|Timeline and Universe:||c. 1300 B.C. - 400 B.C.|
|Writing system:||Alphabetic, similar to Mongolian|
|Genealogy:|| Mixed Language (Minoan-Chrysaeglian)|
|Morphological type:||agglutinative > fusional|
|Basic word order:||SOV, free|
Classical Silendion, also known as Hesperidian, is an extinct, non-Indo-European language believed to have been spoken in the Azores and the Madeira Islands from approximately the time of the Trojan War until shortly before the time of Herodotus. Greek texts from the Alexandrian library that have since disappeared tell us that the small descendant community living in Carthage and on the Purple Islands believed that their ancestors had lived on an island outside the gates of Heracles that had since sunken beneath the waves. The size of the island is unclear, since some said it was the size of Sicily, while others claimed it was as large as Iberia or even Gaul.
Scholars believe that the indigenous people were perhaps distantly related to the Basques. Later on, a group of Eteocretan-speaking proto-Minoans migrated for still unknown reasons, bringing their early Cretan civilization with them and strongly influencing the existing culture; at this time, cities started to emerge on the island, and a mixed language arose from the bilingualism of the two populations. After the Trojan War, Mycenaean-Greek-speaking Salaminians and Aegeans who had been driven to the island by stormy weather on the seas settled and culturally assimilated to the native population but left a clear mark on parts of the verbal morphology.
- 1 General Characteristics
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Person
- 4 Nominal System
- 5 Adpositions
- 6 Conjunctions
- 7 Verbal System
- 7.1 Tense-Aspect Systems
- 7.2 Voices
- 7.3 Moods
- 7.4 Non-finite Forms
- 7.5 Present System Conjugation
- 7.6 Stative Verbs
- 7.7 Polypersonalism
- 7.8 Negation of Verbs
- 7.9 Interrogatives
- 8 Numbers
- 9 Syntax
Classical Silendion had at least six short vowel phonemes and five long vowel phonemes.
Long vowels are indicated by double writing, also called plene writing, for example in Hittite: da-a-at-ti [dāti] 'you take', pe-e-da-as [pēdas] '(s)he took away', or i-it [īd] 'go!'.
There are several diphthongs, although the exact number is under dispute. [āi], [ēi] and [ōi] were probably long diphthongs, from several sources. There were also three corresponding short diphthongs [ai], [ei] and [oi]. There were probably also at least five other diphthongs: [au], [eu], possibly [ou], [iu] and [ui].
There were ten stops, and there is no evidence to indicate that their distribution was affected by sound change.
Silendion also had true geminate, or doubled, stops, for example atta 'father' [atta].
Glides, Nasals and Liquids
There were two glides, a palatal [j] and a labial [w]. There were also at least three nasal phonemes [n], [m] and [ŋ] and two liquid phonemes [l] and [r]. Liquids and two of the nasals are written double in a number of contexts, and the evidence suggests that [n], [m], [l], and [r] were opposed to geminate, or doubled, nasals and liquids. In some cases a clear contrast is made, indicating that the difference was phonemic. The nasal [n] and the liquids [l] and [r] also appeared contrastively in palatalized forms [nʲ], [lʲ] and [rʲ], respectively.
Fricatives and Affricates
Silendion had at least one voiceless alveolar fricative [s], which contrasted with a geminate [ss]. The existence of corresponding voiced [z] and [zz] was rhotacized early on to [r] and [rr], respectively. Silendion also had the following fricatives that did not appear in geminate form:
|[v]||[ð]||[ɣ] = ∅||[ɣʷ] = [w]|
There was one affricate, [ts], which surfaced only as an allophone of [s].
Gender and Animacy
Words with adjectival meaning are either nouns with suffixaufnahme or derived from verbs, often from perfect-stative forms. Attributive adjectives agree with their head nouns in case, gender and number (not necessarily in declensional suffix!). Animate adjectives take the declensional suffixes of first-declension nouns in a, while neuters take second-declension neuter suffixes in declension.
Substantively used adjectives can take any declensional suffix that nouns can take.
Adjectives are inflected as verbs when used as predicates. There is evidence indicating that adjectives in all their uses are actually thought of as a special kind of verb.
- See also #Stative Verbs for more information
Adverbs do not exist separately but only as adjectives or nouns declined in the adverbial case.
Personal Pronouns and Determiners
|Third Obviative||sin (anim.)
|Indefinite Generic||[null] = ∅|
In Silendion, there are fourteen pronouns. It has two first person plural pronouns ("we", in English). One is called the inclusive, which is used when the speaker wishes to include in "we" the person to whom he or she is speaking ("we and you"). The other form is called the exclusive, which is used when the addressee is excluded ("we without you"). Animate personal pronouns are declined like animate nouns of the fourth declension, while neuter personal pronouns are declined like such nouns of the second declension.
Unlike nouns, pronouns are nominative-accusative in morphosyntactic alignment: with regard to the semantic distribution of agent, patient and experiencer between these two cases, the nominative case is used with subjects of transitive and of intransitive verbs, while the accusative case is used only with direct objects. The nominative and accusative forms of personal pronouns are used only for emphasis of these arguments of the verb.
Spatial and Discourse Deixis
In Silendion, adpositions can be placed either postpositionally or prepositionally (ambipositions), but it is more common to see them used as postpositions. All or nearly all adpositions in Silendion have meanings that depend on the case taken by their objects.
With Nominal Objects (Noun-Headed Cliticization)
There are more differences between the two than just placement with respect to the object(s) of an adposition. With prepositions, their object noun phrases are marked with the appropriate nominal inflections. With postpositions, however, while the structure in older Silendion was the same, in classical Silendion the inflectional suffixes migrated from the nouns to the adpositions in a shift from independent marking to head marking, with a paragogic vowel after the noun phrase's head noun. After this, the adpositions fused with the nouns as enclitics.
P (DET) N-CASE.NUMBER (DET) N-P-CASE.NUMBER
("N" = noun, "P" = postposition or adposition, "DET" = determiner)
With Pronominal Objects (Adposition-Headed Amalgamation)
When an adposition has a first- or second-person object or a pronominal third-person object, another construction is used. The adposition is inflected for person, then declined with adjectival suffixes.
Aorist (Perfective) System
Present System Conjugation
The paradigm of lerdeina, 'make, do', is given below.
|Participle||lerdontos, lerdontē, lerdonton|
|Participle||lerdampos, lerdampē, lerdampon|
Conjunct-order moods, the remaining finite moods, (subjunctive, optative, conditional) are formed by agglutinative suffixes placed immediately before the indicative personal endings:
- Subjunctive: -eina + personal ending
- Optative: -oi + personal ending
- Conditional: -ith + [subjnc. (non-past) or opt. (past)] + [personal ending]
The gerund is never used by itself but only as a form for generating converbs and supines. The paucal forms of the verb are a comparatively recent innovation of poetic origin.
The following inflections are not for subject marking but are used as object markers preceding the main subject agreement markers showing voice and mood. They are labeled 'accusative' rather than 'passive' because object agreement markers are not inflected for either voice or mood. Accusative markers having developed from a true passive during the earlier accusative-aligned stages of Silendion, however, the formerly passive endings for the conjunct-order moods were completely lost in the standard mesolect, while the other moods as well as non-finite forms were retained, though the non-finite forms are not semantically distinct from their middle counterparts, being used mainly as stylistic variants more common in some dialects. In some dialects, though, the old passive shifted in its use to an antipassive in which the agent takes the agentive case and the patient is absent. In poetic usage, the tension between these dialectal variants and passive archaisms can be manipulated in transitive sentences for ambiguity.
|Participle||[lerdankos, lerdankē, lerdankon]|
Consonant Stem Conjugation
High Vowel Stem Conjugation
Contract Conjugations in a, e and o
Stative verbs are conjugated in the perfect-stative aspect, either as forms of existing verbs or as defective verbs. Since there are no lexically separate adjectives in Silendion, the equivalent to what English expresses as an adjective is a stative verb with nominal instead of verbal morphology, i.e. instead of being conjugated, the stative verb is declined.
Negation of Verbs
Interrogative enclitics index the speaker's gender.