Vrkhazhian

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Vrkhazhian (Śād Warḫāzaḫ "Mouth of Vrkhazh") is a language that is spoken by the Vrkhazhians who live in Warḫāzas.



VrkhazhianFlagSRLT.png
Vrkhazhian
Śād Warḫāzaḫ, Warḫāzāli
Pronounced: [ˈɬɑːd wɑr.ˈxɑː.zɑx], [wɑr.xɑː.ˈzɑː.li]
Spoken: Vrkhazh (Warḫāzas)
Writing system: Añmānas
Genealogy: Proto-Ch'ahdic
Proto-A
Proto-AA
Proto-AAA
Old Vrkhazhian
Imperial Vrkh.
Common Vrkh.
Typology
Morphological type: agglutinative, triconsonantal root-based morphology
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Basic word order: SOV
Credits
Creator: Malcolm G. Holborne


History

Registers

Vrkhazhian is divided into two primary registers:

  • Imperial Vrkhazhian (Ḳabbāˀas "The Royal [Speech]") is the written variety of Vrkhazhian based upon a dialect of Old Vrkhazhian spoken by the founder of the Empire, Ezu-Nardikh the Great, and his supporters.
  • Common Vrkhazhian (Lumbāˀas "The Common [Speech]") is the spoken variety based around the dialect of the capital city of Uzur.

Phonology

Consonants

The table below shows the 25 consonant phonemes found in Vrkhazhian. Letters in angle brackets indicate where the romanization of the phoneme differs from its IPA representation.

Bilabial Coronal Velar Glottal
Central Lateral
Nasal m n ŋ ⟨
Stop Voiceless p t k ʔ ⟨ˀ
Ejective pʼ ⟨ tʼ ⟨ kʼ ⟨
Voiced b d g
Fricative Voiceless f s ɬ ⟨ś x ⟨
Ejective sʼ ⟨ ɬʼ ⟨ṣ́
Voiced z ɮ ⟨ź
Liquid r l
Semivowel w j ⟨y

All consonants except for /j w ʔ/ can be geminated (pronounced twice as long) which is indicated in writing by simply doubling the letter.

Vowels

Vrkhazhian possesses the following monophthongs:

Front Back
Close i iː u uː
Open ɛ ɛː ɑ ɑː

The short vowels /ɛ ɑ i u/ are represented in writing as ⟨e a i u⟩ while the long vowels /ɛː ɑː iː uː/ are either represented with a macron ⟨ē, ā, ī, ū⟩ or a circumflex ⟨ê, â, î, û⟩. The usage of a circumflex in writing is to indicate vowel coalescence as a result of the contraction of the weak consonants /ʔ j w/.

Allophony

Plosives

  • The plosives /p b t d k g/ assimilate in voicing when they precede a plosive of the same place of articulation. An example of this allophony is demonstrated with the verb alad- "fight, oppose": under normal circumstances its stem is alad- such as in aladna "I fought, I opposed"; however, when, for example, the first person plural subject suffix -ta is added, it becomes alatta "we fought, we opposed"
  • The plosives /p b t d k g/ also assimilate in voice and manner of articulation when they precede fricatives of the same place of articulation

Nasals

  • ???

Fricatives

  • the fricatives /s z ɬ ɮ/ assimilate in voice and manner of articulation when they precede another fricative of the same place of articulation.
  • the fricatives /s z ɬ ɮ/ become affricates word-initially.

Other

  • The velar consonants /ŋ k g x/ become partially-rounded [ŋ͗ k̹ g͗ x̹] or fully-rounded [ŋʷ kʷ gʷ xʷ] before back vowels.

Symmetrical Assimilation

Components Result
b + p pp
m + p
p + b bb
m + b
Components Result
d + t tt
n + t
t + d dd
n + d
Components Result
g + k kk
n̮ + k
k + g gg
n̮ + g

Asymmetrical Assimilation

Components Result
p + f ff
b + f
m + f
Components Result
t + s ss
d + s
n + s
t + z zz
d + z
n + z
Components Result
t + ś śś
d + ś
n + ś
t + ź źź
d + ź
n + ź
Components Result
k + ḫ ḫḫ
g + ḫ
n̮ + ḫ

Syllable Structure and Prosody

The basic syllable structure is maximally (C)V(V)(C) whereby any syllable can begin with any consonant except for /ʔ/ and any syllable can end with any consonant except for /ʔ j w/. Vrkhazhian strongly dislikes consonant clusters in the onset or coda of a syllable and typically inserts vowels to break the offending clusters. The epenthetic vowels typically mirror the adjacent vowel.

Stress in Vrkhazhian is based on syllable weight, of which there are three degrees: light (V, CV); heavy (CVC, CV̄, CV̂), and superheavy (CV̄C, CV̂C).

Grammar

Morphology

Overview

Vrkhazhian is a highly inflecting language, and morphologically, it is a triconsonatal root language: a kind of non-concatenative morphology whereby its roots consist of an abstract set of consonants which a pattern of vowels called transfixes are placed between. Most of these roots consist of three consonants (triliteral), though there are many words that consist of two-letter (biliteral) and four-letter (quadriliteral) roots. Very rare, however, are five-letter (pentaliteral) roots, all of which are entirely nouns.

Nominal morphology

Main article: Nouns in Vrkhazhian

Vrkhazhian nouns are called ğanūm (singular ğanum). They are declined for case, gender, and number. Specifically there are four cases (nominative, vocative, accusative, instrumental, and vocative) and two numbers (singular and plural). Additionally, Vrkhazhian has two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine. When referring to humans, deities, and certain animals, masculine refers to beings and animals of the male sex as well as beings that identify with the male gender while feminine refers to beings and animals of the female sex as well as beings that identify with the female gender. When referring to non-humans, masculine refers to wild or dangerous animals (e.g. sammali "crocodile") or inanimate non-living things (e.g. adgi "sand") while feminine refers to domesticated or safe animals (e.g. ḫusu "horse") or more animate non-living things (e.g. masû "sea").

Verbal morphology

Main article: Verbs in Vrkhazhian

Vrkhazhian verbs are called narībūm (singular narībum). Because Vrkhazhian is a triconsonantal root language, the fundamental part of the verb form is the transfix, a discontinuous affix inserted between a root, though they primarily only convey the grammatical voices (active and passive). There are only two tenses (future and non-future) and these are indicated by prefixes attached to the base form. Additionally, there are also two moods (indicative and subjunctive) although the indicative is unmarked. Lastly, verbs are also conjugated for number, singular and plural, with the plural indicated by the suffix -am.

When referring to a particular verb pattern, they are referred to by a derivation of the canonical (exemplary) verb p-r-ḫ (to say, to speak). For example, when referring to the verb pattern of the citation form of a verb, which is the first person singular realis, it is called paruḫna because that is the first person singular realis form of the verb.

Adjectival morphology

Adjectives in Vrkhazhian are marked for gender, case, and number in agreement with the noun they modify.

Most adjectives are derived from verbs and take the form C₁aC₂C₂aC₃. Below is an example adjective derived from the verb s-g-l (to be old) with the meaning of "old":

s-g-l (to be old)
Nominative Accusative Genitive
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Masculine saggal-im saggal-īm saggal-is saggal-īs saggal-in saggal-īn
Feminine saggal-um saggal-ūm saggal-us saggal-ūs saggal-un saggal-ūn
Neuter saggal-as saggal-ās saggal-as saggal-ās saggal-aḫ saggal-āḫ
Demonstrative Adjectives

Like English, Vrkhazhian makes a two-way distinction between near ('this, these' known as "proximal") and far ('that, those' known as "distal") demonstrative expressions. Besides number, as in English, Vrkhazhian also distinguishes masculine and feminine gender as well as case.

Proximal Demonstrative ("this", "these")
Feminine Masculine Neuter Inanimate
Singular Nom. aḫḫ-um aḫḫ-im aḫḫ-am aḫḫ-as
Acc. aḫḫ-us aḫḫ-is aḫḫ-as
Erg. aḫḫ-un aḫḫ-in aḫḫ-an aḫḫ-an
Gen. aḫḫ-uḫ aḫḫ-iḫ aḫḫ-aḫ aḫḫ-aḫ
Plural Nom. aḫḫ-ūwa aḫḫ-īya aḫḫ-āya aḫḫ-āza
Acc. aḫḫ-ūza aḫḫ-īza aḫḫ-āza
Erg. aḫḫ-ūna aḫḫ-īna aḫḫ-āna aḫḫ-āna
Gen. aḫḫ-ūwa aḫḫ-īya aḫḫ-āya aḫḫ-āya
Distal Demonstrative ("that", "those")
Feminine Masculine Neuter Inanimate
Singular Nom. idd-um idd-im idd-am idd-as
Acc. idd-us idd-is idd-as
Erg. idd-un idd-in idd-an idd-an
Gen. idd-uḫ idd-iḫ idd-aḫ idd-aḫ
Plural Nom. idd-ūwa idd-īya idd-āya idd-āza
Acc. idd-ūza idd-īza idd-āza
Erg. idd-ūna idd-īna idd-āna idd-āna
Gen. idd-ūwa idd-īya idd-āya idd-āya

Pronouns

Imperial Vrkhazhian Pronouns
Independent Bound
Nominative Accusative Ergative Possessive
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st āni āti niyāzi tiyāzi niyāni tiyāni -ni -ti
2nd āma āman miyāzi mināzi miyāni mināni -mi -min
3rd āsa āsan kiyāzi kināzi kiyāni kināni -ki -kin


Interrogative and Relative Pronouns

Vrkhazhian possesses a simple set of interrrogative pronouns that also serve as relative pronouns:

Imperial Vrkhazhian Interrogative Adjectives
Nominative Accusative Instrumental Genitive
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
"Who / What" feminine ḫamt-um ḫamt-ūwa ḫamt-us ḫamt-ūza ḫamt-un ḫamt-ūna ḫamt-uḫ ḫamt-ūwa
masculine ḫamt-im ḫamt-īya ḫamt-is ḫamt-īza ḫamt-in ḫamt-īna ḫamt-iḫ ḫamt-īya
neuter ḫamt-am ḫamt-āya ḫamt-as ḫamt-āza ḫamt-an ḫamt-āna ḫamt-aḫ ḫamt-āya
Absolutive Ergative Instrumental Genitive
inanimate ḫamt-as ḫamt-āza ḫamt-an ḫamt-āna ḫamt-an ḫamt-āna ḫamt-aḫ ḫamt-āya
"How Many" masculine ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
feminine ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
neuter ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

Numerals

Vrkhazhian uses a base-12 system of numerals, which is a positional notation numeral system using twelve as its base. In this system, the number ten can be written as ⟨X⟩, and the number eleven as ⟨E⟩.

Numerals behave like noun/pronouns.

The table below lists the numbers from 1 to 12.

Numbers
Glyph Numeral Cardinal Ordinal
Tibsa 1 tibsas tabbas-
Susra 2 śiṭṭas śaddaṭ-
3 miḫlas maḫḫal-
4 ??? ???
5 ??? ???
6 tuftas taffat-
7 ??? ???
8 ??? ???
9 naḫras naḫḫar-
X yasnas yassan-
E ??? ???
10 ḫarṭas ḫarraṭ-

Syntax

Main article: Syntax in Vrkhazhian

Nominal phrases

Noun phrases have the following overall order: (numeral) noun (genitive noun) (adjective/relative clause) (demonstratives)

śimās aḫās
house-nom/acc.inan.sg this-nom/acc.inan.sg
this house
śimās mannabās aḫās
house-nom/acc.inan.pl beautiful-nom/acc.inan.pl this-nom/acc.inan.pl
these beautiful houses

Numerals behave like nouns, thus when they are used to quantify another noun they are placed in the construct state. In turn, determiners and adjectives agree in gender and number with the numeral rather than the possessing noun.

tufta śimāḫ aḫas
six-nom/acc.inan.sg house-gen.inan.pl this-nom/acc.inan.sg
these six houses
tufta śimāḫ mannabas aḫas
six-nom/acc.inan.sg house-gen.inan.pl beautiful-nom/acc.fem.sg this-nom/acc.inan.sg
these six beautiful houses

Relative clauses are made by infixing -ēs- to the verb subject suffix of the relative clause:

ḳebbis assalmabakki māˀaḫtēsi
king-nom.masc.sg people\cons.inan.sg-3ms.obl nfut-put_together-3ms.rel
a king who united his people

Relative clauses can also be made by the use of the interrogative pronoun arr- "(the one) who", agreeing in number and gender with the main clause's referent.

assalmabas arras ḳebbis māˀaḫti
king-nom.masc.sg who-nom/acc.inan.sg people\cons.inan.sg-3ms.obl nfut-put_together-3ms
the people who the king united
ummuḫdas arras ku rabdāmūs taḳūstan
palace-nom/acc.inan.sg who-nom/acc.inan.sg at guards-nom.fem.pl futi-lie_down-3fp
the palace where guards might reside

Sentence syntax

The basic word order of Vrkhazhian is SOV. Vrkhazhian has two primary voices, active and applicative:

aldāmīs ilgūn amtan
warrior-nom.masc.pl fish-acc.fem.pl nfut-eat\act-3mp
The warriors ate some fish
aldāmīs ḫagrākan ilgūn āˀamtan
warrior-nom.masc.pl dog-acc.fem.pl-3mp fish-acc.fem.pl nfut-eat\appl-3mp
The warriors fed their dogs some fish


The verb root ñ-m (to eat), in the first example, is conjugated for active nonfuture masculine plural in the active sentence agreeing in number and gender with the subject "warriors", while the same verb root in the second example is conjugated in the passive nonfuture feminine plural, agreeing in number and gender with the subject "fish".

Writing System

Vocabulary

Example text