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| Civic Valani |
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Civic Valani (Mestian Válā, natively Vehkkeal) is the official administratorial language employed by the polities in the Rocky Swamp under Imperial rule. It is a standardised neutral form derived from the plethora of Valani dialects; it is used exclusively as a literate language and doesn't enjoy a native speaker-base — it is, essentially, artificially derived from its dialects.
Valani as a dialect cluster is part of a narrow family of Western Spearland languages and has a small amount of relatives in the rest of the Rocky Swamp and in Rotwood. All of its relatives share similar morphosyntactical traits: every one of them is agglutinating and has a tripartite alignment system. The Western Spearlands languages are divided into three groups, where Valani is grouped with the rest of the Valanic languages, it being the most widespread language of the group.
It is often represented in writing using a modified form of the Dragon Imperial alphabet — even though the language itself isn't part of the dragon-herding ethnolinguistic complex. Older forms of the language used the script of the fourth Empire, which is still sometimes seen in ceremonial and commemorative use. It has primarily come under the influence of Mendian speakers in its vicinity.
|Nasal||m mm||n nn||ɳ ɳɳ||ɲ ɲɲ||ŋ ŋŋ|
|ʔm ʔmm||ʔn ʔnn||ʔɳ ʔɳɳ||ʔɲ ʔɲɲ||ʔŋ ʔŋŋ|
|Plosives||p pp||t tt||ʈ ʈʈ||k kk||ʔ (ʔʲ)|
|b bb||d dd||ɖ ɖɖ||g gg|
|ʰp ʰpp||ʰt ʰtt||ʰʈ ʰʈʈ||ʰk ʰkk|
|Affricates||ts tts||ʈʂ ʈʈʂ||tɕ ttɕ|
|dz ddz||ɖʐ ɖɖʐ||dʑ ddʑ|
|ʰts ʰtts||ʰʈʂ ʰʈʈʂ||ʰtɕ ʰttɕ|
|Fricatives||f ff||ɸ ɸɸ||θ θθ||s ss||ʂ ʂʂ||ɕ ɕɕ||x xx||h|
|v vv||β ββ||ð ðð||ɣ ɣɣ|
|Sonorants||r rr||ɭ ɭɭ||j jj||(w)|
|l ll||ʎ ʎʎ|
Syllables in Civic Valani are divided into two classes – heavy and light — based on the makeup of their codas that then determine their division into morphometrical feet. All syllables have an obligatory onset: even underlyingly vowel-initial syllables have a simplex glottal stop [ʔ] as their onset.
Light Valani syllables come in two shapes: they are either open syllables when isolated, or syllables with a zero or a single, non-geminate coda consonant when word-internal. Heavy syllables are either isolated with a single coda consonant (as word-final syllables can never have more than one coda consonant in Valani) or internal with a geminate or clustered coda.
Valani word-initial onsets are usually made up of a single, short consonant; word-initial geminates and preglottals aren't allowed in the language. Aside from single C onsets, there is a limited amount of legal initial CC onsets:
*Clusters marked with an asterisk aren't found in native words, yet occur in loanwords and do not get broken.
**The cluster /lj/ is essentially equal to /ʎ/; all initial /ʎ/ are treated as clusters of /l + j/.
The marginal phoneme /ʔʲ/ isn't treated as a cluster of /ʔ + j/ as the glottal stop /ʔ/ technically doesn't occur in such an initial preconsonantal environment; this segment, then, occurs only due to diphthong simplification of initial /ɛa/ into /a/ where the diphthong then leaves a palatal offglide on the glottal stop. This is conditioned by morphophonology.
Due to the peculiarities of Valani syllabification processes, all internal onsets are short and simplex: there are no onset clusters or geminates as they tend to be broken up and shared between syllables. All internal syllables have a single consonant as their onset: this consonant cannot be the glottal stop /ʔ/ or a preaspirated/preglottalised obstruent — all preaspirates are treated as clusters of /h + C/ and all preglottalised nasals as clusters of /ʔ + N/ word-internally (but not initially). Due to these very peculiarities, as well as phonotactic limitations on sequences allowed intervocalically, internal onsets and codas must be treated as one complex cluster regardless of syllabification:
|Intervocalic CC Clusters|
|Intervocalic CCC Clusters|
Due to the large amount of simplifications undergone by its clusters, Valani generally doesn't allow word-final clusters. No native Valani word ends in a consonant cluster, and loanwords generally tend to be simplified to have as minimal a final cluster as possible. Most native words get simplified final codas that sometimes barely match up with their underlying forms. These simplifications are generally unpredictable.
Valani prosody depends on syllabic weight. It divides its words into prosodic feet based on syllabic weight: each foot has at most three and at least two syllables; these are respectively called trisyllabic and bisyllabic feet. The only regular deviation can be the first foot from the beginning of a word: it may hold up to one lone syllable as feet are counted from the right. A trisyllabic foot may only have light syllables, whereas a bisyllabic foot always contains at least one heavy syllable (both may even be heavy). The situation is complicated in words that have four light syllables: in such a case, the word is counted as if having two bisyllabic feet, regardless of their weight.
Valani usually puts its primary stress on the initial syllable of the first foot, and secondarily stresses every initial syllable of each next foot; this is avoided when the first foot of a polysyllabic word has only one syllable — in such a case, primary stress shifts to the first syllable of the second foot.
As Civic Valani is the written standard language formed on the basis of all the core dialects of the actual Valani varieties, it features few widespread and near-obligatory allophonic rules as most speakers take their native dialect's influences with themselves. Allophony is generally not represented in writing.
Valani's allophonic rules are divided into two groups: global (pan-dialectical) and regional (dialectical), based on speaker usage.
Vowel Contraction (G)Edit
Vowel contraction in hiatus is the single most prominent Valani rule that often blurs the line between allophony and morphophonological processes. It specifically deals with sequences of two vowels in hiatus and their resolution. It always resolves these sequences by contracting the two syllables those vowels belong to to one with a "resolved" vowel.
The simplest of these resolutions produce a phonetically long vowel from a sequence of two identical — or, in the case of low vowels, nearly-identical — short sequential vowels. All sequences of identical vowels contract into a long vowel; this also applies to vowels that differ only in rounding, which then contract to a long vowel that carries the rounding of the first vowel. All sequences of low vowels, regardless of backness, contract to a long vowel that carries the backness and rounding of the first vowel.
Regardless of rounding, all sequences that have a vowel quality contour that is identical a diphthong will contract to said diphthong; this means that e.g. both /ɛɶ/ and /øa/ will contract to [ɛ͡a]. A non-low back vowel that is followed by a front vowel will simplify to a glide [w], and a non-low front vowel followed by a back vowel will simplify to [j]. Sequences of a low and mid vowel interact in a slightly more complicated way: they contract to a long mid vowel that carries the rounding of the low vowel.
Speakers of overly formal and hypercorrective registers often end up applying prosodic rules that have one phonetic syllable be counted twice due to the fact that it is underlaid by two phonemic nuclei. While considered prestigious — bordering on and even crossing into posh territory — this kind of prosody is completely ahistoric to the language. Regular speech may also feature some traces of this, in ambiguous cases as a prosodic disambiguator.
Regemination of certain geminate and unstable sequences and clusters is a prominent Valani change — although it exists in some form in all of its dialects, it doesn't surface in the same way everywhere. It is divided into several different — yet fairly similar — assimilation and dissimilation processes that, dispersed along an isogloss map, form a fairly complex feature set concentrated in a small area of land. Regemination processes are divided into three geographical groupings, based on where they take hold: they can be found extant on the outer Neb, the inner Neb or spread across the Mainland dialects, with some having a global distribution.
The dialects on the Neb (with the exception of the eastern coast of the outer Neb) partake in a glottalised nasal sequence rearrangement, though the actual rearrangement results differ between the areas. Inner Neb dialects generally tend to shift the nasal sequence /ʔNN/, merging it into /NʔN/, whereas the outer Neb dialects generally merge both sequences into /ʔʔN/ (a cluster generally avoided in more common Valani discourse). The outer Neb dialects on its eastern shores keep the two sequences distinct, instead opting to shift /NʔN/ to /NNʔ/; this sequence doesn't occur elsewhere in Valani. The Mainland dialects generally do not rearrange these sequences, though some may come under the influence of nearby Neb regiolects.
All Valani dialects take part in a depreaspiration process that works by reanalysing geminate preaspirates into sequences of a geminate glottal fricative and a short tenuis obstruent. This change is divided into two groups: the dialects of the inner Neb and both the eastern and western Mainland dialects practice depreaspiration on preaspirated plosives, whereas the dialects from the eastern Mainland and the whole Neb have depreaspiration that works on preaspirated affricates; the dialects of the eastern Mainland and the inner Neb, thus, have depreaspiration on both classes of preaspirates.
The single universal Valani regemination process is the reanalysis of initial /ʎ/ (treated as an underlying |lj|), which is always phonetically a long [ʎ:], as a sequence of short /lj/. This is the only regemination (or, rather, degemination) that is indicated in the official civic orthography.
Length Interaction (G)Edit
All Valani dialects have fairly straightforward vowel-consonant length interactions that apply even after vowel contractions into long vowels. It is a general tendency of all Valani vowels to be shortened before geminates and consonant clusters; short vowels in this environment become shorter (/aCC/ —> [ăCC]) and the long vowels produced by contraction become half-long (/aaCC/ —> [aˑCC]), or even as short as a normal short vowel before a simplex consonant (/aaCC/ —> [aCC]). This interaction isn't indicated in the orthography, and speakers are seldom aware of it; there is virtually no dialectical variation as to the interactions.
All Valani dialects employ a wide array of lenition processes, triggered either synchronically or in environments now unanalysable; this processes of consonant lenition affects both single consonants and consonant clusters in complex, yet fairly consistent ways. The segments affected are exclusively the last consonantal segments of a stem.
The segments that undergo lenition have lenition grades — each segment theoretically has three such grades, though it may differentiate two, or even just one levelled universal grade. Segments that have three grades are called tricipites, those with two grades bicipites and those with only one universal grade simplex.
These lenition grades are:
|Segment Lenition Grades|
|Class||Gr. III||Gr. II||Gr. I|
Similar to its consonant lenition processes, Valani also has vowel simplification — in that it has a tendency to simplify diphthongs to monophthongs in specifically triggered morphophonological processes; it most often coincides with consonant lenition. Valani vowel simplification functions according to a principle of disharmonious distribution (vowel disharmony) where the resulting vowel is chosen to be as dissimilar from the following vowel as possible.
The simplification pathways are:
|Source ‹VV›||Next ‹V›||Result ‹V›||Example|
|ia||i y û u||ḁ́|
|á a ḁ́ ḁ́|
e ø ô o
|i y û u||e||sieꝁꝁi|
|ea||i y û u|
á a ḁ́ ḁ́
|e ø ô o||á|
|uo||i y û u||ô|
|á a ḁ́ ḁ́|
e ø ô o
|i y û u||a|
|oa||i y û u|
e ø ô o
|á a ḁ́ ḁ́||o|
Valani nominals come in two shapes: they can either be nouns or adjectives, and both of those categories have a corresponding set of pro-words. Each type of nominal declines for case and number, though each subtype has its own inflectional peculiarities.
Valani nouns are the most open category of Valani nominals: they are the most readily expandable category that accepts the greatest amount of loans and derivations. They inflect only for case, possessedness and number. They are cited in the absolutive singular and plural, which their inflectional patterns are straightforwardly intuitable from. No Valani noun is monosyllabic: all are, at the very least, bisyllables.
Valani nouns come in four classes:
- Even-stem fortis nouns — those that have an equal amount of syllables in the absolutive singular and plural; where the singular is more fortis than the singular (frequent)
- Odd-stem fortis nouns — those that have one syllable more in the absolutive plural than in the singular; where the singular is more fortis than the singular (frequent)
- Even-stem lenis nouns — same as even-stem fortes where the singular is more lenis than the plural (rarest)
- Odd-stem lenis nouns — same as odd-stem fortes where the singular is more lenis than the plural (infrequent)
A further pair of non-leniting classes does exist, though its inflection doesn't actually differ from their fortis and lenis counterparts, and, as such, isn't treated as separate.
Valani nouns inflect for three numbers — singular, dual and plural — and nine cases:
The Valani absolutive case is the citation form of all nouns: its singular and plural provide sufficient knowledge to fully decline every Valani noun. It is used to mark the majority of intransitive arguments of verbs: some verbs may use a different case (most frequently the accusative) either as a morpholexical quirk or as a way to provide different information (usually volition or a different thematic role).
All noun types have the same lenition grade in the dual and the plural of the absolutive. All diphthongs simplify in the dual and plural.
The Valani accusative most frequently (see: absolutive) marks the patient argument of transitive verbs.
Nouns that end in a consonant get an <-a> in the singular, and vowel-final words have their final vowel replaced with the suffix's vowel in the dual and plural. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the accusative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the accusative.
The Valani ergative-genitive — or, simply, ergative — serves a dual purpose: it marks for the agent argument of transitive verbs on one hand, and marks possessors of alienable possession on the other.
All numbers of the ergative require diphthong simplification. Vowel-final words take <-n> in the singular, and consonant-final words get an additional <-ŧ> in the plural. The lenition grade of the ergative singular, and dual and plural are the same as in the absolutive.
The Valani benefactive marks for various oblique arguments: benefactors, recipients, malefactors and destinations.
All diphthongs are simplified in the benefactive. Even-stem nouns are lenited in all numbers, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortified. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.
The Valani locative marks for general static proximity to an object. It is often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.
Odd-stem nouns have the same amount of syllables in all numbers of the locative, whereas even-stems gain another syllable. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the locative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the locative. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.
The Valani lative marks for general motion towards or from an object. It is often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.
Odd-stem nouns have the same amount of syllables in all numbers of the lative, whereas even-stems gain another syllable. Even-stem nouns are lenis in all numbers of the lative, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortis in the singular and lenis in the dual and plural. Nouns do not undergo diphthong simplification in the locative.
The Valani durative case denotes temporal parallelism, as well as serving some other, more adverbial roles. It is also often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.
All diphthongs are simplified in the durative. Even-stem nouns are lenited in all numbers, whereas odd-stem nouns are fortified. Disallowed consonant sequences are resolved to give the sequence acoustically most similar to the morphophonemic analysis.
The Valani essive marks for resemblance in form, shape, function or connotation. It is also often used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.
The dual and plural of the essive require diphthong simplification. Declensions of even and odd stems differs slightly. Lenis nouns are fortified in all numbers, whereas fortis nouns are fortis in the singular and lenited in the dual and plural.
The Valani oblique is a catch-all case for most Valani prepositions and postpositions. It is also frequently used as a base onto which pseudopostpositionals may be attached.
All noun types have the same lenition grade as they do in the absolutive. The oblique requires that all diphthongs be simplified. Some nouns have an irregular oblique: e.g. odd-stemmed nouns ending in <-ug> lose the <-u-> in the oblique.
This table gives an overview of Valani case-number inflectional suffixes and stem alternation processes:
|Even-Stem Fortis||Even-Stem Lenis|
|Odd-Stem Fortis||Odd-Stem Lenis|