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Proto-Sayetic (from PS Sayiih [sɑ.ˈɥiːɣ] ([sɤu.iːħ] in the Coastal dialect) "language" from root s-y-h "tongue") was a language spoken by the Jabeq of the Niamberia. The language is notable for it's transitive alignment system and it's triliteral root system.

Proto-Sayetic

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Family

Niamberic

Spoken in

Niamberia, Arboria, Southern Borea

Number of Speakers

30,000 +

Status

Alive

PS itself was split into many dialects which eventually evolved into the Eastern (Centered around the Argakh river delta and it's colonies overseas.) and Western (Centered around the lower Argakh river.) Sayetic languages.

ClassificationEdit

Proto-Sayetic is a member of the Niamberic language family though this classification is mostly one of geographic proximity than due to distiguishing features and genetic relation. The language itself is the precursor to all modern Sayetic languages which are spoken throughout the Niamberia and beyond.

PhonologyEdit

SoundsEdit

Proto-Sayetic is mainly known for the wealth of consonant sounds and the distinction made between voiceless consonants and prenasalised voiced consonants.

VowelsEdit

Proto-Sayetic distinguishes four vowels which can either be short or long it has been noted that long vowels had a noticeable raise in height from their short vowel counterparts.

Front Short Front Long Back Short Back Long
High /iː/ ï /uː/ ü
Mid-High /ɪ/ i /ʊ/ u
Mid-Low /eː/ ë /ʌː/ ä
Low /ɛ/ e /ɑ/ a






DiphthongsEdit

Proto-Sayetic only had two sets of diphthongs, those ending in -w and ones ending in -ɥ which are written:

<ei ai ui eu au iu> and correspond to /ɛɥ ɑɥ ʊɥ ɛw ɑw iw/ respectively.

ConsonantsEdit

Proto-Sayetic's consonant system is noted for it's distinction between prenasalised voiced consonants and plain voiceless consonants as well as for it's lack of velar plosives using instead the uvular instead.

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal /m/ m /n/ n /ɲ/ ny /ŋ/ ng
Plosive1 /p/ p /ⁿb/ b /t/ t /ⁿd/ d /c/ ky /ⁿɟ/ gy /q/ k /ⁿɢ/ g /ʔ/ q 2
Affricate3 /ts/ tz /ⁿdz/ dz /tɕ/ c /ⁿdʑ/ j
Fricatives /s/ s /ⁿz/ z /ɕ/ sy /ⁿʑ/ zy /x/ kh /ⁿɣ/ gh /ⁿɦ/4 h
Trills /r/ r
Glides /w/ w /ɥ/5 y


  1. Voiced plosives become nasals intervocallically (e.g. habad /ⁿɦɑⁿbɑⁿd/ > [ə̃ħɤ̃mːɤ̃d]) in the Coastal dialect, also transferring nasality to preceeding vowel. In the Inland dialect instead a nasal consonant equal in point of articulation to the plosive is inserted before, final plosives become fricatives.
  2. Drops word initially and becomes [q] intervocallically.
  3. Simplifies to fricative initially. Voiced affricates lose nasalisation.
  4. Becomes [ħ] in the Coastal dialect, [ɣ] inland.
  5. Becomes [j] in /Cɥ/ clusters and [u] intervocallically ([i] in the Inland dialect), assimilates with preceeding /ɪ iː ʊ uː/ > [iː uː] depending on dialect.

PhonotacticsEdit

Syllable Structure The syllable structure in PS was most likely (C)V(V)(C) where C equals any consonant and V any vowel. In addition to the vowels /r/ & /w/ are also allowed as coda's in syllables. Two vowels that do not form a diphthong when encountered next to each other will have an unmarked (orthographically) glottal stop inserted. The glottal stop itself, while allowed, is rare as a syllable onset.

Allowed ClustersEdit

Proto-Sayetic allowed any combination of it's consonants in hiatus except for consonants preceeding or proceeding a glottal stop or fricative in which an epenthetic vowel /ɨ/ was inserted.

Stress & ProsodyEdit

In words of two syllables primary stress falls on the final syllable while in words of three or more primary stress is on the penultimate with secondary stress falling on the final syllable. Inland Sayetic was said to have a pitch accent system on top of it's stress which was determined by syllable count as well with two syllable words having HL pattern and three or more having HLL and so on where H stands for high pitch and L for low.

GrammarEdit

Morphosyntactic AlignmentEdit

It is known, through descendants, that Proto-Sayetic was most likely a language with transitive alignment. That is it differentiates between transivity in nouns but not subject-object relationship. This has promoted word order as the greatest determiner of who the subject and object are in a sentence.

MorphologyEdit

VerbsEdit

Dynamic vs. StaticEdit

NounsEdit

Nouns in Proto-Sayetic were predominantly agglutinating taking markers for gender, case, number and honorific. Gender All Sayetic nouns have inherent masculinity to form the feminine form of nouns requires appending the prefix <ä-> to the root deleting the first vowel (normally <a>) and changing the second vowel to thus äjbuq /ʌːⁿd͡ʑⁿbʊʔ/ "woman" from J-B-Q (jabaq /ⁿd͡ʑɑⁿbɑʔ/) "man, human".

Forming PluralsEdit

Plurals are formed by making the last vowel of the root <e> thus jabeq "men, humans, people" from the above example. Plurals can also be formed, usually for borrowed words, by appending the suffix <agy> to the end.

Transitive vs. Intrasitive CaseEdit

The transitive case is used for the arguments of a transitive verb whilst the intransitive is used for the argument of an intransitive verb all nouns of a transitive verb, except when denoting possession, make use of this case and it is the dictionary form of all nouns.

The intrasitive case is formed by appending the suffix <ür>.

The difference's can be shown in the following examples:

Transitive:

Aaktur Galep abkat.

Cow-OBJ-TRNS Galep-SUBJ-TRNS DYN-eat-TRNS

Galep ate cow (beef).

Intransitive:

Galepür abekt.

Galep-SUBJ-INTR DYN-eat-INTR

Galep ate.

PossessionEdit

Possession is handled by the genitive case marker <at> which is appended as a suffix on to the end of a noun. The genitive case is also used to show relation to an object such as "family of X".

Possessed/Secondary ObjectEdit

The Dative case is handled by the case marker <um> and denotes an object possessed by the genitive object as well as a secondary subject in sentences of two or more.

ComparisonsEdit

The Comparative case is used in the manner of English <like> or <as> and is formed with the suffix <ip>.

Honorific Forms

There were 3 honorific forms in Proto-Sayetic the Respective, Equalitative and Familiaritive.

RespectiveEdit

The Respective prefix, <ac>, was used when referring/speaking to a person elder than you or of a higher station, regardless of age. One would also use the Respective to refer to an unknown party/person not known very well.

EqualitativeEdit

The Equalitative prefix <wü> is used to refer to one of similar age or of the same station that while you do know well would still be impolite to use the Familiaritive with.

FamiliaritiveEdit

The Familiaritive, prefixed <sak>, is used to denote one who is close to you or an object of affection it can also be used as a sort of despective when used with someone for whom it would be normally impolite to use this honorific on.

PronounsEdit

AdjectivesEdit

DerivationEdit

SyntaxEdit

Proto-Sayetic was a primarily left-branching language that made use of postpositions rather than prepositions.

Word OrderEdit

Word order in Proto-Sayetic was primary OSV for transitive clauses and VS for intransitive clauses. Relative clauses (signified by the use of a relative pronoun) further have an SOV word order.

PostpostionsEdit

Proto-Sayetic makes extensive use of postpositions. Postpositions in this language had a variety of functions such as marking tense (on verbs) and providing locative function (on nouns and pronouns). The most common postposition would be the locative postposition <hatab> which has the function of in, on or at in English. Below is an example of the usage of <hatab>:

Aakturar ozhor hatab Galep akting kerek.

FEM-ox-DAT OBJ-shed-TRNS {in} SUBJ-Galep-TRNS DYN-put-TRNS {at this time}

I am putting the cow in the shed.

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