|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Qetarch (pronounced [qəˈʈɑᴙ]), or, actually, Net-Qetarch ("of Qetarch") is a language spoken by the warrior class of a space-faring race of the same name. The language actually consists of at least a dozen dialects; the one I'm describing here is Porghin dialect, spoken in and around the Qetarch homeworld's capital city of Porghin, and being the official language of the Qetarch Empire; it plays a role similar to Mandarin in China.
I created this language as a part of a SF conworld I was inventing. The idea was to make a harsh-sounding language suitable for warriors, which resulted in a large numbers of rhotics and creaky voice pronounciation of vowels. I thought it would be a fun making a language in which even very polite questions sound like insults.
By the way: great thanks ye creators of Klingon, which inspired me to create this project.
|Plosive||pʰ||ʈ, ʈʰ||q, qʰ||ʔ|
|Flap or tap||ɾ̥||ɽ||ɢ̆|
All flaps are (normally) voiceless and slightly aspirated. Labiodental fricative /f/ is often pronounced dentolabial. The alveolar sibilant is laminal (like in Basque). Unvoiced consonants can acquire voicedness (or creaky-voicedness, to be exact) when inter-vocalic due to the lenition processes, but this is non-phonemical.
All vowels are usually spoken with creaky voice, although with long vowels it's permissible to open the glottis a bit more than with the short ones. Also the entire syllables are often spoken with harsh voice, but it varies from dialect to dialect. Some speakers tend to rhotacize the vowels.
Qetarch has a syllabic alphabet of its own, but the romanised version (created for my - and your - own convenience) also exists, and it looks as follows:
- ɑ > a
- ɑː > aa (all long vowels are written as doubles, so it's not necessary to write them all here)
- ə > e
- ɪ > i
- o > o
- ɯ > y
- ɳ > n
- pʰ > p or ph
- ʈ > t
- ʈʰ > th
- qʰ > qh
- q > q
- ʔ > '
- f > f
- s̻ > s
- ʂ > z
- ʜ > hh
- ɬ > lh
- r > r
- ɾ̥ > rh
- ɽ͡r > rd
- ɽ > rdh
- ʀ > rg
- ɢ̆ > rgh
- ᴙ > rch
Qetarch has CV(C) syllable structure, with an obligatory one-consonant onset, one-vowel nucleus (which is also obligatory) and an unobligatory coda (one-consonantal, too). Words are composed of syllabical raher than phonemical units (a feature reflected in the writing system). Each word usually contains one to three sylables (longer words are rare), but these can also be juxtaposed to form longer derived words, although this doesn't influence the inner structure of words themselves.
Qetarch uses so-called adjuncts (small, uninflectible words; they can also be called particles) to inflect other words like verbs or substantives (This language doesn't clearly distinguish between nouns and adjectives, so they will be collectively called substantives later in this article). These adjuncts/particles can also be joined into longer forms, the so-called complex adjuncts, thus allowing them to inflect themselves in some way.
Qetarch nouns are formed by putting a case adjunct (that is, an adjunct/particle which defines case) before a bare substantive (a 'pure' form of a non-verb part of speech). There are 3 cases: absolutive, descriptive and ergative/oblique (or nonabsolutive). Nouns don't normally decline by number or gender (although it's possible to put a numeral or gender adjunct in front of a noun), but they do have several definitness levels, marked in several ways.
Absolutive is the simplest word form found in the language, with no adjuncts. It marks the agent in intransitive clauses and the patient in transitive ones. In a sentence, it's usually just behind the predicate.
Nonabsolutive is a substantive with an adjunct put in front of it. The adjuncts might be either locative (e. g. defining spacial and/or temporal relationships between various subtantives) or non-locative (i.e. defining some other function in a sentence); of these the ergative case is the most prominent.
Descriptive or semblative/adjectival/adverbial case is used in two ways: either to show some similiarity, correspondence and/or affinity between the two substantives; or simply to turn a "noun" into an "adjective/adverb". There are 5 descriptive case adjuncts: one for the positive (thyy), 2 for comparative (one for positive comaparation ("more than"- si) and one for negative comparation ("less than"- rho)) and 2 superlative (as in the comp.: one for "+" and one for "-"; the only difference is that the superlatives have their vowels prolonged, thus forming sii and rhoo, respectively). The object of comparison is preceded by faa, rdee or lhoo for the positive, comparative and superlative, respectively.
Qetarch has several ways of marking definitness of its substantives. One way is marking a substantive we consider definite with a pronoun (either personal or impersonal); this way is used, for example, when we're addressing somebody. The other way is using the context and/or the definitness adjuncts. There are 3 of them: 2 definite and 1 indefinite. The definite adjuncts are further distinguished by marking whether a given person/object etc. is oriented towards the speaker (hhan) or turned from him (hholh) (this distinction roughly corresponds to the difference between close and remote objects, as between this and that). The definite adjuncts are usually dropped if considered unnecessary in a given context (the same applies to the indefinite adjunct 'yyrg).
The Qetarch numerals form a subclass of the substantives and are used in a similar fashion.
The Qetarch has a quadrovigesimal system in its numerals with a subbase of twelve; that is, it uses 24 as a base, instead of Indo-European languages' decimal system with the base 10.
It uses 'simple' numbers from 1 to 24, then uses combined forms - two simplex numerals joined with an e (and) from 25 to 48; afterwards, for creating multiples, it inserts the distributive particle ('thiq') between the two factors; so, 2x24, 3x24 (two-thiq-twenty four, three-thiq-twenty four) etc.; then, to make numbers between these multiplications, it simply adds the desired simplex number with an e; so, number 51 would look like 2x24+3 (two-thiq-twenty four-e-three). For larger numbers, Qetarch has single words (but still belonging to the numeral class) for numbers such as 24x24 and 576x576 (counterparts of a hundred and a myriad); correspondingly, it has also words for 12x12 and 144x144 (remnants of the old duodecimal system). For the larger numbers, it uses solely the powers of the 'quadrovigesimal myriad' (576x576).
The Qetarch language distinguishes between the cardinal and ordinal, as well as the multiplicative and partitive numbers.
Verbs are a bit more complicated. There are 3 forms (or, rather, "positions") a verb can take: finite, gerundive and participial. In each of these positions, though, it can take one of 5 mood adjuncts (indicative/affirmative, negative, volitive, interrogative and archaic subjunctive), 1 tense adjunct (past), 2 quasitense adjuncts (perfect and prospective; named quasitenses because, depending on the situation, the may function as tense markers, aspect markers or both) and 4 aspectual adjuncts (perfective, momentane, stative and progressive). There are also 4 voices (active, antipassive, reflexive and reciprocal), but these are marked not by adjuncts, but with the syntax only.
In this position, a verb has a tense/aspect adjunct in front of it. The tense/aspect adjunct is constructed in such a way, that first comes the tense adjunct (when the verb is past; in the non-past it's omitted). To it is suffixed one of the aspectual adjuncts. The quasitense ones may come both prefixed to the aspectual one, or suffixed to the tense one (or even interfixed between them).
But before it, at the beginning of the sentence, there's a mood adjunct, which is obligatory (except that the affirmative/indicative might be dropped if the context doesn't demand it).
The gerundive is almost the same as the finitive in form, except that a case adjunct is prefixed to its tense/aspect adjunct, and the entire form is put in some other position than sentence-initial. It fulfills the role of the infinitive, as well as that of supine (with an allative adjunct).
It has all the properties of a finitive, except the mood and voice. It can even have its own agent, patient and/or objects, marked with the appropriate cases.
This form is derived directly from the gerundive (as a matter of fact, it's actually the gerundive in the descriptive case). It informs about the relationship of an activity described with it with the one conveyed by the main verb, from the perspective of one of the prticipants.
Below is a short description of how Qetarch verbs conjugate.
Moods in Qetarch are marked with a sentence-initial adjunct (that is, an adjunct that's placed at the very beginning of every main sentence). There are 5 moods in the language, which are:
- Indicative/Affirmative- the simplest mood, one that is used to mark reality of a sentence; it's also used as a kind of affirmative (as opposed to the Negative mood) or emphatic (to further emphasize something). Marked by the adjunct aa (the shorter form, a, is used as an equivalent of 'yes').
- Negative- the opposite of the Indicative, it negates a sentence. Adjunct: pii (as with the indicative, shorter form pi is used for 'no').
- Volitive- used to express thaat the speaker wants something; it covers the Imperative and the Optative. In the modern-day usage, however, it has taken to cover the Subjunctive, too, making the latter a bit archaic. It's marked by the rchaa adjunct (it may be prefixed to an affirmative or negative particle, forming constructions similar to 'may it be/do!' or 'may it not be/do!').
- Interrogative- used to form questions. Its adjunct is zee (the same adjunct, but shortened, functions as a conjunction 'or').
- Subjunctive- a mood that's completely fallen out of use nowadays, with the past tense taking some of its qualities; it used to express something completely unrealistic, that couldn't be realised. Its adjunct was tee (it isn't completely out of use, though; its short form, te, is now the past tense marker).
Tense/aspect- as has been said above, there is one tense particle (te), 2 quasitense particles and 4 (or 5) purely aspectual ones.
- Past tense- marked by a te prefixed to an aspectual adjunct. Without it, the tense is Present (or, rather, Non-past, as it tends to cover both the present and the future). It has retained some of its old Subjunctive characteristics and function, though that seldom turns out nowadays.
- Perfect quasitense- similiarly to the one we find in English (or Ancient Greek, for example), it describes an action which, although finished before the time the speaker is describing, has stil some influence on the present situation. It's called a quasitense, because its particle, rgha can be used as an independent aspectual adjunct, but it can also be prefixed to another one like the past tense te; it can even be interfixed between the two, thus forming something like a pluperfect.
- Progressive quasitense- its position is exactly the same as the Perfect's, but its meaning is the opposite; i. e., it doesn't descibe the past, but the future - planned activities and events, a bit like English 'be going to' construction. It uses the rdhi particle.
- Perfective aspect- describes actions that are finished (or, at least, considered a single whole). Marked by an adjunct fo.
- Momentane aspect- like the perfective, it describes finished or somewhat contained actions, but with an emphasis on the short duration; as such, it's often used in literature, but less often in the spoken language. Marked by a lhy particle.
- Aorist aspect- used as a Stative, that is, for events/activities that are constant and/or habitual. Its particle is rdaa.
- Progressive/Continous aspect- like its English counterpart, it describes an ongoing/evolving action. Its particle is rii.
- Iterative/Repetitive aspect- if the too particle (the shorter form of which, to, is used with the substantives to mark a change of direction of movement) is used as an aspectual adjunct, it informs us that an action conveyed by the verb is in some way repeating; it's similar to the use of the Latin morpheme re-.
Voices- there are 4 of them in the Qetarch, and are marked by the syntax only. These are the folowing:
- Active- the most basic one; may be transitive or intransitive.
- Antipassive- emphasizes the agent.
- Reflexive- The agent is its own patient.
- Reciprocal- The agent acts on somebody else, who in turn acts on him.
Qetarch is VSO (or, rather, verb-patient-agent) and strongly head-initial. In an active voice sentence, a mood adjunct comes first, then there is a tense/aspect adjunct right before the verb. That is then followed by the absolutive. Next come all the indirect objects, with the ergative coming at the end.
If the voice is antipassive, there's no ergative and the absolutive is put in front of the main verb.
In the reflexive, the absolutive is erased, and the remaining ergative is both the agent and the patient.
In the reciprocal there are 2 or more ergatives with no absolutive and all are considered to be doing something to each other.
As Qetarch is an isolating language, it doesn't (usually) mark any inflections on the words themselves, but rather uses small, separate words called adjuncts. These can be further distinguished between the 'unitary' and 'complex' adjuncts (that is, ones consisting of a single independent adjunct and those formed from two or more stuck together).
Adjuncts in Qetarch and their functionsEdit
|nee||Ergative marker (i.e., it marks the agent)|
|thyy||Descriptive/semblative case marker (positive)|
|si||Descriptive/semblative case marker (comparative '+')|
|rho||Descriptive/semblative case marker (comparative '-')|
|sii||Descriptive/semblative case marker (superlative '+')|
|rhoo||Descriptive/semblative case marker (superlative '-')|
|faa||object of comparison; positive|
|rdee||object of comparison; comparative|
|lhoo||object of comparison; superlative|
|qhoq||instrumental marker (using, by the means of)|
|net||possessive (belonging to)|
|see'||comitative (with, in the company of)|
|rgor||privative (without, lacking)|
|hhii||genitive/adessive (about, concerning, related to)|
|no||lative/dative (to, for)|
|rdhe||superessive (on, above)|
|pho||subessive (under, below)|
|lha||preessive (before, at the front of)|
|sy||postessive (after, behind)|
|'o'||inessive (in, inside, at)|
|pif||abessive/aversive (avoiding, far/away from)|
|fylh||perlative/vialis (via, through, across)|
|fe (archaic)||prosecutive (passing)|
|to||revertive (change of direction, return to)|
|hhan||definite 'towards' (this)|
|hhilh||definite 'from' (that)|
|'yyrg||indefinite (some, any)|
|lhi||conditional adjunct ('if')|
|'e'||conjunction 'and', 'also'|
|rga||conjunction 'but', 'despite this'|
The locative adjuncts may be combined just like any other adjuncts; for example, joining particles no towards and 'o' inside creates illative complex adjunct, no'o'; and the qhirdhe adjunct (delative) is composed of the ablative qhi and the superessive rdhe particles, and so on.
The hhii adjunct, despite it is described as 'genitive', actually doesn't link relations (for example, in a family) with possession, origin or coming 'from' something/someone, as the English or Latin genitives do; instead, it rather describes relations as based on contact or adjcency (after all, the primary function of this adjunct is adessive).
Various particles a verb can take are described higher, in the section 'Verbs'.
There are sveral conjunctions in Qetarch, often related to the mood adjuncts. The lhi adjunct is interesting in that it separates the two clauses in a conditional sentence (unlike the English if and its counterparts in other languages). Moreover, it can be prefixed with other particles, like te or rcha to express various shades of meaning, like impossibility of an event occuring (like the 2nd and 3rd conditionals in English) or one wishing that something happens, etc.
There are moreover two archaic particles, noolh and qhaa' once marking the Passive and Antipassive voices, respectively (they were prefixed onto the verb's aspectual adjunct). Even though not used anymore in the spoken language, it nevertheless survived in some realy old sayings, as well as (sometimes) the gerundive/participial forms of verbs.
Qetarch pronouns, in contrast to nouns, decline by gender (masculine and nonmasculine) and number (singular and plural). The endings used are -qh (masc. sing.), -rg (masc. pl.), -n (nonmasc. sing.) and -z (nonmasculine plural), with the masculine singular -qh being the 'basic' form.
There are several types of pronouns in Qetarch; some of them are depicted below:
Pronouns in Qetarch and their functionsEdit
|naaqh||1st person pronoun|
|ziiqh||2nd person pron.|
|rhyyqh||3rd person pron.|
|'oon||"0" person pronoun (an unknown argument of the predicate)|
|hheen||impersonal pronoun ("it")|
|too||if used as a pronoun- 'another one', 'sb/sth else/other'|
|raz||reflexive pronoun ('oneself')|
|qan||impersonal pronoun (something, not someone)|
|qolh||locative pron. ("there")|
|zaf||temporal pron. ("then")|
Notice that final -z in raz as well as -n in 'oon aren't inflectional endings, but the stem parts. Notice also that too doesn't have a consonant ending at all. The hheen pronoun has only non-masculine forms (hheen, hheez).
Qetarch uses pronouns compounded with particles (or particles compounded with nouns) to express meanings not covered by the small pronomial inventory; for example, How? would be ze-nani? (lit. "what way/manner?"), which is a compound of nani (way, manner) and the interrogative particle ze- (notice that it differs only in vowel length from the interrogtive mood adjunct). Analogically, the word for here would be hhan-lhora (this place), and so on. The pronouns themselves may also be prefixed with various particles, such as 'a- (emphasis), ze- (question) or pi- (negation) to create forms like "he himself", "where?" or "never", respectively.
Saaqh (that, who, which) is the relative pronoun, that is, it's used to form relative clauses.
The locative and temporal pronouns are often used with definiteness particles prefixed onto them.
There are also several honorifics, used as particles prefixed onto a pronoun:
Honorifics in Qetarch and their functionsEdit
|nii-||Intimacy (Informal; equal ranks of the Speaker and the Addressee)|
|'yy-||Familiarity (Inf.; equal levels, more formal than above)|
|see-||Familiarity (Inf.; Speaker higher than Addressee; parent-child)|
|soo-||Familiarity (Inf.; S. lower than the A.; child-parent)|
|lhee-||Relative (Inf.; levels don't matter; S. related to A.)|
|qhaa-||Humility (Formal; S. lower than A., usually unrelated)|
|rhee-||Politeness (Form.; less formal than above)|
|ryy-||Respect (Form.; more formal than Polit., but less than Hum.)|
|rgarh-||Reversed Hum. (Form.; reversed order of ranks from Humility)|
|rdoo-||Reversed Polit. (Form.; reversed order of ranks from Politeness)|
|rghe'-||Reversed Resp. (Form.; reversed order of ranks from Respect)|
The honorificsless forms of the pronouns are considered neutral, but in situations it is nevertheless more appropriate to use the full forms instead.
The reversed honorific forms are used when the speaker is first addressed with one of the respective honorifics (for example, when someone speaks to you using the Politeness honorific rhee'-ziiqh, you use the Reversed one, rdoo-ziiqh, when addressing him).
Thanks to the Japanese and Koreans for supplying me with the appropriate inspiration!