Proto-Norlokian language

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Language: English
RegionNorthern Etrand
EthnicityHalflings, Dwarves and Gnomes
Extinctsplit between Old Dwarven and Old Halfling at an unknown time before 3000 BEKE
  • Proto-Norlokian
Language codes
ISO 639-3
The Proto-Norlokian language - sometimes also known as Old Gnomish - was the common ancestor of all Old Dwarven and Old Halfling.

Phonology and phonotactics[edit | edit source]

In Proto-Norlokian, the acceptable syllable structures were /CV/ and /CVC/. Vowel clusters were forbidden, all syllables have to begin with a consonant. Word-initial and word-final consonant clusters were forbidden, with the notable exceptions of word-initial consonant clusters where the second consonant was a semivowel /j w/ and word-final consonant clusters where the first consonant was a semivowel /j w/. Because of the accepted syllable structures, each consonant cluster could only consist of two consonants. When a syllable began with a consonant that is identical to the one the previous syllable ends with, the result was gemination by assimilation. This even applied when one of the consonants was slender and the other is broad.

The Proto-Norlokian language had a rather complex phonology - the language had seven phonemic monophthongs /a aː ə i iː u uː/ and four diphthongs /aj aw iw uj/ - it is not known if they were coloured and mutated by surrounding consonants like in the successor languages. Consonants came in opposing pairs of slender (palatalized) and broad (velarized, pharyngealized or uvularized). The only peculiarity is the case of the /j ʔ/ pair, with the broad equivalent of the palatal approximant being the glottal stop (or slender equivalent of the glottal stop being the palatal approximant).

Labial Dental Sibilant Dorsal
Slender Broad Slender Broad Slender Broad Slender Broad
Nasal /mʲ/ /mˠ/ /nʲ/ /nˠ/
Plosive Voiceless /pʲ/ /pˠ/ /tʲ/ /tˠ/ /t͡sʲ/ /t͡sˠ/ /kʲ/ /k/
Voiced /bʲ/ /bˠ/ /dʲ/ /dˠ/ /d͡zʲ/ /dz͡ˠ/ /gʲ/ /g/
Fricative Voiceless /sʲ/ /sˠ/
Voiced /zʲ/ /zˠ/
Approximant Unrounded /lʲ/ /lˠ/ /j/ /ʔ/
Rounded /ɥ/ /w/
Rhotic /ɾʲ/ /ɾˠ/
  • The pronounciation of the broad consonants was ambiguous:
    • The broad non-dorsal consnants /mˠ pˠ bˠ nˠ tˠ t͡sˠ sˠ dˠ d͡zˠ zˠ lˠ ɾˠ/ could have been velarized [mˠ pˠ bˠ nˠ tˠ t͡sˠ sˠ dˠ d͡zˠ zˠ lˠ ɾˠ], uvularized [mʶ pʶ bʶ nʶ tʶ t͡sʶ sʶ dʶ d͡zʶ zʶ lʶ ɾʶ] or pharyngealized [mˤ pˤ bˤ nˤ tˤ t͡sˤ sˤ dˤ d͡zˤ zˤ lˤ ɾˤ]. Alternatively, it could have varied from dialect to dialect. For simplicity's sake, they will be marked as velarized.
    • The broad dorsal stops /k g/ were either velar [k g] or uvular [q ɢ], or it could have varied between dialects. For simplicity's sake, they will be marked as velar.
    • Alternatively, the voiceless broad stops /pˠ tˠ t͡sˠ sˠ k/ could have also been ejectives [pʼ tʼ t͡sʼ sʼ kʼ], at least at an earlier stage of the language's history. The only evidence to support this was the fact that Lizardmen transliterated proto-Norlokian voiceless broad stops as if they were aspirated (possibly having misheard ejectives for aspirated stops).
      • This theory raises more questions than it answers. If it is true, what about their voiced equivalents? Were /bˠ dˠ g/ implosives [ɓ ɗ ɠ]? If so, what about /d͡zˠ zˠ/? Maybe they were all murmured [bʱ dʱ d͡zʱ zʱ gʱ].
  • It is more than certain that the affricates /t͡sʲ t͡sˠ d͡zʲ d͡zˠ/ were fronted denti-alveolar or lamino-alveolar [t̪͡s̪ʲ~t̻͡s̻ʲ t̪͡s̪ˠ~t̻͡s̻ˠ d̪͡z̪ʲ~d̻͡z̻ʲ d̪͡z̪ˠ~d̻͡z̻ˠ], while the fricatives /sʲ sˠ zʲ zˠ/ were most certainly retracted apico-alveolar [s̺ʲ s̺ˠ z̺ʲ z̺ˠ]. This is evidenced the earlier's deaffrication to regular sibilants /sʲ sˠ zʲ zˠ/ and the latter's shift towards postalveolar shibilants /ʃʲ ʃˠ ʒʲ ʒˠ/ in Old Dwarven.
  • Because the semivowels /j w/ - being considered both vowels and consonants at the same time - could appear in both vocalic templates and consonantal roots, the invalid consonant clusters /ww/, /jj/, /jw/ and /wj/ could theoretically appear word-initially and in the coda-position. In order to make them fit the phonotactics of the language, their pronounciations were changed.
    • /ww/ became /gw/ word-initially, /wbˠ/ in the coda position.
    • /ɥw/ became /gʲɥ/ word-initially
    • /wɥ/ became /wbʲ/ in the coda-position
    • /jj/ became /gʲ/ word-initially, /jgʲ/ in the coda position.
    • /jw/ became /gʲɥ/ word-initially, /jbʲ/ in the coda-position
    • /wj/ became /bʲ/ word-initially, /wgʲ/ in the coda-position

Grammar[edit | edit source]

Proto-Norlokian mixed concatenative and nonconcatenative morphology (roots and templates) - nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs were largely made out of two components: a consonantal root (usually triconsonantal), and a (mostly) vocalic template (though templates could also contain consonants), but conjugations were often added to before or after the words (the conjugations could be also interpreted as parts of the templates). When combining a root and a template together, we'd get a whole word. One such example is combining the root /dˠ-w-rˠ/ (iron) with the templates /CəCiCək/ (person) and /CəCiCik/ (people), which results in /dˠəwirˠək/ [dˠə̆wɪrˠə̆k~dˠə̆werˠə̆k] (dwarf) and /dˠəwirˠiːk/ [dˠə̆wɪrˠɪːk~dˠə̆werˠeːk] (dwarves). Most roots in Proto-Norlokian were triconsonantal, but some more primitive concepts were expressed through biconsonantal roots, while some more abstract concepts required quadliteral roots.

Just like Proto-Elven and the various early Elven languages, word order was flexible, because of the conjugations the language relied on to mark the proper place of nouns, verbs and adjectives in sentences - nevertheless, the preferred word order was SVO.

Nouns[edit | edit source]

In Proto-Norlokian, each noun had only three cases: nominative (makes the noun the subject of the sentence) and accusative (makes the noun the object of the sentence) and genitive (makes the noun the owner of a preceding noun). For most words, the nominative case is unmarked, and the accusative and genitive cases is indicated by a postposition (which could be also interpreted as part of the template). Most nouns also have plural forms.

Since Proto-Norlokian words were made out of combining roots and templates, it is not possible to simply state how plurals and cases were marked, because each noun-forming template had its own six variants (nominative singular, accusative singular, genitive singular, nominative plural, accusative plural, genitive plural).

One would think that this system inevitably results in heavy irregularity and difficulty with learning Proto-Norlokian nouns, in truth, it is far more benign: for the majority of noun templates, if the nominative singular form's template has a schwa in the last syllable, it is replaced by a long /iː/, otherwise the template is concatenated with a /iː/ - if the template ends with a vowel, the template is concatenated with /j/ instead, creating a diphthong. Of course, there are exceptions.

For the majority of nouns, the accusative and genitive cases consist in taking the nominative case, and concatenating it with /ətˠ/ or /ʔətˠ/ for accusative, /əmˠ/ or /ʔəmˠ/ for the genitive.

In their default state, all nouns are assumated to have an indefinite article - the definite article is marked by adding an /ʔalˠ/ or /jalʲ/ before the noun, depending on the initial consonantal sound.

Verbs[edit | edit source]

Proto-Norlokian verbs inflected for person, number, tense, conditionality, negation, imperativity, continuity. Out of these, person and number were expressed as a prefix, while tense, conditionality, imperativity, aspect, and subordination were expressed as suffixes.

The personal and numerical prefixes were optional, when the verb was following a conjugated noun - otherwise, they were mandatory:

  • First person singular: /mʲi/
  • First person plural: /mʲiɾʲ/
  • Second person singular: /ʔi/
  • Second person plural: /ʔiɾʲ/
  • Third person singular: /d͡zˠi/
  • Third person plural: /d͡zˠiɾʲ/

A distinction was made between seven tenses: present simple, present perfect, past simple, past perfect, habitual past ("used to do X"), future simple, future perfect:

  • Present Simple:
  • Present Perfect: /əmˠ/
  • Past Simple: /ak/
  • Past Perfect: /akəmˠ/
  • Habitual Past: /akərˠ/
  • Future Simple /inʲ/
  • Future Perfect: /inʲəmˠ/

Conditionality was indicated by the optional suffix /ulˠ/ (can/could/might). Negation was indicated by the /asˠ/ suffix. Imperativity was indicated by the optional /iʔ/ suffix. Continuity was indicated by the optional /əpʲ/ suffix.

Adjectives and adverbs[edit | edit source]

Proto-Norlokian did not treat adjectives truly separately from nouns and verbs - all adjectives could be also treated like nouns (meaning that the word for "big" could also be interpreted as "(the) big one", the word for "handsome" could also be interpreted as "(the) handsome one") and also as verbs (instead of putting a copula between a noun and an adjective, the adjective is simply conjugated like a verb).

Adverbs were formed from adjectives, by concatenating them with /anˠ/ or /ʔanˠ/, depending on whether the adjective ends with a consonant or a vowel. They could be put after or before a verb, though after was preferred.

Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

Numbers[edit | edit source]

Proto-Norlokian used hexadecimal numerals.

  • 0 - /waʔuł/
  • 1 - /nˠawatˠ/
  • 2 - /jakʲanʲ/
  • 3 - /sˠurˠinˠ/
  • 4 - /pˠuːtʲinʲ/
  • 5 - /rʲakuk/
  • 6 - /sˠinʲaː/
  • 7 - /mʲikʲuː/
  • 8 - /bˠamˠbˠanˠ/
  • 9 - /mˠutˠəsˠa/
  • 10 - /bˠərˠuːtˠ/
  • 11 - /sˠuwaːk/
  • 12 - /mʲakmʲin/
  • 13 - /dˠakʲlʲaːs/
  • 14 - /ʔakwaː/
  • 15 - /dˠurˠukˠ/
  • 16 - /tʲiłsˠin/
  • 256 - /tʲiłsˠin/
  • 4096 - /kʲuːłsˠin/
  • 65536 - /tˠaːłsˠin/
  • 1048576 - /zˠiːłsˠin/
  • 16777216 - /rʲaːłsˠin/
  • 268435456 - /lʲuːłsˠin/
  • 4294967296 - /bˠuːłsˠin/
  • 68719476736 - /mˠiːłsˠin/

Roots[edit | edit source]

  • self, ego: /mʲ-k-ʔ/
  • opposite: /tʲ-rˠ-ʔ/
  • distance, distant: /sˠ-rˠ-ʔ/
  • iron: /dˠ-w-rˠ/
  • watch, view: /k-lˠ-mˠ/
  • great, large: /dz͡ˠ-ɾˠ-tˠ/
  • heat, warm(th): /ʔ-sʲ-tʲ/
  • value, precious: /sˠ-k-lˠ/
  • evil, malicious: /j-k-dˠ/
  • good, beneficial: /tˠ-ɾˠ-nˠ/
  • wise, wisdom: /ɾˠ-kʲ-lʲ/
  • greed, greedy: /j-kʲ-ɾʲ/

Templates[edit | edit source]

Noun and adjective templates[edit | edit source]

  • person: /1ə2i3ək/ (singular nominative), /1ə2i3iːk/ (plural nominative), /1ə2i3əkətˠ/ (singular accusative), /1ə2i3iːkətˠ/ (plural accusative), /1ə2i3əkəmˠ/ (singular accusative), /1ə2i3iːkəmˠ/ (plural accusative)
  • building: /1a2a3/ (singular nominative), /1a2a3iː/ (plural nominative), /1a2a3ʔətˠ/ (singular accusative), /1a2a3iːʔətˠ/ (plural accusative), /1a2a3ʔəmˠ/ (singular accusative), /1a2a3iːʔəmˠ/ (plural accusative)
  • hold, settlement: /1u2u3/ (singular nominative), /1u2u3iː/ (plural nominative), /1u2u3ʔətˠ/ (singular accusative), /1u2u3iːʔətˠ/ (plural accusative), /1u2u3ʔəmˠ/ (singular accusative), /1u2u3iːʔəmˠ/ (plural accusative)
  • state, presence: /1ə23iːlʲ/ (singular nominative), /1ə23iːlʲi/ (plural nominative), /1ə23iːlʲətˠ/ (singular accusative), /1ə23iːlʲiʔətˠ/ (plural accusative), /1ə23iːlʲəmˠ/ (singular accusative), /1ə23iːlʲiʔəmˠ/ (plural accusative)
  • metal: /1iʔ2ə3/ (singular nominative), /1iʔ2iː3/ (plural nominative), /1iʔ2ə3ətˠ/ (singular accusative), /1iʔ2iː3ətˠ/ (plural accusative), /1iʔ2ə3əmˠ/ (singular accusative), /1iʔ2iː3əmˠ/ (plural accusative)

Verb templates[edit | edit source]

Known root+template combinations[edit | edit source]

Nouns and adjectives[edit | edit source]

  • they: /sˠərˠiʔiːk/ = /sˠ-rˠ-ʔ/ (distance, distant) + /1ə2i3iːk/ (people)
  • dwarf: /dˠəwirˠək/ = /dˠ-w-rˠ/ (iron) + /1ə2i3ək/ (person)
  • dwarves: /dˠəwirˠiːk/ = /dˠ-w-rˠ/ (iron) + /1ə2i3iːk/ (people)
  • tower: /kalˠamˠ/ = /k-lˠ-mˠ/ (watch, view) + /1a2a3/ (building)
  • overground town/city: /dz͡ˠuɾˠutˠ/ = /dz͡ˠ-ɾˠ-tˠ/ (watch, view) + /1u2u3/ (hold, settlement)
  • mine, subterran town/city: /dˠuwurˠ/ = /dˠ-w-rˠ/ (iron) + /1u2u3/ (hold, settlement)
  • warm(th)'': /ʔəsʲtʲiːlʲ/ = /ʔ-sʲ-tʲ/ (warm) + /1ə23iːlʲ/ (state, presence)
  • iron metal: /dˠiʔwərˠ/ = /dˠ-w-rˠ/ (iron) + /1iʔ2ə3/ (metal)
  • gold metal: /sˠiʔkəlˠ/ = /sˠ-k-lˠ/ (value, precious) + /1iʔ2ə3/ (metal)
  • evil(ness): /jəkdˠiːlʲ/ = /j-k-dˠ/ (evil, malicious) + /1ə23iːlʲ/ (state, presence)
  • malefactor, traitor: /jəkidˠək/ = /j-k-dˠ/ (evil, malicious) + /1ə2i3ək/ (person)
  • good(ness): /tˠəɾˠnˠiːlʲ/ = /tˠ-ɾˠ-nˠ/ (good, beneficial) + /1ə23iːlʲ/ (state, presence)
  • benefactor, helper: /tˠəɾˠinˠək/ = /tˠ-ɾˠ-nˠ/ (good, beneficial) + /1ə2i3ək/ (person)

Verbs[edit | edit source]

Non-rooted words[edit | edit source]

  • I: /mʲik/
  • We: /mʲiɾʲiːk/
  • You (singular): /ʔik/
  • You (plural): /ʔiɾʲiːk/
  • He/she/it: /d͡zˠik/
  • They: /d͡zˠiɾʲiːk/
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