Conlang Relay 19/Tmaśareʔ
by Jan Strasser
Śita kehka weyoʔ ehipę twemoʔćkamątase. Takwateʔ kehkeʔ yelta peńehcmąkta: "Pśikwe weyoʔ emanǫʔ tewi tma twesąʔćkakwekse, tkekera cą ćosąhcaʔǫce." - "Yǫco cańe menaloʔknęceʔi," hanimąkse śiro kehkeʔ.
Ćma śeʔ twehakwaćkaloʔwase kąʔęta komąʔma. Yeyapomiloʔkta kwakwiʔ kekehka, śeśi ca kohpco cakwe cwoʔlahcapǫkta: "Seʔ kwe cmę weyoʔ emanǫʔ tewi cahma kyehcayąpaʔnęceʔi. Tma kyehcanęceʔi, pahpątanęceʔi, tkwe ca ceńopahnętąʔi. Pśikwe cohenęcǫʔi kekera hą cą tkwe cpeńenętąʔi, pśikwe ikweʔątwissemǫʔ kǫpe." Kekehka somoloʔta, ca yeʔcoloʔwa hą kąʔęta komąʔma.
Yocǫtomoʔ kwoco eńoranąhcayaho kąʔęta. "Weyoʔ emanǫʔ tewi cahma ktanąʔǫcmo, ca ńępoʔǫcmo ciʔyąki lǫhiʔnaʔma, caca hą twileʔkakahpa." Takwaro kehkeʔ śeśi sacepǫkse: "Nehi, rapśikwe cą ćeltahcayąʔkwenęceʔi!" - "Yǫco cańe ćawiloʔknąʔi koʔ," hanimąkse śiro kehkeʔ.
Ląćeyeśoʔ kwoco eńopahcayaho komą. "Weyoʔ emanǫʔ tewi cahma kpahoʔǫcmo, ca coheʔǫcmo śekmǫ tąctakcǫ tąckikihpo tąćoyonayękwi." Takwaro kehkeʔ śeśi sacepǫkse: "Yekwe, rapśikwe cą koʔ ćeltaćiʔnęcihma!" - "Kąta hayehco ćawiʔną cą," hanimąkse śiro kehkeʔ.
Two rocks were located at the shoulder of a hill. One rock said to the other one: "Those things which I assume to be located in the area behind the nose of the hill, I am curious about them." - "Unfortunately, we will never know," answered the second rock.
However, a blackbird and a mouse were nearby. They heard the words of the rocks (lit. 'they word-heard the rocks'), and they suggested this for their benefit: "But we can go to the land behind the nose of the hill. We will go there, we will explore it, and we will come back to you. And then we will tell you what we have discovered, so that you become familiar with those things." The rocks agreed, and the blackbird and the mouse went away.
After a short while, the blackbird returned. "I have flown to the land behind the nose of the hill, and I have observed a wide river and a green valley, and also some tall trees." The first rock said this: "Alas, if only we could see those things!" - "Unfortunately, we will never be happy at all," answered the second rock.
After many days, the mouse also returned. "I have walked to the land behind the nose of the hill, and I have found nothing but the same grass and worms and beetles." The first rock said this: "Oh no, we really do not want to see those things!" - "Now we will always be happy," answered the second rock.
English translation of previous text
- (Ithkuil, by John Quijada)
Two rocks were situated at the slope of a hill. The first rock said, "I'm curious about the area beyond the hill." The second rock replied, "We will never know."
A small distance away there were a bird and a mouse. Hearing this, they said, "Hey, you two rocks! We are able to go to the area beyond the hill. We will go there and come back, and then we will describe to you what we have observed so that you know these things." The two rocks said, "We agree with this", and the bird and the mouse left.
After a while, the bird returned and said, "I have flown to the area beyond the hill, and I have seen a fairly wide river, and also a green valley, and also a tall tree." The first rock said, "If only we could see those things!" The second rock said, "We will never be happy."
After many days, the mouse returned and said, "I have walked to the area beyond the hill, and I have only seen lots of the same grass and seeds and crawling bugs." The first rock said, "We do not want to see such things." The second rock said, "We will always be happy."
|cą||adv||indeed, really, by contrast|
|caca||cj||also, furthermore, in addition|
|cahma||n.VII||land, region, area|
|cakwe||pron||proximate 3rd person pronoun (class II plural)|
|cańe||adv||not at all, never|
|cmę||cj||as, under the circumstance that|
|ćawi-||v.it||smile, be happy, enjoy oneself|
|ćosą-||v.mt||focus on, feel attracted to, be curious about|
|eńo||adv||again, repeatedly, back|
|hakwa-||adj||close, nearby, on the near side|
|hani-||v.mt||answer, reply, respond to|
|hayehco||adv||always, every day, forever|
|hipę||n.ip.VII||shoulder, side, edge|
|kąta||adv||now, instantly, immediately|
|kehka||n.II||rock, boulder, large stone|
|kera||n.VII||thing, object, item, instance (inanimate)|
|koʔ||adv||indeed, really, completely|
|kohpco||adv||as a result, accordingly|
|komą||n.II||mouse, hamster||(pl. kokmą)|
|kǫpe||pp||towards, in the direction of, in order to|
|kwakwe||pron||proximate 3rd person pronoun (class I plural)|
|lǫ-||adj||green, warm, fertile|
|maną||n.ip.II||nose, tip, corner||(pl. mǫną)|
|moʔ||pp||on, at, near|
|nehi||intj||alas! oh dear! (expression of regret)|
|pahpąta-||v.mt||search at/in, make one's way through, explore|
|peńe-||v.mt||say towards, tell, inform|
|pomi||n.VII||word, statement, speech, utterance||(pl. poʔmi)|
|pśikwe||pron||obviative 3rd person pronoun (class VII plural)|
|sa||pron||1st person plural pronoun|
|somo-||v.it||confirm, approve, agree|
|śeʔ||cj||however, by contrast|
|śeśi||pron||demonstrative pronoun (class VII singular)|
|tewi||pp||behind, beyond, further away than|
|tkwe||pron||2nd person plural pronoun|
|tomo||n.VII||period of time, era, generation||(pl. totmo)|
|weʔą-||v.mt||know, meet regularly, be familiar with|
|woʔla-||v.mt||draft, plan, come up with|
|yekwe||cj||but not, not at all|
|yocǫ-||adj||early, soon, young, quick|
|yǫco||adv||sadly, unfortunately, a pity that|
|yonayękwi||n.II||bug, beetle, ant (any predominantly crawling insect)|
|=ʔma||cj||and, also (postclitic)|
|c-, ca-||benefactive applicative|
|e-||3rd person singular possessor|
|ik-, ikw-||2nd person plural possessor|
|k-, ke-||lative applicative|
|ra=, t=||demonstrative: "that, those"||(proclitic)|
|tw-, twe-||locative applicative|
|twi=||quantifier: "some, a few"||(proclitic)|
|-(ɴ)-||agreement: 1st person singular ergative||(surfaces as nasalization on the preceding vowel)|
|-co||adverbializer: "related to X"||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-ćka-||durative/situational verbalizer: "do X for a certain period of time"|
|-eʔ, -ęʔ, -iʔ||ergative case||(deletes preceding vowel)|
|-hą||adverbializer: "in the manner of X"|
|-hca-||directional: orientation towards focus|
|-hma, -ihma||negative||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-k-||agreement: 3rd person ergative|
|-kwe-||evidential: assumption or speculation|
|-loʔ-, -loʔk-||evidential: physical or situational evidence|
|-mą-||evidential: hearsay||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-mę||verbal noun||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-mo||completive/perfect||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-ną-||agreement: 1st person plural absolutive|
|-nę-||agreement: 1st person plural ergative||(may delete preceding vowel)|
|-oʔ, -ǫʔ||genitive case||(deletes preceding vowel)|
|-ǫʔi||completive/perfect + irrealis||(deletes preceding vowel)|
|-pǫ-||evidential: non-visual sensory perception|
|-ro||ordinal number: "-th"|
|-se, -ce||agreement: 3rd person class VII absolutive|
|-ta-||agreement: 3rd person class II absolutive|
|-tą-, -tąh-||agreement: 2nd person plural absolutive|
|-twih-, -twis-||inchoative verbalizer ("become X")|
|-wa||agreement: 3rd person class I absolutive|
|-ya-||evidential: visual perception|
|-yąpa-, -yąʔ-||modal: abilitative|
|-ʔco-||directional: orientation away from focus|
|-ʔi||irrealis||(conditional meaning when used with "assumption" evidential)|
|-ʔo-||evidential: direct participation or general knowledge|
The transcription scheme is fairly similar to standard Americanist usage, except that acute accents are used instead of carons to denote palatal consonants:
Consonants: ‹p t c ć k ʔ› /p t ʦ ʧ k ʔ/ ‹ s ś h› / s ʃ h/ ‹m n ń › /m n ɲ / ‹w l r y › /w l ɾ j / Vowels: ‹i e a o› /i e a o/ ‹ ę ą ǫ› / ẽ ã õ/
Morphophonological processes are mostly covered by the different allomorphs listed for certain morphemes. However, some further processes are worth mentioning here:
- Vowel deletion: Fairly often a vowel will be deleted depending on the prosodic structure of the word; morphemes which may trigger this are marked in the glossary.
- Palatalization: /j/ coalesces with preceding /ʦ s n/ into /ʧ ʃ ɲ/.
- Nasalization: /w ɾ l j/ become /m n n ɲ/ when preceded by a nasalized vowel.
- Fortition: /ɾ/ becomes /t/ when immediately preceded by one of /p t ʦ ʧ k/.
Tmaśareʔ is a fairly synthetic, mostly head-final, morphologically ergative language. Most bound morphemes are more or less agglutinative, but this is obscured to some extent by various morphophonological alternations. The language uses both prefixes and suffixes, with the latter clearly predominating.
- There are seven noun classes, which are cross-referenced on verbs, pronouns, and cardinal numerals. Groups of nouns from different classes may be referred to by any of the individual classifiers depending on the most salient member; this usage is sometimes carried over into other parts of the same discourse even if only a non-matching member of the group is being targeted.
- Nouns inflect for three cases (absolutive, ergative, genitive), which are marked with suffixes.
- Nominal plurals are usually formed with initial reduplication. Irregular plural forms are mentioned in the wordlist. Note that the reduplicated syllable may end up in the middle of a word if further prefixes and/or proclitics are added.
- Tmaśareʔ distinguishes between alienable and inalienable possession. Alienably possessed nouns are simply preceded by their possessor, cast in the genitive, whereas inalienably possessed nouns obligatorily take a possessive prefix indicating the number and person of the possessor.
- Demonstratives and quantifiers are proclitics, which precede any other affix on the noun or pronoun they refer to. Demonstratives can also be used pronominally; in this usage they take a noun class marker agreeing with their head, and also inflect for case.
- Cardinal numerals agree in case and noun class with their head noun, which appears in the singular form.
- Adjectives are not a seperate word class. Most adjectival concepts are expressed by attributive prefixes, which are added before the (possibly plural-marked) noun stem, but after any possessive prefixes and deictic proclitics. Nouns may take several adjectival prefixes at the same time.
- Semantically specialized nominals can also be formed by head-final compounding with a noun stem as the head. The dependent stem in nominal compounds may be both nominal or verbal.
- Pronouns exhibit a proximate/obviative distinction in the 3rd person, which can help to keep track of several 3rd person arguments in a narrative.
- The general order of morphemes within a verb is as follows:
- -1: applicative prefix (optional)
- 0: root
- 1: derivational suffixes (optional)
- 2: incorporated noun (optional)
- 3: directional suffix (optional)
- 4: causative (optional)
- 5: modality (optional)
- 6: evidentiality (mandatory in verbs not marked as interrogative or irrealis)
- 7: ergative agreement (mandatory in transitive verbs)
- 8: absolutive agreement (mandatory)
- 9: aspect (optional)
- 10: negation (optional)
- 11: interrogative or irrealis (optional)
- 3rd person arguments are tracked on the verb by noun class, but not by number. Ergative 3rd person arguments do not take noun class concord.
- In verbs with an applicative prefix, the applicative object takes up the primary absolutive slot, replacing the subject/patient in this regard. However, if there is no agent, the verb will take "ergative" agreement referring to the intransitive subject. If both arguments are 3rd person and belong to different noun classes, absolutive noun class markers will be used for both of them.
- Some types of subclauses are built with nominalized verb forms, in which the subject (of intransitive verbs) or the agent (of transitive verbs) are not referenced by normal agreement suffixes, but instead by prefixes identical in form to those indicating inalienable possession. Nominalized verbs may take full verbal inflection between the possession prefix and the nominalizing suffix; however, evidentiality marking is optional.
- Most transitive verbs can also be used intransitively simply by omitting the ergative argument and its agreement marker. The resulting intransitive predicate is typically semantically passive or reflexive.
- Noun phrases are mostly head-final, with numerals, genitives, adpositional attributes, and relative clauses preceding the head noun.
- Adpositional phrases are postpositional; they generally require their object to inflect for the genitive case.
- The typical constituent order is Agent - (Recipient) - Patient - (Applicative) - Verb.
- Adjuncts (postpositional phrases with adverbial function) usually appear in clause-final position, following the verb.
- Any noun phrase or adjunct may be topic-fronted.
- Noun phrases may also be right-dislocated to after the verb, especially if the remaining pre-verbal NP(s) is/are modified by a relative clause.
- Pronouns in the absolutive or ergative case are often omitted (i.e. Tmaśareʔ is a pro-drop language).
- Relative clauses are formed exactly like ordinary clauses, but they always feature an introductory pronoun agreeing in noun class and number with the relativized nominal. This pronoun, which takes case markers according to the role of its referent within the relative clause, may not be dropped.
- Conditional clauses are signalled by the use of both the assumption evidential suffix and the irrealis suffix. They are otherwise syntactically identical to main clauses.
- Adverbs and conjunctions are usually placed after the head of the first constituent in a clause (Wackernagel's position). If there is no overt constituent, they may be placed clause-initially; adverbs may also be moved to pre- or postverbal position. When more than one adverbs and/or conjunctions appear in a sentence, they are typically placed immediately next to each other.
- Serial verb constructions can be formed to describe a series of closely related events; this is done by concatenating several fully inflected verbs (which must refer to the same primary absolutive argument) and adding the enclitic conjunction =ʔma to the last of the serialized verbs.
- Nominal, adjectivial and adpositional predication is achieved by converting the predicate into a verb through a variety of derivational suffixes. As an extension of this, adjectivial and adpositional stems can also be used to form head-final verbal compounds with a verb stem; they typically take on an adverbial function with regard to the action described by the verb stem.
- In order to focus the action of a transitive verb on its agent, nouns in the semantic roles of patient or theme can be incorporated into the verb. This has the effect of backgrounding the incorporated noun, reducing the valency of the verb by one, and promoting the ergative argument to absolutive if no other absolutive argument is present. Noun incorporation can be combined with other valency-changing operations such as causativization and/or applicativization. However, it doesn't play a prominent role in this text.