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Paleo-Pabappa is a language spoken in Paba until it was replaced by the Gold language, which then split into Babakiam and the Macro-Pabap languages. Babakiam is the ancestor of Pabappa and Poswa, which spread out and replaced the relics of both Paleo-Pabappa and the Macro-Pabap languages.

Sound changes

See Lenian languages.


Noun classes

Paleo-Pabappa did not have an established syllable order such as that used by Late Andanese.

Paleo-Pabappa retains the single-consonant forms of the CV classifiers, which appear only before stems beginning in vowels. In Proto-Kava and proto-Eastern Subumpamese, these were replaced with reduplicated CVC forms, and in the Gold language, they were replaced with the ordinary CV classifiers but later disappeared entirely.

Animate Group I

  1. pu: Pregnant women and epicenes; verbs of emotion.
    Becomes p- before vowel-initial stems.
  2. pi: Adult females; worms.
    Becomes p- before vowel-initial stems and takes epicene verb agreement.
  3. : Adult males; rabbits and hares.
    Becomes p- before vowel-initial stems and takes epicene verb agreement.

Note that the feminine prefix pi- is historically cognate to the m- group below, which by the time of paleo-Pabappa had come to be a category for children rather than women. In fact, the prefix was originally identical with mi- "milk; breast", but underwent a sound change due to being always used as a prefix whereas mi- could also appear in standalone form.

In addition to losing their vowels before vowel stems, these three stems disappear entirely before p-stems on the conditions that:

  1. The p-stem is not another noun. (For example, one must say pipèpu "her crab", not *pèpu.)

Animate Group II

  1. ni: Maidens, young girls; certain female body parts; ducklike birds.
    Becomes m- before stems beginning in u- and ń- before other vowel-initial stems.
  2. mu: Young children; most other birds.
    Becomes m- before vowel-initial stems.; appears as mə- in a few words.
  3. pe: Crustaceans; sea life.
    Becomes m- before vowel-initial stems.

Animate Group III

Nouns in this group must be padded with one of the human identifier prefixes in order to form disyllabic prefixes.

  1. pa: Sheep and goats.
  2. ńe: Snakes.
  3. : Frogs, amphibians.
    Becomes f- before vowel-initial stems.
  4. li: Turtles.
  5. la: Mice and rodents.
  6. ča: Flying insects.
  7. ke: Cats.
  8. po: Ants, crawling insects.
    Becomes p- before vowel-initial stems and takes epicene verb agreement.

"Po-" is historically identical to the prefix for pregnant women and epicenes, but was never of the same level on the animacy hierarchy. <---POSSIBLY JUST DELETE THIS ENTIRELY FROM ALL LANGUAGES

These prefixes can also be used to denote the habitats of the animals. e.g. ča = sky, hə = swamp, ke = forest, la & ńe = underground

Inanimate Group I

Most words in this group are words for plants or objects made from plants.

  1. ši: Some types of trees.
  2. : Corals.
  3. ti: Flower blossoms.
    Contracts to t- before a vowel.
  4. ma: Very tall grasses.
  5. pe: Money; some grasses.
  6. mu: Fruit; buildings.
  7. me: Alcohol, soap, and mixed formulas.
  8. fo: Some types of grass.
  9. pu: Succulent fruit; grass, clover, small plants; round objects; some trees;
  10. : Claws, sharp objects; certain fruits.
  11. fu: Wind and air; claws and other hard body parts.

Inanimate Group II

This group contains body parts and certain things typically held close to one's person.

  1. ti: Teeth.
    Contracts to t- before a vowel.
  2. ko: Bones.
  3. ni: Feminine hygiene products.
  4. i: Edible body parts.
  5. to: Blood and bodily humors.
  6. pa: Clothes.
  7. fo: Some words for clothes.
  8. mi: Milk, inedible body parts.

The prefix mi- is historically identical with the feminine prefix pi-. The "teeth" prefix ti- is historically homophonous with, but not related to, the "flower blossom" prefix.

Inanimate Group III

This group contains landforms and other objects most usually found in the locative rather than as the agent or patient of a verb.

  1. ə: Open places.
  2. o: Furniture and land formations.
  3. po: Oceanographic formations.
  4. mu: Fruit; buildings.
  5. pe: Ocean and sea.
  6. ča: Tall trees; the sky.
  7. pi: Water, weather.
  8. me: Kingdoms and empires.
  9. pu: Celestial objects.

The prefix ča- "trees; sky" is in fact a single morpheme even going back to the days of Mumba, and not a merger of a velar with a palatal.

Inanimate Group IV

This group contains handheld objects and alienable possessions.

  1. yo: Handheld objects; coins.
  2. ši: Certain other handheld objects.
  3. ri: Some other handheld objects.
  4. : Corals; still other handheld objects.
  5. ke: Wheels.
  6. pu: Round objects; arrows, weapons, and handheld tools.
  7. a: Whips.

The prefix ke- can be used for large circular objects; yo- for small ones, and pu- for spheres.[1]

Uses of noun classes

Note that some noun classes had little use as nouns; for example li- "turtle" was only used in a few words for turtles. Instead, they were productive primarily as verbs, such as "to walk slowly", "to be hard", etc.

Later history of Paleo-Pabappa

Paleo-Pabappa did not evolve into Pabappa. Instead, Paba's people shifted to speaking the Gold language as it was introduced from AlphaLeap, and quickly developed a distinctive dialect of it that ultimately came to be called Pabappa. However, Paleo-Pabappa still survived inside Subumpam, since the two nations of northeastern Subumpam had joined the Subumpamese Union after seceding from Paba. The other Subumpamese people considered Paleo-Pabappa to be just another of the many Subumpamese languages, as it shared similarities with neighboring languages such as Galà and proto-Eastern Subumpamese.

Paleo-Pabappa split into three languages: one for each of the two Pabap nations in Subumpam, and one for people in Paba who had not yet shifted to speaking Gold. However, Subumpam was soon wiped out in a catastrophic war, and Paba's strong national government drove the remnant speakers of Paleo-Pabappa into learning what was to eventually become Pabappa.

Highland Pabappa

Not to be confused with Highland Poswa.

This is a language family that breaks off around 1400 AD from the branch that spawns Paleo-Pabappa proper. However, these languages are excluded from the definition of Lenian languages because its people are physically and culturally different.

The phonology of proto-Highland was

Rounded bilabials:    pʷ  mʷ      hʷ  w
Spread bilabials:     p   m   b   f   v
Alveolars:            t   n   r   s   l
Palatals:                             y
Velars:               k   ŋ       h   g 

The vowel inventory was

Short vowels:          a  e  i  o  u  ə
Long vowels:          aa ee ii oo uu 
Falling diphthongs:         ai    au
                            ei    ou
                            əi    əu

Proto-Highland (~1400) to Litila (2668 AD)

Labialized consonants stay.

  1. The voiced bilabial stop b shifted to p.
  2. stops after a high tone become geminate? C.f. gala

Proto-Highland (~1400) to Maimp (2668 AD)

Proto-Highland (~1400) to Topaloū (2668 AD)

Zakap language

The Zakap people may have spoken a "Military Pabap" language derived from Merar, which would mean that Merar was a branch of paleo-Pabappa.


This is an alternate list of sound changes for Paleo-Pabappa that preserves six vowels.

The consonant inventory of the mainland dialect of Tapilula 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
  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, the vowel metathesized, leaving a closed syllable.
  3. A schwa before another vowel in any syllable disappeared. Thus əa əe əi əo əu əə shifted to a e i o u ə. This happened in both open and closed syllables.
  4. The sequences iu and ui shifted to əə.
  5. The double-vowel sequences aa ee ii oo uu əə shifted to the single vowels a e i o u ə in closed syllables only.
  6. The sequences ii uu əə (which now occurred only in open syllables) shifted to əi əu ə.
  7. The sequences ai ei oi merged as ei; the sequences au eu ou merged as ou.
  8. The mid-vowel sequences eo eə shifted to ee. Meanwhile oe oə became oo. These four sequences were all rare, however, because of shifts further back in time that affected only mid vowels.
  9. All consonants adjacent to an /u/ in either direction became labialized.
  10. The sequences ae ao shifted to ai au.
  11. The voiced labiovelar fricative became .
  12. All labialized consonants become rounded bilabials.
  13. In absolute initial position, t >s.
  14. In syllable-final position, the voiced velar fricative g disappeared and lengthened the preceding vowel. This often occurred in the second element of a diphthong.
  15. Vowel sequences in which the second element was high-tone (less common) lengthened the second vowel, thus merging with the ones which had previously been followed by /g/.
  16. uā>wā.
  17. Velar consonants moved up: k ŋ h g > č ň š r, probably unconditionally.
  18. q>k.
  19. f fʷ shifted to h hʷ.
  20. In absolute final position, š č ň > s t n.

Thus the consonant inventory was

Rounded bilabials:     pʷ      bʷ      w
Spread bilabials:      p   m   b       
Alveolars:             t   n   d   s   l   r
Palataloids:           č   ň       š      
Velars:                k           h 

The language still retained a full six-vowel system and the world's largest inventory of permissible vowel sequences:

aa    ai    au
ea ee ei      
ia ie    io         
oa       oo ou
ua ue    uo
      əi    əu

All seventeen of these occurred as falling diphthongs, but only the nine beginning with /a e o/ also occurred as rising diphthongs. Sequences with two of the same vowel were distinguished by the tone pattern and, when following a labialized consonant, also by vowel color.

Additionally, long vowels were present, and were distinct from sequences of two short vowels. Thus, there were three tones: high, low, and long.

Labialized consonants carried little information, because they inherited the gaps of *ʷə ʷa and rarity of ʷe ʷi from Tapilula, filling these only when bordering a /u/. They were not distinctive in the syllable coda either because the only non-labialized coda consonants that could occur after an /u/ were those that had previously occurred after the diphthong /ao/.

Paleo-Pabappa splits into four languages at this point, but they share most of the immediately subsequent changes.


  1. If coins are round, that is.