Vrkhazhian (Śāda Warḫallun "Mouth of Vrkhazh") is a language that is spoken by the Vrkhazhians who live in Warḫallus. Another name that Vrkhazhian is known by is Warḫallāˀas "Vrkhazhian [speech]".
Śāda Warḫallun, Warḫallāˀas
|Pronounced:||[ˈɬɑː.dɑ wɑr.ˈxɑl.lun], [wɑr.xɑl.ˈlɑː.ʔɑs]|
|Morphological type:||agglutinative, triconsonantal root-based morphology|
|Basic word order:||SOV|
|Creator:||Malcolm G. Holborne|
- 1 History
- 2 Phonology
- 3 Grammar
- 4 Writing System
- 5 Vocabulary
- 6 Example text
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-Nardin 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.
The table below shows the 21 consonant phonemes found in Vrkhazhian. Letters in angle brackets indicate where the romanization of the phoneme differs from its IPA representation.
|Ejective||pʼ ⟨ṗ⟩||tʼ ⟨ṭ⟩||kʼ ⟨ḳ⟩|
|Fricative||f||s||ɬ ⟨ś⟩||x ⟨ḫ⟩|
All consonants except for /j w ʔ/ can be geminated (pronounced twice as long) which is indicated in writing by simply doubling the letter.
Vrkhazhian possesses the following monophthongs:
|Close||i iː||u uː|
|Open||æ æː||ɑ ɑː|
The short vowels /æ ɑ i u/ are represented in writing as ⟨e a i u⟩ while the long vowels /æː 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/. Phonetically, the short vowels are often realized as [ɛ ɔ ɪ ʊ] while the long vowels are often realized as [æː ɑː iː uː]
- 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
- 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.
- The velar consonants /ŋ k g x/ become partially-rounded [ŋ͗ k̹ g͗ x̹] or fully-rounded [ŋʷ kʷ gʷ xʷ] before back vowels.
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).
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 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").
- 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.
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":
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.
Interrogative and Relative Pronouns
Vrkhazhian possesses a simple set of interrrogative pronouns that also serve as relative pronouns:
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.
- Main article: Syntax in Vrkhazhian
Noun phrases have the following overall order: (numeral) noun (genitive noun) (adjective/relative clause) (demonstratives)
|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.
|these six houses|
|these six beautiful houses|
Relative clauses are made by infixing -ēs- to the verb subject suffix of the relative clause:
|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.
|the people who the king united|
|the palace where guards might reside|
The basic word order of Vrkhazhian is SOV. Vrkhazhian has two primary voices, active and applicative:
|The warriors ate some fish|
|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".