'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.