LotM - May 18: Uyendur
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In this merry month of May, we've chosen clawgrip's astounding Uyendur as our official CWS spring fling!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep on 3 May 2018, 06:39.
[comments] uydlotm may 18lotm Uyendur is here as well! Uyendur is a Wibbayuric language with a complex fusional morphology and a gorgeous script. Read all about CWS's new spring fling!
Uyendur has a striking and unusual phonology, combining a compact and symmetric consonant inventory with a large vowel inventory. The stop sounds of Uyendur appear at 3 places of articulation, labial, alveolar, and velar. In addition to modal voiced /b d g/ and tenuis plosives /p t k/, there is a slack voiced series, /b̥ d̥ g̥/, which fully contrast with both of the other plosive series. Each place also has a nasal, /m n ŋ/. There are two liquids, /l r/, and two glides /j w/. Rounding out the inventory is a solitary uvular fricative, /χ/. The phonotactics of Uyendur allows stops, either oral or nasal, to end a syllable, which can result in two stops coming into contact. There is a complex set of rules that govern the outcome, which are summarized in this article as a table.
The vowels of Uyendur comprise 3 separate heights combined with 3 levels of backness. The front vowels are /i e ɛ/, the central vowels /ɨ ə a/, and the back vowels /u o ɔ/. Added to this neat symmetrical system is the wildcard [æ], which is formed from coalescence of /aχ/, and spelled accordingly.
The Latin transliteration uses <ă ĭ ĕ ŏ> to denote /ɛ ɨ ə ɔ/. An under- or over-dot denotes the voiceless lenis stops, and the consonants /ŋ j χ/ are denoted <ng y x>. Other than those exceptions, all Latin transliterations follow the IPA.
Finally, we would be remiss without mentioning its detailed system of prosody. To summarize, there is a single high tone accent per phrase, which typically causes preceding syllables to have low tone and gives subsequent syllables falling tone.
The most beautiful aspect of Uyendur, in this author's humble estimation, is its gorgeous script—or, one should say, scripts—as Uyendur is lucky enough to have not just one but three alphabets, each more fabulous than the last. They are each alphabets written left to right. The classical Uyendur script is a printed form, where each character stands separately from the others. The official script is based on the classical script and used to obfuscate government documents and prevent forgeries. The most detailed and beautiful of these scripts, however, is the cursive script, which is also the most common. It is based on the classical script, but markedly different due to the many ligatures.
Most of the ligatures in cursive Uyendur are formed via a horizontal line connecting two adjacent characters within a word or phrase—native Uyendur spacing doesn't exactly match the spelling of its romanization. However there are several exceptions to this simple guideline. For example, several letters can form subscripts when following certain other letters. While most letters lack positional variants, k m take different forms at the beginning or end of a word. A small handful of letters don't form ligatures with preceding or following letters, and g connects to no letter at all. Some letters have long final ascenders that connect to certain letters following them, resulting in fluid arches as in nandut <Nandut>.
Uyendur is a fusional language, descended from the agglutinative Proto-Wibbayuric-Ngoraic language. One of the most fascinating features of its diachronic morphology is the way that Proto-Wibbayuric-Ngoraic modal suffixes have fused with modal particles to form a complex set of moods in Uyendur. There are three basic mood stems, realis, transitional, and irrealis, which combine with a variety of suffixed particles which take a different meaning for each base mood. For instance, the modal particle tug used with the realis stem indicates the potential mood, whereas used with the transitional stem it indicates hortative. Using transitional rather than realis, or irrealis rather than transitional, can be used to indicate politeness. Other than mood, verbs also mark tense (past/nonpast), aspect (progressive/perfect/habitual), and person/number of the subject. These markers can fuse in a variety of ways, producing an unpredictable and complex fusional system.
Another fun piece of Uyendur morphology is its noun declension system. There are five different noun declension classes. Consonant-stem nouns can only be masculine, but all other declension classes can be either masculine or feminine. Each noun can take a variety of suffixes, depending on the noun class, which express a fused combination of number (singular or plural), definiteness, gender, and case. The four cases of Uyendur are nominative, accusative, genitive, and a combined locative/dative case. Some of the suffixes, especially long ones such as -umuntu (class III masculine singular locative/dative definite), have optional shortened forms for colloquial speech, e.g. -ĭntu. Adjectives don't mark definiteness, but do agree with the number, gender, and animacy of the head noun, which they follow.
There is so much more to talk about in the world of Uyendur morphology, but alas our tour is over!
[top]More on Uyendur
If you want more (we know you do!), check out its many, many articles, LexiBuild sets, grammar tables, and translations!
[top]A Note on Uyendur
Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Uyendur 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! Merry May! Spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer, and the loveliest lang of the month, clawgrip's