Proto-Arcesian was the proto-language of all the Arcesian languages, hypothesized to have been spoken around the southern half of greater Arces. Although a clear division existed early on between the dialects of the various Arcesian peoples, namely the River, Plains, and Coastal dialects, the differences between these were minor for the most part. However, the River and Plains dialects were much closer to each other than the Coastal dialect, and are usually simply called the River-Plains dialect. The daughter languages of the River dialect would dominate most of Arces and the surrounding regions later on. Those of the Coastal and Plains dialects had less success, particularly that of the Coastal dialect, which has only one surviving descendant, Oceoese.
Proto-Arcesian was a somewhat inflected language, with some isolating elements. Interestingly, Proto-Arcesian has borrowed extensively from a pre-Arcesian substratum, particularly when it comes to vocabulary and some grammatical features. This has led some linguists to suggest that Proto-Arcesian was possibly a creole, although this is disputed.
Characters in bold in the following tables note the transcription used.
Proto-Arcesian had a basic vowel inventory of 5 vowels. These differed somewhat between the River-Plains dialect, and the Coastal dialect. Additionally, the consonant /ɾ/ could also occur as a vowel in a number of words (which are generally believed to have been remnants of the previous culture).
|High||i i||u u|
|Mid||e e||o o|
|High||i i||u u|
|Mid||ɛ e||ɔ o|
The Consonants listed below are for the River-Plains dialect.
|Plosive||pʰ p p~b b pʲ pj||tʰ t t~d d tʲ tj||kʰ k k~g g kʲ kj||q q qʲ qj|
|Fricative||ɸ f||s s||ʃ sh||ɕ z||x kh||h h|
|Affricates||tɕʰ c tɕ j|
|Nasal||m m mʲ mj||n n nʲ nj|
|Approximant||w w||ɾ r||j y||ɰ gh|
Differences in the Coastal dialect’s consonants include:
- /l/ is realized as /ɬ/
- Palatalized nasals have merged with non-palatalized nasals
- Conversely, /ɾ ɬ j/ are palatalized before front vowels /ɛ i/
- /w/ has turned into /u/ in word initial and word final positions
Proto-Arcesian could form clusters in the coda of a syllable in the pattern /w j ɰ/ + /stop, fricative, or nasal/.
Proto-Arcesian’s syllable structure was (C)(ɾ, w)V(C). Although all consonants could appear at the onset, palatalized consonants and affricates could not.
Stress was fixed on the second-to-last syllable.
Proto-Arcesian nouns come from two sources. About 25% of Proto-Arcesian nouns, the majority of which deal with nature and locations, originated from a Pre-Arcesian substratum, of which little trace remains (although some linguists have suggested connections with languages in Central and Eastern Borea). The other 75% are actual Proto-Arcesian nouns. Of these, about a half to two thirds are derived from verbs.
Derivation from VerbsEdit
A large portion of Arcesian nouns are derived from verbs. A number of affixes could be added to a verb, turning it into a noun. The affixes are:
- Agent: *-es
- Patient: *-an
- Object: *-yah
- Natural Tool/Instrument: *-er
- Place: *-iz
- Result: *-et
- Manmade Tool/Instrument: *-al
- Pattern: *-ta
For instance, if we take the verb *kjum, "to see", we get the following nouns:
- *kjumes, seer
- *kjuman, view [of something]
- *kjumyah, -----
- *kjumer, pupil [of an eye]
- *kjumiz, outpost
- *kjumet, visual memory
- *kjumta, picture
Proto-Arcesian distinguishes pronouns for number, gender/animacy, and, in the case of first person plural pronouns, exclusivity and inclusivity. Below are tables for Proto-Arcesian pronouns:
|SINGULAR||First Person||Second Person||Third Person|
|PLURAL||First Person Exclusive||First Person Inclusive||Second Person||Third Person|
Proto-Arcesian notably had a large number of cases. These were all indicated by suffixes to the noun. The cases are:
- Nominative (indicating subject): Not indicated
- Accusative (indicating direct object): *-way
- Dative (indicating indirect object): *-ush
- Genitive (indicating possession): *-os
- Instrumental (indicating usage as an instrument): *-at
- Ablative (indicating movement away a location): *-yim
- Allative (indicating movement towards a location): *-em
- Locative (indicating a (static) location): *-is
- Privative (without something): *-lo
- Ornative (with something): *-ad
For instance, if we take the noun *menes, meaning "sea", we can develop the following nouns:
- Nominative: *menes
- Accusative: *menesway
- Dative: *menesush
- Genetive: *menesos
- Instrumental: *menesat
- Ablative: *menesyim
- Allative: *menesem
- Locative: *menesis
- Privative: *meneslo
- Ornative: *menesad
Articles and DemonstrativesEdit
Articles and Demonstratives in Proto-Arcesian also encode gender and number. There is one type of article, indicating the definite, and two types of demonstratives, indicating the proximal and distal. Articles and demonstratives were placed before the noun.
Many Proto-Arcesian verbs altered through dynamic and static variations through ablaut of the final vowel of the verb in question. The table belows demonstrates this:
For instance, the verb *mawu means "to mount" while *mawo means "to ride".
The vowel *a did not alter in this system. It is hypothesized that Pre-Proto-Arcesian might have had two open vowels, a front and a back open vowel, that eventually merged. Another hypothesis asserts that *a altered with *r but this is also difficult to prove. Thus, verbs that ended with *a often had two meanings. For instance, *fuca meant "to think" as well as "to plan".
Proto-Arcesian verbs that did not follow this pattern were most likely leftovers from the Pre-Arcesian substratum.
Subject and objectEdit
Tense and AspectEdit
Proto-Arcesian distinguished between two tenses, past and the default nonpast. Past tense was indicated by -khan.
There were several more suffixes for aspect in Proto-Arcesian. These were:
- Progressive: -su
- Perfective: -ne
- Incohative: -shak
- Repetitive: -qr
- Conditional: -cum
- Continuous: -gram