• Member Since 22nd Jan, 2012
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Zephyrus Scary


30/Male/Soviet Alaska

More Blog Posts153

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Aug
25th
2012

A bit about the Changeling language · 2:14am Aug 25th, 2012

Written up quickly because Esmelthien was curious. Here's a short, incomplete look at my ideas for the Changeling language. Obvious not very developed, mostly because it will not be featured prominently, rather than used for "flavor." Some of the things I don't expect you to be able to understand without some knowledge of linguistics (or Wikipedia), as this is mostly for curiosity's sake, so not not much detail has been gone into, just bare facts to give a good big picture. With that...:

Consonants
---------------
"p" Bilabial tenuis stop
"t" Alveolar tenuis stop
"k" Velar~Palatial tenuis stop
"q" Pharyngeal stop

"b" Bilabial modal stop
"d" Alveolar modal stop
"g" Velar~Palatial modal stop

"c" Alveolar~Postalveolar tenuis affricate
"j" Alveolar~Postalveolar modal affricate

"f" Labiodental tenuis fricative
"s" Alveolar tenuis fricative
"sh" Postalveolar tenuis fricative
"x" Velar~Palatial tenuis fricative
"h" Pharyngeal~Glottal fricative~approximate

"v" Labiodental modal fricative
"z" Alveolar modal fricative
"zh" Postalveolar modal fricative

"m" Labial nasal
"n" Alveolar nasal

"r" Alveolar approximate~flap
"l" Alveolar lateral approximate~flap

"y" Palatial approximate
"w" Bilabial approximate


Vowels
----------
"a" short open~open-mid back~front unrounded/schwa
"aa" long open~open-mid back~front unrounded
"i" short close~near-close front~near-front unrounded
"ii" long close~near-close front~near-front unrounded
"u" short close~near-close back~near-back rounded
"uu" long close~near-close back~near-back rounded

(Some) Grammar
----------------------
Hasharbanu is a topic-prominent language--the "topic" is marked differently from the "subject." The topic always occurs at the beginning of a sentence, and the verb always appears last; roughly, the default sentence order is SOV. A sentence must always contain either a topic or an active verb; a topic, such as the pronoun xa "it" (topic), can be dropped if there is an active verb, and the verb, particularly avi "is/are" (often shortened in writing to just "v"), can be dropped if there is a topic, but one or the other must remain.

Adjectives, adverbs, and other modifiers almost always precede what they modify; the only exception is adverbs modifying other adverbs, in which case the order is free as long as it is obvious what modifies what; e.g. (in English) "somewhat slowly" and "*slowly somewhat" would both be acceptable in Hasharbanu.

Declination and conjugation are achieved (mostly) by transfix nonconcatenative morphology, AKA "semitic morphology." All nouns (except proper nouns and pronouns), verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are produced from trilitaeral roots: a sequence of three consonants that form a "base" from which many meanings can be derived, as specified by vowels. For example, the root n-y-z can form (xa) nayaza "of the spear/(impaling)" (topic/(gerund)), anyazi "impale/be thorough about" (verb), nuyiz "impaled/thorough" (adjective), and unayaazu "completely/thoroughly" (adverb). As can be seen from these examples, the meanings that can be derived from one root do not have to be connected "obviously" and can have multiple meanings determined by context. Of course, these are far from all the meanings that can be derived from n-y-z.

Forms that are not (exclusively) created by transfix nonconcatenative morphology include only prefixes attached to an already transfixed form. For example, the nu- of nunayiz "of the spear" (genitive) can form nunayaza "of impaling/of war" (topic). Historically, these meanings were represented by xa __(obj)__ anyazi; this development of nu- (and some other prefixes) greatly decreased the use of xa to the point it is now almost exclusively used in passive sentences, which are used primarily for indefinite subjects (as in xa unayaz iparuji roughly "it that flies is a spear") since topics cannot be indefinite, but even here the active form (such as xa paraja unayaz "flying (is) a spear") is more common.

(Historically, these prefixes were prepositions further specifying declined nouns that became attached to the transfixes they modified. However, because most of them modified more than one form, they remained "free" instead of becoming completely integrated, and ultimately "spread" to modify more than what they once did.)

The exception to the above triliteral forms and transfix nonconcatenative morphology are proper nouns and pronouns. Where proper nouns are used, they must be used in accompaniment with a pronoun (except when the topic or the object of the verb). In such cases, they are treated as an adjective; a "modifier" to the pronoun that "executes" their meaning in the sentence. A cultural note here: because Changelings are constantly in contact with other cultures, especially of note here being their languages, Changelings often borrow their words to use as proper nouns, particularly names for themselves.

Derivation is most often done by compounding, and the result usually has more than three consonants, so is not declined. For example, Hasharbanu is a compound of Hashara "of Changelings" and zabana "of language/speaking." Occasionally, if a word becomes a common part of many derivations (particularly the second part), it becomes a new affix (more numerous are postfixes). For example, -banu has become a way to derive "language of" even of more "ethereal" concepts, such as Kamakbanu "the language of charity" or, less literally, "the rules of generosity."

A Little Vocab. (in "dictionary form"/topic declination)
---------------------
qasaba: pony
kasaka: unicorn
sabala: pegasus
damana: Earth pony
tagara: transformation
jadava: magic
tagardavu: transformation magic/Changeling transformation
Maraza: Queen
gimaraza: mother
gitagara: disguise
gijadava: magic spell
giqasaba: alicorn (species)
darasa: correct
qasabrasu: the correct way of being a pony
jadavrasu: shadow magic (from a Changeling point of view, "deception" spells are most helpful)
tagarasu: complete transformation/perfect mimicry of species transformed into
gijadavrasu: shadow magic spell
gitagarasu: perfect execution of a specific disguise/transformation to replace another
tagardavrasu: the correct way/"art" of using Changeling transformation magic
gitagardavrasu: the choosing of a target to replace
Gimarazrasu Maraza: address and title for one's Queen and mother; e.g. Gimarazrasu Maraza Krisalis


And that's all--everything I could get out within a few hours, since I didn't want to spend too much time on this. (I hope this is what you were hoping for, Esmelthien!)

Report Zephyrus Scary · 555 views ·
Comments ( 18 )

:rainbowderp: Wow that's a lot of detail there...Interesting to read through though.:pinkiehappy:

:rainbowderp:You put a lot of work into this. Really cool though!

Amazing! Go Full Tolkien, and make it fully completed! It won't be easy, but worth it. You make it, I learn it. :moustache:

So confusing yet intriguing at the same time

309809
309817
Haha, not really! This is bare minimum, if that! Thanks, though
309839
Not likely, sorry. I already have another language I'm working on for an original series, and it obviously takes precedence.

Wow, now I'm usually never lost on these types of things, but I had to do some research to figure out what half the vowel/syllables/etcetera sounded like.

Amazing job, Zephyrus!

309881 I beg to differ bare minimum would be pronounce like this statements, you actually gave some insight and knowledge into why.:pinkiesmile:

Jesus Christ, I knew I was getting rusty on my English. But I don't think I was this bad. :fluttershyouch:

310000
Huh? What do you mean? This isn't English!

310008 I mean, uh... if you take all of this foreign stuff and replace it with English stuff, it'd be just like taking English class. Normally, if I was still in cool, I could read through it and understand it with no problem. But as of now, the length of the paragraph just makes both of my eyes twitch.

Sorry if that first statement didn't make much sense... or if this one doesn't, either. :facehoof:

Wut?:rainbowhuh:
Y u no speek ENglIsH!!!



My mind…… has been………… blown.:pinkiecrazy:
I will never read the same again.:applejackconfused:

Tim

:pinkiegasp:

I already have problems with English so... I have no idea what this blogpost is talking about. :rainbowlaugh:

Cool, though I'm wondering as to why you didn't just add IPA to the post, instead of/in addition to the sounds' names. But this is great! The phonology is nice, I like the sound of the language, and I'm a big fan of the pharyngeal stop. You could have spiced it up (made it a bit more alien sounding, to English speakers at least) by adding a few clicks, and some more voiceless fricatives in there, though. Also, can you give some information on the allophony/syllable structure?

It's great, though, and I'm proud to say that I understood every single thing you said in this post, and I really appreciate the fact that you wrote this up :pinkiesmile:

EDIT: Since the pharyngeal stop is unconfirmed to actually exist in human languages, is this(it's a link! Click it!) close to the sound you meant? (I know it sounds like a click, but as far as I know, it's a stop)
EDIT #2: Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure it's a voiceless uvular implosive, damnit.

310391
Ah... didn't consider the IPA; also, I "drafted" this in notepad and wasn't sure if it could handle something like schwa, etc.

I considered clicks and other rare consonants, but that would force me to deviate too much from the Persian influence, I think. Also, there will be plenty enough to make Changelings sound alien once the story really gets into them (although making them "alien" isn't the goal). Still... I suppose this wouldn't prevent clicks from showing up as allophones, would it? Hmm... and now that you got me thinking, what do you think of a velar affricate?

Syllables are simple enough: only CVC for native words, but borrowings are not so restricted.

I suppose I could write up some allophony, though I hope you don't expect me to go into detail about their environments! Too much work! :twilightoops: It'll have to wait for tomorrow, though... it's getting too late right now. :ajsleepy:

Ooh, velar affricates all the way!

TMH

Well now I have to take a linguistics class to understand this....*sigh*

Cool work though, very fascinating. Although, I must ask what part body language and other visual cues play in their communication?

Carry On

I wish I was a linguist so I could understand the explanation. Still, the level of detail is amazing! :pinkiehappy:

I knew I'd find it, eventually.

Read both the story and this blog years ago - and still remembered bits and pieces of it. In particular, still remember "abradi" word. The whole concept of 'ling language and the way you handled it was fascinating back then - and still is. Glad to have found the story and this little bit of linguistic nerdiness. For what it's worth in 2021.

Don't really have a point. Just wanted to say something nice, I guess, in case you're still checking in. You wrote a story a random internet dude was impressed by so much, he remembered and thought it out years later. Good show, hope you're doing well.

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