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| Name: Yoketian
Head Direction: Final
Number of genders: 2
The Yoketians were the first human civilization of their world. Their written history started around the year -2000 and reached its heyday around -700. They were organized in a number of rivaling slave-owning city-states, ruled by a duke (acwe, literally 'strong man'). The cities constantly fought each other.
Their religion was polytheistic and featured multiple human sacrifices (wirawca). Most of them were prisoners of war, sacrificed to Phūcanwe, the lord of war, virility and physical strength. Once a year, there was a feast during which a slave was crowned duke and everything normally considered sinful was allowed. After the feast, the Yoketian sacrificed the slave to the sun goddess Cormaʼolki (Golden Chieftainess).
The Yoketians were ultimately conquered by the Nolikan emperor Ahmelati in the year 78.
Etymology: Yōket literally means 'the nurturing place'.
The Yōketian language (yōkettu) was the first written language of Hudar. Writing started with logograms but later evolved into a syllabary, which was borrowed to write Nolikan. The writing system was never standarized. There were often two or three glyphs for the same syllable; and their shapes varied from city to city.
|High||i [i]||ī [iː]||u [u]||ū [uː]|
|Mid||e [ɛ]||ē [eː]||o [ɔ]||ō [oː]|
|Low||a [a]||ā [aː]|
|Stops||p [p]||ph [pʰ]||t [t]||th [tʰ]||c [tʃ]||ch [tʃʰ]||k [k]||kh [kʰ]||ʼ [ʔ]|
|Fricative||s [s]||š [ʃ]||h [h]|
|Nasals||m [m]||n [n]|
|Glides||w [w]||y [j]|
As in any language, there were some allophonic variations:
- nasals assimilate to the place of articulation of a following stop, which in turn is voiced
- velar stops are palatalized before front vowels to [kʲ kʲʰ]
- s becomes [ʦ] after r l n
- dental and palatal consonants except of r followed by y turn into geminates, for example s+y → ss, n+y → nn
- pj kj mj turn into pt kt mn
- t is assimilated to a following s or š
Stress and phonotacticsEdit
Stress falls always on the penultimate syllable. Long vowels are found only in open syllables, except some monosyllables such as łār 'girl'. r does not occur in word-initial positions, and aspirated stops occur only before vowels.
The glottal stop has an unusual distribution, occurring only after a vowel (or in initial positions, where it is not phonemic). The combinations VʾV are reduced to Vʾ when a suffix starting with vowel is added:
- yaʾak 'ram' → yaʾken 'rams'
- phoʾol 'he loves' → phoʾlīk 'he will love'
Clusters of two vowels are allowed, but the second component cannot be i u. Should it occur, an epenthetic h is added. Compare two accusatives:
- silwe 'stallion' -> silwea
- ekmeca 'word' -> ekmecahu
Yoketian nouns are inflected for case, number and possessor. There are two genders: animate and inanimate.
There are 12 cases, whith the following endings:
- Nominative - Ø
- Accusative -u (animate nouns), -a (other nouns)
- Dative -or 'for X'
- Locative -tin 'in X'
- Ablative -saw 'from X'
- Allative -mun 'to X'
- Instrumental -sse 'using X'
- Comitative -łła (-lla after a front vowel) 'with X'
- Prolative -pe 'through X'
- Comparative -iš 'like X'
- Essive -akhi 'acting as X'
- Vocative -ā
Epenthetic /e/ is inserted to avoid forbidden clusters. 'With a girl' is łārella not *łārlla.
When an obstruent occurs before l ł, it is metathesised: os-łac → ołsac.
Number endings go after case endings. The plural ending is -(e)n and dual ending is -(e)t. Vocatives are stressed on last syllable.
Nouns get also possessive prefixes:
|2 plural honorific||ikka(r)-||khenna(r)-|
Alienable and inalienable possession is distinguished, so 'my horse' is lasilwe, but 'my heart' is aruhiš.
Adjectives have three forms: the basic, oblique ending in -cu and adverbial in -no.
The comparative degrees is formed by means of prefixes:
- mūʼal 'beautiful'
- olochahu wimūʼal 'to be more beautiful than a lily'
- olochahu sēmūʼal 'to be less beautiful than a lily'
The superlative is formed using the word kan 'first:
- mu'āl kan 'the most beautiful'
- histu kan 'the purest'
Yoketian verbs also get possessive prefixes: inalienable for agreement with subject and alienable with object. Atuphoʼol is 'I love you' and Ilsaphoʼol (metathesis from is-la-phoʼol) is 'You love me'. Reflexive forms are expressed by the infix -nī- and reciprocal by -nuk-: hinītho is 'we see ourselves' and hinuktho is 'we see one another'.
There is also a system of suffixes, used to express tense:
- Present -Ø
- Past -the (assimilated to a preceding nasal or oral stop: łac+the -> łacche)
- Future -(h)īk
- Conditional –pho
Yoketian has also a rather complicated system of aspects:
- Imperfective -Ø
- Perfective –un
- Progressive -ceʼ (assimilated to a preceding sibilant: hus+ceʼ -> husseʼ)
- Durative -muł
- Iterative –co
- Inchoative –ka
- Finitative -tēke
Negation is expressed by -pu:
- ekme 'speak' -> ekmepu 'not to speak'
Imperative is formed by adding stressed -ē (or -hē after a vowel) to a verbal root.
Passive is formed by the prefix os-: oswiraw 'to be sacrificed'.
Any grammatical morphemes which are not necessary at the moment can be omitted:
- Nolikwe hīna wirawcasaw ciptelthe 'A Nolikan saved the child from sacrifice'
The verb could have been eneciptelthe, but the personal prefixes are not used because they are obvious.
The verb "to be" and personal pronounsEdit
The verb "to be" has special forms for each person:
- 1st singular ma
- 1st exclusive woʼ
- 1st inclusive kek
- 2nd singular šū
- 2nd singular honorific aššu
- 2nd plural kol
- 2nd plural honorific akkol
- 3rd he
- 3rd honorific inni
Personal pronouns are formed by adding -(i)n or -(i)m in case of 3rd person honorific. They however are used only in datives and as emphatic forms, because person is normally expressed using prefixes.
Inanimate objects are referred to using deictics, never using the pronouns described above.
Unlike English, which has only "this" and "that", Yoketian has a four-way distinction:
- chē - for things close to the speaker
- hot - for things close to the listener
- ali - for things between the speaker and listener
- šim - for remote things
To indicate time, one can choose between three deictics:
- kas - now
- kharwi - then (in the past)
- ūche - then (in the future)
Yoketian is SOV and consistently head-final.
Double negation is obligatory. To say "I have no money", one must negate both the noun and the verb: sey nīmo acampu.
There is no word for "and"; the words are just juxtaposed, as in lāt łār 'a boy and a girl.
There is a special ending for subordination, -kak:
- Lāt āmara kelthekak oritthe 'a boy heard that the cow was stolen'.
The same ending is used before a modal verb:
- Arelphakak anecīpo 'I want to sing', where anecīpo means "I want it'.
Spatial relations are often denoted by names of body parts: puken electin 'above the mountains', literally 'in the mountains' heads'.
Boy names in Yoket were usually wishes of prosperity (Wēsipuk 'Mountain of Sugar') or, in case of nobles, political power (Kepwi-Thenowe 'Proud Commander'). Girl names are typically names of flowers (Olocha 'Lily') or birds (Khōyun 'Oriole'). Referring to adults, it was more common to use nicknames, referring to the persons actions, rather than names given by parents.
As most roots are verbal, there are several nominalizers:
- -we for men:
- hokmen 'stupid' → hokmenwe 'fool'
- Yōket → Yōketwe 'a Yoketian man'
- -ki for women
- łac 'to teach' → łacki 'female teacher'
- ōthep 'king' → ōthepki 'queen'
- Yōket → Yōketki 'a Yoketian woman'
- -ca for instances of an action:
- wiraw 'to pay' → wirawca 'payment', 'sacrifice' (understood payment to the gods)
- -tu for ways of action:
- Noliktu 'the Nolikan language'
- hīn 'child' → hīnetu 'childish behavior'
- -yer for abstract nouns:
- saʼap 'just' → saʼapter 'justice' (p+y -> pt)
- -ket 'place' for places:
- łac 'to teach' → łacket 'school'
- -poc 'thing' for tools:
- sayphe 'to kill' → sayphepoc 'weapon'
- -ul for adjectives:
- kham 'to do magic' → khamul 'magical'
- wēsi 'sugar cane' → wēsul 'sweet'
- -(e)rpi for opponents
- etha 'cold' → etharpi 'coat'
- ōthep 'king' → ōtheperpi 'rebel'