Dreamlandic grammar

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The empire of Dreamland spoke a large variety of languages due to the many small, isolated settlements along the coast whose people had little contact with other Dreamers. However, all of these languages were closely related and shared many characteristics. Most languages belonged to the Dreamlandic family, but there were some longstanding settlements in Dreamland populated by speakers of other language families such as Hipatal.


Background

The Dreamlandic languages are closely related to Gold and Andanese, but starkly contrast with the other two branches in many ways. Dreamlandic languages tend to use many short words where the other branches may use a single long word. This applies both to semantic derivation and inflection. Phonologically, Dreamlandic languages are simpler than most languages in the other two branches, but one Andanic language is simpler still.

Settlement history

Lenian people began settling what is now Dreamland from the west around the year 1320 AD. They founded a major colony at about 26°N, 25°W. From here, they quickly divided into two groups of people: those who lived along the coast and survived by fishing the sea, and those who moved inland and survived by hunting and gathering, as well as fishing in lakes and rivers. There was no middle ground and both groups were migratory. In this way, the early Dreamer state strongly resembled Paba.

Unlike Paba, however, the hunting tribes and the fishing tribes were both of the same ethnicity: the blonde blue-eyed Lenian people. Therefore, members of one group could quickly assimilate into the other group, and the tribes maintained friendly relations even as they became more physically isolated.

For the most part, the hunting tribes found success in the hot, humid climates of the southern side of the peninsula, and formed the Sepesi branch of the family as they moved eastward along the coast towards the ancient city of Baeba Swamp. Soon, they signed a pact with Baeba Swamp and promised to pursue pacifism.

The fishing tribes lived in smaller, more concentrated colonies, and spent less time outside their territory. Therefore they divided into many small branches early on, with each one later becoming just a single state in the empire of Dreamland. However, the people furthest to the west did not join Dreamland and in later times came to consider themselves superior to the Dreamers.

Major languages

See Lenian languages for sound changes.

The most prolific branch of the family was North Dreamlandic, whose speakers split off from the others in the year 3370, and then followed the coast northward and reached 46°N within just a few hundred years. Their northern fishing settlements were poorly defended and they came to live as minorities within other empires, but further south, the new cities of Posensene and Enoneta appeared and came to dominate the empire of Dreamland.

Sub-Dolphin languages

Here are the languages for Lohi, Pupa, and Senampattore. Note that Pupa and Popa are named after the same geographic feature (probably a river), but are linguistically separate. The Valley of the Minds language may be the same as Senampattore, which would place Senampattore with the Sepesian languages below. (In theory, it could also be an eastward migration from Pupa.)

Baywatch language

Phonology

For diachronics, see Lenian languages.
Bilabials:       p   m           b   
Alveolars:       t   n   s   l   r     

Vowels are /a e i o u/ in both short and long forms. Syllable structure is CVC, but words can begin with geminates and thus the structure could be analyzed as CCVC. All clusters are homorganic, and the only consonant that can occur in absolute final position is /n/.

There are no dorsal consonants; instead, the coronals /t n/ are realized as [k ŋ] before any /u/, and for some speakers, also before any /o/.

DRM particles

  • a "in, at" (locative)
  • e "using" (instrumental). Mutates to o if the following noun begins with /o/ or /u/

The particles a and e can be thought of as verbs, in the sense that they must immediately precede a noun, and take verb-like inflections. But the copula must come after this if there is no main verb.

See below at #ppu for an explanation of how the particles could be mingled with the verbs and all distinctions lost.

  • verb copula

Conjunctions and other particles

  • -o pe- "to transform [X] into [Y]", where the X precedes the conjunction and the Y follows. The prefix pe- absorbs the instrumental prefix /e-/; this may or may not also fall away when that instrumental prefix itself mutates.

DRM verb prefixes

Because SOV and SVO word orders were both legal, the verb prefix often alliterated with the object prefix, and this led to analogical removal of whichever occurred last in a given sentence.

This list is arranged in the order the morphemes appear in the sentence.

DRM tense markers

  • se past tense marker. Merges with following vowels, such that se-o > , etc. Because many verb stems begin with vowels, this mutation is common. Because the tense marker comes before the case particles as well, these case particles merge.

The list of mergers is:

  1. e-a > ē, as in sē bama "went inside"
  2. e-e > ē, as in sē tare "planned"
  3. e-i > ē, as in sēsēmpo "made peace"
  4. e-o > ō, as in sōpu "sat on"
  5. e-u > ō, as in sōbi "felt"
  6. e-ā > ē, as in (no examples)
  7. e-ē > ē, as in (no examples)

This morpheme originally began with /ns/, but the /n/ was lost at a stage when the child agentive prefix n- still echoed before the verb.

Person markers

  • ne 1st or 3rd person human patients
  • mpu reflexive verb prefix
  • isolated forms with /mu/ may also exist

Number markers

  • bere plural patient marker
  • mesi plural for epicene gender
  • nsisse plural for neuter gender

It is not clear where these go or how they are used; perhaps they appear between the tense prefix and the verb stem.


DRM definite articles

These are also descended from noun classifier prefixes. They mark both gender and noun case. Since the plural of all animate genders had merged with the epicene by this time, and number had never been distinguished for inanimates, in a sense the articles also mark number.

Intransitive

  • mi female experiencer
  • si male experiencer
  • ni maiden experiencer
  • n child experiencer

These are also used for possession of objects.

Agentive

  • mi female agent (if patient is male, maiden, or child)
  • si male agent (if patient is female, maiden, child, or plural)
  • ni maiden agent
  • n child agent

The forms above are the same as the intransitives. However, there are more:

  • i female agent (if patient is female)
  • pi female agent (if patient is plural)
  • se male agent (if patient is male). Mutates to so if the following noun begins with /o/ or /u/
  • ne variant child agent (if patient is female, male, or child). Mutates to no if the following noun begins with /o/ or /u/
  • This is probably also the form used if the patient is 1st person.
  • me variant child agent (if patient is male). Mutates to mo if the following noun begins with /o/ or /u/


  • bu plural agent. Shifts to pu if the following noun begins with /p/ or /t/

Patientive

  • ni maiden patient
  • n child patient

The forms above are the same as the intransitives. However, there are more:

  • ne 1st person patient
  • mpi female patient
  • e male patient. Mutates to o if the following noun begins with /o/ or /u/
    In an early draft, this became Ø if the instrumental particle /e/ appeared anywhere earlier in the sentence.

  • ppu plural patient. Shifts to pu if the following noun contains another historical consonant cluster (not always transparent due to subsequent shifts)
  • This word united with one of the verbs for grasping, /pu/, and thus came to be generalized as an instrumental prefix for handheld objects. This is why tools are mostly in the epicene ("plural") gender instead of the inherited neuter. Note that the /pu/ that was analyzed was a verb, not a noun, even though /pu/ as a noun can also mean the palm of the hand. Note also that this word was once /ppu/, so even the alternation would be preserved.
  • Furthermore, this could open the way for many other monosyllables to also appear in this position, making the inherited case markers /a/ and /e/ no different than any of many verbs such as /ppu/ "grasp", /bi/ "feel", /o/ "expose", and so on. But note that in all cases, this verb is semantically tied to the word immediately afterwards, so e.g. one would not use /pi/ "cut" before the word for knife, because humans dont cut knives, humans use knives to cut other things.


Those agentive prefixes that also uniquely specify the gender of the patient require the speaker to omit the patientive prefixes. Thus one can say

Me mposu pempure nsebise.
The duck followed the soldier.

For emphasis, a prefix can be used, but it must be a repetition of the agent's prefix rather than a retention of the patient's, and the emphasis is not on the patient but on the agent's control over the patient. Thus the above sentence can be reworded as

Me mposu me pempure nsebise.
The duck followed the soldier.

The repetition of the prefix implies that the soldier may be an unwilling party whereas in the former sentence there is no such implication. The otherwise expected formula, Me mposu *e pempure nsebise, is not used.

Note that the prefixes for children and maidens are the same in all cases.

Note: try to get out of the habit of using SOV.

Use of noun prefixes

The noun prefix is mandatory in sentence-initial position, and therefore there is no distinction between definite and indefinite subjects. This is common in related languages, even those with very different grammars. Thus one must say

Si peno pu pempā nsōnse.
The (male) goat ate the grass.
A (male) goat ate the grass.

Gender and syntax

Gender marking on humans is strictly syntactic, and becomes more grammatical (non-literal) as the objects described become less animate. The maiden and child genders are retained from the proto-language and remain fully functional, but in some areas of the grammar they merge with each other.

Feminine gender

The feminine gender includes words for women and women's property. It also includes words for girls, but younger girls more often take words belonging to the maiden gender. Higher animals are also described according to literal gender. There are also many inanimate objects in the feminine gender, all deriving from various processes of analogy.

Maiden gender

The maiden gender includes words for girls of pre-marriageable age. It also includes many words for immature female animals, and for females of some small animals regardless of maturity. There are many inanimate objects as well.

Child gender

Sometimes called neuter, the child gender includes words for very young children not capable of living independently. In the high register of the language, some verbs are ungrammatical if the agent is a child, but this rule is ignored in colloquial speech. The child gender also includes many words for animals and inanimate objects, and can be called the neuter gender in this context.

Because the prefix for the child gender in most environments is a simple n-, it cannot occur before a word beginning in a cluster or one of l- r-. Such words thus must use one of the other animate genders even when describing small children and other neuter objects. For example, a student might expect the words liri "goldfish" and mpoli "octopus" to be neuter like other sea life, but in fact they are found in the epicene gender.

This phonological restriction also prohibits the neuter possession marker from occurring before the names of objects beginning with these consonants. Thus, for example, it is impossible to say *n mpempe "the baby's rock", because this would be pronounced with /mmp/, which is illegal. The solution here is to use one of the other animate genders, corresponding to the child's closest semantic gender. This is maidens for girls and men for boys. Because gender is inherited from the possessor, the object then becomes this gender itself even though its possessor is a baby.

Note that classifier prefixes are repeated before the objects, so this can cause the initial word to also change. This causes babies to gain semantic gender and requires the speaker to know the syntactic gender of the baby being referenced. Thus, though Baywatchers are accustomed to saying things such as

N pose n pepepo.
The baby's diaper.

To reference "the baby's clothes", one would need to pick a gender and either say

Si pose si ppe.
The boy baby's clothes.

Or

Ni pose ni ppe.
The girl baby's clothes.

Masculine gender

The masculine gender includes words for men and boys, and for masculine property. This includes many words for tools and weapons. Males of higher animals are also assigned the masculine gender. There are relatively few words in the masculine gender that are not tied to men and men's habits.

Plural gender

Also called epicene, the plural gender encompasses all words for groups, even if the group is internally homogeneous. It also includes all mass nouns and some inanimate objects perceived as indifferent to number.

Pu pperi o ontu nsōnē.
The rain fell on the boy.
Si nano pu mpobe nsenessi.
The king spoke to the people.

Dynamic gender assignment

As in most related languages, inanimate objects take on the gender of their owners when they are used in a possessive construction. Thus one can say

Mi pempi.
Her umbrella.
Si pempi.
His umbrella.
Ni pempi.
Her umbrella. (Owner is a young girl)
N pempi. (pronounced /mpempi/)
The child's umbrella.

Repetition of classifier prefixes for possessed objects can cause mutation of the agent marker. Thus one says

Si ontu.
The boy,

But

So ontu so pensipe ēponsi.
The boy is wearing his mask.

Here, si shifts to so because the sentence is transitive.

Additional notes on word placement and syntax

Baywatch requires the use of many short words that would in other languages be either null morphemes or fusional inflections. Notably, the use of tools is denoted by a construction that behaves like a serial verb. For example, one says

Si pe ppu nōpi pu mpi.
The man is slicing the apple (with a knife).

Rather than having a dedicated word that means slice, Baywatch instead specifies that the man is holding (ppu) a knife () and that the knife goes across (pi) something. Thus there is no word for slicing that does not contain a morpheme indicating a cutting implement. Even this word can be Romanized as /nō pi/; the native syllabary is ambiguous as to word spacing.

SOV analysis

Lastly, also note that the morpheme /ppu/ can be also analyzed not as "hold" but as the epicene patient marker, but in this analysis, there is no verb, because /pi/ cannot be the verb whose patientive argument is the knife since the knife is not what is being crossed. Thus one would need to create a second /pi/ that has a meaning such as "use ___ to go across something with". And this would be SOV rather than SVO.

SVO analysis

However, the dominant word order is SVO. In this analysis, /ppu/ can be interpreted as a merger of the verb for "hold" with the epicene patient marker, and /nō pi/~/nōpi/ as a verbal noun meaning "slice", whether or not it is broken into its two constituent morphemes of "knife" and "go across".

WHERE DOES THE TENSE MARKER GO?

DRM Vocabulary

Baywatch is rich in terms for hand and body movements, mostly compounds such as opo "to smear with the fingertips", sepo "to spread the palms", upu "to squeeze with both hands", and so on. There are comparatively few words for abstract concepts, and the above words are used metaphorically for concepts that in related languages have dedicated roots.

Baywatch shares the trait of having different words for biting and other body motions, but for a different reason: in Baywatch these words are historically compounds, whereas in many other related languages the different words exist merely by tradition.

Pi mpu se punepu pu ppe.
The girl bit the strawberries.
Ne ī sōmpupi mpu.
The bird bit the girl.
Ne pase se lime ntu.
The dog bit the boy.
Ne pompi se tabu.
The beetle bit me.

These four words exist because the four animals involved have greatly different mouth anatomy.

Syntactic evolution

In some cases, the word for an abstract concept has lost its independent use. This most often happens when a compound of two monosyllables fuses in one or both directions with surrounding morphemes. For example, the basic root word for law is posu,[1] originally "bundle of arrows", but the most common use of this word in Baywatch is poso,where a previously existing suffix has fused with the root. This once meant "to show or spread a bundle of arrows", referring to the threat of enforcing the law by showing one's weapons, but most students learn /poso/ before they ever hear of /posu/, and picture in their minds anything from a weapon to a book as the root has no use outside this phrase.

Dolphin Rider language

DPR Phonology

For diachronics, see Lenian languages.


Bilabials:       p   m           b   
Alveolars:           n   s   l   r  
Velars:          k   

Vowels are /a e i o u/ in both short and long forms.

The velar stop /k/ is realized as [t] before any /e i/. The phoneme inventory is the same as that of Baywatch, but the primary allophone of the dorsal stop is [k] in Dolphin Rider and [t] in Baywatch, leading to a different surface inventory.

Syllable structure is strictly CV.

DPR verb markers

Tense markers

  • re past tense prefix

Voice and aspect

  • mu reflexive verb prefix
  • Possibly retained as /bu/ in some fossils

DPR particles

  • a "in, at" (locative)
  • e "using" (instrumental)

These are descended from noun classifier prefixes.

Nu erobi nē a mabo.
The lobster is in the ocean.

Note that the copula is usually found before the object, creating an SVO sentence. This sets Dolphin Rider apart from nearly all other languages on the planet.

DPR definite articles

These are also descended from noun classifier prefixes. They mark both gender and noun case. Since the plural of all animate genders had merged with the epicene by this time, and number had never been distinguished for inanimates, in a sense the articles also mark number.

Unlike those of Baywatch, the patient particles sometimes depend on the agent particles, and thus interactions work in both directions.

Intransitive

Feminine
  • mi female experiencer
Masculine
  • si male experiencer
Maiden
  • ni maiden experiencer
Neuter
  • nu neuter experiencer[2]
Plural
  • Possibly pu

DPR Agentives

Feminine
  • mi female agent (if patient is male, maiden, or neuter)
  • mi ... e female ---> male
  • mi ... ni female ---> maiden
  • mi ... Ø female ---> neuter
  • mi ... pu female ---> plural
  • e female agent (if patient is female)
  • e ... bi female ---> female
Plural/epicene
  • u plural agent
  • u ... bi plural ---> female
  • u ... e plural ---> male (PROBABLY)
  • u ... ni plural ---> maiden
  • u ... Ø plural ---> neuter
  • u ... pu plural ---> plural
Maiden
  • ni maiden agent
Masculine
  • Probably si
Neuter
  • no neuter agent (if patient is female)
  • no ... Ø neuter ---> female
  • me neuter agent (if patient is male)
  • me ... Ø neuter ---> male
  • nu neuter agent (if patient is neuter)
  • nu ... Ø neuter ---> neuter
  • ne variant neuter agent (if patient is male or neuter)
Miscellaneous
  • su various inanimate objects when promoted to agents with human patients

Patientive

  • bi female patient
  • e bi variant female patient (if agent is male)
  • no female patient (if agent is neuter and sentence is OSV or OVS)


  • ni maiden patient


  • e male patient
  • se male patient (if agent is male)
  • me male patient (if agent is neuter and sentence is OSV or OVS)


  • pu plural patient


  • Ø neuter patient
  • nu neuter patient (if agent is neuter and sentence is OSV or OVS)

In the formal register, masculine nouns are prohibited from being the agents of verbs with female patients, and thus must take an additional /e/ before the patient's article. This can be analyzed as either creating a null feminine agent or masculinizing the patient, since the female agent prefix and the male patient prefix in this narrow context are both /e/.

This trait of granting female agents a slightly higher status on the animacy hierarchy is common to many languages of Teppala. But note that unlike, for example, the Moonshines, the Dolphin Riders were not particularly feministic or pacifistic in cultural traits.

Gender and syntax

Syntactically inanimate objects are mostly found in the neuter gender, but mass nouns and some others are in the plural gender, which is also known as epicene.

Feminine gender

Contains words for women of marriageable age, and a few words for girls.

Maiden gender

Contains words for girls and a few words for women.

Masculine gender

Contains words for men and boys, and masculine property.

Neuter gender

This is DPR's counterpart of DRM's child gender. It contains some words for small children, but most neuter words are for animals and objects. DPR places more higher animals, such as birds, in the neuter gender than does DRM.

Unlike the other genders, the agent prefix for the neuter gender is dependent on the gender of the patient. Thus all sentences with neuter agents can be considered passive.

Sentences with neuter agents are often OSV or OVS. When this happens, the neuter agent prefix remains at the beginning of the clause, since it can also serve to mark the patient. Thus just as one says

Mi bupue bolimo rerasi.
The girl caught an octopus.

One would also say

No bupue bolimo rerasi.
The girl was caught by an octopus.

Or

No bolimo bupue rerasi.
The octopus caught a girl.

If both the patient and the agent are neuter, then the sentence is ambiguous, and context is necessary. The normal word orders are SOV and SVO, but in a connected narrative, a subject may be the patient. Thus one can say

Nu bopusepu siselepi repobo.
The eagle bit a rabbit.

But in a story about a rabbit, the opposite wording could be used:

Nu siselepi bopusepu repobo.
The rabbit was bitten by an eagle.

Combining forms

Possibly fuse definite articles and other morphemes to their roots, such as nu erobi > narobi. This would require analogy with the way words had been spelled 4,000 years earlier, but the analogy could have been made in proto-Dreamlandic and then gradually lost from some branches and not others. It could also be argued that this would be a retention of the classifier system even after the alliterative concord was lost.

NOTE: it isnt clear how /ue/ could produce /a/; this may have been a mistake. neither would /eu/ work.

Notes

  1. This /po/ is an independent morpheme, but the shift of /pu a/ > /po/ is so common that speakers construed it as plural early on.
  2. the /ne/ is from /nu-i/