Civic Valani
Type Agglutinating
Alignment Tripartite
Head direction Mixed
Tonal No
Declensions Yes
Conjugations Yes
Genders no
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Progress 0%
Nouns 0%
Verbs 0%
Adjectives 0%
Syntax 0%
Words of 1500
Creator Elector Dark

General Information[edit | edit source]

Civic Valani (Mestian Válā, natively Vehkkeal) is the official administratorial language employed by the polities in the Rocky Swamp under Imperial rule. It is a standardised neutral form derived from the plethora of Valani dialects; it is used exclusively as a literate language and doesn't enjoy a native speaker-base — it is, essentially, artificially derived from its dialects.

Valani as a dialect cluster is part of a narrow family of Western Spearland languages and has a small amount of relatives in the rest of the Rocky Swamp and in Rotwood. All of its relatives share similar morphosyntactical traits: every one of them is agglutinating and has a tripartite alignment system. The Western Spearlands languages are divided into three groups, where Valani is grouped with the rest of the Valanic languages, it being the most widespread language of the group.

It is often represented in writing using a modified form of the Dragon Imperial alphabet — even though the language itself isn't part of the dragon-herding ethnolinguistic complex. Older forms of the language used the script of the fourth Empire, which is still sometimes seen in ceremonial and commemorative use. It has primarily come under the influence of Mendian speakers in its vicinity.

Phonology[edit | edit source]

Consonants[edit | edit source]

Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m mm n nn ɳ ɳɳ ɲ ɲɲ ŋ ŋŋ
ʔm ʔmm ʔn ʔnn ʔɳ ʔɳɳ ʔɲ ʔɲɲ ʔŋ ʔŋŋ
Plosives p pp t tt ʈ ʈʈ k kk ʔ (ʔʲ)
b bb d dd ɖ ɖɖ g gg
ʰp ʰpp ʰt ʰtt ʰʈ ʰʈʈ ʰk ʰkk
Affricates ts tts ʈʂ ʈʈʂ tɕ ttɕ
dz ddz ɖʐ ɖɖʐ dʑ ddʑ
ʰts ʰtts ʰʈʂ ʰʈʈʂ ʰtɕ ʰttɕ
Fricatives f ff ɸ ɸɸ θ θθ s ss ʂ ʂʂ ɕ ɕɕ x xx h
v vv β ββ ð ðð ɣ ɣɣ
Sonorants r rr ɭ ɭɭ j jj (w)
l ll ʎ ʎʎ

Vowels[edit | edit source]

Front Back
High i y ɯ u
Mid ɛ ø ɤ ɔ
Low a ɑ
ɶ ɒ
Front Back
High ie
Low ɛa ɔɑ

Phonotactics[edit | edit source]

Syllables in Civic Valani are divided into two classes – heavy and light — based on the makeup of their codas that then determine their division into morphometrical feet. All syllables have an obligatory onset: even underlyingly vowel-initial syllables have a simplex glottal stop [ʔ] as their onset.

Light Valani syllables come in two shapes: they are either open syllables when isolated, or syllables with a zero or a single, non-geminate coda consonant when word-internal. Heavy syllables are either isolated with a single coda consonant (as word-final syllables can never have more than one coda consonant in Valani) or internal with a geminate or clustered coda.

Valani word-initial onsets are usually made up of a single, short consonant; word-initial geminates and preglottals aren't allowed in the language. Aside from single C onsets, there is a limited amount of legal initial CC onsets:

Initial Clusters
Plosive Tenuis pj pl pr tr kr
Voiced bj bl br dr dj gr
Affricate tsr tʂɭ
Nasal mj ml mr nr nj ŋr
ɳɭ* ŋl
Sonorant βj* rj lj (ʎ)** ɣj* ɣl* ɣʎ*

*Clusters marked with an asterisk aren't found in native words, yet occur in loanwords and do not get broken.
**The cluster /lj/ is essentially equal to /ʎ/; all initial /ʎ/ are treated as clusters of /l + j/.

The marginal phoneme /ʔʲ/ isn't treated as a cluster of /ʔ + j/ as the glottal stop /ʔ/ technically doesn't occur in such an initial preconsonantal environment; this segment, then, occurs only due to diphthong simplification of initial /ɛa/ into /a/ where the diphthong then leaves a palatal offglide on the glottal stop. This is conditioned by morphophonology.

Due to the peculiarities of Valani syllabification processes, all internal onsets are short and simplex: there are no onset clusters or geminates as they tend to be broken up and shared between syllables. All internal syllables have a single consonant as their onset: this consonant cannot be the glottal stop /ʔ/ or a preaspirated/preglottalised obstruent — all preaspirates are treated as clusters of /h + C/ and all preglottalised nasals as clusters of /ʔ + N/ word-internally (but not initially). Due to these very peculiarities, as well as phonotactic limitations on sequences allowed intervocalically, internal onsets and codas must be treated as one complex cluster regardless of syllabification:

Permitted Clusters
Intervocalic CC Clusters
Nasals mm nn ɳɳ ɲɲ ŋŋ
ʔm ʔn ʔɳ ʔɲ ʔŋ
Plosives pp tt ʈʈ kk
bb dd ɖɖ gg
hp ht hk
Affricates tts ʈʈʂ ttɕ
ddz ɖɖʐ ddʑ
hts hʈʂ htɕ
Fricatives ff ss ʂʂ ɕɕ
ɸɸ θθ xx
ββ ðð ɣɣ
Sonorants rr ɭɭ ʎʎ
ll jj
Plos.+Nas. pn tm km kn
bm bn dm dn gn
Nas.+Plos. mb nd ɳd ŋg
Affr.+Nas. tsm tɕm tsn ʈʂɳ tɕɲ
dzm dʑm dzn ɖʐɳ dʑɲ
Nas.+Affr. mts mtɕ nts ɳʈʂ ɲtɕ
mdz mdʑ ndz ɳɖʐ ɲdʑ
Fric.+Nas. sm sn ʂm ʂn hn
θm θn xm xn
βm ðm ðn ɣm ɣn
Fric.+Plos. sp st ʂʈ sk
ʂp ʂk
ɕp ɕk
ɸt ɸk
βd βg
θp θk
ðb ðg
xp xt
ɣb ɣd
hp ht hk
Plos.+Fric ps ts ʈʂ ks
pf tf kf
pv tv kv
bv dv gv
Plos.+Sonor. pl tl ʈɭ kl
bl dl ɖɭ gl
pj tj ʈj kj
bj dj ɖj gj
Sonor.+Plos. lp lt ɭʈ lk
rp rt rk
jp jk
Sonor.+Fric. lv ɭv rv jv
lh rh
Sonor.+Sonor. rl (rɭ) rj lj ɭl ɭj
Intervocalic CCC Clusters
Pre-sonated R/L/Ḷ/J- NN ʔN PP BB
Prenasalised N- PP BB FF PF
Geminated NʔN ʔNN hPP hCC

Due to the large amount of simplifications undergone by its clusters, Valani generally doesn't allow word-final clusters. No native Valani word ends in a consonant cluster, and loanwords generally tend to be simplified to have as minimal a final cluster as possible. Most native words get simplified final codas that sometimes barely match up with their underlying forms. These simplifications are generally unpredictable.

Valani prosody depends on syllabic weight. It divides its words into prosodic feet based on syllabic weight: each foot has at most three and at least two syllables; these are respectively called trisyllabic and bisyllabic feet. The only regular deviation can be the first foot from the beginning of a word: it may hold up to one lone syllable as feet are counted from the right. A trisyllabic foot may only have light syllables, whereas a bisyllabic foot always contains at least one heavy syllable (both may even be heavy). The situation is complicated in words that have four light syllables: in such a case, the word is counted as if having two bisyllabic feet, regardless of their weight.

Valani usually puts its primary stress on the initial syllable of the first foot, and secondarily stresses every initial syllable of each next foot; this is avoided when the first foot of a polysyllabic word has only one syllable — in such a case, primary stress shifts to the first syllable of the second foot.

Allophony[edit | edit source]

As Civic Valani is the written standard language formed on the basis of all the core dialects of the actual Valani varieties, it features few widespread and near-obligatory allophonic rules as most speakers take their native dialect's influences with themselves. Allophony is generally not represented in writing.

Valani's allophonic rules are divided into two groups: global (pan-dialectical) and regional (dialectical), based on speaker usage.

Vowel Contraction (G)[edit | edit source]

Vowel contraction in hiatus is the single most prominent Valani rule that often blurs the line between allophony and morphophonological processes. It specifically deals with sequences of two vowels in hiatus and their resolution. It always resolves these sequences by contracting the two syllables those vowels belong to to one with a "resolved" vowel.

The simplest of these resolutions produce a phonetically long vowel from a sequence of two identical — or, in the case of low vowels, nearly-identical — short sequential vowels. All sequences of identical vowels contract into a long vowel; this also applies to vowels that differ only in rounding, which then contract to a long vowel that carries the rounding of the first vowel. All sequences of low vowels, regardless of backness, contract to a long vowel that carries the backness and rounding of the first vowel.

Regardless of rounding, all sequences that have a vowel quality contour that is identical a diphthong will contract to said diphthong; this means that e.g. both /ɛɶ/ and /øa/ will contract to [ɛ͡a]. A non-low back vowel that is followed by a front vowel will simplify to a glide [w], and a non-low front vowel followed by a back vowel will simplify to [j]. Sequences of a low and mid vowel interact in a slightly more complicated way: they contract to a long mid vowel that carries the rounding of the low vowel.

Speakers of overly formal and hypercorrective registers often end up applying prosodic rules that have one phonetic syllable be counted twice due to the fact that it is underlaid by two phonemic nuclei. While considered prestigious — bordering on and even crossing into posh territory — this kind of prosody is completely ahistoric to the language. Regular speech may also feature some traces of this, in ambiguous cases as a prosodic disambiguator.

Regemination (R/G)[edit | edit source]

Regemination of certain geminate and unstable sequences and clusters is a prominent Valani change — although it exists in some form in all of its dialects, it doesn't surface in the same way everywhere. It is divided into several different — yet fairly similar — assimilation and dissimilation processes that, dispersed along an isogloss map, form a fairly complex feature set concentrated in a small area of land. Regemination processes are divided into three geographical groupings, based on where they take hold: they can be found extant on the outer Neb, the inner Neb or spread across the Mainland dialects, with some having a global distribution.

The dialects on the Neb (with the exception of the eastern coast of the outer Neb) partake in a glottalised nasal sequence rearrangement, though the actual rearrangement results differ between the areas. Inner Neb dialects generally tend to shift the nasal sequence /ʔNN/, merging it into /NʔN/, whereas the outer Neb dialects generally merge both sequences into /ʔʔN/ (a cluster generally avoided in more common Valani discourse). The outer Neb dialects on its eastern shores keep the two sequences distinct, instead opting to shift /NʔN/ to /NNʔ/; this sequence doesn't occur elsewhere in Valani. The Mainland dialects generally do not rearrange these sequences, though some may come under the influence of nearby Neb regiolects.

All Valani dialects take part in a depreaspiration process that works by reanalysing geminate preaspirates into sequences of a geminate glottal fricative and a short tenuis obstruent. This change is divided into two groups: the dialects of the inner Neb and both the eastern and western Mainland dialects practice depreaspiration on preaspirated plosives, whereas the dialects from the eastern Mainland and the whole Neb have depreaspiration that works on preaspirated affricates; the dialects of the eastern Mainland and the inner Neb, thus, have depreaspiration on both classes of preaspirates.

The single universal Valani regemination process is the reanalysis of initial /ʎ/ (treated as an underlying |lj|), which is always phonetically a long [ʎ:], as a sequence of short /lj/. This is the only regemination (or, rather, degemination) that is indicated in the official civic orthography.

Length Interaction (G)[edit | edit source]

All Valani dialects have fairly straightforward vowel-consonant length interactions that apply even after vowel contractions into long vowels. It is a general tendency of all Valani vowels to be shortened before geminates and consonant clusters; short vowels in this environment become shorter (/aCC/ —> [ăCC]) and the long vowels produced by contraction become half-long (/aaCC/ —> [aˑCC]), or even as short as a normal short vowel before a simplex consonant (/aaCC/ —> [aCC]). This interaction isn't indicated in the orthography, and speakers are seldom aware of it; there is virtually no dialectical variation as to the interactions.

Consonant Lenition[edit | edit source]

All Valani dialects employ a wide array of lenition processes, triggered either synchronically or in environments now unanalysable; this processes of consonant lenition affects both single consonants and consonant clusters in complex, yet fairly consistent ways. The segments affected are exclusively the last consonantal segments of a stem.

The segments that undergo lenition have lenition grades — each segment theoretically has three such grades, though it may differentiate two, or even just one levelled universal grade. Segments that have three grades are called tricipites, those with two grades bicipites and those with only one universal grade simplex.

These lenition grades are:

Segment Lenition Grades
Class Gr. III Gr. II Gr. I
ʰT Ð
ʰCC ʰC

Vowel Simplification[edit | edit source]

Similar to its consonant lenition processes, Valani also has vowel simplification — in that it has a tendency to simplify diphthongs to monophthongs in specifically triggered morphophonological processes; it most often coincides with consonant lenition. Valani vowel simplification functions according to a principle of disharmonious distribution (vowel disharmony) where the resulting vowel is chosen to be as dissimilar from the following vowel as possible.

The simplification pathways are:

Vowel Simplifications
Source ‹VV› Next ‹V› Result ‹V› Example
ia i y û u ḁ́
á a ḁ́ ḁ́
e ø ô o
ie sieꝁꝁi
i y û u e sieꝁꝁi
ea i y û u
á a ḁ́ ḁ́
e ø ô o á
uo i y û u ô
á a ḁ́ ḁ́
e ø ô o
i y û u a
oa i y û u
e ø ô o
á a ḁ́ ḁ́ o

Nominals[edit | edit source]

Valani nominals come in two shapes: they can either be nouns or adjectives, and both of those categories have a corresponding set of pro-words. Each type of nominal declines for case and number, though each subtype has its own inflectional peculiarities.

Nouns[edit | edit source]

Valani nouns are the most open category of Valani nominals: they are the most readily expandable category that accepts the greatest amount of loans and derivations. They inflect only for case, possessedness and number. They are cited in the absolutive singular and plural, which their inflectional patterns are straightforwardly intuitable from. No Valani noun is monosyllabic: all are, at the very least, bisyllables.

Valani nouns come in four classes:

  • Even-stem fortis nouns — those that have an equal amount of syllables in the absolutive singular and plural; where the singular is more fortis than the singular (frequent)
  • Odd-stem fortis nouns — those that have one syllable more in the absolutive plural than in the singular; where the singular is more fortis than the singular (frequent)
  • Even-stem lenis nouns — same as even-stem fortes where the singular is more lenis than the plural (rarest)
  • Odd-stem lenis nouns — same as odd-stem fortes where the singular is more lenis than the plural (infrequent)

A further pair of non-leniting classes does exist, though its inflection doesn't actually differ from their fortis and lenis counterparts, and, as such, isn't treated as separate.

Valani nouns inflect for three numbers — singular, dual and plural — and nine cases:

  • Absolutive
  • Accusative
  • Ergative-Genitive
  • Benefactive
  • Locative
  • Lative
  • Durative
  • Essive
  • Oblique

Absolutive[edit | edit source]

The Valani absolutive case is the citation form of all nouns: its singular and plural provide sufficient knowledge to fully decline every Valani noun. It is used to mark the majority of intransitive arguments of verbs: some verbs may use a different case (most frequently the accusative) either as a morpholexical quirk or as a way to provide different information (usually volition or a different thematic role).

The absolutive:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF sieꝁꝁi seꝁi-s seꝁi-d
OSF sommug somug-is somug-ud
ESL sárƀe sárppe-s sárppe-d
OSL soaƀug sahpug-is sahpug-ud
(ESN) áda áda-s áda-d
(OSN) segar segar-is segar-ad

All noun types have the same lenition grade in the dual and the plural of the absolutive. All diphthongs simplify in the dual and plural.

Accusative[edit | edit source]

The Valani accusative most frequently (see: absolutive) marks the patient argument of transitive verbs.

The accusative:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF sieꝁi sieꝁ-as sieꝁ-ad
OSF sommug-a somug-as somug-ad
ESL sárƀe sárƀ-as sárƀ-ad
OSL soahpug-a soaƀug-as soaƀug-ad
(ESN) áda ád-as ád-ad
(OSN) segar-a segar-as segar-ad

Nouns that end in a consonant get an <-a> in the singular, and vowel-final words have their final vowel replaced with the suffix's vowel in the dual and plural. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the accusative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the accusative.

Ergative-Genitive[edit | edit source]

The Valani ergative-genitive — or, simply, ergative — serves a dual purpose: it marks for the agent argument of transitive verbs on one hand, and marks possessors of alienable possession on the other.

The ergative:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF seꝁꝁi-n siꝁ-as siꝁ-a
OSF sommug somug-as somug-aŧ
ESL sárƀe-n sárpp-as sárpp-a
OSL saƀug sahppug-as sahppug-aŧ
(ESN) áda-n ád-as ád-a
(OSN) segar segar-as segar-aŧ

All numbers of the ergative require diphthong simplification. Vowel-final words take <-n> in the singular, and consonant-final words get an additional <-ŧ> in the plural. The lenition grade of the ergative singular, and dual and plural are the same as in the absolutive.

Benefactive[edit | edit source]

The Valani benefactive marks for various oblique arguments: benefactors, recipients, malefactors and destinations.

The benefactive:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF seꝁi-gim seꝁi-gis seꝁi-giŧ
OSF sommug-gim sommug-gis sommug-giŧ
ESL sárƀe-gim sárƀe-gis sárƀe-giŧ
OSL sahppug-gim sahppug-gis sahppug-giŧ
(ESN) áda-gim áda-gis áda-giŧ
(OSN) segar-ǥim segar-ǥis segar-ǥiŧ

All diphthongs are simplified in the benefactive. Even-stem nouns are lenited in all numbers, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortified. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.

Locative[edit | edit source]

The Valani locative marks for general static proximity to an object. It is often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.

The locative:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF sieꝁ-ûn sieꝁ-ûgus sieꝁ-ûgud
OSF sommug-ûn somug-gus somug-gud
ESL sárƀ-ûn sárƀ-ûgus sárƀ-ûgud
OSL soahpug-ûn soaƀug-gus soaƀug-gud
(ESN) ád-ûn ád-ûgus ád-ûgud
(OSN) segar-ûn segar-ǥus segar-ǥud

Odd-stem nouns have the same amount of syllables in all numbers of the locative, whereas even-stems gain another syllable. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the locative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the locative. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.

Lative[edit | edit source]

The Valani lative marks for general motion towards or from an object. It is often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.

The lative:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF sieꝁ-i sieꝁ-imgis sieꝁ-imgid
OSF sommug-i somug-iim somug-iin
ESL sárƀ-i sárƀ-imgis sárƀ-imgid
OSL soahpug-i soaƀug-iim soaƀug-iin
(ESN) ád-i ád-imgis ád-imgid
(OSN) segar-i segar-iim segar-iin

Odd-stem nouns have the same amount of syllables in all numbers of the lative, whereas even-stems gain another syllable. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the lative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the locative.

Durative[edit | edit source]

The Valani durative case denotes temporal parallelism, as well as serving some other, more adverbial roles. It is also often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.

The durative:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF seꝁi-im seꝁi-ihcca seꝁi-idda
OSF sommug-im sommug-gis sommug-gid
ESL sárƀe-m sárƀe-hcca sárƀe-dda
OSL sahppug-im sahppug-gis sahppug-gid
(ESN) áda-m áda-hcca áda-dda
(OSN) segar-im segar-ris segar-rid

All diphthongs are simplified in the durative. Even-stem nouns are lenited in all numbers, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortified. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.

Essive[edit | edit source]

The Valani essive marks for resemblance in form, shape, function or connotation. It is also often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.

The essive:

Singular Dual Plural
ESF sieꝁꝁi-ig seꝁ-áiƀus seꝁ-áidus
OSF sommug-u somug-uƀus somug-udus
ESL sárppe-ig sárpp-áiƀus sárpp-áidus
OSL soahppug-u sahppug-uƀus sahppug-udus
(ESN) áda-ig ád-áiƀus ád-áidus
(OSN) segar-u segar-aƀus segar-adus

The dual and plural of the essive require diphthong simplification. Declensions of even and odd stems differs slightly. Lenis nouns are fortified in all numbers, whereas fortis nouns are fortis in the singular and lenited in the dual and plural.

Oblique[edit | edit source]

The Valani oblique is a catch-all case for most Valani prepositions and postpositions. It is also frequently used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.

Singular Dual Plural
ESF siꝁꝁ-en siꝁ-osen siꝁ-oden
OSF soŋg-en soŋg-osen soŋg-oden
ESL sárƀ-en sárpp-osen sárpp-oden
OSL saƀg-en saƀg-osen saƀg-oden
(ESN) ád-en ád-osen ád-oden
(OSN) segar-en segar-osen segar-oden

All noun types have the same lenition grade as they do in the absolutive. The oblique requires that all diphthongs be simplified. Some nouns have an irregular oblique: e.g. odd-stemmed nouns ending in <-ug> lose the <-u-> in the oblique.

Overview[edit | edit source]

This table gives an overview of Valani case-number inflectional suffixes and stem alternation processes:

Case-Number Inflection
Case Sing. Dual Plur. Sing. Dual Plur.
Even-Stem Fortis Even-Stem Lenis
BEN SLS-Vgim SLS-Vgis SLS-Vgiŧ SLS-Vgim SLS-Vgis SLS-Vgiŧ
LOC SLD-ûn SLD-ûgus SLD-ûgud SLD-ûn SLD-ûgus SLD-ûgud
LAT SLD-i SLD-imgis SLD-imgid SLD-i SLD-imgis SLD-imgid
DUR SLS-V(i)m SLS-V(i)hcca SLS-V(i)dda SLS-V(i)m SLS-V(i)hcca SLS-V(i)dda
ESS SFD-Vig SLS-áiƀus SLS-áidus SFD-Vig SFS-áiƀus SFS-áidus
OBL SFS-en SLS-osen SLS-oden SLS-en SFS-osen SFS-oden
Case Sing. Dual Plur. Sing. Dual Plur.
Odd-Stem Fortis Odd-Stem Lenis
ACC SFD-a SLD-as SLD-ad SFD-a SLD-as SLD-ad
BEN SFS-gim SFS-gis SFS-giŧ SFS-gim SFS-gis SFS-giŧ
LOC SFD-ûn SLD-gus SLD-gud SFD-ûn SLD-gus SLD-gud
LAT SFD-i SLD-iim SLD-iin SFD-i SLD-iim SLD-iin
ESS SFD-u SLS-uƀus SLS-udus SFD-u SFS-uƀus SFS-udus
OBL SFS-en SLS-osen SLS-oden SLS-en SFS-osen SFS-oden

Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Pronouns[edit | edit source]

Pro-adjectives[edit | edit source]

Verbs[edit | edit source]

Syntax[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Civic Valani/Lexicon
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