Kišta

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gach
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Kišta

Post by gach » Mon 22 Jun 2015, 20:48

OK, let's start a new conlang thread. I've been sprinkling notes on my longest running conlanging project Kišta around for a while now, so maybe it's time to give it a proper address on the board. I also wrote yesterday a bit about the interplay between the information structure and word order in the language and was immediately a bit unhappy on some solutions in the core case marking. This is also a good excuse to start writing this thread now.

Basic phonology

I guess the first thing people want to read is a short description of the phonology and the transcription I'll be using. The main dialect of Kišta that I'll be developing has the following phonemes:

/p t tɕ k/ - p t č k
/s ɕ/ - s š
/m n ɲ ŋ/ - m n ń ŋ
/l r/ - l r
/ʋ ð̞ j ɦ/ - v đ j h

/a e i o u ø y/ - a e i o u ö ü

All of the vowels can appear as long or short and all V+/i/ diphthongs are allowed. These will all be written as vowel sequences. The only deviation to the above transcription is that /ʋ ð̞ ɦ/ have the allophones which I'll always write as b d g.

The general syllable structure is (C)V(C) where V includes the long vowels and diphthongs. Geminate consonants and a moderate set of two consonant clusters are common between two vowels.

The phonology shamelessly borrows influences from the northern Eurasian area so you'll have a vowel harmony and a stress driven consonant gradation system. The vowel harmony progresses from left to right and recognises three morphonemes: |A E O|. The morphonemes |A O| denote the pairs /a e/ and /o ø/ and alternate between the back and front variants based on whether the word has back or front vowels preceding them. The third morphoneme |E| includes labial harmony and surfaces as /o/ or /ø/ if the preceding vowel is a round one and otherwise as /a/ or /e/. /i/ is neutral to the vowel harmony and on its own triggers the back variants of the harmony pairs if the word stem contains no /ɲ j/ but front variants if these consonants are present. In addition the vowel /e/ can also occur as an invariable vowel in words that otherwise have back vowels. The vowels /u y/ can only appear on the initial syllable except for the most recent unnaturalised loans and maybe the most recent innovative clitics.

The stress and gradation patterns will need a post of their own and I'll say now just that the primary stress always falls on the initial syllable of words.

Core case marking

The grammar bit for this post concerns the case marking of the core participants and is a slight refinement from what I wrote yesterday. The three core cases that are involved in the marking of the subject, object, and the recipient are nominative, accusative and focus. Their assignment revolves around the information structure and the animacy hierarchy within the sentences. Two important concepts here are the topic (what's the established thing the sentence is talking about) and focus (what's the new information the sentence contains about the topic). Especially important for the case assignment is to recognise what's the most focal, i.e. the most newsworthy, element in the sentence. Carrying across what's the topic and what the focus is difficult in isolated sentences so I'll be resorting quite a bit to translating things into passive and assuming that the topic is definite.

In intransitive sentences the subject can be in two cases (not counting cases of quirky subject), either the nominative or the focus case. The more typical case is nominative marking which happens when something else than the subject is the most focal element in the sentence. If no other nominal element is specified in any explicit way as a focus and the sentence doesn't use negative conjugation, the verb has to be marked for action focus by using another special conjugation,

Purto siilla-i niitti-še.
man house-LAT come-ACT.FOC+PRF+SG3
"The man came to a house." (S topic)

If the subject is in focus, it's inflected for the focus case,

Siilla-i purđo-n niiđi.
house-LAT man-FOC come.PRF+SG3
"To the house there came a man." (S focus)

Transitive sentences have more variation since also the accusative comes to play there. Probably the most typical case for a transitive sentence is that the subject is the topic and the object the most focal element. In this case the subject is in the nominative and the object in the focus case,

(Kuu) poiđo-n čevö-ss-i.
(SG1) door-FOC open-PRF-SG1
"I opened the door." (S topic, O focus)

(Kuu) purđo-n vila-ss-i.
(SG1) man-FOC see-PRG-SG1
"I saw the man." (S topic, O focus)

If anything else is more focal than the object, can the object be either in the nominative of the accusative. The choice between the two cases comes from the animacy hierarchy between the subject and the object. Objects that are equally or more animate than the subject are in the accusative while objects that are less animate than the subject are nearly always in the nominative, though the accusative is still to some extent available for them. The animacy hierarchy is: humans > animals > others. On the other hand, the transitive subject is always in the nominative even if it's the most focal element in the sentence. In other words the focus case follows an ergative pattern,

Poitto kuu čevö-ss-i
door SG1 open-PRF-SG1
"The door was opened by me." (S focus, O topic)

Purđo-š kuu vila-ss-i.
man-ACC SG1 see-PRG-SG1
"The man was seen by me." (S focus, O topic)

Ditransitive sentences follow the pattern of the monotransitive ones except that highly focal human recipients are marked with the focus case. Less focal human resipients receive the lative case which is also the standard case for recipients,

Purto ku-je rambo-n kaaja.
man SG1-LAT bag-FOC give.PRF+SG3
"The man gave me a bag." (O focus)

Purto rampo kuu-n kaaja.
man bag SG1-FOC give.PRF+SG3
"The man gave a bag to me." (Recipient focus)

I'm open for questions and suggestions of what to describe next, though for many things I'll have to work quite a bit with the diachronics before I can arrive to an acceptable design.
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Re: Kišta

Post by kanejam » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 00:03

Wow this is fantastic. I love the aesthetic, it feels very Finnish influenced but different enough to stand on its own merits. The topic-focus system is great as well, and explained in a very easy way. I don't have much more to say other than 'more, please!'
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Re: Kišta

Post by shimobaatar » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 00:15

Kišta seems like a very interesting, impressive, and beautiful language! I particularly like the way that vowel harmony works, the fact that the focus case never marks the subject of a transitive verb, and the involvement of animacy in some instances of case marking. As for suggestions of what to describe next, I think it would be interesting to hear more about the rest of the case system, if there's any more to say, and how the language's verbs "work", so to speak. More on stress, consonant gradation, and diachronics would be cool as well, but don't feel pressured to work on/share anything that you're not currently interested in focusing on. Hopefully we get to see more of any part of the language soon!
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Re: Kišta

Post by DesEsseintes » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 16:51

Subscribing.

Would love to see detailed examples of the vowel harmony in action.
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Re: Kišta

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 21:29

The lang sounds very naturalistic. Maybe too naturalistic. I couldn't resist extending the FOC-case to all contexts. Nice!

And it's refreshing to see langs without the SAE two series of plosives.

Doesn't this lang have a passive?

Does word order play any role?
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 23:30

Thanks for the comments. I'll try to keep making updates and try to favour the more interesting structures of the grammar. Eventually I'll also be compiling a more concise grammar as a separate document which will be better if you prefer a more neatly structured presentation of a grammar.
shimobaatar wrote:As for suggestions of what to describe next, I think it would be interesting to hear more about the rest of the case system, if there's any more to say, and how the language's verbs "work", so to speak. More on stress, consonant gradation, and diachronics would be cool as well, but don't feel pressured to work on/share anything that you're not currently interested in focusing on.
DesEsseintes wrote:Would love to see detailed examples of the vowel harmony in action.
I'll take note of these. More advanced phonology including the gradation patterns will probably come soonish. I just need to iron out all the messy internal diachronics before that to make the patterns waterproof. Presenting the diachronics won't be a high priority for now, thuogh. I'll probably come to showing them at some point but now I'm much more interested in describing the grammar.

In addition to the three core cases (nominative, accusative and focus) there are six other cases: lative, illative, locative, ablative, instrumental, and caritive. The first four of these form the basic to/at/from triad of local cases except that for movement to there are two separate cases: lative and illative. The difference between these is that the lative signals a more general direction while the illative focuses more on reaching the goal and moving into it. The lative is also the standard case of recipients. In practice, though, the choice between using the lative or the illative is often dictated by the choice of the verb. The instrumental functions pretty straight forwardly as the case of instruments and the caritive as its negative counterpart (lack of an instrument). In addition, on some words the instrumental is used to code the notion of a prolative (movement through). This is the same as saying "travel by water" in English.

The verbs are naturally a bit more complex. The basic inflectional TAM categories consist of a split between perfective, imperfective, and irrealis plus a separate family of imperative and related constructions. There's also a quotative that's based on a participle and used for introducing reported speech. Most of the verbs are inflected in four separate "conjugations": plain, action focus, negative, and interrogative. We've already seen the plain and action focus conjugations at work above. The negative conjugation is used to negate most verbs but there also exist inherently negative verbs which are used to negate their affirmative counterparts and which don't take the negative conjugation. Whenever the negative conjugation is used, it neutralises the opposition between the plain and the action focus conjugations. The interrogative conjugation is used in forming polar questions. In the main dialect it's only used when the question is about the truth value of the whole action and no other interrogative elements are present. Finally there's a special suffix that's used for distancing the action of a verb. It has a number of uses ranging from temporal and pragmatic distancing to indicating inferential evidentiality and mirative.
Omzinesý wrote:I couldn't resist extending the FOC-case to all contexts.
I actually first tried to use the focus case for transitive subjects as well but that didn't feel too good when I also wanted to use animacy based differential object marking. Besides, I believe that well judged asymmetries are among the principal things that make art pieces appealing.
Doesn't this lang have a passive?

Does word order play any role?
There isn't a passive voice since the job of organising the information flow is taken care of by other means (and there are no other uses for a passive either). The information structure coding is done using case marking and the verb conjugations (as described in the first post) but word order and some additional clitics come to play as well. The basic word order of a sentence is TOP ... FOC V but the contrastive or identificational focus (http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kroch/course ... ss1998.pdf) typically finds its way after the verb and the relevant clitics all force their phrases to be moved to the beginning of the sentence.
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Re: Kišta

Post by masako » Tue 23 Jun 2015, 23:56

[+1]
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Re: Kišta

Post by shimobaatar » Fri 26 Jun 2015, 22:16

gach wrote:The verbs are naturally a bit more complex.
Out of the verbal features you've described above, the quotative, the separate verbal conjugations, and the "distancing" suffix sound particularly interesting.
gach wrote:I actually first tried to use the focus case for transitive subjects as well but that didn't feel too good when I also wanted to use animacy based differential object marking. Besides, I believe that well judged asymmetries are among the principal things that make art pieces appealing.
That's an excellent way to put it. [+1]
gach wrote:I'll try to keep making updates and try to favour the more interesting structures of the grammar. Eventually I'll also be compiling a more concise grammar as a separate document which will be better if you prefer a more neatly structured presentation of a grammar.
Both methods of presentation are great, but I think having both would be optimal. Good luck compiling the grammar (particularly finding the time to do so). [:)]
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Re: Kišta

Post by protondonor » Thu 02 Jul 2015, 18:43

I really like the case system! Is it inspired by Yukaghir at all?
Kaimen Keling: Uralic goes Germanic
Kolyma Ainu: Ainu language spoken in mainland Siberia
Wetokwa: a priori, spoken in a Death Valley-like environment, former speedlang
Mañi: a Ngerupic language inspired by Oto-Manguean, Cariban, and Mataco-Guaicuruan
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Thu 02 Jul 2015, 20:16

Thanks, Tundra Yukaghir was indeed my first inspiration in creating the focus coding system. The idea to derive the focus case from an older lative was inspired by Ob-Ugric though. The oblique cases are on the other hand inspired just generally by the northern Eurasian languages and try to form a medium sized system that wouldn't be out of place in that area. I could perhaps identify the kind of nebulous distinction between the lative and illative cases as an influence from Mari.

Similarly the idea of an action focus conjugation originated from the affirmative verb marking in Yukaghir but in its present form its function is closer to the action focus marker in Manambu, hence the name choice.
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Thu 23 Jun 2016, 02:09

Let's get back to Kišta and do some diachronic morphology. Since the last post here I've altered quite a few things so much of the morphology in the previous posts isn't up to date any more.

I'll give you now the development of the core finite verb conjugation. This involves subject agreement, aspect and mood, and the forms for negation and polar interrogation. What are left out for now are the ways to code evidentiality, a survey of modal and aspectual periphrastic constructions, and the verbal marking for non-subject topics. I plan to return to the last of these in the near future.

The subject agreement in Kišta distinguishes your standard three persons and the singular and plural in the 1st and 2nd persons. In addition to these, there are two anaphoric 3rd person markers reserved for human subjects. Kišta is a pro-drop language, so even the basic suffixless 3rd person form by itself can be used with an omitted subject. However, if the dropped subject is a human, or counts as one in the discourse, the use of either the singular or plural anaphoric ending is triggered.

The core morphological aspects and moods are perfective, imperfective, and irrealis. There's furthermore a minimal paradigm for imperative. These have quite basic uses, the perfective has largely past temporal reference and the irrealis is used for unrealised events, including future reference. On the other hand, not too distant future may be referenced using one of the non-irrealis aspects, especially if a future time adverbial is used in conjunction. This signals confidence from the speaker that the event will take place. The perfective for immediate future is particularly common

Negation is marked in the core aspects and moods (perfective, imperfective, irrealis) by a bound morpheme. Here there's a conflation of perfective and irrealis into one undifferentiated form, which may be understood as treating negated verbs as inherently counterfactual. On the other hand, the imperfective remains distinct when negated as it's the more marked of the two aspects. Polar interrogation is marked morphologically similar to negation when it has scope over the VP and isn't used in negative leading questions. Here all the aspect and mood oppositions are neutralised.

Next I'll give you historical paradigms leading to the conjugation patterns in Kišta. I'll use at maximum three levels of evolution. Proto-Inaki refers to the language that's ancestral to all of the relatives of Kišta. Kišta itself is the most prominent language in one of the branches of the Inaki family. I'll refer to the early stages of the separate evolution of this branch as either early Proto-Kišta or pre-Proto-Kišta. Finally, I'll give you the resulting forms in modern Kišta, or more precisely its southern dialect that I'm using as my focal point for now. For the affirmative perfective, imperfective, and irrealis I'll give examples using the three verbs *taka > takka ("strike"), *šami > šammi ("take"), and *talə > talla ("eat") that have the three different final vowels allowed in Proto-Inaki. The rest of the forms I'm only demonstrating using takka.


Perfective

The Kišta perfective derives from the original unmarked forms in Proto-Inaki with the personal endings *-j SG1, *-n SG2, *-jki PL1, *-ni PL2, and *-Ø 3,

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Proto-Inaki perfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    taka-j      taka-jki       šami-j      šami-jki       talə-j      talə-jki
2    taka-n      taka-ni        šami-n      šami-ni        talə-n      talə-ni
3          taka                       šami                       talə
The 1st person formant *j might have become a full vowel quite early on since already in early Proto-Kišta it had fused into the stem final vowel sand turned these into /i/. This is different from what you'd expect from a regular sound change which would have turned unstressed syllable final /aj/ and /əj/ sequences into /e/. On the i-stems the fusing of the 1st person endings meant that the SG1 and 3 forms became identical. This required to start using the SG1 pronoun *ka with the SG1 verb form. The pronoun quickly lost its independence and migrated to the end of the verb where it cliticised and lost its vowel. At the same time the singular and plural anaphoric pronouns *ti and *tin started to be used after the verb with omitted human subjects. At least their position can be understood to be that of the postverbal topical afterthought.

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early Proto-Kišta perfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    tak-i       tak-iki        šami=k      šami-ki        tal-i       tal-iki
2    taka-n      taka-ni        šami-n      šami-ni        tala-n      tala-ni
3          taka                       šami                       tala
3.H  taka ti     taka tin       šami ti     šami tin       tala ti     tala tin
Coming to modern Kišta, the most noticeable development is the appearance of consonant gradation. Basically each word is divided into two or three syllable long feet where the first syllable bears the stress (main stress at the start of the word, secondary stress on further feet). Even-syllabic words have only bisyllabic feet and in odd-syllabic words the last foot is trisyllabic. Consonants preceding an open unstressed syllable undergo gemination and those preceding closed unstressed syllables potential weakening. At least in my current notes the weakening affects the stops and affricates, I'll have to look if it feels right for the sibilants to weaken as well. Before stressed syllables the consonants stay unchanged.

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modern Kišta perfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    takk-i      tah-ikki        šami-k     šami-kki       tall-i      tal-ikki
2    taha-n      taha-nni        šami-n     šami-nni       tala-n      tala-nni
3          takka                       šammi                     talla
3.H  takka-ti    takka-in        šammi-ti   šammi-jin      talla-ti    talla-in
In modern Kišta the anaphoric 3.H endings have merged completely with the verb but still retained some cliticness when it comes to the SG3.H ending -ti. This ending only geminates into the strong grade if it follows a (secondarily) stressed syllable. You can see this in the habitual derivation of the verb takka ("strike") > taha-lma ("beat"): taha-lma-tti, strike-HAB-SG3.H. If the ending falls on the third syllable of a trisyllabic foot, thus following an unstressed syllable, it behaves as on secondarily stressed syllables and remains ungeminated, as you can see in the form takka-ti, strike-SG3.H.

In the plural, the initial /t/ of the original anaphoric pronoun weakened following the pronoun becoming an unstressed clitic with a closed syllable structure. The development went as /t/ > /ð/ > Ø and gave /i/ final diphthongs on the original a- and ə-stem verbs. On the i-stem verbs the ending resisted being fused to the verb stem and becoming identical with SG2 and so developed an epenthetic consonant /j/ between the verb stem and itself.

Some grammatical verbs lack the ability to take the anaphoric 3.H endings. These verbs use the suffixless 3rd person form also for omitted human subjects. The most prominent of these verbs is the existential verb čünnö,

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      SG         PL
1    čenn-i     čen-ikki
2    čünö-n     čünö-nni
3          čünnö
Imperfective

The imperfective derives from a Proto-Inaki frequentative derivation with the affix *-šə. Due to its derivational origin it was more closely tied to the verb stem in the proto language than most inflectional affixes and was able to kick out the stem final vowels /i/ and /ə/ if this lead to an allowed consonant cluster with the stem consonant and the affixal /ʃ/. I'm demonstrating this here with the ə-stem verb *talə > talla but since I'm not sure yet what clusters will be legal and remain so unto Kišta, I'm providing both a contracted and a regularised paradign for this verb in modern Kišta. There'll anyway be levelling with these verbs in Kišta as well as dialectal variation. In the 3rd person forms the aspect affix came at the end of word and might have been more resistant to the contraction to start with.

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Proto-Inaki imperfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    taka-šə-j   taka-šə-jki    šami-šə-j   šami-šə-jki    tal-šə-j    tal-šə-jki
2    taka-šə-n   taka-šə-ni     šami-šə-n   šami-šə-ni     tal-šə-n    tal-šə-ni
3          taka-šə                   šami-šə                  tal-šə/talə-šə
In Proto-Kišta the imperfective developed similarly to the perfective except that there wasn't really a need for the new clarifying SG1 ending *=k. This was still generalised by analogy from the perfective conjugation to the imperfective on the i-stem verbs and soon after that to all other stem types as well. The latter development happened through supporting pressure from the PL1 ending *-iki. At latest at this time the 3rd person form of the imperfective became consonant final and lost any possible contraction it might have had previously.

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early Proto-Kišta imperfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    taka-š-i=k  tak-š-iki      šami-š-i=k  šami-š-iki     tal-š-i=k   tal-š-iki
2    taka-ša-n   taka-ša-ni     šami-ša-n   šami-ša-ni     tal-ša-n    tal-ša-ni
3          taka-š                     šami-š                      tala-š 
3.H  taka-š ti     taka-š tin   šami-š ti   šamiš tin      tala-š ti   tala-š tin
The agglutination of the anaphoric 3.H endings was somewhat more straightforward in the imperfective than in perfective. In singular the ending attached always to the imperfective which shielded it in all positions from gemination. In the plural forms the initial /t/ > /ð/ of the affix was regularly assimilated with the imperfective marker, yielding the PL3.H form -šin.

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modern Kišta imperfective

      SG          PL             SG          PL              SG          PL
1    takka-š-ik  takka-ši-ikki  šammi-š-ik  šammi-š-ikki    tal-š-ik    tal-š-ikki
2    taha-ša-n   takka-ša-nni   šammi-ša-n  šammi-ša-nni    tal-š-an    tal-ša-nni
3          taha-š                     šami-š                      tala-š
3.H  taha-š-ti    taha-š-šin    šami-š-ti   šami-š-šin      tala-š-ti   tala-š-šin

                                                            talla-š-ik  talla-š-ikki
                                                            talla-ša-n  talla-ša-nni
                                                                  tala-š
                                                            tala-š-ti   tala-š-šin
On some verbs the opposition between perfective and imperfective does not make semantic sense. In these cases it's the perfective paradigm that's used instead of the more marked imperfective. The existential čünnö is again a good example of such verbs.


Irrealis

The development of the irrealis into Kišta is straightforward. It starts from the Proto-Inaki irrealis *-ńi which is fully preserved in modern Kišta. There's the same analogical expansion of the SG1 forms with the *=k element as in the imperfective but no contraction of stem final vowels on any stem types. Here the SG1 expansion is easily understandable since the irrealis marker has /i/ as its vowel.

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Proto-Inaki irrelis

      SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    taka-ńi-j   taka-ńi-jki    šami-ńi-j   šami-ńi-jki    talə-ńi-j   talə-ńi-jki
2    taka-ńi-n   taka-ńi-ni     šami-ńi-n   šami-ńi-ni     talə-ńi-n   talə-ńi-ni
3          taka-ńi                   šami-ńi                   talə-ńi

early Proto-Kišta irrealis

  SG          PL             SG          PL             SG          PL
1    taka-ńi=k   taka-ní-ki     šami-ńi=k   šami-ńi-ki     tala-ńi=k   tala-ńi-ki
2    taka-ńi-n   taka-ńi-ni     šami-ńi-n   šami-ńi-ni     tala-ńi-n   tala-ńi-ni
3          taka-ńi                   šami-ńi                   tala-ńi
3.H  taka-ńi ti  taka-ńi tin    šami-ńi ti  šami-ńi tin    tala-ńi ti  tala-ńi tin
Also the 3.H endings had the most regular development into modern Kišta in the irrealis. The singular ending behaves here exactly as in the perfective and the plural form retains the dental approximant reflex of its original /t/. The reason for this retention is dissimilation with the palatal nasal in preferring not to have two consecutive palatal sonorants.

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modern Kišta irrealis

      SG           PL             SG           PL             SG           PL
1    takka-ńi-k   takka-ń-ikki   šammi-ńi-k   šammi-ńi-kki   talla-ńi-k   talla-ńi-kki
2    takka-ńi-n   takka-ńi-nni   šammi-ńi-n   šammi-ńi-nni   talla-ńi-n   tala-ńi-nii
3          taha-ńńi                    šami-ńńi                    tala-ńńi
3.H  takka-ńi-tti takka-ńi-đin   šammi-ńi-tti šammi-ńi-đin   talla-ńi-tti talla-ńi-đin
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Thu 23 Jun 2016, 05:19

Negation

The original strategy for negation in Proto Inaki was to use the negative particle *mə before a fully conjugated verb. By the time of pre-Proto-Kišta this had been largely replaced by a synthetic construction where the bare suffixless verb stem was followed by the negative particle *ma and the auxiliary verb *ajə > *aja ("do"). In the imperfective the auxiliary was inflected with the imperfective marker *-šə > *-š(a) but both the perfective and irrealis functions used the unmarked formally perfective paradigm.

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pre-Proto-Kišta
negative perfective-irrealis            negative imperfective

      SG               PL                SG               PL
1    taka ma aj-i     taka ma aj-iki    taka ma aj-ši    taka ma aj-š-iki
2    taka ma aja-n    taka ma aja-ni    taka ma aj₋ša-n  taka ma aj-ša-ni
3              taka ma aja                        taka ma aj-ša
In early Proto-Kišta these strings got fused into a single word form, leading to new bound negative morphology. The auxiliary stem contracted with the negative particle into a single new syllable. The 2nd and 3rd person forms of the perfective-irrealis yielded *aja > a and the imperfective forms *aj > *e by regular paths. The phoneme string *aji in the 1st person perfective-irrealis would also have regularly yielded *e but analogy with the affirmative forms turned it into the *i associated with the 1st person forms.

You'll also notice that the SG1 forms have both now added the extra suffix *=k to them. This is a general pattern within the Kišta branch. Once this extra ending got introduced to the conjugation paradigm it soon became analysed as an integral part of it and got widely analogised into forms that wouldn't have phonologically required it. The affirmative perfective is in fact the only inflectional category in modern Kišta that still retaines SG1 forms lacking the extra *=k.

The step to the modern Kišta negative paradigms is straightforward and follows the lines described above for the affirmative paradigms.

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early Proto-Kišta
negative perfective-irrealis            negative imperfective

      SG               PL                SG               PL
1    taka-mi=k        taka-m-iki        taka-me-š-i=k    taka-me-š-iki
2    taka-ma-n        taka-ma-ni        taka-me-ša-n     taka-me-ša-ni
3              taka-ma                            taka-me-ša
3.H  taka-ma ti       taka-ma tin       taka-me-ša ti    taka-me-ša tin

modern Kišta
negative perfective-irrealis            negative imperfective

      SG               PL                SG               PL
1    takka-m-ik       takka-m-ikki      takka-me-š-ik    takka-me-ši-kki
2    takka-ma-n       takka-ma-nni      takka-me-ša-n    takka-me-ša-nni
3              taha-mma                           takka-me-šša
3.H  takka-ma-tti     takka-ma-in       takka-me-šša-ti  takka-me-ša-in

Interrogative

The morphological polar interrogative formed in Kišta in the same manner as the negative conjugation. Here the fused auxiliary was *luŋi ("say") which turned into the interrogative marker -lo.

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pre-Proto-Kišta interrogative

      SG               PL
1    taka luŋi(=k)    taka luŋi-ki
2    taka luŋi-n      taka luŋi-ni
3              taka luŋi

early Proto-Kišta interrogative

      SG               PL
1    taka-lo=k        taka-lo-ki
2    taka-lo-n        taka-lo-ni
3             taka-lo 
3.H  taka-lo ti       taka-lo tin

modern Kišta interrogative

      SG               PL
1    takka-lo-k       takka-lo-kki
2    takka-lo-n       takka-lo-nni
3              taha-llo
3.H  takka-lo-tti      takka-lo-in

Imperative

The last morphological mood to be described is the imperative series. This is strongly defective in Kišta and only has forms in the 2nd person singular and plural for imperative and prohibitive and in the 1st person plural for the hortative. All of these are formed by different morphological means.

In Proto-Inaki the imperative marker was *-ŋa but it's only preserved in modern Kišta in the plural imperative suffix. There it combines with the 2nd person formative *-n to form the suffix -ŋan. The singular imperative might also have originally had the same marker but it's completely absend in modern Kišta. The modern singular imperative -s derives from the agglutination and erosion of the Proto-Inaki deictic *ćæ. The original semantic of the construction likely was along the lines "do this ..."

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modern Kišta imperative

SG   taha-s
PL   takka-ŋan
The prohibitive, or the negative imperative, forms are formed in Kišta by using the imperative forms and the prohibitive particle tee that goes back to Proto-Inaki *tǣ. The singular prohibitive lacks the singular imperative ending -s, though.

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modern Kišta prohibitive

SG   tee takka
PL   tee takka-ŋan
The hortative is formed in Kišta quite transparently as a periphrastic construction using the older lative converb of the main verb and the PL1 perfective form of the verb niitti ("come"). The underlying semantic is thus "we come to do". The lative converb is formed by attaching the old lative case ending -n (i.e. the modern focus case ending) directly onto the verb stem. The negative hortative has the same structure but uses the negative PL1 perfective-irrealis form of the auxiliary. In less careful articulation or more innovative speech the longer plural forms of the auxiliary often simplify to resemble the SG1 perfective forms.

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modern Kišta hortative

AFF  taha-n niiđi-kki
NEG  taha-n niitti-m-ikki

modern innovative Kišta hortative

AFF  taha-n niiđi-k
NEG  taha-n niitti-m-ik
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Tue 12 Jul 2016, 00:06

Topic conjugation

Here's the topic conjugation of Kišta as I promised you earlier. It replaces the action focus form (inspired by the identically named verb inflection in Manambu and the information structure sensitive conjugation patterns in Yukaghir) from my older sketches with a paradigm for indexing non-subject topical participants. This means that the information structure marking on verbs is still found primarily with topical core participants but the distribution is different from the action focus strategy. The original idea with the action focus form was to develop a similar secondary conjugation paradigm than the negative and interrogative conjugations based on the agglutination of a person marked auxiliary verb and I'm still thinking of reserving this idea for some close sister of Kišta. Close parallels to the current topic conjugation system can be seen in the topic vs. subject person endings in Manambu, the topic indexing gender suffixes in Motuna, and also the definite conjugations in Ob-Ugric and North Samoyedic that signal topical objects.

The new topic conjugation in Kišta consists of a set of four pronominal endings that follow the subject indexing person/number endings. These have a parallel development path with the anaphoric human subject endings (SG3.H & PL3.H) and resemble them in many ways. Where the 3.H endings -ti (SG) and -in/jin/šin/đin (PL) derive from the agglutination of the Proto-Inaki generic distal deictics *ti (SG) and *tin (PL), the topic endings originate from the old proximal and distal downward deictics *ma (SG.PROX), *majn (PL.PROX), and *tū (DIST.DOWN) plus a local adverb *kælə. It became common in early Proto-Kišta to use the pronouns *ti and *tin as an afterthought topic for referring to an omitted human subject and the use of *ma, *majn, *tū, and *kælə in the same position in reference to topicalised objects, human recipients, and locations soon followed.

The resulting paradigm in modern Kišta (with its Proto-Inaki and early Proto-Kišta origins) is as follows,

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SG.H.TOP    -mA      <  *ma                (sg human topic)
PL.H.TOP    -men     <  *men < *majn       (pl human topic)
NH.TOP      -tO      <  *tū                (non-human topic)
LOC.TOP     -kele    <  *kele-s < *kælə-s  (local topic)
Here A and O refer to the vowel harmony pairs a~e and o~ö respectively. The forms of the first three endings are straightforward. The local topic ending -kele is more complex since it has a permanently short weak grade middle consonant l. The reason behind this is that the original agglutinated adverb was inflected in the old locative case with the ending *-s. The old final *s has regularly disappeared in Kišta but it still affects the words that had it by blocking regular long consonant grades in open syllables. In some dialects you can also encounter the variant -kelen of the local topic ending. Here the final -n comes from the old lative case ending, showing that the case form used on the adverb at the time of its agglutination still wasn't quite fixed. In the main southern dialect the vowel final form -kele is the only attested form, though.

The interaction of the topic endings with the preceding verb stem is similar to the 3.H endings but less varied. Like on the SG3.H ending, the initial consonants of the SG.H.TOP, NH.TOP, and LOC.TOP endigs -mA, -tO and -kele only geminate into the strong grade if they directly follow a secondarily stressed syllable (i.e. an odd syllable). The NH.TOP ending -tO can also weaken into -đO if it's followed by the pragmatic distancing suffix -s, turning it into a closed syllable. The PL.H.TOP ending -men isn't affected by consonant gradation. It forms already a closed syllable and so its initial consonant is blocked from gemination. There isn't much interplay with the topic endings and the possible consonants that can immediately precede them. The nasal of the SG2 ending -n assimilates in place with the following consonant and turns into -m- before -mA and -men, and -ŋ- before -kele.

I'll leave example sentences to a later post but will outline the use of the topic conjugation endings here. The main use of these endings is for indexing a topicalised object on the verb. This is done using one of the SG.H.TOP, PL.H.TOP, and NH.TOP endings. Similarly than with dropped 3rd person subjects, the humanness of the topical object affects the verb morphology. On topical human objects there's also a distinction between singular and plural forms that's not made with topical non-human objects. The H.TOP endings can be further extended into referring to topical human recipients but this is optional. The final local topic ending is used for topical locational phrases irrespective of their case form. It can refer to either locations, sources, or goals. Because the topic conjugation endings share their origins with the anaphoric 3.H subject endigs, they also share the same slot in the verb morphology. This means that only one can ever appear on a verb at a time. There's for example a possibility for collision between two endings in the case of an anaphoric 3rd person human subject and a topical object or location. The choice between these is made so that only the primary topic gets an ending in the topic slot of the verb. If the anaphoric 3rd person subject isn't the primary topic of the sentence, it doesn't get marked on the verb and has to be referred to with an independent subject pronoun.

The topic conjugation forms the core of the information structure tracking in Kišta together with word order and the use of the focus case on the core nominal participants. There are also various clitics that are used for forgrounding and contrasting both topics and foci as well as a possibility for using possessive suffixes in reactivating previously discussed topics, but these are secondary effects.
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Re: Kišta

Post by Omzinesý » Wed 13 Jul 2016, 17:25

Awesome as usual!

Did I understand right that the topic conjunction corresponds to the passive topicalizing the object? Does the local topic ending agree what is sometimes called secondary topics, and the clause still has a topic/subject?
Maybe that gets clearer by the examples.
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Re: Kišta

Post by gach » Wed 13 Jul 2016, 22:32

The topic conjugation does indeed fill the same function in object topicalisation as the passive does in English but it can only ever agree with the primary topic in Kišta. The local topic ending is thus only used when the local adverbial is the primary topic in the sentence and surpasses the subject in topicality. You can encounter this in existential sentences. Compare the two following examples with the updated morphology (the locative ending is still subject to change),

Eeppi kađo-čči nisi-š.
dog yard-LOC sleep-IMPERF.SG3
"A/the dog sleeps on the yard."

Kađo-čči eevi-n nisi-š-kele.
yard-LOC dog-FOC sleep-IMPERF.SG3-LOC.TOP
"There's a dog sleeping on the yard."

The first sentence is kind of a generic one but it's still about giving information of a dog, in this case its location and what it's doing. Hence the dog is the primary topic and since it's the subject, the verb doesn't get topic conjugation. The second example is an existential sentence in the way that it's about giving information concerning a topical location. Because the location is now the topic, it's marked on the verb with the local topic ending. Another difference here is that now the subject is central new information so it's focalised by putting it into the focus case and moving it right before the verb.

Plain existential sentences are a bit different since the basic existential verb čünnö dislikes all the newer conjugation endings (the anaphoric human subject and the topic conjugation endings) and so never takes the local topic marker,

Kađo-čči eevi-n čünnö.
yard-LOC dog-FOC be.SG3
"There's a dog on the yard."
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