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Zwani is an Imanith language spoken in the Zwan Kingdom (Zwanas Davigulús), where it is the sole official language of it's entire population of 33 million people.
|Nouns decline according to...|
|Verbs conjugate according to...|
Zwani is a highly inflected language, with three noun genders, eleven declensions, six noun cases, three tenses, three aspects, three persons, four moods, two voices, and two numbers. It is a fusional nominative-accusative language. Word order is rigidly SVO, but becomes VSO in interrogative sentences. The language is pro-drop as well, which means that subject pronouns are dropped due to verbal indication. The language also has a very heavy use of derivation through suffixes, which change the meaning of a word.
Modern Zwani has been standardized since the Zwan Kingdom became a constitutional diarchy in 1914. Before this, multiple dialects of Zwani and multiple other Imanith languages were spoken throughout the Kingdom. It was written in the constitution that any official language needed to be standardized by the government, and the first comprehensive grammar of Zwani was commisioned. Many other Imanith languages are still spoken regionally within the kingdom but only Zwani has more than a million speakers. In fact, the 33 million Zwani speakers outnumber the combined speakers of every other Imanith language.
The language is different from Middle Zwani, which fell out of usage sometime in the mid-1600s, due to the loss of dual number, the loss of the progressive aspect (which is now expressed periphrastically), the loss of the conditional mood (which is also now expressed periphrastically), the higher rate of affixing, the complete loss of the vocative case (where it would be used historically, the nominative case is now used), the merging of the partitive and genetive cases, and the merging of the dative and the benefactive cases among other small differences. Despite the numerous known grammatical changes, only one phonological change is known to have taken place: /ð/ dissappeared and merged with /θ/.
|Stop||p b||t d||k g|
|Fricative||f v||θ||s z||ʃ ʒ||x ɣ||h|
In a dipthong, /u/ is written ‹u› if it isn't preceeding a vowel and ‹w› otherwise. Similarly, /i/ is written as ‹i› if it isn't preceeding a vowel and as ‹y› otherwise. All diphthongs are falling.
- Nasal consonants assimilate in place of articulation, i.e. /ramθa/ is realised as [ran̪θə]
- Two vowels in a row that do not constitute a diphthong are pronounced with hiatus
- A diphthong ending in /i/, /u/, or /y/ will have it's final vowel allophonically realised as [j], [w], and [ɥ] respectively when the diphthong is preceeding a vowel or another diphthong
- A diphthong not ending in /i/, /u/, or /y/ that is preceeding a vowel or another diphthong will be pronounced with a diphthong seperating the two
The syllable structure is (C₁)(C₂)V(C₂)(C₁).
Stop-fricative and fricative-stop clusters are permitted both syllable-initially and syllable-finally as long as they agree in voicing. C₁ can be either a stop or fricative when C₂ is a liquid /l ɾ r/ approximant /j w/. Stop-nasal clusters cannot occur syllable-initially but nasal-stop clusters can occur syllable-finally and always agree in articulation.
Primary stress is placed on the first syllable of a word and secondary stress is placed on the last syllable of a word in two syllable words and the penultimate syllable in three or more syllable words. Monosyllabic words are stressed. Stress affects vowel pronounciation, illustrated in the table below. Diphthongs are pronounced the same regardless of stress.
Pronouns are highly irregular and do not follow normal declension patterns as other nouns do. Zwani is a pro-drop language so nominative pronouns are usually omitted. However, 3rd person pronouns are usually not omitted if the gender distinction is necessary.
Verbs in Zwani conjugate for three tenses, two aspects, and two moods (three in the present tense). Only one conjugation exists. Infinitives end in -ek and verb stems take on different endings to convey information. The passive voice is expressed periphrastically similarly to English. The progressive aspect is expressed periphrastically as well. The regular verb anek - to make - is conjugated below.
There are a few irregular verbs in Zwani. They are detailed in a separate article.
All nouns in Zwani belong to three genders: Masculine, Feminine, and Inanimate. Nouns are generally assigned a gender semantically, i.e. man would be masculine, woman would be feminine, and wheel would be inanimate. However, many inanimate nouns belong to either of the animate genders. Most living things or professions (bear, president, etc) are inherently feminine and a suffix is added to indicate that the noun in question is semantically masculine, but there exists completely seperate words for things such as man and woman, son and daughter, or king and queen. Some nouns are inherently masculine, such as aos - god, or únizi - soldier. Nouns in each gender can decline differently as well, depending on whether they end in a consonant or vowel. If a noun ends in a diphthong, it declines as a consonant-ending noun regardless of its spelling. Nouns decline for six cases and there are no irregular declensions.
- The nominative case marks the subject.
- The accusative case marks the direct object of a clause
- The dative case marks the indirect object, but also functions as a benefactive case, and marks the object of almost all non-locative (including motion) prepositions.
- The genitive case shows possession or apposition, but also functions as a partitive case.
- The instrumental case marks a noun being used for something. This can be using an object to do something (ex: i write with the pencil) or using a place for a gathering (ex: we had a party at my house). Despite being semantically correct, the locative is never used for the latter construction.
- The locative case marks location in at or on something. There is no distinction between the three other than context. It is used to mark the object of locative prepositions (such as inside).
Most nouns in Zwani belong to the inanimate gender, but not all semantically inanimate nouns do, and no semantically animate nouns do. Inanimate nouns have the widest array of different declensions, with 4 declensions being utilised if the noun ends in a voiced plosives and fricatives, an unvoiced plosive or sonorant, a front vowel, or a back vowel.
The consonant endings essentially suffix case endings, and the only difference in declensions between voiced plosives/unvoiced fricatives and unvoiced plosives/sonorants is in the genitive and locative singular endings, and many plural endings. The tables follow the order of voiced plosive/fricatve endings, unvoiced plosive/sonorant endings, front vowel endings, and then back vowel endings. Endings are in bold.
|declension of idab - book|
|declension of kavin - road|
The vowel ending nouns are more complicated than consonant ending nouns, as these utilise vowel mutation as well as suffixes. The final vowel is often truncated in favor of an opposite vowel (front for back, back for front). However, not all declensions utilise vowel mutation and simply suffix a case ending onto the noun. Endings are in bold.
|declension of itúmú - advice|
|declension of izwo - chair|
Masculine nouns in Zwani constitute all semantically masculine nouns, including feminine nouns with the masculinizing suffix -ig, as well as irregularly masculine nouns that are semantically inanimate. Semantically inanimate masculine nouns include body parts, weapons, or languages. Masculine nouns have 4 declensions that are identical to inanimate nouns, but have different endings. The tables follow the order of voiced plosive/fricatve endings, unvoiced plosive/sonorant endings, front vowel endings, and then back vowel endings. Endings are in bold.
|declension of davig - king|
|declension of sónak - finger|
|declension of adowi - zombie|
|declension of ada - wing|
Feminine nouns in Zwani constitute all semantically feminine nouns, including masculine nouns with the feminizing suffix -ixúm, nouns with this suffix are uncommon because most nouns that can be distinct based on the gender of the subject are inherently feminine, such as bear or lawyer. Common nouns with this suffix include aosixúm - goddess, and únizixúm - soldier (f). As with masculine nouns, some nouns that are sematically inanimate are treated as feminine, such as numerals. Feminine nouns have 3 declensions, merging the first two of the inanimate and masculine nouns, leaving declensions based on the noun ending in a consonant, front vowel, or back vowels. The tables follow the order of consonant endings, front vowel endings, and then back vowel endings.
|declension of þadiv - moon|
|declension of vosi - person|
|declension of bifela - friend|
Modifiers agree with whatever they modify and decline to show comparativity or superlativity, and decline differently if they end in a consonant or vowel. In a similar fashion to nouns, adjectives or adverbs ending in a diphthong (as well as adverbs with the -au ending) decline as a consonant-ending noun.
Adjectives decline differently if they end in a consonant or a vowel and agree with the case and gender of the noun they modify. Adjectives also decline to become comparative or superlative. The two declensions are almost identical and there are no irregular adjectives.
|declension of wov - small|
|declension of aska - full|
Adverbs, like adjectives, preceed the verb they modify. They decline differently if they end in a consonant or vowel similarly to adjectives. Adverbs agree with the verb they modify in tense, and in their unmarked form agree with the present tense. Adverbs also decline to become comparitive or superlative the same as adjectives. Many adverbs do not have seperate forms from adjectives (as in the English pair good - well), and are simple adjectives with an adverbial suffixes. All adverbs in Zwani end in a vowel, and there are no irregular declensions. To derive an adverb from an adjective, suffix -a or -ja.
Zwani Dictionary at ConWorkShop (updated frequently)
Numbers in Zwani are almost completely irregular from 0-99. Numbers past 100 are formed simply: by multiplication and addition. A base, such as azac (hundred), cannot represent 100 by itself. Because of this, ef is needed in order to represent 100, resulting in efazac. Two vowels next to each other from forming larger numbers are pronounced with a hiatus. The suffix -wu is added to denote ordinal numbers. Adverbial numbers (once, twice, thrice) are formed by the suffix -lu.