Lenian languages

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The Lenian languages are a paraphyletic cultural grouping of related languages that descend from Tapilula but exclude branches that acquired divergent characteristics.

Scope

All Dreamlandic languages are included. All of the Subumpamese languages are included, as is Paleo-Pabappa and its descendants.

However, Play is not included, despite it having many of the areal characters of the Lenian languages. This is because Play is descended from Gold and acquired its distinctive characteristics over a long period of time. Thus, Poswa and Pabappa are not Lenian languages either. Nor are the Macro-Pabap languages, or Pēles, even though the speakers of Pēles considered themselves to be Lenians.

Tribal identity

All Lenians were light-skinned people, mostly with blonde hair and blue eyes. They mostly lived in cold or temperate climates, but nonetheless some Lenians came to live in compact nations in the tropics, generally having to fight for their land as they arrive. Taken as a group, they were the world's most widely dispersed people, having the southernmost and westernmost (on the mainland) areas to themselves, and controlling much of the cold areas near the poles. However, the idea of a shared Lenian identity was only supported by some Lenians; they fought against each other as much as they fought against other tribes.

For the most part, these languages do not spread to non-Lenian tribes. The only language that had a sizable non-Lenian population of speakers was Oyster.

Tapilula (0) to Proto-Dreamlandic (1320)

The original consonant inventory was

Rounded bilabials:     pʷ      mʷ  mbʷ mpʷ     w
Spread bilabials:      p   b   m   mb  mp     (Ø)         
Alveolars:             t       n   nd          l
Rounded alveolars:     tʷ      nʷ  ndʷ     
Velars:                k   ḳ   ŋ   ŋġ      h   g


Shared changes

Note that hiatus in this language is considered to be /g/. The differentiation between /Ø/ and /g/ in the other branch is due to analogy.

  1. Before a low tone, the fricatives h g shifted to kʷ kʷʕ. Before a high tone, they disappeared. Thus, the language became entirely free of fricatives.
  2. The dependent phonemes kʷ kʷʕ shifted to p pʕ if bordering any /u ə/ in either direction, and otherwise to k. Note that /o/ did not trigger this shift.
  3. Before a low tone, the lateral approximant l shifted to r. This did not affect the dental form (if there was one).
  4. Before a high tone, the voiceless stops pʷ p t tʷ k became the fricatives hʷ f s hʷ h. This did not apply to the emphatics.
  5. Voiceless prenasalized sequences were reanalyzed as nasal + fricative. Voiced prenasalized sequences were reanalyzed as nasal + stop. Thus they were no longer phonemic. Nevertheless, they continued to occur in the syllable onset rather than splitting between the onset and the preceding coda.
  6. The sequence shifted to ā.
    It is possible that /əa əu əi/ then shift to /ā ū ī/.
  7. The emphatic stops pʕ ḳ shifted to pp kk except in absolute initial position. (Since most words began with classifier prefixes, this shift produced many root-initial clusters, but the classifiers that padded these roots did not acquire initial clusters.)
  8. The voiceless alveolar stop t affricated to c before the high vowels [i ə u].
  9. The vowels a e i all shifted to palatalized forms ya ye yi. If one of the non-labialized consonants p m f t n s k ŋ h l r preceded, it became palatalized to pʲ mʲ fʲ č ň š ć ń ś ł ŕ. But palatalization of /l/ was not marked in spelling. Meanwhile, the long vowels ā ē ī shifted to yā yē yī (not *yaya, etc).
  10. The rounded alveolars tʷ nʷ became kʷ ŋʷ.
  11. The high central vowel ə shifted to i.
    Note that this shift opens up a three-way contrast of /t/~/č/~/k/ before [i], and the following shift adds [ə] and [a]. However, there was only a two-way contrast before [u]. This may be seen as related to the labialized phoneme /kʷ/ and might even trigger the loss of /u/ in some daughters.
  12. The mid vowels e o shifted to ə a. This did not affect, and was not affected by, whether the previous consonant was labialized or not; the respective allophones shifted in tandem.
  13. Tones were eliminated.
  14. Syllabic consonants were resolved as sequences of /i/ + consonant, and assimilated to the place of articulation of a following consonant.
  15. The root-initial geminates pp ppʲ ćć kk shifted to singletons p pʲ ć k if there was another heavy syllable in the word.
  16. All prenasalized consonants became voiceless with a stopped release.
  17. The sequence ʷi shifted to i.

Thus the vowel inventory at this time was /a i u ə/, and the consonants were:

                       CONSONANTS                 VOWELS
Rounded bilabials:     pʷ  mʷ      w              a i u ə
Plain bilabials:       p   m   f  (Ø)             a i u              
Spread bilabials:      pʲ  mʲ  fʲ  y              a i   ə
Alveolars:             t   n   s   l   r          a i u               (/ta ci cu/)
Postalveolars:         č   ň   š  *l  *r          a i   ə             (/ča či čə/)
(Palatals:             ć   ń   ś    )             a i   ə
Velars:                k   ŋ   h                  a i u
Labiovelars:           kʷ  ŋʷ  hʷ                 a i u ə

Thus the full set of four vowels was contrastive only after rounded consonants. However, /l/ and /r/ break this rule. There was also a sequence /mfʷ/.

At this point, around the year 1320, the language divides into two dialects: one for the western end of the peninsula, where travel between the north and south coasts is easy; and the other branch for the central and eastern areas, where travel is more difficult and daughter languages tend to divide more quickly. The eastern branch is called Nuclear Dreamlandic, but this is often shortened to just "Dreamlandic".

Dialect breakup

However, it is possible that all of the diversity arose in the western and central areas, and that the division between them was political rather than tribal. Thus North Dreamlandic would be simply a branch of one of many subgroups from the West or center.

Changes unique to Western Fojy

  1. The voiceless non-sibilant fricatives f fʲ h hʷ shifted to Ø Ø Ø w.
  2. The palatalized labials pʲ mʲ shifted to p m.
  3. The bare vowel u shifted to ʉ. Then wa shifted to wo. Neither of these shifts were phonemic.

Changes unique to Nuclear Dreamlandic (1495)

  1. The mid vowel e, which occurred almost entirely after palatalized consonants, shifted to a. Thus, the vowel inventory was reduced to /a i u/, with frequent sequences of /ya wa yi wu/ but no others.
  2. The true palatals ć ń ś shifted to č ň š .

At this stage the language had 95 syllables, considering the clusters /mp nt nk pp kk ćć/ to be singles. The syllabary contained signs for

  a    i    u    ya   wa   yi   wu
 pa   pi   pu   pya  pwa  pyi  pwu
 ma   mi   mu   mya  mwa  myi  mwu
 ta  (ci   cu)  tya       tyi
 na   ni   nu   nya       nyi
 sa   si   su   sya       syi
 la   li   lu   lya       lyi
 ra   ri   ru   rya       ryi
 ka   ki   ku        kwa       kwu
 ŋa   ŋi   ŋu        ŋwa       ŋwu
 ha   hi   hu        hwa       hwu
 fa   fi   fu
mpa  mpi  mpu  mpya mpwa mpyi mpwu
nta (nsi  nsu  nsya      nsyi)
nka  nki  nku       nkwa      nkwu
ppa  ppi  ppu  ppya ppwa ppyi ppwu
kka  kki  kku  kkya kkwa kkyi kkwu

The following languages are ordered by inverse time of separation, not east-west as is usually followed. DPR is spoken to the west of Baywatch.


Nuclear Dreamlandic (1495) to Dolphin Rider (4108)

Alternate names: Ōpo, Neamaki, Pōpō. The speakers originated in "Laġo" and in the unlabeled territory next to Lago. The native name of the unlabeled state may in fact be Ōpo, but properly that is the name of the originating tribe and likely extended to areas beyond.

Note that the maturation date of this branch is much later than that of Baywatch, and that it may have early-branching varieties of its own, perhaps as many as seven. (There are two maps of Dreamland with overlapping borders; the southern coastline is split into a group of three nations and a group of four.)

  1. The labiovelars kʷ ŋʷ hʷ shifted to pʷ mʷ fʷ unconditionally.
  2. The sequences ya wa shifted to ye o.
  3. In a closed syllable, the vowels i u lowered to e o. Long vowels did not shift.
  4. The sequence āi shifted to ē.
  5. Between vowels, the sequence ta shifted to ra.
  6. The prenasals mp nt nč ŋk shifted to voiced stops b r r g.
  7. The voiceless coronals t č š shifted to s . Meanwhile ň shifted to n.
  8. The palatalized labials pʲ mʲ fʲ bʲ became f m f b. Thus palatalization was defeated.
    It appears that lʲ rʲ also shifted to l r.
  9. The sequences hi hu shifted to si fu. Then ŋi shifted to ni.
    It is possible that languages like Lohi break off at around this stage. See Dreamlandic languages.
  10. The velars h g ŋ (including in clusters) disappeared to Ø.
  11. The sequences of ow uf uw shifted to ō ō ū ū. However, the geminate /ff/ did not participate in this shift.
  12. Any remaining singleton f disappeared to Ø.
  13. Labialization was defeated. Any remaining w shifted to b.
    It is not clear what happens to sequences like /efʷo/ > /ewo/ here. But it is likely that /b/ does not appear.
  14. The geminates pp ff ss kk shifted to p s s k . Thus /f/ was eliminated.
    At this point, the consonant inventory was /p m b n s l r k/ and the vowels were /a e i o u/. Long vowels /ā ē ī ū/, but not /ō/, were fairly common. This occurred around the year 3370. After this, the language became conservative.
  15. All vowels in hiatus became short.
  16. The vowel sequences au ao eo oa oe shifted to ō. Thus the word for dolphin became /pōpō/. /ua uo/ remained, but they were rare, mostly coming from earlier /ufa ufo/. Thus, original sequences /ao eo io oo uo/ appeared as /ō ō io ō uo/, just as in Baywatch, but the shifts occurred roughly a thousand years apart and differed in other details.

Nuclear Dreamlandic (1495) to Baywatch (3370)

These languages were spoken in colder climates, rubbing up against Thunder and Moonshine settlements. The speakers were generally of blonde hair and blue eyes, perhaps even more so than the stereotypically blonde Thunderers.

Initial phoneme inventory:

Rounded bilabials:     pʷ  mʷ      w              a i u  
Plain bilabials:       p   m   f  (Ø)             a i u              
Spread bilabials:      pʲ  mʲ  fʲ  y              a i     
Alveolars:             t   n   s   l   r          a i u               (/ta ci cu/)
Postalveolars:         č   ň   š   ł   ř          a i                 (/ča či čə/)    
Velars:                k   ŋ   h                  a i u
Labiovelars:           kʷ  ŋʷ  hʷ                 a i u  


  1. The sequences ya wa shifted to ye wo.
  2. In word-initial position, the sequence su shifted to hu.
  3. The sequences ti tu shifted to si su. (This includes all /č/.)
  4. The velars k ŋ shifted to t n. Then ň also became n.
  5. The sequence āi shifted to ē.
  6. The sequences ha hu shifted to a u. However, any new eu iu shifted to ē ī (not /ō ū/).
  7. The sequence hi shifted to si.
  8. Before a consonant, the sequences nu tu lost their vowel, creating prenasalized and geminate consonants, which always assimilated. Triple consonant sequences reduced to doubles; the specific sequence tussi became tti due to the [č] allophone of /t/ in this position.
  9. The spread labials pʲ mʲ fʲ shifted to p m b unconditionally.
  10. The labial fricative f shifted to b in all positions.
  11. The sequences ai ei oi merged as ē.
  12. The palatal glide y shifted to w if after /u/, and otherwise to Ø.
  13. The sequences au eu ou merged as ō. Note that underlying /ao eo oo/ also become /ō/ by the combination of this rule and the next, since this sequence was always [awo ewo] for the first two.
  14. The sequences wo wu shifted to o u. Any other /w/ also disappeared. Thus, by the combination of these two shifts, the underlying sequences /ao eo io oo uo/ shift to /ō ō io ō uo/, as if setting up a future syllable inventory in which the vowel /o/ could be preceded by a palatal or labial onglide. However, at the stage of classical Baywatch, these remained as two-vowel sequences.
  15. Long vowels followed by geminate consonants became short. But not prenasals.
  16. In root-initial position, the sequences bap bep bip bop bup (but not the long-vowel counterparts) shifted to pap pep pip pop pup. This also applied to /bVt/, but not to /bVs/.

If both labialized consonants and prenasalized consonants are analyzed as clusters, the phonology would be

Bilabials:       p   m           b   
Alveolars:       t   n   s   l   r     

And the vowels /a e i o u/ in both short and long forms. The geminates /pp ss tt/ still remained, and there were sound gaps of */te so bo lo ro/, except in a few rare words where contraction of long vowels before geminates had created new short vowels there.

The coronal stop /t/ was allophonically [k] before any /o u/. Unlike the neighboring Dolphin Rider language, however, it remained [t] before /a/, and therefore [t] is considered the primary allophone. It was not palatalized before /e i/.

Baywatch (3370) to Nunabetari

  1. The sibilant sequences sa se si so su shifted to pa te ti o u . Any new hiatus lengthened the preceding vowel.
  2. Remaining r shifted to b.

The consonant inventory had thus become merely

Bilabials:       p   m   b   
Alveolars:       t   n   l

Note, the Nunabetari are actually migrants from the west, whose original language was PDP. Any other people identifying as Nunabetari were latecomers who joined the existing settlements.

Baywatch (3370 AD) to Playwatch (4138 AD)

This is the language spoken in the eastern corner of Dreamland, traditionally vulnerable to invasion. The Dolphin Riders invaded and conquered it in 4108, but their reign was short-lived, as the Players invaded in 4138 and subdued the entire native population. The Players also lasted only 40 years, so the native language persisted as they were conquered by the Matrix, who survived for about 30 years.

  1. The long vowels ē ī ō ū (but not /ā/) shortened to e i o u.
    This was originally below.
  2. Before a vowel, the sequences om um shifted to ōm ūm.
  3. The alveolar nasal n shifted to m unconditionally.
  4. The alveolar flap r shifted to l in word-initial position, and disappeared to Ø elsewhere.
  5. The sequences ma me mi mo mu shifted to nasal vowels ã ẽ ĩ õ ũ before a singleton consonant UNCONDITIONALLY!!!!!!!!!!.
  6. Prenasalized consonants bled into the preceding vowel and then denasalized.
  7. The sequences uoa uoe uoi uoo uou shifted to uwa uwe uwi uō ūō.
  8. The sequences ii uu shifted to ī ū. This included shifts from triplets like /auu/, etc.
    The Baywatchers who invaded and conquered the Thunder Empire spoke this stage of the language.
  9. After any vowel, the sequences oa oe oi (independent of nasalization) shifted to wa we wi. Nasalized w shifted to .
  10. After a vowel, the sequences ua ue ui uo (independent of nasalization) shifted to wa we wi wo.
  11. All consonants became labialized before any /u/.
  12. Before a nasal vowel, the labial approximant w shifted to .
  13. Geminates became simple.
    NOTE, this shift is only here because it appears in the dictionary; i never wrote it down.

The consonant inventory at this time could be analyzed as

Bilabials:    p   b       w   w̃
Alveolars:    t       s   l


All syllables were CV. Thus a syllable chart can be created:

  a   e   i   o   u   ã   ẽ   ĩ   õ   ũ
 pa  pe  pi  po  pu  pã  pẽ  pĩ  põ  pũ
 ba  be  bi  bo  bu  bã  bẽ  bĩ  bõ  bũ
 wa  we  wi  wo      
 w̃a  w̃e  w̃i  w̃o      w̃ã  w̃ẽ  w̃ĩ  w̃õ 
 ta  te  ti  to  tu  tã  tẽ  tĩ  tõ  tũ
 sa  se  si  so  su  sã  sẽ  sĩ  sõ  sũ
 la  le  li  lo  lu  lã  lẽ  lĩ  lõ  lũ

Longs are analyzed as sequences here and thus not shown. Longs can either be aa or aã~ãã; there is no *ãa.

The Baywatchers who invaded and conquered the Thunder Empire in 3844 were overthrown and enslaved in 3884. They retained their language even while enslaved, as their slavery lasted only seventy years. Their language then rejoined the main branch of Playwatch. Thus, there is very little evidence that the split ever existed.

Daughter languages of Playwatch include Mysticeti and probably others spoken by very small populations. Shifts include ĩ ũ > e o, ẽ ã õ > a, and w~ y~ > m n. Note, though, the languages that merge the nasal vowels retain the original allophones of preceding consonants. Thus, for example, becomes ka, not *ta. Thus, the distinction between /t/ and /k/ becomes phonemic. /l/ might have been [n] before a nasal vowel even in Playwatch, and this could phonemicize too, but /y~/ also shifts to /n/.

Another possibility is that before vowel nasalization disappears, it first spreads out to the entire word, or to at least everything between the original nasal vowel and the stressed syllable. This assumes that Playwatch still has stress at all.

There are other languages descended from proto-Baywatch; these are spoken in areas outside Dreamland, and may not survive beyond 4138, since the Players used this territory to invade Dreamland, and their language became the common language when further invasions pushed the Players into the same position as their earlier victims.

Playwatch to Mysticeti (~5100 AD)

  1. The sequences eu oi shifted to iu ui.
  2. The vowel sequences ai ei merged as ē. Then au ou merged as ō.
  3. The sequence tui shifted to pi .
  4. The nasalized approximant shifted to m.
  5. The the coronal stop t came to be spelled k before any of /a o u/. (This was a long-standing allophonic variation.)
  6. The nasal vowels ĩ ũ ẽ õ shifted to e o a a.
    This may need to be more finely detailed. For example, /ũ/ might shift to /ʷo/ at least conditionally.

Playwatch to Maple Rag

This language is spoken along the north coast. "Like Seattle".

Note that the orthography here uses grave accents for low tone, unlike Moonshine and most related languages which use grave accents for checked syllables, which are typically short and allophonically high-toned. Nasalized /l/ may have reverted to plain /l/ in this branch.

  1. The glide y (the surface manifestation of some /i/) shifted to before any nasal vowels.
  2. The glides w̃ ỹ shifted to m n.
  3. The nasalized vowels ã ẽ ĩ õ ũ shifted to low tone à è ì ò ù.
    It is possible that some quality shifts, as in Mysticeti, happened before this shift.
  4. The plain vowels a e i o u became high tone á é í ó ú, except that a sequence of two high tones collapsed into high-low.

Other Dreamlandic languages

For Western and other minor branches, see Dreamlandic languages. and Minor Lenian languages

Non-Dreamlandic languages

Hipatal

See Hipatal.

History

Lenian languages began to decline around by year 1900[1] when settlers from AlphaLeap spread the Gold language into Paba. Shortly thereafter, Nama invaded Subumpam due to a famine, and after the famine was over, the Star Empire invaded Subumpam and occupied it for several generations. Then, yet another nation, Litila, also invaded Subumpam and crushed the native population. Subumpam was only rescued from their catastrophe when the Tarpabap people, speaking a Gold-derived language, invaded Subumpam one last time and completely drove out the native Lenian languages.

Meanwhile, by this time, Lenian languages had spread into colder climates and begun driving out the aboriginal Repilian tribes, but they were being chased around by other tribes also growing northwards, and these tribes happened to speak Gold and Tarise languages. AlphaLeap invaded Paba again in the 3800s, and the submissive Pabaps allowed them to use Paba as a base to invade a much larger range of habitats, eventually controlling more than half of the humanly habitable land on the planet. AlphaLeap did not hold their empire for long, but when it collapsed, it was to a new tribe of people calling themselves the Paaapa, who spoke the language that would soon evolve into Pabappa. These people were mostly of Lenian ancestry but identified themselves as Paaapa only, and did not seek alliances with Lenians. Importantly, they were known for having dark hair, and blondes were uncommon.

Linguistic characteristics

The Lenian languages retain the classifier prefixes of Tapilula and have generally simple rules of grammar. Even the most complex nominal morphology is simpler than that of Pabappa. Verbal morphology is highly variable; some languages are extremely simple, while others retain much of the early Tapilula system, which is, nevertheless, fairly simple by comparison to that of Gold and the Tarise-Thaoa supergroup.

Notes

  1. or earlier