Melanya

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Melanya is a language created by that krazy kook, Mihel Mestë. It is a highly agglutinating/inflecting language, and uses an absolutive/genitive/ergative case system for nouns.

History

The language was intended to be a sort of addendum and name-generation language for Mihel's world in Dungeons & Dragons, but he couldn't let it sit at that. He stumbled upon the LCK and was inspired to make it a more realistic language. He was proud, and made a website for it, and came up with a small lexicon of carefully handmade words.

Then, recently, he looked back at the old papers and was horrified by what he saw; for after a year and a half on the ZBB he had absorbed some linguistic knowledge (how much is debatable...), and he saw that the original Melanya was no more than a complex code. With the D&D campaign advancing, the cultures had grown as well, and now they had surpassed their languages in realism and detail. It was a sad, sorry sight.

With a sense of duty to his own world's realism, Mihel tore down the entire verb system and phonology, leaving only parts of the noun system intact as he swept through the language's depths looking for secret areas to improve it. Finally, inspired mostly by JBurke's Noyahtowa, Eddy's magnum opus, Pʘx’àãokxáã, and various American Indian polysynthetic languages, he erected a highly fusional verb system to replace the inadequate old one, while keeping the rather inflectional style of the noun system and adding numerous particles for an isolating aspect.

This new language, Mihel will admit, is not his greatest work, but it is one of his favorites and remains close to his heart (especially now that it actually works).

Con-History

As the Melan broke off from the rest of humanity shortly after the Comet brought them to Delanara from Utopia, a small sect began to speak a language that was entirely new. When civilization migrated to the main continent, the "race" of the Melan was broken up into what the "true humans" called (derisively, I might add) tribes, and the language evolved differently in each individual tribe.

Under the somewhat harsh new conditions of the main continent, however, the Melan agreed that uniting under one banner was probably more advantageous, and they grouped together as A Cadabra and the tribal differences dissolved into differences in name only.

The result of all of this was a language of particular diversity, almost completely unrecognizable when compared with its ancient ancestor Laian (Old Delan).


Phonology

CONLANG WORD-BUILDING PEOPLE: PLEASE READ THE PHONOTACTICS SECTION IN DETAIL BEFORE CREATING YOUR WORDS.

Thank you
.

Phonology is in X-SAMPA, since I don't know enough Z-SAMPA to bother to transcribe it. This is meant to be easily speakable by most humans (at least in terms of pronunciation), so it's relatively straightforward.

For the most part, the phonology is similar to English, but it's closer to Italian, Spanish, and other languages of that type.

  • Stops: /p b t d k g/ < p b t d c g>
  • Affricates: /ts dz/ <ts dz>
  • Fricatives: /f v s z S/ <f v s z sh>
  • Nasal: /m n N/ <m n ng>
  • Lateral: /l L/ <l y>
  • Flap: /4/ <r>
  • Vowels: /a @ I o u/ <a e i o u>

Phonotactics

The most basic Syllable structures of stem words only:

  • Word-Initial Onset: (C(c)) - Please see below.
  • Onset: (C(C))
  • Nucleus: V(V)
  • Initial or Medial Coda: C(C)
  • Word-Final Coda: (_) <--empty

Please note that this means two things:

  1. all words end with vowels. (Please see Vowel Harmony)
  2. All words that begin with a consonant cluster: the cluster's consonants must be in different point of articulation, and would preferably be separated by one whole point.

Consonant clusters: For your convenience, here is the Complete List of illegal phoneme combinations in Melanya. Every other combination of the above phonemes not listed here is, therefore, permitted.

Illegal Consonant/Vowel Combo:

  • /ts, dz/ + /a, o, u/

Illegal Consonant Combinations:

  • Doubled consonants
  • /p, b/ + /k, g, ts, dz, n, N/
  • /t, d/ + /p, b, k, g, N, L/
  • /k, g/ + /p, b, ts, dz, N/
  • /ts, dz/ + Anything
  • /v/ + /ts, dz/
  • /s/ + /ts, dz, 4/
  • /z/ + /p, ts, dz, N, 4/
  • /S/ + /4/
  • /m/ + /c, g, N/
  • /n/ + /p, b/
  • /N/ + /p, b, t, d, ts, dz, f, v, s, z, S, m, n, 4/
  • /L/ + /s, z, l, 4/
  • /4/ + /s, z, S, N, l/

Vowel Harmony

Harmony is a rather odd feature of Melanya. It mostly deals with the vowels that end a word, breaking them into two groups and saying essentially that: if the most recent vowel in the word is of Group One, and there's one consonant after it (V1 C), then the next vowel will be of Group Two (V1 C V2), and vice versa (V2 C V1); however, if two consonants follow the first vowel, the second will usually be of the same group (V1 CC V1) or (V2 CC V2). As a general rule, Group One includes a and e, where Group Two includes o and u. Undeclined words are not allowed to end in i.

Mutations

Mutations occur rather frequently with certain inflections, and are often used to distinguish to phonetically similar inflections from one another (for example, in the regular first declension, the absolutive and ergative plural endings are both =oi, but the ergative mutates).

Mutations are indicated with a bracketed ([]) vowel, which is then tagged on to an inflection. The kind of brackets indicate which stem vowels are affected:

  • [] means just the last vowel (at the end, not nearest the ending necessarily)
  • {} means the penultimate vowel
  • () means all vowels.

These will be attached before the stress sign of the ending, like so [e]=oi indicates that the last vowel in the stem is mutated with e.

A list of the various combinations:

Original
Vowel
+ Vowel
in
Brackets
= New
Pronunciation
Transcription
/a, e/ + e = /e/ ei
/i/ + anything = /i:/ yi
/o, u/ + e = /Ou/ ou
/a, e/ + a = /ai/ ai
/o, u/ + a = /QV/ au
/a, e/ + i = /E/ ei
/o, u/ + i = /oi/ oi
/a, e, o, u/ + o = /Ou/ ou

Please note that these only affect stem vowels, not any inflections.

Stress

Stress is generally penultimate, but not always, so because I'm a nice guy I tend to show where the stress is by doubling a consonant (double only t, d, and n in <ts> and <ds> and <N>). Thus, Melanya is technically written Melannya and pronounced with the stress on the "an."

Indication of Stress In the Grammar Text

Lots of inflections play with the stress, so I use a symbol before each ending to show what happens:

  • -, no movement (hyphen)
  • =, move the stress to the syllable before the inflection (equals sign)
  • ~, move the stress one syllable away from the inflection (curly hyphen/tilde)
  • +, the stress falls within the inflection (plus sign)
  • _, the stress of the stem is left alone and another stressed syllable occurs within the ending (underscore)

Morphology

The morphology for both Melanya's verbs and nouns is usually described as fusional, meaning a cross between inflections and other particles, all of which are added on to stem words to create one big word that expresses a number of ideas at one time. Fun, ne?

Noun Morphology

The noun itself ends in o, a, or u. This ending is the absolutive singular ending. This ending is replaced by other endings as needs change.


If the noun ends in an o, it declines in either of two ways:

First Declension

Singular Plural
Absolutive =o =oi
Genitive =i =yo
Ergative +omme [e] =oi

For example: atello, atelloi, atelli, atellyo, atelomme, ateilloi, "hair." This declension used to be associated with male nouns, but that association is just barely lingering in modern Melanya.

Third Declension

Singular Plural
Absolutive =o [e] +olle
Genitive =i [e] =i
Ergative ~ole [e] =ole

This declension is most often associated with abstract nouns, ideas and the like, though there are enough concrete nouns that decline in the third to go around. For example: tigemmo, tigeimolle, tigemmi, tigeimmi, tiggemole, tigeimmole, "frustration, annoyance."


Nouns that end in a also have two choices:

Second Declension

Singular Plural
Absolutive =a =ai
Genitive =i =ya
Ergative +anne [e] =ai

This is generally associated with somewhat feminine things, but not always, as in the case of the word for public, or nation: melanna, melannai, melanni, melannya, melananne, melainnai.

Fourth Declension

Singular Plural
Absolutive =a [e] +alla
Genitive =i [e] =i
Ergative ~ane [e] =ala

For fourth, we have: shenna, sheinalle, shenni, sheinni, shenane, sheinnala "cloud." This declension often appears on more concrete, inanimate nouns than the third declension.


Nouns of the u variety, though, have only one option:

Fifth Declension

Singular Plural
Absolutive =u =utu
Genitive =i =uti
Ergative (u) +umme (u) +ellyo

This declension is used for some nouns, but in general it is mostly used to noun-ify verbs for gerunds and participles. An example of just a regular noun, though, would be: visirru, visirrutu, visirri, visirruti, vyisyirumme, vyisyirellyo, "world."

Modifiers

While this may seem a bit strange, nouns can take inflections that allow them to express the meanings "each," "every," and so on. These suffixes displace whatever other endings the noun may have had (all the things in the tables above). The o at the end of these suffixes acts as the new ending, and the word declines as a first declension noun.

Modifier
Every
+aiddo
Each
+ainno
None
+aiggo
Whole
+aitto
Other
+aillo
Same
+aissho



Verb Morphology

While nouns tend to be very inflecting in nature, verbs are far more fusional, with inflections stacking on top of each other as agglutinations.

Order of Inflections

There is a very specific order to the various inflections tagged on to the various verbs. Adherence to these orders is imperative, obviously.

For Normal Verbs

Normal verbs have a stem that ends in the infinitive ending -e. To change this verb to a finite one, you remove the -e and follow this order for inflections:
Negative + adposition + STEM + tense/mood + subject/imperative + null
Since the verb "to be" is considered intransitive, the object marker is left as the null form -e.

The Verbs "To Be"

Melanya has two forms of the verb "to be," one polite form (me) and one colloquial form (de). The polite form follows the standard order of verb inflections:
Negative + m- + tense/mood + subject + object/null
"The colloquial version of the verb follows an interesting pattern:
Negative + d- + object marker as subject
Instead of using the standard subject markers, which are consonants, this version of the verb "to be" uses the object markers, which are vowels, to indicate the person and number of the subject.
Another, somewhat less used colloquialism is to have
Negative + d- + tense/mood
which leaves off any indication of the subject at all. This is often used for the general statements of "it is" without referring to any particular "it." Can also be translated based on context.

Adpositional Prefixes

If a verb in context is used to indicate a motion or state that encompasses a particular direction or location, this can be indicated on the verb itself through the use of the Standard Adpositions. However, while nouns take adpositions as postpositional suffixes, verbs prefix them.
Example: yavecamme "to go down."

Indication of Tense

Tense Active
Indicative
Active
Subjunctive
Imperfect
Indicative
Perfect
Indicative
Present
a
ya
ei
ai
Past
o
yo
oi
oya
Future
i
ye
(i)-i-
aye
The indication of tense on a verb involves suffixing a syllable onto the end of the verb. This syllable's vowel core indicates the tense.
The other vowels or consonants indicate the mood and perfective state. The tense vowel defaults these to the indicative and active. The verb can also be made subjunctive, perfect, and imperfect by changing the tense syllable.
The negative aspect is indicated through a prefix.

Indication of the Verb's Subject

Singular Plural
First Person
t
s
Second Person
n
l
Third Person
d
g
Fourth Person
r
c
The personal pronoun referring to the verb's subject is indicated on the verb through the use of a series of consonants. Each consonant represents a personal pronoun. The distinctions allowed are between first, second, third, and fourth persons, and within those, the singular and plural numbers. The third and fourth persons are used to indicate proximity of the subject either to the verb or to the speaker. If the subject is just being introduced, or if the speaker is either far from or has not yet encountered or met the subject, then it will be indicated on the verb in the fourth person. If the subject has already been introduced in a previous clause, or if the speaker is close to or knows about the subject, then it will be indicated in the third person.
No gender, case, or declension distinction is made on modern Melanya verbs.


Indication of the Verb's Object

Singular Plural
First Person
a
ai
Second Person
o
oi
Third Person
i
ia
Fourth Person
+annga
+anngai
Null Vowel
e

Object Pronouns

Since all Melanya words must end in vowels, there is still opportunity to add a level of expression. After one has added the tense and subject markers, therefore, one can still add a vowel, which represents the personal pronoun referring to the object of the verb.

The Null Vowel

If the verb is intransitive, or if the verb's object is not relevant, or if the speaker simply does not wish to indicate object pronoun on the verb, they can append -e after the subject pronoun to make sure that the word flows properly with Melanya's phonological rules.

The Gerund/Participle Form

Melanya verbs can also become nouns or adjectives of a sort by appending -u to the stem and then declining in the fifth declension. Since there is no distinction between regular nouns and adjectives in Melanya, there is no distinction between the participle and gerund forms of the verb. Both take the -u ending and both decline as if they were fifth declension nouns or adjectives.




Adjective Morphology

Adjectives decline in the same declensions as the nouns do, but they can also take several modifiers themselves, forming the comparative and superlative levels in both the positive (more, most) and negative (less, least) directions as well as others.

Positives

Adjectives are considered in the plain positive form by default.

The positive comparative and superlative forms are indicated with the following prefixes:

Positive Comparative: ina-
Positive Superlative: ide-

The positive adjective also has the capacity to form the positive permanent form indicated that the adjective represents a state that has been, is, and always will be.

Positive Permanent: itse-

Negatives

Since an adjective automatically is plainly positive, the plainly negative form is indicated by a prefix:

Plain Negative: e-

The negative comparative, superlative, and permanent forms are indicated with the following prefixes:

Negative Comparative: eine-
Negative Superlative: eito-
Negative Permanent: eidze-




Anything Else?!?

Have patience! I just need to work out the kinks of adpositions and stand-alone pronouns, along with syntax rules and fun stuff like that. There are many, many pieces of paper to go through. It will take time to organize them all, take all the different versions of the rules, compile them into one standard version, and publish it to Wiki format.

And once all that is finished at last, I'll flesh out what I have here. There will be examples and explanations all around. I promise. Just a few more weeks...