Head Direction: mixed
Number of genders: 3
IPA for Aelatha
Aelatha (/ɛ'laːθa/), or natively Aelaþa (pronounced: /ɑːˈelɑθɑː/), is a highly agglutinative a priori language isolate spoken in the small island country of Avelamb. The mother tongue to more than 11,300,000 speakers, it is a noun-based language that is widely known for its many cases and its distinctive system of honorifics and classes attributed to each word. Uniquely, Aelatha has a large lexicon of words whose usage is based strictly upon the gender of the speaker. Eighty-five percent of words are said to have variants for the speakers called "Aelsjonoþ" (lit., my father's speech) consisting of male-only speech and "Aelvuþ" (lit., my mother's speech) conversely, for female-only words. Its syntax too remains somewhat unique, having an OSV word order and splitting the time-manner-place distinction into two separate parts: the manner-place at the head of a phrase with the time distinction taking root at the end.
Aelatha is an artistic language that was designed to appear somewhat unnatural and otherworldly.
Phonology in Aelatha is mostly straightforward. Only three digraphs are used in the standard written language, [äe], [äi] and [ch]. Most consonants represent a single phoneme and the stress is regularly on the ultimate syllable of a word's root. In words where the final root vowel is lost do to morphology, the stress is on the antepenultimate syllable of a word or the penultimate syllable of a two-syllable word. Each vowel takes on multiple phones. In certain non-standard dialects, the language makes use of the hyphen [-] to create compound words and the apostrophe ['] to signify words acting irregularly.
Aa Bb Pp Oo Gg Cc Uu Ff Vv Ee Nn Mm Ëë Dd ɑ bɑ pɑ ɤ gɤ kɤ ɯ fɯ vɯ e ne me ɛ dɛ Tt Äeäe Hh Þþ Ii Ll Rr Äiäi Ss Xx Yy Chch Jj Ðð tɛ iː ɦiː θiː i li ɹi aɪ̯ saɪ̯ t͡saɪ̯ ɪ tʃɪ jɪ 'ðie
Aelatha has 18 consonant and one consonant digraph [B, c, ch, d, f, g, h, j, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, x, þ, ð].
Most consonants represent a single phoneme unlike vowels.
Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Labio-velar Velar Glottal Nasal m/m/ n/n/ nj/ɲ/ 1 nc, ng/ŋ/ Plosive p/p/ b/b/ t/t/ d/d/ c/k/ g/g/ Fricative f/f/ v/v/ þ/θ/ þ, ð/ð/ s, c/s/ s/z/ sj/ʃ/ 1 h/ɦ/ Affricate x/t͡s/ ch/tʃ/ dj/dʒ/ 1 Trill rr/r/ Approximant r/ɹ/ j/j/ rj/w/ 1 Lateral app. l/l/ lj/ʎ/ 1
- 1: These sounds appear only in certain non-standard dialects.
Most consonants can be followed by [ch], [h], [j] and [þ]. The consonants [ch] and [þ] following another consonant may appear at the end of the offset of a syllable. The consonants [h] and [j] following another consonant may appear at the end of the onset of a syllable. The [h] aspirates the preceding consonant but when it follows the two exceptions are [r] and [l], it remains silent. The [j] palatalizes the preceding consonant. [R] preceded by a vowel and followed by another consonant is always rhotic (˞), and renders following voiceless consonants voiced.
In some non-standard dialects, aspirate [h] renders a voiced consonant voiceless and palatal [j] may cause non-standard phonemes to be articulated.
Aelatha has a 12 vowels that represent 26 phonemes. [A, äe, äi, e, ë, i, o, u, y, á, é, í]. These vowels are always “pure,” meaning they are pronounced independently, never gliding toward the articulation of the following vowel.
Front Near-front Central Back Close Unrounded i, iː ɯ, ɯː Rounded y u, uː Near-close Unrounded ɪ, ɪː Rounded ʏ Close-mid Unrounded e, eː ɤ, ɤː Rounded ø o Mid Unrounded ə Rounded Open-mid Unrounded ɛ, ɛː Rounded œ Near-open Unrounded æ ʌ Rounded Open Unrounded ɑ, ɑː Rounded ɒ
The vowels represent multiple phonemes dependent on its position in the word. A single vowel may have a different pronunciation if it is the initial or final letter of a word, the nucleus of a stressed syllable, or part of a syllable before or after the stressed syllable. Because the only vowels that may begin a word are [a], [e] and [i], they alone have an opening pronunciation. All vowels however may end words and have final pronunciations. A distinguishment is made for short and long vowels as well. Long vowels are found almost uniquely word initial or word final with the post-stressed [ë] and [y], also long vowels, being the two exceptions.
Opening Pre-stressed Stressed Post-Stressed Final A /ɑː/ /ɒ/ /ɑ/ /ɒ~ə/ /ɑː/ O Ø /o/ /ɤ/ /ɑ/ /ɤː/ U Ø /u/ /ɯ/ /ʌ~ə/ /ɯː/ E /ɛː/ /ø/ /e/ /ɪ/ /eː/ Ë Ø /œ/ /ɛ/ /iː/ /ɛː/ Äe Ø /y/ /i/ /æ/ /iː/ I /ɪː/ /y/ /i/ /ɪ/ /iː/ Äi Ø /ɛ/ /aɪ̯/ /e/ /aɪ̯ː/ Y Ø /ʏ/ /ɪ/ /uː/ /ɪː/
The final three vowels [á, é, í] are collectively called agraþ. These agraþ are dictionary forms that are never found in written language but show which vowels must change to meet Aelatha's gender-based vowel harmony. Each vowel has three possible declensions that represent the neuter, masculine and feminine genders respectively.
- Á declension: a, o, u
- É declension: e, ë, äe
- Í declension: i, äi, y
All words have an inherent gender though the gender is not necessarily logical to the noun in question. By example, the word "chair" having no logical gender belongs to the feminine gender and falls under the feminine pattern, while the words "girl" and "boy" would follow the feminine and masculine declensions respectively. However, some nouns can decline for multiple genders and change in meaning.
From its dictionary form, the word "arté" (é declension) becomes artë (rooster), artäe (hen) or arte (chicken, the general animal).
Still, some words that appear to be able to switch genders cannot, the opposing word having a separate root all its own. "Anderho" (teenage boy) cannot become "anderhu" to mean teenage girl. The word for teenage girl is "aþerhu". The words for elderly man and elderly woman not only have different roots, but different honorifics and noun class; "abëtirord" (elderly man) vs. "arrycessyth" (elderly woman).
Aelatha isn’t as phonologically constrained as some other languages, allowing for various combinations of phonemes on the onset and offset of a syllable. The approximants [r], [j] and [l] can be found as fluidly throughout many syllables. The nasals [m] and [n] are the most constrained, allowing only specific combinations of phones after them.
ONSET NUCLEUS OFFSET Ø nasal [h], [j] vowel plosive, [ð] [s], [ch], [þ] Ø Ø plosive, fricative,
[h], [j] vowel [f], [v], [þ], [s], [sþ], [ð] [s] Ø Ø approximant,
[h], [j] vowel affricate [ch], [þ] Ø plosive approximant [h], [j] vowel [m] [p], [b], [s], [þ], [ð],
[ch] [þ] plosive lateral approx. [h], [j] vowel [n] [t], [d], [c], [g], [þ], [s],
[ch], [þ] fricative approximant [h], [j] vowel approximate nasal, plosive,
[ch], [þ] fricative lateral approx. [h], [j] vowel lateral approx. nasal, plosive,
Aelatha is a noun-based language. Most declensions are marked postpositionally on the tail of the noun, however all noun cases, such as the ablative, locative and instrumental cases, are marked at the head of the noun.
While the language uses many declensions for noun cases, all other parts of speech may be considered to be nouns of other alternative cases. The alternative cases modify each other in such a way to act as actions, nominal modifiers and action modifiers. Thus each word in a sentence can stand alone as a noun and the strict syntax of the sentence governs the semantic meaning of the sentence. The nominal cases too levy some of the semantics: all verbs are transitive, requiring objects of specific cases.
- Main: Gender speech of Aelatha
Many languages have words or phrases that are used primarily by one gender or the other. Aelatha is no exception, having so many different variants based on the gender of the speaker that entire sentences can be rendered "masculine" or "feminine" speech. Aelatha uses three terms to refer to gender speech: Aelsjonoþ refers to words that may only be used by male persons, Aelvuþ to words that may only be used by female persons and Aelaþ to words that may be used by persons of either gender.
- Main: Syntax of Aelatha
Aelatha follows a strict object-subject-verb syntax with a manner-place-time distinction.
Dependent clauses mid-sentence, always coming after the modal and the manner and place distinctions but before the object, subject and verb of the independent clause.
- Main: Nouns of Aelatha
Nouns inflect to include at least 24 base cases which all further inflect into the genitive and possessed cases, into three genders and 40 possible noun classes. Nouns also take prefixes and infixes for polite and honorific value.
Different from most languages, Aelatha is a noun-base language where every word regardless of its ordinary part of speech can stand alone as a noun under the right circumstances. Many affixes and clitics have this ability as well. This is made possible through the inflection of all parts of speech from a "noun infinitive" into various cases.
Pronouns in Aelatha are used only to refer to people, never to places, things or ideas. Nouns that are used as pronouns are general nouns that describe a person's gender and age such as boy, teenage girl, young man, adult man, or elderly woman. Pronouns for those of younger age come with honorifics attached that are inherent to their meaning and remain un-droppable in polite speech, but those describing adults do not. Pronouns describing adults may add many various honorifics to be more specific or more polite.
Pronouns, unlike nouns are subject to word drop when acting as the subject of the sentence and are dropped more so than any other part of speech.
Verbs in Aelatha are conjugated to agree with the subject in gender and noun class. Tense, aspect and mood are determined through verb qualifiers though verbs never make agreement in number. To form a verb, the noun infinitive in agreement with the null gender acts as the dictionary infinitive of the verb. The verb infinitive however is not used in writing or speech; in Aelatha, there are no catenative verbs and thus all verbs in a sentence are always conjugated. Where a verb would be catenative in English, in Aelatha it will:
- 1. Receive a noun object related that verb;
- The use of the noun "food" in the correct case for "coming to eat";
- The used of the noun "action" in the correct case for "try to do"
Verb composition Noun Infinitive Noun Class of Subject Verb phrase composition Modal (*Non-verb phrases) Verb Tempus
- 2. Be put into an alternative mood;
- The use of the desiderative mood for "want to +verb"
- The use of the jussive mood for "need to/have to + verb"
- 3. Use a specific tempus;
- The use of the post-temporative tempus to form the near future "going to + verb"
- The use of one of the egressive tempuses for "begin/start/commence to + verb"
Verbs are formed the same way as the genitive phrase. The subject of the sentence is placed in the genitive case making the verb require agreement with it in gender and noun class. What separates a verbal phrase from a genitive phrase is that the verb is always followed directly by another noun that acts as the verb's tense, called the tempus.
All verbs are transitive and all must take an object. The object of a verb is in a case specific to that verb, and some verbs may take objects in several cases to mean different things. The case to which a verb requires its object to decline is sometimes arbitrary and must be memorized as part of the verb structure.
To show ditransitivity, a second verb is used in a dependent clause. (Teacher receives homework; student gives homework.) The dependent clause is found often in the passive voice. (Homework is received, student gives homework.)
The case a verb will require its object to be in is sometimes arbitrary. There are a few general rules of what kind of case the verb will require.
- If the verb is a motion done by oneself; (to walk (to), to come (from))
- If the verb is a change of state to or from emotional or physical well-being; (to get angry, to get well)
- If the verb deals with weather; (to rain, to snow)
- If the verb is deals with one of the five senses (to watch, to smell)
- 2. Verbs will require an object to decline to a case representing motion through:
- If the action is an emotional or physical state of being; (to be angry, to be sick)
- If the action deals with the elements of fire, water, wood, earth, air or time; (to cook, to swim)
- If the action notes a permanent change in state over time; (to age, to grow)
- If the action is a mental process; (to think, to remember)
- 3. Verbs will require an object to decline to a case representing benefit:
- If the focus of the action is intended to help or benefit; (to help, to feed)
- If the focus of the action benefits one party but violates the other; (to eat, to steal)
- 4. Verbs will require an object to decline to a case representing accompaniment:
- If the focus of the action is intended to harm physically or emotionally another; (to kill, to make fun of)
- If the action happens in the company of another; (to accompany, to compete against)
- If the focus of the action is the items or persons used to complete it; (to make (something) using (something), to hire (someone))
- If the action is reciprocal; (to love one another, to hate each other)
- If the focus of an ordinarily beneficial action is the outcome and not the benefit; (to win (a prize), to win (against someone))
- 5. Verbs will require an object to decline to a locative case:
- If the verb is state of being that doesn't deal with emotional or physical well-being; (to exist, to remain)
- If the verb is a change to or from a state of being that is non-emotional; (to become, to melt)
- If the verb is marks a description using a metaphor; (to be, to appear be)
- 6. A rare few verbs require objects to decline to grammatical cases:
- If the verb is description using a simile; (to seem like, to taste like)
- If the verb specifies the name of something; (to be called, to be named)
- Main: Tempus of Aelatha
Throughout the history of Avelamb's culture, both nature and time have always been of significant value to the people. Naturally, there are dozens of words dealing with time, many of which may be used as the verb's tempus, applying tense to the verb. When used in the vocative case, all neuter gender nouns in the -éþ (time) noun class may be used as the tempus. Aelatha has thus many tenses and other time distinctions that are unique to it.
Most tempuses can act as a "topical time marker" for the time frame. Using a tempus such as the diessive "arjisseþ," meaning "on a day of the week" can render an all following actions to take place on the day given. To be sure the listener understands when the action is taking place, the speaker can make use of several methods to change the time marker or further specify the time.
- Change the topical time by using a tempus whose time frame is larger
- Change the topical time by ending a sentence with the tempus "ambreþ" and beginning the new sentence with the new topical time marker
- Use as many tempuses as qualifiable after the verb.
|"Aexenemanaj andesch alvëdhasjo||abreþ||adelmeþ agdëþ,||aexäejäefuth alvëdhasjo||adelmeþ anumräeþ."|
|"Walking-VIA own.son-GEN learning-POSS.MASC||time before this point-VOC||a month of the year-VOC December-VOC*,||talking-VIA learning-POSS.MASC||a month of the year-VOC January-VOC*."|
|«"My son learned first to walk in December, and (then) to talk in January."» (aelvuþ)|
- Here, the actions occur in different months because months are given for both verbs.
|"Aexenemanaj andesch alvëdhasjo||abreþ,||aexäejäefuth alvëdhasjo||adelmeþ anumräeþ."|
|"Walking-VIA own.son-GEN learning-POSS.MASC||time before this point-VOC,||talking-VIA learning-OBJ.GEN.MASC||a month of the year-VOC January-VOC*."|
|«"My son learned first to walk, then he learned to talk in January."» (aelvuþ)|
- In the second example, a month is given only for the second verb. The sentence can thus translate semantically either way, but as the sentence alone doesn't give enough information, the context will translate pragmatically as the latter case.
The tempus can also attach to nouns as a case marker or take place of an honorific and noun class. As a case marker, the tempus usurps all other cases except the "grammatical cases." When a tempus is added as a noun's case, it shows the noun's existence in reference to the time the verb happens or marks an otherwise unmentioned and understood change of state in the noun between the differing time periods.
|« "She stood in the forest next to (where) the house (would be built later)." » (aelsjonoþ)|
When it replaces the honorific and noun class, it creates a whole new noun of its own. The same rule applies to the new word: if it is a neuter gender word, it may be used as the noun's tempus. However, upon adding a tempus as it's noun class, a word is subject to a change in gender. This is the only case where a noun can change gender while receiving a new noun class.
- Axad (life, n.noun) and Aelleþ (postmortem future, tempus) yield Axaelleþ (the afterlife, n.noun, tempus)
The tense the verb will take is relative to the starting point in time of the topical time marker and never relative to the point in time the speaker is traveling through. Even if events are to take place in the past or future, the present tense is used alongside the marker as the starting point of all actions within the limits of the topical time marker's given time frame.
|"Adaherymum afonseo||astreþ,||aliäeachyj||ander anemono||arhidheþ."|
|"Blueberry-ACC purchase-POSS.VOC||present.time-VOC,||marketplace-SUBL||young.man-GEN.VOC walking-POSS.VOC||yesterday-VOC."|
|« "(He) went to the store yesterday where he bought blueberries." (lit, "He went to the store yesterday and buys blueberries.") » (aelvuþ)|
The tempuses are also used to negate verbs by placing them in the semblative case to modify the verb.
- Main: Moods of Aelatha
The modal is the noun case used to qualify the verb's mood. The modal takes a strict position at the head of the phrase, opposing the tempus whose position is fixed after the verb, usually at the end of a phrase. Most nouns cannot take the modal case and most that can are from either the -áþ (ideas and concepts), the -él (emotions and senses), or the -ím (philosophies) noun classes.
There are fifteen different moods that can be made with different nouns in the modal case. Nine of the moods are in common use: the indicative, the interrogative, the imperative, the volitional, the presumptive, the jussive, the desiderative, the intensive and the renarrative moods. Two are usually used only in casual conversation: the causative and subjunctive. The remaining four are rare in casual speech and considered incorrect in formal and polite speech, as they are usually expressed through the use of a verb (potential, inferential) or a tempus (hypothetical, provisional).
Aelatha has four distinct voices; the active, middle, passive and antipassive voices. The voices function by sending the subject's noun class to the verb, the subject, neither or both.
Voice NC position Example Translation Function Active on only the verb Assäemþeliafu andeli apënessasjo agalleþ. The boy hurt the girl. Marks subject as agent Middle on only the subject Andeliasjo apënes agalleþ. The boy hurt himself. Marks subject as agent and patient Passive on neither Andeli apënes agalleþ. The boy was hurt./The boy is hurting. Marks subject as patient
(the verb may or may not agree in gender here)
Antipassive on both Assäemþeliafu andeliasjo apënessasjo agalleþ. The boy hurt himself and the girl Marks subject as agent and patient
while allowing an object to act as patient too
Because this is moving the noun class, nouns receive a voice when used as genitives too. Compare the meaning of the voices in the phrase "the boy's toy":
|Active Voice||Middle Voice||Passive Voice||Antipassive Voice|
|"Andeli aberäidasjo"||"Andeliasjo aberäid"||"Andeli aberäid"||"Andeliasjo aberäidasjo "|
|the toy which belongs to him||the toy which is inherently his;
the toy which he bought or made;
this represents deep emotion and is
used mostly for body parts, family
members or things personally
made or paid for fully
|the toy which does not belong to
him, though it’s in his possession
at this time
|the boy and the toy who belong to|
Because voice functions by removing the noun class which therefore may confuse the meaning of verbal phrases, only the active voice is ever used while the alternatives, when used, are considered the amongst highest registers of formality.
Adjectives, adverbs, articles and numbers are tossed into a single group of modifiers. They do not change dependent on what part of speech they describe - the same word for happy is used to mean happily. "Asj-" is the prefix for the modifier case, deriving from the noun infinitive "asej" meaning "description, to describe."
Modifiers are nouns in the semblative case and are typically placed before the word they modify. Nouns in the possessed case receive their modifiers postpositionally, after the genitive phrase. For verbs, this means they are placed after the tempus and before the time distinctions.
In the semblative case, nouns are given the meaning “like a…” so most modifiers have straightforward definitions. (Beauty > like a beauty, meaning beautiful or beautifully; friend > like a friend, meaning friendly or friendlily.) Modifiers become particularly detailed or have more possible meanings when they derive from specific nouns.
- Closeness > close, this
- Redness > red
- Flower of a fruit bearing tree > floral, flowery, fruity, fertile, aromatic
Each noun within a paradigm may or may not have its own form in the semblative case.
When a number is used as a noun in most cases, it can refer to the “number itself,” or “a total of (something in) that amount.” The word “addissimhäec” can take the translation “the number five hundred” or “the five hundred of them.” This is very common in pronominal usage, taking the place of people and other pronouns.
To change from the nominal use of a number (“fifty of them”) to the cardinal use (“fifty people”), the number is put into the semblative case alike other modifiers.
The semblative case of a number used to modify verbs denotes the frequency of an action.
Numbers in alternative cases
Numbers in other uses are constructed through the use of compound words. Ordinal numbers, by example, combine the noun "agret" (order/succession) and the noun for the correct number to form words. The combined form is placed in the semblative case.
Fractional numbers (including percentages and decimals), compound the nouns "arðaf" (part) with the correct number in the vocative case followed by the noun "ahior" (whole) with the correct number in the semblative case.
Comparatives and superlatives
Comparatives and superlatives are formed using fractional numbers and double genitives. The number of items being compared is always taken into consideration as the comparatives and superlatives are expressed as fractions where the numerator (top number) expresses the superlative and the denominator (bottom number) expresses the amount of items being compared. The numerator takes the semblative case and the denominator as well as the noun working as the modifier are put into the genitive case. The lower the numerator, the greater the comparative, reaching the superlative at 1.
- "Asjanumrimhäec aprost ammimhëc aþeliafu" - the prettiest girl (lit, the 1/5's beauty's girl)
The greater the numerator, the worse the comparison.
- "Asjadechimhec aprost ammimhëc aþeliafu" - the girl who's prettier than three of the five girls (lit, the 2/5's beauty's girl)
- "Asjaprostimhëc aprost ammimhëc aþeliafu" - the least pretty girl (lit, the 5/5's beauty's girl)
Exaggerations can be made by using large numbers as the denominator.
- "Asjanumrimhäec afrydh ammimhäec aþeliafu" - the prettiest girl you will ever see (lit, the 1/100's beauty's girl)
- "Asjafrydhimhäec afrydh ammimhäec aþeliafu" - the ugliest girl in the world (lit, the 100/100's beauty's girl)
When using a comparison or superlative without a reference of comparison, the 1/1 form is used to mean "the better" or "the best" of something while the 10/10 form is used to mean "the worse" or "the worst."
- "Asjanumrimhäec anumer ammimhäec aþeliafu" - the prettiest/prettier girl (lit, the 1/1's beauty's girl)
- "Asjavadjimhec avadej ammimhäec aþeliafu" - the less/least pretty girl (lit, the 10/10's beauty's girl)
|Uncles Wife||Uncle||Uncles Wife||Uncle||Uncles Wife||Uncle||Aunts husband||Aunt||Aunts husband||Aunt||Aunts husband||Aunt||Father||Mother||Uncles Wife||Uncle||Uncles Wife||Uncle||Uncles Wife||Uncle||Aunts husband||Aunt||Aunts husband||Aunt||Aunts husband||Aunt|
|Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin||Male Cousin||Female Cousin|
|Twin Sisters Husband||Twin Sister||Little Sisters Husband||Little Sister||Big Sisters Huband||Big Sister||Wife||Self||Husband||Big Brother||Big Brothers Wife||Little Brother||Little Brothers Wife||Twin Brother||Twin Brothers Wife|
|37||man (adult male)||—|
|38||man (human being)||—|