Gitanilan (Gitánilabraz from Gitánila + -braz "language of") is a Kasshian language historically used around the city of Gitanila. This article describes the language in the classical period, contemporaneous to Classical Kasshian. It belonged to the North Kassan branch.
Gitanilan was originally overshadowed by the Lambetsian dialects that gave rise to Classical Kasshian. It had importance as a secondary standard, due to one of the major religious centers being in Gitanila. After the rise of Nrastaism, Gitanila became the center of the Revivalist movement, and rose to prominence as the center of the standardization effort. After the Empress-on-Kassa moved her court from Lambets to Gitanila, Gitanilan became the de facto standard on Kassa. It is the ancestor of Hassan and related languages spoken on Has today.
Phonology and Orthography
Gitanilan phonology is similar to Classical Kasshian, but there are several notable differences.
Geminate stops and affricates did not exist in Gitanilan.
- G was pronounced as [ŋ] intervocalically and [g] elsewhere
- V is sometimes pronounced /w/ when preceded by another consonant
- R is used after consonants, l elsewhere
Unlike Classical Kasshian, ti, di, ki, gi, si, and zi were all possible syllables
- Permissible syllable onsets are any consonant, a stop followed by r, or sr-, zr-, vr-
- Permissible codas are m, n, s, v, z, and h (syllable-final h is realized as a long vowel)
- L may be geminated; -mm-, -nn-, -ss-, -vv-, -zz-, -ssh-, -zzh- can also occur, but are generally analyzed as sequences of identical phones rather than geminates, no other geminates occur (archaic forms of the language had some instances of -pp-, but those have since become degeminated)
- Hl is not a possible sequence. Where this occurs in compounding or grammatical inflections, the standard dialect drops the h. Some dialects add an epenthetic i while others replace hl with sh
- [li] is not a possible sequence, the l becomes silent. [ri] is possible, however
- Nasal-liquid sequences do not exist. Where they occur in compounding or inflection, an epenthetic voiced stop is added if intervocalic, otherwise the nasal becomes a stop. [gr] is written gr and [ŋgr] is written ngr
- Nasals cannot be followed by voiceless obstruents. Voiceless obstruents preceded by a nasal become voiced, with h becoming v
- Orthographically, word-final l may appear. This l becomes pronounced before suffixes beginning with a vowel or another l. When a suffix starting with a voiceless obstruent is added, that obstruent is voiced.
Gitanilan had four vowel phonemes /i e a u/ and two diphongs, /aj/ and /aw/. Vowels and diphthongs could be long or short. Length can be marked several ways. In most cases, it is marked by a following h in the same syllable (that is, when the h is not followed by another vowel). Long vowels may also be marked by a macron (which can be replaced by doubled vowels if macrons are unavailable). When two identical vowels belonging to different morphemes occur in succession, they are written separately, but pronounced as a normal long vowel. /u/ was pronounced as [o] in closed syllables.
Stress assignment was variable in Gitanilan. It was typically on the first syllable of the root (after any inflectional prefixes). There were some exceptions, marked by an acute.
Nouns and adjectives
Adjectives agreed with their head nouns in case, number, and gender
Like other Kasshian languages, Gitanilan was gendered. There were 8 genders, similar to those of Classical Kasshian, but lacking CK's genders VI and IX and adding instead VIII and X
- Gender I: Female or epicene human and some supernatural beings
- Gender II: Male human and some supernatural beings
- Gender III: Androgyne human and some supernatural beings
- Gender IV: Animals, some spirits, water, wind
- Gender V: Dangerous Things
- Gender VII: Most inanimates
- Gender VIII: Most body parts, human-made objects, language, abstractions, emotions, cultural institutions, groups of humans etc.
- Gender X: Gods and many supernatural beings
Each gender was marked by one of several prefixes indicating gender and number (singular or plural for IV-VIII and singular, dual, or plural for I-III and X). There were four basic inflectional paradigms, depending on whether the noun-root began with an consonant other than l or h, an l, an h, or a vowel.
These prefixes were added to roots beginning with a consonant other than l or h. There was a subclass of consonant-initial nouns known as i-dropping nouns, consisting of all but a few stems beginning with a consonant followed by an unstressed i. In these, the i was dropped in the singular of all but gender VIII
- Voiceless obstruents become voiced
- i- for i-dropping nouns
These prefixes are given with the initial l (which becomes r or dropped in certain forms). There are two subclasses, those that begin with la-, le-, or lu- and those that begin with li-. Li-initial nouns drop the initial l in the stem form. In addition, the plural forms have three dialectal variations, which are all listed here
In roots beginning with an h, the h becomes v- or p- in certain forms. The prefixes are listed here with the initial h-/v-/p-
There are three subtypes of vowel-initial nouns depending on the initial vowel. Nouns starting with a or u are in one class, while nouns starting with i- or e- are divided between two subclasses
|Gender||A- & u-initial||Type 1 i-/e-initial||Type 2 i-/e-initial|
Gitanilan has 13 cases, fewer than the 19 of Classical Kasshian, some cases with similar uses to CK, but others with rather different meanings. In the Northern Kassan languages, the case system was significantly altered, with a number of cases changing meaning. Unlike Classical Kasshian, there has been some degree of fusion between the number suffixes and the case-suffixes, with slightly different forms depending on whether the noun ends in a consonant or a vowel. Cases can be divided into two main groups, four True Cases (absolutive, ergative, dative, and instrumental), and nine Pseudo-Cases, subdivided into three further subgroups, the Genitive Group, the Dative Group, and the Absolutive Cases. Pseudo-Cases are formed by clitics suffixed to the head noun. Adjectives thus can only occur in True Cases, agreement being determined by which subgroup the head noun's case is in (that is, if the head noun is in a pseudo-case of the partitive group, the adjective is in the partitive)
There is an archaic dual form that was used with those genders that distinguish dual and plural, formed by suffixing -li (-i after vowel-final nouns; except -lev for inalienable possessive) to the noun and then adding the singular suffixes for vowel-final nouns.
Nouns ending in -h are treated as regular consonant-final nouns, however, the -h becomes -p in the plural. Nouns ending in long vowels marked by doubling or macron shorten the vowel in closed syllables.
|Case||Vowel-final nouns||Consonant-final nouns|
- Absolutive Group
- Property: -ka (-ga after voiced consonants)
- Locative: -di (-ti after voiceless consonants, including -h)
- Alienable possession: -lan (remember: hl -> l; also, when suffixed to plural consonant-final nouns, the /i/ in the -ih suffix is often dropped as well)
- Inalienable possession: -(a)v
- Note: -i becomes -e and -u becomes -a before this suffix, also, as with alienable possession, the -ih suffix of plural consonant-final nouns is often dropped before this suffix
- Alienable and inalienable are often treated as True Cases.
- Dative Group
- Allative: -zi
- Resultive: -ba
- Genitive Group
- Originative: -ta
- Compositional: -tu
- Ablative: -kos
Archaically, the Instrumental case was considered a Pseudo-Case of the absolutive group, but it has since been reanalyzed as a True Case.
Meaning of Cases
Compared to Classical Kasshian, many of the cases have very different meanings from their CK cognates. In particular, many of the local cases of CK have come to be used for other purposes, collapsing all motion/location senses into the three cases of locative, ablative, and allative
- Absolutive: Used for the subject of an intransitive verb, or the object of a transitive verb
- Ergative: Used for the subject of a transitive verb
- Dative: Used to indicate the recipient of an action, or the one for whom an action is performed
- Genitive: By the classical period, the genitive was no longer used except as a base for the genitive-group pseudocases.
- Instrumental: Used to indicate the means by which an action is performed, or in causative constructions for the one made to do something
- Alienable possession: Indicates possession of an object which can be lost, for example, "the woman's book" nihka titalan
- Inalienable possession: Indicates possession of something which cannot be taken away, without altering the nature of the object, e.g., "the woman's arm" tichiki titav. Note that tichiki titalan would imply that she was holding a disembodied arm! Used with body parts, family relations, and sometimes with things created by someone, especially art and the like (for many speakers, for example, dikas titalan for "the woman's art" would imply artwork purchased by her from someone else, while dikas titav would imply that it was her own creation)
- Property: Used to indicate that something is a property of the possessor, e.g., nupra tinanika "the mother's love". Many speakers do not use this case, and instead use inalienable possession for that sense
- Locative: Indicates the location in which an action occurs or an individual is.
- Allative: Motion towards something
- Resultive: Indicates the result of an action, particularly with verbs indicating change of state, such as "change" or "become", also used for the subject of intransitive verbs when another clause gives the cause.
- Originative: Used to indicate the origin of a noun, e.g., "a woman from Gitanila" - tita Gitánilahta. Originative is also used for the subject of a transitive verb in some ditransitive constructions (particularly when the object is an inanimate object) or some verbs where the object is not affected by the action (for example, "to read")
- Compositional: Used to indicate the composition of an object, rarely used in the dual number due to its meaning
- Ablative: Motion away from something