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Desanian language family
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Some information about Desanlangs and a comparison of their features
This public article was written by Siblaime, and last updated on 31 May 2020, 20:33.

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Menu 1. The languages of the Desanian family 2. Main common features 3. Phonological comparison 4. Lexical comparison 5. Sample texts
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.

[top]The languages of the Desanian family

 Old Desani (from de-sane-ehi ‘main, principal, ruling’ or desa-nehi ‘originating in the south’) is the oldest attested Desanian language. It evolved from Proto-Desanian and was spoken on the territories of modern day  Kasewaya and  Nesyania from 5th to 11th century. Later its regional varieties became two separate languages, forming two main branches of the family: northern and southern. Further splits led to the forming of all modern-day Desanian languages.

 Kasewayan (Kaśewi) is the most widely spoken language among the whole family; the number of L1 speakers is about 22 million. Belonging to the Northern Desanian group of the langfam, Kasewayan has retained several ancient features which were lost in its cognate languages.

 Ineyuni (name of an uncertain origin; probably cognate to the root nuhi- meaning ‘to become’ or ‘to originate’) is spoken by about 7 million people, mainly in  Inwez. It is a Northern Desanian language and is closely related to Kasewayan, anyway shares some phonological features with Keranian and Saritani.

 Standard Keranian (and its dialects), natively Kėraney, is a Southern Desanian language spoken by an ethnic minority – about 3.5 million people in total – in parts of Nesyania, Kasewaya and Tazul. It has been heavily influenced by a non-Desanian language,  Nesyanian, both lexically and phonologically.

 Saritani (Soriṭani, meaning ‘eastern Desanian’) belongs to the Southern Desanian group and is spoken by approximately 120,000 people in the eastern part of Nesyania. It was impacted by the Nesyanian language and is quite mutually intelligible with Keranian, especially with the Pevaradei dialect.

[top]Main common features

I marked Old Desani with a paler shade of grey as it is an extinct proto-language. Not actually proto with reconstruction and stuff, anyway all other Desanlangs are derived from it.
Old DesaniKasewayanIneyuniKeranianSaritani
Morphological typology
mainly isolating
fusional
fusional
fusional
fusional
Animacy distinctions
sentient, animate,
inanimate
human, non-human
human, non-human
none
none
Number of cases
2 (NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
, ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
)
3 (NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
, ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
, INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
)
4 (NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
, ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
, GENGenitive (case)
possessive
, INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
)
6 (NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
, ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
, GENGenitive (case)
possessive
, DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
,
INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
, ESSEssive (case)
'as, similar'
)
8 (NOMNominative (case)
TRANS subject, INTR argument
, ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
, GENGenitive (case)
possessive
, DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
,
INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
, ESSEssive (case)
'as, similar'
, ABLAblative (case)
away from
, TRANSLTranslative (case)
becoming
)
Noun-noun possession
adpositional
adpositional
genitive case
genitive case
genitive case
1PIFirst person plural inclusive (person)
we (inclusive)
vs 1PEFirst person plural exclusive (person)
we (exclusive)
distinction
separate pronouns
and verb forms
no distinction
no distinction
separate pronouns
separate pronouns
Noun numbers
singular and plural
singular and plural
singular and plural
singular, plural
and collective
singular, plural, dual
and collective
Pronoun numbers
singular and plural
singular and plural
singular, plural
and collective
singular, plural
and collective
singular, plural, dual
and collective
Copula dropping
none
none
present tense
(only in informal speech)
present tense
present tense
Causative
no
no
no
yes
yes
Double negatives
amplify negative
ungrammatical
become affirmative
remain negative,
sometimes obligatory
remain negative,
usually obligatory

All Desanian languages are nominative-accusative and strongly head-final, with default word order of SOV and nouns being preceeded by words describing them.

Verbs agree with the subject only, except for Saritani, which often marks the direct object on a transitive verb too.
I will allow it.
Kasewayan: Anźi denxe.
Ineyuni: Anźe dinke.
Keranian: Alje denkė.
Saritani: Andinek.

Being generally head-final, Desanian languages use postpositions only. This rule doesn't apply to affixes, however – both prefixes and suffixes are in use (anyway the latter are a more numerous group).

[top]Phonological comparison

Diphthongs
Probably the most characteristic part of modern Desanian languages are word-final diphthongs: /ej/ in Kasewayan and Ineyuni, /aj ej/ in Keranian and /aj əj/ in Saritani. They were derived from Old Desani suffixes /ahi ɛhi/. Kasewayan lacks one of them, as /aj ej/ have shifted into /ej i/.

Vowel systems and syllable structure
The most diverse part of the different Desanian phonetic inventories are the vowels. Originally, Old Desani had a simple inventory of six vowels, /a ɑ i ɛ ɔ u/.
Northern Desanian languages tended to preserve this size of their vowel inventories: Ineyuni has /a ɒ i e o u/ and Kasewayan has /æ e i ə ɔ u/. These languages also either have no word-initial consonant clusters at all or have a very restricted number of them, so their vowel deletion was not that intense in general.
On the other hand, the languages of the Southern branch underwent several vowel shifts leaving them with numerous consonant clusters and smaller vowel inventories. Saritani has /a ə i ɒ u/ with the maximum syllable structure of CCCVC (with very few exceptions ending with a cluster, eg. pahr ‘before’). In Keranian, different dialects have varying vowel inventories, usually something close to /a ɑ ə e o/, but the common feature of them all is a complete lack of phonemic /i u/ – close vowels are present only as allophones of their close-mid equivalents, /e o/. The maximum syllable structure in Keranian is CCCVCC or CCCVC, depending on the dialectal variety.

Palatalisation
One of the most significant sound changes was the palatalisation of /s z k g/ preceeding /ɛ i/ in Old Desani, first to /sʲ zʲ c ɟ/, then to a variety of postalveolar, alveolopalatal and retroflex consonants in different Desanian languages.

LanguageSet
Late Old Desani
/*sʲ *zʲ *c *ɟ/
Kasewayan
/ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/
Ineyuni
/ʂ ʐ ʈ͡ʂ ɖ͡ʐ/
Keranian
Standard
/ɕ ʑ t͡ɕ d͡ʑ/
Kaṡwehelei
/ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/
Pevaradei
/ʃ ʒ t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/
Saritani
/ʃ ʒ/

In some environments, Saritani and Keranian have turned /c ɟ/ into /s z/. Kaṡwehelei Keranian also has [ʂ ʐ] as allophones of /ʃ ʒ/ in certain consonant clusters.

Uvulars and velars
Uvulars were a part of the Old Desani phonemic inventory, anyway most of its descendants have lost it entirely, merging them with velars or turning them into glottals. Only Keranian has retained them in several dialects, however even there they are pronounced quite inconsistently and sometimes described as post-velar /q ~ k/ and /χ ~ x/.

WIP.

[top]Lexical comparison

Numerals from 1 to 10
Old DesaniKasewayanIneyuniKeranianSaritani
StandardKaṡweheleiPevaradei
one âsi [ˈɑsi]ośi [ˈɔʃi]áśe [ˈɒʂe]áṡe [ˈɑɕe][ˈɒʃi][ˈɑʃe]oci [ˈɒʃi]
two tole [ˈtɔlɛ]tul [tuɫ]tol [tol]tol [tol][tul][tul]tul [tul]
three dezare [dɛˈzarɛ]dzar [d͡zær]zar [zaɾ]ḍar [d͡zar][d͡zar][zar]zar [zaɾ]
four soqe [ˈsɔqɛ]suk [suk]suk [suk]soq [sok][suk][suk]suk [suk]
five xoma [ˈχɔma]wume [ˈwume]wume [ˈwume]homė [ˈχumə][ˈχumə][ˈxumə]hume [ˈhumə]
six zore [ˈzɔrɛ]zur [zur]zor [zor]zor [zor][zur][zur]zud [zud]
seven ikoma [iˈkɔma]ehume [eˈxume]ekume [eˈkume]ekomė [eˈkumə][iˈkumə][eˈkumə]yexume [jəˈxumə]
eight voye [ˈvɔjɛ]uy [uj]vuy [vuj]vwe [vwe][voj][vwe]vuy [vuj]
nine duse [ˈdusɛ]duś [duʃ]doś [doʂ]doṡ [doɕ][duʃ][duʃ]duc [duʃ]
ten lâye [ˈlɑjɛ]loy [ɫɔj]láy [lɒj]láy [lɑj][lɒj][lɑj]loy [lɒj]

Basic words
Old DesaniKasewayanIneyuniKeranianSaritani
StandardKaṡweheleiPevaradei
he/she/it mani [ˈmani] (an.)
ele [ˈɛlɛ] (inan.)
an [æn] (an.)
elə [ˈeɫə] (inan.)
an [an]mane [ˈmaɲi] (form.)
al [al] (inform.)
[ˈmaɲi]
[al]
[maj]
[al]
an [an]
black lagahi [laˈgahi]laxey [ˈɫæɣej]laghay [ˈlaɣaj]lagay [ˈlagaj][ˈlagaj][ˈlaɣəj]laẋay [ˈlaɣaj]
white hosahi [hɔˈsahi]usey [ˈusej]osay [ˈosaj]osay [ˈosaj][ˈusaj][ˈosəj]usay [ˈusaj]
day vore [ˈvɔrɛ]wur [wur]vor [voɾ]vor [vor][vor][vur]ure [uɾə]
night rosina [rɔˈsina]ruśine [ruˈʃine]rośene [roˈʂene]roṡenė [roˈɕenə][roˈʃinə][roˈʃenə]recine [ɾəˈʃinə]
cat simâla [siˈmɑla]śemole [ʃeˈmɔɫe]śemále [ʂeˈmɒle]ṡemálė [ɕeˈmɑlə]
mencė [ˈmint͡ɕə]
[ʃiˈmɒlə][ʃeˈmɑl]
[ˈmint͡ʃə]
cmole [ˈʃmɒlə]
mince [ˈminʃə]
dog zâqa [ˈzɑqa]zokə [ˈzɔkə]záke [ˈzɒke]záqė [ˈzɑqə][ˈzɒqə][ˈzɑkə]zoke [ˈzɒkə]
house reze [ˈrɛzɛ]rəź [rəʒ]reź [ɾeʐ]rėż [rəɕ][rəʃ][rəʃ]rej [ɾəʒ]
love malaho [malaˈhɔ]malayu [mæɫæˈju]malayu [malaˈju]malaw [maˈlaw][maˈlaw][məˈlaw]melu [məˈlu]
to have ahi ne
[aˈhi nɛ]
ayən [ˈæjən]ayen [ˈajen]ayen [ˈajen][ˈajen][ˈajən]ayen [ˈajən]
to say sibahi ne
[sibaˈhi nɛ]
śivayən [ʃiˈvæjən]śevayen [ʂeˈvajen]ṡebayen [ɕeˈbajen][ʃiˈbajen][ʃeˈβajən]cevayen
[ʃəˈvajən]
to eat koti ne [kɔˈti nɛ]hutin [ˈxutin]hotin [ˈxotin]koten [ˈk͡xoten][ˈk͡xoten][ˈkoten]xutin [ˈxutʲin]

Desanian languages have quite high mutual intelligibility when it comes to the most basic vocabulary. Anyway, Keranian and Saritani tend to have some Nesyanian loanwords used alongside with native terms, especially in informal speech.

Nesyanian loanwords in Southern Desanian languages
Old DesaniKasewayanIneyuniKeranianSaritani
StandardKaṡweheleiPevaradei
boy, son râlâza [rɑˈlɑza]roloze [rɔˈɫɔze]ráláz [ˈɾɒlɒz]taban [ˈtaban][ˈtaban][ˈtaβan]taven [ˈtavən]
eye tare [ˈtarɛ]tir [tir]tar [teɾ]cėm [t͡ɕəm][t͡ʃəm][t͡ʃəm]cem [ʃəm]
to end pâhi ne [pɑˈhi nɛ]poyən [ˈpɔjən]páyen [ˈpɒjen]dėycemen
[dəjˈt͡ɕemin]
[dəjˈt͡ʃimin][dɪˈt͡ʃemin]decimin
[dəˈʃimin]
to fall lavi ne [laˈvi nɛ]lawrin [ˈɫæwrin]lavrin [ˈlavɾin]ėhdayen
[əʁˈdajen]
[əʁˈdajen][əɡˈdajən]e’dayen
[əʔˈdajən]
foreigner rahunehi
[rahuˈnɛhi]
unrawni
[unˈræwɲi]
unrawni
[unˈɾawɲi]
hommane
[χuˈmːaɲi]
[χuˈmːaɲi][xuˈmːaj]humani [huˈmaɲi]
friend zatihani
[zatiˈhani]
zatin [ˈzætin]zaten [ˈzaten]rezėm [ˈrezəm][ˈrezəm][reʒəm]rijam [ˈɾiʒam]
soul xeta [ˈχɛta]hete [ˈxete]hete [ˈxete]radoh [ˈradox][ˈradox][ˈradux]radu [ˈɾadu]
before seki [ˈsɛki]śeci [ˈʃet͡ʃi]śes [ˈʂes]pahre [ˈpaχre][ˈpaχre][ˈpaxre]pahr [pahɾ]

The words still used in Northern Desanian languages in their original meaning still exist in the Southern branch, anyway they are considered obsolete or have significantly changed their meaning. At example, in Keranian, páyen (cognate to Kasewayan poyən and Ineyuni páyen) means ‘to close’ and not ‘to end’.

Southern Desanian languages tend to borrow numerous Nesyanian words and affixes (eg. the nominalizer -em). Besides this, the sound changes which have shaped them were influenced by Nesyanian phonology.

[top]Sample texts

WIP.

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