| Name: Sasat
Head Direction: Head-Final
Number of genders: 8
Sasat is a language isolate spoken in northern regions of Mexico and in scattered pockets throughout the southwest United States. The Southern dialect of Sasat is considered to be the most "correct" form of the language and will be the focus of this page. Sasat has been proposed to be a member of the Uto-Aztecan language family, based on lexical similarities, but these declarations have not been substantiated. Furthermore, the excessive use of articles and the infix- and consonant-based morphological peculiarities are traits not common of any local language families. The correlating series of nasals and plosives have caused some linguists to suggest a distant relation to certain Australian languages, though grammatical differences bring heavy doubt to these claims. Other linguists have suggested the possibility that Sasat is a remnant of a larger super-language family, linking the language families of northern Mexico to the languages of the Amazon. These claims are largely due to the dialectal, voiceless nasalized glottal approximant, an extremely rare phone found in parts of the western Amazon, namely within the Mura language branch. Disappointingly, the highly agglutinative nature and tonality of the Mura language branch, in addition to its whistled speech, make any relation to Sasat highly unlikely. Finally, despite any logical contact, claims have been made that Sasat is Basque's -- another language isolate's -- closest relative. Though there are many similarities, the distance between the two languages makes any relation between the two languages unbelievable. Evidence of similar phonologies and reliance on articles has been brought forth, but Sasat's system of articles is so much more extensive that the claims are hardly warranted. The lexicons of the two languages also share few, if any, similarities. For now, most linguists accept that Sasat is simply a language isolate.
There are four main dialects of Sasat: Northeastern, Northern, Central, and Southern. The Southern dialect is the most "normal," having no additional phones. The Central dialect is more strongly nasalized, having the voiceless, nasal glottal approximant as well as phonemic nasalization on all front and central vowels immediately following a nasal consonant. The Northeastern, Northern, and Southern dialects all have allophonic nasalization on all front and central vowels immediately following a nasal consonant, and they do not differentiate between the two glottal consonants. Also, the Central dialect pronounces the close-mid back vowel as the close back vowel. The Northern and Northeastern dialects are both very similar to the "correct," Southern dialect, with the exception of a few lexical items and the pronunciation of vowels.
|Plosive||p b||t d||c||k g|
The above graph represents the phonemes found across all four major dialects of Sasat. The phone in brackets is found only in the Central dialect of Sasat. For comprehension purposes, the IPA symbols are used.
|Plosive||p b||t d||c||k g|
The above graph shows the standard, Latin-script orthography of all phonemes within the Southern dialect of the Sasat language.
In the Central dialect of Sasat, all front and central vowels following a nasal consonant are phonemically nasalized. This nasalization is marked by a tilde over the vowel. Additionally, the close-mid back vowel is pronounced as the close back vowel in the Central dialect.
ba 1 /b/ English "boat"
se 2 /s/ English "sit"
arro 3 /rr/ Alveolar Approximant
da 4 /d/ "dog"
he 5 /h/ English "hello"
pa 6 /p/ English "peach"
ɛ 7 /ɛ/ English "pen"
ne 8 /n/ English "next"
ma 9 /m/ English "muffin"
lo 10 /l/ English "lake," but further back along the alveolar ridge
a 20 /a/ English "father"
nga 30 /ng/ English "sing"
xi 40 /x/ English "shake"
ka 50 /k/ English "king"
cɛ 60 /c/ Palatalized "k;" kyet
tsa 70 /ts/ Romanian "preţ"
fa 80 /f/ English "fire"
ljɛ 90 /lj/ Slovenian "ljubljana"
i 100 /i/ English "eat"
te 200 /t/ English "tail"
ara 300 /r/ English "udder"
jɛ 400 /j/ English "yet"
e 500 /e/ English "mate"
txi 600 /tx/ English "check"
ga 700 /nc/ English "get"
u 800 /u/ Spanish "la trucha"
njɛ 900 /nj/ Spanish "la niña"
o 1000 /o/ English "boat"
All words must contain at least a vowel.
Though nonsense words and onamatopoeias have as many as four vowels in a row, no standard words contain more than two vowels in a sequence, and having only one vowel in a row is most common. The same vowel may not appear twice in a row, and vowel length is allophonic. /nj/, /c/, /lj/, and /r/ may not be the end of a syllable. Additionally, /r/ may not appear word-initially; /r/ may not follow a lateral approximant; and /r/ following /rr/ becomes the alveolar trill [r]. Word-final /h/ is allophonically epiglottal.
Stress is on the penultimate syllable.
For words ending in two vowels (ia, oa, ea, au), the stress is on the prepenultimate syllable.
For words ending in two vowels and a /k/ (iak, eak), the stress is the prepenultimate syllable.
Syllable-final nasals and plosives have no audible release. Both vowels and consonants have very irregular and complex rules for sound change as a result of morphological changes. Consonants, especially, are liable to undergo lenition as a result of morphological change.
Gemination is another popular feature in Sasat. Two adjacent consonants that are the same will form a geminated version of the consonant. All geminated consonants are held slightly longer than the non-geminated consonants. Plosives and glottals, especially, become highly aspirated and very breathy during gemination. Gemination also exists across word boundaries, even after morphological changes have taken place. In these instances, the final consonant remains ungeminated, while the beginning of the subsequent word becomes geminated. When a syllable-final /h/ precedes a syllable-initial nasal, plosive, affricate, approximant, or flap, the /h/ becomes a pre-aspiration for the following consonant.
[Adjective/Number] [Article] [Agent] [Adverb] [Verb] [Adjective/Number] [Article] [Object]
Participles and non-grammatical-case nouns have fairly loose word order.
Articles always immediately precede their noun; the few adpositions are all postpositions and all immediately follow their nouns.
Diminutives have tens of uses in written Sasat and tens, if not hundreds, of uses in colloquial Sasat. To name a few of diminutives purposes in speech, diminutives show: smallness, cuteness, intimacy, endearment, nicknames, weakness, and helplessness. Diminutives can be used as a taunt, an insult, or as a sign of deep affection or brotherhood. In rhetoric, diminutives are often used in irony or sarcasm; they can show false smallness, cuteness, intamcy, weakness, etc. Diminutives are frequently employed in satire and comedy and can be used to uplay or downplay any noun or its characteristics. Both in serious and lighthearded affairs, diminutives are frequently used, and there is possibly no setting that diminutives cannot be present in within the modern version of Southern Sasat.
Diminutives are formed by leniting all consonants within a fully-declined noun. Lenition follows a set of fully regular rules:
/b/ > no change
/s/ > /h/ (debuccalization)
/rr/ > no change
/d/ > /r/ (spirantization); if /d/ is word-initial, /ts/ (affrication)
/h/ > total elision
/p/ > /f/ (accelerated spirantization)
/n/ > no change
/m/ > no change
/l/ > no change
/ng/ > no change
/x/ > /h^j/ (debuccalization)
/k/ > no change
/c/ > no change
/ts/ > /s/ (spirantization)
/f/ > /h/ (debuccalization)
/lj/ > no change
/t/ > /s/ (accelerated spirantization)
/r/ > /rr/ (approximation)
/j/ > total elision
/tx/ > /x/ (spirantization)
/g/ > /j/ (accelerated approximation)
/nj/ > no change
/f/ rarely appears in words, due to the fact that it only recently arose from the [p] phone. /f/ appears more frequently in /p/ that has undergone lenition as a result of morphological change. Alternately, /nj/ has, for the most part, degraded into /n/; and /ng/ has denasalized into /g/ in most phonological environments.
|1||horse||tuhuja, saldi, kate|
|4||rabbit||tavo, tabukina, rroti|
|10||female bear||ohui, honat|
|11||cougar||maija, basatua, toho|
|16||bee||momo, elea, sori|
|22||turtle||jongoson, takar, dotoka|
|29||bed||kotxo, kahpe, solaruan|