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LotM - Jun 18: Formanian
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Summer is arriving, and our language of the month for June is total pleb's fascinating Formanian! Formanian is a Hungarian-inspired highly agglutinative a priori language with fluid-S alignment and a lovely conscript. Read on to learn all about it!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 1 Jun 2018, 06:13.

[comments] [history] Menu 1. Phonology 2. Orthography 3. Morphology 4. Morphosyntax 5. More on Formanian 6. A Note on Formanian Summer is arriving, and our language of the month for June is total pleb's fascinating  Formanian! Formanian is a Hungarian-inspired highly agglutinative a priori language with fluid-S alignment and a lovely conscript. Read on to learn all about it!


The phonology of Formanian has a very Hungarian feel, with plenty of palatal consonants and front rounded vowels. There are five basic places of articulation, labial, alveolar, post-alveolar, palatal, and velar. Stops, both voiced and voiceless, and nasals occur at the labial, alveolar, palatal, and velar POAs, although the velar nasal is just an allophone of /n/ before a velar obstruent. The post-alveolar POA doesn't have plain stops, but instead affricates /t͡ʃ d͡ʒ/. There are pairs of voiced and voiceless alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives, plus /x/ which becomes [ç] before a front unrounded vowel. Additionally, there are two labiodental fricatives /f v/ and a glottal fricative /h/. Finally, the liquids /l ʎ r/ and the approximant /j/ round out the inventory. /r/ becomes a tap between vowels and a devoiced trill word-finally.

The vowel system of Formanian is mostly symmetric, with the basic vowel qualities /i y u ø æ/ appearing long or short. The remaining vowels, /ɛ e: ɔ o: ä ɑ:/, vary in quality based on length. As you might guess from the rich array of front rounded vowels, Formanian has vowel harmony. Vowel harmony affects rounded and low vowels, but /i e/ and their long forms are neutral and neither cause nor are affected by vowel harmony.


In addition to the Latin transliteration, Formanian has a lovely alphabetic conscript. The glyph forms have a resemblance to Latin or Armenian, and most of the phonemes have unique glyphs. The exceptions are the palatals, which are written as digraphs with y, and the front rounded vowels, which are written with an acute accent as in ú.


Formanian nouns are intriguingly complex, with 17 different cases, animacy, and number all being marked on the noun. Actually, only the animate nouns mark for plural. Many of the 17 cases are locative, but the basic nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases are also present, marking basic grammatical relations. There are two adverbial cases, translative and essive, and two separate cases for instrumental and comitative. Rounding out the list are the causal and vocative cases.

The category of animacy in Formanian is entirely semantic, but the assignment of nouns into the two classes of animate and inanimate has some subtle rules. Animals and humans, as a rule, are animate, and most entirely inanimate nouns, as well as mass nouns, are inanimate. However, some plants, especially those that move on their own or through the wind, are classified as animate, as are a few other nouns indicating parts of the mind or soul or certain celestial objects.

In addition to their inflectional morphology, Formanian nouns can also display a dizzying array of derivational suffices, forming words like häzamartyośgyevänlöbüś "the most nightmarish" from the simple root gyev "mind, soul".


Although the basic grammatical cases of Formanian are called nominative and accusative, Formanian is not a straightforward nominative-accusative language. Instead, it is a fluid-S language, meaning that the subject of an intransitive verb may be inflected like either the agent or the patient of a transitive verb, depending on semantic factors. In a normal transitive sentence, the agent takes the nominative case and the patient takes the accusative case. In an intransitive sentence with a volitional meaning, such as (Val) tolaro "I slid", the subject takes the nominative. However, if an intransitive sentence has an unintentional or nonvolitional meaning, the subject takes the accusative, as in Vald tolaro "I slipped".

Overall, word order is mixed, with some head-final and some head-initial construction. The basic word order is topic-comment, and that wraps up our tour of Formanian morphosyntax!

[top]More on Formanian

If you want more, check out Formanian's articles, LexiBuild sets, grammar tables, and translations!

[top]A Note on Formanian

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Formanian 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!
Comments (1)
[link] [quote] 08-Jun-18 23:29
CWS Conlanger
Sounds like a lovely Conlang. Congratulations on LANGUAGE OF THE MONTH!
Edit history
on 01/06/18 06:13-5protondonorfix translations link
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