The First of Many: The Retla Thread

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The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 20:09

Retla

Well, for starters, Retla is a language on the CollabWorld of Teles. It is a Gigxkpoyan Language, one of the 18 direct (~ 1500 years) descendants of Proto-Gigxkpoyan (That's why it's the first of many, i plan on having threads for all of them, and, eventually, for their descendants).

It was spoken at 9 000BK. (PG was spoken at 10 500BK).

Here's a map of Teles and a map of the gigxkpoyan languages to help you situate:

Image

Image

The Second map is a detail of the Southeastern Coast of the Northwestern Continent (which is called Amalan). Retla is [3]
Let's get to the actual stuff:

Phonology

Retla has 21 distinct consonants (not considering [x], which is an allophone of either /ʀ/ or /ɣ/), and 5 distinct vowels. 26 distinct phonemes. Proto-Gigxkpoyan (henceforth referred to as PG, do not mistake it for Proto-Germanic) had far more phonemes (31 consonants and 9 vowels to be exact), but many mergers took place.

Stress is strictly word initial (just like PG). The most common syllable patterns are CV (43%) CCV (22.5%) and CVC (19%).

Consonants

/m n ŋ/ <m n ŋ>
/p pʰ t tʰ k kʰ/ <p ph t th k kh>
/f v s z ɕ~ʃ~ʂ ʑ~ʒ~ʐ ɣ/ <f v s z ṣ ẕ g>
/w ɹ j ʁ/ <w r j x>
/ɾ/ <l>

Unaspirated plosives are the overwhelmingly more common consonants, the five more common consonants being /t p j l k/, which together account for 52% of consonants.

Vowels

/i e a o u/ <i e a o u>

Quite the vanilla inventory. /i/ is by far the most common, it's the most common reflex of PG /i y e ɛ/, especially in unstressed positions.

Phonotactics

Syllable structure seems to be (C)(C)(C)V(C)(C), although there doesn't seem to be any words with the biggest possible configuration. It is quite free, allowing clusters of mostly anything with anything.

Retla tends towards the isolating end of the spectrum, with verbs being the only word class to truly inflect. Posts on other word classes may be a bit boring. I'll probably have morphology posts later today.
Last edited by loglorn on Mon 20 Nov 2017, 00:04, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by qwed117 » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 20:36

Yay, it's here. I still have to do a lot of stuff before I can make Proto-North Akuriga. Could you give a list of your diachronic changes?
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 20:42

qwed117 wrote:Yay, it's here. I still have to do a lot of stuff before I can make Proto-North Akuriga. Could you give a list of your diachronic changes?
I plan to have posts on the Diachrony, i'm unsure whether to present the syncronic state or the diachronic changes first. I'll probably present the synchronic stage first.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by Sḿtuval » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 21:22

I've been waiting for this one. [:D]

I don't remember if you said this earlier, but:

When do its speakers reach the Ydtobogȧn peninsula, assuming this will be the main influencer of a couple Ydtobogȧntiaky langs?
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 21:44

Sḿtuval wrote:I've been waiting for this one. [:D]

I don't remember if you said this earlier, but:

When do its speakers reach the Ydtobogȧn peninsula, assuming this will be the main influencer of a couple Ydtobogȧntiaky langs?
Glad to see you've been waiting for this (well.. with the much i've advertised it, it was to be expected someone would wait for it)

Little after 7 500BK (which is the time of Proto-Ydtobogantiaky, i think) two very different gigxkpoyan languages will have reached the northernmost portions of the Peninsula: A descendant of Retla, and a descendant of what is [11] in that map. And believe me, by that point they'll be very different.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by shimobaatar » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 22:13

loglorn wrote:(That's why it's the first of many, i plan on having threads for all of them, and, eventually, for their descendants)
Separate threads for all of them? Wow, I guess you're really, really dedicated to fleshing out each one a pretty large amount; that's impressive!
loglorn wrote:Retla has 21 distinct consonants (not considering [x], which is an allophone of either /ʀ/ or /ɣ/)
Under what conditions are /ɣ ʀ/ realized as [x]? Also, I assume [x] is listed with the phonemes because of its unique spelling?
loglorn wrote:*Realizations uncertain
Would it be possible for you to elaborate on this, or are you saving that topic for another time?
loglorn wrote:Retla tends towards the isolating end of the spectrum, with verbs being the only word class to truly inflect. Posts on other word classes may be a bit boring. I'll probably have morphology posts later today.
Looks good so far, and I hope to see more about morphology, as you mentioned, and other topics soon. [:)]
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 22:40

shimobaatar wrote:
loglorn wrote:Retla has 21 distinct consonants (not considering [x], which is an allophone of either /ʀ/ or /ɣ/)
Under what conditions are /ɣ ʀ/ realized as [x]? Also, I assume [x] is listed with the phonemes because of its unique spelling?
loglorn wrote:*Realizations uncertain
Would it be possible for you to elaborate on this, or are you saving that topic for another time?
Having a dedicated <x> was a typo. I guess my brain subconsciously craves for symmetry.

/ʁ/ and /ɣ/ are realized as [x] after aspirated plosives.

I'm certain enough that <ʀ> is /ʁ/ and i just edited my post to reflect that.

Now on ṣ ẕ. They were retroflexes in PG, when there were also stop retroflexes. Retroflex stop then merged with alveolar stops, but ṣ ẕ did not merge into /s z/.

They might have kept their retroflexness, but the results of kj tj are also ṣ, which points to a more palatal realization.

<ṣ ẕ> are somewhere in the range of /ɕ~ʃ~ʂ ʑ~ʒ~ʐ/. Retla descendants will reflect that uncertainty.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 01:56

Nouns

As i still have some stuff to decide about some weird verbs, i'll stick to NP stuff for now (Nouns, Adjectives, Classifiers, Numbers)

So, as i said before, only verbs really inflect. Nouns don't decline, but case is expressed through prepositions. There's no gender or number whatsoever, but there's a Chinese-like Classifier system (they'll have a dedicated post. I have more to say about them than on Nouns per se).

Case

The most important prepositions are those marking the core cases. Retla is, as is PG, Nominative-Accusative. Nominative is unmarked, and Accusative is marked by the preposition le. As for ditransitive sentences, Retla is dechticaetiative and the other core case is the instrumental, marked by prju

Accusative: le
Instrumental: prju
Genitive: ji
Locative: ta
Lative: tul

There are the general Locative and Lative prepositions, but other, more specific, prepositions can be used instead. Such as:

ju "On top"
pa "behind"
knu "inside"
pjo "outside"
khpi "below"
pnuf "from"
pi "to"

The prepositions always come before anything on the noun phrase.

Order of the Noun Phrase

Considering there isn't anything to be said on number or gender, or anything else for that matter, about nouns, i'll talk about the order of things inside the Noun Phrase.

The first thing are numbers, then classifiers. There'll be more on the post about Classifiers (which is the next one, by the way), but i can tell you in advance that numbers always come with classifiers. Then comes the Noun, and after it the Modifier Slot, where goes Adjectives, Genitives and Relative Phrases. I haven't quite worked out the relative orders of those if more than one is present (but i'm quite sure the relative phrases will always come last).

The order thus being:

(Prep) - Numeral - Classifier - Noun - Modifier

Am i the only one who feels like complete descriptions of language must include lots of charts? Anyway, the Classifier post will be meatier.
Last edited by loglorn on Tue 23 Jun 2015, 02:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by shimobaatar » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 02:19

loglorn wrote:The most important prepositions are those marking the core cases. Retla is, as is PG, Nominative-Accusative. Nominative is unmarked, and Accusative is marked by the preposition le. As for ditransitive sentences, Retla is dechticaetiative and the other core case is the instrumental, marked by 'prju'
[+1] Very cool!
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Wed 24 Jun 2015, 03:06

The post on Classifiers is getting long, and it's getting late, so it will, at best, come tomorrow. There wasn't much time today.

I have started translating 'The North Wind and The Sun' to Retla, and i'll also post that when i'm done.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Wed 24 Jun 2015, 04:04

The North Wind and The Sun

The sun and the north wind were arguing over who was strongest, when a traveler with a warm cloak came along. They agreed that the strongest would be who was able to make the traveler take off the cloak.

The north wind went to try first. The north wind blew and blew. The more the breath went at the traveler, the more the traveler drew the cloak around himself. The north wind finished trying. The sun started to try. The sun shone and shone, and the traveler removed the cloak. The north wind agreed that the sun was strongest.


Ith toxkh ŋuj ko wup

Thal wup ko ith toxkh ŋuj le mi tektlaijṣnu, jurkhkxeki ṣoxa tzvol le toṣ ẕwiguj ja. Jiji thṣu le mi thṣu tektlaijṣnu tniswi le kikuta le ṣoxa prju ẕwiguj.

Pi ith toxkh ŋuj jurkhfi wika. Thakvu jurkhthakvu ith toxkh ŋuj. Kita ṣoxa le ẕwiguj prju khu ktlaj, kaẕthakvuja toxkh le ṣoxa. Gi ith toxkh ŋuj le pe. Tna wup le pe. Phiŋtfi jurkhphiŋtfi wup, jurkhkiku ṣoxa le ẕwiguj. Jiji toxkh le mi wup tektlaijṣnu.

It seems Retla is rather concise, the Retla text is shorter than the English one. PG texts were either the same or longer than English texts, normally

I'll gloss this and put it in the First Post later. I'll use excerpts from here to exemplify lots and lots of stuff in later sections.
Last edited by loglorn on Sat 25 Jul 2015, 20:41, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by Sḿtuval » Wed 24 Jun 2015, 05:01

loglorn wrote:It seems Retla is rather concise, the Retla text is shorter than the English one.
I definitely cannot say the same for my languages, but IMO conciseness is a good thing as long as the translation's good. In your example, was there anything lost in translation, anything at all?

Also, why do you use <ʀ> instead of <x> (which is free) and <ğ> instead of <g> (also free)? Are you trying to reflect something in PG?
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Wed 24 Jun 2015, 11:57

Sḿtuval wrote:
loglorn wrote:It seems Retla is rather concise, the Retla text is shorter than the English one.
I definitely cannot say the same for my languages, but IMO conciseness is a good thing as long as the translation's good. In your example, was there anything lost in translation, anything at all?

Also, why do you use <ʀ> instead of <x> (which is free) and <ğ> instead of <g> (also free)? Are you trying to reflect something in PG?
There's always some loss because we don't have the exact vocab, and we don't want to in order nor to relex anyone. But its not much really.

I use those because... I didn't think about it. Those are some nice suggestions.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by shimobaatar » Wed 24 Jun 2015, 19:31

loglorn wrote:I'll gloss this and put it in the First Post later. I'll use excerpts from here to exemplify lots and lots of stuff in later sections.
The text looks nice; I look forward to seeing the glossed version!
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 22:40

Classifiers

As there's not much to say about adjectives, this will probably be the meatier post until i start on verbs.

Classifiers in Retla fill in for all the relevant morphology on Noun Classes (i.e. Gender), Number, and, sometimes, definiteness.

1. What they look like:

Here i'll show you the most common classifiers, what kinds of nouns do they usually accompany and a prototypical example:


khu:
This classifier is typically used with people, but may be used in narrative to anthropomorphise characters (a translation of The North Wind and the Sun will come, in which there will be examples of that)

A very typical example would be:

mi khu ẕlip ji tra
three CL neighbor GEN 1s
my three neighbors

pi:
Used with children and maybe kitten animals.

val xu pi pi pjo trephil
play-IPFV two CL child ouside here
Two children are playing outside

You might have noticed the word for children is homophonous with this classifier. A few more things are also homophonous in pi and that can lead to phrases such:

pi pi pi pi pi
Many big children thought

tgu:
This is the classifier generally used for animals, a few, specific, animals might use different classifiers, but this is the most common one.

wi tgu pa
one CL cat
One cat

iplu:
This is one of the various form dependent classifiers, this one refers to rigid things where length is the most prominent dimension. Such as a stick, trees, most bones, etc. The prototypical object here is a stick.

thle iplu
The trees

ki:
This one is used for things that are roughly round, like eggs, oranges, etc.

ki ki ki
CL egg round
A round egg

toṣ:
Is the classifier used for things that have little width, like leaves and clothe.

toṣ toṣ ẕwiguj
Many cloaks

ith:
This is the classifier that handles things that don't have a definite shape, or are considered too formless to fit into the previous shape-related classifiers. Like wind, sand and dirt. Abstract concepts usually wound up here.

ith toxkh ŋuj
cold wind

thṣu:
This is the more general classifier, which can be used for pretty much anything that's not bigger than a man. It is also used to refer to multiple entities which would normally take different classifiers.

xu thṣu sar
Two hands

ins:
This is a leftover classifier like thṣu, but for things larger than a man. Like mountains and very large animals.

thuŋ ins re
The small mountains

Those are the most common classifiers. Others may exist, but the vast majority of words can be addressed with these.

2. How they are used

Here i'll treat the actual usage of the Classifiers in Retla.

2.1 Obligatory Places

Classifiers are Obligatorily inserted when the noun is being modified by a numeral or adjective. You can see that in the examples i used in the previous section.

With Numerals:

xu thṣu sar
two CL hand
Two hands

With Adjectives:

ith toxkh ŋuj
CL wind cold
cold wind

Classifiers are not needed along with relative clauses.

2.2.1 A Dance of Specificity (in the Singular)

Let's look at the parameters of Definiteness and Specificity, English articles treat Specific and Nonspecific Definite the same. And the same happens with Indefinites. Like this:

Image

In Retla, on the other hand, the main split is one of Specificity, but Definiteness is contrasted in Specific nouns, like this:

Image

0 stands for zero-marking. wi is the numeral one, and iŋpi patterns like a numeral. One could analyze it as as a definite variant of wi.

Some examples for further clarification:

Indefinite, non-specific:

pija le gu
think-PASS ACC fish
Think of a fish

Indefinite, specific

xi wi toṣ gto tithi ta ki thle
exist one CL leaf REL-NEG-fall LOC PROX tree
There's a leaf that doesn't fall in this tree

Definite, non-specific

zmel le kmo
search-IPFV ACC chief
I'm looking for the chief (whoever that may be)

Definite, specific

zmel le iŋpi khu kmo
search-IPFV ACC DEF CL chief
I'm looking for the chief(, Mikaj)

2.2.2 A Dance of Plurals

With plurals, there's a different distinction. Probably not specificity nor definiteness.

The First Plural denotes a, normally large, potentially infinite number, while the second is a delimited amount (which can be very large nonetheless). They are translated the same, but when the plural word is the object of a verb, it affects the verb's telicity and, consequently, some aktionsart stuff i'm cooking up for the verbs.

You can see examples of both of them in Section 1.

Plural 1:

toṣ toṣ ẕwiguj
Many cloaks

Formed by doubling the Classifier (it then occupies both the Number and the Classifier slot).

Plural 2:

thle iplu
The trees

Formed by placing the Classifier after the Noun.
Diachronic Conlanging is the path to happiness, given time. [;)]

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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 22:49

And it came. Last week was a busy one, i think i could've actually convinced people i have a social life.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by shimobaatar » Mon 29 Jun 2015, 23:42

loglorn wrote:2.2.1 A Dance of Specificity (in the Singular)
loglorn wrote:2.2.2 A Dance of Plurals
This is all very interesting stuff; the ideas detailed in the two sections I've quoted above are my "favorite" parts of the latest post. [:)]
loglorn wrote:You might have noticed the word for children is homophonous with this classifier. A few more things are also homophonous in pi and that can lead to phrases such:

pi pi pi pi pi
Many big children thought
loglorn wrote:ki ki ki
CL egg round
A round egg
Are speakers of the language able to understand sentences like this well enough that they don't feel the need to substitute in synonyms for some of the words or modify any of them in any way?
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Tue 30 Jun 2015, 00:24

shimobaatar wrote:
loglorn wrote:You might have noticed the word for children is homophonous with this classifier. A few more things are also homophonous in pi and that can lead to phrases such:

pi pi pi pi pi
Many big children thought
loglorn wrote:ki ki ki
CL egg round
A round egg
Are speakers of the language able to understand sentences like this well enough that they don't feel the need to substitute in synonyms for some of the words or modify any of them in any way?
This a question i stumble over quite much. I think they'd probably get the pi one, because that's the only way 5 pi's in a row can actually be parsed. Maybe they wouldn't, like we normally don't get that buffalo Buffalo thing. I don't think that'd be the case because the words are all more common than that obscure buffalo verb.

The ki one would probably be parsed much more commonly as CL CL egg because one doesn't have to state eggs are actually egg-shaped. If, say, someone actually found a perfectly spherical egg, he'd have to resort to relative clauses.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by shimobaatar » Tue 30 Jun 2015, 03:45

loglorn wrote:This a question i stumble over quite much. I think they'd probably get the pi one, because that's the only way 5 pi's in a row can actually be parsed. Maybe they wouldn't, like we normally don't get that buffalo Buffalo thing. I don't think that'd be the case because the words are all more common than that obscure buffalo verb.

The ki one would probably be parsed much more commonly as CL CL egg because one doesn't have to state eggs are actually egg-shaped. If, say, someone actually found a perfectly spherical egg, he'd have to resort to relative clauses.
Ahh, OK, your answer makes a lot of sense. I was actually thinking of that "buffalo" thing, at least in part, but it's a very good point that it includes an obscure verb.
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Re: The First of Many: The Retla Thread

Post by loglorn » Fri 03 Jul 2015, 15:56

Pronouns

Pronouns work, for all ends, exactly like Nouns, taking those same prepositions, which i won't list again.

Code: Select all

    Sing  Pl
1P  tra  thim
2P  gu   guṣkhu
3P  ---  ---
There are no Third Person Pronouns. The distal determiner ki (that) can be used, but only for humans within sight range. In all other cases, one must use the appropriate classifier to the word that's being referred back to. When referring back to multiple entities that'd use different classifiers, thṣu is used.

There are examples of that in the North Wind and the Sun text:

Jiji thṣu le mi thṣu tektlajṣnu tniswi le kikuta le ṣoxa prju ẕwiguj
Agree-PFV thṣu ACC COP-PFV thṣu strong-COMP-RES REL-be.able.to ACC undress-CAUS ACC traveler INS coat
They agreed that the strongest was the one who could make the traveler take off the coat.

In this phrase, the classifier thṣu is referring back to both the North Wind and The Sun. And also being used as a general pronoun, 'one'.

Adjectives

1. Restrictiveness
Adjectives have a Restrictiveness contrast, whereas the Restrictive form restricts the reference.

ktu pa tgu ṣriknu
like-PFV cat CL.PL black-RES
I like black cats

This would imply i only like black cats, and that i dislike white ones.

ktu pa tgu ṣri
like-PFV cat CL.PL black-NRES
i like black cats

This, on the other hand, may imply i like black cats more, but it does not imply i dislike white ones.

Such contrast interacts with the Specificity contrast: The Restrictive form demands the noun to be Specific., but the Non-Restrictive form does not demand the noun to be Non-Specific, and can be used with both Specific and Non-Specific nouns.

The Non-Restrictive is unmarked. The Restrictive is marked by -knu, some irregular adjectives (such as the -ktlaj forms, ŋuj and tma) use -ṣnu. The ones the use -ṣnu used to end in t('ʰ), but in the synchronic state that is untraceable.

2. Comparatives

Adjectives can also be conjugated/declined (which one do you use when adjective pattern neither with verbs nor with nouns?) to form degrees of comparison with -ktlaj. This 'Ktlaj form' can be though of as a new adjective, and signifies a comparative when used non-restrictively and a superlative when used restrictively.

That also happens in the phrase i as example in the pronoun section:

thṣu tektlaijṣnu
one strong-COMP-RES
The strongest

mi tektlaj ki
I'm stronger than him

Adverbialization

To form Adverbs from Adjectives, they are added -knu or -ṣnu, that is, they are exactly like the Restrictive form.
Last edited by loglorn on Wed 29 Jul 2015, 00:46, edited 2 times in total.
Diachronic Conlanging is the path to happiness, given time. [;)]

Gigxkpoyan Languages: CHÍFJAEŚÍ RETLA TLAPTHUV DÄLDLEN CJUŚËKNJU ṢATT

Other langs: Søsøzatli Kamëzet
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