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Mehêla Morphology
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Initial consonant mutation, reduplication, and sometimes both!
This public article was written by Tonic, and last updated on 26 Sep 2017, 21:12.

[comments] Menu 1. Stems 2. Prenasalisation 3. Case 4. Full Reduplication 5. Partial Initial Reduplication 6. Verbs
?FYI...
This article is a work in progress! Check back later in case any changes have occurred.


[top]Stems


All word stems in Mehêla can be catagorised into groups that get their name after the last phoneme in their reconstructed form in Old Mehêla, if there is one. They are important for example in determining the form the antipassive takes, and whether prenasalisation, a kind of consonant mutation, occurs.

Final phoneme in Old MehêlaName of stem group
*pp-stemC-stemS-stem
*tt-stem
*kk-stem
h-stem
*nn-stemR-stem
*aa-stemV-stem
*ee-stem
*ii-stem
*oo-stem
*uu-stem
y-stem


For convenience sake there are also larger groups that contain other groups, e.g. p-, t-, k-, and h-stems are collectively known as S-stems. There are some ways of predicting which group a stem belongs to.

  • If it ends in a phonemic low tone (phonetic low or falling) it will be an S-stem.
  • If it ends in a high tone /a/ it will be an n-, a-, or y-stem.
  • If it ends in a high tone /e/ it will be an n- or e-stem.
  • If it ends in a high tone /i/ it will be an n- or i-stem.
  • If it ends in a high tone /o/ it will be an n-, o-, or u-stem.
  • If it ends in a high tone /u/ it will be an n-stem.


[top]Prenasalisation


Mehêla has a kind of consonant mutation called prenasalisation. It is used in forming the gerund form of verbs and in case clitics on n-stems, among other things. Results of prenasalisation may have a different spelling than normally in the Latin orthography.

RadicalPrenasalisation
/m mː w/ <m mm w>/mː/ <mm mw>
/n nː j/ <n nn j>/nː/ <nn nj>
/ŋ ŋː k/ <g gg k>/ŋː/ <gg gk>
/p ᵐb/ <p b>/ᵐb/ <bp b>
/t ⁿd l/ <t d l>/ⁿd/ <dt d dl>
/ʔ/ <h>/n/ <nh>
/n nː/ <n nn>


[top]Case


Case is expressed through phrasal suffixes, which act as a mix of normal suffixes and enclitics. They attach to entire phrases like clitics, but may undergo prenasalisation on n-stems, and may change the final vowel on the stem. This is more typical of suffixes since clitics don't participate in these kinds of alternations. Only when the phrasal suffixes are attached to nouns or pronouns may the alternations happen. When they come after quantifiers, verbs (including gerunds), and the postpositions '(h)o' and 'le' they take their independent forms and act more or less as postpositions, and are written as seperate words in the Latin orthography.

CaseIndependentV-stem1S-stemn-stem
ERGErgative (case)
TRANS subject; agent
te-te-te2-dte
OBLOblique (argument)
indirect or demoted object
à-∅3-hà2-nà
INSTRInstrumental (case)
'with' 'using'
mahâ-mâ-mâ-mmâ
COMComitative (case)
'together with'
to-to-to2-dto
ADEAdessive (case)
near/by
-nò-nò-nnò
LOCLocative (case)
'in, on, at' etc
ki-ki-ki-gki
ABLAblative (case)
away from
-gâ-gâ-ggâ
1The final /a/ becomes /e/ before a case marker in y-stems &
  the final /o/ becomes /u/ before a case marker in u-stems.
2The low tone on the final vowel on the stem becomes high.
3If the final vowel is short, it gets low tone.
  If it's long, it gets long fallng tone.


There are also postpositions which don't cliticise. Some are monomorphemic, but most are derived by taking a noun and adding a case ending.

[top]Full Reduplication


This is a general derivational device. It often functions as an intensifier or augmentative, but far from always. In adjectives however, it is used consistently as an intensifier. Full reduplication often ignores the morphophonological changes that would otherwise normally occur on the boundary of the two parts, with two exceptions:

  1. If the word ends with a phonological low tone (i.e. is an S-stem) then it might turn into a high tone on the first part if it begins with a vowel.
  2. Gemination of an initial nasal on the second part on n-stems might happen as through prenasalisation, but not for any other consonant except nasals.


mâ 'red' > mâmmâ 'deep red'
inā 'white' > inâinā 'blindingly bright'
togo 'eat' > togotogo 'overeat'

The following is out of date.

[top]Partial Initial Reduplication


Partial initial reduplication has very many different uses, depending on the word class the reduplicated word belongs to. It is formed by reduplicating the first syllable of the word, reducing it by turning low tones high and shortening geminate nasals and long vowels, and putting it first. If the word begins with a vowel, then a epenthetic /ʔ/ is added so that the vowels don't touch.

kudi > kukudi
nĩ > ninĩ
nnêo > nennêo
ēwohe > ehēwohe

Nouns

Collective

Adjectives

Superlatives

Verbs

Pluractional

Numerals

Distributive

Noun
Verb
Adjective
Quantifier
Pronoun
Postposition
Conjunction
Adverb

[top]Verbs


There are two voices, active and antipassive. The antipassive is formed in V-stems by giving the final vowel low tone, and in C-stems by suffixing "-Cè", where C is the corresponding consonant of its stem group. The pluractional is formed by partial initial reduplication as described above, and the gerund by prenasalisation. The antipassive gerund has two forms. It is either formed with the simple suffix "-enè", or as by a combination of the active gerund and normal antipassive. Using "-enè" is the more traditional and formal way, but the combination is especially common when used in imperative clauses. There is no pluractional gerund.

Inflection of togo "eat"ActiveAntipassive
-togotogò
Pluractionaltotogototogò
Gerunddtogotogoenè/dtogò
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