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Aišqaat [aɪ̭ʃ.'qɒːtʰ] is the standardized, archaic form of the Aižgaadan family of languages ancestor language used for diplomatic purposes and as a lingua franca in areas where Aižgaadan languages are spoken.
Aišqaat phonology and phonotactics are based on what is perceived to be the archaic form of Aišqaat from which Aižgaadan languages are descended. Due to the phonology being artificially made archaic, many words being recognizable and therefore corrupted by Aižgaadan speakers and the lack of certain phonemes and phoneme combinations in languages descendants, the actual pronunciation varies wildly from speaker to speaker and depends on their mother tongue. The phonology and dictionary here presented are based on the prescribed variety of Aišqaat, which does not correspond to any particular speaker's lexicon and pronunciation, and the approximations and changes occurring in various dialects are presented in notes.
The prescribed phonological inventory of Aišqaat contains 24 consonants and 7 vowels. There is also prescribed allophony, that is allophony perceived as archaic or proper that will be described in notes.
|Labial||p, b||v, f||
|Alveolar||t, d||θ||s, z||n||r||l|
|Velar||k, g||x, ɣ||ŋ|
- The voicing in stops is realized as voicing in medial position and clusters. Word-initially and -finally, it is realized as the difference between aspirated (voiceless) and unaspirated (voiced) stops.
- The flat dental fricative θ is voiced intervocalically and in voiced clusters. It is also (occasionally) voiced word-initially.
- The voiced velar fricative ɣ becomes the semivowel j in front of any front vowel, including a.
- The nasals differ in place of articulation only when not in a cluster or word-final, otherwise they are articulated in the same place of articulation as the following consonant.
- r and l are differentiated only outside of clusters. In clusters, r is always the prevocalic element and l always the postvocalic element.
- Voicing is not distinctive word-finally for fricatives, both flat and sibilant, with the exception of the x-ɣ, which are distinguished by the latter being pronounced as j word-finally.
In the prescribed variant, all seven vowels are highly allophonic, though this is rarely so in actual pronunciation, except for the phoneme ë. Despite this, in the dictionary, word pronunciation is written out with the prescribed allophony.
- [ɪ] least marked pronunciation
- [ɘ] when a single i is followed or preceded by a uvular
- [i] after palatal consonants
- [iː] when two i merge and no uvular is adjacent to either one.
- [iɪ] when two i merge and an uvular follows them
- [ɪi] when two i merge and an uvular precedes them
- [ɪː] when two i merge and an uvular both precedes and follows them
- [ɪ̭] when adjecent to any non-high vowel
- [ʏ] least marked pronunciation
Stress is dynamic and predictable: the ultimate syllable is stressed when closed and when it is open the penultimate is stressed, so: [aɪ̭ʃ.'qɒːtʰ], but ['lɪ.ba]
Very few, if any, speakers pronounce Aišqaat as is prescribed. The following reductions are universal:
- q, as it is lost in all descendant languages, is pronounced either as k or as χ depending on the speaker.
- v and f merge for all speakers, except in careful speech. Word-initially, -finally and in non-voiced clusters, it is pronounced f and elsewhere v.
- θ is pronounced either as s or t depending on the speaker. It may be pronounced θ in careful speech by educated speakers.
- ɣ is elided in all positions where it is not pronounced j, except in careful speech by educated speakers.
- All vowels have fixed values at their least marked pronunciations and their allophony is only important for poetry and speeches. The exception is ë, which merges with various other vowels depending on its position. In many cases, even the length distinction is lost.
- A sort of vowel harmony occurs, where, depending on the vowel quality of the vowel of the stem, all other vowels are either fronted, backed, rounded, unrounded, centralized etc. in quick speech to reduce articulation effort. This is, however, not formalized.
- Voiced and voiceless phonemes are distinguished as they would be in the speakers mothertongue, not as is prescribed.
There are other reductions, particular to speakers of various descendant languages:
- Ayannar often merge all flat fricatives with other phonemes, except for v and χ, which they retain in their own language. A common merger pattern is f into v, θ into s, x into χ.
- Makorah do not distinguish any phonemes based on voicing word initially or finally, pronouncing all phonemes as voiceless unaspirated, except for nasals, which are voiced unaspirated. They also pronounce the r as a uvular, that is ʀ.
- Ašqutal merge n, ɲ and ŋ into n, and l and r into l in all positions.
Examples further on are given following an ortographic convention not in line with the IPA when it comes to some symbols. Those symbols which will be written differently from their IPA counterparts from here on in are listed here:
- ʃ is written as š
- ʒ is written as ž
- ɲ is written as ń
Verbal forms are created quite straightforwardly, by adding prefixes and suffixes to a verb stem. Prefixes are more prevalent. Affix order on the verb stem is:
Tense + Polarity + Aspect + Mood + STEM + Number + Person
Aišqaat has a four mood system: Indicative, Optative-Conditional, Imperative and Inferential. Indicative is the least marked mood, indicating an actual event. Optative-Conditional indicates either a wish or desire, usually incompatible with reality, or the potential result of another action. Imperative indicates a direct or indirect command. If a verb is Imperative, a Tense prefix cannot be added to it. Inferential indicates that the action of the verb is assumed or inferred from related data rather than witnessed. It is an obligatory substitute for Indicative if the speaker has no direct expirience of the action. In stories, however, Indicative is usually used.
There are three aspects in Aišqaat: Perfective, Imperfective and Atemporal. Perfective views the action as a whole, regardless of its change in time. Imperfective views the flow of action in time, its change and interruptions. Atemporal denotes that an action is not placed in the context of time. It is often used for factual statements.
Whether a verb confirms or denies an action is also encoded affixally in the verb form. Positive and Negative prefixes exist.
The tense system differentiates between the Past and Non-Past tenses. The Non-Past tense covers the English meanings of present and future.
Aišqaal differentiates between Singular, Plural and Dual, although Dual is mostly used in fixed expressions, such as the verb 'naŋm' meaning "to love (each other)".
Four grammatical persons are marked on the verb, with the fourth person being used for subject-less constructions, such as 'sašifim-ind' meaning either "it is raining" or "it will rain".