and different to the other family branches, adjectives build a distinct group of words able to decline in case and number.

General adjectives

Adjectives precede their head nouns and agree with them in number, case and noun class.

a / the yellow berry
in (the) big meadow
along sharp stones


The language has kept the old base-8 numeral system. The numeral “1” is inflected as singular, the numeral “2” as dual and the others as plural. Ordinals are formed by attaching the suffix -wu on cardinals. Multiples of 8, 64 and 512 are expressed by combining ordinals with the cardinals of 8, 64 and 512, e.g. mözawŋaɣ 32. Numerals are added with -z(a), e.g. mözawŋaɣazaniiš 39

1 taga-
2 ši-
3 naatu-
4 möza-
5 uza-
6 möži-
7 niiši-
8 ŋaɣa-
64 muula-
512 źenuula

There are also several quantifiers like źiba- some and laza- many, which can be used with both singular and plural and agreeing then with their specific head noun, e.g. lazaduuk yazuuk by means of much meat.


Usually the possessor (noun or pronoun) is marked in the oblique case and precedes the possessum, e.g. nuu tuz my house.
As in the near sister language Šetâmol, there is a group of nouns referred to as inalienable nouns, which can take several possessor suffixes instead. This group of nouns consists of two subgroups, body parts on the one hand and family members on the other.

Singular Dual Plural
1st person na- la- ka-
2nd person če- he- čö-
3rd person e- he- e-

the two eyes of my father’s head

The prefixes lose their vowel if the noun the prefix is attached to has no syllable onset, e- is omitted then completely.


Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns exist for the first and second person (for the ana- and cataphoric pronouns of the 3rd person, see below) and are inflected in number and case like nouns. The pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person singular as well of the 1st person plural consist of the stems na-, ta- and sa-, respectively, which are declined like stems of the first declension except for the absolutive, where the stem-final -a has been preserved. The dual forms are made up by attaching the dual markers to the stems, with irregular vowel alternation in the ergative, while the 2nd person plural is derived from ta- with suffixed plural endings.

Singular Dual Plural
1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
Absolutive na ta naa taa sa tak
Ergative naa taa neź teź saa taź
Oblique nuu tuu naa taa suu tag
Instrumental nuuk tuuk nahuk tahuk suuk taguk
Locative nuum tuum nahum tahum suum tagum
Allative nuuź tuuź nahuź tahuź suuź taguź
Ablative nuuz tuuz nahuz tahuz suuz taguz

The absolutive and ergative forms of the pronouns normally appear only for emphasis, since agent and patient are already marked on the verb:

I heard you and no him!

Phoric pronouns

The distinction between two types of 3rd person pronouns has survived into Źéjlak:

  1. The anaphoric pronoun ya- is used for already mentioned things and persons.
  2. The cataphoric pronoun ćü- refers to something that will be mentioned later.

They are declined like noun stems ending in -a and .

We are mocking this guy, and even his wife is mocking him.

Demonstrative pronouns

The old paradigm of demonstrative pronouns based on four levels of deixis has been maintained without any major semantic change. However, younger speakers often use sa- instead of če-.

že- near to the speaker
da- near to the adressed
če- distant but visible
sa- distant but invisible, abstract

These stems are declined like adjectives, agreeing with the head noun in case, number and noun class.

Verbal inflection

Verbs are conjugated in the categories modality, tense, evidentiality, person and number.

Modality and tense

As in its neighboring sister languages, the Çetázóic future marker sul- underwent a semantic shift and became as suu- a marker for irreal events. However, it still shares its verbal slot before the verbal stem (or the incorporated noun, respectively) with the past marker süü-. Due to their similarity, though, the evidential suffix -źe, actually indicating already experienced actions, is usually affixed together with süü- if no other evidential marker is used. Younger speaker often omit süü- at all.

Present Past
Real Ø- süü-...(-źe)
Irreal suu- suu-...(-źe)


Źéylak has maintained a small group of four evidentials, which are not obligatory in most cases. Only -bu- stands always with verbs of sensory perception, but is often omitted by younger speakers then.

Gloss morpheme Meaning
SENS -bu- Sensory perception
HS -ːši- Hearsay
UNC -ba- Uncertain statements
EXP -źe- Experienced actions

Participant marking

Participant marking is obligatory. In terms of the ergative suffixes, singular and plural endings were homophonic in some cases already in Çetázó and finally merged, now indicating only person, but not number. However, the final -n of the absolutive endings was reinterpreted as plural marker and is attached on the noun class markers as well now. The variant -ːn of -na-n only appears after -a.

Ergative Absolutive
Singular Plural
1st -ne- -na -na-n, -ːn
2nd -še- -sa -sa-n
3rd -ga- -NC -NC-n


A verb is usually negated by the particle i put directly before the verb, and by attaching the negative marker -y if the preceded morpheme ends in a vowel; otherwise the main stress falls onto the last syllable.

I guess I won't come tomorrow.