|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Edebro ([ˌɛdɛˈbro̞], lit. "clear tongue," and sometimes spelled Ede Bro in English) is the national and official language of Gxambfan, a nation located on the southwestern corner of Kadsrasan, the northeastern continent of the planet Aysling.
Classification and Dialects
Edebro is a well-known language isolate, although research is ongoing regarding possible affiliations with other languages. Despite the lack of confirmed relatives, however, Edebro does have some dialectal variation of its own. A slightly modified version of the dialect of Arsingxara, the capital of Gxambfan, is taken as the standard form of the language; this standard is the form reflected in this article unless otherwise noted.
Edebro has a fairly average-sized consonant inventory, with 19 total consonant phonemes. Its inventory is fairly standard in its contents as well, with the notable features being its series of palatalized coronals, and the phonemes which are realized in most dialects (including the standard) as affricates, of which /p͡ɸ/ and /k͡x/ are unusual.
|Plosive||p pʰ||t tʰ tʲ tʲʰ||k kʰ|
The most salient of consonantal allophony in Edebro is the typical intervocalic voicing of non-aspirated obstruents, including affricates; this voicing also applies in clusters with voiced consonants (i.e. sonorants). The sibilants /s/ and /ʃ/ may also voice to [z] and [ʒ], respectively, when in a coda preceding a nasal stop in the following onset. Furthermore, the liquid /rʲ/ may be realized as [j] in consonant clusters in the standard dialect, while in some non-standard dialects it may be realized as such in all positions, leaving [rʲ] and [j] to be in free variation in such dialects.
In the actual dialect of Arsingxara, the bilabial and velar affricates are reduced to fricatives, however this is a shift unreflected in the standard form of the language.
Even more average than Edebro's consonants are its vowels, which form the common five vowel system.
Despite the fairly small inventory, Edebro vowels do not exhibit significant allophony. The mid vowels do lower, however, to [ɛ] and [ɔ] before phonetically voiced consonants (so this includes voiceless stops which have been intervocalically voiced). Additionally, non-low vowels in word-initial position receive epenthetic glides when the preceding word also ends in a vowel.
While the dialect of Arsingxara, and the standard form, lack diphthongs, some dialects retain diphthongs from older forms of the language. Such diphthongs include /ai/, /au/, /ei/, /ou/, /ia/ and /ua/; these have been monophthongized to /e/, /o/, /i/, /u/, /a/, and /a/, respectively, in the varieties that lack them.
Edebro's syllables may consist of a maximum of CCVC. Syllable onsets may consist of any lone consonant or a cluster of a plosive or nasal with a liquid. A nucleus, of course, may be any vowel. Syllable codas in Edebro may only be a sibilant fricative or sonorant.
Stress in Edebro is contrastive, and plays a key role in distinguishing nouns from verbs. Nouns are typically marked with word-final stress, while verbs are usually marked with penultimate stress.
Stress may optionally be indicated with an acute on the stressed vowel; this is typically done in dictionaries, but otherwise omitted from writing. Digraphs, besides those involving <j>, ought to have both elements capitalized when capitalized, but this is often neglected.
Edebro nouns are morphologically quite simple. They do not inflect for case or definiteness, although they do decline according to number. While singular nouns remain unmarked, plural nouns are marked through reduplication, of the first CV pair in consonant-initial nouns, and of the first vowel with an epenthetic glide in vowel-initial nouns. An example of both is demonstrated in the following table:
|flower||bfumí [p͡fʊˈmi]||bfubfumí [ˌp͡fub͡vʊˈmi]|
|dog||anjásj [əˈnʲaʃ]||aanjásj [ˌəɦəˈnʲaʃ]|
In front vowels, the epenthetic glide is [j]; in back vowels, it is [w]; and in the low vowel /a/, it is [ɦ] as seen above. Nouns also do not have gender, although they do have an inherent animacy level. This animacy level is not marked explicitly on the noun itself, but will be relevant later for verbal conjugation.
Edebro has few personal pronouns, having only true pronouns for the first and second persons. However, demonstratives can also be used in a standalone fashion that act as third person pronouns. The pronouns are presented in the table below.
When used as a standalone pronoun, demonstratives have an optional plural form formed via reduplication. These are typically only used when the context would otherwise leave ambiguity.
Personal pronouns do not vary in form for case, and do not have distinct possessive forms. Possession by pronoun is instead constructed the same way as possession by a regular noun.
In Edebro, all clauses (with one exception, which will be covered later) require two parts to express the function of a verb: a lexical verb and an auxiliary verb.
While the lexical verb, which carries the semantic content of the action or state being described, does not inflect for any grammatical information itself, the auxiliary verb inflects for categories of transitivity, inversivity, voice, tense, and mood. The forms of auxiliary verb appear in the chart below.
|copular||unergative intransitive||unaccusative intransitive||direct transitive||inverse intransitive||passive||antipassive||proverb|
Lexical verbs may be either active or stative. While stative verbs will typically take the copular auxiliary, active verbs may take the intransitive, direct or inverse, and some active verbs, such as verbs of movement, may also take the copular auxiliary.
As Edebro is a direct-inverse language, the auxiliary verb makes a distinction in inversivity in transitive clauses. The direct form of the auxiliary verb is used in clauses in which the more animate noun is taking the role of the agent, while the inverse form is used when the less animate noun is the agent. Therefore, a sentence like sjúrjo anjásj tjo mas translates to "a man saw a dog," while the same sentence but replacing mas with mare results in a translation as "a dog saw a man."
Edebro is a head-final language with a mandatory auxiliary verb. As such, its underlying default word order is SOVA (subject, object, verb, auxiliary). However, as Edebro is topic-prominent, this is often not the order that actually surfaces. Both topic and focus are mandatory in all transitive matrix clauses, except when both arguments are pronouns, as pronouns cannot be focused. Topics are fronted to the beginning of the clause, and focuses immediately precede the auxiliary verb. The auxiliary verb always appears at the end of a clause, apart from any complementizer that may be present.
Because there is no morphological case marking on nouns, and word order is complicated by the topic-comment structure, Edebro has no morphosyntactic case. Instead, to indicate the roles of arguments in transitive clauses, nouns are inherently ranked on an animacy hierarchy; nouns higher on the hierarchy are the agent by default. In cases where the lower animacy argument is the agent, the auxiliary verb is marked with an inverse marker, -re, which indicates that the arguments' roles are reversed. This system is known as direct-inverse alignment.
Additionally, as there is no agreement marking on verbs, Edebro is not pro-drop; pronouns must always be explicit. Furthermore, there are no articles such as 'a' or 'the', but Edebro does have a set of demonstratives, ru 'this (inan.)', dsa 'that (inan.)', ki 'this (anim.)', and dsjas 'that (anim.)'; which also function as the third person pronouns. These words reduplicate for plurality when functioning as pronouns, but not when determiners.
Edebro employs serial verb constructions, often for expressions that would be conveyed in English using adverbs. In these constructions, the clause has two or more lexical verbs, but only one agent and one auxiliary verb; there may be more than one patient, however. In cases with multiple patients, patients may intercede the lexical verbs, but only one may be focused. Other uses for serial verb constructions in Edebro are to express causally or temporally linked actions, or actions/events with more than two arguments.
Edebro has no true adjectives, but rather stative verbs that must occur alongside the copular auxiliary o. When modifying a noun, these stative verbs occur within a relative clause. Relative clauses are constructed using a gapped construction with a relativizer particle, which appears as the clitic =m(i). Relative clauses, in accordance with head-final tendencies, precede their heads.
Edebro indicates possession via a locative construction, and makes a distinction between alienable and inalienable possession. Alienable possession is expressed with the postposition e 'at', while inalienable possession is indicated with the postposition no 'on'. In possessive clauses, the possessor is expressed as an argument, and the possessee as an adpositional phrase, linked by the copular auxiliary o.
Simple polar questions are formed by the addition of the question particle, sje, to the end of the clause, following the auxiliary verb. Content questions are formed using interrogative pronouns, which are always placed in the focused position, preceding the auxiliary verb.
Imperatives are formed by omitting the auxiliary verb (or in other analyses, by use of a zero auxiliary), and in those cases directed towards a second person singular, the subject. In the latter cases, the lexical verb may appear alone, or followed by objects or adpositional phrases. In second person plural or first person plural imperatives, the pronoun always occurs before the verb (effectively in the topic position).
|2||you (singular)||ne, gon|
|37||man (adult male)||tjo|
|38||man (human being)||odóm|
|Edebro||Da njebi ne e imben ma gxo, dsa ge djo dan e mo bro o rja.|
|English||I love your silence, for in it are all languages at once.|
|IPA||[ˈta ˈnʲe̞bi ˈne̞ je̞ jɪmˈbe̞n ˈma k͡xo̞ ˈt͡sa ke̞ tʲo̞ ˈtan e̞ mo̞ ˈbro̞ ˈwo̞ rʲa]|
|Gloss||1S love 2S at silence TR.PRS so, DIST in one time at all tongue COP.PRS for|
|Edebro||Niba no, na mruma nre bfar sjurjo gagandsen mas: brima gaban os mi rjombfe mas mi djo r, goro ko os mi moge mas mi djo r, tidsji goro tjo mas mi djo. Bfar gagandsen dsji era: « Da no njona baru sjurjo tirjo gagandsen ma m tjo ke mre, » mas. Gagandsen era: « Nagom, bfar, mes no njonjona baru ni sese mes sjurjo ru: tjo, dsa odorgxom, asji o m diturj bfar no mruma du som dsa dsjam sum ma di. Bfar no mruma on gxo. » Bfar susos ru ke du tosjobfa rjakintam so nis.|
|English||On a hill, a sheep that had no wool saw horses, one of them pulling a heavy wagon, one carrying a big load, and one carrying a man quickly. The sheep said to the horses: "My heart pains me, seeing a man driving horses." The horses said: "Listen, sheep, our hearts pain us when we see this: a man, the master, makes the wool of the sheep into a warm garment for himself. And the sheep has no wool." Having heard this, the sheep fled into the plain.|
|IPA||[niˈba no̞ nə mrʊˈma nre̞ ˈp͡far ˈʃurʲo̞ ˌkəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈmas | ˈbrimə ˈkabən ˈo̞zmi rʲɔmˈb͡ve̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞r ˈko̞ro̞ ˈkʰo̞ ˈwo̞zmi mɔˈge̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞r ˈtʰid͡ʒi ˈko̞ro̞ ˈtʲʰo̞ ˈmazmi ˈtʲo̞ | p͡far kəgənˈd͡ze̞n t͡ʃi ˈje̞rə | ˈta no̞ nʲɔˈna ˈparu ˈʃurʲo̞ ˈtʰirʲo̞ kəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈmam ˈtʲʰo̞ ˈkʰe̞ ˈmre̞ | ˈmas | kəgənˈd͡ze̞n ˈe̞ra | ˈnakɔm ˈp͡far ˈme̞s no̞ ˌnʲɔnʲɔˈna ˈparu ˈni sɛˈze̞ ˈme̞s ˈʃurʲo̞ ˈru | ˈtʲʰo̞ t͡sə ˌwɔdɔrˈg͡ɣo̞m ˈaʒi ˈwo̞m tiˈtʰuj ˈp͡far no̞ mrʊˈma tu ˈso̞m t͡sə ˈt͡ʃam sʊm ˈmadi | ˈp͡far no̞ mrʊˈma ˈwo̞n k͡xo̞ | ˈp͡far ˈsuzo̞s ˈru ˈkʰe̞ tu ˈtʰo̞ʒɔb͡və ˌrʲəkʰɪnˈtʰam so̞ ˈnis]|
|Gloss||hill on, no wool with sheep see PL~horse TR.PST | pull heavy COP.PST=REL wagon TR.PST=REL one=and, carry big COP.PST=REL load TR.PST=REL one=and, fast carry man TR.PST=REL one | sheep PL~horse to say | 1S on heart hurt see drive PL~horse TR.PRS=REL man INF TR.PRS.INV | TR.PST | PL~horse say | listen, sheep, 1P on PL~heart hurt when 1P see PROX | man, DIST master, warm COP.PRS=REL garment sheep on wool from make DIST same for TR.PRS=SR | sheep on wool COP.PRS-NEG so | sheep hear PROX INF from flee plain into INTR.PST|