To quote from the December 12th 2003 email to the Conlang list,
The whole thing started because of a bug I got in the brain months ago when reading on the list about where Slavic languages' phonotactics come from (so it's come full circle!). That conversation got me started thinking about consonant clusters formed by vowel deletion, and I thought of a word "Apaterakasuto -> Apatrakasto -> Aptraksto", which stuck in my brain.
The actual end result, as you will see, sounds quite different from this initial inspiration.
Written CXS* English approximation p p p b b b t t t d d d k k k g g g m m m r 4 flapped r f f f v v v D D dh s s s z z z S S sh Z Z zh c tS ch x x kh G G gh h h h j j y l l l L L\ dark l w w w i i ee y y French eu u u oo e e, E ay, eh ö 2 German ö o o, O oh, o a a, A a, ah
*CXS stands for Conlang X-Sampa.
The definite form evolved from an infixed _ek_, originally prefixed _ke_, which used to be a word meaning "this". The indefinite form evolved from an infixed _at_, originally a prefixed _ta_, which once meant "some". It was not necessary to mark definiteness when an object was possessed; having another noun in the genitive associated with it made the possessed noun definite by default. When the old genitive suffix _ha_ withered away and died, the possessed object was left in an unprefixed state, which became the construct form.
As sound changes made the definite and indefinite forms less regular, the resulting confusion of forms came to be analyzed as a number of noun classes, membership in which governed a noun's indefinite/definite/ construct declension.
Indefinite Definite Construct (possessed) language vatjacgu vekjacgu vjacgu word voctigyli vixtigyli viDigyli speaker voctikwatsalo vixtikwatsalo viDikwatsalo giver pedlisjatsalo piglisjatsalo bolisjatsalo
In the example above, "language" would be in the vat/vek/v noun class; "speaker" and "word" in the voct/vixt/viD noun class; and "giver" in the ped/pig/bo noun class.
The demonstrative pronouns evolved from a very regular, if convoluted, system of prefixes and infixes where the wh-form began with _hi_, the "this" form contained the infix _ek_, "that" contained the infix _uw_, the "some" form contained the infix _ta_, etc. The oldest demonstrative pronouns were all accented on the first syllable, but as the system was expanded other accentual patterns were included, further complicating the matter.
|question||relative||this, here||that, there||yon, yonder||some, any||every||no||whatever||a different|
|along which way||hjalri||melri||lixri||lwafri||lilwafri||locri||rwalri||sulri||pjalri||ftelri|
Where sound changes did not wipe them away, personal pronouns retained the old genitive and accusative cases. Due to inherent definiteness of personal prounouns, they do not have a construct form; if a pronoun is possessed by a noun, neither is marked, and their juxtaposition alone shows the relationship. (If a noun is possessed by a pronoun which has a genitive case form, both are marked.)
Nominative Accusative Genitive sing. pl. sing. pl. sing. pl. 1st person vwal mli vwalmi mlö vwala mli 2nd person tuf dvi tufmi dvö tufa dvi 3rd person female ö emja ömi emy höa emja 3rd person male/mixed ru romja rumi romy rua romja 3rd person inanimate sir serwa sirmi serwa sira serwa
Originally, verb forms were related to noun forms by differences in the stressed syllable: verbs were stressed on the second syllable, and the resultative nominalization was stressed on the first syllable. Other nominalizations, as well as participles, come from the form stressed on the third syllable, if applicable.
Noun Verb Participle Derived nominal [vat/vek/v]jacgu language vitjag speak jaftikwa spoken [voct/vixt/viD]ikwatsalo speaker [sad/Sk/s]ud thing zdu be udzodu being [sez/sig/zo]dorjal way of being [pad/fk/p]özi gift boljaS give ublisja given [ped/pig/bo]lisjatsalo giver [lad/lg/l]oS deed lasja do ilasja done [lots/liks/laZ]ikwar tool [kat/kek/k]warti gratitude groc thank wagratja valued [ked/kig/gu]ratjagru money [saD/Sk/s]erta greetings sarjat hail, call osrido known [sot/sik/sa]riDedmi meeting
Verbs themselves come in four basic stems plus two imperative forms: the non-past, past, habitual, and hypothetical stems, and the imperative and negative imperative.
Non-past Past Habitual Hypothetical Imperative Negative imperative speak vitjage vitjagmo vitjaglarwa vitjagti vitjag vitjagzu be zdi zdum zdulru zduc zdu wadzoduz give boljaSe boljaSmo boljaSlarwa boljaSti boljaS boljaczu do lasja lazuf lasjalru lasjac lasja wazlasjaz thank groce grocmo groclarwa grocti groc groczu greet sarjate sarjatmo sarjatlarwa sarjacti sarjat sarjatzu
The imperative is simply the most basic verb form; the negative imperative evolved from a suffixed "su", which may be realized, depending on the verb, as "swa", "zu", or just "z". Verbs whose negative imperative end in "z" only also prefix "waz" for emphasis.
The regular negative particle for other verb forms is a standalone "swaz" which precedes the verb.
"Our language is a way of being."
"Mli vjacgu zdi sezdorjal."
"A language is a tool!"
"Vatjacgu zdi lotsikwar!"
"Don't speak so. The language is a gift."
"Mwaf vitjagzu. Vekjacgu zdi padöZi."
Stage 1: Begin with a simple Polynesian-esque phonology entirely of CV syllables.
Stage 2: Apply derivational use of fixed accents. For example, create 3-syllable roots giving an abstract noun concept when accented on the first syllable, a verb root when accented on the second syllable, and various other nominals based on the root created by accenting the third syllable.
Stage 3: Apply selected prefixes and affixes which conform to the existing stress pattern - things that were once transparent but will be fossilized by the time the language is done evolving. For example, prefixes to nouns will denote definite, indefinite, or (with no prefix) possessed, with the end results that nouns have definite, indefinite, and possessed root forms, which differ from one noun class to another due to the effects of sound change. Similar use of affixes could create past and non-past, or perfective and imperfective, verb root pairs.
Phonology: still ptkmlrswh/aeiuoáéíúó
Stage 4: Voicing and lenition: voicing in front of back/rounded vowels, lenition in front of front vowels, but the two have different scope as far as whether accented or ultra-short vowels affect them. (See 4.sc in sound changes below)
Stage 5: Drop shortest vowels, or H. (See 5.sc in sound changes below)
Phonology: still ptkmlrswhfcxSbdgzL/aeiuoáéíúó
Stage 6: Combine double vowels. Maybe prevocalic i->l, u->r. Minimal umlauting occurs. (See 6.sc in sound changes below)
Stage 7: Rotate just the stressed vowels, lose stress. Partial application of sound changes in process at the time Mli Vjacgu is being described: deletion of first-syllable unaccented vowels directly preceding an accented syllable, voicing of intervocalic consonants, h-deletion. (See 7.sc and 7prime.sc in sound changes below)
Stage 8: Regularize some paradigms by analogy. Add new affixes and clitics using the new phonology. Apply considerable semantic drift to obscure origins of word pairs/triads created in Stage 2. Provide suppletive roots for extremely common words. Create a grammar.
Phonology: still ptkmlrswhfcxSbdgzLjv/aeiuoyö
For example, several forms related to "speak", one of which will be the name of the language, appear as follows in the old and new versions (alternative forms from the metathesizing dialect are shown where applicable):
Proto-witícku version Vjatjackwa version Mli Vjacgu version wítitekú vjactikwa vjactekwa witíteku vjatjackwa vitjacgu wititéku vjatjatig viDiDig (or jaftiDig) wítiku vjackwa vjacgu witíku vjatjag vitjag witikú vjatjakwa viDikwa (or jaftikwa)
The sound change rules of Mli Vjacgu, as of February 6, 2006, are captured in the following files (designed for a modified version of Mark Rosenfelder's Sound Change Applier):
Emails to the Conlang list in 2003/2004:
Last updated: 2/6/2006