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LotM - Dec 17: Àbhradoch
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As the days reach their shortest (or longest) point, we'll look at one of the longest grammars on CWS. Our language of December is the fantastic Àbhradoch, a Goidelic-inspired a priori with complex phonology and morphology to match.
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 2 Dec 2017, 01:46.

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Menu 1. Phonology and Orthography 2. Morphology 3. Syntax 4. More on Àbhradoch 5. A Note on LotM The final Language of the Month of 2017 is alice's fantastic  Àbhradoch, a Goidelic-inspired a priori conlang with a grammar so detailed it simply couldn't fit into a single CWS article. Let's try to summarize it for you!

[edit] [top]Phonology and Orthography

alice describes Àbhradoch phonology as "straight out of a Goidelic nightmare land", which is 100% true. Much like Goidelic, most consonants have palatalized and non-palatalized forms, called "slender" and "broad", respectively. These are not written with separate letters, but instead are indicated by the spelling of the surrounding vowels. Next to <e i>, consonants are typically slender, and next to <‌a o u w>, they are typically broad. Fortunately, there are no phonological processes that change broad consonants into slender or vice versa. However, there are plenty of phonological processes that change consonants: specifically, initial mutations. Certain words will cause either lenition or nasalization in the first consonant of a following word, a process also found in Celtic languages. Lenition is fairly straightforward, with the basic consonants /m b p d t s g k/ becoming fricatives /v β f ɣ h h ɣ x/, and their palatalized counterparts changing similarly. The outliers are /f/ and /fʲ/, which outright disappear under lenition. Nasalization is a bit more complex, since voiceless consonants become voiced stops, and only the voiced stops become nasalized outright. /m/ cannot be nasalized, and a vowel-initial word gains an initial /n/ or /ɲ/ after nasalization.

In comparison, vowels are quite simple... other than the spelling. There are two sets of vowels, lax short vowels and tense long vowels, with many vowel qualities including front rounded and back unrounded vowels. Because of the spelling convention for slender and broad vowels, each vowel can be spelled many different ways; for instance, /ʌ/ can be spelled <‌ao>, <eo>, <‌aoi>, or <eoi>. The spelling conventions don't just affect the romanization; they're also reflected in its script. Read more about the strange world of Àbhradoch orthography, and its equally strange phonology, in this article.

[edit] [top]Morphology

If you thought Àbhradoch phonology was hard, get ready for its morphology. In theory, nouns are quite simple, only marking the plural. How the plural is marked is another story. There are at least 24 different plural formations, and which one is used can't be predicted from the root form. Fortunately, plural forms are all noted in the dictionary. Adjectives are actually simple; they are lenited when used as an adjective and nominal and verbal derivatives are unlenited. Furthermore, all adjectives can be made into adverbs by adding the prefixed preposition ga-, which becomes g'- before a vowel. Pronouns are also pretty simple; the first person pronoun marks nominative/accusative, and all pronouns mark genitive. There is also a rich inventory of correlative pronouns, most of which are formed in predictable ways. Only neàd "what, who" marks case, becoming in the accusative. The number system is octal, with separate forms for cardinal, ordinal, multiplicative, and prefixed forms, as well as special forms for 8n and 8n. Many of the ordinal forms are irregular.

Now we plunge headlong into the insanity of Àbhradoch verbs. Verbs conjugate for the categories of subject person, voice (active or passive), mood (indicative, subjunctive, conditional, imperative), and tense/aspect (seven different combinations of past/present/future and perfective/imperfective). These categories are marked by three classes of endings: the absolute which is straightforward, the suffixal which causes initial mutation, and the relative which causes lenition but only occurs in subordinate or relative clauses, with a distinct ending and a smaller number of TAM combinations. The verb endings are highly fusional in general, although the subjunctive forms are characterized by agglutination of a subjunctive suffix onto the following base indicative suffix. All in all, there are 82 different verb endings. Taking the participles and their nominal, nominal plural, and adjectival forms into account, we get 15 more verb forms. The last stop on our tour of Àbhradoch parts of speech is prepositions, 18 of which actually conjugate when the object is a personal pronoun. They also have special subordinate and adverbial forms, and can prefix onto verbs in order to form directional verbs, which obey a unique set of rules regarding initial mutation. If you still haven't got enough, the entire article on Àbhradoch morphology is available for your perusal.

[edit] [top]Syntax

Àbhradoch syntax is also intricate and detailed, although not as tricky as the other aspects of the language. Basic word order is SVO, with obliques typically following the object. This can be altered by two constructions, fronting and backing. Fronting changes the basic SVO structure to O S V om, om being a particle meaning "that one", and is used when the object is a topic. Backing is used to indicate surprise or shame, and changes an SVO sentence to ann V O S, where ann means "this one". To make clauses more interesting, a variety of auxiliary verbs are available, which force the main verb into the relative conjugation. The negative verb nach- is one such auxiliary. Other basic sentence types include questions, formed with the verbal proclitic ne +L, and imperatives, which use the imperative form of the verb and omit any subject pronouns.

Complex sentences can be formed in several ways. Coordination between clauses is accomplished by placing a conjunction such as uas "and" between them. Using the prefix ar- before the conjunction reverses the order of the clauses, topicalizes the fronted clause, and places the verb of the backed clause into the relative conjugation. Subordination uses a preposition or locative pronoun, which takes a subordinating form and prefaces the subordinated clause. Finally, relative clauses are formed by, once again, using the relative form of the verb, and also preceding it with ar. Below the tip of the syntatic iceberg are many more constructions and details, which you can read all about here.

[edit] [top]More on Àbhradoch

If you want more (don't lie, I know you do), check out its articles, grammar tables, LexiBuild sets, or translations.

[edit] [top]A Note on LotM

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Àbhradoch that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Feel free to shoot us (phi2dao, argyle, protondonor, or Avlönskt) a PM with your questions, comments, and/or concerns. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!
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[link] [quote] [move] [edit] [del] 02-Dec-17 02:41 [Deactivated User]
Bìomhu ga chàileada eamad fùill urraghallach sha-ruidh! (No conscript set up)
Bìomhu ga chàileada eamad fùill urraghallach sha-ruidh!
[ˈb̥ʲi:vʉ g̊ə ˈˈxɑ:lʲəd̥ə ˈjaməd̥ fu:ᵈlʲ ʉˈrʲrʲɤ:ɫəx ˈhaˌrʲi:]
sit-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
.PRESPresent tense (tense)
e.g. English '-ly'
LENMLenition mutation (phonology)
\thankful LATLative (case)
movement, towards
.2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
ABLAblative (case)
away from
article EMPEmphatic
stressed or emphasised

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