Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

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Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 00:55

I'm posting the phonology of Zidhgebzhail first, the meat of the introduction will follow in the next post.

Consonants
Spoiler:

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Plosives

b - /b/     d - /d/     g - /g/
p - /p/     t - /t/     k - /k/

Fricatives

v - /v/    dh - /ð/     s - /s/     sh - /ʃ/     gh - /ɣ/
f - /f/    th - /θ/     z - /z/     zh - /ʒ/     kh - /x/

Nasals

m - /m/     n - /n/     ng - /ŋ/

Approximants

l - /l/     r - /ɾ/     rr - /r/

'Pre-Vowels' (Approximants)
h - /h/     j - /j/     w - /w/

Common allophones

/d/ - /d̪ /
/t/ - /t̪/

/v/ - /β/     /ɣ/ - /ç/
/f/ - /ɸ/     /x/ - /ʝ/

Vowels - Note that all pronunciation examples are based on Northern English. Your dialect's pronunciation will probably vary considerably.
Spoiler:

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a - /æ/
e - /ɛ/
i - /ɪ/
o - /ɒ/
u - /ʌ/
aa - /ɑ/
ae - /eɪ/
ai - /aɪ/
au - /aʊ/
ee - /i/  sea, flee, bee*
ei - /ɛː/**
eu - /œ/
ie - /i/ beat, meat, wheat *
oa - /ɔ/
oe - /oʊ/
oi - /ɒɪ̯/
oo - /u/ sue, flew, blue *
ou - /u/ cook, book, rook *
ui - /uɪ̯/
uu - /ʏ/***
y - /ə/
* I'm not sure exactly what the term is to describe the difference between these sounds, or even if they count as really different at all. I know that my own dialect makes the distinction (if I were to pronounce 'sea' as 'sie', for example, it would sound completely wrong, as would pronouncing 'beat' as 'beet') but beyond that, I have no idea.
** I've only just realised that this is a long /ɛ/ (pretty dim of me considering the fact that it's the only vowel in my own mother's name). I may have to get rid of it.
*** This is my only rounded vowel. What can I say, I fell in love with it the first time I heard it in a German lesson.
Last edited by DanH34 on Mon 13 Feb 2012, 16:11, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 00:56

Aizhoedys Zidhgebzhailjoum

Aizh-oed-y-s Zidh-geb-zhail-joum
sight-one-ABS.SG.M-ADJ boat-folk-speech-OBJGEN
'First sight into Zidhgebzhail'

Zidhgebzhail represents my first foray into conlanging. I'd been toying with the idea since I first realised how interesting the field of languages is a few years ago, but only started really working on the grammar about six months ago.

The phonology is based almost entirely on Northern English (Geordie, to be exact), the inflectional system was inspired by (but not based on) Finnish, and the verb system represents the end-product of a long series of compromises that I've never been entirely happy with but can't manage to improve on without sacrificing the elements that I want to retain or ending up with hugely long verbs.

So without further ado:

Phonotactics - At present, Zidhgebzhail allows pretty much any consonant clusters that the human vocal-tract can wrap itself around, but vowels cannot occur concurrently; the normal practice is to insert an epenthetic 'r' (an alveolar tap) when necessary.

Noun roots must end in a consonant, verbs must begin and end with a vowel.

Morphosyntactic Alignment - Tripartite; absolutive-ergative-accusative.
ozØ - man.ABS.SG.M
ozil - man.ERG.SG.M
ozef - man.ACC.SG.M
The absolutive case is unmarked except on personal pronouns and adjectives (when it is marked with 'y'), and is also used as the vocative.

Word Order - Verb-peripheral and determined by the topic-comment structure of an utterance, with a basic order of [TOPIC] - [LEAST FOCUS] - [MOST FOCUS] - [VERB]:
ozil zhiefef Ain - man.ERG.TOP boy.ACC.FOC see
zhiefef ozil Ain - boy.ACC.TOP man.ERG.FOC see
Verbal focus is indicated by suffixing the verb with a semantically-inert 'dummy verb', and a verb is topicalised by fronting it and inserting the same dummy verb in its place:
ozil zhiefef Ain-hyn - man.ERG.TOP boy.ACC see.FOC
Ain ozil zhiefef hyn - see.TOP man.ERG boy.ACC.FOC
All else being equal, there is a tendency for the word-order to default to subject-indirect object-direct object-verb, although I suspect that this might vary with dialect.

Morphological Typology - Agglutinative. Nouns are agglutinated for case (of which there are forty-two), number (singular, dual, plural), gender (masculine, feminine, androgyne); verbs conjugate for tense, aspect, mood, voice, and modality but not person or number; adjectives agree with their antecedents in case, number, and gender; adverbs can optionally be inflected to agree with the subject/agent in case, number, and gender, but this is not strictly necessary.
Synthetic - new words are formed by the fusion of noun roots to form stems, and by the addition of bound morphemes.
Dependent Marking - The majority of grammatical information is carried on the dependents or modifiers within a clause; verb transitivity and noun case are marked on nouns, while the genitive inflection is applied to a separate genitive noun. A notable exception being the fact that an absolutive noun’s semantic role (subject or object) is marked by the voice of the verb, the only instance of head-marking in the language.
Generally Right-Branching - The main root of a stem always occurs 'leftmost', adjectives tend to follow their antecedents, genitive nouns follow their antecedents (except in very formal or archaic registers when genitive nouns exhibit suffixaufnahme), inflections are post-positional, and modify the meaning of the construction to their left.

Further information will follow when I have the time to type it up.
Last edited by DanH34 on Mon 13 Feb 2012, 13:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Xing » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 01:03

DanH34 wrote:
* I'm not sure exactly what the term is to describe the difference between these sounds, or even if they count as really different at all. I know that my own dialect makes the distinction (if I were to pronounce 'sea' as 'sie', for example, it would sound completely wrong, as would pronouncing 'beat' as 'beet') but beyond that, I have no idea.
I'm not very familiar with northern English dialects, but is it something like the meat-meet distinction, as describes on Wikipaedia?
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Xing » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 01:07

DanH34 wrote: *** This is my only rounded vowel. What can I say, I fell in love with it the first time I heard it in a German lesson.]
Wait a minute... /ɔ oʊ ɒɪ̯ u uɪ̯ ɒ œ/ don't count as rounded vowels??
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 01:12

xingoxa wrote:I'm not very familiar with northern English dialects, but is it something like the meat-meet distinction, as describes on Wikipaedia?
Not that I can tell; we seem to have undergone the merger.

Now that I come to think about it, 'ee' and 'oo' might actually be some sort of diphthong, since there's definitely lip movement for these sounds that doesn't occur in 'ie' and 'ou'.

I shall attempt to investigate.

Also:
xingoxa wrote:Wait a minute... /ɔ oʊ ɒɪ̯ u uɪ̯ ɒ œ/ don't count as rounded vowels??
Thank you, I was unaware of that, you've set my mind at ease. As you can probably tell, I'm no linguist.

Dan
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 13:37

Gender - There are three grammatical genders remaining in Zidhgebzhail, masculine, feminine, and androgyne.

Masculine - The masculine is the default, unmarked gender. I think that 'neuter' or 'default' might be a better term to describe it, but I've kept masculine because it's more in line with the other two genders. The masculine singular is unmarked, the dual is marked with '-t' and the plural with '-k'.

Feminine - The feminine is marked with '-a' in the singular, '-ee' in the dual, and '-ai' in the plural. All nouns and adjectives that refer to women and female animals, as well as certain objects associated with them (for one reason or another) are marked in the feminine. Some very ancient words describing landscape features also take a feminine form of their larger counterparts (for example, 'shevoarr' - mountain takes the archaic feminine to become 'shavoarra' - hill).

The archaic feminine, a vestigial remnant of an ancient form of the language, mutates the first vowel of a stem to 'a'. This is mostly used for words to describe people ('oz' - man, becomes 'aza' - woman) and for honorifics (Dzhon-ves - Mr John, Laora-vasa - Miss/Mrs Laura).

Feminine nouns and adjectives exhibit several features not seen anywhere else in the language, including vowel-mutation, an extra level of formality in absolutive personal pronouns, different informal personal pronouns, a slightly different agglutination order, and a slightly different prosodic pattern from the masculine, which I find quite pleasing.

Androgyne - The androgyne is used in the dual and plural for mixed groups of male and female (the use of the masculine as the default plural has never sat right with me). It is marked with '-eet' in the dual and '-aik' in the plural.

There is also a vestigial neuter gender that persists only in 3rd person inanimate personal pronouns and is now considered a special case of the masculine (which means that it is possible to refer to a 'female it' if necessary).

Gender in Personal Pronouns - Unlike English (and, to my knowledge, all PIE languages), the gender of personal pronouns is determined by the sex of the discourse-participants and -referents.

So:

'vil def Ain'
1.ERG.SG.M 2.ACC.SG.M PRES.see.SIMPLE
I (a man) see you (a man)

but

'vila defa Ain
1.ERG.SG.F 2.ACC.SG.F PRES.see.SIMPLE
I (a woman) see you (a woman)
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 13:55

Copulae - There are two copulae:

First Copula (copula of unification) 'ha[r]-': - Roughly corresponds to 'be' in English. Used for equivalence:

- za har-aza - she is woman
- aza ha-rraetysa - woman is beautiful

And for existence when combined with a locative noun:

- zy har-igaarrwouth - he is in house

The first copula can be negated to form 'be not':

- zy joihar-aza - he is not woman (zy hoir-aza in the vernacular)

And also inverted to 'be probably':

- aza jeuha-rraetysa - woman is probably beautiful (aza heu-rraetysa in the vernacular)

Inversion plus negation gives 'be probably not'

- zy joibzjeuhar-igaarrwouth - he is probably not in house (zy hoijeur-igaarrwouth in the vernacular)

Second Copula (copula of division) 'hi[r]-'

Used to indicate a connection between nominal arguments at sub-clause level for non-ABS/ERG/ACC arguments only:

- dzvilaik dzvongaik grreibegheung hi-viloudwaath kosef Eigbrraanoe
- dzv-il-aik dzv-ong-aik grreib-egh-ad-eung hi-vil-oud-waath kos-ef Ø-Eigbrraa-n-oe
- 1+2+3-ERG-PL.ANDR 1+2+3-CAUSAL-PL.ANDR building-tall-great-COMITATATIVE.SG.MASC COP2-empty.space-above-PERTIGENT.SG.MASC city-ACC.SG.MASC PRES-build-SIMPLE-IRREALIS
- Let us build for us with great-tall-building that touches empty-space-above city

Because the tower touches the sky, not the city
Last edited by DanH34 on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 00:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Testyal » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 13:59

DanH34 wrote:

Code: Select all

gh - /x/
kh - /ɣ/
Aren't they the wrong way round?
:deu: :fra: :zho: :epo:
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Mon 13 Feb 2012, 16:12

testyal1 wrote:
DanH34 wrote:

Code: Select all

gh - /x/
kh - /ɣ/
Aren't they the wrong way round?
Not anymore [;)]. Cheers.

Dan
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 14 Feb 2012, 19:13

DanH34 wrote:Androgyne - The androgyne is used in the dual and plural for mixed groups of male and female (the use of the masculine as the default plural has never sat right with me). It is marked with '-eet' in the dual and '-aik' in the plural.
So, do you mean that the androgyne is used ONLY in dual and plural?
If so, I think it's not a gender. You could just call it the common plural/dual or something.
Or do you have some reasons for defining it a gender, some special derivational limitations or?

Sounds nice thisfar.
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Tue 14 Feb 2012, 21:36

Omzinesý wrote:So, do you mean that the androgyne is used ONLY in dual and plural?
Yes, apologies for the lack of clarity. By definition, the androgyne can only exist in the dual and plural, since it's used for mixed groups of masculine and feminine nouns (so, given the nature of the feminine, groups of men and women and male and female animals).

Some examples using the 1+2 ('you and I') personal pronouns in the absolutive case:

dvyt - 1+2.ABS.DL.M
dvee - 1+2.ABS.DL.F
dveet - 1+2.ABS.DL.ANDR

dvyk - 1+2.ABS.PL.M
dvai - 1+2.ABS.PL.F
dvaik - 1+2.ABS.PL.ANDR
If so, I think it's not a gender. You could just call it the common plural/dual or something.
Or do you have some reasons for defining it a gender, some special derivational limitations or?
I call it a gender because the inflection behaves in an identical way to the feminine inflection (always word-final, supersedes any other inflection for number, exhibits vowel mutation, not counted as a case), so it feels natural to name it as a gender. I could be talked into changing that, however.

When you say 'common', in what sense are you using the word? 'Common' as in 'ordinary'/'standard', or 'common' as in 'belonging equally to multiple groups'?
Sounds nice thisfar.
Thank you. Also, I'm curious. Do you mind if I ask what language your handle originates from? And what's the pronunciation of the y-acute?

Dan
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 14 Feb 2012, 21:59

With "common" I just meant it's neither masculine nor feminine, both together.

But what words do you inflect in this adrogyne gender?
You have to have a word with the meaning 'person' without a singular form to inflect it in that gender?
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by DanH34 » Tue 14 Feb 2012, 22:14

Omzinesý wrote:But what words do you inflect in this adrogyne gender?
You have to have a word with the meaning 'person' without a singular form to inflect it in that gender?
The androgyne is, in practice, used only for words that refer to things that are capable of being grammatically feminine. Generally speaking, this means people and animals:

kielyk - animal.ABS.PL.M - more than two male animals
kielai - animal.ABS.PL.F - more than two female animals
kielaik - animal.ABS.PL.M - more than two animals, both males and females.

I suppose it would also be possible to use it for objects that have become grammatically feminine through association:

shevoarreet - mountain.ABS.DL.ANDR - a mountain and a hill

But I'm not sure whether this would be a common usage, 'shevoarr shevoarriedzha' (mountain.ABS.DL.ANDR hill.ABS.DL.and.F) would probably be more common.

The language (deliberately) lacks a word for 'person' (as well as 'child' etc.), although a reasonable approximation can be reached by using 'ozjeubza' (oz-jeubz-a - man.ABS-INVERSION-SG.F), with a translation of something like 'un-woman'. I wouldn't rule out loanwords for 'person' etc. from other languages, although they would likely be grammatically masculine.

Sorry, life calls. Will continue later.

Dan
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Re: Introduction to Zidhgebzhail

Post by Esmelthien » Sat 14 Jul 2012, 00:45

DanH34 wrote:/ɣ/ - /ç/
/x/ - /ʝ/
These are probably the wrong way around too.
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