Vrkhazhian

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Vrkhazhian (ʾEšd Yatvṛḵažaẇ) 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.



Flag-Vrkhazh.png
Vrkhazhian
ʾEšd Yatvṛḵažaẇ
Pronounced: /ˈe̞çt jatβɹ̩ˈxaʝɑo̯/
Spoken: Vrkhazh (Yatvṛḵažu)
Writing system: ʾAḵvaha Yatvṛḵažaẏka
Genealogy: Haxyakian Languages
Haxyakian
Himoshian
Takshian
West Charric
Classical Vrkhazhian
Modern Vrkhazhian
Typology
Morphological type: moderately fusional and agglutinative
Morphosyntactic alignment: nominative-accusative
Basic word order: SOV (active voice)/VSX (passive voice)
Credits
Creator: Malcolm G. Holborne


History

Dialects

Vrkhazhian is analyzed as having two major dialects:

  • Ezrayka is spoken in the south-west of Vrkhazh and named after the city from which it originated, Tom-ʾEzra.
  • Mikhbayka is spoken in the north-east of Vrkhazh and named after the city Tom-Miḵba.

Despite being considered dialects of the same language, they are somewhat mutually unintelligible to each other.

Phonology

Consonants

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.

Vrkhazhian Consonantal Phonemes
  Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
Central Lateral
Nasal m [m] n [n] ñ [ɲ] [ŋ] [ɴ]
Stop Voiceless p [p] t [t] č [c] k [k] q [q] ʾ [ʔ]
Ejective [pʼ] [tʼ] ċ [cʼ] [kʼ] [qʼ]
Voiced b [b] d [d] ǰ [ɟ] g [g]
Affricate Voiceless c [t͡s] ć [t͡ɬ]
Voiced j [d͡z]
Fricative Voiceless f [ɸ] s [s] ś [ɬ] š [ç] [x] [χ] h [h]
Voiced v [β] z [z] ź [ɮ] ž [ʝ] [ɣ] [ʕ]
Approximant r [ɹ] l [l] y [j] w [w]
Trill ř [r] [ʀ]
The sonorants /ɹ m n/ also have syllabic counterparts /ɹ̩ m̩ n̩/, which are romanized as ⟨ṛ ṃ ṇ⟩.

Vowels

Vrkhazhian possesses the following monophthongs:

Front Central Back
Close i [i] u [u]
Mid e [e̞] ə [ə] o [o̞]
Open a [a]

Vrkhazhian also has four diphthongs, all of which are rising:

Front Back
Mid to mid oẏ [ɔe̯] eẇ [ɛo̯]
Open to mid aẏ [æe̯] aẇ [ɑo̯]

Allophony

  • 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.

Syllable Structure

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.

Prosody

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.

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 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.

Adjectival morphology

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):

"Heavy"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular dṛnan-i dṛnan-a
Plural dṛnan-il dṛnan-an

Adjectives pertaining to diseases take the form C₁eẇC₂aC₃, such as this adjective derived from s-ḡ-b (to decay, to rot):

"Necrotic"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular seẇḡab-i seẇḡab-a
Plural saḡeẇb-il saḡeẇb-an

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.

"Heavier/heaviest"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular dandan-i dandan-a
Plural dandan-il dandan-an

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):

"Absolutely beautiful/beautiful beyond compare"
Adjective (masc.) Adjective (fem.)
Singular manaṟb-is-i manaṟb-is-a
Plural manaṟb-is-il manaṟb-is-an

Verbal morphology

Main article: Verbs in Vrkhazhian

Vrkhazhian verbs are called madsiṟel (singular madsiṟi). 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-ṟ (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 dusaṟ because that is the active present singular form of the verb.

Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

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.

Personal Pronouns
Nominative Accusative Genitive Allative Ablative
Person Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
1st inclusive žaẏ "I" yeš "we" šadib maṭib šadak maṭib šadeš maṭiš šadat maṭit
exclusive ṉar "we" ṉarib ṉarak ṉareš ṉarat
2nd masculine kar "you" ćur "you" karib ćurib karak ćurak kareš ćoreš karat ćulat
feminine kan "you" ćun "you" kanib ćunib kanak ćunak kaneš ćoneš kanat ćunat
3rd masculine ḡar "he" nur "they" ḡarib nurib ḡarak nurak ḡareš noreš ḡarat nurat
feminine ḡan "she" nun "they" ḡanib nunib ḡanak nunak ḡaneš noneš ḡanat nunat

Demonstrative Pronouns

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.

Number Proximal Medial Distal
Masculine singular ʾibi "this" ʾani "that" mayi "yonder"
Masculine plural ʾibmil "these" ʾanmil "those" maẏmil "yonder"
Feminine singular ʾiba ʾana maya
Feminine plural ʾibman ʾanman maẏman

Interrogative Pronouns and Adverbs

Vrkhazhian possesses a complex set of interrrogative pronouns:

Interrogative Pronouns
English Vrkhazhian English Vrkhazhian
who? ʾelma which? ha
what? maʾlimi
where? ʾolmayi which place? hadva
when? ʾaẇra which time? haẇra
why? ʾoqba which reason? hoqba
how? ʾamti which manner? hamti
how many? ʾesči which amount? hesči

Relative Pronouns

The declension of the relative pronouns are as follows:

Number Nominative Accusative Genitive Allative Ablative
Masculine singular noki lari saḡli ṇkeši ṇkati
Masculine plural nokmil larmil saḡlimil noššil noḵkil
Feminine singular noka lara saḡla ṇkeša ṇkata
Feminine plural nokman larman saḡliman noššan noḵkan

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.

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⟩. The table below lists the numbers from 1 to 12.

Numerals
Numbers Cardinal

(masc.)

Cardinal

(fem.)

Ordinal

(masc.)

Ordinal

(fem.)

1 tibsi tibsa ʾayuni ʾayuna
2 susri susra hessori hessora
3 limni limna hermoni hermona
4 zařzi zařza hezřozi hezřoza
5 yurpi yurpa heylopi heylopa
6 mastali mastala hemostali hemostala
7 ʾařṭami ʾařṭama heřṭomi heřṭoma
8 šervi šerva hešlovi hešlova
9 zaḡgi zaḡga hezḡobi hezḡoba
X (10) yaqmi yaqma heyqomi heyqoma
E (11) ḵteli ḵtela heḵtoli heḵtola
10 (12) seẕki seẕka hesẕoki hesẕoka

Syntax

Main article: Syntax in Vrkhazhian

Nominal phrases

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 Yatvṛḵažaẇ, ʾIḥmeki ʾArašjuṉ, noki tutṗusa ḡalak numḥaḥ. "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
Yatvṛḵažaẇ 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
ḡalak his third person genitive masculine singular
numḥaḥ unite active past singular

Sentence syntax

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.
ʾEšoli ṛ-ʾuldel ṛ-t-ʾeldan ʾuldam
All-DET.MASC soldier-NOM.MASC.PL DEF=ACC-civilian-FEM.PL guard\ACT.PRES-PL
"All of the soldiers guard the civilians."

vs. a passive sentence:

Nikšemam ṛ-makšiman ṛ-maśkafan zwaHiqala.
Nikšemam ṛ-makšiman ṛ-maśkafan zwaHiqala
PASS.PST-build\PASS-PL DEF=golem-NOM.FEM.PL DEF-mercury-FEM.PL Hiqala-ABL.FEM.SG
"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".

Writing System

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.

History

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.

Letter names

Standard letters

The table below lists the 34 letters of the Akhva that are shared by both Uzerian and Mukhebic:

ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
ʾAlaḵ ʾAlaḵa wind, breath ʾ [ʔ]
Ḵava Ḵava human [x]
Vava Vawa cane v [β]
Hita Hita lock h [h]
Data Data skull d [d]
Ẕima Ẕima fruit, blood [t͡s]
Bala Bala path b [b]
Suma Suma tunnel s [s]
Žati Žati helmet ž [ʝ]
Ṭama Ṭama horn, curve [θ]
Yava Yava scythe y [j]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Kafa Kafa water k [k]
Geba Geba wing g [g]
Lama Lama hand l [l]
Maʾa Maʾa bowl, cup m [m]
Neši Neši peace n [n]
Ḡaẏma Ḡaẏma name [ɣ]
Ṗasi Ṗasi poison [ɸ~ʍ̝~w̝]
Paka Paka head p [p]
Jima Jima pillar j [ɟ]
Ruḡi Ruḡi snake r [ɹ]
Faši Faši vulture f [ɸ]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Šima Šima house š [ç]
Wadi Wadi shield w [w]
Ćona Ćona fish ć [t͡ɬ]
Tali Tali gate t [t]
Ṟaša Ṟaša shoulder [ʀ]
Čita Čita hook č [c]
Zaba Zaba branch z [z]
Řata Řata fear, tail ř [r]
Śama Śama tree ś [ɬ]
Ḥaka Ḥaka roof [χ]
Qaẇta Qaẇta sheep q [q]
ʾAḵva Yat-Vṛḵažaẏka
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Ṉoda Ṉoda ear [ɴ]

Mukhebic-only letters

The table below lists the letters that are only found in Mukhebic Vrkhazhian:

ʾAḵvah Yat-Vṛḵažaẏkah
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka ʾAlaḵa Miḵbaẏka Mukhebic Alakh ʾ [ʔ]
Ḳuna Ḳuna sky [kʼ]
Q̇usa Q̇usa hide [kʼ]
Ñiṟa Ñiṟa root ñ [ɲ]

Vowel diacritics

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.

Mambinud Yat-Vṛḵažaẏkud
Letter Name Meaning Phoneme
Maʾlibi Maʾlibi exposed a [a]
Mařkiki Mařkiki fallen e [e̞]
Yata Yata ground i [i]
Ḵoṭa Ḵoṭa circle o [o̞]
Muḵepa Ṃḵepa emptiness ə [ə]
Ḥomli Ḥomli throne u [u]
???
Letter Name Phoneme
Yava Ṛwada Yava Ṛwada [e̯]
Wadi Ṛwadi Wadi Ṛwadi [o̯]

Numerals

Ḥalkud Yat-Vṛḵažaẏku
Numeral Number Name
Šemta 0 Šemta ("none")
Tibsa 1 Tibsa
Susra 2 Susra
Limn- 3 Limna
Zařza 4 Zařza
Yurpa 5 Yurpa
Mastala 6 Mastala
ʾAřṭama 7 ʾAřṭama
Šerva 8 Šerva
Zaḡga 9 Zaḡga
Yaqma 10/X Yaqma
Ḵtela 11/E Ḵtela

Vocabulary

Example text