Hopefully I can get some feedback and help with some of the more difficult grammar stuff. I have the phonology down for the most part, although I did recently change out /q/ for a glottal stop represented by <q>, and I still have to go through and change everything that had a /q/ in it...
Anyways, here it is: the Thread
Overview (from the GoogleDoc for this lang):
Nillahimma is a constructed language created by Kory Bourque for using in his fantasy realm, Kormond, which will be the setting for several stories. As of now, the speakers of Nillahimma are undecided, but maybe by the jungle dwellers in the basin south of Arkai and west of Anuvia.
Nillahimma is polysynthetic, with extensive noun incorporation, and the verbs being the main focus of the clause. It has six nominal cases - ergative, absolutive, dative, oblique, possessor, and possessed - three numbers, thirteen aspects, seven moods, and three tenses. There is proximate/obviative distinction, and a switch-reference system that focuses on the subjects.
Plosives: /p t k ʔ/ <p t k q>
Nasals: /m n/ <m n>
Fricatives: /f s x h/ <f s x h>
Trill: /r/ <r>
Approximants: /w l j/ <w l j>
/w/ is a labiovelar approximant, but I have listed it where I have for conciseness.
Vowels: /i e a ɑ o u/ <i e æ a o u>
It used to be /a ɑ/ <a æ> but /ɑ/ is much more common in Nillahimma, and I got tired of copy/pasting the ligature, so...
/p t k ʔ/ > [p͡f t͡θ k͡x q͡χˤ] word-initially. Examples:
tos /tos/ [t͡θos] “to run” _____tul /tul/ [t͡θul] “to run”
kusi /ku.si/ [k͡xu.si] _____kel /kel/ [k͡xel]
qirpeka /qir.pe.kɑ/ [q͡χˤɪr.pe.gɑ] "they (two) love me"_____qæmpal /qam.pɑl/ [q͡χˤɑm.bɑl] “celebration”
xatimæ /xa.ti.mɑ/ [xa.θɪ.mɑ] “harvest”_____mastæl /mɑs.tal/ [mɑs.θal] “to toast; to salute”
pilæko /pi.lɑ.ko/ [p͡fɪ.lɑ.go] “dog” _____maka /mɑ.kɑ/ [mɑ.gɑ] “heaven”
There are two types of syllables in Nillahimma: Non-Word-Final syllables, and Word-Final syllables. Their names are pretty self-explanatory.
NWF syllable phonotactics:
(C)(C)V(t, N, s, x, h, r, l, j)
WF syllable phonotactics:
(C)(C)V(N, s, l, r)
p, t, k + F, A, r, ʔ
N + ʔ, r, j
F + S, N, A, r
r + w
F + F
Vowel clusters are not allowed. However, since Nillahimma has many affixes, VV occurrences are not uncommon. But the language is well-equipped to handle these.
uV > wV
iV > jV
V1V > V1fV
V1 is any vowel except for /u i/
Not really VV, but they still get special treatment:
uj > uw (or uʷ)
iw > ij
Nillahimma does not have a stress system, but instead employs a pitch-accent system. There are two tones, high and low. Roots will almost always have one high tone, whereas larger words (roots plus any INs and affixes) may have more than one high tone. High tone is marked with an accent diacritic, but may be left out at the writer's discretion, and is not marked at all in the native script. The low-tone syllables leading up to the high tone will be rising from the furthest syllable, which will be low tone. If there are no more high tones after the first high tone, the tones descend back to low; if there are other high tones, the tone drops sharply from high to low, then ascends to the next high tone. Incorporated nouns lose their inherit high tones. If there are more than three non-high-tone syllables in either direction of the high tone, a high tone is placed on either the second syllable (if there are more than three NHTSs to the left) and/or on the penultimate syllable (if there are three or more NHTSs to the right).
Now we get to the good part. Verbs are the central hub of Nillahimma. There is a three-way telicity distinction that is pretty neat, and plenty of polysynthetic goodies for all of you poly-nerds to give me tips on.
P - pronoun
N - noun
A - aspect
LOC - locative affixes, which affect the verb; these are often used to specify the direction of an action
MISC - nominalizers and other stuff that I'll talk about later.
A3 is reserved for the aspects dealing with teliciy. Telic is usually left out of glosses unless there is a Quasi-Atelic or Atelic verb in the sample being glossed.
Pronomial affixes are prefixed onto the verb stem before any other arguments; any following arguments squeeze themselves between the two.
The PAs encode six morphemes: two person/number units (4 morphemes) and which is the subject, and which is the object (two morphemes). PAs break the normal Erg-Abs structure of Nillahimma, only specifying the subject and the direct object. Some argue that it keeps within the Erg-Abs, and the Subject is in the Ergative and the Object is in the Absolutive, but it the point is moot. PAs are still glossed in the manner of person+number>person+number (e.g. 1sg>3du)
I don't have the completed chart up, but it is very large, with, as of now, 144 SUBJ/OBJ combinations, and I haven't added a few other persons, such as the unspecified (as in, "people do ," "it is often said that..." etc). In any case, it is not completed, and I will be turning to several NA languages that use PAs to get some info and inspiration.
There are three categories of aspects in Nillahimma: completion, non-completion, and telic. Completion aspects are the perfective and the imperfective. The non-completion aspects are gnomic, inceptive, cessative, habitual, iterative, pausative, resumptive, durative, and protractive. The telic aspects are telic, atelic, and quasi-atelic (Qatelic).
The perfective is the oddball of the aspects in that it is indicated by lengthening the high tone syllable of the verb root. What makes this so unusual is that vowel lengthening is only present morphophonologically, which is why it is not listed in the section on vowels. Unfortunately, the notes on the observations of this phenomenon were misplaced, so I'll have to get back to you on this one. UPDATE: the notes have been found! The perfective is formed as follows:
To form the perfective aspect, the high tone syllable in the verb root is lengthened. There are a number of exceptions:
æ > ææ, except in closed syllables, where æC > eeC
a > aa, except when /l r/ is the coda, where al, ar > ool, oor
u > uu, except in closed syllables, where uC > ooC
i > ii, except when the coda is /r n h x/, where ir, in, ih, ix > eer, een, eeh, eex
o > oo in all instances
e > ee in all instances
The gnomic is used for general truths, things that are understood to be true among the speakers, or, more widely, among the community or culture.
The inceptive is used with the beginning of an action, but not an action that was previously started, then stopped, and then continued again; for that, the resumptive is used.
Used when an action is stopping, but not used for an action that is temporarily stopping, with the intention of being started again; for that, the pausative is used. this can be used with the resumptive in order to indicate an action that was stopped, with no intention of restarting, and then having it resumed, maybe without the volition of the actor.
Habitual is used to show that an action is customary to an actor.
The iterative is used to show an action is repeated, but not necessarily a habit. The repetition of said action can span any amount of time.
The pausative indicates the stoppage of an action with the intention to commence the action at some future point. This can be used with the protractive to show a long pause.
Used to show the recommencing of an action which was stopped with the intention of being stopped.
Used when the action lasts for an unspecified, but not overlong, amount of time.
Used when the action continues on for longer than intended or desired.
Telic indicates that the action has definite endpoints.
Qatelic indicates that the action has endpoints, but not definite. This is often used with verbs such as "to look (for)." One is searching for something, and once it is found (or not found), the search is over. It has a beginning and an end.
The Pure Atelic is used when an action has neither a beginning nor an end. This is often used for hyperbole, or for things that "always have been and always will be X." Example: "Winter is cold." PAtelic. "This/That winter in particular is cold" Qatelic.
Pure Atelic: -m-
There are seven moods in Nillahimma: indicative, subjunctive, conditional, optative, imperative, jussive, and interrogative.
The indicative is the go-to mood for stating that an action occurred.
The subjunctive is used to show that an action hasn't happened, and may not happen; something that is not reality; it is also used in the protasis of a conditional construction. "I wish I were president" or "That could be my dog" are some examples of how it could be translated.
The conditional is used on the verb in the apodosis of a conditional construction, while the verb in the protasis is in the subjunctive mood. If he had eaten Taco Bell, he will be sick "had eaten" is in the subjunctive mood, while "will be" is in the conditional. Also, "If I had gone with him, he would have paid for my food."
The optative is used to portray hopefulness or obligation to the commencement or completion of an action. "This should be the right answer." "I hope he comes home on time." "He had ought to be here by now." When obligation is expressed, it is a softer way of expressing it than using the jussive, which can be used as a softer way of expressing it than the imperative.
The imperative is used to express that the action must be done by someone other than the 1st person. "You!! Clean this room!" "Don't fail this test!" "Do your job!" It can be considered harsh when used from one equal to another, but customary from a superior to a subordinate (e.g. a parent to a child, an employer to his employees).
The jussive is used primarily for self-exhortation and self-imperatives, but also for for a middle-ground obligation, exhortation, or imperative commands, being more forceful or urgent than the optative, and less so than the imperative.
The interrogative turns the verb clause into a question. But, it can affix to any argument within the clause, as well. For example, to ask "who took the cookies?" one would say "who+tan took-tan the cookies?"
While it is true that the following can be described in more accurate ways, other than MISC, I will group them here, for now, until I elaborate further.
The reflexive prefix can indicate either the presence or lack of volition in the acting of a subject on itself, whenever the subject is a pronoun. When the subject is a noun, it can only indicate the reflexive action; volition must be determined through context or other means. It shows volition based on whether or not the first person>first person PA is used. If it is, then the action is intentional; if it is only the first person pronoun, then it was not intentional. "He hit himself on accident" vs "he hit himself on purpose"
The Negative: -tul
The negative suffix can attach itself to either a verb or to an argument, so that there is an explicit difference between "John didn't eat the sandwhich" and "John didn't eat the sandwhich" and "John didn't eat the sandwhich" (yes, those are bad examples; I'll post better ones later)
The Nominalizer: -ma
The nominalizing suffix is used to make verbs or clauses into nouns. Take, for example, Nillahimma. The word Nillahim means "we speak it," where the -ma makes the clause into a noun, thus, the name of the language.
Pronouns are fairly simple, only being marked for number and case. When gender is important to the situation, there are classifiers, though I haven't discovered them yet.
There are three grammatical numbers in Nillahimma: singular, dual, and plural.
Nillahimma double-marks for possessives; that is, it marks both the possessor and the possessed.
I will only touch on this section, and bring it up in greater detail later.
Nillahimma's SR system is fairly simple and is canonical. All conjunctions and relative pronouns have two forms: one for same-subject (glossed CONJ.SS or REL.SS) and one for different subject (glossed CONJ.DS or REL.DS). The anchor clause is the first clause in the sentence, and all subsequent clauses refer back to it for determining whether to have a SS or DS marking.
The DS form of conjunctions and relative pronouns is formed by adding an /l/ to the word, or, in some cases, dropping the coda /r/ and lengthening the vowel.
Well, that is all for now. I look forward to your criticisms and feedback, and I will have more posted as soon as I get around to it!