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Nuktaq

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SettingEdit

Nuktaq is an a-priori language created by John Stevens. It is spoken by the Nuktaq elves, a tribe of about 300 forest elves who live in the kingdom of Soqedak. The Nuktaq live a traditional life and their language has a conservative vocabulary. The elves like their language to be unique, so when they need to create a new word, they do so by combining existing morphemes together rather than by borrowing from another language.

Nuktaq is written in the Latin alphabet, although originally it had its own script which is no longer used. The language has a relatively straightforward phonology, and a simple grammar with few irregularities. The grammar is inspired by Welsh, which the author can speak fluently as a second language. Nuktaq is an isolating, head-initial language with SVO word order. It has a rich five-term evidential system.

PhonologyEdit

Nuktaq has a phoneme inventory consisting of 15 consonants, seven vowels and eight diphthongs.

Consonants occur at the labial, alveolar, retroflex, velar and glottal points of articulation. The language distinguishes between voiceless plosives, voiceless fricatives, voiced implosives, nasals and a lateral approximant, and makes a contrast between laminal alveolar /s̻/ and apical alveolar /s̺/.

The vowel inventory includes six oral vowels, /i e ø a o ɯ/, and one nasal vowel, /ə̃/. Vowel length is not contrastive. The eight diphthongs of Nuktaq, all falling diphthongs, are as follows: /ei̯ eɯ̯ ai̯ ae̯ ao̯ aɯ̯ oi̯ oɯ̯/. Notice that Nuktaq contrasts low-to-mid dipthongs (/ae̯/ and /ao̯/) with low-to-high diphthongs (/ai̯/ and /aɯ̯/).

ConsonantsEdit

Nuktaq has the following 15 consonant phonemes:

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Alveolar Retro-
flex
Velar Glottal
central lateral
lam. api.
Plosive p t k
Implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricative f ɬ ʂ x h
Nasal m n
Liquid l~ɺ

VowelsEdit

Nuktaq has the following seven vowels:

Front Central Back
Close i y u
Mid e ə o
Open a

DiphthongsEdit

Nuktaq has the following 12 diphthongs:

Ending with /i̯/ Ending with /e̯/ Ending with /o̯/ Ending with /u̯/
Starting with /e/ ei̯ eo̯ eu̯
Starting with /ə/ əi̯ əo̯ əu̯
Starting with /a/ ai̯ ae̯ ao̯ au̯
Starting with /o/ oi̯ ou̯

AllophonyEdit

PhonotacticsEdit

Most root morphemes are disyllabic. A smaller number are monosyllabic or trisyllabic. Monosyllabic, disyllabic and trisyllabic roots are structured as follows: monosyllabic: (C)VC; disyllabic: (C)V(C)CVC; trisyllabic: (C)V(C)CV(C)CVC.

The consonant /ɬ/ is illegal root-initially. /h m n/ are illegal in the syllable coda. /l/ is illegal in morpheme-final codas, but may occur in non-final codas.

OrthographyEdit

Nuktaq originally had its own script, but nowadays is written in the Latin alphabet. Its alphabet is entirely transparent, with a one-to-one correspondence between letters and phonemes. The tables below show the consonants, vowels and diphtohngs of Cuinaom written in orthography, with IPA notation in square brackets.

ConsonantsEdit

Bilabial Labio-
dental
Alveolar Retro-
flex
Velar Glottal
central lateral
lam. api.
Plosive p
[p]
t
[t]
c
[k]
Implosive b
[ɓ]
d
[ɗ]
Fricative f
[f]
z
[s̻]
s
[s̺]
ll
[ɬ]
sr
[ʂ]
x
[x]
h
[h]
Nasal m
[m]
n
[n]
Liquid l
[l~ɺ]

VowelsEdit

Front Central Back
Close i
[i]
iu
[y]
u
[u]
Mid e
[e]
y
[ə]
o
[o]
Open a
[a]

DiphthongsEdit

Ending with /i̯/ Ending with /e̯/ Ending with /o̯/ Ending with /u̯/
Starting with /e/ ei
[ei̯]
eo
[eo̯]
eu
[eu̯]
Starting with /ə/ yi
[əi̯]
yo
[əo̯]
yu
[əu̯]
Starting with /a/ ai
[ai̯]
ae
[ae̯]
ao
[ao̯]
au
[au̯]
Starting with /o/ oi
[oi̯]
ou
[ou̯]

Basic GrammarEdit

The grammar of Nuktaq has few irregularities and is fairly simple, and so is easy to learn.

The language is strongly right-branching and is prepositional rather than postpositional. Word order is strictly Subject-Verb-Object.

Nuktaq is a predominantly isolating language which uses particles and prepositions rather than inflection to convey the meaning of grammatical case, number, mood, tense, aspect and voice. Particles preceding the verb mark tense and aspect simultaneously. There are three tenses (past, present, future) and three aspects (perfective, habitual, continuous/progressive). There are five evidential paradigms (visual sensory, nonvisual sensory, inferential, reportative, assumed) that are indicated by suffixes. Nuktaq has three grammatical numbers conveyed through particles: singular, dual and plural. There is no grammatical gender.

Each root word in Nuktaq belongs to a default part of speech. Particles are used to turn root words into a different part of speech from their default. The language makes no distinction between adjectives and adverbs.

More on the grammar of Nuktaq coming soon.

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