Conlang
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Description[]

Language constructed by Gabriel Norberto Sander, to a series of computer game storylines created by him and many other authors. The other associated authors have abandoned production before conclusion, what caused, by extension, the waste of the scenery where this language was intended to be used. Now, the language is just a relic of a lost project. Functional and virtually complete, with 2500 root-words, but now useful just for the self-amusement and linguistical exercize of its creator.

Original inspiration for its creation came from the sci-fi stereotype of alien languages: broad almost unnecessary use of apostrophe and a phonology not too much unlike that of English, but using many uncommon consonantal clusters (description reaching, for exemple, Vulcan, Romulan and Mando'a), originating words like zun'hadum "a little", a reference to Z'ha'dum (from Babylon 5). The very name of the language, and the original creation trigger came from Iconian, the language of Iconia, from Star Trek. To this inspiration were added influences from German, French and some Egyptian to develop the phonological aesthetics, and lately, some taste of Native American, Austronesian and Khoisan languages. The grammar was worked to be deliberately (but not exhaustively) outworldly, but there is some small influence from Portuguese, Germanic languages and Japanese. There are also many features and a few words instinctively borrowed from a conlang created by Gabriel's father, his master in the art of conlanging.

The speakers of the language were an humanoid alien people, from a distant planet called Yíkonyi. They were a spacefaring advanced species, with a phenotype similar to that of Amerindians and East Asian peoples, but with an internal biology completely different from humans. They had yellow eyes with vertical pupils, and possessed small protrusions of keratin or bonelike tissue in their forearms, that could serve as natural shields during a fight.

Phonology[]

Consonants were: p, t,  k , b, d,   g  ,  m , n  , f, s,   h  ,  v,  z,   l, all sounding as they sound in IPA; added to those there were dj (ou j) and sh, sounding as in English, and r, sounding as an alveolar flap [ ɾ]. Being a language used by several worlds, Yikonyian developed many variations, being possible to pronounce h as an uvular fricative [χ], specially between vowels and at the end of words.

Vowels were:    a   ,   e  ,  i , o  , u, all sounding as they sound in IPA , but also with freedom to pronounce e and o more open, as [ε] and [ɔ]. There were also the schwa [ə], treated below.

With C standing for “consonant” and V for “vowel”, the phonotatics was: in structures xCV and VxC(V), the x =    t   ,   k  ,  g , s  , sh. Examples: klap’h “to scream”, tkon “to damage” (position xCV); fagt “hand”, host “bone” and djásh mouk “strong” (position VxC). From this rule derived the clusters tsh and ts (that are not africates), as in tshea “mouth” and tsa “to hide” (position xCV, where x = t). All other consonants could behave as “x”, but in their case, a schwa [ə] would appear between x-C, and that sound was represented by the sign ·, as in b·vark “to cut”, f·vaivagóul “spirit”, dj·bok “bad”, v·kánigt “to hang”. Initial repeated consonants, where x = C in xC-, were usual in Yikonyian, as in ttáh “to be equal”, pronounced as [t:ah] or in careful speech, [t.tah].

In structures VyC(V), but never yCV, the y =  l , m. Exemples: hálb “hull”, tshámb “to snuffle”, albá “to store” and ómka “wheel”. Combinations VyxC were normal, as in ílkve “slope”.

In structures zCV, VzC and Cz(C) (syllabic consonants), z = r   ,   h  ,  n , z  . Exemples: erme “cell”, ahdja “bunch” (position VzC); rkot “to follow”, hdam “faint”, ngot “six”, zsárit “to shake, to hobble” (position zCV); mit’r “eleven”, kláp’h “to scream”, kuiák’n “a single hair”, obóglev'z “keg” (position Cz). Those consonants appeared also in CzV structures, as in breme “mountain”, vriha “chimney”, d'hálegon “chasm”, óv'hats “clan”, shubní “to purify”, padzo “head”. From this rule derived the cluster (and not africate) dz. Combinations VzxC were normal, as in nobérst “to be”, dontshéh “to lie down”, kezktí “(famale) breast”. But combinations VzyC were not allowed.

All consonants could begin and end words.

Vowels could combine freely, not following fixed patterns of diphthongs, resulting in long clusters and repetitions: uáhouibectocervix”, aéiskarah "now", hóuutshits “harmony”, fadáee “emperor”, iip "world", Eliúu “(name of a planet)”, djáusf'h'vaa "prism". But [i] and [u] could be pronounced as glides [j] and [w], making articulation easier.

Due to allophony, the consonant g formed the syllables vu  (not gu) and yi (not gi) before [u] and [i]. The syllable yi should be pronounced [ji], being distinct from the hiatus ii, that should be pronounced  [ii] or [ij].

The sounds, in their native order, were:

H more usually [h], but less commonly, in free variation with [x], [ɣ] and [ʀ̥]. When doubled in positions CHH(C) and -VHHC, pronounced as [həh] or [hɨ̞h] in free variation with [ɑ̃].

R [ɾ], but when doubled it sounds [ʀ̥] in careful speech, that can pass to [h] or [χ] when not careful.

S [s]

L [l]

G [g]

Z [z]

DJ [d͡ʒ]

B [b]

M [m]

K [k]

D [d̻]

T [t̻]

V [v]

N [n], and typically [ŋ] before velar consonants.

P [p]

F [f]

SH [ʃ]

I [i]

E more usually [e], but in free variation with [ɛ].

A [a]

O more usually [o], but in free variation with [ɔ].

U [u]

Y [i], but the sequence YI or Y'I always sounds [ji].

· [ə, ɨ̞]: I chose to not represent it with letter, since it has no symbol in the native script, being dropped and guessed by phonotatics.

In careful speech, the vowels are always strictly vocalic. But otherwise, in hiatus, unstressed I/Y and U can be pronounced as [j] and [w] respectively. Unstressed A, when it is not the first vowel of a hiatus, can be pronounced as [ɐ̯].

' the apostrophe is used to represent contractions of consonants and vowels, but also in the digraph 'H, used to represent H after consonants simply as a visual resource employed to avoid those clusters to be mistaken for fricatives, as in T'H [th], G'H [gh], S'H [sh], etc. (This usage for contraction actually reflects the "knife" diacritic employed in the native script. But the visual 'H is just an orthographic resource when using roman letters.)

Stress is irregular in Yikonyian, and it is shown through an acute accent. But the native script doesn't represent the stress.

Grammar[]

One of the features of Yikonyian was the existence of affixes connected simultaneously at the end and at the beginning of words, the so called "circumfixes". One of these circumfixes was g- -yi, that is, a prefixed g-, simultaneous to a suffixed -yi. It was used to form names of places, as in íkon "house, family, clan", giving G-íkon-yi, pronounced (due to allophony of the syllable gi) Yíkonyi "the place of the clans, World". When used with verbs, it generated the name of the place in which the action happens, as in g'sáyi "hiding-place" (from tsa "to hide"), yíekyi "court of justice" (from íek "to sentence"), gdivahháyi "point of origin" (from divahhá "to leave, to go away") and vúrigyi "hotel" (from úrig "to house, to lodge").

Other feature was the existence of temporal personal pronouns (accidentally as in the Wolof language): the sentence "I hide" was usually rdjetsái'dja, and "I will hide" was usually rdjetsá'dja, where -dja marks "I", circumfix rdje- -i marks present tense, and prefix rdje- alone marks future tense; there was no need of isolated personal pronouns, at least in colloquial language. But in a more refined and complex language, as the one used by the guardians of the Temple, isolated personal pronouns were used, and they should be in accordance with the verbal tense, expanding the former sentences to rdjetsái'dja kahdjé and rdjetsá'dja ka, where kahdjé means "I (present tense)" and ka means "I (future tense)". These temporal pronouns were also used in adverbial constructions, as in hatzassáhgol ka, enarkásha rdjekéh'dja , literally "I-futurally arriving, will prepare the food", that could be translated as "having arrived, I will prepare the food".

The pronouns used as object didn't have temporal distinction, as in bar'há ihíua'dja "I love you (aorist tense)", where barhá "you, thee" was used with any tense, as in bar'há rdjeihíua'dja "I will love you".

There was a main core of derivation using a sixfold affixation system, originating new ideas: taking a verb, itneshis'há  "to write" as an exemple, one should derive itneshis'házt  "writer" (agent),  yitneshis'há'h  "spelling" (action, abstraction),  itneshis'hásh "text" (passive name), yitneshis'há'tik  "pen, pencil" (instrumental name), yitneshis'háyi "office" (place of action), itneshis'háva "writing (concrete sense)" (remains of action). Yikonyian was an aglutinating language, permiting derivations from derivations, accumulating affixes, allowing the former words to form yitneshis'há'hvót "graphical", itneshis'háshvót "textual", and yitneshis'háztyi "writers academy". The affixes in this system were different if the root was a verb, as in the samples above, a general noun, the name of a living species, or an adjective, resembling a kind of grammatical gender.

But, more usually, Yikonyian makes grammatical differentiation of just animate and inanimate genders, and less frequently, masculine and feminine.

Another feature is the absence of most interrogative words usually found in Earth languages: Yikonyian doesn't make questions, but encodes their meaning in sentences that would literally be translated as requests, as in ekáh rteke'iliki ros ádi háya "tell me the person that did it", intended to signify "who did this?".

Holy Prayer[]

Hátdenek Yi rou kk'henz erázedin Kaválka,

djrazitálk pavástevabel nobérst ba,

djrazkórerz zení ba,

djrazggralt'h kehbel ba

erázedin k'hvzéka tki tsauk nobérst.

Uvúr bátshe djrati'uhiáp rdjehelne'iz rieid er ked'h haih.

Djrati'tsháhonivaik rdjeuéla'iz rieid tki djrati'tsháhoniztik ka'tit.

Kness ked'h peh rdjehemiv'h'iz rieid er yíekyi, uá ked'h rdjetrkani'iz rieid an avonkía.

Kiin djraz kromm vuáfeg'h, kromm kórerz bzidá kromm gtneshmeh, rváhian.

Níhtouf'n.

I preferred here to use the original Greek "don't lead us into trial (court of justice)", ked'h peh rdjehemiv'h'iz rieid er yíekyi. The word "amen" is also translated to its closest meaning, "faithfully", níhtouf'n.

Expressions[]

  • keitáh "yes"
  • peh "no"
  • háve "hi, hello"
  • sanamáika or devehé "thanks, thank you"
  • narómi "be welcome"
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