| Name: Erclajese
Head Direction: Medial
Number of genders: 1
Erclajese (or, as its natives know it, Ĕir-clāih-ṫĩ̀-cẽn), is a language spoken by a race known as the Erclai, who functioned similarly to the Mongols of Eastern Asia. Among other things, they valued bones, rather than blood or souls, as the true essence of a man or beast, and thus had several expressions relating to them.
As the Erclai do not believe in having lips, there are no bilabial/labiodental consonants or rounded vowels.
Note: For syllables with CVC patterns (see Phonotactics below), if the first consonant is more forward than the velar region, and the other more backward than it, then the first consonant is velarized (ˠ).
Note: Vowels can be lengthened, nasalized, or both. In the ortography (see below), long vowels are represented by double vowels (the last is doubled for polyphthongs), and long nasal vowels by the nasalized vowel followed by N.
Erclajese is a tonal language, and thus has five tones to distinguish words. Tone 2 is considered the neutral tone.
Note: Tones are represented in the orthography as follows: A macron (¯) for Tone 1, grave (`) for Tone 3, acute (´) for Tone 4, and circumflex (ˆ) for Tone 5. Tone 2 has no orthographical representation.
Orthography & PhonotacticsEdit
Where there are two possible IPA values for a letter, the first is the normal, and all subsequent are voiced variants other than for R that are only used after a voiced stop (starred entries are allophones). For R, the second value is used after vowels.
- The Syllable Structure is (C)(L)V(R/N)(C)(F), where C is a generic consonant, L is a lateral fricative, V is a vowel (and required for all syllables), R is a tap, N is a nasal, and F is a fricative.
- The following polyphthongs are allowed: AI (aɪ), AU (aɯ̟), OU (ʌɯ̟), ĔI (ɛɪ), ĔU (ɛɯ̟), ŎI (ɑɪ), OĬA (ʌja), OUI (ʌɯɪ), and IĔU (jɛɯ̟).
- H cannot begin a syllable. In New Erclajese Script (see below), its glyph is also used as a vowel carrier.
- Long versions of the vowels Ĕ, Ĭ, Ŏ, and Ŭ must be written with the diacritic(s) on the first iteration of the vowel only.
- Nasals and fricatives are voiced in syllables beginning with voiced stops and the voiced lateral fricative, and unvoiced otherwise. Uvulars and glottals are exempt from this rule.
Stress is based on the timing of the syllables. Grammatic syllables get less time than main syllable, and the penultimate main syllable is always the longest.
The Erclai in their early years would carve inscriptions into bone, documenting all things mundane and esoteric in their lives. Not much is known about this writing system, the Old Erclajese script, except that it was believed to be pictographic, with certain symbols denoting grammatical syllables. However, it was apparently cumbersome to write, and too complex once pen and ink were introduced to the Erclai. It was at that point that a new writing system was needed. Although many have set out to simplify their writing system, only a handful of merchants have perfected such an art. The fruits of their labor, the New Erclajese script, was simplistic yet somehow sophisticated in its application. As can be seen on the right, along with the standardized basic shapes for the majority of letters, there were also certain vowel shapes that could be rotated to fit within the confines of a square, which is believed to be the proportions in which the Old Script pictographs also fit. With certain refinements (such as clarifying certain vowel glyphs so as to reduce ambiguity), the script soon caught on with the Erclai, and is now the only known script still in public use.
- The consonants are grouped by their shapes: stops are square-shaped, while nasals are triangular, and fricatives are bent. The two exceptions are R and X, which were developed with little regard to relationships with other letters.
- The basic vowel shapes are not unlike Korean hangul, save for the letter A, which was concieved to differentiate from the letter Ĭ.
- Nasal vowels are formed by slashing the vowel to be nasalized.
- Tones are always written beneath the syllables.
Nouns decline by number, case and definitiveness. For number, Dual/Trial takes two or three objects, while Paucal takes from four to six. Case, which includes patients to comparative/superlative/equalitative adjectives, is marked by postpositional particles.
E.g. syōk (book)
|out [of] (ex-)||şãn|
|out of (empty)||dŏ́n|
Verbs do not conjugate by person or number. Instead, they conjugate by tense, aspect and evidentiality. Note that the copula does not have a word to itself---rather, it functions as a suffix to its patient, but only in the past or future. Modality is expressed by suffixing a particle just after the root.
E.g. rās (take [sth.])
|Evidentiality: Sensed (by sight, sound, or other means of gathering evidence of the act)|
|Evidentiality: Imagined (What is assumed or implied from hearsay, deduction, or guessing)|
- The present immediate imagined form used where the subject is assumed to be "you" denotes the imperative form (See Commands below).
- The infinitive form adds the suffix -ĩŋ to the root of the verb. Ergo, rās-ĩŋ (to take [sth.]) This is also used to form supine verbs.
- Participles are formed with the suffix -sùl, while gerunds are formed with -ìk.
- Passive verbs are prefixed with ṫi- (See Passive Topicalization below).
Anaphora (Pronouns and Pro-verbs)Edit
Anaphora is the act of abbreviating phrases with simpler words that refer to said phrases. In Erclajese, this applies to pronouns and proverbs.
Noun Anaphora (Pronouns)Edit
Personal pronouns decline by number and person, with prefixes for obviativity and animacy. The following are all proximate pronouns, and so refer to the audience and close-by people.
- The first obviative (ĭ-) is used to refer to faraway (yet still visible) people and witnesses. The second obviative (ā-) is used for useen or imagined people.
- Animacy is expressed with the prefix ĕir-. Since the first and second persons are automatically animate, this only applies to the third person.
- Reflexives are expressed with the accusative case, and possessives with the genitive.
Pro-verbs use the word şi as a stand-in for an entire verb phrase.
- E.g. Rās-o çáň-ḋùr ĭ-syōk-sôn, şi tlàir ĕir-ryōk-ōk-ḋùr.
- take.PRES-PROG 1s.NOM A.book.ACC, PV and ANIM.3pl.NOM
- "I am taking a book as they do."
Adjectives follow nouns and decline by certainty (definitiveness); uncertain adjectives are preceded by the prefix ĭ-. Comparatives, superlatives, and similiatives are expressed with the noun being compared to (in the appropriate case) preceding the adjective.
The Erclajese counting system uses base 20.
In addition, ordinals are formed by putting the particle tāns after the number. Fractions are expressed as (denominator) kàh [split] (numerator)---the reverse of English nomenclature.
In the following table, checkmarks denote parts of speech to which these derivations apply.
There are two forms of the basic conjunctions, one for words/phrases and the other for clauses.
For advanced conjunctions, only one form is sufficient, as they are mostly used in joining clauses.
|in order to||ĭr|
Note: When dẽ or xāx are used with a verb in the past imagined, the verb becomes subjunctive or conditional respectively.
Word Order & Sentence TransformationsEdit
Basic Word OrderEdit
In main clauses and sentences, the word order is usually VS(O). In subordinate clauses, it is (O)SV.
- E.g. Rās-īh-o çáň-ḋùr syōk-de-sôn dèn-ḋùr nyŏ́x-ṅi.
- take.DIM.PRES-PROG 1s.NOM book.DT.ACC 2s.NOM read.PRES-PERF
- "I am borrowing the books you have read."
- Dòuu-ōŋ-kin tlíh-tlíh-je ĕir-ḋùr kŏ̄rk-tyak-ŏh kin-tĕ̀uh.
- absent.TRANS.NEAR-PAST bird.PL.DAT man.NOM kill.PAS-IM.HBT near-past.ADV
- "The man who [one believes] killed birds [for a living] went missing [lit. became absent] yesterday."
Noun phrases are head-medial; descriptive modifiers precede the head, and verbal modifiers (which must agree with the head) follow it.
- E.g. Slí-kò cẽn-èr càc-tlāk ké-u têt-têt-je tái-ái-ḋùr kŏ̄rk-āuh.
- river.from big.NEUT water.INT pure.NOT many.DAT that.NOM kill.PRES-IM.HBT
- "The tainted water (from the big river) which killed many."
- cf. Slí-kò cẽn-èr têt-têt-je tái-ái-kò kŏ̄rk-āuh càc-tlāk ké-u.
- river.from big.NEUT many.DAT that.from kill.PRES-IM.HBT water.INT pure.NOT
- "The tainted water, from the big river which killed many."
Questions are formed by adding the particle óui to the beginning of the sentence.
- E.g. Óui rās-tyak dèn-ḋùr syōk-de-sôn çáň-áç?
- Q take.PAST-IMG 2s.NOM book.DT.ACC 1s.GEN?
- "Did you take my books?"
Questions that ask for specifics (who, what,...) use the word order QVT, where Q is the query and T is its topic.
- E.g. Tark-ḋùr rās-tyak syōk-de-sôn çáň-áç?
- who?.NOM take.PAST-IMG book.DT.ACC 1s.GEN?
- "Who took my books?"
The imperative form of the verb is the same as the present imagined (see Verbs above). To form commands, ignore the subject (as it will be assumed to be "you"), and use that form of the verb. Commands always end in an excalmation mark.
- E.g. Rās-ā klàk-sôn!
- take.IMP cup.ACC!
- "Take the cup!"
Sentences can be negated by using the particle lla after the relevant word. If said word is a modifier (adjective/-verb), u is used instead.
- E.g. Kŏ̄rk-ā-lla çáň-sôn! Çáň-tlāk dlûs-u!
- kill.IMP.NEG 1s.ACC! 1s.INT evil.NOT!
- "Don't kill me! I am not evil!"
Relative clauses where the topic of the clause is not the same as in the main sentence are formed using the impersonal pronoun tān-âi.
- E.g. Cās-ā çáň-tlāk tān-âi kiĕu nŭ̀ng-tlāk ĭ-ĕir-ryōk-áç.
- think.PRES-IMG 1s.INT that.REL ugly face.INT 1O.ANI.3s.GEN.
- "I think his/her face is ugly."
In sentences with passive verbs (see Verbs above), the subject and object (or any indirect objects) change roles.
- E.g. Séŋ-te-ṅi dèn-je çáň-ḋùr syōk-sôn. → Ṫi-séŋ-te-ṅi çáň-je dèn-ḋùr syōk-sôn.
- give.DPAST-PERF 2s.DAT 1s.NOM book.ACC → PASS.give.DPAST-PERF 1s.DAT 2s.NOM book.ACC
- "I had given you the book." → "You had been given the book [by me]."
Subclauses can become noun phrases via the application of the gerundive particle (ìk) to the verb.
- E.g. Tàl-ōŋ-ṡĕt-kin tlíh-tlíh-je ĕir-áç kŏ̄rk-ìk-ḋùr çáň-sôn.
- sad.TRNS.CAUS.NPST bird.PL.DAT man.GEN kill.GER.NOM 1s.ACC.
- "The man's slaughter of the birds made me sad."
The Swadesh ListEdit