Vrkhazhian (Šat Vṛḵažaẇ) is a Western Haxyakian language that is spoken by the Vrkhazhians who live in the Empire of Yatvṛḵaž. The earliest form of this language, known as Classical Vrkhazhian, was spoken as early as 887 years ago.
Šat Vṛḵažaẇ, Šada Vṛḵaššəya
|Pronounced:||/ˈçat βr̩ˈxaʝɑo̯/, /ˈçada βr̩xaçˈçəja/|
|Writing system:||ʾAḵvaha Vṛḵaššəya|
|Genealogy:|| Haxyakian Languages
|Morphological type:||moderately fusional and agglutinative|
|Basic word order:||SOV (active voice)/VSX (passive voice)|
|Creator:||Malcolm G. Holborne|
- 1 History
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Grammar
- 3.1 Morphology
- 3.2 Pronouns
- 3.3 Numerals
- 3.4 Syntax
- 4 Writing System
- 5 Vocabulary
- 6 Example text
Vrkhazhian is analyzed as having two major dialects:
- Uzershaya is spoken in the south-west of Vrkhazh and named after the city from which it originated, Toma-ʾEzra.
- Mukhebshaya is spoken in the north-east of Vrkhazh and named after the city Toma-Miḵba.
Despite being considered dialects of the same language, they are somewhat mutually unintelligible to each other.
The table below shows the consonant phonemes found in the major dialects of Vrkhazhian. Phonemes in blue are found only in the Mukhebic dialect while phonemes in red are found only in the Uzerian dialect.
|Nasal||m [m]||n [n]||ṉ [ŋ]||ṉ [ɴ]|
|Stop||Voiceless||p [p]||t [t]||c [c]||k [k]||q [q]||ʾ [ʔ]|
|Ejective||ṗ [pʼ]||ṭ [tʼ]||ċ [cʼ]||ḳ [kʼ]||q̇ [qʼ]|
|Voiced||b [b]||d [d]||j [ɟ]||g [g]|
|Fricative||Voiceless||f [ɸ]||s [s]||ś [ɬ]||š [ç]||ḵ [x]||ḥ [χ]||h [h]|
|Voiced||v [β]||z [z]||ź [ɮ]||ž [ʝ]||ḡ [ɣ]||ṟ [ʕ]|
|Liquid||y [j]||w [w]|
|Trill||r [r]||ṟ [ʀ]|
Vrkhazhian possesses the following monophthongs:
|Close||i [i]||u [u]|
|Mid||e [e̞]||ə [ə]||o [o̞]|
Vrkhazhian also has four diphthongs, all of which are rising:
|Mid to mid||oẏ [ɔe̯]||eẇ [ɛo̯]|
|Open to mid||aẏ [æe̯]||aẇ [ɑo̯]|
- The alveolar stop consonants /t d/ become [θ ð] in word-final positions after front vowels.
- The velar stop consonants /k g/ are assimilated into /q/ near /q ɴ χ/.
- The nasal consonants /m n ɴ/ undergo the process neutralization where they are analyzed as [n] before alveolar consonants, [ɲ] before palatal consonants, [ŋ] before velar consonants (including /w/), and [ɴ] before uvular consonants.
- The vowels /a i ə u/ are lowered to [ɑ e̞ ɐ o̞] if they occur after /q ɴ χ/.
- The uvular stop /q/ becomes /k/ before palatal consonants.
The syllable structure of Vrkhazhian is analyzed as (C)CV(C)(C), where C stands for a consonant, V stands for a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant. More specifically, words can only have consonant clusters of up to two adjacent consonants. This means the first syllable can have a maximal syllable of CCVC, medial syllables can have maximal syllables of CVC, and the last syllable can have a maximal syllable of CVCC.
Words cannot have a vowel hiatus, thus the epenthetic phonemes /j w h/ are inserted between two adjacent vowels. Additionally, since syllables must be preceded by a consonant, words that would have historically begun with a vowel have a glottal stop preceding them. However, the glottal stop has since been elided word-initially in most dialects.
Stress in Vrkhazhian is right-leaning and based on syllable weight; stress is placed on the second-last (penultimate) syllable if the last syllable is open (ending in a vowel or diphthong) and placed on the last (ultimate) syllable if the syllable is closed (ending in a consonant). Stress also occurs in a iambic pattern, alternating between unstressed and stressed syllables.
Vrkhazhian exhibits sandhi over word boundaries, which often cause coalescence between word-final and word-initial vowels. The sandhi may also cause changes in the stress patterns of many words in a sentence, including making unstressed monosyllables stressed.
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.
- Main article: Nouns in Vrkhazhian
Vrkhazhian nouns are called maḡimud (singular maḡimu). They are declined for case, gender, and number. Specifically there are five cases (nominative, accusative, genitive, allative, and ablative) and two numbers (singular and plural). Additionally, Vrkhazhian has two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine.
Adjectives in Vrkhazhian are marked for gender and number in agreement with the noun they modify. Adjectives follow nouns except for adjectives pertaining to colours, which instead precede the noun. Adjectives are almost entirely derived from verbs, with a few exceptions.
Most adjectives take the form C₁ṛC₂aC₃. If the middle root is a rhotic. the adjective will instead take the form C₁eC₂aC₃. Below is an example adjective derived from the verb d-n-n (to be heavy):
|Adjective (masc.)||Adjective (fem.)|
Adjectives pertaining to diseases take the form C₁eẇC₂aC₃, such as this adjective derived from s-ḡ-b (to decay, to rot):
|Adjective (masc.)||Adjective (fem.)|
Adjectives also have elative counterparts. The elative takes the form C₁aC₂C₁aC₃ and conveys a superlative meaning in most contexts and a comparative meaning in contexts involving comparisons.
|Adjective (masc.)||Adjective (fem.)|
Absolutive Superlative adjectives take the form C₁aC₂aṟC₃is and conveys a superlative meaning without comparison or being beyond comparison. An example is m-n-b (to be beautiful):
|Adjective (masc.)||Adjective (fem.)|
- Main article: Verbs in Vrkhazhian
Vrkhazhian verbs are called madsiran (singular madsira). Because Vrkhazhian is a triconsonantal root language, the fundamental part of the verb form is the transfix, a discontinuous affix inserted between a root (which is collectively called masčiši and translated as "pattern"), though they primarily only convey the grammatical voices (active, passive, causative, and reflexive). There are five tenses (past, past progressive, present, present progressive, and future) and these are indicated by prefixes attached to the base form. There is only one aspect: the perfect, called saẕkera, which is indicated by reduplicating the entire verb. Additionally, there are also five moods (indicative, jussive, subjunctive, commissive, and propositive) and these are also indicated by prefix, placed closer to the base form than the tense prefixes. 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 d-s-r (to do, to perform, to execute, to act). For example, when referring to the verb pattern of the citation form of a verb, which is the active present singular indicative, it is called dasur because that is the active present singular form of the verb.
In Vrkhazhian, there are 14 pronouns, each of which have their own forms for each of the five cases. In singular and plural, the 2nd and 3rd persons differentiate gender, while the 1st person does not. Instead, the 1st person plural pronouns are distinguished by clusivity: the inclusive 1st person plural includes the speaker and the addressee, while the exclusive 1st person plural excludes the addressee.
|1st||inclusive||žaẏ "I"||yeš "we"||šadib||matib||šadik||matib||šadeš||mateš||šadat||matat|
|2nd||masculine||ḳa "you"||ḳar "you"||ḳeb||ḳarib||ḳak||ḳarak||ḳaeš||ḳareš||ḳaat||ḳarat|
|feminine||ši "you"||šir "you"||šib||širib||šik||širak||šieš||šireš||šiat||širat|
|3rd||masculine||na "he"||nar "they"||neb||narib||nak||narak||naeš||nareš||naat||narat|
|feminine||si "she"||sir "they"||sib||sirib||sik||sirak||sieš||sireš||siat||sirat|
There are three kinds demonstrative pronouns for three kinds of deixis: proximal, medial, and distal. The proximal indicates an object near the speaker, the medial indicates an object near the addressee, and the distal indicates and object away from both the speaker and the addressee. Demonstrative pronouns always mark their referent as definite.
|Masculine singular||ʾibi "this"||ʾani "that"||mayi "yonder"|
|Masculine plural||ʾibmin "these"||ʾanmin "those"||maẏmin "yonder"|
Interrogative Pronouns and Adverbs
Vrkhazhian possesses a complex set of interrrogative pronouns:
|how many?||ʾesči||which amount?||hesči|
The declension of the relative pronouns are as follows:
The relative pronoun agrees in gender and number with its referent. Additionally it changes the word order of a relative clause to OSV if the referent is an object of a relative clause in the active voice. If the relative clause is in the passive voice then the word order is always changed to SVX.
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⟩. The table below lists the numbers from 1 to 12.
- Main article: Syntax in Vrkhazhian
Relative clauses follow the noun while numerals and appositions precede the counted noun. All adjectives except colours follow the noun. An example of some of these features is the nominal phrase ṛ-Vakkam Vṛḵažaẇ, ʾIḥmeki ʾArašjuṉ, noki tutṗusa ḳak numḥuḥ. "Ihmeki Arashjung, the Emperor of Vrkhazh, who united his people" which is analyzed in the following table:
|Word||Meaning||Analysis||Part of the nominal phrase|
|ṛ-Vakkam||emperor||nominative construct state||Apposition|
|Vṛḵažaẇ||Vrkhazh||genitive feminine singular|
|ʾIḥmeki ʾArašjuṉ||Ihmeki Arashjung||masculine singular||Proper Noun (subject)|
|noki||who||nominative masculine singular||Relative clause|
|tutṗusa||people||accusative feminine singular|
|ḳak||his||third person genitive masculine singular|
|numḥuḥ||unite||active past singular|
There are two basic word orders in Vrkhazhian that are used depending on the grammatical voice of the sentence. In sentences with the active voice, the basic word order is Subject-Object-Verb (SOV), while in sentences with the passive voice, the basic word order is Verb-Subject-Oblique (VSX). Compare an active sentence:
- ʾEšoli ʾuldel ṛ-t-ʾeldan ʾuldam.
- "All of the soldiers guard the civilians."
vs. a passive sentence:
- Nikšemam ṛ-makšiman ṛ-maśkafan zwaHiqala.
- "The mercury golems were built by Hiqala"
The verb root ʾ-l-d (to guard), in the first example, is conjugated for active past singular in the active sentence agreeing in number with the subject "soldiers", while the verb root k-š-m (to build [physical]) in the second example is conjugated in the passive past plural, agreeing in number with the subject "the mercury golems".
The Vrkhazhian Akhuva (ʾAḵva Yatvṛḵažaẏka [axβa jatβɹ̩xaʝæe̯ka]) is the official writing script of Vrkhazhian. The script consists of 33 letters, 12 numeral glyphs, and 6 vowel diacritics. The writing direction of the script is boustrophedon, and can start in any horizontal direction preferred, though the most common starting direction is Right-to-Left.
The script has been in use for at least 950 years, with few changes and alterations to the letter forms since it's inception. The script is a descendant of the Proto-Vrkhazhian logographic script.
The table below lists the 34 letters of the Akhva that are shared by both Uzerian and Mukhebic:
The table below lists the letters that are only found in Mukhebic Vrkhazhian:
|ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka||ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka||Mukhebic Alakh||ʾ [ʔ]|
The Akhuva is an abjad, thus vowels are not represented in most texts. However, vowel diacritics may be used to aid learners in reading the text and to reduce ambiguities.
|Yava Ṛwada||ẏ [e̯]|
|Wadi Ṛwadi||ẇ [o̯]|