Languages of Tarwas

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Tarwas is a nation founded in the year 2144 by Tarpabap people who had immigrated through Paba. For more than 5000 years, it had resisted being swallowed up by the empires around it, until finally voluntarily joining The Poswob Empire around the year 7700. For the next thousand years after that, it used its strategic location (just east of Blop, the imperial capital) to present itself as an alternate way of life for Poswobs wishing to escape the poor living conditions in Blop and other Poswob cities. The Poswob Empire refers to its divisions as states, not nations, but most people in Tarwas still consider Tarwas to be an independent nation that merely has signed a mutual assistance pact with the Poswobs.

It is quite possible that Tarwas' language forms an independent, early-branching variety from the very beginning, perhaps even earlier than 2100 AD, and survives as such for at least the next 6700 years. Remember that there were border conflicts with Sakhi.

See Tarise and Tropical Rim. AlphaLeap#Tribal_warfare_in_the_south claims they spoke a TR language.

yet another possiblity is Paba#Tarpabap_domination. showing that they may have kept a Laban language like pejo language

These may be called Helmet languages. Just to the south of Tarwas, there were many different language families sharin the same land: beside Helmet, there were also Oyster, East Andanic, Creamer, and a few remnants like Tuq, the Repilian aboriginal languages, and the fringes of Moonshine.

Note that if Pabahais, Fern, or both is selected as the root of the Tarwas language family, this means that the Tarwastas were linguistically separate from the Tarpabaps and that Paba would not likely have thought of the two groups as a unit.

Early history

See Merar.

The settlers of Tarwas were of the Pejo tribes, tall and dark-skinned, and therefore stood out both the dark-skinned aboriginals and the light-skinned settlers who arrived with them. Their history is intimately linked with that of Paba, because the founders of Tarwas moved through Paba to reach their new homeland.

However, rather than being a single coordinated migration, the settlers of Tarwas may have been ethnically and culturally diverse, coming from all over the tropics, even if both the Pabaps and the aboriginals considered them to be as one. The various tribes would have been politically friendly to each other, but may not have merged into a single culture for quite some time. This helps explain why early visitors to Tarwas[1] described it as being composed of many tiny colonies rather than being a unitary foreign nation. Note also that it was sometimes confused with its enemy, Repilia, which may indicate that the war was intermittent and that some Repilians lived peaceably in Tarwas territor.

If the Pejo population was culturally separate from the Pabaps the way the Andanese also were, then they would have arrived in Paba already speaking a separate language, presumably the same language that their kin spread into the tropics, meaning it would be yet another branch of the Tropical Rim family, and not a subfamily of an existing TR branch. This would require the Pejos (Tarpabaps) to live in Paba for 800 years without learning Paleo-Pabappa, though again, this is no different than the Andanese also doing this. The question is whether the Tarpabaps truly lived apart from the Pabaps in such a manner.

Possible entrainments

The first dark-skinned "Tarpabap" settlers may have spoken Paleo-Pabappa, the same language as the Pabaps at that time, even though the Andanese settlers had maintained their own language. This implies that they were culturally assimilated in a way that the Andanese were not. At the very least, looking further back, the two groups could only have spoken languages that diverged from Tapilula at most 670 years before the first signs of breakup of Paleo-Pabappa. Early history of Paba claims that Paba was not founded until 633 AD, meaning that Thaoa and AlphaLeap broke away just 400 years later.


The Nik people probably had their own language. It is possible that they survived long enough as a distinct culture to contribute to the settlement of Tarwas. The much later "land of Nik" found in the northwest is unrelated. Nevertheless, the Nik became a caste in Pabap society and thus moved throughout the empire rather than remaining along the southwest coast.

Southwestern Tip

The founders of Tarwas may have been largely new arrivals, culturally separate from the established Tarpabap population, and may therefore have had a language all their own, likely of the HP-3 family which was represented on the extreme southwestern part of the continent, in the tropical rainforest.

There were several Southwestern Tip nations, and it is likely that no language dominated the others.


Perhaps more likely than Southwestern Tip is Pabahais, an earlier migration that may have merged in with Atlam during the period when Atlam was independent. Pabahais and Atlam were located further east and therefore had greater access to the territories that were opening up for settlement. If Pabahais is a source of migration to Tarwas, it likely had just a single language at the time, because Pabahais' seven languages only split apart from each other much later on.

Fern languages

Similarly, the Fern languages were spoken further east than Pabahais, and the Ferns would therefore have even greater access to the woodlands of the north, although they were an isolated population that could not be refreshed by immigration, and therefore may not have been able to dominate other populations who were also migrating into the north.

The military pressure on their homeland by Kxesh may have led more Ferns to migrate to Tarwas than would otherwise be expected, and they could have pulled level with Pabahais or even been numerically dominant despite their much weaker position. Note, though, that other naval powers would need to cooperate; this was during the period where Nama controlled much of the seacoast, and would not have faciliated the migration if they knew that the migrants were planning to invade Nama.

Southeastern Kxesh

An unnamed territory between Atlam (Fernland) and Amade also suffered migration pressure. This is the easternmost territory that was not part of some larger empire, and thus the easternmost empire whose people would have been enticed to move to Paba and then through Paba into Tarwas. Its language was more plain than the others, lacking aspirates and the unusual "tropical" consonants like m̄ n̄ ṇ ŋ̄.

Heartland Tarpabap

Because the Oyster War had not yet occurred, the resident Tarpabaps were also interested in moving to Tarwas. It is not clear whether they had maintained their own language since ~670 AD (if so, likely a Tropical Rim language), or had learned Play_substratum_languages to better communicate with the Pabaps they lived among.

Tapilula to Proto-Fern (~1400)

This family went with no new hiatus at least until ~1400 AD and probably longer, and so is the most conservative of all Tapilula branches. It also is the only branch of Tapilula besides Thaoa that partly preserves distinctive aspiration, and unlike Thaoa, Proto-Fern's aspiration was reflective of the original state of the language.

Because almost all words with aspirated consonants had only one, there was no Grassmann's Law in this family. This is why the distribution of aspirates better reflects the inherited situation as compared with Thaoa.

But Grassmann's law could still be triggered by words with an aspirate and an /h/. Also, aspiration might move to the stressed syllable, e.g. /pèkʰa/ "salt" could become /pʰèka/.

Shared changes

  1. Accented schwas surrendered their accent to the following vowel (not the same as a stress shift, because the tone also changes).
  2. The "labial" vowel ə disappeared, syllabified nearby consonants or turned to i if the nearby consonants were not possible to become syllabic. Note that it never occurred after labialized consonants. Sequences such as /pəh/ collapsed to form aspirated consonants, though these behaved as clusters.
  3. Tautosyllabic vowel sequences òi ài èi converged to ē. This did not affect syllable-straddling words like /tùya/. Likewise, èu àu òu in the same environment converged to ō.
  4. Duplicate vowel sequences àa èe ìi òo ùu shifted to long vowels ā ē ī ō ū.
  5. The sequences pg tg kg shifted to pʰ tʰ kʰ.
  6. In remaining instances of hiatus, a spurious g was introduced at least sporadically due to grammatical fluctuations between /g/ and /Ø/. It is not likely that it was introduced in all such cases, however; at least word-initial vowels were preserved.
  7. The sequences ṁg ṅg ŋ̇g shifted to ṁb ṅd ŋ̇ġ.
  8. After a high tone, the fricatives f hʷ h shifted to pʰ kʷʰ kʰ.
  9. The labialized nasals tʷ dʷ nʷ shifted to kʷ gʷ ṇ.
  10. Final g disappeared, as in related languages such as Middlesex, but unlike those languages, it did not create a long vowel. Thus, coda àg ăg shifted simply to à ă.
    Note that it could in theory have behaved like /h/ below, which would mean that at least when a voiceless stop was across the preceding vowel, that stop would become aspirated.
  11. Post-tonic aspiration skips leftward to become pretonic, at least when the preceding consonant is a stop. For example, pèkʰa > pʰèka "salt". This also includes any trapped coda h shifting to Ø.
  12. Aspiration in classifier prefixes also skips forward. It is not clear if the aspiration can skip forward twice, such that it would apply in both nouns (which had initial stress) and in verbs (which had final stress). Note that there are some words which would have had initial aspirates from the FIRST shift up above where e.g. tihə --> ti-ʰ-, and these definitely did skip forward.
  13. Before /u/, the labial fricative f shifted to .
  14. Remaining f shifted to h .

Thus the consonant inventory was

Bilabials:       p   ph      b   bh  m   mh  w
Dentals:                             ṇ   ṇh
Alveolars:       t   th      d   dh  n   nh  l
Palatals:                                    y
Velars:          k   kh  ḳ           ŋ   ŋh  g  (Ø)  h   
Labiovelars:     kʷ  kʷh                     gʷ      hʷ

Retention of even a fourth "K" sound, corresponding to original /ḳh/, is possible, although it would need to shift to something else very early on, because otherwise the pronunciation would be the same as /kʰ/. Note that /kʷʰ/ has a restricted distribution because it does not come from consonant gradation the way the other aspirates do.

The aspirates could be removed from the phonology if they are analyzed as clusters, though there are a few consonants that would merge.



The languages of the uplands will preserve aspiration better than their relatives who stayed behind in the tropics (if those languages survive). The aboriginal languages in this region had a vowel inventory of /a i u ə/ and consonant contrasts like th:t s:d nh:n. That is, fricatives functioned as if they were voiced aspirated stops. Even so, it may have been that /s/ is /lh/ and /dh/ corresponds to /r/, with no plain /d/. This was similar to the situation in some early stages of the daughters of Gold.

Proto-Fern (1900) to Tarwas-I

Alternate names

This language is probably spoken in the northern lowlands. It will be the official language of the entire nation, which is led by the northern Ithagàmi[2] tribe, the largest and most powerful of all the tribes. There were minorities living in the north, and they had their own languages to some extent, but their lives were run by the Tarwas-I tribe.

  1. The aspirated nasals mh ṇh nh ŋh shifted to mp ṇṭ nth ŋkh. Note the asymmetric retention of aspiration.
  2. The coronals t d n s (but not /ṇ ṭ/) palatalize to č ǯ ň š before an /i/ on any tone. This was not phonemic.
  3. The voiced stop d shifted to r.
  4. The voiced aspirates bh dh shifted to b d.
  5. The voiceless aspirate ph shifted to f.
  6. The sequences lh shifted to s.

This language is nearly identical to the Aspire language of the tropics, but they were separate for about 700 years and never reunited. The only shift that did not happen in this language is the loss of labiovelars.

Proto-Fern (1900) to Tarwas-II

This language is probably spoken in the southern highlands. It may have Andanese influence. Note that Andanese still had aspirated nasals, because the shifts to prenasals happened independently in the daughter languages. Thus the aspirated nasals may be preserved here as well.

  1. The ejective shifted to q. It was not aspirated, although there may have been a rare k₄ sound that would here be shifting to qh.

Proto-Fern (1900) to Tarwas-III

Tapilula (0) to Proto-Thaoa (1085)

  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. Thus, for example, /àli/ > /ail/. These closed syllables were all high-toned, and are thus written without tone marks. Thus, for example, aa implies àa. Later, daughter languages introduced tone contrasts and independent sequences.
  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 ə̄.
  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 ie uo shifted to i u in open syllables only.
  8. The sequences ai ei oi merged as ei; the sequences au eu ou merged as ou.
  9. The sequences ea eə shifted to ee; meanwhile, oa oə became oo. Then, shifted to aa. Thus, the sequences /ee aa oo/ once again appeared in both open and closed syllables. Note, however, that much inherited /ea oa/ had participated in grammatical alternations with /əa/, which had become a simple /a/ by this time, and this is the form that was usually generalized.
  10. The sequences ia ie io iə shifted to ī . Then ua ue uo uə shifted to ū.
  11. In absolute final position, syllable-final ŋ changed to n. (But see below.)
  12. Accented vowel-initial syllables gained a pharyngeal ʕ as an onset. Then the clusters nʕ kʕ shifted to g ḳ.
  13. After long vowels, all consonants became voiced. Also, consonants occurring after initial vowels also became voiced. This created the new consonants v 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 sound change did not affect diphthongs. There was no voiced velar stop, as all four velars simply shifted to fricatives.
  14. 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.
    probably also shifted to w.
  15. Initial vowels were deleted unless an illegal consonant cluster would have resulted. Sometimes root-initial vowels were retained due to classifier prefixes.
  16. All schwas and diphthongs became low tone.
  17. Labialized consonants lost their labialization when occuring after another labial or labialized consonant.
  18. After a stressed syllable, intervocalic ʕ ʕʷ became g gʷ. This is due to reanalysis, not a true sound change.
  19. The glottal fricatives h hʷ became velar; there was no spelling change.

The consonant inventory at this stage 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

The vowel inventory was

Short vowels:          a  e  i  o  u  ə
Long vowels:           ā  ē  ī  ō  ū 
Falling diphthongs:      ae ei ao ou
                            əi    əu

The long vowels /ā ē ō/ can be spelled aa ee oo, but the high vowels /ī ū/ are usually not, because /i u/ before another vowel would indicate a glide. This list may have to be cut somewhere in the middle, with the full list applying to just one subbranch and ending around the year 2668.

Proto-Thaoa (1085) to proto-Helmet (2668)

Note that final /-h/ did not shift to /-s/ in this branch.

  1. The voiced coronal obstruents d ǯ merged as r.
  2. The sequences ae ao shifted to ai au.
  3. The labialized obstruents tʷ dʷ gʷ shifted to pʷ w w.
  4. The velar ejective merged to k.
  5. The sequences č kč merged as s; preceding vowels retained their tones.
  6. In word-initial position, the voiced velar fricative g shifted to y.
  7. The labialized nasals mʷ nʷ ŋʷ merged as .
  8. The voiced stop b shifted to v.
  9. After a high tone, the voiceless fricatives hʷ f h shifted to kʷ p k. The /s/ did not shift.
  10. After a low tone, the voiceless stops pʷ p t shifted to bʷ b d.
  11. After a high tone, the nasals mʷ m n ŋ became the geminates mmʷ mm nn ŋŋ.
  12. Tones were eliminated.
  13. The sequences mpʷ mp nt shifted to mbʷ mb nd.
  14. The clusters kpʷ kp kt kf shifted to ppʷ pp tt pp. Note that there was never a /ks/.
  15. Any other final k shifted to h, which adopted previously existing sandhi rules such as /hm/ = [mp].
  16. The labialized consonants kʷ pʷ bʷ mʷ shifted to p p b m. Then w shifted to v.
  17. The diphthongs ai ei əi all merged as ē. Then au ou əu merged as ō. Then, the double vowel sequences aa ee ii oo uu became ā ē ī ō ū.

It is not clear if Tarwas branches off in 2144 or if it is refreshed by later settlers. It is even possible that it branches off around 1400, and that the last shared change is the shift of /mʷ nʷ ŋʷ/ > /mʷ/. See Thaoa for convenience.

Climate and geography

Tarwas has a very simple climate regime. The main state of Tarwas stretches from 30°N to 35°N and has no perceptible differences in temperature from the north end to the south end. The average temperature in winter is 0°C, in summer it is 20°C, and year-round the average is 10°C. This is because the expected temperature gain towards the south is exactly compensated for by the smooth upward slope of the land. The same thing occurs to the west in Nama.

Since temperature variation is insignificant from one end of the region to the other, the wildlife and plant life is also similar. However, the southern end of Tarwas experiences a moderate dry season during the summer, whereas towards the north it is wet all year round.


  1. that is, "Bornovia"
  2. given as Igotagàmi in dictionary, but e~o~ə analogy was likely still functional