Languages of Teppala

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Humans on the planet Teppala are confined to a single continent, Rilola, and its offshore islands. Thus all human languages can be traced back to a single starting point, and have many traits in common.

Historical distribution of Teppalan languages

Human civilization on planet Teppala peaked twice: first around 1700-2600AD, and then again around 3500-4200AD. During the first peak, the human population was concentrated on the south coast of the continent of Rilola, from 10°N to about 28°N. During the second peak, humans were more spread out, but the areas with the most political and military power were in the interior of the continent, though always along major rivers and lakes, ranging from about 30°N to 37°N in the eastern (older) areas of settlement and upwards to about 45°N in the far west.

After the second peak, human civilization entered a long decline, the population decreased, and languages with small populations went extinct.

During the peaks of human civilization, it was common for every religion to have its own language. Since religions were tied to political parties, almost every political party also had its own language. This is why many Teppalan languages have unusual names, such as the Gold language and the Moonshine language; these were named after political parties rather than ethnic groups.

Since political parties (and religions) coexisted with rival parties within the same ethnic group's nation, the boundaries of a given language often hinged on tiny differences such as speech registers or a set of unique vocabulary words used only members of a particular political party. When languages such as this coexisted, they tended to evolve in parallel directions, so that mutual intelligibility might persist among a pair of languages for hundreds of years.

However, democratic governments were very rare throughout Teppalan history, and many political parties, once in power, banned and persecuted members of rival parties. In these nations, the population really did consist of just a single ethnicity since anyone not claiming membership would be arrested or killed.

Traits common to all Teppalan languages


  1. Bilabial consonants are very common, especially the stops p b and the nasal m. The commonest stop in a language is usually /p/. However, in some languages, this is because /p/ stands alone whereas stops further back in the mouth are divided into several articulation types. For example, a language may have /p/ as its only bilabial stop but also have a distinction between a plain velar stop /k/ and an ejective /ḳ/; or there may be co-articulations such as palatalization or labialization associated with dorsal stops but not with bilabials.
  2. The commonest syllable shape is always CV, even in languages that allow dense consonant clusters and/or diphthongs and triphthongs.
  3. If a language has only one series of coarticulated consonants, they are labialized consonants.
  4. No language has more than six vowels. All vowels are one of these inventories:
    /a i u/
    /a ə i u/
    /a e i o u/
    /a e i o u ɨ/
    /a ə ɨ/
    Some differences in Romanization may appear such as writing a schwa as e or the high central vowel as schwa.
  5. Any consonant that can occur in syllable-final position can also occur in syllable-initial position.
  6. Languages are consonant-strong: consonants have greater effect on surrounding vowels than vowels have on consonants. For example, if all vowels are inherently unrounded, rounded allophones appear adjacent to labialized consonants.


Grammatical traits common to all of the languages on the entire planet throughout all of recorded history are confined to negatives.

  • For example, no Teppalan language has or has ever had a definite or indefinite article.

Traits common to most Teppalan languages


  1. Languages with five or more phonemic vowels often do not permit diphthongs; those that do have a very small set. Thaoa is an outlier in that it has six phonemic vowels and several diphthongs. Note that rising diphthongs are generally parsed as a sequence of consonant + vowel since, in almost all Teppalan languages, there is no restriction on which vowels can follow an onset of [j] or [w].
  2. Dense consonant clusters do not appear, except in some languages where a certain vowel, usually /a/ or /ə/, is not distinguished at the phonemic level from silence. That is, some languages may always pronounce /tk/ as [tək], without the schwa actually being present as a phoneme.
  3. Syllables are commonly front-loaded, such that a sequence like /papsa/ is more likely to be pronounced [pa.psa] rather than *[]. This happens most often when the first element of a cluster is lower on the sonority hierarchy than any following consonants, but in many languages, nasal-stop clusters such as /mp nt ŋk/ will also be front-loaded.
  4. On the continent of Rilola, the voiced velar stop /ġ/ (IPA /g/) is rarely used even in languages with a robust series of voiced stops. This is a long-standing trait and crosses language family boundaries. On the islands of Laba, however, /ġ/ is common.
  5. There are no minimal pairs between a diphthong and a sequence of the same two vowels. Thus diphthongs can be analyzed as allophones of vowel sequences.
  6. Voiceless obstruents occur more frequently than voiced ones. In some languages, /b/ or /d/ is the only voiced stop. In others, there are no voiced stops at all but the voiced velar fricative /g/ (IPA /ɣ/) takes on a stop allophone after a nasal or a high tone.
  7. There are often marginal consonant phonemes. These mostly arise from previously existing consonant clusters that were worn down. However, some marginal phonemes arise from sound changes affecting consonants that previously were more common, which survived in only a few phonemic environments. For example, in Khulls voiced stops survived a lenition shift only after a nasal. Later, the nasal sometimes disappeared, meaning that the voiced stops could no longer be analyzed as allophones of voiced fricatives. But they remained rare.
  8. It is common to have restrictions forbidding certain consonants to appear in certain parts of a word; for example, in Khulls /r/ cannot begin a word. Most languages allow only a small subset of their consonants to appear at the end of a word


  • Polysynthesis is common, and it is nearly always fusional. It is common to find words with more morphemes than phonemes due to the prevalence of single-phoneme grammatical suffixes that represent two individual morphemes that at an earlier stage of the language were pronounced individually but combined into a new single sound after a sound change.
  • Pronouns are of limited usage, as verbs usually carry the relevant information about the person, number, and gender of the participants. In some languages, pronouns are entirely absent.


  • If there is any grammatical gender, feminine words in most semantic fields outnumber masculine ones.
  • Grammatical gender, if present, classifies people based on age and sex rather than just sex. The age categories are not firmly defined and can be used metaphorically. There are often several age categories for children, but all adults share just a single age category.
  • Many languages have a consonant-based gender system; if not grammaticalized, associated more weakly due to persistence of previously grammaticalized morphemes and contact with nearby languages.
  • Mixed gender categories are often present; a man and a woman, referred to as a unit, will take an epicene gender rather than having one gender overrule the other. If there is no epicene, a group containing both males and females will be described with words in one of the feminine genders.
  • Gender and animacy, if present, can be inherited by nouns describing syntactically inanimate objects, by borrowing from a parent object. That is, a man's arm will be animate (and masculine), and so will his books or any other possessions.

Structure of words

  • Most languages have a fixed word order, with SOV word order by far the most common. Anomalous constructions within SOV languages may require additional marking on certain words, usually those found near the beginning of the sentence.
  • Suffixes are nearly universal; infixes are common; prefixes are rare and usually confined to a single part of speech (for example, in Andanese, the only prefixes are the noun classifiers).
  • Verbs are generally the longest words in a sentence. Verbs are heavily inflected even in languages where noun inflection is absent or relatively skimpy.

Parts of speech

  • There are no adjectives or adverbs. Verbs are used instead of these. In some languages, even the nouns can be analyzed as a subset of the verbs.
  • Pronouns play only a minor role in the language, and some languages lack pronouns altogether, instead using nouns and verbs with person markers.
  • Person markers on nouns, denoting their possessor, are common. Languages that lose this system often redevelop it from grammatically unrelated words later on.

List of sound changes

Many minor languages have been wiped from this list; some are recorded on their own articles, but others are only in the edit history.

Pre-Mapi changes

Proto-Greater-Laban (18343 BC) to Mapi (year 14000 BC)

The Proto-Greater-Laban (PGL) language had a consonant inventory of /pʷ p mʷ m hʷ w t c s č š j k kʷ ŋ ŋʷ h l r ř/ and a vowel inventory of /a i u ə/. Schwa is usually spelled "e". /ŋ/ was allophonically [g] and the other nasals could become stops occasionally in word-initial position. At first, "c" was homophonous with the cluster /ts/, but later /ts/ was dragged down to dental and /c/ remained alveolar.

  1. The primordial final nasal -/n/ disappeared, but lengthened any preceding vowel (including schwa).
  2. The schwa vowel ə disappeared in all positions, creating new consonant clusters.
  3. Consonant clusters like hp ht hk flipped to put the stop first, as in ph th kh.
  4. Possibly also /ki/ > /ć/ or even just /k/.
  5. Word-final h disappeared, and also lengthened any preceding vowel. Thus, the final syllable /-hə/ had vanished completely. However, note that word-internal /h/ that was at the end of a syllable had survived this change.
  6. Syllable-final -p became the glottal stop ʔ, except before a "weak" sound such as /h/ or before a vowel-initial syllable.
  7. The consonant clusters ʔs ʔš ʔts ʔč became c č c č.
  8. The consonant clusters ks kš kts kč kh sk šk čk tsk hk all become kh.
  9. The consonant clusters ts th st ht all became th.
  10. The consonant clusters ph sp šp čp tsp hp' all become ph.
  11. Clusters of two voiceless stops were resolved in favor of the second stop, except for /pk/ and its kin.
  12. The aspirated nasal mh became h.
  13. The labialized stops kʷ kʷh changed to pʷ pʷh.
  14. The aspirated stops pʷh ph th kh changed to hʷ h h x respectively. (possibly use f f f x)
  15. The affricates c č became s š.
  16. The glottal fricative h disappeared unconditionally, leaving vowel hiatus. This included the deaspiration of to w along with any other remaining sequences such as /nh/. VOWEL HIATUS STAGE 1!!!!
  17. The vowel sequences ai au contracted into new vowels ē ō, but retained the glide if another vowel followed.
  18. The identical vowel sequences aa ii uu became ā ī ū. The vowel system was thus /a i u ā ē ī ō ū/ and a tiny bit of remaining schwa.
  19. The vowel ō was shortened to o, but ē remained long.
  20. Before another vowel, the sequences aw iw ow uw āw ēw īw ūw became ō ū ō ū ō ē ī ū.
  21. Before another vowel, the vowel u changed to w.
  22. Voiced stops disappeared unconditionally, leaving vowel hiatus. VOWEL HIATUS STAGE 2!!!!! Note that sequewnces like /sua/ now contrasted with /swa/ from the earlier change.
  23. The labialized fricative sequences sw šw xw hw changed to h. Note that there was still an /x/, from earlier /kh/. THus there was a contrast between /h/ vs /x/, but neither of them had labialized forms.
  24. The short vowels e o merged as ə (usually spelled "e"). The long vowels ē ō merged as ə̄ (usually spelled "ē").

Pre-Tapilula changes

Some languages in this section are reconstructed internally, meaning that they have the smallest possible phonology capable of developing into the phonologies of its immediate daughter languages. Marginal phonemes can thus be inserted arbitrarily into any language provided that they merge into one of the phonemes of the daughter language.
Many ideas deleted. See history for info.

There were 3 central vowels: /a ɜ ɨ/. Further back in time, each of these three could be preceded by the palatal glide /y/, even after a consonant, but later the palatal glide disappeared after labials & labialized consonants, and merged with the other consonants to form palataloids. This happened without creating any new vowels.

The daughter languages are Silatibarra (8000 BC; sometimes just called "Southeast Laban"), proto-paleo-Andanese (PPAnd), and proto-macro-Haswarabic (PMH). The total consonant inventory was:

Thus all of the labialized consonants were "stops" (nasal or oral). The labialized nasals /mʷ ŋʷ/ may have been pronounced as voiced stops (as in Khulls). The lack of the expected */xʷ hʷ/ was due to a late change in the parent language, and in many ways the /h/ patterned as if it were the labialized counterpart of /x/.

Syllables were CVC at maximum, and there were limits on the coda ... a preference for nasal codas if there is one. PoA was not contrastive before another consonant. The final stops allowed were /t, kw/ and possibly /ć/. There were thus no syllables like /kʷya/ or even /pya/.

Note that Mapi is the parent language of the Paleo-Andanese languages, so called because they are the ancestral languages of the people who, 14000 years later, began to speak Tapilula and later Andanese.

Stops & frics early on came to be voiced when occurring after a nasal.

Mapi (14000 BC) to Southeast Laban (8000 BC)


Rounded labials:      pʷ mʷ    w
Plain bilabials:      p  m
Alveolars:            t  n  s  l  r
Postalveolars:        č  ň  š  ł  ř
Palatals:             ć  ń  ś  
Velars:               k  ŋ  x
Labiovelars:          kʷ ŋʷ 
Glottals:                   h

  1. The fricatives š ś h shifted to y y Ø unconditionally . This created vowel sequences of /aa aɜ aɨ ɜa ɜɜ ɜɨ ɨa ɨɜ ɨɨ/ most of which occurred as the only vocoid in a word since most roots had been bisyllabic.
  2. The sequences ɨa ɨɜ ɨɨ shifted to ʕa ʕɜ ʕɨ, where /ʕ/ is a voiced stop after a nasal and otherwise a fricative(?). Thus prenasalized stops were created. rule3 might not be needed if we keep h
  3. The sequences ɨwa ɨwɜ ɨwɨ shifted to ʷa ʷɜ ʷɨ.
  4. The sequences ɨya ɨyɜ ɨyɨ shifted to ʲa ʲɜ ʲɨ . Thus new "mismatched" palatalized (pʲ mʲ ) and labialized (tʷ nʷ sʷ lʷ rʷ xʷ ) consonants were created, and they were a full set.
  5. The sequences aa aɜ ɜa ɜɜ shifted to a: a: ɜ: ɜ:. aɨ ɜɨ shifted to ɜ: ɜ: as well.
  6. mʷ nʷ ŋʷ > mbʷ nd ŋġʷ. These may have also been the reflexes of /mw nw ŋw/, but the syllable boundaries would have kept them apart even so. That is, a syllable-straddling /m-w/ would turn into /m-mbʷ/.
  7. Fricatives became weakened between vowels, and in syllable-final position: s x sʷ xʷ changed to h h hʷ hʷ.
  8. The fricatives h hʷ (including the newly generated ones) in syllable-final position voiced to Ø w. ś had been shifted to /y/ earlier. Thuis frics no longer occured at end of tillable.
  9. rh > h.
  10. The labial consonants p pʷ sʷ pʲ became h hʷ hʷ ś between vowels.
  11. pʲ mʲ > p mb. Possibly, also hʷ h ś > vless stops when after a nasal.
  12. The voiceless stops č ć shifted to š ś between vowels.
  13. Most postalveolar consonants trapped in final positions become plain alveolars: č ñ ł become t n l. Note that there were no longer any palatals in the language.
  14. ć ń ś > č ň š.
  15. Probably > w; maybe ł > y.
  16. š s > h yet again.
  17. > .


Rounded labials:      pʷ          w      mbʷ
Plain bilabials:      p   m              mb                         
Alveolars:            t   n       l   r  nd
Postalveolars:        č   ň       ł   ř    
Velars:               k   ŋ   h
Labiovelars:          kʷ      hʷ         ŋġʷ

The prenasals contrast with syllable-straddling sequences of nasal + *voiceless* stop, and with nasal + prenasal (that is, /mmb/ etc).

Southeast Laban (8000 BC) to Tapilula (500 AD)

Rounded labials:      pʷ          w      mbʷ
Plain bilabials:      p   m              mb                         
Alveolars:            t   n       l   r  nd
Postalveolars:        č   ň       ł   ř    
Velars:               k   ŋ   h
Labiovelars:          kʷ      hʷ         ŋġʷ

Note that the first few changes occupy over half of the history, because the language at first changed extremely slowly, but then began changing more quickly. Possibly allow bpharyngealization vowels, even if they disappear in all daughters . Not likely, since There are a few pharyngealization consonants.

  1. Intervocalically, the geminate nasals mm nn ňň ŋŋ shifted to the prenasalized voiced stops mb nd ňǯ ŋġ .
  2. An h or after a nasal also switched to a voiced stop, thus creating a prenasalized voiced (not voiceless) consonant.
  3. The sequences pm tn čň kŋ shifted to mm nn ňň ŋŋ.
  4. A prenasalized voiced stop following a closed syllable became denasalized; any such preceding coda became voiced. This was allophonic, so that for example [bb] was still underlyingly /pmb/. Or, maybe they were devoiced.
  5. Word-initial approximant w became .
    NOTE ON POLITICS: This is 3770 BC, a point of no political significance, but where the language suddenly began changing very rapidly instead of very slowly.
  6. Before a vowel, the sequences ɜy ɨy ɜw ɨw changed into i i u u.
    the resulting sequences are treated as new coarticulates... also, the high vowel probably disappears before some consonants, creating clusters such as /kl/, and these can contrast labialization.
  7. The vowel ɨ became u before a labial in a closed syllable, or after a labialized consonant. That is, ʷɨ > ʷu.
  8. The vowel ɨ became i when adjacent of a palatal in either direction (though in compounds, this did not always apply progressively).
  9. The labialized consonants w pʷ mbʷ kʷ hʷ ŋġʷ delabialized to ∅ p mb k h ŋġ before /i/.
    try saying püa etc and remmeber syllable integrity ... earlier, there was a rule a bit below this one that would have these going to /w/, essentially deleting the /i/.
  10. Syllable-final stops p t k before a "strong consonant" changed into the glottal stop ʔ, which itself was generally silent except for changing the tone of the syllable to high. However, clusters like /pl/ instead changed to /kl/. Possibly /kp kt/ > /pʕ tʕ/.
  11. Syllabic nasals were created: im ɨm um > , ɨn > , and ɨŋ > ŋ̇.
  12. Syllable-initial clusters such as kl changed into pharyngealized consonants such as . <--- note that a previous shift (not listed here) did things like pl>xl>kl, thus this shift produces mostly the velar ejective /ḳ/, not the others.
  13. The palatal approximant y was changed to ʕ in all positions. Between vowels, this became silent but used to show diphthongs' separation. Thus the palatalized consonants pʲ mbʲ mʲ became the pharyngealized clusters pʕ mbʕ mʕ .
  14. The postalveolar nasal ň changed to ŋ.
  15. The voiced approximants ł ř r changed to y .
  16. The vowel sequences aɨ ɨa changed to ɜu ʷɜ. Note that the /ɨa/ covers all such sequences that did not previously have an intervening /y/ sound ... therefore, this was probably allophonically a back vowel even if it were not always rounded.
  17. The sequences ʷa ʷɜ changed to ʷo.
  18. > y, thus the word for hand is just "yò". This did not affect č.
  19. The sequences au ɜu now both become o. ai ɜi changed to ɛ unconditionally.
  20. The true mid vowel ɜ, in a syllable adjacent to an /ɛ/ or /o/, changed to match that vowel. Some double schwa words also changed, e.g. mɜčɜ > močo "fire".
  21. The "clear" labialized consonants kʷ ŋʷ kʕʷ became the rounded bilabials pʷ mʷ.
  22. The pharyngealized nasals mʕ mʕʷ shifted to mb mbʷ.
  23. The voiceless fricatives h hʷ became voiced to g w unconditionally.
  24. Remaining ɜ ɨ in open syllables shift to ə i, respectively. This new schwa vowel is IPA /ɨ/but is spelled "ə" or "y", since it is never ambiguous with IPA /j/.
  25. The voiceless affricate č shifted to h. (This probably had shifted to /s/ during depalatalization. if not, /hy/ etc also switched.)
  26. Syllables *preceding* heavy syllables became LOW tone.
  27. Other final nasals also change into nasal vowel markers, thus changing syllable weight.
  28. The nasals m mʷ became mf mhʷ before a vowel facing another labial. This did not affect the pharyngealized versions. (The other nasals may have participated in this shift, but only appeared in the "Fojy" branch.)

Thus the final phonology was:

Rounded bilabials:     pʷ  pʕʷ mʷ  mbʷ mhʷ~hʷ  w
Spread bilabials:      p   pʕ  m   mb  mf ~f  (Ø)         
Alveolars:             t       n   nd          l
Rounded alveolars:     tʷ      nʷ  ndʷ     
Velars:                k   ḳ   ŋ   ŋġ      h   g

The (f) was pronounced [mʰ] in some dialects. Pharyngealization consonants can be spelled with voiced stop letters.

Fojyan changes

These changes applied only to the Fojy branch.

  1. The nasals mʷ m n nʷ ŋ become prenasalized voiceless stops mpʷ mp nt ntʷ ŋk when facing a labial. (This includes the "mf" type above.)

Nuclear Tapilula

NOTE: the following changes apply only to the Andanese/Gold branch of the family (which also includes minor families like Subumpamese).

  1. The aspirated nasals mhʷ mh become hʷ f, where /f/ patterns as a spread version of /hʷ/. (The other aspirated nasals either never arose, or deaspirated.)
  2. The prenasalized voiced stops mb nd ndʷ changed to plain voiced stops b d dʷ ; ŋġ shifted to the fricative g.
  3. The glottalized stops pʕ pʕʷ kʕ changed to b bʷ ḳ unconditionally.
  4. The rounded labials pʷ bʷ mʷ became plain labials p b m .

The consonant inventory was:

Rounded bilabials:                     hʷ  w
Spread bilabials:      p       m   b   f  (Ø)
Alveolars:             t       n   d       l
Rounded alveolars:     tʷ      nʷ  dʷ         
Velars:                k   ḳ   ŋ   ġ   h   g

It is possible that prenasalization was preserved into the early history of Nuclear Tapilula, and then lost in the Gold/Subumpamese branch. However, this loss would need to be very early on, since it did not interfere with changes that were restricted to open syllables. This would leave only Andanese.

Tapilula to Gold (year 1900)

Alternate names: Ukieipi, G̣ʷidiʕìləs

Note on politics: It is not clear whether the Tapilula language split apart in 0 AD or in 500 AD. If 500, the various Subumpamese languages are almnost independent branches since they begin diverging not long aftre 600 AD. However, Sub and Gold share much more in common than either of htem does with Andanese, despite being supposedly only 100 years closer together. So perhaps the true date is 0 after all.

Tapilula to Gold (proper)

  1. The aspirated velar stop k became č before the vowel /i/. If another vowel followed, the /i/ disappeared. This happened even if the /i/ was accented.
  2. When a "velaroid" consonant (/k ḳ ŋ h g l/) followed an accented high tone vowel and the following vowel was the same, that following vowel disappeared, leaving a closed syllable. DETAILS ON PAPER SHEETS ONLY
  3. EFFECTIVE unconditional merger of [a e o] > /a/, but see handwritten paper for details.
  4. In absolute final position, syllable-final ŋ changed to n. (But see below.)
  5. Accented vowel-initial syllables gained a pharyngeal ʕ as an onset. If an isolated syllable-final /ŋ/ had preceded, this changed to g. If /k/, . These changes were leftovers from the earlier stage in which pharyngealization had been unified with prenasalization.
  6. After long vowels, all consonants became voiced. Also, consonants occurring after initial vowels also became voiced. This created the new consonants b v d ǯ . Thus, final -h in words like hʷīh became -g. However, analogy made it so that the change was confined to open syllables in most words. (This could also mean it didnt affect clusters.)
  7. After initial unstressed /u/, all consonants other than palatals became labialized. This change extended even to clusters. Because of the voicing rule, however, all of these consonants were voiced. > w.
    It's possible this change happened much further back in history, but since it happens independently in Subumpamese, its placement in this list does not matter.
  8. Initial vowels were deleted unless an illegal consonant cluster would have resulted. Sometimes root-initial vowels were retained due to classifier prefixes.
  9. All schwas and diphthongs became low tone.
  10. Labialized consonants lost their labialization when occuring after another labial or labialized consonant.
  11. After a stressed syllable, intervocalic ʕ ʕʷ became g gʷ. This is due to reanalysis, not a true sound change.
  12. The glottal fricatives h hʷ became velar; there was no spelling change.


The consonant inventory was:

                       BASIC                         LABIALIZED

Bilabials:             p   b   m   f   v                     mʷ      w  
Alveolars:             t   d   n       l             tʷ  dʷ  nʷ            
Postalveolars:         č   ǯ           y                       
Velars:                k       ŋ   h   g   ḳ                 ŋʷ  hʷ  gʷ

Nuclear Gold

  1. The velar fricatives h g were rounded to hʷ gʷ before /u/.
  2. The plain labials f v b shifted to s z d. The less common labial sequences fj fw became ħ ħʷ.
  3. In absolute final position, syllable-final h changed to s. (This could be earlier since it is in Thaoa too.)
  4. The labialized coronals tʷ dʷ nʷ changed to tl dl nl, but the spelling was retained.
  5. The postalveolar affricates č ǯ shifted to š ž.

The consonant inventory was:

Bilabials:             p           m           w   mʷ           
Alveolars:             t       d   n   s   z                          
Laterals:              tl      dl  nl          l  
Postalveolars:                         š   ž   y                                  
Velars:                k   ḳ       ŋ   h   g   gʷ  ŋʷ  hʷ  
Postvelars:                            ħ  (ʕ)          ħʷ

Gold (1900) to Khulls (4700)

Alternate names: Kuroras, Leaper

This language was originally spoken in AlphaLeap. It is the scriptural language of the Ridiam religion, although many scriptures were originally written in earlier forms of the language, going back to a stage where it was united with other neighboring languages as the Gold language.

  1. The vowel u , in all tones and lengths, changed to o of the same tone and length.
  2. The diphthongs əi ai changed to ĕ ē . əu au became ū ō .
  3. Fricatives preceded by ʕ became voiced. e.g. ʕs shifted to z .
  4. The plain schwa (which was always low tone) changed to ŭ .
  5. Sequences like aʕa became pharyngealized vowels; these could still have tones, but later all pharyngealized tones merged with each other except for sandhi effects. Pharyngealized vowels are spelled â ; though there is only one pharyngealized surface tone, pharyngealized vowels exhibited different sandhi effects depending on their origin, and this is not reflected in the Romanization.
  6. Voiced fricatives became ʕ , which was silent when unstressed.
  7. The clusters mh nh ŋh dh became mp nt ŋk t, except that replaces /nt/ before any /i/. These clusters were often morphologically /s/ + a voiced consonant, but the [h] pronunciation is actually the more archaic one.
  8. After the vowel [u] (any tone, any length), k ḳ in a syllable coda became p ṗ . They were actually coarticulated labial-velar stops for quite a long time before merging with the pure bilabials, but because this merger happened in both branches of the language, it is treated as if it were such from the beginning.
  9. The short vowel ŭ disappeared in all positions unless an illegal consonant cluster would be created. It labialized any consonant that preceded it. Thus labialized versions of all consonants were created. If the syllable ended in a consonant (which was particularly common after schwa), instead of becoming an "illegal" cluster, the consonant became syllabic. Thus the syllabic consonants ṡ p ṗ ż ḷ were created, and syllabic nasals became more common. The "syllabic" stops /p ṗ/ were indeed pronounced without an epenthetic vowel, creating words like sălṗ . ʕəs became a syllabic ż .
  10. Where /ə/ collapsed, stress shifted syllables to the nearest adjacent one. This tone was mid-tone (ă) unless there had been a "dot" tone previously.
  11. After a syllabic nasal, the final stops p ṗ (which was the only ones that did occur) changed to match the position of the nasal. However, these were written with the letters for "p ṗ".
  12. The voiced stop d became l in initial position, but r (a flap) elsewhere. This did *not* affect dʷ.
  13. Labialized coronals became velar. (Possibly misplaced, but it wont matter.)
  14. Final k raised the preceding vowel to a high tone à (á if it was long) and then disappeared, though it left an allophonic glottal stop in some positions.
  15. The labialized fricative šʷ became .
    NOTE ON POLITICS: The Proto-Moonshine language breaks off here. (Year 3958)
  16. ya yo (on all tones) shifted to ye .
  17. Nasal consonants followed by /y/ hardened to voiced stops: my ñy became by ǯy . (This includes the reflexes of /ny/ and /ŋy/.)
  18. The palatal glide /y/ was deleted when not before a high vowel (it was only /e i u/ by now anyway).
  19. The clusters ml nl ŋl changed to bl dl ġl , thus restoring voiced stops to a marginal phonemic position. WHAT ABOUT PALATALS?
  20. The labialized consonants mʷ ŋʷ changed to bʷ ġʷ .
  21. The sound /l/ disappeared after a voiced stop: the clusters bl dl ġl changed to b d ġ .

Macro-Pabap languages

Gold to Bābākiam (4100)

  1. At the end of a syllable, /ʕ/ disappeared and changed the previous vowel to a high tone. It also voiced the following consonant.
  2. Syllable-final k ḳ ŋ changed to kʷ ḳʷ ŋʷ. A few compound words in which the second element began with a vowel or a suppressed consonant split into doublets depending on whether the free (labiovelar) or bound (plain velar) version of the morpheme was generalized in the compound.
  3. The bilabial approximant w changed to v (in internal reconstructions, also spelled "β") before a vowel.
  4. Then l lʷ both became w (not */v/) in all positions although it retained a rhotic allophone.
  5. The labiovelar consonants kʷ ḳʷ ġʷ hʷ gʷ became p ṗ b f v unconditionally.
  6. Sequences of two vowels in which the first vowel was i or u became rising diphthongs. Then all clusters of a consonant followed by a semivowel came to be pronounced as coarticulated single consonants. Thus bua became bʷa, bia became bʲa, and so on. ñ was assimilated as .
  7. Stressed syllabic nasals were opened to sequences containing a schwa.
  8. The voiced fricative g assimilated to a neighboring glide /j/ or /w/, thus creating sequences of /jj/ and /ww/. The shift thus was gj jg gw wg > jj jj ww ww.
  9. The voiced fricatives ð z g became silent between vowels and occasionally in initial position (due to compounding).
    NOTE ON POLITICS: This time period is around 3100 AD, near the beginning of the "Era of Happiness" (Yeisu Kasu: 3138 - 3302 AD). The branches of the language that fork off from mainline Bābākiam in 3138 all die out, and therefore all of their names in the history are written in Babakiam, but they could be revived as minor local languages, and there would be quite a lot of them.
  10. A voiced consonant in a cluster after a voiceless consonant (nearly always /p/ or /s/) disappeared. (This shift is responsible for important consequences in verb morphology in Poswa more than 5000 years later.) It was briefly /ʕ/.
  11. The voiced fricatives v z ž g changed to b d ǯ ġ before a high tone.
  12. The post-velar fricative consonants ħ ʕ, which had been developing labial compression, changed unconditionally to f v.
  13. The velar fricatives h g were fronted to š ž unconditionally. šʲ žʲ became š ž.
  14. The labialized voiced stops bʷ dʷ ǯʷ ġʷ changed to b.
  15. The palatalized voiced stops bʲ dʲ ǯʲ ġʲ changed to ǯ.
  16. Any remaining voiced stops b d ǯ ġ changed unconditionally to p t č k (except when in clusters).
  17. The voiced fricative žʷ changed to v.
  18. Tones were eliminated. However the stress accent (nouns on the penultimate syllable, verbs on the ultimate) remained and became regularized.
  19. The voiced stops d ǯ ġ (now found only in clusters) changed to n nʲ ŋ unconditionally.
  20. Remaining v changed to b.
  21. Remaining z changed to s.
  22. Newly created vowel sequences beginning with i or u collapsed into rising diphthongs, thus creating a new series of palatalized and labialized consonants.
  23. The labialized consonants bʷ žʷ changed to b unconditionally. (Despite the fact that a nearly identical sound change had occurred only shortly before this one, this rule was very common in verb forms that were created by the shift of /bua/ > /bʷa/ > /ba/, and likewise for other vowels.)
  24. The palatalized consonants bʲ žʲ changed to ž unconditionally. (The above shift also applies here; many verbs underwent a shift of /bia/ > /bʲa/ > /ža/.)
  25. A schwa ə in a word in which the following syllable had /a/ changed also to a. Note that this is the only vowel change in the entire history of the language going back 3500 years, even before the Gold language, except for a few diphthongizations such as /ua/ > /wa/. However, the vowel system became very unstable in the succeeding period as the language developed into Poswa and Pabappa.
  26. The stress was shifted to the first syllable in all words.

Bābākiam (4100) to Poswa (8700)

Alternate names: Ižda Mir NOTE that this section is outdented for prominence. Poswa is a daughter language of Bābākiam, not of Gold.

  1. Long vowels in initial syllables became double: ā ī ū became aa ii uu.
  2. The double vowels ii uu became ʲi ʷu in all positions.
  3. Between two consonants in a single syllable, the diphthongs au ai əu əi changed to o ae u e. iu ui ii uu > y y i u. The change was bypassed whenever a consonant cluster was frontloaded onto the next syllable, however.
  4. ā aa changed to aba in all positions.
  5. At the beginning of a syllable and after /p m/, the semivowels w j shifted to r l.
  6. The medial clusters pt mt pn mn shifted to tt nt tn nn. Then pk mk pŋ mŋ became pt mpt pn mn . ms mš became mps mpš.
  7. The cluster sf changed to ff.
  8. The labialized consonants šʷ sʷ tʷ nʷ shifted to pš ps pʷ mʷ in word-initial position, and pš ps pt bʷ medially.
  9. The consonant clusters mʷ mr ml ŋʷ shifted to bʷ br bl gʷ unconditionally.
  10. In initial position before a vowel, the voiceless labial fricatives f fʷ changed to w. It also happened often to a word-internal -f- preceded by a /w/ of any origin. This shift did not affect .
  11. After a labialized consonant (except /w/), the schwa vowel y changed to u.
  12. Labialized consonants lost their labialization when they occurred before /u/.
  13. The vowels i u changed to e o in closed syllables.
  14. The vowel y in closed syllables changed to either i or u depending on the other vowel in the root. The default choice was /u/, unless it followed a /w/. /i/ appeared only when it followed a /w/ or was in a word in which an /i/ or /e/ was in an adjacent syllable and that was the only other vowel in the word.
  15. The sequences wu wo changed to wi we.
  16. Then, p s disappeared before nasals and sporadically in stem-final position due to back-formation from plurals.
  17. Unaccented i changed to e unless the accented syllable of the word contained an /i/.
  18. Then unaccented y changed to i unless the syllable ended in a labial or the accented syllable of the word contained a /y/.
    NOTE ON POLITICS: Politically, the proto-Poswobs became independent here (5547), but the language remained unified through physical contact for another 450 years or so.
  19. The consonant cluster ŋʲ assimilated to .
  20. Then unaccented u changed to y except when the syllable ended in a labial or the accented syllable also contained a /u/.
  21. Before a vowel, unaccented y yb changed to u.
  22. Before a vowel, unaccented a ab changed to i.
  23. Next, i changed to y if the next syllable had /u/.
  24. The palatalized consonants pʲ mʲ sʲ lʲ rʲ changed to f v š ž b before a vowel. šʲ žʲ bʲ also became š ž b.
  25. In stressed syllables, in only a few words, ol ul or ur changed to we wi wa wa. The conditioning environment was that the syllables had to be unstressed and have only one consonant before them; in other words, they occurred in compounds only, in a syllable which would be stressed if it weren't a compound.
  26. In an accented syllable, ar shifted to o, except after /w/.
  27. Simultaneously, syllable-final r in most words changed to . Aquatically, it was f/v before coronals, b in absolute final position, stays r before šž + labials + velars (but really pronounced as /w/). rl > vl. rr > rw. Sometimes au+labial > o even so, no particular rule.
  28. The surviving final r changed to vʷ fʷ before labials.
  29. became w before a vowel (that is, everywhere except before a labial).
  30. In words not affected by the previous shift (mostly due to grammatical analogy), syllable-final ar yr shifted to o, and er ir shifted to u.
  31. In unstressed syllables, the sequences el il merged as i and or ur merged as u.
  32. Unstressed ol ul became e before a consonant or at the end of a word.
  33. i y shifted to u before a labial in a closed syllable, or before a syllable beginning with a labial cluster (in this case, even /pʷ/ etc counted as "clusters"). Thus for example /tipwu/ > /tupwu/. However, other labialized consonants such /tʷ/ did not trigger the shift, so /titwu/ stays /titwu/.
  34. ŋ was denasalized to g in all positions.
  35. The palatalized velar consonants kʲ gʲ became the postalveolar affricates tš dž.
  36. The labialized velar consonants kʷ gʷ pʷ bʷ were decomposed to the clusters kw gw pw bw.
  37. Final y in trisyllabic words disappeared. Due to analogy, it disappeared in some shorter words as well. However, consos that now occurred at the end of a word because of the dropped y became labialized, though this is not shown in Romanizaiton.
  38. The remaining palatalized consonants became labiodental fricatives: fʲ tʲ merged as f, and changed to v.
  39. The cluster pf, when straddling a syllable boundary, became ff.
  40. Medial vowels in trisyllabic words disappeared if the resulting consonant cluster was acceppable ("the Debra shift"). wr > rw (distinct from earlier shift). Here again, labialization hung around if the deleted vowel was o u or y. Thus there were minimal pairs such as puppa "salamander" vs pupʷpa "kind, humanitarian". This period (around the year 7300) is the beginning of what is often considered "Classical Poswa".
    Poswobs invaded Pabappa territory beginning around 7414, and the language was essentially unchanged at that time.
  41. The clusters tm km fm vm shifted to vb. šm žm sm šb sb shifted to žb.
  42. The clusters pn bn shifted to . šn sn became žv.
  43. The sequences pm tn shifted to mm nn. tp became pp.
  44. The clusters pk and bg became pw and bi respectively. mk became mw (not mpw). Similar changes applied to other clusters ending in velars.
  45. The voiced velar stop g was fronted to ' unless it occurred in a cluster after another consonant and before /a o u/.
  46. The clusters šb bš were devoiced to šp pš respectively.
  47. The clusters žp pž became žb bž respectively.
  48. The clusters pl bl became p b respectively when overlaying two unaccented syllables. The same also happened for other stop + nonstop clusters such as pr br pš ps bž pt pf bv, althoiugh pš, pf, and ps survived as aspirates pʰ for long enough to survive a particular subsequent shift. Clusters like mž mdž shifted to mb.
  49. The sequences yw ww wy changed to ʷu in all positions.
  50. When unaccented, the sequence wi shifted to i before another vowel.
  51. iy ii > ia ie.
  52. In wholly unstressed syllables, except when preceded by /a/, the clusters rl lr changed to al ar respectively, and raised the preceding vowel.
  53. The cluster rgw shifted to vbw, with both consonants labialized.
  54. A velar-onset syllable preceded by another changed to alveolar if the vowel was a back vowel, but postalveolar if it was a front vowel. The affected consonants were k g kw gw r.
  55. The diphthongs al yl shifted to ae e. These did not affect /lʷ/.
  56. Geminate stops overlaying two unaccented syllables reduced to single if there was another geminate earlier in the word.
  57. The cluster mp shifted to mb when occuring after a voiceless stop.
  58. Initial ps pš shifted to p, also sometimes if overlaying two unaccented slabs just as /pl bl/ had.

Bābākiam to Old Pabappa (~6500) ... too early?

Alternate names: Pespimbesa

  1. Debra shift I. (But rV and wV didnt compress). ("ae" and "al" remained distinct here). If the deleted vowel was y, o or u, the preceding consonant became a labial. If a consonant was already labialized or palatalizzed, it did not contract.
  2. In the syllable coda, lʷ rʷ shifted to u.
  3. shifted to f.
  4. ŋ was denasalized to g in all positions, except bound clusters such as ŋr which behaved as prenasals.
  5. Following a consonant, diphthongs of all types were resolved in favor of the first vowel.
  6. Triphthongs were collapsed to two-vowel sequences along the opposite pattern; thus, for example, iwa> ua.
  7. Stops occurring before a nasal assimilated fully.
  8. Clusters of two fricatives of differing points of articulation were assimilated in favor of the second consonant.
  9. The clusters žbž špš sps shifted to žž šš ss, and likewise for mismatched pairs.
  10. Clusters of fricatives and stops of dissimilar voicing were resolved in favor of the second consonant.
  11. The clusters gv kf became bv pf.
  12. Word-initial pš ps shifted to š s.
  13. The fricative š changed to h in initial position and to s elsewhere.
  14. The fricative ž came to be pronounced z.
  15. The cluster rr was reduced to r.

This is considered to be the stage of proto-Pabappa.

Old Pabappa (6500?) to Pabappa (8700)

  1. Double nasals were reduced to singles.
  2. The vowel ə either disappeared or became i or o (governed by the surrounding vowels' HEIGHT (not backness)). If it disappeared, it also labialized the new final consonant.
  3. The fricatives v z shifted to d Ø in all positions.
  4. The velar stops k g changed to the fricatives š ž in all positions.
  5. The labialized consonants sʷ šʷ shifted to f.
  6. The clusters šs sš became ss šš.
  7. The fricative f changed to p in initial position and s elsewhere.
    NOTE ON POLITICS: This stage, reached around 7000 (?), is considered to be the classical stage of Old Pabappa, also called Pespimbesa.
  8. The voiceless stops p t became the geminates pp tt when following a voiceless consonant plus a vowel.
  9. The postalveolar fricatives š ž became the labiodental fricatives f v in all positions.
  10. The glottal fricative h shifted to f before /u/.
  11. The voiced stops b d became the voiceless stops p t in all positions. Adjacent fricatives also devoiced.
  12. Word-final e disappeared, except after a consonant cluster; in this case it changed to i.
  13. Before a nasal, p s t n assimilated completely.
  14. Clusters of a nonlabial stop followed by a labial stop were resolved in favor of the nonlabial one.
  15. Final o was were lowered to a except if the accented vowel was mid-height (e or o).
    NOTE ON POLITICS: This is considered to be the classical stage of Middle Pabappa.
  16. The clusters tl ttl both changed to ll.
  17. The sequences mr sr lr became mpr spr rr. Any other nonlabial consonant before /r/ became labial.
  18. Clusters of a nasal followed by any other consonant of differing point of articulation were assimilated in favor of the point of articulation of the second consonant. Thus surviving mn shifted to nn.
  19. ml became mpl.
    NOTE ON POLITICS: This occurred around 7414 AD.
  20. The voiceless labiodental fricative f changed to w in initial position.
  21. The voiceless glottal fricative h shifted to Ø.
  22. Unstressed syllables of the form CVCC where the two latter C's were a geminate or one of a few other types of consonants changed the vowel to a very short schwa /ə/.
  23. Intervocalic voiceless stops became voiced.
  24. The cluster pl became bl in all positions.
  25. The cluster pr became b in word-initial position, and br elsewhere.
  26. The geminatespp tt ss became p t s in all positions.
  27. The cluster sp became ss.
  28. Initial v became f.
  29. The labiodental fricatives f v became the bilabial stops p b in all positions.
  30. The marginal schwa phoneme disappeared, creating some new clusters and geminates. (Debra shift II.)
  31. The bilabial stop b, between two identical unaccented vowels (e.g. -aba, -obo), turned to m sporadically as the result of analogy from various noun declensions.

Tapilula to Late Andanese (4178)

Tapilula (0) to Old Andanese (1900)

  1. The accent pattern involved in certain infixes with accented schwa switched to favor the following vowel. e.g. ăpo "field", apə̀ho "field (possessive) became /ăpo apəhò/.
  2. The "labial" vowel ə disappeared, syllabified nearby consonants or turned to i if the nearby consonants were not possible to become syllabic.
  3. The labial stops p b both changed to w except if they were:
    After an accented or high-tone vowel (but not before);
    In a consonant cluster of any kind; or
    In a monosyllabic word.
  4. The velar nasal ŋ changed to n in all positions.
  5. The alveolar voiceless stop t became k (allophonically [th > tx > kx > kh]) except if it was:
    After an accented or high-tone vowel (but not before);
    In a consonant cluster of any kind; or
    In a monosyllabic word.
  6. tʷ dʷ nʷ > kʷ ġʷ ŋʷ.
  7. The labialized sounds kʷ ġʷ hʷ w changed to k ġ h g when they preceded a vowel followed by a labial consonant (including /w/).
  8. ŋʷ> ŋ.
  9. The glottalized stop changed to a uvular q in all positions.
  10. The voiced stops b d ġ ġʷ became voiceless p t k kʷ, but /p t/ remained voiced allophonically between vowels.

NOTE ON POLITICS: This was the stage of Old Andanese (year 1900), the same date as Gold.

Old Andanese (1900) to Late Andanese (4178)

Note that all of the tone changes below are entirely rirrelevant, because Late Andanese ends up losing its tones, and so does Babakiam, which was the only language that took any significant number of loans from Late Andanese.

  1. Labialized stops pʷ tʷ kʷ all changed to p.
  2. Like-vowel sequences pulled up again, so e.g. /tuhu/ > /tu/, but /tohu/ remains and later becomes /tuhu/.</li>
  3. hi ki ti > s before a vowel</li> .
  4. The labial fricative f changed to h in all positions.
  5. All remaining occurrences of the labial approximant w shifted to l.
  6. The uvular stop q changed to the glottal stop ʔ unconditionally.
  7. The mid vowels e o changed to i u in all positions.
  8. Nasalized vowels changed fricatives on either side of them into nasals.
  9. Nasalized vowels changed stops after them (but not before) into nasals. Thus tãpa "vineyard" > tama.
  10. Nasalization disappeared everywhere.
  11. Tones were eliminated except in syllables with no consonants.
  12. Tones were eliminated. Andanese now had only 9 consonants, 3 vowels, and no tones, and was entirely CV, thus making it the most phonologically simple language in the world.

Silatibarra to Proto-Outer Poswob (1583 (wrong date???))


Original phonology:

pʷ mʷ w bʷ ...... hʷ ..... m: ṇ: n: ŋ: ..... voiceless nasals????
pʲ mʲ v bʲ
ṭ ṇ ḷ ḍ
t n l d s r
tl nl dl sl
k ŋ ɰ ġ h

V was really a spread-labial w, not actually /v/. Nor was it wʲ or jʷ. ɰ is silent, but separates vowels so that they arent dip[hthongs, and does have a sound between 2 identical vowels.

  4.   Tones became raised before voiceless consonants: ă --> à; à --> á. Note that the symbols are used slightly differently here from their usage in other lanmguages. In the future, â is low tone (but usually unmarked); ă or à is medium tone; á is high tone.
  5.   All prefixes came to have low tone, regardless of what consonant was before them.

  6.   The vowels a e i became e i i whenever not held down by other vowels, or by labialization.

  7.   The spread-labial sounds pʲ mʲ v bʲ all coalesced as v (true v this time).
  9.   The glottal fricative h became š when touching a front vowel (/e i/).
  11.   Rounded labials became plain labials in all words. became h.

  12.   The schwa vowel disappeared in all possible syllables, unless accented.

  14.   The dental sounds ṭ ṇ ḷ ḍ all coalesced as v (true v this time).

  15.   Any remaining schwa became a.
  17.   All stops became voiceless.

  18.   The dental fricative v turned into a voiced bilabial stop b. This was thus the only voiced stop in the language.

  19.   The laterals tl nl became plain t n. (This was near the end of the time spent near Tapilula).


  21.   "Suppressed" tones were released.






  31.   Stops became allophonically voiced after a low tone. Thus the distinction between /b/ and voiced /p/ was muddled.

  33.   Stops became allophonically geminated after a high tone. (????)







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See also