N'ketle

The place to discuss your conlangs and conlanging.

N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Fri 14 May 2010 1:56 am

1 N’omo ne keejm uch eetl kem uch tl’amel.
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.


Hello, fellow Omniglites. For the past several weeks I’ve been working on a conlanging project, and now that it has been developed to a stable form, I wanted to share it. This is probably the most developed of any “spur of the moment” conlangs that I’ve fooled around with, and thus far I’m quite happy with the results.

Beware, though, my interest in conlanging is much more focused on “how things developed” rather than “how things turned out,” and so my explanations tend to include a lot of (read: too much) information on the “historical change” of the conlang. Please let me know if something is overly obscure!

---

Anyways, here’s an explanation of purpose and some general info, followed by a list of phonemes and orthography:

N’ketle [n@"kEtKE] is an artlang originally based on an underlying system of determiners and particles used to derive various parts of speech from a variety of basic stems. In the prototypical form of the conlang, there were two categories of determiners/particles which denoted, respectively, Head and Modifier. The former was split into two sub-categories—Noun and Verb—while the latter had sub-categories for Adjective (Noun modifier) and Adverb (Verb modifier). N’ketle is a “dialect” of this proto-language (n’ketle meaning, literally, “variant of speech; dialect”).

I am calling this the “weak” branch of the proto-language because it has not retained the features which made the determiners/particles obligatory. This means that these morphemes are no longer absolutely required, and, in some cases, have been dropped or have merged with the head-word and are no longer distinct (in the case of verbs, for example, the particles have been reanalyzed to indicate person and are no longer separate from the verbal stem).

Before continuing, I would like to explain my usage of the word “determiner” throughout the rest of the discussion. While I am aware that “determiner” is usually used to reference morphemes related to nouns (at least in English), in the discussions of N’ketle I will use “determiner” to refer to the entire system of “particles” (as they might be more properly called), because in the proto-language this system was used to determine the lexical categories of various stems (whether it were noun, verb, or modifiers of these).

In nouns, “determiner” would be a correct way to label these morphemes, because they acted as true determiners (at least in an earlier form of the language), but I will use terms such as “verb-determiner” and “modifier-determiner” because these morphemes all derived from the same system.

N'ketle Phoneme Inventory/Orthography:

-Consonants:

/p/ -- [p_h], [b]
/t/ -- [t_h], [d]
/k/ -- [k_h], [g] (Only occurs in syllable initial position)
/’/ -- [?]
/m/ -- [m]
/n/ -- [n]
/ng/ -- [N]
/f/ -- [f], [v]
/s/ -- [s]
/th/ -- [T] (Developed from /ts/ or geminated /t/)
/h/, /ch/ -- [x]
/l/ -- [l]
/r/ -- [r], [r\]
/tl/ -- [tK]
/kl/ -- [kK]
/w/ -- [w]
/j/ -- [j]

-Vowels:

/a/ -- [a]
/e/ -- [E]
/o/ -- [O]
/aa/ -- [a:]
/ee/ -- [E:]
/oo/, /u/ -- [O:]

I haven’t delved much into phonotactics as of yet, except where indicated. In most cases, the second listed pronunciation of each phoneme is an allophone (usually appearing in some intervocalic environment or in a [+voice]-[-voice] consonant cluster).

The next post will include a basic description of Nouns and their inflection, as well as possibly something about their derivation. In the meantime, I admit that I am, as yet, no more than an amateur student of linguistics, and I welcome any and all comments, questions, and criticism. Thanks.
Image
The Kain - a conscript by W. Kruger
N'ketle - an artlang
User avatar
Kietl
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 8:39 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby linguoboy » Fri 14 May 2010 3:35 am

Sounds like an interesting concept and I'm looking forward to the next installment. This has me confused, though:
Kietl wrote:/oo/, /u/ -- [O:]

Are you saying that historical *oo and *u have merged into a single phoneme with the default realisation of [O:]? That's the only way this notation makes sense to me.
english*deutsch*nederlands*català*castellano*gaelainn*cymraeg*français*svenska*韓國말*漢語
linguoboy
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 9:02 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Fri 14 May 2010 5:00 am

linguoboy wrote:Sounds like an interesting concept and I'm looking forward to the next installment. This has me confused, though:
Kietl wrote:/oo/, /u/ -- [O:]

Are you saying that historical *oo and *u have merged into a single phoneme with the default realisation of [O:]? That's the only way this notation makes sense to me.

Ach, that's a mistake. Actually <u> was meant to be the orthographic representation of the phoneme /oo/--those should be carrot brackets. And I see that I made the same error with /h/ above that: the phoneme pronounced [x] is represented orthographically either by the grapheme <h> (initially) or <ch>. Does that make sense?
Also, I should have noted that, other than those two cases, the phonemic notation serves as the graphemic notation. Thanks for noticing that, linguoboy. Now if only I could actually edit the post...
Image
The Kain - a conscript by W. Kruger
N'ketle - an artlang
User avatar
Kietl
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 8:39 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Sun 16 May 2010 9:15 am

2 L’achelt. Nor’omelachar ea n’ene tla’sachta awl nor’omelsenar ee nom’omas tl’jete oetl nw’fem l’enelte.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.


Onward! Here is a basic summary of the N’ketle noun system, including features of Case and Number, as well as some examples of the various stem forms and how they are inflected.

Firstly, however, I’d like to introduce the “determiner system” in slightly more detail (mainly because the significance of it will not necessarily be obvious from this summary):

In “proto-N’ketle,” the system of determiners functioned as morphemes which carried a variety of information, but the earliest, most basic function would have been derivation, meaning that different determiners were initially used to indicate and determine the lexical category of each abstract stem.

There were two determiners signifying head (of phrase): Noun and Verb; and there were also two determiners signifying modifier (of head): Adjective and Adverb. The two modifier-determiners were eventually collapsed into a single system (at least in the dialect that gave rise to N’ketle), with the lexical category of the modifier being determined by the head which it modifies (noun or verb).

Regarding nouns, the determiners functioned to carry information such as case and number (as mentioned), but also carried indicators of definiteness vs. indefiniteness (although these markers have been somewhat reduced), as well as other forms of quantity. In addition, the noun-determiners also functioned to indicate deixis, though there is some doubt (read: I haven’t really gotten that far) as to whether the determiners themselves were used, or if some separate system of demonstratives was in place at an early point.

Nouns:

Noun stems take the determiner n+vowel. Stems may be of the form CV (consonant-vowel) or VC (vowel-consonant), in addition to a variety of compound and polysyllabic forms (monosyllabic stems will, however, be the main focus of this post).

The vowel of the determiner normally changes to match the vowel of the noun stem. Thus: ke> ne ke “speech,” ro > no ro “depth.” If a stem is of the form VC, the vowel of the determiner assimilates to the initial vowel of the stem: en > *ne-en > n’en “human.”

-Cases:

Three cases have developed: nominative, accusative, and genitive:

Code: Select all
-CV paradigm:

    sg.         pl.
N   ne ke       ne ken
A   ne kem      n’kenem
G   ne ker      n’kener

-VC paradigm:

    sg.         pl.
N   n’en        n’ene
A   nem’en      n’enem
G   ner’en      n’ener


Historically, these cases were all formed by a modification of the determiner. The plurals were formed by duplicating the determiner after the noun. This second determiner was later assimilated to the noun stem as a suffix. (*ne-ke-ne > ne ken).

The accusative and genitive cases were formed with separate particles *vowel+m and *vowel+r. These were combined with the singular and plural determiners in the following ways:

- In CV stems, the particles were normally added after the noun stem and followed the usual process of assimilation, either to the noun stem itself (in singular stems) or to the duplicated determiner (in plurals). Thus, singular *ne-ke > *ne-ke-em > ne kem and plural ne-ke-ne > ne-ke-ne-em > ne kenem. When a monosyllabic noun stem is made polysyllabic by this kind of inflection, the determiner is usually reduced to n’-.

- In VC stems, particles develop in much the same way in the case of plurals. However, in many monosyllabic singular forms (such as en above) the particles ended up being affixed to the determiner itself, instead of the noun stem (this may have been in order to better differentiate between singular and plural). Thus:

Singular: *ne-en-em > *ne-em-en > nem’en
Plural: *ne-en-ne-em > *ne-en-nem > n’enem

- Another characteristic of VC stems is the evidence of a widespread trend in the plural cases whereby the suffixed determiner is reduced to a vowel (eliding the nasal). This may be due to analogy with stems already ending in /n/, which absorb the nasal from the determiner (as can be seen with en above). These forms are exemplified by stems such as oj “thought” and ap “fruit; juice” below:

Code: Select all
    sg.         pl.   
N   n’oj        n’ojo, n’ojn (older, archaic)
A   n’ojm       n’ojom
G   n’ojr       n’ojor

    sg.         pl.   
N   n’ap        n’apa, n’apna (older, archaic)
A   nam’ap      n’apam
G   nar’ap      n’apar


As can be seen, in the plural forms of such stems, the /n/ of the determiner is dropped (although in the nominative it still appears as an archaic form).

Another aspect to note is the treatment of stems ending in the semi-vowels /j/ or /w/, of which group oj is a member. When a suffix beginning in a consonant is added, /j/ and /w/ are treated as diphthongal elements of the stem vowel, and consequently, the case endings are not suffixed to the determiner in the singular (c.f. above n’ojm vs. nam’ap instead of nom’oj). This lends credence to the idea that case endings are added to the determiner in order to avoid singular-plural confusion.

In summary, the formation of cases is as follows, taking into account the categories for CV, VC, and V+Semi-Vowel stems (<v> indicates the vowel of the noun stem):

Code: Select all
-CV paradigm

    sg.         pl.         
N               -n      
A   -m          -nvm
G   -r          -nvr

-VC paradigm                -Vj/Vw paradigm

    sg.         pl.             sg.         pl.
N               -v, -nv                     -v, -n
A   nvm’-       -vm             -m          -vm
G   nvr’-       -vr             -r          -vr


And that's all for this post. I hope it was relatively coherent.
Next, I may attempt some explanation of the other noun forms (polysyllabic [derived] stems and compounds), or I may move on to some discussion of verbs, depending on whichever I have the energy to do. Also, I will make an attempt to gloss the Babel translations at some point. Meanwhile, any comments/questions are appreciated. Grazie.
Image
The Kain - a conscript by W. Kruger
N'ketle - an artlang
User avatar
Kietl
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 8:39 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby linguoboy » Sun 16 May 2010 3:19 pm

It was clear, and it's an interesting system. I particularly liked seeing how much thought you've given to the origins of your inflections. Most conlangers here don't seem to do that.

I only have a couple of small suggestions on your paradigms:

* Don't forget to use "V" instead of "v" when you mean "any vowel". I know your phoneme inventory/orthography lacks "v", so this isn't actually ambiguous, but from a cross-linguistic point of view it's confusing.

* Whether glides are treated as vocalic elements or as consonants is very language dependent. It seems to me that, given how Vj and Vw stems decline, there's a strong argument for treating /j/ and /w/ as consonants. Then you don't need a separate paradigm for them, only to note that the plural marking -nV is realised as -n after glides. (A counterargument for this treatment would be the existence of CVj/w stems, since--given the strict syllable structure--they would imply that Vj/w is treated as a single vowel. Are there any?)

Also, a question on the prefix n'-. Does this mean that the /n/ is syllabic? I don't know about you, but I find an initial [n?] sequence problematic. I find that either the /n/ becomes syllabic or it becomes glottalised. How do you pronounce these sequences?
english*deutsch*nederlands*català*castellano*gaelainn*cymraeg*français*svenska*韓國말*漢語
linguoboy
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 9:02 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby Gesithan » Mon 17 May 2010 10:36 pm

I would like to know of the cultural context behind N'ketle. After all, language does not experience random spasmic changes. Slang becomes the accepted word. Words from other languages shift sideways. The upper crust speaks differently then the underscum, and Academics speak differently (voiced velar plosive) than the ignorant (hard dʒi). Sometimes, a language re-adopts a word from an earlier form. Proper names become generic nouns (The word gun supposedly comes from "The Lady Gunhilda", a famous crossbow, in one instance). I guess that I am saying that the language is meaningless to me, because who speaks it is just as important as what is spoken. Especially According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis...
Gesithan
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon 10 Aug 2009 3:22 pm

Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Tue 18 May 2010 12:47 am

* Whether glides are treated as vocalic elements or as consonants is very language dependent. It seems to me that, given how Vj and Vw stems decline, there's a strong argument for treating /j/ and /w/ as consonants. Then you don't need a separate paradigm for them, only to note that the plural marking -nV is realised as -n after glides. (A counterargument for this treatment would be the existence of CVj/w stems, since--given the strict syllable structure--they would imply that Vj/w is treated as a single vowel. Are there any?)

Hm…after some thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that /j/ and /w/ are primarily consonantal (since they would have begun as solely consonantal phonemes in “proto-N’ketle”), but are realized as diphthongal elements when they are followed by a consonant (this situation occurs basically only with inflectional/derivational affixes).

Thus, oj would be analyzed as a stem of the form VC, but when inflected for the accusative singular—ojm—it would be VjC (with Vj treated as a single vowel). Some words for future comparison would be enej “person” (with a derivative suffix -ej) and keej (ke-ej = CV-VC with same derivative suffix).

Regarding the separate semi-vowel paradigm, I have maintained a distinct chart for such stems because of the differences not only in the nominative plural, but also in the accusative and genitive singular, where the case-particles are affixed to the determiner rather than the stem (as is also the case in CV stems).

Also, a question on the prefix n'-. Does this mean that the /n/ is syllabic? I don't know about you, but I find an initial [n?] sequence problematic. I find that either the /n/ becomes syllabic or it becomes glottalised. How do you pronounce these sequences?

Honestly, I haven’t given this aspect of the orthography or pronunciation (as regards the “apostrophe”) as much attention as it requires. At the moment, I pronounce n’ as [n@] or [n@?], so the apostrophe, in this case, does not signify a glottal stop, but instead a reduced form of the original determiner-vowel.
[In originally responding to this, I found myself writing a bit too much, and that I must do some revision of the orthography and phonemic systems in order to better streamline the appearance of the apostrophe. And in light of this, I will need to postpone a full explanation until next post (I’d rather avoid violating the maxim of quantity. Hah.). Thanks for making me think though.]

I would like to know of the cultural context behind N'ketle. After all, language does not experience random spasmic changes.

Sorry to disappoint, but there is none, other than my possibly non-random, possibly non-spasmic mind. I may come up with some kind of culture at a future date, but until then I'm sorry you have no interest.

I guess that I am saying that the language is meaningless to me, because who speaks it is just as important as what is spoken. Especially According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis...

Well, I speak it, to a certain extent. Would you like to hear about my culture? :)
Image
The Kain - a conscript by W. Kruger
N'ketle - an artlang
User avatar
Kietl
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 8:39 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby Gesithan » Tue 18 May 2010 3:48 pm

Not even some extremely vague, stereotyped notions of who speaks it based of a theme park version of a real culture? That just seems unthinkable to me, the man who shamelessly spent five years tuning a culture before I could even think about creating the language. ;)
Gesithan
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon 10 Aug 2009 3:22 pm

Re: N'ketle

Postby Kietl » Tue 18 May 2010 8:36 pm

Not even some extremely vague, stereotyped notions of who speaks it based of a theme park version of a real culture? That just seems unthinkable to me, the man who shamelessly spent five years tuning a culture before I could even think about creating the language.

We obviously have different foci when it comes to conlanging: you find concultures more fascinating; I find conlangs more fascinating (regardless of the existence of conculture). My point is that one does not entail the other, and I’m disappointed that you simply discount the content of this topic because there is no conculture element. I find Higgish fully comprehensible and “meaningful,” despite the fact that I haven’t paid attention to who “speaks” it.
Image
The Kain - a conscript by W. Kruger
N'ketle - an artlang
User avatar
Kietl
 
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun 19 Apr 2009 8:39 am

Re: N'ketle

Postby Gesithan » Wed 19 May 2010 3:08 am

We seem to have misunderstood each other. I haven't discounted the content of your language at all, it's a fine language. My last comment did not imply that you couldn't design a language that way, more so that I couldn't. In fact, I even respect you for that ability, given as it allows you to focus on the language rather than try to create a big picture. It's just that, from my point of view, a language without speakers is just not really possible. When a conlang idea pops into my head, the second thing that happens is a conculture follows behind. I can't really control it. And I have created quite a few "unpublished" conlangs, but none of them lacked any notion at all of the culture behind it, even if it was the very vague concept of simply imagining two people speaking the language with each other. I mean, that floats the questions of what were they wearing? How did they keep their hair? What was the environment? and so on. And I mean, you are halfway there, what with creating Proto-N'ketle and your admitted attention to "historical change".
Gesithan
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon 10 Aug 2009 3:22 pm

Next

Return to Conlangery

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest