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LotM - Aug 20: Khalik
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August is here (kind of, whoops), and with the final days of spring comes litrobotix's fascinating Khalik! Read on to learn all about this incredibly documented Turkic a posteriori and what sets it apart from its kin!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 26 Oct 2020, 21:16.

[comments] Menu 1. Phonology and orthography 2. Grammar 3. Background and dialects 4. More on Khalik 5. A Note on Khalik For our eighth Language of the Month of 2020 we have  Khalik by @litrobotix, an a posteriori Turkic language closely related to Kazakh, but with its fair share of distinct features that set it apart from its other Central Asian brethren.

[top]Phonology and orthography

The vowel system of Khalik is mostly symmetric, with most vowels (save for /a/, exclusive to loanwords) coming in front/back pairs. There are no additional distinctions such as length. Khalik's mid vowels are true mid /e̞/, /ø̞/, and /o̞/. All vowels have nasalised allophones which occur before nasal stops regardless of their position within the syllable. As you can no doubt infer from its front/back pairs and linguistic relations, Khalik has vowel harmony, with there being no neutral vowels in this vowel harmony system.

Phonemically speaking, Khalik's consonant inventory is not too daunting, and is fairly typical of the Turkic family. That's not to say it's nondescript though, as one aspect in particular which distinguishes Khalik's consonant inventory from those of its closest relatives, though, is the presence of an aspiration distinction rather than a voicing distinction for oral stops, e.g. /t/ vs /tʰ/ as opposed to /d/ vs /t/. Adding to the curiousness of these stops are the plain stops' allophones [b̥], [d̥], and [g̥], present in clusters with nasal and liquid consonants.

Native Khalik words have a maximum syllable structure of (C)V(S)(C), with S standing for sonorants, although loan words can exhibit more complicated structures. Stress is generally word-initial, although there are a wealth of nuances to this. For example certain suffixes, mainly derivational in nature, cannot take stress, and loanwords typically retain their original stress.

In addition to a Latin transliteration, Khalik is written using a variation of the Cyrillic alphabet, consisting of all letters used in Russian plus additional characters to represent phonemes not present in Russian.


Khalik featured a very well-documented grammar, so let's dive into some of it. Typical of the Turkic language family, Khalik is an agglutinative, primarily head-final language with nominative-accusative alignment, with front-back vowel harmony present. It is almost exclusively suffixing. Khalik makes a distinction between nouns and verbs, which are highly inflected, and adjectives, which are very minimally inflected.

Khalik nouns decline for number (singular and plural) and case, but not for gender, definiteness, or animacy. Besides the nominative and accusative cases, there is also the genitive (possessors, can also be used in places where English would use adjectives), the dative (indirect object, general direction towards), the locative (locations), and the ablative (origins, general direction from). While there are no particular declension classes, case suffixes can take on a wide variety of allomorphs depending on vowel harmony, vowel rounding, or the voicing of the last consonant. For example, genitive singular -DIñ can assume any of the forms -ң, -тиң, -тың, -диң, -дың. One innovation not present in other Turkic languages is the existence of shortened forms of the case suffixes for vowel-final words. Khalik nouns can also take a variety of possessive suffixes, which occur after case endings.

The main inflectional categories of the verb are tense (past, present, future), number (singular/plural), and person (first, second, third), but a smorgasbord of other moods and aspects are grammaticalised as well, expressed through a range of suffixes of course. On top of that are additional suffixes marking polarity (positive/negative) and interrogatives. Verb inflection is quite regular and straightforward, and verbs are not organised into different conjugations, although as with nouns the exact forms a suffix can take are conditioned by phonological context. There is a wide range of participles, used in a plethora of constructions. In the present tense, Khalik has a zero copula construction, while in the past and future tenses the word булу "to become" is used. There is however a negative copula form in the present tense, that being түгөл.

Khalik is an almost exclusively head-final and left-branching language, with a basic word order of SOV, adjectives preceding the nouns they modify, and postpositions rather than prepositions. Pronominal subjects are not typically dropped.

Relative clauses are conveyed through the use of participles, and since participles are treated as adjectives in Khalik, relative clauses precede the nouns they modify.

Болар һин харлыған чичиклер.
bo-lar hin xarlı-ğan çiçik-ler
this-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
want-PSTPast (tense)
action occurred before moment of speech
adjectival form of a verb
flower-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few

These are the flowers that you wanted.

Һиңа мин һин иһтыяж булусы китапларды кредит бирерим.
hiña min hin ihtıyaj bul-usı kitap-lar-dı kredit bir-er-im
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
.DATDative (case)
indirect object; recipient, beneficiary, location
1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I
2SSecond person singular (person)
addressee (you)
necessity become-PRESPresent tense (tense)
adjectival form of a verb
book-PLPlural (number)
more than one/few
-ACCAccusative (case)
TRANS direct object; patient
loan give-FUTFuture (tense)
action occurring after the moment of speech
-1SFirst person singular (person)
speaker, signer, etc.; I

I shall lend you the books that you need.

[top]Background and dialects

Khalik is an a posteriori language in the Turkic family, specifically the Kipchak branch. The primary source of vocab is Proto-Turkic, with a significant corpus of loanwords from Arabic, Persian, and Russian, as well as other languages across the Eurasian steppes. Information about each word's etymology can be found in the language's CWS dictionary. Geographically, Khalik speakers live mainly in the East Kazakhstan Region, with minorities in the Pavlodar Region also. The language is primarily divided into two dialects: East Khalik (the predominant dialect) and North Khalik, each borrowing more heavily from different source languages.

[top]More on Khalik

That wraps up our tour of Khalik! There's loads more to read, so check out the LexiBuild sets, grammar tables, articles, phrasebook and translations!

[top]A Note on Khalik

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Khalik that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Feel free to shoot me (@total pleb) 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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