The Esseintial Enello Thread

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The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 26 Jan 2014, 15:50

0. Welcome to the Esseintial Enello Thread!

In this thread I will be presenting my toylang Enello. I term it a toylang like my first conlang Nınuıntı, because I don't see myself working on either of the two for years to come, but see them rather as conlanging experiments.

This introductory post is mostly fluff and can safely be skipped.

Design Objectives

Enello was born in early December 2013 when the phonology occurred to me while travelling on the underground.

My initial conception was to make a Japanesey language but with a somewhat more restricted phonemic inventory, the most salient feature of the phonology being the absence of dental stops, as will be outlined in the phonology.

However, I soon decided that the grammar should rather be modelled on Kalaallisut. Therefore, Enello is highly agglutinative, and lightly polysynthetic. Kalaallisut has also somewhat influenced the phonology, best seen in the presence of geminate /lː/ and /ŋː/ in a phonology otherwise largely restricted to phonemes occurring in Japanese.

Another point I feel like sharing, even though it only really concerns me, is that I'm using Enello as an experimental laboratory for many features I'd eventually like to incorporate into my no. 1 conlang Sōkoan.

In-World Background

Enello is spoken be the Ene, a sophisticated race of clannish warrior-botanists that inhabit the easternmost part of the Sōkoa archipelago. Like the Nınuıtuıc, they have been ruled by the imperialistic Sōkoans for several centuries. Enello may well turn out to be distantly related to the Sōkoan language.

Phonology coming up...
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 26 Jan 2014, 16:10

1. Phonology

Enello phonology is relatively simple, with a small phoneme inventory and limited allophony.

Phoneme Inventory

/p b s z k g h m n ŋ ɾ j/ p b s z k g h m n ng r y
/a e i o u ɯ/ a e ı o u ů

/ŋ/ is never found word-initially

Consonant Gemination and Allophony

All consonants except /h j/ can be geminated word-medially. In the orthography, this is indicated by writing said consonant twice.

/s/ geminates to [tt͡s] written tts
/z/ geminates to [dd͡z] written ddz
/ɾ/ geminates to [lː] written ll

/s z ss zz h/ palatalise to [ɕ ʑ tt͡ɕ dd͡ʑ ç] before /i/ and are written sh ȷ cch ddȷ h
Word-initial /h/ becomes [ɸ] before /u ɯ/ and is written f
/h/ becomes [w~ɰβ] between vowels and is written v
/ŋŋ/ is written nng

The Absence of Dental Stops

This is probably the most salient anomaly in the phonology of the language. Although I do not intend to spend much time on diachronics for Enello, the idea is that the dental stops in Proto-Enello evolved into the sibilant fricatives, while geminate dental stops became affricates. This is probably highly unlikely to occur, but, ehm... I like it.

Vowel Sequences and Vowel Allophony

Vowel sequences are common in Enello, but are normally restricted to two consecutive non-identical vowels.

/i u ɯ/ before another vowel are optionally realised [ɪ̯ ʊ̯ ɯ̯̽] in unstressed position, especially in rapid speech.

Some (perhaps most or all) monosyllabic words ending in a single vowel have the vowel lengthened and written double.

maa - what
koo - no
zůů - like that, so

Note that Enello distinguishes between sequences such as ıo and ıyo, etc.

Syllable Structure

Syllable structure is (C)V with due note given to the possibility of word-medial geminates.

There are NO consonant clusters. None.

Basic word roots tend to be mono- or disyllabic, and can be any of the following:

(C1)V1(C2)
(C1)V1C2(C2)V2(C3)


Longer roots also occur, but follow the same pattern.

In disyllabic roots, it is quite common for V1 and V2 to be the same, especially in adjectival stems.

/h/ is only ever found at the beginning of a root.
/ŋ/ is never found at the beginning of a root.

Sample Vocabulary

allara ['alːaɾa] n river
bıebbere [bi'ebbeɾe] n nonsense
ettsero ['ett͡seɾo] n lizard
gıgonoddzo [gigo'nodd͡zo] n necklace, pendant
meȷıa ['meʑia~'meʑɪ̯a] n older sister
nůo ['nɯo] n city
onngo ['oŋːo] adj big
sogocchı [so'gott͡ɕi] n heel

And two little sentences for good measure:

Enéllove. - This is Enello.
Ongoggúzavo. - It's the height of winter.


That's all I can remember about the phonology. I haven't dealt with stress/accent yet, so that's going to have to wait. Or perhaps it just won't get done, as was the case with Nınuıntı.

As always, comments are welcome even though there may not be that much to comment on yet.
Last edited by DesEsseintes on Sun 26 Jan 2014, 17:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by Micamo » Sun 26 Jan 2014, 16:24

DesEsseintes wrote:This is probably the most salient anomaly in the phonology of the language. Although I do not intend to spend much time on diachronics for Enello, the idea is that the dental stops in Proto-Enello evolved into the sibilant fricatives, while geminate dental stops became affricates. This is probably highly unlikely to occur, but, ehm... I like it.
The Hawaiian /t~k/ phoneme is sometimes analyzed as being underlyingly /k/, but IIRC this is not preferred. Nortaneous once told me about a natlang that (unlike Hawaiian) has no [t] or [d], but I can't for the life of me find it again.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Sun 26 Jan 2014, 17:22

Micamo wrote:Nortaneous once told me about a natlang that (unlike Hawaiian) has no [t] or [d], but I can't for the life of me find it again.
Here is a list of small phoneme inventories in natlangs posted by Nortaneous. According to his list, neither Abau nor Samoan have dental stops, but both feature /s/. However, those languages have significantly smaller inventories than Enello. Still, it's something like a justification. [:)]
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by Micamo » Sun 26 Jan 2014, 19:33

Abau! That was it. Incidentally, there's a grammar available, should you care to read it for inspiration.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Mon 27 Jan 2014, 09:44

2. Sun Vowels and Moon Vowels

The six vowels of Enello are split into two "series", referred to as Sun Vowels and Moon Vowels.

The Sun Vowels are a, ı, u.

The Moon Vowels are o, e, ů.

The vowels can also be split into three pairs, with each pair consisting of one Sun Vowel and one Moon Vowel and corresponding to a place of articulation (and its stops and nasal).

Let's make a table:

Code: Select all

PoA     Sun   Moon  Stops   Nasal
labial   u     ů     p b     m
dental   ı     e     s z     n
velar    a     o     k g     ng
These correspondences will become pertinent when we look at stem gradation patterns in Enello.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Mon 27 Jan 2014, 14:39

Micamo wrote:Incidentally, there's a grammar
Looks yummy! Have downloaded it onto my phone. Cheers! [;)]
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Mon 27 Jan 2014, 16:03

3. Introduction to Nouns

In this post I'm going to present some basic information about nouns in Enello, and touch upon the subject of stem gradation.

Nouns in Enello are inflected for case and number, but not gender. Enello is rich in derivational morphology, and compounding is common.

Noun Classes

Nouns in Enello can be broadly categorised into three classes: Strong Nouns, Weak Nouns, and Frozen Nouns. This classification is purely morphophonological in nature, and has nothing to do with gender, animacy, etc.

Class I: Strong Nouns

Strong nouns are all nouns ending in -Ce, -Cı, -Co or -Cu, as well as some nouns ending in -Ca or -VV. The citation form of the noun is the same as the stem.

This class also includes all monosyllabic nouns, with the final vowel written double.

Examples of strong nouns:

addȷı - finger
bello - wing
suu - bone

Strong nouns rarely undergo any alteration to their structure due to inflection or compounding, hence the appellation.

Class II: Weak Nouns

Weak nouns are nouns with stems ending in a consonant. However, as words in Enello cannot end in a closed syllable, the citation form of the noun (which also happens to be the absolutive case) ends in -a. Do remember though that there are also some strong nouns that end in -a.

The last consonant of the stem can be any of p b s z k g m n r. This stem consonant can undergo strengthening and weakening depending on the form of a following suffix.

Examples of weak nouns:

arıpa - fox
kosa - ear
gaka - bee

The weakened stem of weak nouns is formed by removing the -Ca ending and replacing it with the moon vowel of the appropriate sort as outlined in post 2.

arıpaarıů-
kosakoe-
gakagao-

Examples of compounds using these forms include arıůllettsa - foxhole (not in the military sense), earth, and gaoputtsa - beehive

Class III: Frozen Nouns

Frozen nouns are nouns that were originally weak, but the weakened stems of which came to be used as the default form. Therefore they usually end in a moon vowel.

nůo - city ( < *nůga )
sue - island ( < *susa )
naů - bow ( < *napa )

In the cases of these three nouns, the original forms are entirely obsolete, but that is not always the case.

The original Enello word for woman is nısa, weakened stem nıe. However, as the language evolved, the use of nısa came to be used in a somewhat pejorative manner, and nıe was considered more polite. In modern Enello, both words exist but with very different connotations. Hence compounds such as

neınnıe - priestess (lit. temple-woman)
mınısa - prostitute (lit. skin-woman)

Frozen nouns behave differently from weak Nouns, as will become clear when I post more stuff on nominal morphology.

I'm going to continue posting like this, just a little at a time. I think it's easier for me, and possibly for readers, too.

Does this post make sense? Please let me know if it doesn't.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by Micamo » Tue 28 Jan 2014, 10:51

Makes sense to me; It's kinda strange that you have consonants leniting straight to vowels, though.

When are the weakened stems used? What's the difference between a weakened stem and a "frozen noun"?
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by kanejam » Tue 28 Jan 2014, 11:31

Yay! I like Esseintial langs :) this is very cool. Quite a few of the words are giving me an Italian feel, probably from the voiced geminates. The consonant gradation is cool, especially how it links with the different vowels. Looking forward to more!
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by k1234567890y » Tue 28 Jan 2014, 13:06

good, keep working, seems that some examples are derived words and compounds?
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Tue 28 Jan 2014, 18:21

Thanks for all your posts, guys.
Micamo wrote:Makes sense to me; It's kinda strange that you have consonants leniting straight to vowels, though.
Glad to hear it makes some sense. As for the consonant lenition, it would have occurred in stages, e.g. k → x → ɰ → a/o, etc. Maybe I'll try to do a proper post on it, but at the moment diachronics and naturalness are not top priorities.
Micamo wrote:When are the weakened stems used? What's the difference between a weakened stem and a "frozen noun"?
The weakened stem of a weak noun is used in nominal compounds as well as before some endings. However, the noun itself ends in -Ca. The frozen noun has no form in -Ca, the weakened stem has become the normal form of the noun. So the question is really how a frozen noun differs from a strong noun, which will become clear when we deal with plurals and stuff. Actually, frozen nouns behave more similarly to strong nouns.
kanejam wrote:Yay! I like Esseintial langs :) this is very cool. Quite a few of the words are giving me an Italian feel, probably from the voiced geminates. The consonant gradation is cool, especially how it links with the different vowels. Looking forward to more!

[:D] Thanks, Kanejam! Yeah, bello just fit in so well with the phonology that I just had to include it...
k123456789y wrote:good, keep working, seems that some examples are derived words and compounds?

Thanks! [<3]
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 05:46

4. Nominal Morphology - Partitive Stem

Like mentioned above, nouns in Enello are inflected for number, but number functions somewhat differently from number in European languages.

Number marking is optional in some situations, but not in others. The details remain unclear.

There is no inherent lexical distinction between countable and uncountable nouns.

In Enello, number is actually a kind of compounding, with a nominal element defining number/amount appended to a special stem form of the noun called the Partitive Stem.

The partitive stem is not a case, and has but a nodding acquaintance with the partitive case in languages like Finnish. It is merely a specific form of the noun to which postbases of number, amount, etc. can be suffixed.

The partitive stem is formed as follows:

• Strong nouns simply add -re, e.g. gımmı - hand and amello - wheel:
gımmıgımmıre-
amelloamellore-

• Weak nouns change -Ca to -CCe, e.g. arıpa - fox, kosa - ear, zůba - blade, and yara - plain, expanse:
arıpaarıppe-
kosakottse-
zůbazůbbe-
yarayalle-

Certain special patterns occur. Weak nouns with a stem in (C)VCCVCa shift to (C)VCVCCe*, e.g. allara - river and zacchıka - disease:
*(Yikes, this looks so bloody Finnic. I didn't realise. Micamo was right...)
allaraaralle-
zacchıkazashıkke-

There are also the so-called Contracted Nouns, but I think I'll deal with them in a separate post.

• Frozen nouns are easy. They simply append -lle, e.g. nıo - incident, ekıe - hatchling:
nıonıolle-
ekıeekıelle-

I'm still undecided what to do with monosyllabic nouns such as bee - nose and noo - person. Technically, they're strong nouns but I'm less than thrilled at the prospect of bere-/beere- nore-/noore-. We'll see.

Some Plural Suffixes

The partitive stem does not function as a noun on its own (at least not at this stage), but can be combined with suffixes to make nouns with a plural meaning. Here I will introduce two of those suffixes: -re and -mıa.

The -re suffix originally meant many, numerous, but this meaning has become somewhat grammaticalised in modern Enello, and may simply denote plural number. The resulting noun is a strong noun.

amellorere - (many) wheels
arıppere - (many) foxes
nůollere - (many) cities

Note the -rere ending of strong nouns resulting from the identical form of the partitive stem ending and the plural ending.

-mıa is a paucal number suffix and denotes several, but not too many, of something. The resulting noun is a strong noun.

arıppemıa - several foxes
addȷıremıa - a few fingers (from the strong noun addȷı - finger)
nıellemıa - several women

(Quick note: as mentioned in post 3, two words exist for woman, nısa and nıe. If we starters with the weak noun nısa and formed the paucal, the resulting form would be nıttsemıa. Just a little example of the difference between weak nouns and frozen nouns.)

There are many other number suffixes. Hopefully, I will get around to inventing them at some point.

The last thing I want to mention in this post is that number is often rather marked on the verb than the noun, especially when dealing with non-specific or indefinite object arguments. This will be dealt with at some point in the distant future.

That's it for now, I guess. I plan to cover Contracted Nouns in the next day or so.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by Micamo » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 11:20

DesEsseintes wrote:Number marking is optional in some situations, but not in others. The details remain unclear.
By "details remain unclear" do you mean "I haven't decided what makes number marking obligatory yet" (which is fine) or does it mean "I know what makes number marking obligatory, but I'm not going to tell you" (which is stupid)?
There is no inherent lexical distinction between countable and uncountable nouns.
Does this mean that all nouns are mass nouns (weird but workable), that all nouns are count nouns (don't see how this is possible), or some strange hybrid between the two?
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 11:32

Micamo wrote:By "details remain unclear" do you mean "I haven't decided what makes number marking obligatory yet" (which is fine) or does it mean "I know what makes number marking obligatory, but I'm not going to tell you" (which is stupid)?
The former.
Micamo wrote:Does this mean that all nouns are mass nouns (weird but workable), that all nouns are count nouns (don't see how this is possible), or some strange hybrid between the two?
I think I made a mistake there. I should perhaps say "grammatical distinction". What I'm trying to say is that all nouns have a partitive stem, which pluralisers can be added to. If the noun is something we would consider "uncountable", the Enello counterpart can still have a partitive stem, but may be limited in which pluraliser suffixes it can take. Does that make sense?
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by Micamo » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 11:45

DesEsseintes wrote:I think I made a mistake there. I should perhaps say "grammatical distinction". What I'm trying to say is that all nouns have a partitive stem, which pluralisers can be added to. If the noun is something we would consider "uncountable", the Enello counterpart can still have a partitive stem, but may be limited in which pluraliser suffixes it can take. Does that make sense?
The thing about mass nouns (or "uncountable" nouns) is that they're number-neutral unless you quantize them in some way with a measure word. Compare the English near-minimal pair "one cow" with "*one cattle". To make the latter grammatical you need to use a construction like "one head of cattle." Often a mass noun can be quantized in different ways depending on which measure word you use: Compare "three drops of water", "three cups of water", and "three buckets of water."

One solution you could use is to turn the measure words into postbases that come between the mass noun (in partitive form) and the number/numeral morpheme.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 11:53

One solution you could use is to turn the measure words into postbases that come between the mass noun (in partitive form) and the number/numeral morpheme.
That is precisely the plan. However, the reason I was trying to say uncountable nouns don't behave differently is that they can use the partitive stem with postbases of indefinite quantity, and therefore do not behave differently on the whatchamacallit morphological level. They can have all the forms countable nouns can (or at least I think they can, as I don't regard the pluraliser postbases part of the noun).
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 29 Jan 2014, 16:51

5. Contracted Nouns

In post 4 we saw how the partitive stem of weak nouns ending in -Ca was formed by geminating the final consonant and changing a to e.

So what happens to a weak noun like settsa - state, country which ends in a geminate consonant before a?

Such nouns were originally of the form (C)VCVC where the two last consonants were the same, and the second vowel was elided. So *sesesasettsa.

When the partitive stem is formed, the old stem is taken as the base, e.g. settsa - country, state, rakka - noise, loud sound, and yůbba - bag, pouch

settsasesettse-
rakkarakakke-
yůbbayůbůbbe-

In modern Enello, the vowel that resurfaces is always the same as the vowel in the preceding syllable. However, that was not always the case in the original form; rakka actually derives from *rakeka. I'm going to take advantage of this for some aberrant derivations later, although I haven't come up with any yet.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Mon 03 Feb 2014, 05:47

6. The -vı Copula

As stated before, Enello is rich in derivational morphology. Verbs are frequently formed from nouns and vice versa.

One very common noun-derived verb is the -vı copula. The copula is never an independent word but rather a suffix.

Forming the -vı Copula

Strong nouns and frozen nouns simply append -vı:

gımmıvı- - to be a hand
nůovı- - to be a city

Weak nouns however replace -Ca with the corresponding sun vowel before affixing -vı:

arıpaarıúvı- to be a fox
kosakoívı- to be an ear
zacchıkazacchıávı- to be a disease

Contracted nouns are a bit tricky as again we must use the uncontracted stem to arrive at the correct form for the copula:

settsa ( < *sesesa )seseívı- to be a country
gga ( < *mıgıga )mıgıávı- to be a lung

Notice that in modern Enello the uncontracted stem always has the same vowel in the last two syllables before the lenited consonant, but that is not always the actual original vowel of the stem, but the result of a process of (what's that word again?).

I've used an accent in the above examples to indicate that stress falls on the syllable just before the copula. As I stated in the OP, I haven't quite figured out Enello stress yet, but I believe I will keep this rule. If not, I will edit this out later.

Use of the -vı Copula

The conjugation of the -vı copula in the singular is as follows (The plural forms are as of yet undecided):

Code: Select all

1s  -vınge
2s  -veȷı
3s  -vıů
Edit: Changed the 2s ending from -vıȷı to -veȷı
The 3rd person singular however is rarely used in this form in simple statements. It is more frequently used with the demonstrative clitics -ye (proximal) and -yo (distal/neutral) attached.

In spoken Enello, the resultant forms are normally simplified as follows:

-vıůye-vıe-ve
-vıůyo-vıo-vo

Using můůragı - carpenter (a strong noun) as an example:

můůragıvınge - I'm a carpenter.
můůragıveȷı - You're a carpenter.
můůragıve - This is a carpenter.
můůragıvo - That/He/She is a carpenter.

And here are some more sample sentences:

Arıúvınge. - I'm a fox.
Nůovo. - That's a city.
Bunıveȷı. - You are a dear.
Enellove. - This is Enello.
Enello emůrıevo. - Enello is a language. (emůrıe - language)

The -vı copula is never attached to plural nouns as plurality will be indicated using the personal ending. (I just need to figure out what the endings are going to be.)

This is a bit incomplete, but I'm going to post it anyway.
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Re: The Esseintial Enello Thread

Post by DesEsseintes » Thu 13 Mar 2014, 14:22

This is just a little addendum to the last post, which was incomplete.

6b. The Conjugation of the -vı Copula

Here are all the personal endings for the -vı copula.

Code: Select all

1s      -vınge
2s      -veȷı
3s      -vıů/-ve/-vo
1p.EXCL -vınngu
1p.INCL -vınngına
2p      -veȷına
3p      -vıra/-vılle/-vıllo
Note the dissimilation of the vowels in the 2nd person. I changed this after my last post and have edited it accordingly.

The 3rd person plural forms in -vılle/-vıllo are contractions of -vıraye/-vırayo and express these are, those/they are, respectively.

The -vınngu form

It is fairly common to use the 1st person plural exclusive form for 1st person singular as well, especially in informal/colloquial speech registers. Thus it could be said that clusivity is more prominently marked in the first person than number.

Some examples

Now that we've got the plural endings, we can make some more examples:

bůllůga - monkey
Bůllůávıllo. - Those/They are monkeys.

ollopa - onıon
Olloúvılle. - These are onions.

rerıcchınoo - traveller
Rerıcchınoovınngu. - We (excl.) are travellers./I'm a traveller.

eottsunngagı - tailor, clothes-maker
Eottsunngagıvınngına. - We (incl.) are tailors.

nıe - woman
- Nıeveȷına. - You are women.

As can be seen from the above examples, there is no need to mark plurality on the noun part, as the word is now a verb and the conjugation alone marks number.
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