Hi everyone, for about the sixth time. I'm about to introduce Fooblian to you, and unfortunately I don't have this text in Fooblian because it's one of my least worked on conlangs. But, if I'm going to present Fooblian properly here, it needs its own thread. So, with no further ado, let the explanations begin! In no particular order, of course.
Fooblian is spoken on the planet of Foobar in the coutry of Fooblia. It is a cat language of the Quadratic language family, a family characterized by a six-tone system, topic-prominent or completely free word order and obscure and often somewhat extensive sets of ergative/absolutive type cases. Fooblian once had six tones and thirteen cases, but it now has no tones and only six cases. Likewise, where Old Fooblian (OFoo) was completely isolating, using only particles for tense, case and everything in between, modern Fooblian is agglutinating and has replaced most particles with prefixes and suffixes. The preference is for suffixes, because Quadratic languages tend to be context-last.
I've been mostly working on OFoo lately, because I plan to evolve New Fooblian out of it and I think it will be easier if I start at the beginning rathen than put the chicken before the egg. So you'll be mostly learning about OFoo here for a while. If you're familiar with Chinese, this should help, because Chinese and OFoo are both tonal and isolating.
The six tones are: rising, high, mid, falling, low and toneless/arbitrary. (I count toneless as a tone; you can actually apply any tone you want to it and not change the meaning, hence the arbitrary.) I'll use "e" as the letter to represent the markings here:
ê = high
é = rising
ē = mid
è = falling
ě = low
e = toneless
If you don't approve of my tone system or the representation of it, feel free to say so. I'm open to suggestions. I'm also quite aware that circumflexes and carons are not usually used for high and low tones, but I couldn't think of a better way to do it. And please let me know if you think there needs to be tone sandhi, because I haven't thought about that yet.
Cases: ergative, involutive, absolutive, temporary absolutive, desired absolutive, genitive, dative, ablative, offensive, defensive, active, inactive, disputive. Some of these are made up, so we'll need to look at a few example sentences. But that will have to wait, because what's coming next is -- the usual boring phonology stuff!
e /e, E/ ([e] in open syllables; [E] in closed syllables)
o /o, O/ ([o] in open syllables; [O] in closed ones)
Transcription in X-SAMPA
So, now that we have that over with, let's get to the interesting stuff. Here's an example sentence for you:
Jē jôs fō wêc tÿ ze rŷ wécŷs rî cī. (The ÿ is because I couldn't find a y with a caron.)
Gloss: indef mouse abs cat gen erg def catch past statement. "indef" = indefinite article; "def" = definite article; "statement" = particle indicating that this is a neutral statement.
The loose translation is "the cat caught a mouse". The construction of the sentence might seem strange at first glance because it encodes far more meaning than what is usually done. You'll notice that there's a genitive particle (tÿ) following wec
. This indicates that the mouse is now the "possession" of the cat and hasn't gotten away or anything. If one removes tÿ, the sentence reads "the cat caught a mouse but no longer has it". The mouse is in the absolutive case, not the temporary absolutive, because the action took place in the past. (I may decide to change this last rule.) You'll also see a tense particle, rî
, indicating the past tense.
Anyway, more in the next post! I'll try to get Article 1 of the UDHR and the Tower of Babel translated into Fooblian sometime, but for now I have to work out cases and whatnot. Myaw mikyo!