Niûro nCora

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Niûro nCora

Post by Clio » Sat 14 Jan 2017, 04:00

Niûro nCora /ɲuoru ŋara/

Phonology

/m m̥ n n̥ ɳ (ɳ̊) ɲ ɲ̊ ŋ ŋ̊/
/p t ts tʂ tɕ k/
/f s ʂ ɕ x/
/w r l j/

/i e ə a u o/
/ie uo/

/ɳ̊/ only appears as a result of initial consonant mutation.
/ə/ only appears in unstressed syllables.

Phonotactics

The general syllable structure is (C)V(C).
/w j/ are disallowed in coda.
Before stops and nasals, only /p t ts k f x/ may appear.
/r l j/ do not appear in clusters
Vowels may not occur in hiatus. Before /i e ə a/, an epenthetic /j/ is inserted; before /u o/, /w/; and /ie uo/ become /je wo/ after other vowels.

Consonant mutation

There are four productive processes of consonant mutation: aspiration, deaspiration, retroflection, and nasalization. The processes function in the following ways:

Aspiration: /m n ɳ ɲ ŋ p t tʂ tɕ k/ > /m̥ n̥ ɳ̊ ɲ̊ ŋ̊ f ts ʂ ɕ x/ (/m̥ n̥ ɲ̊ ŋ̊ ts f ʂ ɕ x w r l j/ unaffected)
Deaspiration: /m̥ n̥ ɲ̊ ŋ̊ ts f ʂ ɕ x/ > /m n ɲ ŋ t p tʂ tɕ k/ (/m n ɳ ɲ ŋ p t tʂ tɕ k s w r l j/ unaffected)
Retroflection: /m m̥ n n̥ ŋ ŋ̊ p t ts k f s x/ > /ɳ ɳ̊ ɳ ɳ̊ ɳ ɳ̊ tʂ tʂ ʂ tʂ ʂ ʂ ʂ/ (/tʂ tɕ ɳ ɲ ɲ̊ ʂ ɕ w r l j/ unaffected)
Nasalization: /p t ts tʂ tɕ k f x/ > /m n n̥ ɳ ɲ ŋ m̥ ŋ̊/ (/m m̥ n n̥ ɳ ɲ ɲ̊ ŋ ŋ̊ s ʂ ɕ w r l j/ unaffected)

More on the causes of these patterns later.

Orthography

The orthography of Niûro nCora is extremely conservative and cumbersome, reflecting most accurately the classical language and its ancient system of palatalized and aspirated consonants. Many phonemes have multiple orthographic expressions on the basis not only of their ancient pronunciation but also of their position in a word.

Consonants

Initially and medially:
/m m̥ n n̥ ɳ ɲ ɲ̊ ŋ ŋ̊/
⟨m/mn mh/sm n/mi nh/sn/mhi/smi nr/mr ni/ngi/mri nhi/nghi/sni/mhri ng ngh⟩
/p t ts tʂ tɕ k/
⟨p t/pi th/st/ti tr/pr/cr ci/tri/pri/cri/thi/sti c⟩
/f s ʂ ɕ x/
⟨ph/sp/wh/sw s/phi/spi sr/thr/phr/str/spr/chr/scr si/sri/chi/sci/thri/phri/spri/chri/scri ch/sc⟩
/w r l j/
⟨w r ri i⟩

Finally:
/m m̥ n n̥ ɳ ɲ ɲ̊ ŋ ŋ̊/
⟨m mh n nh rn in/ing inh/ingh ng ngh⟩
/p t ts tʂ tɕ k/
⟨p t/ip th/it rt/rp/rc ic/irt/irp/irc c⟩
/f s ʂ ɕ x/
⟨ph s/iph rs/rth/rph/rch is/irs/ich/irth/irph/irch ch⟩

Vowels

In stressed syllables:
/i e a u o/
⟨i/ê/y/ŷ i/e/â a/o/â/ô ŷ u/y⟩
/ie uo/
⟨î û⟩

In unstressed syllables:
/i ə a u/
⟨i/e/î/ê/y y/a â/ô u/o/û/ŷ⟩

Spelling of vowels is generally determined by etymology, but /i/ tends to be represented as ⟨y⟩ after ⟨i⟩ and as ⟨ê⟩ before ⟨i⟩ even when the spelling is ahistorical.

⟨â⟩ represents /a/ almost exclusively after ⟨r⟩.

Phonemes arising out of mutation are written slightly differently: “aspirated” consonants with a form containing ⟨h⟩ and all other consonants the same (e.g., ⟨pri-⟩ /tɕ/ becomes ⟨phri-⟩ /ɕ/), “deaspirated” consonants with ⟨h⟩ removed, “retroflex” consonants with a preceding ⟨r⟩, and “nasalized” consonants with a preceding ⟨n⟩ or ⟨m⟩ (before ⟨p⟩).

A few words also begin with a silent ⟨h⟩, mostly loanwords and a few homophones.

Allophony

/tʂ ʂ/ merge with [tɕ ɕ] before /i/.
/p t s/ lenite to [b ɾ z] before an unstressed vowel.
/t k/ become [ʔ] word-finally.
In most dialects, /tsw/ becomes [pf] word-initially; other dialects extend the phenomenon to all positions.
In some dialects, word-final sequences of a vowel and /r/ become rhotacized. The sequences /ir er/ become [ɛ˞]; /ur or/, [ɔ˞]; and /ar ər/, [ə˞]. The diphthongs are unaffected.

Stress

Stress in Niûro nCora is phonemic and generally difficult to predict (although the orthography can help, in that vowels marked with the circumflex are more likely to bear stress). Some words are distinguished from each other only by stress, e.g., ariy /ˈa.li/ ‘sand.dir.sg’ and oriŷ /a.ˈli/ ‘ant.prep.pl’--note that in this example, the syllable with a circumflex is stressed. The exception to this rule is in the verbs: All finite forms of verbs are stressed on their first syllable.
Last edited by Clio on Sat 07 Jul 2018, 21:55, edited 6 times in total.
Niûro nCora
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Clio
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Re: Niûro nCora (NP: Nominal morphology)

Post by Clio » Sat 14 Jan 2017, 04:02

Nominal morphology

Nouns in Niûro nCora are declined for case and number. Nouns distinguish singular and plural, as well as direct, genitive, and prepositional cases, although for some nouns the forms of the different cases may be highly syncretic. There are three declensions in Niûro nCora, differentiated from one another by their direct plural and prepositional singular forms.

Before declension in Niûro nCora can be understood, one must note that all nouns are formed using two stems: the “direct” and the “oblique.” The direct stem is used only in the direct case; the oblique stem is used to form the genitive and prepositional cases. In all declensions, the oblique stem is derived by applying deaspirate mutation to the first consonant of the direct stem. For example, the direct stem theca- /tsekə/ ‘fish’ has the oblique stem teca- /tekə/; direct stems like ngit- /ŋet/ ‘bird’ are identical to their oblique stems.

The first declension

First declension nouns are recognizable by their use of the bare oblique stem for the prepositional singular. The direct plural of first declension nouns can be formed either by suffixation of -t or by ablaut in the stem’s main vowel. For instance, theca ‘fish’ and ‘leg, foot’:

dir.sg: theca, cŷ
gen.sg: nteca, ncŷ
prep.sg: teca, cŷ
dir.pl: thecat, câ
gen.pl: nteca, ncŷ
prep.pl: teca, cŷ

Note that the genitive and prepositional cases are syncretic in the singular and plural for most first-declension nouns. There are, however, a few monosyllabic first-declension nouns whose direct singular forms end in vowels which take the “long” ending -chy /xə/ in the genitive and dative plural. For instance, ‘tree’ (obl. stem -) and thâ ‘pot, large serving-bowl’ (obl. stem -):

dir.sg: rî, thâ
gen.sg: rî, ntâ
prep.sg: rî, tâ
dir.pl: rît, thât
gen.pl: rîchy, ntâchy
prep.pl: rîchy, tâchy

The second declension

Second-declension nouns are generally identifiable by the fact that their direct and oblique stems end in consonants. They form their direct plurals in three ways, suffixation of -y /ə/, suffixation of -i /i/ (or -y /i/ in nouns ending in -iC), and ablaut. In nouns which form their direct plural with -y /i/, the prepositional singular takes the ending -ê /i/. Other nouns form their prepositional singular with either -ô /a/ or, rarely, -o /u/. For instance, mur ‘wood,’ mnôic ‘bone,’ and phiêr ‘child’:

dir.sg: mur, mnôic, phiêr
gen.sg: murô, mnôciê, mpiêro
prep.sg: murô, mnôciê, piêro
dir.pl: mury, mnôciy, phiâr
gen.pl: mur, mnôic, mpiêr
prep.pl: mur, mnôic, piêr

The third declension

The third declension is often referred to as the u-declension and is a recent innovation. All u-declension nouns refer to objects which occur naturally in groups or pairs and are not declined for number. These nouns tend to be pluralia tantum, collective nouns, mass nouns, and so on. For instance, cheru ‘(pair of) eyes; sight, vision’ as opposed to first-declension ôta ‘eye(ball)’ and etu ‘city walls’:

dir: cheru, etu
gen: ncer, eta
prep: cer, eta

The next posts will cover the cases' uses, the definite article, and adjectival morphology.
Niûro nCora
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Baffin
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Re: Niûro nCora

Post by Baffin » Sun 15 Jan 2017, 15:34

Wow! I love the idea of the deep orthography and it seems like you put a lot of thought into creating it. Do you have any more example sentences show the orthography in action? Anything other general stuff you can tell us about the language before you go into more detail?
Clio
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Re: Niûro nCora

Post by Clio » Sun 15 Jan 2017, 20:40

Baffin wrote:Wow! I love the idea of the deep orthography and it seems like you put a lot of thought into creating it. Do you have any more example sentences show the orthography in action? Anything other general stuff you can tell us about the language before you go into more detail?
Thank you for the message--I'm glad you like the orthography! I don't have many sample sentences, since I'm still ironing out the conjugations of verbs (and a lot of syntax is a mystery yet). However, I can provide a few sample words and short nominal phrases with IPA; I'll also talk briefly about the language's history.

The word/phrase list: chiapî /ɕapi/, wariyc /walik/, hestrâ /eʂa/, /me/ (a preposition), mâ rtâ /me tʂe/, nghienâ /ɲ̊ena/, piî /tie/ (gen.sg mpiî /nie/).

Relevant historical information: Classical Niûro had a perfectly transparent orthography. Stops plus ⟨h⟩ represented aspirated stops, and ⟨i⟩ represented palatalization of the preceding consonant before a vowel, and of the following consonant after a vowel. This transparency ended when a number of sound changes reduced the number of contrastive syllables in the language. Syllable-final /s/ debuccalized and turned into aspiration (or devoicing) of any following consonant. Clusters of nasals and stops turned into simple nasals at the place of articulation of the original stop. Around the same time, clusters of */r/ and other consonants turned into retroflex consonants. The palatalized consonants began to shift to their modern values (e.g., */pʲ tʲ kʲ/ > /t ts tɕ/). Later, aspirate stops became fricatives or affricates. Of course, not everything happened quite in this order (historical */kʲ/ was pronounced */c/ very early on).

These processes created the consonant mutation system as it exists today: Words ending originally in */s/ or an aspirated stop cause aspirate mutation, those ending in nasals cause nasal mutation, and those in */r/ cause rhotic mutation. Deaspirate mutation, however, already existed in the Classical language but was essentially nothing more than an extreme version of Grassman's law. Only one aspirated consonant could exist within a word; when a suffix with an aspirated consonant was added to a word, all other aspirates were deleted so that only the rightmost remained. The process stopped being productive in the Classical Period but nonetheless left its mark in the inflection of some words and in certain compound words. (Note that this means deaspirate mutation generally does not affect words that did not originally include aspirate stops, but analogy is changing that to also include words with debuccalized */s/.)

In the vowels, a relatively straightforward chain shift occurred, which I'm sure you can work out easily from the orthography alone. Additionally, a fair amount of word-final short vowels were dropped; they're not written at all.

The modern orthography doesn't reflect Classical pronunciation perfectly, though: Some of the less common sequences of consonants have disappeared (for which phenomenon the nasals provide many examples: /ŋ̊/ is always ⟨ngh⟩ even when the rare */sŋ/ ⟨sng⟩ is historical, and historical sequences of aspirated stops plus nasals are now all written ⟨Nh⟩, where N is the grapheme corresponding to the nasal), and (as mentioned above) the sequence ⟨ii⟩ is generally avoided.

A word about stress: So far, I haven't marked stress on many words, since it hasn't been terribly necessary or interesting. The Classical rule was to stress the penult unless both the penult and ultima were light (i.e., contained short vowels not followed by a consonant cluster), in which case the antepenult was stressed. This generally didn't have much of an effect on the nouns (except that the genitive and prepositional plural of disyllabic first-declension nouns not ending in -chy are oxytone if they have historical long vowels in their final syllable), but it resulted in some elaborate alternations of stress--and thus vowel quality--in the verbs, before they adopted universal initial stress. I'll talk more about that when I discuss the ablauting verbs.

Classical Niûro also had front-back vowel harmony (with */ɨ a/ ⟨y a⟩ neutral). This has largely been lost in the modern language due to a chain shift that put front vowels into words harmonizing with back vowels and vice-versa, as well as through analogy (e.g., in the second-declension nouns), but it left traces in verb conjugation and in some derivational affixes.

Is there anything else you'd like to know?
Last edited by Clio on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 00:03, edited 1 time in total.
Niûro nCora
Getic: longum Getico murmur in ore fuit
Baffin
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Re: Niûro nCora

Post by Baffin » Wed 18 Jan 2017, 17:20

Just like to reiterate how nice it all looks so far! I'll be here waiting for more grammar! Were any natlangs particularly important or inspirational?
Clio
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Re: Niûro nCora (NP: The article)

Post by Clio » Thu 19 Jan 2017, 00:05

The article and demonstrative adjectives

The definite article in Niûro nCora has distinct forms for all three cases in both the singular and plural:

dir.sg: y /ə/
gen.sg: nce /ŋi/
prep.sg: ce /ki/
dir.pl: chy /xə/
gen.pl: nhiy /ɲ̊i/
prep.pl: chiy /ɕi/

Before words beginning in vowels, the singular forms end in -ch /x/ and the plurals in -r /r/. If the following word begins with a consonant, the direct singular causes aspirate mutation on the following word, and all the plural forms of the definite article cause rhotic mutation on the following word. Use of the article also blocks nasal mutation in the genitive of a following noun. For instance:

dir.sg: y thâ, y mhur
gen.sg: nce tâ, nce murô
prep.sg: ce tâ, ce murô
dir.pl: chy rthât, chy rmurô
gen.pl: nhiy rtâchy, nhiy rmur
prep.pl: chiy rtâchy, chiy rmur

There is also a proximal demonstrative with the same forms as the definite article, but stressed, which means most forms are pronounced with different vowel qualities:

dir.sg: y /o/
gen.sg: nce /ŋe/
prep.sg: ce /ke/
dir.pl: chy /xo/
gen.pl: nhiy /ɲ̊i/
prep.pl: chiy /ɕi/

Niûro nCora has two more demonstrative determiners: one distal and the other distance-neutral, declined below:

dir.sg: phro, nhas
gen.sg: mpro, nasê
prep.sg: pro, nasê
dir.pl: phrot, nhasi
gen.pl: mproch, nas
prep.pl: proch, nas

More on these determiners later.
Last edited by Clio on Thu 19 Jan 2017, 00:21, edited 1 time in total.
Niûro nCora
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Clio
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Re: Niûro nCora (NP: Adjectival Morphology)

Post by Clio » Thu 19 Jan 2017, 00:09

Adjectival morphology

Adjectives of the first and second declensions

Adjectives agree with nouns in case, with the exception that predicate adjectives do not distinguish the genitive from the prepositional case. All adjectives are of the first or second declension, and very few show plural forms with ablaut. To briefly review the first and second declensions, consider first-declension niame ‘short’ and second-declension thang ‘dry’:

dir.sg: niame, thang
gen.sg: niame, tangô
prep.sg: niame, tangô
dir.pl: niame, thangy
gen.pl: niame, tang
prep.pl: niame, tang

There is also a small, closed class of irregular adjectives in the second declension that has the direct singular ending in a vowel. All of these adjectives are polysyllabic and barytone in the direct singular, and they tend to have a stem ending in -ch, -s, -n, or -ng. For example, emwa ‘narrow’:

dir.sg: emwa
gen.sg: emwasô
prep.sg: emwasô
dir.pl: emwasy
gen.pl: emwas
prep.pl: emwas

Attributive adjectives

In nominal phrases, attributive adjectives follow nouns. A noun preceding an adjective can cause up to two forms of mutation on the adjective: All genitive and prepositional singulars trigger aspirate mutation on a following adjective; and first-declension nouns with “long” genitive and prepositional plurals cause rhotic mutation in the genitive and prepositional plural. If the definite article is used, it appears before both the noun and the adjective; this blocks mutation from the noun, but the definite article triggers its own mutation.

To see these processes occurring, consider the indefinite and definite noun phrases phiêr niame ‘(a) short child,’ thâ niame ‘(a) short leg,’ and y mhur y thang ‘the dry wood’

dir.sg: phiêr niame, thâ niame, y mhur y thang
gen.sg: mpiêr nhiame, ntâ nhiame, nce murô nce tangô
prep.sg: piêr nhiame, tâ nhiame, ce murô ce tangô
dir.pl: piâr niame, thât nhiame, chy rmur chy rthangy
gen.pl: mpiêr niame, ntâchy rniame, nhiy rmur nhiy rtang
prep.pl: piêr niame, tâchy rniame, chiy rmur chiy rtang

First of all, thank you for the compliment, Baffin. The aesthetic of the word forms was one of the main issues I focused on in constructing Niûro nCora, so I'm glad you enjoy it, too. Almost all of my inspiration, admittedly, came from major Indo-European languages: Ancient Greek, Irish, Latin, and the Slavic languages (the last two especially in the verbs). I gleaned a very little bit from Tibetan (namely regarding the development of the retroflex series).

Next up will be a bit more on noun phrases with the determiners and genitives. Hopefully I'll tie up the major loose ends, including anything else about adjectival morphology I may have missed, and move onto the verbs soon. I have several ideas kicking around for verb conjugation, but I haven't yet sat down and figured out how they square with the history of the language.
Last edited by Clio on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 07:50, edited 3 times in total.
Niûro nCora
Getic: longum Getico murmur in ore fuit
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Niûro nCora (NP: Introduction to Finite Verbs)

Post by Clio » Sat 28 Jan 2017, 00:00

So when I said I'd treat determiners and genitive phrases next, I lied. I've been working on totally unrelated things and haven't had much time to conlang, so I figured I'd just dump a short introduction to verbal morphology

Verbal morphology

Introduction: Finite verbs

Finite verbs in Niûro nCora inflect for tense, aspect, and mood. Remodeling of the historical verbal paradigm resulted in a set of two-way oppositions in each category: past and non-past tenses, incepted and expected aspects, and indicative and irrealis moods. Tense and aspect are orthogonal to each other in the indicative, giving four tense-aspect combinations. The irrealis, however, does not inflect synthetically for either tense or aspect.

Each verbal root has an inherent tense, past or non-past, and a secondary stem must be derived in order to conjugate a verb in the other tense. Non-past roots form their past stems through a number of means, including apophony of the root vowel, suffixing, and palatalization of the final consonant of the root (the so-called “jot preterites”). Non-past stems tend to be formed by prefixing. A few verbs are entirely suppletive. The process by which a given verb will form its stems is rarely predictable and must be learned more or less on a case-by-case basis. The irrealis is always built directly on the root.

The incepted aspect is the more basic (and less marked). It refers to events which have already begun. The expected forms of the verb continue ancient subjunctives and periphrastic futures, which means that they have a variety of non-indicative uses, particularly as jussives and in certain conditional clauses. In the past tense, the expected aspect has a meaning similar to English’s “future-in-past.”

Verbs agree with their subjects in seven person-number combinations: the first, second, and third persons in the singular and plural, as well as an impersonal form. However, many person-number combinations are syncretic, so pronoun use is mandatory when ambiguity arises.
Niûro nCora
Getic: longum Getico murmur in ore fuit
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