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|5 featural classes|
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Amoco is a language spoken by a small community in Paraguay. Its relationship to other languages is unknown, though it is assumed to be an isolate. Its ancestral structure appears have some similarities to Guarani, and it may additionally have been influenced by some other nearby language families. It was first described by Spanish missionaries, and its modern writing system is a subset of the Latin alphabet with grapheme values based on Spanish.
Amoco has 39 consonants, notable for extensive coarticulation. It historically had a simpler system with 17 consonants, but is now generally analyzed with a more complex consonant system due to mergers and a transfer of certain vowel qualities onto consonants in the form of coarticulation. In the development from Old Amoco, vowel frontness and rounding would be transferred onto the consonant, with consonants becoming palatalized before /e i/ and labialized before /o u/. Coronals and velars, as well as /h/, merged to become true palatals before front vowels. Palatalized uvular stops later became velar. /h/ became [ɸʷ] before a back round vowel and /gʷ/ became [w].
Ejectives tend to be only weakly so, often pronounced tenuis in unstressed syllables. Voiced stops may become fricatives intervocalically. Every consonant in Amoco also has a nasalized variant. For most consonants, this takes the form of a prenasalization, but the voiced stops become simple nasal stops. Fricatives and tenuis stops become voiced in addition to prenasalization.
Amoco phonetically exhibits a five vowel system /a e i o u/. It historically had a twelve-vowel system identical to that of modern Guarani, but vowel frontness, rounding, and nasalization became transferred onto consonants. It is sometimes represented as having two vowels /a ɨ/ due to morphemic patterns of consonants with a particular following vowel grade carrying meaning. In this model, [e i o u] are analyzed as realizations of underlying /a ɨ/ after particular consonant coarticulations. [i u] are realizations of /ɨ/ after a palatal and labial consonant, respectively, and [e o] are realizations of /a/ after a palatal and labial consonant. In stressed non-word-final syllables, /e/ and /o/ may be diphthongized to [jɛ] and [wɔ], respectively. Amoco also has six diphthongs, corresponding to any combination of a high vowel followed by an offglide /j w/.
Amoco still retains an archiphoneme conventionally notated /ɨ/, though it is never pronounced as such. If it is followed by a palatal consonant, it is pronounced [i]. If followed by a labial consonant, it is pronounced [u]. Word-finally following a nasal/voiced stop, a lateral, or a sibilant, as well as a non-lateral approximant where it may be transferred to the previous syllable as an offglide, it is dropped entirely. Elsewhere, it is pronounced [e].
Basic Amoco syllables follow the pattern (N)CV(G), where C is a consonant, V is a vowel, (N) represents phonemic nasalization, and G is a semivowel /j w/ that may only come after high vowels. Consonant clusters may not occur in Amoco except where original /ɨ/ has been elided.
Amoco exhibits word tone in polysyllabic words. One syllable in each word carries an accent, either high or low. The accented syllable tends to be in the last three syllables. In words with high tone accent, pitch starts low, gradually rises, peaks on the accented syllable, and drops off. In words with a low tone accent, pitch starts mid, drops heavily to the accented syllable, and remains low for the rest of the rod. Low tone cannot occur word-initially.
Writing System Edit
The writing system of Amoco is based on Spanish orthography. It does not reflect word tone or the distinction between aspirated and ejective stops.
c [kʰ],[kʼ] (used before <a o u>)
g [g] (used before <a o u>)
qu [kʰ],[kʼ] (used before <e i>)
Nouns in Amoco belong to one of five featural classes optionally marked by prefixing. The prefixes carry grouping information, being marked for singular, dual, or collective grouping, and can be used for derivation or establishing a referent for anaphora. Some of the prefixes decline according to a historical paradigm of alternation between aspirates and nasals.
|2||females, plants, places, large objects||mʲe||mʲiʎi||ɸʲe|
|3||fire, water, alcohol, fluids||a||ɨlɨ||-|
The quantities marked by prefixes are not true grammatical numbers. They are called groupings because of the way that they behave with quantifiers. Inflecting the prefix indicates a pair or group of things, and any cardinal number or other quantifier will count the number of pairs/groups rather than the number of objects.