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Laceyiami hėnnijeniūmita pa høyta
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History of the Laceyiam language
This public article was written by liliev21, and last updated on 31 Jul 2016, 09:16.

[comments] Menu 1. Proto-Cis-Tahianshima (Indajøðnemiði hėnna) 2. From PCT to (pre-)Laceyiam 3. The westward migration and Proto-Mǎng Tì 4. Grammatical developments 5. The arrival on Isungatsuaq 6. The Classical Age and later developments 7. Map  Laceyiam, or Chlegdarimė hėnna (language of the Chlegdarims) is the most spoken language on the planet of Calémere (Lillańjānna) and by far the most historically important one in the “Eastern World”. This article will provide some insights on how it took its current shape.

[top]Proto-Cis-Tahianshima (Indajøðnemiði hėnna)


The oldest stage of the language we can be sure of is Proto-Cis-Tahianshima (PCT), the latest common ancestor of the whole Cis-Tahianshima family.
This language was most probably spoken 4000 to 3600 years ago in some island groups east of Tahianshima (Tāhiańśīma, the second-largest island on the planet), in the middle of the Greater Ocean (Nemiðārṭya). Note that the term Cis-Tahianshima has a Western Calemerian origin, and it means “on this side” of Tahianshima for Western people (Evandorians); from a Chlegdarim perspective it’s the other side — anyway, Laceyiam and its descendants are the only Cis-Tahianshima languages spoken west of the island.

Proto-Cis-Tahianshima speakers moved mostly east, colonizing (or conquering) most of the islands in the Ocean east of Tahianshima, and northwards up to the island-continent of Écáreton, and these dialects later split into four different branches:
the Middle Oceanic languages are spoken on most of the islands of the Greater Ocean, mostly spread longitudinally for two thirds of the way from Tahianshima to the Western continents of Védren and Evandor on the east side of the ocean;
the Upper Oceanic languages are spoken in those island groups north of the Middle Oceanic languages, and also in the southern part of Écáreton;
the Taruebic and the Pakpatic languages’ speakers migrated east and eventually reached first northwestern Védren - where the Pakpatic languages are now spoken - and southwestern Evandor, current homeland of the Taruebic languages.

The fifth dialectal group of PCT was spoken by those speakers who moved westwards, eventually reaching Tahianshima itself: these are the ancestors of the Chlegdarim people and their PCT dialect was the earliest stage of what today is Laceyiam (in a Western perspective, this stage may be called Proto-Dryadic or Proto-Imuniguronian, Imúnigúrona being the common Western name for Laltīmāhia, the Chlegdarims’ nation.

[top]From PCT to (pre-)Laceyiam


Laceyiam had (like also Taruebic and Pakpatic on the other side of the world) peculiar developments that set it apart from most other Cis-Tahianshima languages, but given the different geographical area its developments were pretty much unique. Laceyiam is also often closer to PCT in its consonants than any other known sister language, but that’s easily explainable because of its early attestation: the first written examples of Laceyiam date to roughly 3000 years ago, about seven centuries after it supposedly split from other fellow PCT dialects; in comparison, the second oldest attested Cis-Tahianshima language, Old Tarueb, was only attested about 1000 years ago; other Taruebic languages were only clearly attested in the last 500 years and other branches in the last 150.

The Laceyiam split from PCT happened earlier than for all other branches, as all other branches underwent a late-PCT reworking of the pitch accent system, adding another tonal distinction (but in most cases allophonic) and losing the phoneme *ə; PCT as reconstructable from all languages, including Laceyiam, has only a two-tone pitch accent system, written as *V₁ (low-mid tone) and *V₂ (high tone).
No Cis-Tahianshima language kept this tone system until today, but most of them reflects the different accents with different vowel qualities. Laceyiam is helpful in their reconstruction, despite having completely lost phonemic accent, as the different PCT pitches are almost always continued by different vowel qualities - except for high vowels. For example, for the vowel quality [a], PCT had six phonemes: *a₁, *a₂, *a (unstressed), and their long counterparts *ā₁, *ā₂, *ā. They are reflected (except when modified by later umlauts) as:
*a₁, *a > a
*a₂ > ai
*ā₁ > au
*ā₂, *ā > ā

As mentioned before, Laceyiam was mostly innovative in its vowels. The most notable one is perhaps the merger of the various [o] phonemes into different ones, including all unstressed *o into a. Regressive umlaut (in most cases from lost *j or *w) is another important one. PCT words also often ended in unstressed schwas, which were regularly canceled in Laceyiam, thereby leading to a large number of consonant-final words (which were later simplified once again). The syncope of unstressed schwas also created most of Laceyiam’s clusters.

As for consonants, Laceyiam is the only language that has all four kinds of stops (unvoiced plain, unvoiced aspirate, voiced plain and voiced aspirate) for four of the five PCT points of articulation; the labiovelars merged into different phonemes, often according to nearby vowels. It gained, however, a fifth PoA, the retroflex one, mostly from assimilation of a following *r by dental consonants.
Laceyiam also uniquely reflects the PCT phoneme *ħ, whose true realization is unknown (most probably [ħ], [ʜ] or [ʕ]), in the vast majority of cases as l /ɴ̆/, Laceyiam’s peculiar nasal uvular flap. The extremely common occurrence in Laceyiam of this phone is explained by its origin: it reflects almost without exceptions four PCT phonemes: *ħ, *l, *ŋ, and *ŋʷ, as well as other sources like *r word-initially and in dissimilation, or changes like *kr *kʰr > kl. The common cluster /c͡ɕʰɴ̆/ <chl>, as in the word Chlegdarim, arose both from *cr, *cʰr and also from various simplifications after schwa syncope.

The three phonemes *x, *ɣ, and *h often occurred in PCT codas; they were mostly deleted in Laceyiam, but left their trace in the breathy-voiced phonation of the preceding vowel.

[top]The westward migration and Proto-Mǎng Tì


On their way west up to their later homeland in southern Isungatsuaq (Kaissmūhai), the Chlegdarims made contact with the speakers of Proto-Mǎng Tì, inhabitants of present-day Mǎng Tì pọk, a country on the eastern third of Tahianshima.
Proto-Mǎng Tì helped shape Laceyiam in a peculiar and distinct way from all other Cis-Tahianshima languages; lots of words entered the language in this period, and many of them also replaced inherited PCT roots. This is particularly noticeable as many of these loans are found even in daily vocabulary: weather conditions like duṃda (fog), basic words like daya (thing), geographical features like memai (river delta), and even body parts like piāh (elbow).

Phonologically, the Proto-Mǎng Tì (PMNg) reconstructions and Laceyiam have nearly 1:1 matches, but the most interesting thing is that those loans help in datation of PCT to Laceyiam sound changes. For example [ɣ] was clearly not a phoneme of Laceyiam anymore, as PMNg *ɣ is reflected as /g/ in Laceyiam (while PCT *ɣ is /ɦ/ word-initially and is only reflected as /g/ intervocalically (with breathy-voiced phonation on the preceding vowel). On the other hand, [o] was still distinguished in Laceyiam, as PMNg *o shows the same development of PCT *o₂/*o.
Proto-Mǎng Tì loans caused the introduction of a new phoneme - the glottal stop - and added many occurrences of voiced aspirated stops (reflecting implosive PMNg stops) and retroflex consonants (from Cr clusters).

[top]Grammatical developments


Proto-Cis-Tahianshima had a mostly agglutinative morphology but was somewhat analytic, relying on participial constructions followed by verbs or just auxiliary verbs in order to express some aspects and even tenses like the future.

Laceyiam, in most cases, just fused together most of the inherited morphemes, creating most of the synthetic tenses (e.g. the future tense from the infinitive plus *i₁š- (to take), or most of the other tenses from the original verbal endings attached to the various participles).
Ablaut became only a relic in verbs (with some verbs keeping an irregular ablauted past stem, e.g. ‘to love’, kir-, kair-), but, unlike the other Cis-Tahianshima languages, Laceyiam added nouns into the ablaut declension. Anyway, these were mostly by analogy with other, more common forms (particularly lila (person), the most common ablauting noun and one of the most regular); the combination of the *o > a merger, vowel syncope, the increasing use of the simpler suffixing inflections, and, most importantly, the loss of phonemic and movable stress, led to the loss of ablaut as a productive inflectional and derivational system.

Proto-Mǎng Tì had two main influences on Laceyiam grammar. The first is the addition of the abessive and substitutive cases - the most regular ones in Laceyiam - by attaching the PMNg postpositions *tyak “without” and *myaŋ “instead of” to the accusative case forms.
The second, and by far most important one, is the origin of the exterior and interior verb forms. This feature wasn’t borrowed directly, but made from inherited PCT elements as a kind of “calque” of some PMNg structures. This is notable for example in the sentence “I speak X-language”, which uses (somewhat arbitrarily) the interior-only verb hėnn- with instrumental case: Laceyiameṣu hėnnāmiss, where the -āmiss ending comes from an earlier form of the exterior ending -āme with an added *-nəs (from PCT *nō₁ns, a reflexive pronoun). Compare the same sentence in modern Mǎng Tì: tũk ngọu dzéng Mǎng Tì dzí kà, roughly glossed as “I - [my]self - speak - Mǎng Tì - word - with” (Mǎng Tì does not have a true exterior/interior distinction, though; Laceyiam developed these categories and most of their uses further by itself).
For comparison, in modern  Classical Qutrussan, another Cis-Tahianshima language, that sentence would be Taruveb-kon konš, glossable in broken English as “Tarueb language [I] speak” (Tarueb kon and Laceyiam hėnna, both meaning “language” are cognates, from PCT *gō₁nəno - the root *gō₁nən has kept the meaning “to speak” in all major Cis-Tahianshima languages).

[top]The arrival on Isungatsuaq


Despite probable intermixing and this extensive contact with the Mǎng Tìs, the Chlegdarims didn’t remain long on or near Tahianshima island and soon moved westwards into the large archipelago in the southern part of the Sea of Tahianshima (Tāhiańśīmi dumit); this area (roughly cut in half by the Equator) takes about three quarters of the sea between Tahianshima and the continent of Isungatsuaq (to the extent that, while geologically this archipelago already lies on the Oceanic plate, nowadays it is geographically often considered an extension of Isungatsuaq).
The Chlegdarims’ last stop before the continent was most possibly Luldakimū island on the 4th parallel south, the southwesternmost main island and largest of the archipelago, and also the nearest to the continent. From there, they probably reached the islands on the continental ridge off today’s Lelīmëyaia before settling on the Sāńjāyaṇa peninsula - the southernmost tip of Isungatsuaq - and the cay chain south of it.

The Chlegdarims quickly spread across southern Lelīmëyaia, making contact with a new habitat, mostly made of rainforests and swamps (even more than on Tahianshima) and other civilizations: first of all the so-called Nanaklāri peoples, whose languages have never been directly attested. Their name derives from Nanaklāra, a borough in Kaylamārśikha (Laltīmāhia's capital city and the largest city on the planet) whose name is a toponym linked to a "Nanaklāri" origin. Old Hjøtëchilai isn't usually set apart from Nanaklāri languages, but unlike "proper Nanaklāri" it is attested in sparse inscriptions and texts both in Laceyiam and Dzams-bltyod; it was however spoken further west (in present-day Hjøtëchilak) but was another major source language for many loans into Laceyiam, including a huge number of proper personal names.
The first direct attestation of the Chlegdarims’ presence is found in the same passage that defines their language as “Laceyiam”: a part of a brief geographical and ethnical description - possibly aimed at travelling merchants - of the then-known lands to the ancient civilization of today’s eastern Lelīmëyaia. This passage, in the original  Unknown [BLM], reads:
Cātaṉūku poṭṭaṉuyiṯūkuvau appoku laccaku itākkala. Kāṉuyam tūttuku Cuḷeketazhi yaccoṯe appokuku tāṯom, tā ūppunazhai ivaikkāṉuyo laccaiyam.
In the forested low coastal areas are the people of the west. Their name is Cuḷeketazhi in the languages of these same people, that is called by us Laccaiyam.

From this passage we can see the Chlegdarims already had their name - most probably pronounced [c͡ɕɴ̆egdaɽim], as reflected by the Ancient Lelīmëyayi approximation [c͡çuɭegedaɻi]; The word Laceyiam is derived by the same compound we find in this text, lacca-iyam, “voice of the sunset”, where “sunset” means “west” - the endonym at that time was most probably the other name still widely used today, Chlegdarimė hėnna - meaning simply “language of the Chlegdarims”.

Present-day Lelīmëyaia is thus the attested homeland of the whole Chlegdarim civilization; here, their culture, through intermixing with Nanaklāris and Ancient Lelīmëyayis a bit further north, was shaped by the “rainforest” and “swamp” elements that characterize them, and in the Laceyiam language there are obvious traces of this.
Most obviously, lots of words entered the Chlegdarims’ daily life, most prominently for the need of describing the nature they lived in, as many features were unknown in the predominantly sea-based environment of their ancestral homelands. Most words for equatorial plants, animals, and geographical features have either (hypothesized) Nanaklāri or Ancient Lelīmëyayi origin (e.g. jaja “igarapé”, māra “mango”, kāmbava “water lily”) with only few of them of Proto-Mǎng Tì origin (e.g. kami “rose”, dalakām “bamboo”) and only those most related to coastal areas with Proto-Cis-Tahianshima origins (e.g. tėti “island”). Lelīmëyaia itself is a hybrid - lelīm, the Laceyiam word for "swamp", is a borrowing from Ancient Lelīmëyayi; -yaia has been linked to a Nanaklāri origin, being a common ending for toponyms in Lelīmëyaia (and later, by analogy, in colonies founded by people from Lelīmëyaia).

Also of Nanaklāri/Ancient Lelīmëyayi origin are many words related to activities and products (e.g. mānska “glass”) and, most importantly, cultural (e.g. buldhāk, the typical Chlegdarim burial and the relative ceremony; talengim, ritual tattoo) and religious terms, most of which have probable Nanaklāri origins. In fact, the Lelīmëyayi society of the First Era was extremely multicultural, and Nanaklāri languages in the west and Ancient Lelīmëyayi in the east (the latter being the only written language) were the lingua francas; Laceyiam became more important and ultimately drove the others to extinction as Lėliðaṇīṭa, the Great Prophet of the Yūnialtia, was a Chlegdarim and her language began to be considered holier; the amount of Nanaklāri instead of Ancient Lelīmëyayi words in Yūnialtei terminology points to her native village, and the areas of her first teachings, being located west of the Kaicedhīma mountains.

Pre-classical Laceyiam stops in the late First Era, around the lifetime of Lėliðaṇīṭa, with Nanaklāri loans being already established, but without substantial Ancient Lelīmëyayi influence; in the earliest Laceyiam texts (Archaic Laceyiam) we can for example already find the root numbers of Nanaklāri origins (tulūʔa “six” and jaibha “fifteen”) but the number system itself is still hexadecimal. Anyway, except for the hexadecimal numeral system, Laceyiam had grammatically already reached its classical and present state.

[top]The Classical Age and later developments


Classical Age is a vague term in Chlegdarim history, but it embraces the period between the last century of the First Era and the first third of the Second Era. There are four important historical milestones:
  1. Laceyiam, under Ancient Lelīmëyayi influence, begins to be a written language;
  2. The Chlegdarim Inquisition (Høgyṃhjøðaṃlīnë), supreme body of the Yūnialtia, is founded;
  3. The Conquests begin: driven by religious zeal and economical needs, the Chlegdarims begin to conquer neighboring civilizations;
  4. In the late Classical Age, regional spoken varieties begin to evolve as new vernaculars.


Laceyiam, during the Classical Age, begins to become exactly how it is today. Ancient Lelīmëyayi loans begin to enter the language en masse, including the new decimal numeral system (which is however formed by a mix of inherited hexadecimal roots and decimal Ancient Lelīmëyayi and Nanaklāri ones); Ancient Lelīmëyayi roots remain still today a huge source of learned vocabulary.

Classical Age explorations and conquests enriched Laceyiam with knowledge of new habitats, new languages, and related words. Attested languages such as Dzams-bltyod, Ancient Varṣāthi and Ancient Vgorrādńi provided words related to administration, astronomy, politics, warfare, and architecture; unattested languages from the Southwest were also a rich source of words on nature and geography.

In the late Classical Age Laceyiam begins to be a standardized language, in the form that has been Yūnialtei peoples of Chlegdarim culture’s lingua franca ever since, also because of the gradual development of newer vernaculars in the regions of most ancient Chlegdarim hold. Since then the language has mostly only gained new vocabulary - both for geographical and scientific discoveries -, with only a few grammatical “innovations” in certain areas (e.g. the Northern use of infinitive + “to want” instead of the desiderative mood) being “contaminations” by vernaculars or adstrata.



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