Hesperic

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Hesperic
Spoken in: Europe
Conworld: League of Lost Languages
Total speakers: ca. 50,000
Genealogical classification: Macro-Indo-European
Hesperic
see below
Basic word order: varies
Morphological type: varies
Morphosyntactic alignment: varies
Created by:
Jörg Rhiemeier 2000-

Hesperic is a family of diachronic conlangs by Jörg Rhiemeier spoken in the world of the League of Lost Languages. This family forms an early diverging branch of the Indo-European family (see Macro-Indo-European) and is a "re-creation" of the hypothetical Aquan language group. So far, Old Albic is the best-elaborated language of the family.

Sources

The Hesperic language family is built on an internal reconstruction (by the author himself, but drawing on the ideas of various scholars such as T. V. Gamkrelidze, V. V. Ivanov and the late, lamented J. E. Rasmussen) of an early stage of Proto-Indo-European; a part of the vocabulary is based on words in Celtic and Germanic languages without good PIE etymologies which may be loanwords from a substratum language. Further inspiration for the building of the family came from the Uralic and Kartvelian language families.

Conlangs of inspirational value are chiefly the Quendian (J. R. R. Tolkien), Eastern (Mark Rosenfelder) and Sunovian (Geoff Eddy) families which inspired me to build a large, diverse language family.

Overview (intrafictional)

The Hesperic languages are spoken in various residual zones in Central and Western Europe, with a total number of speakers not exceeding 50,000 today, though the family once had many more speakers (Old Albic alone is estimated to have been spoken by about 2 million people at its apogee about 600 BC).

This family is a branch (or sister family) of Indo-European that separated from the rest of the family early, around 4500 BC, and is probably associated with the first wave of the Kurgan culture expansions. (The Anatolian languages would represent the second wave around 3500 BC, while the other Indo-European languages would descend from the third wave around 3000 BC in this model.) The Old European hydronymy may be Hesperic in origin, but as the original meanings of those names are unknown, such an identification remains speculative.

Proto-Hesperic would have been spoken about 4000 BC in Central Europe, and thus probably actually older than the Late PIE the standard reconstruction represents (which may have been as late as 3000 BC, but the dating is controversial). The family also shows similarities to the Uralic languages, and appears to be something like the "missing link" between Indo-European and Uralic. Typological similarities also exist to the Kartvelian languages, but this does not appear to reveal a relationship.

Today, however, all Hesperic languages have to be considered endangered, and none has official status in the country or countries where it is spoken.

Classification

Hesperic

  • West Hesperic
  • Low Elvish
  • Mediterranean Hesperic
  • Ibero-Hesperic
  • Italo-Hesperic
  • Viddan (incertae sedis)
  • East Hesperic
  • Western Duniscian
  • Central Duniscian
  • Eastern Duniscian

Viddan shows a mixture of western and eastern traits, and its affiliation is unclear.

The "Kastenholz scheme"

The Kastenholz scheme (named after a fictional linguist) groups the eight branches of Hesperic in a 3x3 grid (with one empty cell):

  West Central East
North Albic Viddan Valdiska
Central Montdorais Central Duniscian
South Ibero-H. Italo-H.  

This chart corresponds to four major isogloss bundles, two running north-south and two running east-west, characterized as below.

Northern zone

  • Moderate to large consonant inventories
  • Long and short vowels
  • Pitch accent with two contrasting intonations (thrusting and slipping tone) on long vowels
  • Preservation of all five Proto-Hesperic primary cases
  • Richly developed secondary cases
  • Complex verb morphology with two sets of personal endings

Central zone

  • Moderate consonant inventories
  • Long and short vowels
  • Stress accent
  • Four-case system
  • Moderately complex verb morphology

Southern zone

  • Small consonant inventories
  • No long vowels
  • Stress accent
  • Topic-prominent noun declension, topic marker from genitive
  • Simple verb morphology

Western slice

  • Loss of aspiration (only partially in Albic)
  • Drummond's Law
  • Vowel umlauts
  • Initial accent (lost in parts of Albic)

Central slice

  • Spirantization of aspirates (also in parts of Albic)
  • Drummond's Law (uvularization in Viddan)
  • Monophtongization of diphthongs (also in parts of Albic)
  • Initial accent

Eastern slice

  • Loss of aspiration
  • Gemination of consonants followed by laryngeals
  • Palatalizations
  • Penultimate accent

Influence of Standard Average European

The Hesperic languages have been influenced to various degrees by the Standard Average European linguistic area. The influence of this Sprachbund is strongest in Alpianic and weakest in Albic.