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Miwonša

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Miwonša [mi’wɔ̃:ʃä] is an a priori conlang, which I have been developping since 2011. It is a personal language and besides that not yet connected to a conworld, although it cannot be excluded that the conlang may be linked to a fictional world in the future. Furthermore, Miwonša was designed to be as naturalistic and suitable for everyday communication as possible. Therefore the grammar is neither very simplistic nor complex, but comparable to the average complexity of European languages. One unique feature of Miwonša is that it can be written with two writing systems. The first one is a modified version of the Latin alphabet, which includes some diacritics.. The other alphabet resembles Hangeul in that strokes representing sounds are put together so that they form blocks. Each simple block represents one closed or open syllable (maximal complexity: CCCVC). Since all blocks for open syllables are symmetrical, you can form ligatures by combining the left half of the first block with the right half of the second block so that it is possible to display a CCCV.CCCV structure with only one ligature.

PHONOLOGYEdit

ConsonantsEdit

 

Labial

Alveolar

Post-Alveolar

Palatal

Velar

Glottal

Plosives

p  p‘  (b)

t  t‘  (d)

c  c‘

k  k‘  (g)

Affricates

t͡s

t͡ʃ  t͡ʃ‘  (d͡ʒ)

(t͡ɕ)  (t͡ɕ')

Nasals

m

n

ɲ

(ŋ)

Fricatives

f  (v)

s  z  (sʲ)  (zʲ) 

ʃ  ʒ

ɕ

(x)

h

Other

w  ʍ

l  r  (ɬ)

j  (ʎ)

Comments:

-          /c ; c‘/ → [t͡ɕ ; t͡ɕ ']/ _[i ; ĩ ; iʊ̯; w]

-          /ɬ/ can be replaced by /ɕ/ (free variation)

-          In some dialects, /k/ can be pronounced as [x] in the syllable coda.

-          [ŋ] is inserted between two words, when the first word ends in a nasal vowel and when the second begins with a vowel

-          The sounds /b ; d; g; d͡ʒ ; v/ only occur in loanwords from natlangs. However, they can be replaced with their voiceless counterparts /p ; t ; k ; t͡ʃ ; f/.

-          The sounds /sʲ ; zʲ ; ʎ/ are in free variation with the consonant clusters [sj ; zj ; lj]. 

VowelsEdit

 

 

front

Monophthongs

central

 

back

 

front

Diphthongs

central

 

back

Closed

i  ĩ

u  ũ

iʊ̯

uɪ̯

Mid

ɛ  ɛ̃

ɔ  ɔ̃

ɛɪ̯

ɔɪ̯

Open

a  ã

ai̯

aʊ̯

ORTHOGRAPHYEdit

Modern Miwonša uses the Latin alphabet. There are 27 letters. The letters <q> and <x> are not used. There are three letters with diacritics (<č>, <š>, <ž>). Digraphs and trigraphs are not counted as separate letters. 

Modern Miwonša uses the Latin alphabet. There are 27 letters. The letters <q> and <x> are not used. There are three letters with diacritics (<č>, <š>, <ž>). Digraphs and trigraphs are not counted as separate letters.

Letters

IPA

   Di- and Trigraphs

IPA

A a

[a]

   ai

   an

   au

[ai̯]

[ã]

[aʊ̯]

B b*

[b] or [p]

 

 

C c

[c], [tɕ]

   ch

[c‘], [tɕ‘]

Č č

[tʃ]

   čh

[tʃ‘]

D d*

[d] or [t]

 

 

E e

[ɛ]

   ei

   en

[ɛɪ̯]

[ɛ̃]

F f

[f]

 

G g

[g] or [k]

 

H h

[h]

   hi

   hj

   hw

[ɕi]

[ɕ]

[ʍ]

I i

[i]

   in

   iw

[ĩ ]

[iʊ̯]

J j**

[dʒ]  or [tʃ] / [j]

 

K k

[k]

   kh

   kl***

[k‘]

[kl]  or  [kɬ]

L l

[l]

   lh

   lj

   lw

[ɬ] or [ɕ]

[ʎ] or [lj]

[ɬw] or [ɕw]

M m

[m]

  

N n

[n]

   nj

[ɲ]

O o

[ɔ]

 oi

 on

[ɔɪ̯]

[ɔ̃]

P p

[p]

   ph

   pl***

[p’]

[pl] or [pɬ]

R r

[r]

 

S s

[s]

   sj

[sʲ] or [sj]

Š š

[ʃ]

 

T t

[t]

   th

   thi

   ti

   ts

   tsj

[t‘]

[tɕ‘i]

[tɕi]

[ts]

[tsj]

U u

[u]

   ui

   un

[uɪ̯]

[ũ]

V v*

[v] or [f]

 

W w

[w]

 

Y y

[J]

 

Z z

[z]

   zj

[zʲ]  or  [zj]

Ž ž

[ʒ]

 

*             The letters <b ; d ; g ; v> only occur in loanwords.

**          The letter <j> is pronounced as [dʒ]  or  [tʃ] in loanwords and as [j] in consonant clusters of native words.

***        <kl> and <pl> can be pronounced as [kl ; pl] or [kɬ ; pɬ] (free variation).

Phonotactics:                                                                          Edit

Syllables in Miwonša can have up to 3 consonants in the onset and only one consonant in the coda. Syllables do not end in a consonant if the nucleus is a diphthong. After nasals, only <s> and <š> can appear in the coda. 

Letter

Onsets

Codas

b

(b) (bl) (br)

-

c

c ch cw

-

č

č čh čw

č

d

(d) (dr)

-

f

f fj (fl) (fr)

-

G

(g) (gl) (gr)

-

h

h hj hw

-

j

j

-

k

k kh kj kl kr kw

k

l

l lh lj lw

L

m

m mj

-

n

n nj

-

p

p ph pj pl pr pw

P

r

r

(r)

s

s sj sw

sp spj spl spr spw

st str stw

sk skj skl skr skw

s

 š

š šw

šp špj špl špr špw

št štr štw

šk škj škl škr škw

š

t

t th tr ts tsj tw

t

v

(v) (vj) (vl) (vr)

-

w

w

-

y

y

-

z

z zj

-

ž

ž žw

-

*             Consonants in brackets ( ) only appear in loanwords.

Stress Edit

Miwonša is a non-tonal language with lexical stress. There are different rules concerning where to put the stress depending on the part of speech and the grammatical form of the word.

Dialects Edit

Miwonša is not yet connected to a fictional world, nevertheless it has been designed as a pluricentric language with multiple dialects. Furthermore there are many allophones in free variation, but some pronunciations are considered to be more standard than the other alternative. In the central dialect, which is considered to be the most neutral one, <k> is always pronounced as [k], <lh> as [ɬ], <lw> as [ɬw], <kl> and <pl> as [pl] and [kl], <hw> as <ʍ>, <sj> and <zj> as [sj] and [zj] and <lj> as [lj].

Example sentence: Edit

Tahonti kišanwe piši ya milwa žuk skuni ya piskwai nanstwaran. Uiku piro aš tunšwaš ya thažansaš kwan, wanjo kwaikan yonžalwanti žuk khonswai paiwašizjak.

[ta.ˈhɔ̃.t͡ɕi ki.ʃã.ˈwɛ ˈpi.ʃi ja ˈmi.ɬwa ʒuk ˈsku.ni ja ˈpis.kwaɪ̯ ˈnãs.twa.ˌrã. uɪ̯.ˈku ˈpi.rɔ aʃ ˈtũ.ʃwaʃ ja tʼa.ˈʒã.saʃ kwã, ˈwa.ɲɔ kwaɪ.ˈkã ˌjɔ̃.ʒa.ˈɬwã.t͡ɕi ʒuk ˈkʼɔ̃.swaɪ̯ ˌpai.wa.ˈʃi.zjak]

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Final comments: Edit

Since I have already had the pleasure of hearing people trying to pronounce my conlang, I would like to point out that <an> is not pronounced as In French. While <an> is a back vowel in French [ɑ̃], it is much more fronted in Miwonša. Therefore it should be pronounced as a pure nasal “a” sound with no tendency to “o”.

Furthermore I would like to mention that the postalveolar sounds /ʃ ; ʒ ; tʃ/ are rather pronounced like the postalveolars which are present in German or Polish. The English sounds <sh>, <ch> and “zh” (as in “vision”) are often much softer than <š>, <č> and <ž> in Miwonša.  

NOUNSEdit

The four declensionsEdit

In Miwonša, all native nouns either end in "-a", "-i", "-o" or "-n". They can be grouped into four declensions. There are four cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative) and two numbers (singular, plural). All declensions have two or more sub-types.

The "a" declensionEdit

In the "a" declension, the last consonant is decisive for the choice of the correct suffix in the nominative, accusative and dative plural. If a stem of a noun ends in c, j, y or w, the plural suffixes are <e> and <eš>, All other stems require the suffixes i and iš. Final r is always palatalized to ž in the nominative, accusative and dative plural:

Example nouns of the "a" class (type 1): tahonta (person), hanza (dog) tahonti (humans), hanzi (dogs)

Example nouns of the "a" class (type 2): wanca (girl), siwa (water) → wance (girls), siwe (waters)

Example nouns of the "a" class (type 3): tara (day), lura (night) → taži (days), luži (nights)

The "o" declensionEdit

While the declension in the singular is equal for all nouns of the "o" declension, there are two sets of plural suffixes for animated and inanimated nouns. Animated nouns ending in <j> or <y> take the suffixes <e>, <ek> and <eš> in the plural. Final <r>s of noun stems are palatalized:

Example nouns of the "o" class (an., type 1): wonco (child), škunlo (thief) wonti (children), škunli (thieves)

Example nouns of the "o" class (an., type 2): anro (father) anži (fathers)

Example nouns of the "o" class (inanimated): žanjo (eye)  žanja (eyes)

The "i" declensionEdit

All nouns of the "i" declension require the same suffixes in the singular and plural. The only irregularity is the "i"-alternation (see section about phonology):

Example nouns of the "i" class (no alternation): raiči (opinion)  raič(opinions)

Example nouns of the "i" class (alternation): kaipi (mountain)  kaipja (mountains)

The "n" declensionEdit

With very few exceptions, native nouns of the "n"-class are very regular:

DeclensionEdit

"a"  type 1

"a" type 2 "o" animate "o" inanimate "i"   type 1 "i" type 2 "n"
TRANSLATION

language

mother boy year family heart friend
NOM.SG žwena maca kjunšo šanlo zwanši kjani tuškan
ACC.SG žwenai macai kjunšoi šanloi zwanši kjani tuškani
GEN.SG žwenak macak kjunšok šanlok zwanšik kjanik tuškanka
DAT.SG žwen mac kjunš šanl zwanš kjan tuškanša
NOM.PL/ACC.PL žweni mace kjunši šanla zwanša kjanja tuškanje
GEN.PL žwenoi macoi kjunšik šanlai zwanšiki kjaniki tuškanki
DAT.PL žwen mac kjunš šanl zwanšiši kjaniši tuškanši


The infix <-aš>Edit

"a"    type 1 "a"  type 2 "o" animate "o" inanimate "i"     type 1 "i"   type 2 "n"
TRANSLATION this language this mother this boy this year this family this heart this friend
NOM.SG žwenaša macaša kjunšašo šanlašo zwanšaši kjanjaši tuškašan
ACC.SG žwenašai macašai kjunšašoi šanlašoi zwanšaši kjanjaši tuškašani
GEN.SG žwenašak macašak kjunšašok šanlašok zwanšašik kjanjašik tuškašanka
DAT.SG žwenašaš macašaš kjunšašoš šanlašoš zwanšašiš kjanjašiš tuškašanša
NOM.PL/ACC.PL žwenaši macaši kjunšaši šanlaša zwanšaša kjanjaša tuškašanje
GEN.PL žwenašoi macašoi kjunšašik šanlašai zwanšaški kjanjaški tuškašanki
DAT.PL žwenašiš macašiš kjunšašiš šanlašaš zwanšašši kjanjašši tuškašanši

The infix <-aw>Edit

"a"      type 1 "a"   type 2 "o" animate "o" inanimate "i"      type 1 "i"    type 2 "n"
TRANSLATION some/any language some/any mother some/any boy some/any year some/any family some/any heart some/any friend
NOM.SG žwenawa macawa kjunšawo šanlawo zwanšawi kjanjawi tuškawan
ACC.SG žwenawai macawai kjunšawoi šanlawoi zwanšawi kjanjawi tuškawani
GEN.SG žwenawak macawak kjunšawok šanlawok zwanšawik kjanjawik tuškawanka
DAT.SG žwenawaš macawaš kjunšawoš šanlawoš zwanšawiš kjanjawiš tuškawanša
NOM.PL/ACC.PL žwenawi macawi kjunšawi šanlawa zwanšawa kjanjawa tuškawanje
GEN.PL žwenawoi macawoi kjunšawik šanlawai zwanšawki kjanjawki tuškawanki
DAT.PL žwenawiš macawiš kjunšawiš šanlawaš zwanšawši kjanjawši tuškawanši

PRONOUNSEdit

ADJECTIVESEdit

VERBSEdit

Overview: Verb morphology in MiwonšaEdit

Although the verb morphology is out and away the most complex part of Miwonšan grammar, it is not as complicated as one might assume at first glance. There are, however, some features which make it hard and easy at the same time: On the one hand Miwonšan verbs have an immense amount of of grammatical categories and affixes, which is the cause of extremly high morpheme/word ratios and very long words. On the other hand there is only one single and very regular conjugation, very little allomorphy and very strict rules concerning where to place which affix. This leads to the conclusion that it is much more reasonable and economical to obtain an idea of the structure of Miwonšan verbs by taking a look at the whole morphological scheme.

First of all it is important to know that there are three main verb types: 

(1) Standard Verbs (containing Modal Verbs); (2) Adjectival Verbs; (3) Copula Verbs

All three types can appear as finite and as infinite verb forms. There are several types of infinite verb forms:

(1) Infintives, (2) Adverbial Participles, (3) Adjectival Participles, (4) Gerunds, (5) Supines, (6) Gerundives

Furthermore, there are five voices (genus verbi), two aspects, at least five tenses, three grammatical moods and both subject and object agreement:

Verb morphology
Categories
Genus Verbi Active (1), Passive (2), Reflexive (3), Reciprocal (4), Impersonal (5)
Aspect Imperfective (1), Perfective (2)
Tense Present (1), Past (2), Future (3), Present Perfect (4), Past Perfect (3)
Mood Indicative (1), Subjunctive (2), Imperative (3)
Agreement Nominative (1), Accusative (2)

Of course, not all combinations of grammatical categories are possible. Nevertheless there is a fixed sequence of affixes which serves as a basis for a model with which it is possible to describe the verb morphology quite accurately:

Seven-Slot Model
Slot 7 Slot 6 Slot  5 Slot 4 Slot 3 Slot 2 Slot 1
(Stem) Interfix Tenses STEM

Subject Agreement

Object Agreement; Voice

Mood,  Verb Type

The Seven-Slot ModelEdit

The following table contains an overview of all used morphemes and their position in the verb:

SLOT 7 SLOT 6

SLOT 5

SLOT 4 SLOT 3 SLOT 2 SLOT 1

STEM

2

-i-

E

-ya-/-wa-

PAST/IRR

STEM

1

-im-

1SG.NOM

-im-

1SG.ACC

-an

IPFV.IND

-iš-

2SG.NOM

-iš-

2SG.ACC

-at/-Ø

PFV

Used abbreviations:

E - epenthetic morpheme

GER - gerund

IMP - imperative

IND - indicative

INF - infinitive

INTR - intransitive

IPFV - imperfective

IPRS - impersonal

IRR - irrealis

PAST - past tense

PFV - perfective

PTCP - participle

REFL - reflexive

RECP - reciprocal

SBJV - subjunctive

SUP - supine

-iw-/-it

3SG.NOM

-iw-/-it

3SG.ACC

-ai

SBJV

-am-

1PL.NOM

-am-

1PL.ACC

-u

IMP

-aš-

2PL.NOM

-aš-

2PL.ACC

-a

INF

-aw-/-at

3PL.NOM

-aw-/-at

3PL.ACC

-anš

PTCP

-Ø-

3.NOM

-Ø-

INTR

-anti

SUP

-ar-

PASS

-aza

GER.NOM

-ast-

REFL

-azai

GER.ACC

-alw-

RECP

-azak

GER.GEN

-asj-

IPRS

-azaš

GER.DAT

Slot 1: Aspect and MoodEdit

In Miwonša, there are several types of infinite verb forms:

Infinitives:

(1) Yežiman lufiwa. - I want to sleep.

Gerunds (can be declined):

(2) Lufjanza nanhwo saipiran. - Sleeping often is healthy.

Supines

(3) Munsišanje čwonai čwonjan zužanti aš tonšuloš žwena Miwonšak. - The students read the book to learn more of the Miwonšan language.

Gerundives

(4) Munsišanje zužanti kwan aš tonšuloš žwena Miwonšak. - The students must know more about the Miwonšan language.

Participles

(5) Žai rumiwku hanzi lufjanši! - Do not wake up sleeping dogs!

Slot 2: Voice, Transitivity and Object AgreementEdit

Slot 3: Subject AgreementEdit

Slot 4: Verb StemEdit

Slot 5: TenseEdit

Slot 6+7: The Perfect and the Future TenseEdit

Tense, Aspect, Mode and Verb Type: Possible Combinations and restrictionsEdit

InfinitiveEdit

Finite verbsEdit

ParticiplesEdit

GerundsEdit

SupinesEdit

GerundivesEdit

Adjectival VerbsEdit

The copula "kwa"Edit

ADVERBSEdit

SYNTAXEdit

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