| Aθáta |
|Period||c. 1000 YP|
|Spoken in|| Rathedān, |
|Total speakers||c. 3 million|
|Writing system|| adapted |
|Classification|| Edastean |
|Basic word order||VSO|
This page relates to the
| Local links
Aθáta is a language of the Edastean family, spoken in the Rathedān highlands and the Milīr valley to its south around 1000 YP. It is descended from the central dialects of Imperial Adāta. While it maintains many ancestral features, there have also been significant changes in phonology, grammar, and lexicon.
- 1 Genealogy
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Grammar
- 4 Syntax
- 5 Example Text
- 6 See also
There is some information available on the northernmost dialect of Aθáta, Sawîyaran.
A descendant of Aθáta itself is E'át.
The ancestral phonology can be found here. Over the next several centuries, the following sound changes occurred:
- Original [h] was lost in all positions.
- [x] weakened to [h], which was then lost except in initial position.
- In words with initial stress, the rightmost non-initial long vowel attracted the stress, e.g. *Ádāta > *Adâta "Aθáta".
- Aspirated stops lenited to voiceless fricatives: [pʰ tʰ kʰ] > [f θ x].
- Voiced stops lenited to voiced fricatives (perhaps simultaneous with #4): [b d g] > [v ð ɣ].
- Elision of unstressed vowels:
- Medial unstressed short vowels were elided immediately following a vowel with primary or secondary stress, e.g. *dízaka > *ðíska "king".
- In disyllabic words with final stress, the first vowel was elided if it is short and preceded by a consonant, e.g. *kuthê > kθê "steal".
- Short and long vowel distinctions were lost in monophthongs.
- Short diphthongs were smoothed to long monophthongs: [ai ei oi au eu ou] > [ē ī ī ō ū ū].
- Long diphthongs were shortened: [āi ēi ōi āu ēu ōu] > [ai ei oi au eu ou].
- Coda stops were aspirated and then merged with the corresponding fricatives, e.g. *mékat > *mékaθ "brother".
- All fricatives came to be pronounced voiceless in initial and final positions, and voiced in medial position (except before a voiceless stop), leading to a formal merger of the voiced and voiceless fricatives.
- Palatalization changes:
- Velars became palatals next to a front vowel: [k x ɣ] > [c ç ʝ].
- Dentals became postalveolars before [i]: [t s z] > [tʃ ʃ ʒ]. The affricate then quickly merged with the palatal stop [c].
Allophones are marked in brackets.
Aθáta has a slightly different orthography from its parent language. However, it is almost completely phonemic (meaning one-to-one phoneme correspondence), since the allophones are always predictable. Only the phoneme [c] is marked by two different graphemes, <c> and <ti>, for reasons of etymology. The main orthographic differences are:
- Use of <c> instead of <k> to mark /k/.
- Use of <f θ x> instead of <ph th kh>, due to those sounds (earlier aspirated stops) becoming fricatives, as mentioned above.
- Lack of <h>, since its corresponding phoneme has long since disappeared.
- Use of <si> to indicate /ʃ/.
- Word stress, which is not predictable, is always marked. An acute accent marks stress on a short vowel, while a circumflex marks it on a long vowel or diphthong (in the latter case, always on the second member).
Aside from these changes, the orthography is exactly like Adāta, including the use of macrons to indicate (unstressed) long vowels.
Here are some simple rules on pronouncing written Aθáta:
- The letters <f θ x s> are voiceless at the beginning and end of a word. In the middle of a word, they are voiceless before <p t c> and voiced otherwise. Examples: <fáfor> [ˈfa.vɔɾ] "strength", <mécaθ> [ˈme.caθ] "brother", <θísca> [ˈθis.ka] "king", <énθa> [ˈɛn.ða] "(to) feel", <xósa> [ˈxo.za] "grove", <láxo> [ˈla.ɣo] "bone", <máθexlax> [ˈma.ðɛʝ.lax] "your (pl.) hearts", <θmôcaix> [ˈθmō.kaɪç] "our city-states".
- The letters <c x> are pronounced as palatals when adjacent to a front vowel and as velars otherwise. Examples: <éxa> [ˈe.ʝa] "domesticated animal", <xénu> [ˈçe.nu] "light", <xocé> [xo.ˈce] "tin", <cálas> [ˈka.las] "borders", <écon> [ˈe.cɔn] "hostile".
- The letter <t> is pronounced as [c] before /i/ and [t] otherwise. Likewise, <s> is pronounced as [ʃ] before /i/ and [s] otherwise (voicing rules apply as above). Examples: <pacátia> [pa.ˈka.ca] "throne", <túsiax> [ˈtuʒax] "they are eating", <fasa> [ˈfa.za] "staff", <rúlas> [ˈru.las] "foreign", <síma> [ˈʃi.ma] "mud".
One can expect a language's grammar to change consideribly over five to eight centuries, and Aθáta is no exception. It has innovated many features that did not exist in its parent tongue, including possessive suffixes on nouns and subject endings on verbs. For reference purposes, the ancestral Adāta grammar can be found here.
Like its parent language, Aθáta's nouns are largely lacking in grammatical morphology. However, they do inflect for number (singular and plural) and can also take a possessive pronominal suffix.
Historically, the plural affix comes from *-k, from the pronominal plural. In Aθáta, this ending becomes -x in coda position and -c otherwise (i.e. when a possessive suffix is added). For words ending in consonants in the singular, an [a] is inserted between the noun stem and the plural ending. Also, sometimes the noun stem changes form between the singular and the plural. Examples:
- Coda vs. non-coda: éθcix [ˈɛθ.ciç] "mistresses" vs. éθcicāx [ˈɛθ.ci.cāx] "their mistresses" vs. éθcixlax [ˈɛθ.cɪʝ.lax] "your (pl.) mistresses".
- Vowel-stems vs. consonant-stems: fθô [ˈfθō] "fat", fθôx [ˈfθōx] "fats" vs. êf [ˈēf] "man", êfax [ˈē.vax] "men".
- Alternation vs. non-alternation: neré [ne.ˈɾe] "woman", neréx [ne.ˈɾɛç] "women" vs. íθun [ˈi.ðʊn] "sea", íθnax [ˈɪð.nax] "seas".
Aθáta marks possession on the head instead of the dependent, using suffixes. A noun marked by a possessive suffix is governed by the following noun. There are endings for all grammatical persons (first, second, and third) and numbers (singular and plural):
For the first-person endings, the [a] is included when the noun ends in a consonant (this includes all plural nouns). Compare caroîn [ka.ˈɾoɪn] "my friend" vs. carócain [ka.ˈɾo.kaɪn] "my friends". The second-person endings include the [a] when an illegal consonant cluster would otherwise occur, e.g. xírlaθon [ˈçɪɾ.la.ðɔn] "your book" for *xírlθon. Historically, these possessive suffixes come from the old possessive particle *ax plus oblique pronouns. So, for example, níθain [ˈni.ðaɪn] "my bread" came from earlier *níθa ax in "bread of me".
Many words alternate the same way for possessive suffixes that they do for plurals. Examples: cálas [ˈka.las] "border" vs. cálsax [ˈkal.zax] "borders" and cálsaix [ˈkal.zaɪç] "our border"; mécaθ [ˈme.caθ] "brother" vs. méxθax [ˈmɛʝ.ðax] "brothers" and méxθacāx [ˈmɛʝ.ða.kax] "their brothers";céla [ˈce.la] "scribe" and célax [ˈce.lax] "scribes" vs. célcān [ˈcɛl.kān] "his scribes".
The pronouns have undergone significant changes since the parent language. For one thing, the direct and possessive forms became entirely lost, save in fossilized phrases. As a result, the oblique forms spread to take their functions. One of the reasons for this change is the preponderance of prepositional phrases governing the oblique, e.g. ilín [il.ˈɪn] "to me", ofán [o.ˈvan] "on it", aθláx [að.ˈlax] "into you (pl)". Here are the current pronouns:
Aθáta is a pro-drop language. Subject pronouns are rarely expressed overtly, due to verbs' obligatory subject endings. When they are explicitly given, they serve as emphasis: Péθfin-ax în [ˈpɛð.vi.nax ˈīn] "I conquered them." Notice that, in subject form, the pronouns are always stressed and, being stressed monosyllables, always have a long vowel.
Object pronouns are treated as enclitics. With verbs, they never carry stress, and thus have short vowels. As objects of prepositions, however, they are always stressed. Since the resulting forms always have at least two syllables, the pronouns still have short vowels.
Like its parent language, Aθáta verbs distinguish modality, aspect, and valency. However, the old number distinction has been lost due to the advent of subject endings, which themselves distinguish number. Aθáta's verb system has therefore been changed somewhat. Some of the affixes have been lost while others have changed.
Valency and Aspect
Verbs distinguish three aspects, habitual, perfective, and imperfective; and two voices, active and passive. Below are sample aspect/valency paradigms for two verbs, áfse [ˈav.ze] "sing" and sîn [ˈʃīn] "live":
Additionally, some verbs do not undergo a shift in stress between active and passive, as they were also end-stressed in the active. These verbs have taken the ending -l from the habitual passive and regularized it into a purely passive affix. One such verb is fnê [ˈfnē] "pray":
Some dialects and registers have spread the so-called "l-extension" to the historically regular verbs, giving rise to such forms as simâl [ˈʃmāl] "is lived" and afsélfe ~ fsélfe [av.ˈzɛl.ve ~ ˈfsɛl.ve] "has been sung". This trend is becoming more commonplace as time goes on, and will probably become a standard feature of the language in the not-so-distant future.
As noted above, verbs in Aθáta also inflect for person and number of the subject. These subject endings have arisen from oblique pronouns that became encliticized and then attached to the verb:
Note the similarity to the possessive endings above. Additionally, a subject ending replaces a final stem vowel when it begins with a vowel, e.g. áfsix [ˈav.zɪç] "we sing", símfax [ˈʃɪm.vax] "they have lived", and fnélsian [ˈfnɛl.ʒan] "it is being prayed". In the last example, the <i> remains to indicate the fricative [ʒ] -- otherwise, it would be read as [ˈfnɛl.zan].
Aθáta, like its parent language, indicates seven moods -- indicative (the unmarked form), imperative, optative, benefactive, obligative, futilitive, and conditional. The morphology of these moods is largely inherited, and all of them are expressed using prefixes. One important difference lies in the formal merger of the benefactive and old obligative moods, due to the merger of */s/ and */z/. Additionally, the adoption of subject endings made the imperative prefix redundant as such, since the unmarked stem could now be used. The old imperative, therefore, came to be used as the new obligative mood. A table outlining the prefixes follows:
|Imperative||= indicative; see below|
The new imperative mood is a special case. Formally it is the same as the indicative, but it does not use any personal endings, since it applies only to second-person subjects. Instead, it uses the bare stem (plus aspect/valency) for a singular subject and has an ending -θi for a plural subject. This ending comes from the old plural habitual ending *-thi. However, both the singular and plural imperative can take an obligative prefix for added emphasis.
Constituent word order is VSO in all main clauses:
(M)éθrasi neré níθa.
[ˈɛð.ɾa.ʒi ne.ˈɾe ˈni.ða]
The woman is (not) baking the bread.
Generally, adpositional phrases are ordered time - manner - place:
Nómvin cáp' ate-nárrol il-Niθsé.
[ˈnɔm.vɪn ˈkap a.te.ˈna.rɔl ɪl.nɪð.ˈze]
I went to Niθsé by horse last year.
For comparison of this text in related languages see the AkanaWiki Tsinakan text article.
Áfsian sif Síncan, θíscesor, θíscān Câθlas, méxθāx Sáma 'n Θálo: Ílnu ápin of-pacátiān mésein, ése θísclas rúlas ir écon ilín. Áffax sif θísclasax rúlsax cássax: "Θísca prâ mésān. Irofífan ófa θísclas cáran. On táfan iu naca. Θal ân ápienān of-pacátiān mésān sási iu θéfi."
Óla méxθāx Sáma 'n Θálo ápin of-pacátiān mésein, ílnu nómfin aθ-θísclasax rúlsax áθienāx écon ilín, snómfin il-sáticān Ofê. Smisáxfin-ax on áfpafin tónain il-mína mála. Áffin sif: "Éθcīn, xénāx sêx, ufómfanax-in, θísclasax cássax páfsienāx ilín iu θéfi. On sátax pásān cálsān lasθóθnaθon, éθcīn! Íenspa aθóθnax!"
Ráθfan Ofê lesécān mávain. Úlfan-in on sáffan fáfor il-ítianain. Péθfin-ax ate-lâθāx céro múcienāx-in. Péθfin-ax. Áfiefin ófa iatí, fû, on hára, on pléfin-ax il-Câθlas.
Sinakan, the great king, the king of the land of Kāxad, brother of the sun and the moon, spoke thus:
Before I sat on the throne of my father, alas! all the foreign countries were hostile towards me. The nearby foreign countries spoke thus: "His father was a brave king. Alas! he conquered many enemy countries. And he became a god. But luckily, he who sits on the throne of his father is a child."
When I, brother of the sun and moon, sat on the throne of my father, before I went to the foreign countries which were being hostile towards me, happily I went to the feasts of Ophai. I celebrated them to my benefit, and I rose my hand to the shining mother. I spoke thus: "My mistress, light of the stars, the nearby countries who name me a child belittle me. And they begin to attack the border of your holy land, my mistress! Strike the heathens down!"
Ophai heard the words of my mouth. She rose me up and she gave strength to my arm. I conquered those who rose against me in ten years. I conquered them. I captured many prisoners, oxen, and sheep, and I sent them back to the land of Kāxad.
[ˈav.ʒan ʃɪf ˈʃɪŋ.kan ˈθɪʃ.ce.zɔɾ ˈθɪs.kān ˈkāð.las ˈmeʝ.ðāx ˈsa.man ˈθa.lo | ˈɪl.nu ˈa.pɪn ɔf.pa.ˈka.cān ˈme.zeɪn ˈe.ze ˈθɪs.klas ˈɾu.las ɪɾ ˈe.cɔn il.ˈɪn | ˈav.vax ʃɪf ˈθɪs.kla.sax ˈɾʊl.zax ˈkaz.zax | ˈθɪs.ka ˈpɾā ˈme.zān | i.ɾo.ˈvi.van ˈo.va ˈθɪs.klas ˈka.ran | ɔn ˈta.van ju ˈna.ka | θal ˈān ˈa.pje.nān ɔf.pa.ˈka.cān ˈme.zān ˈsa.ʒi ju ˈθe.vi]