The basic letters, i.e., those without diacritics are pronounced as in English, except “j” which is pronounces at a “y” would be and “y” in Sangi is pronounced as it is in Finnish. There is no “k”, “q” or “x” but there are four additional letters. “þ” and “ð” are pronounced as the “th” is in “bath” and “bathe” respectively. These two extra letters are more commonly written as ŧ and đ in more informal writing. A "u" with an umlaut is pronounced as the "u" in RP "but" and "e" with an umlaut is the schwa in "father". An "o" with an umlaut is pronounced as in German. As you can see, even though Sangi is a descendant of English it has developed new sounds which are unfamiliar to the English tongue, including a set of rounded front vowels and a series of retroflex consonants.
An circumflex accent over a vowel makes it long. An grave accent indicates I-Mutation and an acute accent indicates A-Mutation. The letters “a:” and “u:” represent the schwa and the “u” in “but” in RP. There are a few other diacritics for vowels, but these shall be covered in the Vowel Mutation section.
An acute accent over a consonant indicates that it is palatal, so “c”, “g”, “s”, “z” will be pronounced “ch”, “j”, “sh” and “zh” respectively. The Cedilla under the consonants “t”, “d”, “n”, “l”, “r”, “s” and “z” create the “retroflex consonants”. In spite of the name, most of these consonants are true palatal consonants, unlike the “palatal” consonants, which are alveolar-post-alveolar affricates. “t”, “d”, “n” and “l” with the cedilla are pronounced “c”, “ɟ”, “ɲ” and “ʎ” respectively, while an “r” with a cedilla is a retroflex “ɽ”. The pronunciation of “s” and “z” with a cedilla is not generally set, and they can appear as retroflex (ʂ/ʐ) alveo-palatal (ɕ/ʑ) or even velar (x/ɣ). Usually they are pronounced as alveo-palatal consonants before “i” and “e”, velar before “a”, “o” and at the end of a word, and retroflex in other environments. The sound they take when next to a consonant is the one most similar to that consonant, but is more prone to differences between speaker to speaker. They do also appear as “ç” and “ʝ” when in a cluster with true palatals. If a retroflex consonant is created by a following "r" then this "r" is lost completely. If the consonant is created by a preceding "r" then this following "r" is retained as a retroflex one instead.
The most basic of all words in Sangi are derived from Modern (British) English words, mostly of Germanic origin, through a series of phonological changes. The term Modern British here does not stand for RP, instead it represents a version of English in which features such as the long "a" in "grass" are pronounced short and which is not rhotic. Overall it represents something similar to my own version of English but retains the alveolar "t" (although the fact I pronounce it as a glottal stop in some cases is the reason I chose to make it fall out of use completely in word final positions, replaced by a sound change which caused the final t to reappear in the language).
There are also a large number of consonant and vowel mutations which occur at morpheme boundaries and within the words themselves.
When creating a new word from an English base, the consonants are changed first according to their environments. Next the vowels are changed. This linear process is followed with only two exceptions. They involve the change of medial and final consonants. If the vowel before the medial or final consonant becomes a vowel followed by a consonant, i.e. r, then this change occurs before the consonant change.
|Plosive||p [p] b [b]||t [t] d [d]||ț [c] ḑ [ɟ]||c [k] g [g]|
|Nasal||m̌ [m̥] m [m]||ň [n̥] n [n]||ņ̌ [ɲ̊] ņ [ɲ]||ŋ̌ [ŋ̊] ŋ [ŋ]|
|Fricative||f [f] v [v]||þ/ŧ [θ] ð/đ [ð]||s [s] z [z]||ś [ʃ] ź [ʒ]||ș [ʂ] ẓ [ʐ]||ș, h [ç] ẓ [ʝ]||ș, h [x] ẓ [ɣ]||h [h]|
|Affricate||ć [tʃ] ǵ [dʒ]||șț [çc] ẓḑ [ʝɟ]|
|Approximant||w [ʋ]||j [j]|
|Tap or Flap||ř [r̥] r [r]||ŗ [ɽ]|
|Lateral Fricative||ł [ɬ] ł [ɮ*]|
|Lateral Approximant||l [l]||ļ [ʎ]|
- ɮ is an allophone of ɬ which appears before voiced consonants.
ɕ and ʑ also exist as allophones of ç/ʂ/x and ʝ/ʐ/ɣ (possible underlying ç and ʝ) The letter "ŵ" represents the phoneme /w/, the same as the english "w", and the letter "ĵ" represents the sound sequence "hj" but is, in more careful speech, a voicless counterpart to j.
|Close||i [i] î [i:] . y [y] ŷ [y:]||u [u] û [u:]|
|Mid||e [e] ê [e:] . ö [œ]||ä [ə]||ü [ʌ] . o [o] ô [o:]|
|Open||a [a] â [a:]|
Allowed combinations of vowels are very varied and depend on local traditions on epenthesis.
The changes which a sound is subject to are dependent (usually) on its position in the word and the surrounding sounds. There are several exceptions to the position rule, especially governing final "t" and CC and VC clusters involving a final "t".
Phonological Processes at Morpheme BoundariesEdit
As part of the nature of the phonology of the language only voiceless consonants (includding clusters) and the “r”, “l”, “n” and “m” can occur at the ends of words. If a voiced consonant, a voiced-final consonant cluster or a geminate cluster occurs, then the letter “-i” is placed after them, although in most spoken cases, the final voiced consonant remains without a final -i if the next word begins with a vowel or the same voiced consonant and in some cases the final voiced consonant is instead devoiced, like in German. So a word like "ed-" (meaning "edge") would be written "edi" or "ed'" depending on the next word but pronounced either as "edi", "ed" or "et" while some dialects will allow even more ways to pronounce the final "d".
When one sound occurs next to another at morpheme boundaries certain sound changes may occur, such as gemination, assimilation and even unexpected forms and combination results. There are only a few sounds which are immune from these processes, but most sounds in Sangi must undergo them.
Complete Phonological MergersEdit
Some words in English with different sounds merge completely in Sangi. With this in mind, most basic English words will have two or more forms in Sangi, one derived directly from the English form, one derived from the root word plus the actor in the comitative as a prefix and one derived from another word to stave off ambiguity. In reality, either form may be used, somtimes within the same conjugation or declension paradigm, the new form being the basic root and the original being used when sound changes rmove such ambiguity. This, however, is done rarely as it as the tendency to create very complicated paradigms. Because of this, each form is used based on context, i.e. if the maning is easily understood, then the root form is used, if any ambiguity arises then the word is defined using its synonym.
As said above, there are a large number of consonant and vowel mutations which occur at morpheme boundaries and within the words themselves. There are, in total, four consonant mutations and four vowel mutations.
The four different consonant mutations are I-affection, A-affection, plural mutation and stem gradation. I-affection and A-affection do not affect the meaning of the word and are simply phonological processes which affect the last consonant[s] of the word. Plural mutation and stem gradation, on the other hand, help in changing the meaning of the word.
There are two sets of vowel mutation, both with two further subsets. One set is pure mutation which causes a semantic change is the word. The other is affection, which is caused by pure vowel mutation.
Verbs are possibly the most important class of words in Sangi. Because their conjugation includes different endings for the subject, object and secondary objects, it is possible to drop all pronouns used in a sentence and it will be understood. This means that the verb is the only part of the sentence necessary for the sentence to be complete.
Nouns are nowhere near as complicated, in terms of structure, verbs are, but the number of suffixes available to choose from for certain slots is much higher. They also have a complex set of phonological rules through which number and case are defined. Full use of all slots leads to a number of forms for each noun exceeding fifty-four thousand, more specifically the full number of forms is 54,181. All consonantal suffixes which follow a consonant which do not become geminate or which would change the sound of the suffix itself have an epenthetic schwa placed before it, e.g. top-ma>tomma, toc-ca>tocca, but tob-ca> tobica, not "tobga".
Sangi Adjectives decline in a simialr way to nouns, but for fewer cases and no number. They have, however, a complex comparitive system and the ability to carry demonstrative and indefinite suffixes in place of the pronouns themselves. With adjectives not declining for case and possessive and the like, full adjective declension leads to 155 forms.
Sangi derivation usaually affects verbs in there form. Nouns and adjectives can be used interchangeabley with only a change in how the can be declined.
There are seven classes of pronoun in Sangi, each one declined as if it were a noun. These classes are personal, demonstrative, interrogative, temporal, spatial relative and indefinite.
The numbers can easily be seen to have derived from English as many of them have the same general sounds.
1 - an
2 - su
3 - tri
4 - wo
5 - wáw
6 - dikra
7 - deben
8 - é
9 - nán
10 - ćen
Numbers 11 to 19 are built up on the system "10+number", e.g. ćen-an (11), ćen-wo (14) and so on. Numbers 20 to 99 are built on the system "number-multiplicative-10-number", e.g. suntćen (20), éntćen-nán (89) and so on. Higher numbers are built up in this manner, attaching the multiplicative suffix to the number and placing the multiple of ten after it.
The words for higher multiples of ten are:
100 - aņțes
1000 - túðen
10000 - ćenden
100000 - aņțesten
1000000 - mijjen
An example of a higher number is dikrantmijjen-suntaņțes-wontćen-su (142)
Unlike in English, the main sentence structure is VSO (verb-subject-object). The sentence is built around the principle of what is viewed as the most important feature first. This means that verbs always come first, nouns afterwards, adjectives come after nouns and adverbs come after verbs. Pronouns are rarely used in written form, but long winded verb constructions mean that in the spoken language they are used for all cases but the nominative. The word order, however, is not fixed and entirely up to the individual, VSO is simply the most common, giving more specific information about what happened as the sentence develops.
A note on "I love you"Edit
The number of intensifiers and pronouns means that the single English phrase “I love you” can be said many different ways in Sangi using a single word “Lawel”. If it is conjugated with the intensive suffix it can mean “adore” if this is then used with the desirative pronoun it can mean something even stronger. If used with the honorific pronoun it can mean “respect” and “love” at the same time. The combinations vary in meaning from person to person as verbs of emotion in any language never convey the actual feeling intended to be described by the speaker. This idea is representative of a large scale phenomenon in which suffix and pronoun choice can affect the overall meaning of a sentence, which occurs most often with verbs of emotion. Overall, this can make describing the exact feeling easier than it is in English.
Here are the words of the Swadesh list in English and Sangi as well as some other words which are generally used every day.
Accents and DialectsEdit
There are a number of accents and dialects which differ from standard Sangi with varying degrees of difference, ranging from just sounds, to lexicon and even grammar.
Context and CultureEdit
Sangi was developed using my knowledge of phonetics, morphology and linguistic change. I started with a base vocabulary, i.e. English words of Germanic origin and applied a set of sound change rules to these. Next I developed a series of grammatical suffixes influenced by Finnish and Estonian. I wanted to add a bit of a natural feel to the language so I developed a set of sound changes to create a degree of spoken ambiguity. For example, plurality was originally marked by the suffix -i or -t depending on the final sound of the word. This later became -[i]t and then the -t was dropped all together. I looked at languages like Welsh and Norse, dropped the -i and developed an i-mutation rule. I added other morpho-phonological rules to cause further changes of the stem based on context. So the language is almost entirely unnatural but the ambiguity in the spoken language gives it a kind of natural feel.
Overall, various in-word process have been borrowed from Finnish, Welsh, Norse and Russian with an English based vocabulary and a Turkish style conjugation system.
The conworld developed for Sangi is actually a conworld developed earlier which hit a dead end. I used it for a similar purpose, but the overall outcome is different. Originally the planet was inhabited by a non-human species created by mankind as a social experiment, and only 6 languages were used. In its new incarnation, humans were the inhabitants and the original linguistic diversity was much greater.
Origins and the PlanetEdit
The Sun, System and PlanetEdit
The world's inhabitants are originally from Earth but now occupy their present planet, known by Sangi speakers as "ömentis", for political and social reasons which caused them to leave Earth. However, prior to the arrival of the colonists several generations of people were kept separate from a select few of the whole in order for them to create a society whose earthly origins were unknown, removing the Earth as a place and instead creating the idea that "Earth" is a concept or state of being which was undesirable.
ömentis was drawn up into maps before the people landed. It has 6 continents, each named after a member of the "mythology" of the colonists. These members of the mythology are actually the most notable 6 people who originally conceived of the idea to move away from the Earth. Their names, however, have been distorted over the generations it took the colonising ships to reach the new world so even the original nature of the people has been changed, each one now representing an ideal trait that the people hold. These traits, however, have not become stereotypes of the people of these continents, they are merely names and the people know this.
The continents names are Chika, Siilo, Kachka, Laana, Huulu and Randis. Each continent was chosen to be colonised by speakers of different languages based on the size of the continent, each ship having a different language. Chika, Kachka, Huulu and Laana were colonised by two groups each, which Siilo and Randis were only colonised by one group each.
Laana is seen as the equivalent to Africa, as it lies across the equator of the planet with a desert at this point. The speaker of Sangi colonised the southern portion of Laana where the temperature was cooler. Chika lies directly north of Laana, joined to it by a small area of land. It is mostly mountainous desert continent, divided into three main areas by two mountain ranges running from north to south at either end of the middle of the landmass. It was on the outer edges of these mountain ranges that the settlers placed themselves. Kachka lies westward from Laana across the ocean, running across from east to west just below the equator, with the two colonising groups landing on either end of this continent. Huulu lies east of the northern part Laana, forming a "L" shape, if the "L" were rotated 180 degrees. One group colonised the horizontal area while the other settled in the vertical area. The last two continents, colonised only by single groups, Siilo and Randis, are found further towards the poles than the other continents. Siilo is south-east of Laana, running along the southern polar circle. The strangest feature of Siilo is the small island that run along it's non-polar coast, forming a barrier which prevents travel to and from the continent by sea. This feature was not discovered until after the colonisation, and the abandonment of any air or space travel meant the settlers were trapped, leading later generations to believe the outside world was merely a myth. Randis lies to the north-west of Chika, and although larger than Siilo, reaching into the northern polar circle and almost reaching the northern pole, the northern half is almost permanently snow-covered, meaning the colonists were forced to live exclusively in the southern half for a better chance of initial survival.
There are a number of islands that exist apart from the six main landmasses but these were never colonised by the settlers. They were, though, settled later on in the planet's history as the population grew. The entire planet is generally Buddhist to some degree, minus a few places in the north of the planet, but apart from this the cultures of each society is different. Usually this is down to which ship the people arrived on as most of them developed similar cultures over time. Typically most societies, like on Earth, are either agricultural or hunter-gatherers to varying extents. In general Sangi speakers are sedentary hunter-gatherers with some agricultural methods employed to back up poor yield years which usually involve small garden farms and the famring of small animals at most the size of goats. They do also use horses but only in certain areas, for transport and milk, but not for agricultural work, similar to the Mongolian nomads.
The three languages already mentioned to be spoken on this planet are Sangi, and English ancestor, Western Chika, Tibetan with Sanskrit and Proto-Sino-Tibetan lexical influences, Siilo, actually pure Tibetan. The other 7 are actually pure languages from Earth. Randis speaks the various Sami languages and Finnish (the former spoken in the east and south, the latter spoken in the west and north). Portuguese is spoken in Northern Huulu while Classical Arabic is spoken in the south. In Eastern Kachka Hindi is spoken with Russian in the west. In the north of Laana Swahili is spoken with Japanese in eastern Chika. Alongside these are a number of minority languages, usually related to the major ones, which are spoken in a few small pockets of the area, either internally or on the borders. Originally, all of the languages had an equal number of speakers, roughly anyway, but during the journey from Earth, intermarriage and the need for a single language of communication led to the gradual decline in certain languages, although they were all taught by parents. In Siilo, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese are spoken in the mountainous regions, with smaller numbers of Vietnamese speakers on the coast with a large number of Dzongkha speakers in the north-east of the continent. The western coast of northern Huulu is dotted with small areas of Spanish, Romanian, Italian and French speakers with smaller numbers of Esperanto seakers and even smaller numbers of Latin speakers, with Latin being the Lingua Franca of this area, even among the Portuguese speakers. The far west of Randis has a small enclave of Estonian and Hungarian speakers with a very small number of Lithuanian speakers in the polar regions who have no contact with the outside world, hence they did not fully adopt Buddhism, rather they mixed it with a developed pagan relgion. Southern Huulu has enclaves of Hebrew and Berber speakers in the central plains and Persian and Kurdish speakers on the coast as well as Turkish speakers in the northern area. The far east of Kachka has a number of languages spoken on the coast or in long enclaves with narrow areas which are Greek, Sanskrit, Punjabi and Gujurati, while the far west there is Ukrainian and then the Bosno-Serbo-Croat language and Czech-Slovak language as well as Armenian and Georgian in very small numbers spoken in the centre of the continent, as well as Macedonian and Bulgarian. There are small numbers of Zulu speakers in the area of land between Laana and Chika with a gradually spreading group of Afrikaans and Dutch speakers heading north into the Chikan desert. The north east of Chika there are a number of Korean and Manchu speakers as well as a number of Ainu speakers. Along the north of Chika, and to the south of this on the edges of the central desert are a small number of Native American languages, namely, those which were most widely spoken on Earth, Ojibwe, Navajo, Inuktitut and Greenlandic, Quechua and Nahuatl brought along on ships all over the fleet of 10 by request that the American languages should be represented, as such the eastern part of the territory also has a the three most widely spoken Australian languages, Arrernte, Kala Lagaw Ya and Western Desert language, as well as Tamil and Telugu to represest Dravidian speakers. A strange development occured with the Scandinavian, German and English languages. Although they arrived with Sangi in Southern Laana, the original state of divison has lead to a large number of Germanic speakers to be found as far north as northern Chika, having crossed the central desert early on. The languages which can be found are Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Scots and English, as well as the non-Germanic French, Welsh, Irish Gaelic and even small numbers of Polish and Lithuanian speakers. The largest numbers of these speakers live on the very southern part of Laana, but smaller numbers are found running all the way up, all of whom also speak Sangi as a Lingua Franca. As a result of only these languages existing on the planet, the linguistic diversity is much much lower than on Earth. This does, however, mean that more people are able to understand each toher across great distances and the languages used between groups of people is not as great an issue as most people who speak minority languages are bilingual and understood by speakers of majority languages in the local area. The languages of the islands are most often the languages of the majority but sometimes the coastal languages will also be found on these islands as well, but these usually end up being found isolated on an island, with only that language being spoken. The reason for greater linguistic diversity in Laana and Chika is because of the sheer size of the joint landmass. It allowed each language space to exist and grow in size without interfering in the development of other languages, which is the reasoning of the original settlers.
- North – Lithuanian, Latvian
- South and east – Sami
- North and west – Finnish
- Far west – Estonian and Hungarian enclaves
- West – Western Chika
- East – Japanese
- North-east – Korean, Manchu, Ainu, Mongolian, Tuvan
- South and Centre – Afrikaans, Dutch
- North - Inuktitut, Nahuatl, Quechua
- South - Navajo, Ojibwe
- East - Arrernte, Western Desert, Kala Lagaw Ya, Tamil, Telugu
- North – Swahili
- Bordering Chika – Zulu
- South – Sangi
- Far south – French, Welsh, Scots, English, German, Norwegian, Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Polish, Lithuanian, Irish Gaelic (these languages also appear all the way from the south of Laana to the north of Chika in small pockets)
- North – Portuguese
- West – Latin, Spanish, Romanian, French, Italian, Esperanto, Basque
- South – Classical Arabic
- Central plains – Hebrew, Berber
- Coast – Persian, Kurdish
- North – Turkish
- East – Hindi
- Far east – Greek, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Gujarati
- West – Russian
- Far west – Ukrainian
- East – Czechoslovak, Serbo-Croatian
- Macedonian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Georgian
- Mountains – Mandarin, Cantonese
- Coast – Vietnamese
- North-east – Dzongkha
The Mrāŋ, Buddhism and RandisEdit
On Omentis there are four major impacts and the planet during its history. One is the Mrāŋ an the spread of Mrāŋ Buddhism, the other is the lack of adoption of it by the northern people of Chika, really only a minor impact relatively, the pseudo-imperialism of Southerm Randis and the advancement of the people of Siilo. Over time, the universal conversion to Buddhism and the achievement of enlightenment caused to global population to plummet, leaving only a few thousand people remaining in lowland mountiain regions in Siilo who went on to survive for several hundreds of thousands of years unchanged.
Education and SocietyEdit
Art is different in this society. Writing is highly practiced and many novels, poems, etc. of all genres exist. The static visual arts, i.e. painting and scultpure, are rarely produced and those that are produced are rarely viewed. The realm of visual art is dominated by calligraphy and theatre. Theatre is divided into two classes, the opera, which combines the auditory arts and the visual, and the play, which combines the written arts with the visual. The auditory arts are divided in three; instrumental, vocal and mixed. All forms of art focus on the ideals of society. War is only mentioned in terms of a moral war or the war against oppressive regimes, originally meaning those of Earth, but now with unknown origins they are believed to be part of their creation; a world of people saved from their original state by transcending those who fought them downwards.
History is treated as a "high status" subject, or more accurately, one which is definitely worth knowing something about. Children are taught from very early on the history of their families, and the links between them and the rest of the community through carefully documented family trees, teaching them the values of interconnectedness and community spirit. More broad history, that which is common to Western societies, i.e the history of the people as a whole, is taught later on and all elements, good and bad, are looked at with as little prejudice in the teaching as possible.
Geography is a very person by person subject. Serious geography is only studied by few people who usually learn the specifics of their local geography but in broad enough terms for them to apply it anywhere they go. For the majority, they learn simply local weather and geography, as well as its history. Generally speaking, geography is seen as simply knowing where places are. World maps, maps of continents and countries do exist but most people will get by between their home and the local area, following directions to find anywhere else, a nature which has derived from the community spirit, i.e. rather than use a map, ask the people and connect with them.
Kinship and LineageEdit
Sangi culture in general is not unilineal, i.e. patrilineal or matrilineal, but instead but is instead bilinieal in hwich the lineage of an individual is based upon both parents. Kinship groups however more complex than this, involving notions of clans and and phratries.