Islhontish

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Isλǫtaλao is spoken on an alternate Earth that was created and populated, somewhat accidentally, by a device in our distant future called the Dream Engine. This alternate Earth is referred to as Carnassus, or Káląsao in Isλǫtaλao. The native speakers of this language call themselves the Ęjinǫwisa (a term which is derived from the Cherokee word for the Cherokee people).

In the world of Carnassus, there never was a Rome or Latin language, nor was there ever a population of Native peoples who are now called the Cherokee. This language, though it has ties in our world to those sources (and others), is actually a language isolate on Carnassus, as are all other languages there due to the way in which the world came to be.

Isλǫtaλao is an a posteriori language derived from a system of regular sound changes from Classical Latin vocabulary. The forms taken for verb conjugation and noun declension are closely related to the results of those changes, but not 100% faithful. After various words have been passed through the sound changes some obvious patterns appeared, and for the most part the author attempted to maintain them. But there are many places in which that was not the case, in those cases the author has decided to "streamline" the results to form a more cohesive system. Some of those places include the perfect tenses, which, like Spanish, now use an auxiliary verb, the distinction between nominative and accusative, and the somewhat forced syncretism of all non-genitive forms into an oblique case.



Flag-ISL.png
Islhontish
Isλǫtaλao
Pronounced: Native: /is.ɬɔ̃.'tɑ.ɬɑʊ̯/
Anglicized: /ɪs.'lɔn.tɪʃ/
Timeline and Universe: Alternate Earth
Species: Human
Spoken: Carnassus
Writing system: Syllabary
Typology
Morphological type: Somewhat Fusional
Morphosyntactic alignment: Nominative-Accusative
Basic word order: SOV; Head-Final
Credits
Creator: Thrice Xandvii |
Created: July 2014

Phonology

Isλǫtaλao has 12 consonants, three pure vowels, three nasal vowels and two diphthongs. The vowel inventory is rather symmetric, with an equal measure of front and back vowels. Also its diphthongs are both formed with a with off glides toward i and u, which are the two topmost points of the "vowel triangle." Consonants, on the other hand, are mostly coronal with few dorsal and even fewer laryngeal.

One notable item missing from Islhonta is labial consonants, with the exception of /w/. The author decided that /w/ would be retained due to the language already containing /u/, and that all other labials would have fallen out. This was inspired by Tsalagi, which maintains only /m/. Also, this setup allowed for a logical avenue for Latin's labials to merge into.

Consonants

  Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
Nasal n /n/  
Plosive t /t/ k /k/ and q /kw/ j /ʔ/
Fricative s /s/ h /x/
Lateral λ (ł) /ɬ/
Affricate z /t͜s/ and () /t͜ɬ/
Approximant w /w/ l /l/

Vowels

  Front Central Back
High i /i/ u /u/
Middle ę /ɛ̃/ ~ [ẽ] ą /ə̃/ ~ [ɑ̃; ã] ǫ /ɔ̃/ ~ [õ]
Low a /a/ ~ [ɑ]
Diphthong æ /ɑɪ̯/ ao /ɑʊ̯/

Phonotactics

The basic structure of words in Isλǫtaλao is expressed thusly: (C)V(s)[...CV(s)]. What this means, is that a word may begin with any consonant or vowel, but any medial or final syllables must contain a consonant and then a vowel. The only consonant that can form a syllable coda is /s/. If a vowel would occur in a medial syllable, it is prefixed with /ʔ/.

Allophony

Allophonically, the nasal vowels, ą, ę and ǫ can shift to [ɑ̃ ~ ã], [ẽ] and [õ] (respectively) from their more normal lower/central realizations. This occurs most frequently in open syllables, as well as in stressed syllables. However, for some speakers, they always have these values.

Consonant Change

There are some morphemes in Isλǫtaλao that cause a bordering consonant to either undergo fortition (strengthen), or lenition (weakening). Not all consonants are affected by these changes, and those that are, are not all affected in the same way. The following table should adequately summarize what changes do occur.

  n t k kw ʔ s h w l ɬ t͜s t͜ɬ
Weaken (+Ь ) l s t͜s w h s ɬ
Strengthen (+Ъ) t͜s t ʔ kw n t͜ɬ k

Stress

Stress in Isλǫtaλao consists of an increase in vowel length, as well as a slight increase in loudness of the affected syllable. This stress almost unfailingly appears on the penultimate syllable of a word. This may mean that a suffix or other conjugational ending will alter the stress of the word, which, unless noted, won't be blocked in any way.

There are a few morphemes which carry an inherent stress, or otherwise alter the stress pattern of the words they modify. In all cases, this is marked in the Romanization with an accute accent on the vowel of the affected syllable (ex: á), and a dot in the script. When stress falls on a syllable with a diphthong, it is marked on the first vowel in the case of áo, and the digraph æ is broken into two letters and again the accent is placed on the first vowel: áe. These visual markers are not used if the stress marker would happen to fall on the penultimate syllable, akin to how accent marks are sometimes dropped in Spanish (ex. when singular, sock is written calcetín, but it is calcetines when plural).

Grammar

(In Progress™)

Noun Declension

There are five classes into which a noun can fall in Isλǫtaλao. In each case, it is the terminal vowel of a noun that determines its class. These classes impact how each noun is declined for Isλǫtaλao's three cases, which are direct, oblique and lastly, genitive. Latin's case system collapsed into these three cases by merging the nominative and accusative cases into direct, and having all but genitive fall into oblique (in the case of vocative, its usage was limited already and was replaced by the nominative fully before Isλǫtaλao developed... if it had in fact developed that is). In the case of the genitive, it developed from appending , which is derived from the Latin .

Class Ending Direct Oblique Genitive
I -a -a -as -́atæ
-ąs -́ątæ
II -i -i -́itæ
III -i -́itæ
IV -ao -ao -u -́utæ
V -u -u -́Ъutæ
-ę, -ǫ -ę, -ǫ -́Ъątæ
-Ṽs -Ṽs -́Ъątæs

In the above table, Class V is perhaps the most complex class. It includes all nouns that end in -u, -ę, -ǫ or -s. In the case of -u, as with all Class V nouns, no change in ending occurs in the direct or oblique cases, and its genitive ending begins with u. For the nasals, ę and ǫ, again the direct and oblique forms are the same, but their genitive ending begins with ą. And finally, any noun ending in s will be declined as if it had no s within Class V, and then an s will be appended to that form, giving us genitive forms ending in s, and direct and oblique forms that are the same as the base noun.

Also, as you might have noticed, the direct case is always unmarked and serves as the citation case, it is the noun as it results from sound changes from the Latin accusative form. Another pattern that exists across the system is that no genitive ending begins with a diphthong.

Some examples of declined forms of nouns:

  • water: aqa, aqas, áqatæ
  • skirmisher, hot-head: ątæszują, ątæszująs, ątæszújątæ
  • work, effort: uwali, uwalæ, uwálitæ
  • distraction: tæstλuzæ, tæstλuzi, tæstλúzitæ
  • teacher, master: tuzaλao, tuzaλu, tuzáλutæ
  • hearth: huku, huku, húkutæ
  • slave: silawu, silawu, siláqutæ
  • help, assistance: æjaowutę, æjaowutę, æjaowúzątæ
  • fire, flame: æzǫs, æzǫs, áekątæs
  • dog: kąs, kąs, kątæs

Notice, that unlike most addition of suffixes, the genitive suffix will maintain the stress on the penultimate syllable of the word to which the suffix is being added.

Articles

Articles in Isλǫtaλao are descended from unum (one) and aliquod (some, a few), and are one of the only indicators that still exist for the plural, which is not shown on nouns at all. The singluar article is u' if before a consonant, but it is un if it appears before a vowel. The plural article is a' if before a consonant, but it is al if it appears before a vowel. However, unlike other Romance languages, the articles in Isλǫtaλao do not carry any markings in terms of definitiness, so the singular and plural articles are a/the or some/the, respectively. Definiteness markers, when they are applied, are carried as suffixes on the verb and agree with the objects of that verb after it is conjugated to agree with the subject/agent.

  • a/the teacher, some/the teachers: u'tuzaλao, a'tuzaλao
  • a/the flame, some/the flames: un æzǫs, al æzǫs

Simiar to English, the articles in Isλǫtaλao are clitics, and can therefore attach to words that go between the noun and the articles. For instance:

  • some/the yellow fires: a'λæ æzǫs

Verb Conjugation

All infinitive forms of verbs in Isλǫtaλao end in the pattern -V (where V stands for any vowel), which is the result of deriving these forms from the present active infinitive forms of verbs in Latin, which customarily end in -Vre. For those verbs whose present active infinitive forms do not end in this way, the forms have been altered via analogy to fit the paradigm. (For example, the form loquī has been altered to loquīre.) This resultant infinitive form is used as a basis for conjugation of all other forms, and thus only one form is required to properly express what conjugational forms it will take.

As noted previously, each infinitive form ends in a vowel (Ve), which plays an important role in the conjugational forms. In addition, it defines the "thematic" vowel (Vt) associated with the verb as well as which nasal vowel (or syllable) (Vn) is associated. The thematic vowel, the nasal vowel, and the ending vowel are all used in mostly regular ways to form the various conjugational forms. The following charts will detail how all of these factors come together into a cohesive system.

In addition to the important role of vowels in the system, there are additional places in which a previous consonant is either lenited, or undergoes fortition (these are noted, as above, with the Cyrillic soft and hard signs, respectively).

Ending Thematic Nasal
-a -a
-i
-i
-u -ao
-ao -u
Insert More Charts Here.

Negation

Double negatives do not cancel out in even pairs as they do in English. Many forms of negation can be used in the same sentence and it would merely have an intensifying effect, or it could be used for the purposes of disambiguating which things are negated, and which are not.

  • -jǫs: Verbal suffix to directly negate the verb
  • : Negation particle used in all other instances

Syntax

The syntax of Isλǫtaλao can broadly be defined as SOV and head final. What that means, is that in general, a subject (agent) of a sentence will precede any objects of a verb (undergoers, instruments, etc.), and both will precede the verb. In general, adjectives will precede the noun they modify, so also will adverbs precede the verbs they modify.

Examples Here.

Syllabary

The syllabary for Islhonta was created with influence from the form of letters in the Georigan alphabet, but also the shapes were inspired by the various glyphs in the Cherokee syllabary. However, whereas most of the forms in the Cherokee syllabary appear similar to Roman majascule, the glyphs in Islhonta are made to more resemble Roman miniscule.

In addition to these glyphs, there are several diacritics that can be added to glyphs to alter them further. When a diacritic would be placed above a letter with an ascender, or below a letter with a descender, a carrier symbol is added to hold the diacritic in question.

  n t k j s h λ z l w q
a ISL-a.png ISL-na.png ISL-ta.png ISL-ka.png ISL-ja.png ISL-sa.png ISL-ha.png ISL-lla.png ISL-za.png ISL-tlla.png ISL-la.png ISL-wa.png ISL-qa.png
i ISL-i.png ISL-ni.png ISL-ti.png ISL-ki.png ISL-ji.png ISL-si.png ISL-hi.png ISL-lli.png ISL-zi.png ISL-tlli.png ISL-li.png ISL-wi.png ISL-qi.png
u ISL-u.png ISL-nu.png ISL-tu.png ISL-ku.png ISL-ju.png ISL-su.png ISL-hu.png ISL-llu.png ISL-zu.png ISL-tllu.png ISL-lu.png ISL-wu.png ISL-qu.png
æ ISL-ae.png ISL-nae.png ISL-tae.png ISL-sae.png ISL-llae.png ISL-zae.png ISL-tllae.png ISL-lae.png  
ao ISL-kao.png ISL-jao.png ISL-hao.png ISL-wao.png ISL-qao.png
  -S Nasalizer* Carrier
Other ISL-s.png ISL-Jay.png ISL-Nasal.png ISL-Carrier.png
Diacritic ISL-Swoop.png ISL-Swash.png ISL-Dash.png ISL-Dot.png
Function Changes æ to ao Changes ao to æ Indicates stress
Placed Above Above Below Below*
  • Headings for the table are given in the Romanization, not with IPA characters.
  • When a syllable is nasalized, its vowel is also lowered/centered (a → [ə], i → [ɛ], u → [ɔ]). (Syllables containing diphthongs cannot be nasalized.)
  • Whenever a syllable is nasalized, if it has a descender or other component that would overlap, the hookless version is utilized instead.
  • The stress marker is the only diacritic that can optionally appear above a glyph when a descender would be in the way. It is only used when stress falls on a syllable other than the penultimate, or for disambiguation.

Lexicon

For a partial list of words in Isλǫtaλao, see: Lexicon.

Since Isλǫtaλao is a language that derives directly from Latin via sound changes, there will probably never be a complete list of words for the language since words can (mostly) be generated at will by simply applying the various sound changes. However, there will likely be a list of commonly used words, and those that have deviated in one way or another from what one might expect (for example, is hails from ex even though one may expect to find i instead; this semi-learned version is likely to disambiguate it from i which is inherited via et).

There are four broad types of words that exist in Isλǫtaλao, with the vast majority of them being "inherited." One example of a deviation from the sound changes is listed above, and other examples include many pronouns, and prepositions.

  • Inherited — These words came to Isλǫtaλao directly from the sound changes, with no premature halt or other alterations
  • Semi-learned — These words came only part way through the changes, and then became calcified and did not undergo any further changes. (For many of these words, this "stoppage" occurred just prior to the onset of the metathesis of the final vowels in polysyllabic words.)
  • Learned — This is by far the smallest group, and consists of words that came almost directly from Latin with very few sound changes.
  • Altered — These words came either partially or all the way through the sound changes, but then were artificially manipulated in one way or another. Some of these words were "inherited" but from an artificial source word instead. A good example is the infinitive form of the verb "to speak": luqaλi which should come from the present active infinitive loquī, but instead comes from the invented form loquīre.

Sound Changes

See: Sound Changes for full list of sound changes from Latin.

The sound changes that bring Latin's phonology in line with that presented above begins with some of the classic changes that resulted in Vulgar Latin, but even those have been modified pretty heavily. The first draft of these changes was created by Click, like this author, a contributor on the CBB conlang forum. His draft, and subsequent assistance, helped to form the backbone of what would create the vocabulary of Isλǫtaλao. From those changes, which include: several consonant shifts, vowel deletions, mergers, fortition and lenition, epenthetic additions in the form of /a/ to break consonant clusters and /ʔ/ to break up vowel clusters, extensive changes surrounding nasal consonants and nasal vowels, and a system of regular vowel metathesis, we arrive at Isλǫtaλao.

To create a word in Isλǫtaλao, one need only apply the changes linked to above to an accusative form of a noun in Latin, for nouns; a genitive form of an adjective or noun, for adjectives; or the present active infinitive form of a verb, for the base infinitive form.

Creator Comments

This language came as the result of a thought experiment in which I pondered what it would be like to remake the Cherokee Syllabary (or Tsalagi) into one in which the character shapes are based on lowercase Latin letters, and not the uppercase versions. From there, everything sort of snowballed.

I began work on a direct port of the syllabary, and became inspired by some of the letterforms of Georgian's script. Thus, there was some integration there as well. Eventually, I figured that this may end up shaping into a language all its own and not just a rehash of Tsalagi. So, I began altering the phonology of Tsalagi, adding things here, removing them there, and in the end, simplifying the syllabary quite a bit. One of the first things on my agenda, was in making sure that none of the very similar letterforms used in Tsalagi made their way into my own language. After the syllabary was finished... well, I had no idea what to do with it. Hence my next source of inspiration.

I had never worked on an a posteriori conlang before... and I had never felt like making a Romlang either. Both were things I didn't fully appreciate at the time. Some folks over at the CBB were posting their inventories, and their words and phrases, and it always seemed like Spanish/Portuguese/Italian 2.0. I eventually came to realize that there was a TON more work involved and me writing them off like that was because I hadn't looked into the process before. Well, I still didn't want to make a straight-up Romlang... so I thought "what if I morphed the phonology to agree with what I made for Tsalagi 2.0?" So, this is the strange bastard love-child of a Classical Latin lexicon, an approximation of Tsalagi's sound inventory, Georgian-inspired glyph shapes, and the Cherokee Syllabary!