| Henton Saxon |
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Though the language itself is in general referred to plainly as Sächsisch — natively rendered as Saxisch — the term Henton Saxon refers specifically to the language codified by the Henton & Ȝearliȝe Wordbook (henceforth abbreviated as H&Ȝ), pressed by the Wessiȝ Prefecture and the Burgraveship of Fromenmoot. The grammatical norms and words defined in the H&Ȝ somewhat accurately reflect the semi-standardised variety of a Saxon language spoken in eastern Cornwall, in Wessiȝ, Suthiȝ and Kent, though much dialectical standardisation and levelling is shown in the H&Ȝ forms.
The proscribed name for this form of the language is formally Henton-and-Ȝearliȝe Saxon — even as the majority of speakers use "Saxisch" as their term of choice.
The phonology of the Wessiȝ dialect of Henton Saxon is fairly representative of the language area as a whole. It reflects several very distinct southern English features, though it is generally free of the more extensive German influence exerted on more eastern dialects. It has 27 consonant phonemes and 13 vowels.
The twenty-seven consonant phonemes, along with their most common orthographical representations, are:
|Nasals||m (m)||n (n)||ŋ (nk/ng/nch)|
|Stops||p b (p b)||t d (t d)||tʃ dʒ (tch/ch dg/j)||k g (k g)|
|Fricatives||f v (f v/f)||θ ð (th þ/th)||s z (s z)||ʃ ʒ (sch j)||x ɣ ɣʷ (ch h hw)|
|Sonorants||w (w/ȝ)||r l (r l)||j (ȝ)||ʟ (l)*|
- * in a coda position, written without an intrusive vowel
The 13 vowels, in the vowel space:
|High||i: ɪ||aɨ aʉ||u: ʌ|
|Mid||ɛ|| əɨ əʉ|
A fourteenth vowel, /ɪ̈/, may appear in transcription; this vowel is phonetically identical to /ɪ/, except that it is considered its unstressed counterpart.
Stress, Phonotactics, Phoneme DistributionEdit
As is the general case among Germanic languages, Wessiȝ Saxon allows both words that are monosyllabic and polysyllabic. Not deviating from the common Germanic norm, it allows various sorts of consonant clusters and tends to avoid vowel hiatuses. Vowels are the only permissible syllable nucleus — epenthetic vowels may be inserted to break up clusters that do not conform to phonaesthetics, and often undergo syncope when a syllabic suffix is added.
Stress in words is generally fixed. Native words are always stressed on the first syllable of the root: the stress doesn't retract to the first syllable of a word when a prefix is added. Foreign loans, especially those that are recent or otherwise poorly integrated into the phonetics and lexicon of the language, may have stress on syllables other than the root initial: e.g. Latinate words tend to retain the stress they had in Latin. Saxon stress is a combination of pitch, loudness, and vowel quality: length is phonemic, and short vowels are quantitatively the same regardless of the stress.
A peculiarity of Saxon is that it generally disallows word-initial voiceless fricatives — the only exceptions are the clusters /sp st sk/ that have a voiceless sibilant, certain loans such as <France> /fra:ns/, and words influenced by loans, such as <frank> /frank/. The fricative /ʃ/ is exempt from this rule as it lacks a native voiced counterpart.
As with most English languages with a literate tradition, Henton Saxon has an orthography that is sprinkled with irregularities and odd patterns, stemming from its long history of development. It continues several prominent Old and Middle English scribal traditions and peculiarities, such as the retention of the ȝeoch and þorn.
Tradition divides the graphemes of the H&Ȝ standard into two groups: the vowel graphemes <a e ȝ i o u y> and the consonant graphemes <b c d f g ȝ h j k l m n p q r s þ t v w x z>. The ȝeoch <ȝ> is counted as both a consonant and a vowel due to its erratic representation and usage.
Ultimately, this orthographical guide should be treated as just a guideline: many words break expected patterns and behave in erratic ways.
The consonantal grapheme set <p b t d k g> represents the plosives /p b t d k g/.
The fricative grapheme pair <v h> maps to /v ɣ/, whereas the remaining pair <f s> can map to both the voiceless /f s/ and their voiced counterparts /v z/; while <f> is /v/ only initially, <s> may be /z/ intervocalically, as well as word-finally in unstressed monosyllables.
The grapheme <z> represents /z/ in native words, and the affricate /ts/ in loans from languages such as German and Italian.
The grapheme <þ> represents /ð/, and occurs only initially. Word-internally, the digraph <th> is used to represent /θ ð/.
The digraphs <ch hw> represent /x ɣʷ/, and the trigraph <sch> represents /ʃ/. A few loans from French and Spanish have <j> representing the voiced /ʒ/.
The grapheme <c> represents /s/ before front vowel graphemes (even when the vowel itself isn't front), and /k/ in all other contexts.
The affricate /tʃ/ is represented by <ch> word-initially — as native words do not have /x/ in initial positions — and <tch> internally. Its voiced counterpart /dʒ/ is represented by <dg> in native words, where it is never initial, and by <j> in loans from Norman.
The grapheme <m> represents /m/ in all cases, whereas <n> represents a coronal /n/ only when not near velars; <n> followed by any of <k g ch> always represents /ŋ/, though the sequence <ng> is ambiguous as to whether it represents the cluster /ŋg/ or just the nasal /ŋ/.
The duo <w r> represents /w r/ in all positions. The function and distribution of the ȝeoch <ȝ> is best covered as a part of the framework of vowel graphemes. The grapheme <l> represents /l/ in prevocalic positions (even when the vowel is silent or intrusive); it represents /ʟ/ in a coda position before consonants when not after one of /i: ɛ əɨ ɑɨ/ and when not after a stressed /ɪ/. The phoneme represented by <l> word-finally after vowels varies as /l~ʟ/ based on dialect.
The grapheme <x> generally represents /ks/ initially and /gz/ internally; some foreign loans may have <x> stand for /z/; this is usually the case with French and Venetian loans.
Digraphs are resolved first in non-compounds; compounds that generate such sequences may optionally be written with a hyphen.
In unstressed syllables, the grapheme set <e i> generally represent the reduced vowels /ə ɪ̈/. Furthermore, most foreign unstressed <o u a> also come to represent /ə/.
In stressed syllables, written before either a final single consonant or a consonant cluster between vowels, the set <a e i o u> represents the short set /ɑ ɛ ɪ ɔ ʌ/. Before single medial consonants, or final single consonants with a silent <e>, <i a o> represent the long set /əɨ ɑɨ əʉ/; the graphemes <e o> do not occur in such a position. The vowel grapheme <y> always represents /ɪ/ regardless of stress or position.
The digraphs <aa ie oa ou> represent /a: i: əʉ u:/ in practically all positions. These four digraphs also represent the same phonemes before word-final single consonants with a silent <e>.
A word-initial <ȝ> generally represents /j/ before front vowel graphemes, and seldom occurs before back vowels, with the exception of <u>. It is generally mute in the sequences <iȝe aȝe ouȝe oȝe oaȝe>, which verbosely represent plain /əɨ ɑɨ u: əʉ əʉ/; an exception to this would be the word-final sequences <iȝe aȝe oȝe, which can stand for /ɪj aj ɔj/, as well as (possibly hyperorrective) /ɪjə ajə ɔjə/. Likewise, final <ȝ> is generally silent, except in the sequence <-iȝ>, which represents /ɪ̈j/ after consonants. It is also often used for non-initial /w/ with sporadic regularity; the sequence <ieȝe> could be read as both /i:w/ and /i:j/. Additionally, initial /ja:/ and /jɔ/ are represented with <ȝea> and <ȝeo>.
Several morphologically conditioned phonological alternations operate as significant factors in Saxon. Some of these are common Germanic innovations, while others are uniquely Saxon in form and fucntion.
The primary morphophonolgical alternation operating in Saxon is grammatical ablaut, inherited directly from Proto-Indo-European through Proto-Germanic. It is generally poorly preserved in the nominal system, though verbs generally reflect a much more vivid and productive image. Some examples of extant ablaut patterns in Saxon:
- /*a ~ *u/ — tooth :: tind (from Proto-Germanic *tanþs & *tundijaną)
- /*ō ~ *u/ — root :: wurt (from Proto-Germanic *wrōts & *wurds)
- /*eu ~ *u/ — tie :: tycht (from Proto-Germanic *teuhaną & *tuhtiz)
Alternations involving nominals are generally very opaque and span what are now multiple Saxon words, rather than influencing the alternations within one paradigm alone. Strong verbs preserve a much better accord of ablaut:
- /*a ~ *ō ~ *a/ — forzake :: forzook :: forzaken (from Proto-Germanic *frasakō & *frasōk & *frasakanaz)
- /*ī ~ *ai ~ *i/ — drive :: droave :: ydriven (from Proto-Germanic *drībō & *draib & *dribanaz)
- /*e ~ *a ~ *u/ — ficht :: facht :: yfochten (from Proto-Germanic *fihtō & *faht & *fuhtanaz)
Many of the alternations present in Proto-Germanic have been rendered at least partially opaque, and the sound changes have rendered many of the original relationships hard to spot, as many new alternations have developed and been introduced due to umlaut and general vowel shifts.
Some of the more contemporary morphophonological alternations include the Ingvaeonic Nasal-Spirant Law:
- /Vnk ~ Vxt/ — slink :: slichte (from Old English slincan)
A relatively early Anglic development of trisyllabic vowel shortening is also observable:
- /əi ~ ɪ/ — Crist :: Cristendom
- /ɑʉ ~ ʌ/ — house :: huslerd (from Old English hūs-hlāfweard)