1 Demographic and Ethnographic Information
1.1 The Name of the Language
What is the language known as to outsiders?
What term do the people use to distinguish themselves from other language groups?
What are the origins of these terms?
Dvoen, the name of the language, is derived from the name of the people, also Dvoen. It means ‘of Dvoti’, Dvoti being the name of the area invaded by the Mex.
Tóan is merely what the Mex approximation of Dvoen became over time.
What is the dominant economic activity of the people?
Hunting, fishing and trade. Trade consists mostly of resources like furs or wood.
Briefly describe the ecosystem, material culture and cosmology (these will be intimately related).
The climate is harsh and variable, with pack ice often forming on more southerly islands (permanently on the southern most) and with strong westerly winds that leave the eastern side of the islands much milder and warmer due to the midland ridges. Local mammal life consists of entirely of seals and whales with bird life being much more common. Rats have recently been introduced, accidently, and are wreaking havoc on native, ground-nesting birdlife. Flora consists mostly of algae, fungi, grasses, small ferns and mosses with only a small number of flowering plants. There are no trees or shrubs. Invertebrates, marine and terrestrial, are by far the most successful group.
Material culture thus focusses on trade items like imported wood from foreign northern territories, furs and meat, though unmarried Dvoen sometimes offer sex instead of material wealth in trades.
Most of the Dvoen diet consists of meat, which is cooked lightly or eaten raw.
Medicinal plants are in extremely high demand.
Bone and baleen are common alternatives to rare timber.
Easily worked stones and ivory are used as decoration.
Where is the language spoken, and how are the people distributed in this area?
The language is primarily spoken in Dvoen, a small and relatively sheltered area of a southern archipelago of tundra biomes bound together by frozen seas.
Are there any other language groups inhabiting the same area?
What is the nature of the interaction with these language groups? Economic? Social? Friendly? Belligerent?
The interaction was initially hostile, with the Mex invading and conquering part of the area. When the invasion ceased and troops stationed there were abandoned, many of the remaining Mex eventually lost their own language in favour of Dvoen. All Mex can now speak Dvoen.
In social/economic interactions with other groups, which groups are dominant and which groups are marginalised? How so?
The Mex are often marginalised due to their previous intentions to the land, particularly in regions where the isolationists are in force. This usually involves unfavourable trades for Mex customers, but violence can occur (usually started by an angry Mex).
1.4 Genetic Affiliation
What language family does this belong to?
At this time, Dvoen appears to be a language isolate.
What are its closest relatives?
None has been identified.
1.5 Previous Research
What published or unpublished linguistic work has been done in this language and/or its close relatives?
1.6 The Sociolinguistic Situation
1.6.1 Multilingualism and Language Attitudes
What percentage of people are monolingual? (Treat men and women separately.)
Roughly, 76% of the population is monolingual, with no noticeable difference between genders. Nearly all bilinguals are Mex.
What languages are people multilingual in, and to what degree?
Iriex is still spoken by many Mex, most of these by isolationist groups. The Dvoen do not typically learn it beyond a few stock phrases, if at all.
As far as you can tell, what is the attitude of speakers of this language toward their language, as opposed to other languages they may know? If possible, give evidence for your claims even though it may be anecdotal.
Certain isolationist Mex groups that still teach their children Iriex tend to despise having to use Dvoen and feel that those Mex who no longer speak Iriex have forsaken their heritage.
The Dvoen generally regard the language of Iriex with mild curiosity, though those in close contact with the isolationists regard it with suspicion.
1.6.2 Contexts of Use and Language Choice
In what contexts are multilingual individuals likely to use the language described in this sketch? When do they use other languages?
The isolationists usually speak Iriex to eachother, only switching to Dvoen for communication with non-speakers. Other Mex rarley use it at all, having learned it for historical reasons, though some may speak it with their families.
Are children learning their language as their first language? If so, how long do they remain monolingual?
Yes, most Dvoen children remain monolingual throughout their lives.
What pressures are there on young people to (a) learn another language, and (b) reject their own language? How strong are these pressures?
Are there partially competent speakers?
There are no pressures applied to Dvoen children to learn any other language, but many Mex are required to learn Iriex.
1.6.4 Loan Words
Does the lexicon of this language contain many words from other languages?Dvoen now contains a large number of Iriex words.
If so, in what semantic domains do these tend to occur? Give examples.
Iriex words mostly appear as names for foreign practices or objects brought by the Mex, such as rat fights or the names of wood types, but they also appear frequently in the domains of trade and war, such as the names of ranks or manoeuvres.
Examples to follow.
Is there significant dialect variation? What kinds of differences distinguish the dialects? Give examples.
There is slight dialect variation, with open i, e and o having partially merged with their close counterparts in the North. The uvular r is also more inclined to a trill than a fricative here. The southern dialects feature less Iriex loanwords and those that exist are often still perceived as foreign words.
What dialect is represented in the sketch?
This dialect contains the southern most dialect as it is considered the most pure version of Dvoen.
2 Morphological Typology
2.1 Traditional Morphological Typology
Is the language dominantly isolating or polysynthetic?
Dvoen is predominantly isolating with minor polysynthesis occuring.
If the language is at all polysynthetic, is it dominantly fusional or agglutinative?
The polysynthesis that does occur is almost exclusivley fusional in nature.
Give examples of its dominant pattern and any secondary patterns.
2.2 Morphological Processes
If the language is at all agglutinative, is it dominantly prefixing, suffixing or niether?
Dvoen is predominantly suffixing.
Illustrate the major and secondary patterns (including infixation, stem modification, reduplication, suprasegmental modification and suppletion).
The major patterns involve stem modification and suffixation, with a rarer secondary pattern of prefixation. Examples to follow.
2.3 Head/Dependant Marking
If the language is at all polysynthetic, is it dominantly “head-marking”, “dependant-marking” or mixed?
Dvoen is exclusivley a dependant-marking language.
Give some examples of each type of marking the language exhibits.
I speak English and a touch of Gàidhlig.
I am creating a conworld, which I refer to as the Carrion Series
, that will contain three languages, Iriex
Last edited by Lodhas on Tue 13 Nov 2012, 14:16, edited 9 times in total.