Vrkhazhian

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Vrkhazhian (Šat Wərxažu) is a West Takshian language that is spoken by the Vrkhazhians who live in the Empire of Yatvṛḵaž. The earliest form of this language, known as Classical Vrkhazhian, was spoken as early as 887 years ago.



Flag-Vrkhazh.png
Vrkhazhian
Šat Wərxažu, Šada Wərxažšəya
Pronounced: /ˈçat wərˈxaʝu/, /ˈçada wərxaçˈçəja/
Spoken: Vrkhazh (Wərxaža)
Writing system: ʾAxhida Wərxaššəyi
Genealogy: Haxyakian Languages
Haxyakian
Himoshian
Old Takshian
West Takshian
Classical Vrkhazhian
Modern Vrkhazhian
Typology
Morphological type: moderately fusional and agglutinative
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Basic word order: SOV (active voice)/VSX (passive voice)
Credits
Creator: Malcolm G. Holborne


History

Dialects

Vrkhazhian is analyzed as having two major dialects:

  • Uzershaya is spoken in the south-west of Vrkhazh and named after the city from which it originated, ʾUzera-Toma.
  • Muxebshaya is spoken in the north-east of Vrkhazh and named after the city Mxeba-Toma.

Despite being considered dialects of the same language, they are somewhat mutually unintelligible to each other.

Phonology

Consonants

The table below shows the consonant phonemes found in the major dialects of Vrkhazhian.

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective Plain Ejective
Oral Stop p b t d c ɟ k g ʔ
Nasal Stop m n ŋ
Fricative s z ç ʝ çʼ x ɣ h
Lateral Fricative ɬ ɮ ɬʼ
Liquid r j w

Vowels

Vrkhazhian possesses the following monophthongs:

Front Back
Close i u
Mid ə
Open a

Vrkhazhian possesses the following diphthongs:

Front Back
mid to close əj əw
open to close aj aw

Allophony

  • Consonants assimilate in voicing with adjacent consonants directly following them.
  • The consonants /j w/ are analyzed as [ʝ β] when geminated as well as before voiced consonants and [ç ɸ] before voiceless consonants.

Syllable Structure

The syllable structure of Vrkhazhian is analyzed as (C)CV(C)(C), where C stands for a consonant, V stands for a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant. More specifically, words can only have consonant clusters of up to two adjacent consonants. This means the first syllable can have a maximal syllable of CCVC, medial syllables can have maximal syllables of CVC, and the last syllable can have a maximal syllable of CVCC.

Words cannot have a vowel hiatus, thus the epenthetic phonemes /j w h/ are inserted between two adjacent vowels. Additionally, since syllables must be preceded by a consonant, words that would have historically begun with a vowel have a glottal stop preceding them. However, the glottal stop has since been elided word-initially in most dialects.

Prosody

Stress in Vrkhazhian is right-leaning and based on syllable weight; stress is placed on the second-last (penultimate) syllable if the last syllable is open (ending in a vowel or diphthong) and placed on the last (ultimate) syllable if the syllable is closed (ending in a consonant). Stress also occurs in a iambic pattern, alternating between unstressed and stressed syllables.

Vrkhazhian exhibits sandhi over word boundaries, which often cause coalescence between word-final and word-initial vowels. The sandhi may also cause changes in the stress patterns of many words in a sentence, including making unstressed monosyllables stressed.

Grammar

Morphology

Overview

Vrkhazhian is a highly inflecting language, and morphologically, it is a triconsonatal root language: a kind of non-concatenative morphology whereby its roots consist of an abstract set of consonants which a pattern of vowels called transfixes are placed between. Most of these roots consist of three consonants (triliteral), though there are many words that consist of two-letter (biliteral) and four-letter (quadriliteral) roots. Very rare, however, are five-letter (pentaliteral) roots, all of which are entirely nouns.

Nominal morphology

Main article: Nouns in Vrkhazhian

Vrkhazhian nouns are called maḡyiman (singular maḡyima). They are declined for case, gender, and number. Specifically there are five cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, allative, and ablative) and two numbers (singular and plural). Additionally, Vrkhazhian has two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine.

Adjectival morphology

Adjectives in Vrkhazhian are marked for gender and number in agreement with the noun they modify. They always follow the noun and are almost entirely derived from verbs, with a few exceptions.

Most adjectives take the form C₁ərC₂aC₃. Below is an example adjective derived from the verb s-ǧ-l (to be old):

"Old"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular səǧǧul-ə səǧǧul-a
Plural səǧǧul-ə-n səǧǧul-a-n

Roots where the last two consonants are the same take the form C₁aC₂C₁aC₃. Below is an example adjective derived from the verb d-n-n (to be heavy):

"Heavy"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular dəndan-ə dəndan-a
Plural dəndan-ə-n dəndan-a-n

Verbal morphology

Main article: Verbs in Vrkhazhian

Vrkhazhian verbs are called madsiran (singular madsira). Because Vrkhazhian is a triconsonantal root language, the fundamental part of the verb form is the transfix, a discontinuous affix inserted between a root (which is collectively called masčiši and translated as "pattern"), though they primarily only convey the grammatical voices (active, passive, causative, and reflexive). There are five tenses (past, past progressive, present, present progressive, and future) and these are indicated by prefixes attached to the base form. There is only one aspect: the perfect, called saẕkera, which is indicated by reduplicating the entire verb. Additionally, there are also five moods (indicative, jussive, subjunctive, commissive, and propositive) and these are also indicated by prefix, placed closer to the base form than the tense prefixes. Lastly, verbs are also conjugated for number, singular and plural, with the plural indicated by the suffix -am.

When referring to a particular verb pattern, they are referred to by a derivation of the canonical (exemplary) verb d-s-r (to do, to perform, to execute, to act). For example, when referring to the verb pattern of the citation form of a verb, which is the active present singular indicative, it is called dasur because that is the active present singular form of the verb.

Pronouns

In Vrkhazhian, there are seven pronouns, each of which have their own forms for each of the six cases. In singular and plural, the 2nd and 3rd persons differentiate gender, while the 1st person does not. Instead, the 1st person plural pronouns are distinguished by clusivity: the inclusive 1st person plural includes the speaker and the addressee, while the exclusive 1st person plural excludes the addressee.

Indicative Pronouns

Nominative Oblique
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st inclusive ʾama šama šadik šamək
exclusive ḳama ḳamək
2nd masculine šə šən ši šin
feminine ša šan šu šun
3rd masculine ḳə ḳən ḳi ḳin
feminine ḳa ḳan ḳu ḳun

Modal Pronouns

Personal Pronouns - Modal - Nominative
Subjunctive Directive Commissive
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st inclusive ʾamuñu šamuñu ʾamaśəc šamaśəc ʾammər šammər
exclusive ḳamuñu ḳamaśəc ḳammər
2nd masculine šuñwə šuñwən šśəyə šaśyən ššərə ššərən
feminine šuñwa šuñwan šśəya šaśyan ššəra ššəran
3rd masculine ḳuñwə ḳuñwən ḳśəyə ḳaśyən ḳḳərə ḳḳərən
feminine ḳuñwa ḳuñwan ḳśəya ḳaśyan ḳḳəra ḳḳəran
Personal Pronouns - Modal - Oblique
Subjunctive Directive Commissive
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st inclusive šaduñwik šamuñwik šadaśik šamaśik šaddərik šammərik
exclusive ḳamuñwik ḳamaśik ḳammərik
2nd masculine šuñwi šuñwin šśəyi šaśyin ššəri ššərin
feminine šuñwu šuñwun šśəyu šaśyun ššəru ššərun
3rd masculine ḳuñwi ḳuñwin ḳśəyi ḳaśyin ḳḳəri ḳḳərin
feminine ḳuñwu ḳuñwun ḳśəyu ḳaśyun ḳḳəru ḳḳərun

Demonstrative Pronouns

There are three kinds demonstrative pronouns for three kinds of deixis: proximal, medial, and distal. The proximal indicates an object near the speaker, the medial indicates an object near the addressee, and the distal indicates and object away from both the speaker and the addressee. Demonstrative pronouns always mark their referent as definite.

Demonstrative Pronouns - Indicative
Nominative Oblique
Deixis Singular Plural Singular Plural
Proximal masculine ṣəhə ṣəhən ṣəhi ṣəhin
feminine ṣəha ṣəhan ṣəhu ṣəhun
Medial masculine ʾanə ʾanən ʾani ʾanin
feminine ʾana ʾanan ʾanu ʾanun
Distal masculine məyə məyən məyi məyin
feminine məya məyan məyu məyun
Demonstrative Pronouns - Modal - Nominative
Subjunctive Directive Commissive
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Proximal masculine ṣəhuñwə ṣəhuñwən ṣəhśəyə ṣəhaśyən ṣəhhərə ṣəhhərən
feminine ṣəhuñwa ṣəhuñwan ṣəhśəya ṣəhaśyan ṣəhhəra ṣəhhəran
Medial masculine ʾanuñwə ʾanuñwən ʾanśəyə ʾanaśyən ʾannərə ʾannərən
feminine ʾanuñwa ʾanuñwan ʾanśəya ʾanaśyan ʾannəra ʾannəran
Distal masculine məyuñwə məyuñwən məyśəyə məyaśyən mayyərə məyyərən
feminine məyuñwa məyuñwan məyśəya məyaśyan mayyəra məyyəran
Demonstrative Pronouns - Modal - Oblique
Subjunctive Directive Commissive
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Proximal masculine ṣəhuñwi ṣəhuñwin ṣəhśəyi ṣəhaśyin ṣəhhəri ṣəhhərin
feminine ṣəhuñwu ṣəhuñwun ṣəhśeyu ṣohaśyun ṣəhhəru ṣohhərun
Medial masculine ʾanuñwi ʾanuñwin ʾanśəyi ʾanaśyin ʾannəri ʾannərin
feminine ʾanuñwu ʾanuñwun ʾanśəyu ʾanaśyun ʾannəru ʾannərun
Distal masculine məyuñwi məyuñwin məyśəyi məyaśyin mayyəri məyyərin
feminine məyuñwu məyuñwun məyśəyu məyaśyun mayyəru məyyərun

Interrogative Pronouns

Vrkhazhian possesses a simple set of interrrogative pronouns and adverbs:

Interrogative Pronouns
Interrogative
English Vrkhazhian
who? ʾilma?
what? ʾaʾlima?
how many? x̣annə?
where? dəwu ku?
when? saǧu ku?
why/how? ʾalməwwu səy?

Numerals

Vrkhazhian uses a base-12 system of numerals, which is a positional notation numeral system using twelve as its base. In this system, the number ten can be written as ⟨X⟩, and the number eleven as ⟨E⟩. The table below lists the numbers from 1 to 12.

Šañhəwwən "Numbers"
Glyph Numeral Cardinal Ordinal Fractional
Tibsa 1 tbis- hatbis- tibsuññ-
Susra 2 śdar- haśdar- śidruññ-
3 x̣šəy- hax̣šəy- x̣ašyuññ-
4 maʾar- hamʾar- maʾruññ-
5 tǧat- hatǧat- tiǧtuññ-
6 zñah- hazñah- zuñhuññ-
7 ??? ??? ???
8 šələb- hašləb- šəlbuññ-
9 ??? ??? ???
X ??? ??? ???
E ??? ??? ???
10 lam- halam- lamuññ-

Syntax

Main article: Syntax in Vrkhazhian

Nominal phrases

Relative clauses follow the noun while numerals and appositions precede the counted noun. All adjectives except colours follow the noun. An example of some of these features is the nominal phrase rVakyam Vərḵažaw, ʾIḵmeki ʾArašhijun I, kay tuṗtus ḳek numḵuḵ. "Ihmeki Arashjung, the Emperor of Vrkhazh, who united his people" which is analyzed in the following table:

Word Meaning Analysis Part of the nominal phrase
rVakyam emperor of nominative construct state Apposition
Vərḵažaw Vrkhazh genitive feminine singular
ʾIḵmeki ʾArašhijun I Ikhmeki Arashijun the First masculine singular Proper Noun (subject)
kay who nominative masculine singular Relative clause
tuṗtus people accusative feminine singular
ḳek his third person genitive masculine singular
numḵuḵ united active past singular

Sentence syntax

There are two basic word orders in Vrkhazhian that are used depending on the grammatical voice of the sentence. In sentences with the active voice, the basic word order is Subject-Object-Verb (SOV), while in sentences with the passive voice, the basic word order is Verb-Subject-Oblique (VSX). Compare an active sentence:

ʾUlden perje t-ʾildan ʾaldəm.
ʾUlden perje t-ʾildan ʾaldəm
soldier-NOM.MASC.PL all-MASC ACC-civilian-FEM.PL guard\ACT.PRES-PL
"All soldiers guard civilians."

vs. a passive sentence:

Nikašməm zHaqla makšimən kafaw maśšəya.
Nikašməm rmakšimən rkafaw rmaśšəya zuHaqla
PASS.PST-build\PASS-PL DEF-golem-NOM.FEM.PL DEF-mercury-FEM.PL Hiqala-ABL.FEM.SG
"The mercury golems were built by Hiqala"

The verb root ʾ-l-d (to guard), in the first example, is conjugated for active past singular in the active sentence agreeing in number with the subject "soldiers", while the verb root k-š-m (to build [physical]) in the second example is conjugated in the passive past plural, agreeing in number with the subject "the mercury golems".

Writing System

The Vrkhazhian Akhuva (ʾAḵva Yatvṛḵažaẏka [axβa jatβɹ̩xaʝæe̯ka]) is the official writing script of Vrkhazhian. The script consists of 33 letters, 12 numeral glyphs, and 6 vowel diacritics. The writing direction of the script is boustrophedon, and can start in any horizontal direction preferred, though the most common starting direction is Right-to-Left.

History

The script has been in use for at least 950 years, with few changes and alterations to the letter forms since it's inception. The script is a descendant of the Proto-Vrkhazhian logographic script.

Letter names

Standard letters

The table below lists the 34 letters of the Akhva that are shared by both Uzerian and Mukhebic:

ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
ʾAlaḵ ʾAlaḵa wind, breath ʾ [ʔ]
Ḵava Ḵava human [x]
Vava Vawa cane v [β]
Hita Hita lock h [h]
Data Data skull d [d]
Ẕima Ẕima fruit, blood [t͡s]
Bala Bala path b [b]
Suma Suma tunnel s [s]
Žati Žati helmet ž [ʝ]
Ṭama Ṭama horn, curve [θ]
Yava Yava scythe y [j]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Kafa Kafa water k [k]
Geba Geba wing g [g]
Lama Lama hand l [l]
Maʾa Maʾa bowl, cup m [m]
Neši Neši peace n [n]
Ḡaẏma Ḡaẏma name [ɣ]
Ṗasi Ṗasi poison [ɸ~ʍ̝~w̝]
Paka Paka head p [p]
Jima Jima pillar j [ɟ]
Ruḡi Ruḡi snake r [ɹ]
Faši Faši vulture f [ɸ]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Šima Šima house š [ç]
Wadi Wadi shield w [w]
Ćona Ćona fish ć [t͡ɬ]
Tali Tali gate t [t]
Ṟaša Ṟaša shoulder [ʀ]
Čita Čita hook č [c]
Zaba Zaba branch z [z]
Řata Řata fear, tail ř [r]
Śama Śama tree ś [ɬ]
Ḥaka Ḥaka roof [χ]
Qaẇta Qaẇta sheep q [q]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Ṉoda Ṉoda ear [ɴ]

Non-standard letters

The table below lists the letters that are only found in Mukhebic Vrkhazhian:

ʾAḵvah Yat-Vṛḵažaẏkah
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka Mukhebic Alakh ʾ [ʔ]
Ḳuna Ḳuna sky [kʼ]
Q̇usa Q̇usa hide [kʼ]
Ñiṟa Ñiṟa root ñ [ɲ]

Vowel diacritics

The Akhuva is an abjad, thus vowels are not represented in most texts. However, vowel diacritics may be used to aid learners in reading the text and to reduce ambiguities.

Mambinud Yat-Vṛḵažaẏkud
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Maʾlibi Maʾlibi exposed a [a]
Mařkiki Mařkiki fallen e [e̞]
Yata Yata ground i [i]
Ḵoṭa Ḵoṭa circle o [o̞]
Muḵepa Ṃḵepa emptiness ə [ə]
Ḥomli Ḥomli throne u [u]

Vocabulary

Example text