Andanese

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Andanese is the name of a people who currently have no language of their own. Around the year 4200, their language went extinct although it was preserved in loanwords and in written records. This written language is called Late Andanese, a language with a very simple phonology.

History

Like other human peoples, the Andanese originated in the tropics, eating a diet of fish combined with tropical fruits such as pineapples and coconuts. Around the year 4200, they were on the losing side of a war which left them with no land to call their own. But some brave Andanese explorers spoke of an uninhabited island, thousands of miles to the north and still teeming with fish and plenty of land to live on. And so the Andanese people who had only ever known tropical rainstorms and blistering heat came to live in the coldest part of the Northern Hemisphere, the icecapped island of Xema.

Late Andanese, spoken around the year 4200 and thereafter as a ceremonial language, has only 12 phonemes: the consonants /p m t n s l k h ŋ/ and the vowels /a i u/. And of these, the consonants /s/ and /ŋ/ are rare because they originated primarily from sequences rather than single phonemes. Vowel sequences are allowed, but final consonants are not. Thus there are only 30 syllables in the language. By contrast, Old Andanese had a much higher syllable count because it had more consonants, five vowels, two tones, and allowed clusters and syllable-final consonants. However, in reality the vast majority of syllables in Old Andanese were open syllables as well, and only one syllable per word could carry tone, which means that for the most part Old Andanese could be spelled with only 75 syllables, not greatly different from its descendant. Late Andanese as spoken today is based on historical records, since there is no surviving population that has been continuously speaking the language during the entire 4500 years that have passed since its extinction around the year 4200. Thus the pronunciation varies from place to place without the language itself being different. In general though, these differences are small and mostly related to the pronunciation of whole syllables rather than individual phonemes. It could be argued that syllables like /ni/, /ki/, /si/ are actually single phonemes because many populations read them as single consonants such as /ñ/, /č/, /š/ when they occur before a vowel and in some cases even before a consonant. Likewise it is common to hear the sequences /ii/ and /uu/ pronounced as /e/ and /o/ respectively by speakers whose native languages have those phonemes. And thus it could be said that modern Andanese has more than 12 phonemes after all. However, no Andanese tradition has reintroduced tones or phonemes not directly descended from one of the 30 syllables in the language.

Most word roots have 2 syllables, as in the parent language. With only 30 syllables in the language, this leads to massive homophony, even with classifier prefixes adding a third (or sometimes fourth) syllable. The root words pŏti "thigh", pŏdi "human body", and pòti "kidney" all share the same classifier prefix li- and all have therefore coalesced as liluti in Late Andanese. With other classifiers, even more meanings of luti are found.

Phonology

Old Andanese: /p m f t n l k g h q kʷ ŋʷ ʕʷ qʷ/ for consonants, /a e i o u/ on two tones for vowels. Note that Old Andanese preserved the lack of /s/ passed down from the parent language. /f/ is usually analyzed as /hʷ/, and /ʕʷ/ as /gʷ/, which means that all the fricatives (/h hʷ g gʷ/) are laryngeals. (The letter "g" always indicates a fricative; ġ is used for the stop in related languages but does not occur in any stage of Andanese.)

Old Andanese /p/ and /t/ became voiced between vowels. However, they later changed back to /p/ and /t/ unconditionally, meaning that this sound change ultimately produced no new phonemes in the language.

In Old Andanese, /p/ was already rare in initial position, having survived only in monosyllabic words. And there were only two such words that survived into Late Andanese. Instead initial /p/ in Late Andanese usually comes from kʷ. On the other hand, p is one of the most common consonants in medial position because it evolved from four parent language onsonants: p b kw qw.

Grammar

Sharply in contrast to other Teppalan languages, Andanese uses a prefix system for classifiers but has no contrast between nouns and verbs. So likui means "tooth" and kikui means "to bite".

Numbers

  • apa 1
  • nia 2
  • munia 3
  • huti 4
  • haili 5