|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Cheunco language (English pronunciation: [ˈtʃ͡eʊ̯ŋko], Cheunco: chéuncowemansa [cʰǿyŋ̩coweman̩sa]) is the mother tongue of Cheunco people in Cheunca. Due to its abugida writing system, I (probably) won't publish pictures nor font files of Cheunco script. I can say that it's influenced by Gujarati script (headless Devanagari).
I'm pretty busy right now, so I would update this page in a slow pace.
Cheunco language is a descendant from Proto-Varnjeston, the most ancient on the Varnjeston continent.
- Old Cheunco
- Middle Cheunco (Eustivian Cheunco)
- Middle Cheunco (Eustivian Cheunco)
- Old Trarhaic
- Middle North Trarhaic
- North Trarhaic
- Central Trarhaic
- Middle South Trarhaic
- South Trarhaic
- Middle North Trarhaic
- Old Cheunco
- Old Psieton
- New Psieton (northern/vulgar/hars-psieton)
- Old Qentic
- Middle Qentic
- Middle Qentic
- Old Qentic
It is known that both Proto-Umpaur and Proto-Hirsactus are descented from Proto-Varnjeston, the most ancient language on the continent. Psieton and Hars once coexisted but the former was more popular; thus Hars was influenced by Psieton. Two daughter languages of Hars, namely Cheunco and Trarhaic, devoloped individually. Middle Cheunco became strong, exporting words to Middle Qentic. In the present, amogn all these descendants, the Trarhaic language obtains the most, and Central Trarhaic is considered canoncial.
The existence of this language tree also suggests that I will start working on Proto-Varnjeston language.
Among native speakers there are three dominant dialects of cheunco language:
- Central dialect (also known as central standard, Central, Standard, or Tranamo dialect)
- Veonuwo dialect (also known as northern dialect, Northern)
- Gheedinoe dialect (also known as western dialect, Western)
The most significant difference between these dialects is the phonology. We'll talk about that in the following sections.
Linguistists tried to reconstruct the phonology of Ancient Cheunco, and found that there were retroflex consonants in the old language. Somehow these sounds were merged with palatal ones, but its influence can still be seen in some words nowadays and languages affected by Cheunco.
- Some tr [tr] come from retroflex sounds: nítroefa "fence" from *níṭoefas
- Some languages preserve these sounds: ṭasma "to yawn" in Qentic, borrowed from *ṭhásman, whence chásama in Modern Cheunco.
Sounds differ between dialects as well. Central has an average consonant system.
|nasal||/m/ m||/n/ n||/ɲ/ ny||/ŋ/ ng|
|approximant||/w/ w||/j/ y|
While the quality of palatal consonants changed in Northern, making them palatoalveolar, even though the spelling remains the same. The palatal nasal has been merged with velar one, thus "initial ng" is possible (can be heard) in Northern.
|nasal||/m/ m||/n/ n||/ŋ/ ng|
|approximant||/w/ w||/j/ y|
Aspirated plosive in Old Cheunco has become affricative in Western, accompanied by corresponding fricative. What were once unaspirated plosives have also become aspirated. The only trill becomes flap.
|nasal||/m/ m||/n/ n||/ɲ/ ny||/ŋ/ ng|
|affricative||/pf/ ph||/ts/ th||/cç/ ch||/kx/ kh|
|flap or tap||/ɾ/ r|
|approximant||/w/ w||/j/ y|
Hence a word can receive three kinds of pronunciation at most, consider chásama "to yawn":
- Central: [cʰásama]
- Northern: [tʃ͡ásɐmɐ]
- Westerm: [c͡çásama]
There are only a few consonant clusters in Cheunco. In addition to that, each consonant cluster is represented as a single glyph in the orthography.
Though the phoneme /ʕ/ does not exist in Modern Cheunco, pharyngealized /t/ and /s/ (/tˤ/ and /sˤ/ respectively) still remain nowadays.
Historical sound change
Cheunco has been undergoing sound changes as well. As a result, the /ʕ/ and /r̥/ and retroflex sounds disappeared.
- ʕ > ɣ
There are 9 phonemes in Cheunco and a length distinction for each of them.
There are three classes of vowels in Cheunco: rounded, unrounded, and neutral. Only /a/ and /aː/ are considered neutral. The harmony can also be seen in the diphthongs Cheunco have: neutral vowel can precede / follow both rounded and unrounded vowels, but rounded vowels can never appear with unrounded ones.
Two kind of words would violate the harmony: compounds and loan words. Though each part of a compound follows the harmony individually, they can violate the harmony in the same word.
Accent and Vowel
Vowels that are accented are tend to "keep close", i.e., [e] is always heard when accented and [ɛ] when unaccented. So does diphthong, like [øy] vs [œy], where the former has its accent on the first mora.
In the romanization each phoneme of Cheunco corresponds to the Latin latter with the most approximate sound. There are still some exceptions that one should beware of:
- Even though if a voiceless plosive is aspirated doesn't seem to matter so much in English, ph and p are two different phonemes in Cheunco and refer to /pʰ/ and /p/ respectively. Other cases including th and t, ch and c, kh and k.
- ch refers to /cʰ/ rather than /tʃʰ/ in Central.
- The spellings of palatal fricatives are that of palatal plosives preceded by an h, as hc /ç/ from c /c/. However, voiced velar fricative /ɣ/ is spelled gh instead of hg.
- ny refers to /ɲ/ but /nʲ/, which exists in some southern dialects.
- Diphthongs involving two vowels both of whose spelling consist of two letters always adopt the first and the last letter, making they seem to break the vowel harmony. That is, we would expect eu rather than eoiu when it comes to /øy/. eu would never stand for /ey/, /iy/ or /eu/. So does oi, representing oeui /ʌɯ/.
- Followed by trill r, the aspirated voiceless plosives (ph, th, and kh) would drop their h, resulting pr, tr, and kr.
Syllable and Mora
Syllables in Cheunco are simple and can be denoted as (C)V(N) where N is the only nasal onset -n. The letter nga at the beginning of a word refers to the absence of initial.
The most basic unit of timing of Cheunco is mora. Each mora contains a vowel. In the case of long vowels, diphthongs, and the presence of the only onset -n, there are two morae. Syllables in Cheunco can have at most three morae.
- Monomoraic: i, iu, ui, u, e, eo, oe, o, a
- Long vowel: ii, iuu, uii, uu, ee, eoo, oee, oo, aa
- Diphthong: ai, eu, au, ei, ia, oi, ou
- Trimoraic: ain, eun, aun, ein, ian, oin, oun (long vowels can not receive the onset.)
Since Cheunco is mora-timing, only one mora in a word can be accented. This mechanism resembles Ancient Greek rather than Japanese. In orthagraphy, most of the time, the accent is not marked, but the romanization adopted acute (á) to indicate the accented vowel. Nevertheless, a mark in the shape of a "3" can be used to indicate the diphthong whose accent is on the second mora since Cheunco people found it "unnatural".
One of both morae in bimoraic syllable can be accented, which causes pitch contour (rising or falling). However, the nasal mora -n can never be accented. Pitch accent is crucial in Cheunco since it can be used to refer to different grammatic roles of a word. For example, both masculine nominative and vocative of eo-stem nouns receive accent on their last mora (-eoón), but accusative on the penult mora (-eóon).
Most textbooks regarding Cheunco language would list 4 patterns of pitch, 2 of which are made by accented suffixes.
- Pattern I: First mora is accented.
- Pattern II: Second mora is accented.
- Pattern III: Last mora is accented.
- Pattern IV: Penult mora is accented.
Pattern III and IV can only occur when accented suffixes are attached. When two of these patterns refer to the same situation within a word, like ghabía, the locative of ghába "mountain", the pattern III or IV would be adopted. In this case, the word is of pattern IV.
According to the rules, when it comes to compounds, only the accent of one part could survive. Most adverbial affixes would lose their accent. Take jósa "to announce" or example:
|Prefix||Word||Pitch Pattern||Literal Meaning||Actual Meaning|
|nyo- / nyoe-||nyojósa||II||to announce sth good||to bring good news (stat.)|
to foretell (dyn.)
|o- / oe-||ojósa||II||to announce sth bad||to warn, to cry havoc (dyn.)|
|sáiu- / sái-||sáiujosa||I||to announce outward||to pronounce, to declare authoritatively (dyn.)|
|ákha-||ákhajosa||I||not to announce||to silent (stat.)|
to conceal sth to make it unknown. (dyn.)
to mute sb. (dyn.)
In the first two cases, the affixes don't carry accent. However, in the last two cases, the affixes have accent on their first syllable and providing the accent for the whole word, due to the fact that thei have two syllables, making the syllable that was where the accent of the stem is to be the third one, which is against the rules.
Cheunco has a moderate pronoun system. What really makes the pronouns different from normal nouns is that pronouns don't receive gender. One pronoun, no matter whhich type it is, can't be categorized as female or male nouns, not to mention neutral ones.
|Personal||1st S||1st P||2nd S||2nd P||3rd S||3rd P|
Although personal pronouns have their own declension, most other pronouns follow the rule others follow as well.
The genitive form of demonstratives can also act as determiners.
Acting as determiners, these pronouns in their genitive form combines with the modified word. Like o in ophóta, meaning "that person".
All interrogative pronouns in Modern Cheunco can be derived from one word sa, referring to "what". It can also combine with other nouns to make more interrogatives, like sophóta "who" and sonáwa, "when", and even sochánmee "which flower".
There are totally 8 cases in Cheunco: nominative, vocative, accusative, dative, ablative, locative, genititve, and instrumental. This case system resembles Sanskrit (huh).
Nominative are used in circumstances where the noun is the object of the verb or something that equals to the object (connected by copula). Whereas accusative indicates the subject of verbs.
Dative, ablative, and locative are often regarded as indirect arguments of a verb and receive the same ending in dual form. They can only precede some particular postpositions.
Genitive and instrumental have their own wide usages. We'll talk about that later.
Most (inanimate) nouns in Cheunco are neuter, while animate nouns can be either masculine or feminine, hence 3 genders at total. There are also suffixes that can convert nouns to another gender.
To refer to plural, reduplication is introduced. The last consonant and the last mora will be copied and made follow the noun, like éthasasa ("birds") is derived from éthasa ("bird"), with s being the last consonant and a being the last mora.
Some exceptions exist in personal pronouns, like "we" in Cheunco is hjií instead of hjíhji, which is the form we predicted.
To put it simple, the declension system of Cheunco is composed of 8 suffixes that follow nouns to modify them and mark their case. The form of these suffixes can be affected by the vowel of the nouns (vowel harmony) and the ending consonant of them.
|Nominative||-a||-eo, -iu||-e, -i||-eoo||-ee|
|Accusative||-an||-en, -in||-eon, -iun||-een||-eoon|
Some suffixes above are accented, which means that the position of the accent of a word could move to the suffix.
Noun compounding is a common phenomenon occurring in Cheunco. Forming compounds, the component proceeding the other one could be either genitive or instrumental.
- Ablative: the preceding one belongs to the following one. (literary, archaic)
- Genitive: the preceding one possesses the following one.
- Instrumental: the preceding one share its characteristics with the following one.
Let's take yántee "girl" and txáhce "star" for example:
- yantoeetxáhce "the star whether a girl belong, a girl's star" < yantoée "from a girl" + txáhce "star"
- yantotxáhce "the star belonging to a girl, a girl's star" < yánto "of a girl, owned by a girl" + txáhce
- yantaitxáhce "the star resembling a girl" < yántai "resembling a girl, girlish" + txáhce
It's unavoidable that some of noun compounds would violate the vowel harmony, though not demonstrated in the case above. The accent always lies in the word which remains nominative, regardless how long the words preceding the stem are.
A word common in noun compounding is ráya, referring to method or ways how an action is done or the appearing of an object. The silimar function can be seen in Chinese as "...然" or Japanese as "...に". For instance, the phrase 潸然淚下, which means that the tears are falling, contains an adverb 潸然, composited of 潸 (the look or appear of the falling tears) and 然 (an adverbial article). In Cheunco, it would be motaiuráyaiu záinthee jeósa. The adverb motaiuráyaiu consists of two part: motaiu (instrumental of móta "rain") and ráyaiu (instrumental of ráya).
Cheunco features a number of infixes, but prefixes and suffixes also exist. Most verbs contain two syllables, like ógha ("I see"). Infixes can only follow the first syllable of the verb, so that when a verb receives prefix, infix, and suffix, it would be like:
- (prefix for voice) + (prefix for tense) + first part of the verb + -n#- (negation) + (infix for aspect) + last part of the verb + (suffix for mood) + ...
Take the word sxezephaphathía "was hit again and again as I expected" for example, the word consists of several parts but is derived from the verb phátha "to hit".
- sxe: passive voice.
- ze: past tense.
- pha: first part of the verb phatha
- pha: frequentive aspect.
- thí: benedictive form.
- a: optative or potential
The first part of a verb always contains the accent. That is to say, the accent falls o the last mora of the first part of a verb. Consider ghaákha "to assume" whose first part would be ghaá.
- Hji ghaánakha. ("I don't assume.")
Where the replicational infix is introduced is not necessary right after the accented mora; it should be at the end of the accented syllable. Take the word éugha "to change" for example:
- Hji éuneogha. ("I don't change.")
The infix -n#- denoting negation is introduced after the syllable éu rather than é the mora itself.
Stative and Dynamic
An important idea of Cheunco verbs is that a verb can be either "dynamic verb" or "stative verb", similar with Korean and Japanese.
A stative verb describes the stative of an object or a person, like dóntha which means "to be red", whereas a dynamic verb indicates the action done by a person, like oétha "to go".
Nonetheless, some verbs have the two characters at the same time, resulting different usages according to its context. The verb yúca "to think" can be a good example, where it can describe someone's pondering or refer to someone's consideration about something.
What affixes the verbs can receive depends on their character. Some affixes are reserved for stative verbs, and some for dynamic verbs.
There are three voices at total: active, passive, and reflexive. Prefixes for voices always precede other affixes of a verb, and if necessary, can hold the accent of the whole word.
- passive: sxe-/sxeo-/sx-
- reflexive: mára-/ma(á)r-
There are only two tenses in Cheunco: past and non-past. The non-past is not marked though, verbs in past tense would receive a prefix z-/ze-/zeo-
- Hji ógha éthasase. ("I see birds")
- Hji zógha éthasase. ("I saw birds.")
- Teo chánmee dóntha. ("The flower is red.")
- Teo chánmee zeodóntha. ("The flower was red.")
Most aspects in Cheunco is realized by infixes. Aspects refer to the state of the verb, like whether it's going on, whether it's over, etc. Some affixes can only be used for dyamic verbs.
|Progressive||-na-||hji oénatha||I'm going.||The action is ongoing and evolving.|
|Perfect||-ra-||hji oératha||I've gone.||The action just comes to an end.|
|hji oématetha||I always go.||The action is a general truth and will happen no matter when.|
|hji oéfuitha||I start to go.||The action is about to take place.|
|Frequentive||-#-||hji oéngoetha||I go and go.||The action repeats.|
|Experiental||-w#cha-||hji oéwoechatha||I've gone before.||The action has ended before and the result or experience remains.|
Some affixes are reserved for stative verbs as well.
|hji vératha||I'm about to live.||The state is about to begin.|
|hji véyeratha||I'm living.||The state is in progress.|
The concept of grammatical mood is quite ambigeous, but together with other auxiliary verbs attaching to them these moods, take the verb oetha (to go) can be expressed:
|Form of verbs||Corresponding
|Plain -a||Imperative -na||tri oéthana||Go!||na = to do|
|Benedictive||tri oethí||I hope that you go|
|Optative -a||tri oethía||I hope that you would go||According to|
|Potential -a||tri oethía||Probably you might go.|
|tri oenoethí||Don't go!||Infix -n#- (# for the|
|Subjunctive||tri oéthe||If you go...|
|Hypothetical z-||tri zoéthe||You would have go...||Past subjunctive|
Basically, a verb has 4 forms, each of which has its own usage. All these forms are derived from the stem.
|Traditional Category||Dynamic||Stative||ca "to do"||ya "to be"|
|Modifying form (Vm)||-oó / oeé||-o / -oe||coeé||yoe|
|Benedictive form (Vb)||-iú / -í||-aiú / -aí||ci||aí|
|Subjunctive form (Vs)||-eo / -e||-eo / -e||ce||ye|
Most learners found it difficult to get famaliar with is the relative clause in Cheunco on account of its ambiguous rule. But, to put it simple, the relative clause is "a series of words surrounding a center, which is the verb in modifying form". Let's compare some sentences, in the following sentences, the relative clause is underlined.
|Cheunco||Thratoeé (Vm) phótan (O) dómophota (S) sxíphagha (Vp).|
|English||The criminal who deceived people will be punished.|
Several verbs in plain form in the same sentence can become serial, implying that one verb is the result of its previous one, or that the event is described by several verbs. Such structure can be observed in Chinese. Verbs in the sentences are underlined.
|Cheunco||Hji éusa trái phóka mozáiu.||Mózeo neógha aja vóweon.|
|English||I'll help you find him.||He comes to take the knife.|
In some classical, literature or necessary conditions, sentences will undergo inversion. These methods are used to emphasize one certain of the sentence, including:
This inversion could only occur when the auxiliary is in negation. Such feature resembles the inversion found in Classical Chinese, consider the sentence from an ancient poem, 《大雅·板》.
|Cheunco||Phótata hjéfuirekha, ve sxónoda hji ghaákha.|
|English||When the people moan, dare not I assume (their thoughts).|
The original sentence should be hji sxónoda ghaákha (我莫敢葵). Since the auxiliary sxónoda is in negation, here it undergoes inversion and then precede the pronoun hji. In the Classical Chinese, however, only the particle 莫 moved.
Accompanied with vocative nouns and interjection particle he, the topic inversion is common in circumstances where one wants to emphasize the topic object.
In the inversion, nouns in any cases, like nominative, accusative, or even genetive, can be transferred into vocative. Hence, what the case of the vocative noun is must be (can only be) determined from its context.
- Hji phagha dómophota. ("I will punish the criminals.")(SVO)
- Dómophatia he hji phagha. ("It is the criminals who I will punish.")(OSV)
Under such circumstances, the particles or adverbs presenting negation will move to the front of the sentence with the verb succeeding it. When the inversion occurs, the negative infix -n#- drops.
- Hji éuneogha. (I don't change.)
- Hji ása éuneogha. (I never change.)
- Ása éugha hji. (Never do I change.)
- Troe zógha hji éthasase. (Seldom did I see birds.)
Ísakho zu áthoe búgura séima wáijoe onónoda. The cuckoo on the mulberry tree has seven children. (鳲鳩在桑，其子七兮。)
Méthaiborogha séima víthoe khúiya. The kind sage has one behavior. (淑人君子，其儀一兮。)
Ya nyoe rónpee khutháwoeroe éuneogha. And his heart remains the same like a knot. (心如結兮。)