Subumpamese languages

From FrathWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Subumpamese languages are the languages spoken in the eleven states of Subumpam. They split off from the parent language, called Tapilula, around 600 AD and continued to be spoken until the defeat of Subumpam in the Vegetable War of 2668 AD.

Sound changes

Tapilula to proto-Subumpamese

See Lenian languages.

Proto-Subumpamese (1700) to Pudop (2672)

The consonant inventory was

Rounded bilabials:    pʷ  bʷ          w 
Bilabials:            p   b   m   f               
Alveolars:            t   d   n   s   l             
Postalveolars:        č   ǯ   ň   š   ł           
Palatals:             ć               y
Prevelars:            c̀        
Velars:               k   ġ   ŋ   x   g
Labiovelars:          kʷ  ġʷ      xʷ  gʷ
Uvulars:              q           h              
Rounded uvulars:      qʷ          hʷ 

This is the language spoken in the capital district, Pudop, named after its cranberry harvest.

  1. The high central vowel ə changed to i unconditionally.
  2. Syllable-final nasals ŋ ň changed to match the place of a following consonant, and changed to n if word-final.
  3. the palatalized alveolar consonants č ǯ ň ł become plain alveolars s z n l. Then c̀ ć shifted to ś š.
  4. Then, the stops k ġ shifted to ś y before any /e/ or /i/.
  5. All remaining affricates change to fricatives: c ʒ > s z .
  6. Labialization bleeds through clusters. e.g. kʷm > kʷmʷ. This means that it was no longer phonemic.
  7. Then, voiceless stops and fricatives became voiced after a low tone or a long falling vowel. ś x h hʷ > y g Ø w .
  8. The coda fricatives s š ś x all became voiced to Ø i i Ø. The silent ones lengthened a preceding vowel, and sequences such as /ii uu/ shifted to long vowels as well.
  9. The voiced stops d ġ ġʷ shifted to r g gʷ. However, stop allophones remained in some positions.
  10. Labialized consos in syllable final position become bilabials. Thus pʷ bʷ mʷ w > p b m w; kʷ ŋʷ > p m.
  11. Palatalization also bleeds though. This is sort of a compensatory shift to make up for the last one.
  12. The uvular stop q shifted to k.

Thus the final consonant inventory was

Labials:              p   m   f   w   b     
Alveolars:            t   n   s   l   r   z             
Postalveolars:                š                   
Palatals:                     ś   y        
Velars:               k   ŋ   x   g
Postvelars:                   h               

This was originally intended for a longer period; it might stop partway through.

Proto-Subumpamese (1700) to Eastern Subumpamese (2672)

  1. gʷ hʷ > v f.
  2. The high central vowel ə changed to i unconditionally.
  3. Syllable-final ŋ ň changed to match the place of a following consonant, and changed to n if word-final.
  4. pʷ bʷ mʷ w > p b m v. (Possibly /ə/ > /o/ when facing a labialized consonant before this shift.)
  5. ai (on any tone) became ē (perhaps not always long).
  6. The lateral approximant l shifted to w.
  7. Palatals č ć ǯ ň ł > c c ʒ n l.
  8. Velars (but not labiovelars) shifted doubly forward:
    c̀ k ġ ŋ x g > č č ǯ ň š ž. (Possibly velars remain in some positions, as in early Proto-Indo-European. This would best be explained as labialization.)
  9. The uvular stop q shifted to k. /h/ became /x/ in most positions, but the spelling remained.
  10. In syllable-final position, f c shifted to p t. (Thus /k/>/t č/, /h/>/s š/, even though the shifts were not related.)
  11. The labiovelars kʷ ġʷ shifted to p b.
  12. The fricative h shifted to k after a high tone.

Thus the Eastern Subumpamese consonant inventory was

Bilabials:       p   b   m   f   v   w       
Alveolars:       t   d   n   s       l   c   ʒ             
Palataloids:     č   ǯ   ň   š   ž   y                   
Velars:          k       ŋ   h

For FILTER, see Lenian languages and FILTER.

Later shifts:

Labiovelars occurred mostly in the vicinity of /i u/; each branch developed them in different ways:

  1. shift to velars, which were almost in complementary distribution.
  2. shift to rounded bilabials.
  3. a split shift combining the above two options depending on further conditions.
  4. retention, with vowel mergers creating new minimal pairs.

FILTER languages

All Subumpamese languages were submerged by the immigration of Merar (Tarpabappa) speakers in the year 2674 AD. However, in 3041, a tribe calling itself FILTER reintroduced their Subumpamese language to Subumpam, and simultaneously also to Lobexon. Thus, they had conquered the former Star Empire. Their language was extremely conservative, closely resembling the proto-Subumpamese language as it was spoken around the year 1700. As their power expanded into Nama, their language also came to be spoken widely in Nama.



Vowel harmony

Pretonic /e~ə~o/ are in harmony with the tonic vowel, but every morpheme has a basic form that appears when the tonic vowel is one of /a i u/. Also, after a labialized consonant, only /o/ appears in this position, and this causes any vowels earlier in the word to also become /o/ regardless of the tonic vowel. Note that this harmony persists in Subumpamese despite the fact that the schwa vowel /ə/ is a high vowel, not a mid vowel. Also note that sequences like /kʷe/ do still occur in the stressed syllable and in every syllable thereafter; the harmony rule only applies to syllables that occur before the stress.

This pattern is responsible for alternations like tekʷēł "his bone" vs. tokʷŏlo "his fern".

Verbal morphology

Verb prefixes indicate both the agent and the patient; for example, in tobòči "he marries her", the prefix tob- indicates a male agent and a female patient. This arose from the stacking of agent and patient classifiers; most other Lenian languages mark only the agent.

Person marking is redundant, since Subumpamese retains the pronouns lost in other branches. The suffixes -k- (1st person) and -h- (2nd person) attach to the oblique stem of the verb, whereas 3rd person is marked by no suffix.

Other inflections

Kava was isolated from the Gold language for most of its history, and therefore took most of its influence from the grammatically dissimilar Old Andanese language. This caused Kava to develop a very simple grammar, losing most of the Subumpamese suffixes, while gaining no new prefixes or infixes from Andanese. A new part of speech called an auxiliary verb or weak verb appeared, which carried the meaning of inflections and behaved like verbs except that they did not carry the classifier prefixes that full verbs did.

These auxiliary verbs were suffixes, not separate words. Therefore, they functioned like case markers, and were just like those of Gold except that they were not fusional and never carried the word's stress. They included:

  1. si ~ ši (genitive)
  2. su ~ hʷù (accusative)
  3. to be changed by
  1. -m(ə) (locative of place)
  2. n(ə) (locative of motion)
  3. ma on top of; used as a suffix after -m
  4. mo on top of; used as a suffix after -m
  5. supported by; used as a suffix after -m
  6. ši underneath; used as a suffix after -m
  7. ī behind; used as a suffix after both -m and -n
  8. ŋò with; next to; near
  9. ga in front of
  10. c̀e covering; standing over
  11. to push on; used as a suffix after -n
  12. to pull on; used as a suffix after -n

Of these, only the genitive is cognate to it's counterpart in Gold; the other resemblances are due to convergent evolution.

There was also a new copula verb, .

Morphosyntactic sound changes

Nouns ending in -x usually dropped the -x because it disappeared before the three most common case endings. Thus, for example, *pipēx changed to pipē "ocean; salt water".

However, in some nouns, it survived because these nouns were originally strong.


Subumpamese nouns have a true noun class system, not a gender system like that of the Gold language, and it is very similar to that of Andanese. Subumpam is a fairly diverse empire. The climate ranges from subtropical and nearly tropical in the south to the cold and rugged mountains of the north, whose people are much poorer than those of the tropics but also much better protected from foreign invasions. In the mountains, most people speak Andanic languages, a family which is related to Subumpamese but much more conservative.

The richer natural environment of the south has led its people to prosper and bring cultural innovations into the north, as well as a more diverse cuisine flavored with tropical fruits such as pineapples and coconuts as well as large, deep-water fish such as tuna.

Noun class prefixes are augmented to CVC before vowel-initial stems. Some of these have bled into the stems and created new roots beginning with the extra consonant, which then appear in other noun classes.

Note that /s/ appears whenever any primordial /h/ is bordered by /i~e/ and /u/ in either direction.

Strong nouns

A small number of nouns retained their case marking; nominal complexity increased west to east. This applied to the whole sprachbund, shading from Kava with no inflections to Paleo-Pabappa where the entire vocabulary was strong. However, the nearby Eastern Subumpamese languages still used weak noun morphology for the majority of their vocabulary.