Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

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Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

Postby Kloiten » Mon 31 May 2010 2:01 am

Hey, you all. Some of you may or may not have seen my "Word Origins" thread, but in it, I said that the information I collected from it would be used to make a language. This is that language. This language is supposed to be a simulation of actual language evolution, that is, every single little thing has an etymology. Take anything in it, and you'll find that it is from a basic set of words from a long time ago.
Also, this language is heavily based on the thought about language evolution. This means that I will be posting at least three different stages of the language with a maximum of five. I can't wait until I finish, and I'm really excited to see how it will turn out. Through a long and taxing process fraught with sound changes, grammaticalization, and insanity I will get a modern language out of a primitive one. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the first step.

Yglal [əg̊lɑl]

Background and Commentary


Yglal is the first modern language spoken by humans in my "test environment" universe. The speakers of this language call themselves the Yg, and they are the only humans for miles, a distance they do not want to travel. They are descended from the early human race that had split into three major branches and spread out throughout the world. The Yg, one of these branches, roam a lush, large grassland bordered to the north by a forest, to the east and west by mountainous regions, and to the south by a sea quite similar in temperament to the Mediterranean, allowing the area to support a warm, Mediterranean climate. The Yg people gather in the coastal grasslands various foods such as olives, garlic, grapes. They share hunting grounds with large carnivores such as lions and tigers, and hunt deer, oxen, boars, and birds such as quails and turkeys. Very few Yg find fish to be palatable, and those people who do wander almost exclusively the shores of the Yg country. This will give rise to the Yglal split, giving rise to two languages: Oilli and Tuušo. (Oilli is the descendant that I am aiming to reach through my experiment. The name may change.)
As for the language, the Yg people invented Proto-Yglal right after they split from the common human race. This language was very, very primitive and only consisted of sounds that accurately mimicked animals and other sounds of nature. Yglal is simply a simplified version of this proto-language with a syntax and grammar, albeit a simple one.
At this stage, about a thousand people speak Yglal.

Coming up soon...
Phonology
--
In addition to posting grammar, I'll post snippets of the culture of the Yg.

Just right now, there isn't much to comment on, but I'd appreciate any questions and/or criticisms. I'll think about your reply and I will do my best to get something out of it.
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Re: Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

Postby Rhamos Vhailejh » Mon 31 May 2010 7:42 am

I would be very interested to learn where this cultural story goes. The linguistic aspect to it is very interesting too, but you've caught my attention much more with the Yg people than the Yglal language(s). I would like to hear more.
~ Rhamos Vhailejh
Antellieksijim arrvvi'keödetval kyrrhessö'ällkunnön. Tuntooi'åhešška hänessa'etevåmus. Suuluejj køramiienjim tyysyvöl'työjennön.
Projects: Old Dwojin (discontinued), Modern Duojjin, Pзhowз, Elemental, and an unnamed conlang (hiatus)
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Re: Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

Postby Kloiten » Mon 31 May 2010 9:05 pm

Rhamos Vhailejh wrote:...you've caught my attention much more with the Yg people than the Yglal language(s). I would like to hear more.
Haha, that's probably because I exclusively covered their culture in this first post. There'll be more of what you want to see, since the Yg have a very interesting and intricate culture. You'll just have to wait a bit: there's too much going on in school at the end of the year. I'll post sometime this week, but not right now.
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Re: Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

Postby Kloiten » Sat 05 Jun 2010 3:24 am

I finally got some time to post. Here is the phonology. As for now, there is no writing system because the time period is still pre-historic. The only reason I'm not writing in IPA for the whole conlang is because it's simpler this way.

Phonology (2.0)

Stops: g [g̊], d [d̥], b [b̥], k [kʰ], t [tʰ], p [pʰ]
Fricatives: z [z̥], s, x [ɣ], h [x]
Liquids: r*, l*
Nasals: n*, m*

Vowels: a [ɑ a], e [ɛ e], i [ɪ i], o [ɔ o], y [ə], u [u y]

*=it is possible for these consonants to be syllabic

Stress always falls onto the second syllable of a disyllabic word and onto the penultimate syllable on a word with more than two syllables.
The vowel i can be reduced to a palatalization as a coda or medially before a vowel.
The consonant k can be reduced to a glottal stop as a coda.
Consonants are geminated between two vowels. “n”, instead of being geminated, sounds like an [ŋ] in between vowels.
Every vowel aside from “y” is heightened when stressed, but if the vowel is repeated, the second vowel is also heightened, for instance, “ada” [ˈad̥a], not [ˈad̥ɑ]. The stress will shift to a uniform position in a word later on.
The aspirate and unvoiced stops of the language [kʰ tʰ pʰ] tend to become fricatives [h θ f] before front vowels [e i y].
The devoiced stops of the language tend to become fricatives [g̊ d̥ b̥] tend to become fricatives [j ð β] before front vowels [e i y]. [g̊] is a special case because it does not turn into a fricative. It used to turn into [ɣj], but now it is simplified to [j].
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Re: Yglal - A Language Experiment on Language Evolution

Postby Kloiten » Fri 18 Jun 2010 9:07 pm

Hello again. School's finally over, and I can devote a lot of time to this project! I'm very excited, actually. I already have ideas about how it's going to look sooner or later. I'll start with the basics: nouns.

Basics (3.0)

Nouns (3.1)

Nouns do not experience inflection (nor does any other part of speech in Yglal, for that matter). Nouns can be modified by adjectives and so called "plural words", which I will go over in the next section. Nouns can sometimes themselves act like an adjective, meaning that they express a metaphor ("krek re" - "fire battle", or "a battle like fire" [a bloody battle]). Nouns cannot act as the argument in the sentence, but may act as the agent.

"Plural Words" (3.2)

These modifying words make the notion that there is more than one of the modified noun, but not to the ambiguous extent that there are an unknown number. A counting numeral must always follow a plural word. (However, they will be used as plurals in the next stage of the language.) The ambiguity of the plural was never needed above one hundred (because the Yg really liked to count which would show up in their descendants’ great respect for mathematics). If they could not count fast enough, they would round to the tenth. They rarely encountered groups of things above one hundred except in special cases (such as stone beaches and forests), and if they did, they simply referred to the number of things as one hundred.
Here are examples of the use of plural words:

yg ek pan - two people (literally: person [plural] two)
rah ulun par - ten lions
krek lele pan - two fires or two flames
kerse par - ten trees

All nouns divide into several groups and which plural word they take depends on those groups. The group divisions are always logical. People take "ek", small animals take "niv", large animals take "ulun", dynamic things (as well as nominalized dynamic verbs) take "lele", and static things (as well nominalized static verbs) take no plural word. You might find it interesting that "lele" also means "child". It is used in this case because the Ug saw that there were little offshoots of a fire, and called these flames "krek lele", or the children of fire. Then they simply applied "lele" as a plural word to anything moving that was not alive.
The animal and people plural words can stand by themselves to mean "a group of animals" and "a tribe, clan, or family" respectively. These words function as regular nouns.
The plural words will grow to establish themselves as the base nouns and will give way to four genders, one of which will merge into another.
Another property of the plural word in Yglal is that it can act as the verbal argument. In this case, the plural word means “is a lot” or “increased in number”, depending on the temporal adverbs of the sentence, if there are any.

Yg ek. - The people increased in number. There are a lot of people.
Prh niv. - The birds increased in number. There are a lot of birds.
Rah ulun. - The lions increased in number. There are a lot of lions.

Culture: Social Structure

Although it depends on the region where they live, the Yglal people generally divide themselves into tribes that consist of four or five related families, which are usually composed of at least four people. There are no leaders, but everyone listens to the oldest and sanest person. This can be a woman or a man. (Age is counted by how many winters (cold-time) a person has survived. The average lifespan is 30 winters.) This elder is automatically the storyteller of the tribe and tells stories on special nights.
Both men and women must work as equals, and inheritance is therefore passed on to the eldest child. However, the village elder always has the right to distribute the inheritance to the whole tribe if yo so wishes. This is usually a punishment or a method of quelling quarrels.
Everyone in the tribe is crucial to its success: in the day, adults hunt while children forage (under the supervision of several adults who stayed behind) for fruits and berries and gather water in watertight baskets. At night, the adults and the children make baskets and blankets (for winters). The adults usually teach the children how to make good baskets at this time of the day.
As of now, there is no social stratification because everyone is equal.

Hmmm, there's not too much more I can write. Stay tuned!
Fluent: English, русский язык
Proficient: français, 日本語
Beginning: suomi, davvisámegiella, 中文 (普通話), norsk, cymraeg
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