| To Be Continued...|
Thedukeofnuke is still working on this article. The contents are incomplete and likely to undergo changes.
| Woltu Falla |
|Period||c. 1100 YP|
|Spoken in||Oltu valley|
|Total speakers||1.5 million|
|Writing system|| adapted |
|Classification|| Edastean |
|Basic word order||SOAuxV|
Woltu Falla is the language of the mediaeval kingdom of Woldulaš and its capital Ussor, and the prestige dialect of a larger dialect continuum covering the Woltu (Oltu) watershed. It is a direct descendant of Fáralo and a sister language of Namɨdu and Cəssın.
- 1 Phonology
- 1.1 Consonants
- 1.2 Vowels
- 1.3 Transcription
- 1.4 Phonotactics and distribution
- 1.5 Phonetic detail and allophony
- 1.6 Morphophonology
- 1.7 Sound changes from Fáralo
- 2 Nominal Morphology
- 3 Verbal Morphology
- 4 Derivational Morphology
- 5 Syntax
- 6 Sample texts
- 7 Lexicon
|stops||p · b||t · d||k · ɡ|
|affricates||ʦ||ʧ · ʤ|
|fricatives||f · v||s · z||ʃ · ʒ||h|
|liquids||r · l||ʎ|
|high||i · iː · yː||u · uː|
|mid||e · eː · øː||o · oː|
|low||a · aː|
As in Fáralo, the palatals /ʧ ʤ ʃ j/ are transcribed č j š y; /ɲ ʒ ʎ ŋ/ are transcribed ñ ž ly ng. Note that word-internally, ng represents [ŋɡ], phonemically /nɡ/.
/øː yː/ are transcribed ö ü; other long vowels are transcribed with a macron.
All other phonemes are transcribed as in IPA, or the Latin text equivalent.
(An alternative romanisation is also used that avoids diacritics, in which /ʧ ʃ/ are transcribed ch sh and /ɲ ʒ/ are transcribed ny zh.)
Phonotactics and distribution
Syllable structure is (C)(C)V(ː)(C).
Any consonant except /h j w/ may be geminated; consonants may be geminated initially or medially but not finally. (/hh jj/, should they occur, reduce to single /h j/, although /ww/ simplifies to /v/.) At the start of an utterance, an initial geminate (should one occur) is pronounced as single.
Nasals always assimilate in place of articulation to a following consonant. /ŋ/ is in complementary distribution with /ɲ/, the former appearing word-finally and the latter in other environments; diachronically, however, it is from a different origin (Fáralo /ŋ/, which was phonemic in all environments). Note that due to the assimilation rule, [ŋ] also appears as an allophone of other nasals before a velar; word-medially, orthographic ng represents [ŋɡ], phonemically /nɡ/.
The palatal resonants /ɲ ʎ/ only occur before vowels. /h/ only occurs word-initially, and only before a vowel or /w/.
/j/ does not occur after consonants; /w/ does not occur after labials; /l/ does not occur after word-initial affricates (it merges with /r/ in this environment). Neither /l/ nor /r/ may occur adjacent to /w/.
/ʦ/ may or may not be phonemic; the best evidence in favour of its being an independent phoneme is that it is not subject to the usual assimilation rules, and it also occasionally forms onset clusters such as /ʦw/. Some linguists, however, prefer to analyse it as a cluster /ts/.
Phonetic detail and allophony
Stress is on the last long vowel of the root, or on the penultimate if there are no long vowels. Prefixes and suffixes do not receive stress.
Voiced obstruents devoice word-finally, though they are still written as voiced. Consequently they are not distinguished from phonemically unvoiced obstruents in this environment - in the Ussor dialect at least; but some inland dialects maintain a contrast by not releasing final unvoiced stops.
Short /e o/ are pronounced [ɛ ɔ] unless word-final; long /eː oː/ tend to lower to [ɛː ɔː] before /r/ or a consonant cluster. Long /aː/ tends to back to [ɑː]. Short unstressed /a/ laxes to [ɐ] before a stop or word-finally; short unstressed /i u/ lax to [ɪ ʊ] before a stop, and word-finally after a resonant. /øː yː/ are pronounced short when unstressed if a (phonemically) long vowel is in an adjacent syllable or if they precede a geminate or cluster.
/r/ is trilled when geminated. Single /r/ is a tap [ɾ] in most environments. Some speakers pronounce it as an approximant; retroflex [ɻ] is characteristic of people of Doroh descent.
/ʎ/ is pronounced [j] after a consonant. However, it does not trigger palatalisation.
The initial cluster /hw/ is pronounced [ʍ] by most speakers. /w/ is sometimes elided between a consonant and a rounded vowel; this is particularly common in urban areas.
ty tsy ky kš become č; dy gy gž become j; sy zy ry become š ž ž.
ly /lj/ always becomes /ʎ/. A cluster of a velar stop and l, in either order, forms a geminate lly. Any nasal followed by y becomes ñ.
y as an independent phoneme is deleted after a consonant (after undergoing these rules). Remember that ly is a digraph representing /ʎ/, although in many cases it does derive from /lj/.
Consonants always voice preceding a voiced consonant (including m n ñ r l ly, but not w y).
Nasals always assimilate in place of articulation to a following consonant. [ŋ] in this environment is considered an allophone of n and is written as such.
Stops and affricates always assimilate into a following stop, affricate, or fricative, or a preceding s or z, with the exception that the clusters st sts sk zg resolve to ts tts šš žž, and clusters of a fricative and č (in either order) resolve to šš. Fricatives always assimilate into a following fricative.
In a cluster of two of l, ly, and r, in any order, the first assimilates to the second.
w is deleted if it occurs after a labial. l changes to r after an affricate.
hh jj, if they occur, reduce to single h j; ww simplifies to v.
If either of l r occur adjacent to w, they assimilate to it, forming a geminate ww which duly simplifies to v.
If a nasal occurs before a liquid (l, ly, or r) a voiced stop agreeing in place of articulation with the nasal is inserted between the two.
Consonant clusters must agree in voicing with the last consonant.
Final obstruents always devoice (though this is not indicated in writing). Furthermore, final affricates weaken to fricatives, and final geminates reduce to single consonants.
Front vowels always become rounded after a cluster of a consonant plus w - so e ē become ö, and i ī become ü. This also applies after v if it is formed from a geminate ww.
h is deleted if it occurs non-initially (unless it is transformed to s by the consonant mutation).
Sound changes from Fáralo
WF shares some phonological developments, especially in the early stages, with its relative Namɨdu; for instance, it shares the merger of non-syllabic /ɔ/ with /w/, and underwent a similar (though more extensive) simplification of diphthongs.
However, it has a more complex vowel system as well as a full series of palatal consonants, in which it more closely resembles Cəssın. It has also undergone the most thorough simplification of consonant clusters in any descendant of Fáralo.
Nominal morphology is prefixing. Nouns are marked for number and two for cases, the nominative and accusative.
The citation form of a noun is the accusative singular.
For most nouns, the nominative singular is identical to the accusative singular. However, for those beginning in one of p t k h, and some in w, it is marked with the consonant mutation if the noun is preceded by a clitic:
- p t k ➝ b d g
- h ➝ s
- w ➝ š
The nominative plural is marked as follows:
- vowel or w ➝ add g
- geminate consonant ➝ reduce to single and add ge
- r ➝ add k-
- p t ts č k f v ➝ geminate
- b d j g m n ñ ➝ geminate if preceded by a clitic
- b d j g m n ñ ➝ add ka- otherwise
- s z š ž ➝ ts dz č k
- h y ➝ k j
- l ly ➝ lly
The accusative plural is marked as follows:
- vowel, resonant, or w ➝ add z-
- geminate consonant ➝ reduce to single and add ze-
- p s ➝ ss
- b d z ➝ zz
- č k š ➝ šš
- j g ž ➝ žž
- t ➝ ts
- v ➝ vv
Woltu Falla has retained Fáralo's system of clitic determiners and extended their use; they are used with almost all nouns (exceptions being the predicate of a copular clause, indefinite nouns with a numerical quantifier, and most proper nouns). More so than in Fáralo, these clitics tend to affect their head noun - they are indeed considered to be a part of it, and are subject to assimilation rules. (They are still written separated by a hyphen, however.)
The genitive clitics use the accusative form of the noun. The "prefixed genitive" is a special clitic, only used before other prefixes and clitics (such as cliticised posessive pronouns) or before nouns that would normally have no determiner (such as proper nouns).
- The "pre-V", or prevocalic, forms are used before a vowel or semivowel; the "pre-C", or preconsonantal, forms are used before any other consonant.
- When a clitic ending in v or w is added to a noun beginning in y, the y is deleted; when it is added to a noun beginning in w, the w is deleted and a final w of the clitic fortifies to v. Remember that the cluster dv always simplifies to vv. All clitics ending in v and w trigger rounding of front vowels.
- When the clitic emblung- is added to a noun beginning in y, the y is deleted and the clitic is palatalised to emblunj-.
- In the accusative singular only, lu-/v- becomes lung- before a vowel (and luñ- before y, following palatalisation rules). In this instance it does not trigger vowel rounding.
- Remember that the consonant mutation applies in the nominative singular. The addition of a clitic also affects the formation of the nominative plural in some nouns.
Even when attached to monosyllabic words, determiners never receive stress.
(The example words in the table below are gatel "plank" and ižnon "journey".)
|emblu-gatel||"of the plank"|
|endu-gatel||"of a plank"|
|emblu-žžatel||"of the planks"|
|emblung-ižnon||"of the journey"|
|endw-üžnon||"of a journey"|
|emblu-zižnon||"of the journeys"|
Genitive pronouns cliticise to their head noun as a prefix and are subject to assimilation rules.
The form marked 2 f. is the second person formal. Semantically it may be either singular or plural; but it is derived from the older third person plural, and as such the verb takes the plural when the subject is ak.
|1 sg.||2 sg.||3 sg.||1 pl.||2 pl.||3 pl.|
The combination forms are used when both the subject and the direct object are pronouns. There are no relexive pronouns, since reflexivity is marked on the verb; hence asi and asis indicate distinct subject and object.
|cardinal||ordinal||10x cardinal||10x ordinal|
As in Namɨdu, the vast majority of verb phrases comprise an auxiliary verb and a main verb. The former inflects for tense, and gives mood and aspectual information; the main verb inflects only for number and reflexivity.
Number is marked by a suffix or a change in final consonant. Plurals are frequently irregular; where this is the case it is indicated in the lexicon. The most common changes, considered to form "regular" plurals, are as follows:
- vowel ➝ add -k
- m y w ➝ add -ek
- n ➝ ng
- p t f ➝ k
- s z ➝ š ž
Reflexive verbs take the suffix -či, which is subject to normal assimilation rules.
The main verb has two other inflected forms - the interrogative and the imperative. The interrogative inflects for past/nonpast tense as well as number. The formation of the interrogative is prefixing:
- front vowel ➝ add uč-
- back vowel or a ➝ add ug-
- mm nn ññ ➝ unč-
- rr ll lly ➝ reduce to single and add uče-
- other geminate ➝ add u-
- consonant cluster ➝ add uga-
- other consonant ➝ geminate and add u-
The nonpast plural of the interrogative is formed in the same way as the ordinary plural; the interrogative past forms are marked by different suffixes. The formation of the past singular is as follows:
- vowel ➝ add -n
- stop ➝ voice and add -a
- other consonant ➝ voice and add -en
The formation of the past plural is as follows:
- e ē ö ➝ add -še
- other vowel, sonorant, or semivowel ➝ add -e
- other consonant ➝ voice and add -e
The imperative is also formed by prefixing:
- apply consonant mutation
- vowel or semivowel ➝ add m-
- geminate consonant ➝ reduce to single and add me-
- single consonant or cluster ➝ add ma-
Auxiliary verbs are the workhorses of the verbal system. They occur immediately before the main verb - in fact the combination is subject to assimilation rules, as it is treated as a single word phonologically. In writing the auxiliary and main verbs are separated by a hyphen.
As mentioned above, the auxiliary inflects for tense, and the choice of auxiliary indicates aspect and mood. The inflected forms are the present, past, and imperfect; at an earlier stage in the language, auxiliaries also inflected for negative polarity and irrealis mood, but these are now lexicalised in a handful of auxiliaries, such as ussiš "might", mis "shouldn't", and meta "continues".
| really does
| has done
| hasn't done
More than one auxiliary can be used per clause. For instance, if a negative is needed where the auxiliary does not have a negative form of its own, the negative auxiliary masiš is added before the main auxiliary.
A different order of auxiliaries can be used to convey a different meaning - for example:
Note that only the first auxiliary is inflected for tense, and also the assimilation at morpheme boundaries.
The copula in Woltu Falla can be used either in a clause of its own or as an auxiliary indicating a progressive state. It has a full set of indicative, negative, and irrealis moods, and also inflects for number (since it is often the only verb in a clause).
|present sg.||present pl.||past sg.||past pl.||imperfect|
Segments in brackets are only included to break up vowel hiatus or an illegal consonant cluster. Note that assimilation processes apply to all derivational affixes.
Vowel syncope sometimes occurs with the addition of a suffix, for instance höteka+ga > hötegga. This applies to vowels that were unstressed in the Fáralo etymon, but only if the syncope does not result in an illegal cluster.
|-(a)l||–||diminutive||navor "horse" > navol "pony"|
|āk(a)-||–||augmentative||idūng "sea" > ākidūng "ocean"|
|-bu||–||person, agent||čaniz "to exile" > čanizzu "exiled person, outlaw"|
|-sa||–||female||dabbu "host" > dabbusa "hostess"|
|-u||–||thing used or affected||napoča "play" > napočau "toy, game"|
|-la||–||location||adö "safe, secure" > adöla "fortress, fortification"|
|-(y)ü||–||causative||kuin "holy" > kuinü "to bless, to consecrate"|
|-ga||–||general adjectiviser & adverbialiser||höteka "navy" > hötegga "naval"|
|-in||–||general adjectiviser||laš "country" > lašin "national"|
|ga-||–||participial adjective||twol "shine" > gatwol "shining"|
|m(a)-||triggers consonant mutation||negative||abiu "guilty" > mabiu "innocent; not guilty"|
Like most of the other Eastern Edastean languages, Woltu Falla makes wide use of zero-derivation. The most common form of this is using a verb or adjective as a noun; in this case the appropriate article is used. Some nouns can also function as verbs.
Another notable phenomenon is that the valency of verbs is very flexible. Many verbs listed as intransitive can be used as transitives, and most transitives can also be used as ditransitives.
Basic word order
Default order is SOV or SOAuxV.
Indirect objects occur immediately after direct objects. If there is no direct object, the indirect object takes its place.
The noun phrase
Quantifiers and adjectives precede their head noun; acrolectal variants favour seperating adjectives with ōa "and". Articles, demonstratives, and possessive pronouns cliticise to the head noun. Genitives and other modifiers of more than one word follow the head noun.
Case usage is very simple for nouns. The subject of a verb phrase takes the nominative; all other nouns take the accusative.
For pronouns, usage is similar, but there are two more cases. The genitive is used to show possession; the dative is used for the indirect object of a verb phrase, and is governed by prepositions.
Relativisation in Woltu Falla uses the particle rōm. A relative clause, as a long modifier, follows its head.
Clauses referring to time instead use relative "when", sižrūm; those referring to place use relative "where", sirrūm. In both cases it is usual, though not obligatory, to front the clause.