On the bright side, all the hours I put into it have resulted in four nominations for "Language of the Month" on CWS and have heard all sorts of nice things from some people already.
But on the other side of things I also received a bit of criticism today, that the language is despite my efforts to undo my initial attempts of creating as many derivations from a few roots (hey, I was new to conlanging and fascinated by derivation etymologies...) still to regular and can come across as artificial. Seeing as I, too, have the goal of developing a somewhat naturalistic language, this felt a bit disheartening, but I thought could maybe get some advice here to help me with that.
I have a lot of documentation on CWS already, but I think I'll copy it here one by one, as it's still relatively compact.
First some information about the nation/people I'm developing the language for, and which thus served as a inspiration for the language:
Jute (IPA: /ju:tɛ/, Native language: Jute, IPA: /jute/), officially the Community of Jute, is a loose confederation of communities located on an tropical island in a relatively, but not extremely remote ocean location, as well as on the northern part of the continent of Ystel south of it.
Known for its direct democracy, decentralized state (or lack thereof, given the anarchism-like political system) and pacifistic foreign policy, it is also home to a civilization going back about 3000 years, when the first ancestors of the present-day Juteans settled on the island, which has traditionally had a greenist, communitarian culture and a mixture of a moneyless gift and barter economy.
Six known languages are spoken on the island, two of them being the heritage of the colonial era (Lahiri and Jutean Pidgin), two, Klambari and Samwati, indigenous languages being unrelated to the modern Jutic languages, (Coastal or Standard) Jutean and River Jutean, as well as South Jutean, spoken in South Jute in Ystel.
Since it's a tropical island and I had gotten interested in Hawaii and Hawaiian, the compact phonology is inspired by it, though of course with some changes. For example, it lacks the glottal stop, but has a /j/ and a /ʋ/.
[Aside from the] Hawaiian-reminiscent phonology and typology [it has] a sentence structure inspired by Tagalog and some ergative-absolutive languages, and some influences from a few other languages, like Mandarin and Japanese. Piraha and Tongan also provided some inspirations, as well as English and some more.
- Compact phonology with just five base vowels and nine consonants (+ two allophones, and some diphthongs)
- Tagalog-like Austronesian alignment combined with a split ergativity inspired by English ergative verbs (such as to break, open, melt)
- Various marked moods, such as Indicative, Imperative, Conditional, Subjunctive and Hortative
- No distinct passive voice (triggers and ergativity used instead), tense, number (except in some pronouns), articles or adjectives (nouns used)
- Three genders, one for common/civilization-related words, one for abstract, immaterial, and most general, unknown or unknowable words, and one for all wilderness-related words, especially the rainforest and the ocean.
- A sizeable number of personal pronouns, featuring four clusitivity distinctions, three/four numbers, three animacy distinctions and gendered inanimate prononus
- No possessive pronouns or genitive. Inalienable possession is indicated with "a", signifying "of" or "by", alienable possession with relative nominalizations
Diphthongs /ɑi/ /ɑe/ /ɑu/ /ie/ /iɐ/ /iɑ/ /iu/ /ui/ /ue/ /uɐ/ /uɑ/ /eɑ/ /eu/ /ei/ /eɐ/ /ɐu/ /ɐi/ /ɐe/
Triphthongs /iɑ:/ /e:ɑ/
Syllable Structure (C)V(V)(V/C), though CVC, CVVC and particularly CVVV are used sparingly. CV or VC are preferred.
Consonant clusters can thus only appear at syllable boundaries, and only the geminations of /t/, /k/, /m/, /n/ and /l/ as well as two-consonant clusters starting with /n/, /m/ or /l/ are allowed.
VV are either long vowels or vowel diphthongs, and VVV are long diphthongs.
Stress information Mostly on the penultimate syllable, sometimes on the last syllable with a long vowel/diphtong, but it's not fixed and can also be used to emphasize a part of a word, for example the negating suffix '-l' or '-al'.
Aa /a/ Dd /d/ Ee /e/ Ff /f/ Hh /h/ Ii /i/ Jj /j/ Kk /k/
Ll /l/ Mm /m/ Nn /n/, /ŋ/ Oo /ɑ/ Ss /s/, /ʃ/ Tt /t/ Uu /u/ Vv /ʋ/
As mentioned above, long vowels are expressed through doubled vowel graphs.
First word of a sentence has a capital letter, as do names.