Mahhalian Language

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Mahhalian
Rakkan
Bodahhar (ቦጣኣር)
Pronunciation/bodaxat̚/
RegionOriginally Mahhal, now also some emigrant communities worldwide
Native speakers9-10 million (as of 2014)
Language familyHardan
Early formsProto-Mahhalian
  • Classical Mahhalian
    • Pre-modern Mahhalian
      • Mahhalian
DialectsWest Rakkan (dominant)
Jessitimic
Oan
Puran
...many other dialects
Writing systemkastelly (Romantian script)
fidelly (Ghezic abugida)
hhenkully (native logographs)
Signed formsSigned Rakkan
Official status
Official language in
OGFLMHL


The Mahhalian Language (native called Bodahhar "language of the sea") is the language, with all its dialects, used by the Mahhalian People in the Mahhalian Archipelago.

In fact, it is a collection of about 10 mutually comprehensible spoken dialects, unified by a single, archaic logographic writing system (much like Sinian). The writing system has been supplanted by the adopted Romantian alphabet and the Ghezic abugida in day-to-day usage, but no one graduates high school or is considered educated without mastering the 10,000+ characters of the native system. Typologically, the language is highly agglutinative and considered part of the Hardan language family, although this linkage is tenuous and some linguists have suggested relations with either the Algonkish languages or, less plausibly, the Altazorian language group. Because of the writing system, some have also suggested a relation with Ancient Sumopotamian, but this is not supported by the linguistic evidence except for the coincidental resemblance of the writing systems.

Distribution

Currently there are upwards of 10 million speakers, worldwide. The following table shows distribution.

Work in progress This list is incomplete. It will be expanded in the future.
Country Number of speakers Notes
Luciano Flag MH.png Mahhal 9,000,000 based on 2012 federal census plus estimate
Auhstrasunoteroflag.svg Aŭstrasuno Tero 1,000,000
Luciano Flag FA.png Ardisphere 350,000 based on 2014 census
TarrasesFlagforMini.png Tárrases 92,600 based on 2010 census
GobrassanyaFlag01.png Gobrassanya 40,000
other... tbd

Phonology

Vowels

746px Mahhalian vowel chart.png
Mahhalian has eight cardinal vowels, shown at right in a standard IPA vowel chart. Positions of some vowels will vary by dialect, and in some archaic forms there are two additional vowels (written with digraphs "OY" and "AY", which are unrounded mid and low back vowels, /ɤ/ and /ɑ/).










Consonants

The chart below pairs the consonant graphemes (in the "kastelly" writing system - see below) with their best IPA representation.

Grapheme-IPA pairs chart for pulmonic consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
alveolar
Retroflex Alveolo-
palatal
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Glottal
Nasal    "mm" =  m̥      "m" =  m      * =  ɱ      * =  n̼̊      * =  n̼      "nn" =  n̥      "n" =  n      * =  ɳ̊      * =  ɳ      * =  ɲ̊      * =  ɲ      * =  ŋ̊      * =  ŋ      * =  ɴ̥      * =  ɴ  
Stop    "p" or "pp" =  p      "b" or "bb" =  b      * =  p̪      * =  b̪      * =  t̼      * =  d̼      "t" or "‑r" =  t      "d" =  d      * =  ʈ      * =  ɖ      * =  c      * =  ɟ      "k" or "kk" =  k      "g" or "gg" =  ɡ      "kk" =  q      "gg" =  ɢ      * =  ʡ      not written or "‑h" =  ʔ  
Sibilant affricate    "ss" =  ts      "zz" =  dz      "c" or "cc" =  tʃ      "dj" or "djdj" =  dʒ      * =  ʈʂ      * =  ɖʐ      * =  tɕ      * =  dʑ  
Non-sibilant affricate    * =  pɸ      * =  bβ      * =  p̪f      * =  b̪v      * =  tθ      * =  dð      * =  tθ̠      * =  dð̠      * =  t̠ɹ̠̊˔      * =  d̠ɹ̠˔      * =  cç      * =  ɟʝ      * =  kx      * =  ɡɣ      * =  qχ      * =  ɢʁ      * =  ʡħ      * =  ʡʕ      * =  ʔh  
Sibilant fricative    "s" or "ss" =  s      "z" or "zz" =  z      "x" or "xx" =  ʃ      "j" or "jj" =  ʒ      * =  ʂ      * =  ʐ      * =  ɕ      * =  ʑ  
Non-sibilant fricative    "f" or "ff" =  ɸ      "v" or "vv" =  β      "ff" =  f      "vv" =  v      * =  θ̼      * =  ð̼      "tt" =  θ      "dd" =  ð      * =  θ̱      * =  ð̠      * =  ɹ̠̊˔      * =  ɹ̠˔      * =  ç      * =  ʝ      "h" or "hh" =  x      * =  ɣ      * =  χ      * =  ʁ      * =  ħ      * =  ʕ      "h" or "hh" =  h      * =  ɦ     * =  ʔ̞  
Approximant    * =  ɸ˕      * =  ʋ      * =  θ̞      * =  ɹ̥      * =  ɹ      * =  ɻ̊      * =  ɻ      * =  j̊      "i" =  j      * =  ɰ̊      * =  ɰ  
Flap or tap    * =  ⱱ̟      * =  ⱱ      * =  ɾ̼      * =  ɾ̥      "r" =  ɾ      * =  ɽ̊      * =  ɽ      * =  ɢ̆      * =  ʡ̮  
Trill    * =  ʙ      * =  r̼      * =  r̥      * =  r      * =  ɽr̥      * =  ɽr      * =  ʀ̥      * =  ʀ      * =  ʜ      * =  ʢ  
Lateral affricate    * =  tɬ      * =  dɮ      * =  ʈɭ̊˔      * =  cʎ̥˔      * =  kʟ̝̊      * =  ɡʟ̝  
Lateral fricative    * =  ɬ      * =  ɮ      * =  ɭ̊˔      * =  ʎ̥˔      * =  ʎ̝      * =  ʟ̝̊      * =  ʟ̝  
Lateral approximant    * =  l̼      * =  l̥      "ll" =  l      * =  ɭ̊      * =  ɭ      * =  ʎ̥      * =  ʎ      * =  ʟ      * =  ʟ̠  
Lateral flap    * =  ɺ̼      * =  ɺ      * =  ɭ̆      * =  ʎ̮      * =  ʟ̆  
Grapheme-IPA pairs chart for non-pulmonic consonants
Simple clicks]    * =  ʘ      * =  ʘ̬      * =  ʘ̃      * =  ǀ      * =  ǀ̬      * =  ǀ̃      * =  ǃ      * =  ǃ̬      * =  ̃  
   * =  ǂ      * =  ǂ̬      * =  ǂ̃      * =  ǁ      * =  ǁ̬      * =  ǁ̃      * =  ǃ˞      * =  ǃ̬˞      * =  ǃ̃˞  
Other clicks    * =  ʘ̃ˀ      * =  ʘˀ      * =  ˀʘ̃      * =  ʘ͡q      * =  ʘ͡qχ      * =  ʘ͡qʼ      * =  ʘ͡qχʼ      * =  ¡      * =  ʞ  
Implosives    * =  ɓ      * =  ɗ      * =  ᶑ      * =  ʄ      * =  ɠ      * =  ʛ  
   * =  ɓ̥      * =  ɗ̥      * =  ᶑ̥      * =  ʄ̊      * =  ɠ̊      * =  ʛ̥   
Ejectives    * =  pʼ      * =  tʼ      * =  ʈʼ      * =  cʼ      * =  kʼ      * =  qʼ      * =  ʡʼ  
   * =  fʼ      * =  θʼ      * =  sʼ      * =  ɬʼ      * =  ʃʼ      * =  ʂʼ      * =  ɕʼ      * =  xʼ      * =  χʼ  
   * =  tsʼ      * =  tɬʼ      * =  tʃʼ      * =  ʈʂʼ      * =  tɕʼ      * =  cʎ̝̥ʼ      * =  kxʼ      * =  kʟ̝̊ʼ      * =  qχʼ  
Grapheme-IPA pairs chart for co-articulated consonants
Continuants    * =  ʍ      "v" or "‑u" =  w      * =  ɥ̊      * =  ɥ      "l" =  ɫ  
Occlusives    * =  k͡p      * =  ɡ͡b      * =  ŋ͡m      * =  ɧ  
   * =  t͡p      * =  d͡b      * =  n͡m      * =  q͡ʡ  


NOTES

— These tables contain phonetic symbols, which may not display correctly in some browsers. [Help]
— Where symbols appear in pairs, left–right represent the voiceless–voiced consonants.
— Shaded areas denote pulmonic articulations judged to be impossible or not distinctive.
— Graphemes specific to the language being displayed are shown on left of each symbol pair and enclosed in double quote marks ( " ), IPA representations are shown on right, separated by equal sign ( = ).
— Some graphemes can represent more than one sound, due to inconsistencies in the writing system, or dialectical or allophonic variation.
— Graphemes shown with a preceding dash ( - ) mean that that grapheme can represent that sound only at the end of a syllable.
— Where the language does not have the sound, graphemes are shown with an asterisk ( * ) and IPA symbols are red.


Syllables, Pitch and Stress

Typology

Classical Mahhalian is canonically a VOS language. However by the late classical period VSO was also common, and in modern spoken forms, in fact, VSO is canonical, and there is a "fronting" tendency has led to the arising of SVO orders in post-classical forms down to modernity. These SVO forms are sometimes posited as AuxSVO forms, with a null auxiliary, given the predominance of Aux-headed sentences in modern Mahhalian dialects.

Grammar

In modern West Rakkan Mahhalian, there are about 30 common verbs which account for more than 95% of utterances, functioning either on simple meanings or as auxiliaries in compound with various verbal noun forms (generally called "verbal complements" in classical Mahhalian grammar). Thousands of the auxiliary + complement structures are idiomatic - that is, they differ in meaning from what might be predicted based on the meaning of their parts, and they are quite productive. In traditional Mahhalian grammar, these auxiliaries are called Ninetesset ("flowers"), due to the classical metaphor of the sentence as a plant, which is read from the "flower" (at the top, the verb), to the final noun at the "root."

Most traditional accounts of Mahhalian grammar in essence posit 4 main grammatical categories instead of 3, in this order: Auxiliary ("flower"), Subject ("leaf"), Verbal Complement ("stem"), Object ("root"). Under this schema, followed here, the term "auxiliary" includes non-auxiliary uses of the main verbs.

Auxiliaries and "True Verbs"

Auxiliaries are inflected for aspect, modality (including epistemicity) and formality.

Aspect

There are 2 canonical aspect-pairs:

  • Telic-Atelic (see also Verbal Complements-Telicity, below)
  • Hypothetical-Assertional

Modality

There are 4 canonical modes.

  • Realis
  • Irrealis/Subjunctive
  • Commissive
  • Jussive

Epistemic marking

Auxiliaries are also obligatorily marked for epistemicity. There are 3 canonical epistemic markers. Epistemic marking interacts with evidentiality (see verbal complements, below).

  • Alethic
  • Deductive/Inferential
  • Potential/Speculative

Formality

Classical Mahhalian had a complex, multi-level system of formality, where utterances were marked on four axes:

  • Relationship between speaker and listener
  • Relationship between subject and object
  • Relationship between speaker and subject
  • Relationship between listener and subject

In modern Mahhalian, this has reduced to only two axes where explicit marking is required,

  • Relationship between speaker and listener, where listener is higher status than speaker
  • Relationship between listener and subject, where listener is higher status than subject

Typically, unmarked forms assume equal status between listener, speaker and subject. There are seperate marking schemes where the speaker is deferent to the listener and where the subject is deferent to the listener. This is especially important where both are true (i.e. the speaker is also the subject, with both deferent to the listener).

For many of the most common auxiliaries, the formal (deferent) form is a suppletion form, for example

  • pa ho dar
    COPULA PRON-1st-CONCRETE new
    It is new (unmarked)
  • mw ho dar
    COPULA(LDEF) PRON-1st-CONCRETE new
    It is new (deferent to listener)

Verbal Complements

Verbal complements are primarily inflected for "tense" (grammatically, not a true tense but rather a kind of temporal aspect), telicity and evidentiality.

Tense

There are 4 canonical tenses.

  • Simple Present
  • Continuative/Progressive
  • Prospective (near future)
  • Future (far future)

Telicity

Past tense concepts are conveyed periphrastically with the telic aspect, which is borne on both the auxiliary and on the verbal complement. Sentences are marked as either telic or atelic, with several different systems depending on the verb class and the specific auxiliary used.

Alternately, the so-called "naked present" - use of a simple present with a "null" auxiliary - has an implication of "past tense" in its use for historical narrative. This is why the "naked present" is also called the "narrative" or "historical" aspect.

Telicity is also important in conveying the information of descriptive (adjectival) verbs. For a descriptive verb to convey a fixed property, the telic form is used. When used in the atelic form, a descriptive verb indicates becoming or causation.

Example:

  • nijik wabynom
    COPULA(TELIC)+sky gray+TELIC/CONTINUATIVE
    The sky is gray (more literally, "The sky is now in a state of having finished turning gray")
  • gijik wabylelly
    COPULA(ATELIC)-sky gray-ATELIC/CONTINUATIVE
    The sky turns gray.

Evidentiality

There are also 4 canonical categories of evidentiality which are obligatorily marked on verbal complements.

  • sensory certainty (witness)
  • inferential
  • assumed
  • quotative/hearsay

Obviously, evidentiality interacts with epistemic marking on the auxiliaries (see above). Thus, an inferential marking will accompany an auxiliary marked as deductive, and an assumed marking will accompany a speculative one. But other combinations are not ungrammatical. Thus, one could combine an inferential evidentiality marker with an alethic epistemic marker to show certainty, as in a mathematical proof, and it would serve a semantic role similar to an English phrase like, "Therefore, we have no choice but to conclude that...".

Nouns

Nouns have gender (not masculine/feminine, rather a four way deity/human-high/human-low/concrete-object). They are typically marked for case by clitic prefixes. The conceptual boundary between case prefixes and prepositions is blurry. In typical Mahhalian grammars they are all simply called, somewhat inaccurately, "clitics," which enchain with following words for prosody and orthography, losing stress or sometimes reducing to non-syllabic or null forms. There are complex restrictions on the co-occurance of specific cases and genders (i.e. concrete-object case may not be subject case, leading to periphrastic constructions to convey certain meanings, e.g. using passive or anti-passive verb forms).

Nouns are not marked for number, but periphrastically number is indicated by various different words with meanings such as "two," "several," or "many," followed by a partative clitic phrase. Occasionally in late classical Mahhalian, a so-called "naked partative" is used to show ambiguous plurality, but this usage is only dialectical or archaic nowadays. In general, indicating number is considered optional. Thus

Example:

  • dum - angel or angels
  • bor adum - two angels
  • ban adum - several angels
  • nib adum - many angels
  • adum - some angels (dialect or archaic)

Pronouns

Pronouns exist in the first humble, first unmarked, second deferential, second unmarked, third person abstract and third person concrete forms. Because number and sexual gender is not marked, there is no difference between "I" and "we", or between "he" "she" "it" and "they."

  • 1st (humble): bw = "I" "we" (self-humbling)
  • 1st (unmarked): geh = "I" "we"
  • 2nd (deferential): rwssa = "you" (showing strong respect)
  • 2nd (unmarked): ssa = "you"
  • 3rd (abstract): nel = "he, she, it, they" (abstract)
  • 3rd (concrete): bit = "he, she, it, they" (concrete)

Number for pronouns can be shown using the same periphrasis used for nouns, and these usages are quite common in translation of foreign languages where pronoun number is used and are easily understood, and from translations it has entered domains such as popular literature and advertising copy, but typically it is viewed as a kind of affectation to use these periphrastic number pronouns in everyday speech. In modern orthography, these forms are often written in various contractions showing common pronunciation.

Example:

  • geh - I or we
  • borageh/borak - the two of us, we two
  • banageh/banak - the several of us, we
  • nibageh/nibak - all of us, we
  • ageh - some of us (dialect or archaic)

Adjectives and Adverbs

Formally speaking, there are no adjectives or adverbs in Mahhalian. There are a set of clitic prefixes (special case forms, included below) which take either nouns or verbal complement forms (verb-nouns) and allow them to modify other nouns in chain form. This is how both adverbial and adjectival functionality is achieved.

Clitics (Prepositions and grammatical role clitics)

There a large number of these, and they are inflected to match person and gender (abstract/concrete) and referentiality (deictic status, often also a proxy for definiteness/indefiniteness) of their subsequent. Because of this, contractions involving partial or complete deletion of following pronouns are common, since no specificity is lost.

[table coming someday]

  • (topic subject)
  • (non-topic subject)
  • (direct object)
  • of, (partative)
  • of, (possessive/genitive)
  • to, at (locative)
  • by, (


Derivations

There is an extensive system of derivation which allows all verbs to become nouns, and all nouns to become verbs. Indeed, some classical grammars insist there are no nouns in Mahhalian, only verbs which are derived to nouns when necessary.

There are three main "classes" of verb-noun pairs, which are classically called simply type I, type II, and type III. There is also a "defective" class which is sometimes labelled type IV.

Type I Derivation

Type I are derived via apophony - i.e. the alternation of vowels in stems.

Example:

  • dar = "to be new" (verbal - descriptive form)
  • dor = "newness" (noun form)

Type II Derivation

Type II are derived via infixes, prefixes and/or suffixes (depending on stem shape), where the verbal form is more fundamental.

Example:

  • gijik = "to be grey" (verbal - descriptive form)
  • gijissek = "greyness" (noun form)

Type III Derivation

Type III are derived via infixes, prefixes and/or suffixes (depending on stem shape), where the noun form is more fundamental. This is actually the smallest class, which is why classical Mahhalianists have insisted verbs are more fundamental than nouns.

Example:

  • nobylla = "to be dragon-like" (verbal - descriptive form)
  • bylla = "dragon" (noun form)

Type IV Derivation

There are also a limited number of examples where verb-noun derivation is disallowed, but there are pairs of words in the different categories. The classical explanation for these is that they are cases of syntactic suppletion.

Example:

  • kossy = "to be angelic" (verbal - descriptive form)
  • dum = "angel" (noun form)

Writing Systems

Mahhalian actually uses three distinct writing systems, all in different context. For day-to-day usage, there are two phonological systems in use, both borrowed in the late medieval period. But for "high culture" and scholarship, there is also a traditional logographic system native to the archipelago. The two phonological systems are called kastelly and fidelly, while the traditional script is called hhenkully.

Kastelly is based on the Romantian alphabet, borrowed from Castellanese explorers at first contact in the 1500s. This diffused from the Castellanese settlements at Tárrases, and later, from the short-lived Franquese settlements at Terebyllim.

Fidelly is based on the Ghezic abugida (alphasyllabary), probably brought by Amharian monks or traders at a slightly older date, perhaps the late 1300s. The system was first popularized by the renegade King Zokytuttem of Dawassy in the late 1600s, partly as an effort to counteract the increasing diffusion of Romantian, which the king felt was a threat, while the Amharians had never shown colonial interest in Mahhal.

Both systems are widely diffused in the society, with fidelly dominating on public signage and formal documents (such as lower-register legal and religious publications that are not using the traditional script) while kastelly dominates private written publications, newspapers, and, of course, modern technology such as the internet, as well as interfaces with the wider world.

In any event, all three systems are in active use and all citizens are expected to master all three during their education.

Romantian Orthography Kastelly

The day-to-day writing system is the Romantian alphabet, since it was formally adopted almost 300 years ago. The scholars of that time saw the advantages of a phonological, alphabetic writing system and felt that it would best further the country's development to allow the use of it. So rather than resist, they recommended to the kings to make its use official, and it has been ever since.

The orthography was highly fluid during the first 100 years, and evolved some into a unique system that was then largely codified by around 1820. Spelling is still not strictly enforced, partly due to preponderance of dialects which each pronounce things distinctly, and language evolution has resulted in some mismatch with expected sounds.

In what follows, the standard educated dialect of western Rakka Kingdom is being discussed unless otherwise specified, as that is considered the national standard to be used for e.g. broadcasting or university lectures, etc.

Vowels

From adoption, W and Y are vowels only (cf. Cambric).

The "W" is thus not as intimidating as it appears, as it simply represents the classic "u" sound (IPA /u/). The title "Jwr" (meaning a scholar or learned person, frequent in place-names of places named after people), is simply "zhur" (IPA /ʒur/). A name such as "Dweh" (a city in north central Puh) is two syllables, "dw-eh", and "Dawassy" (the kingdom) is in fact four syllables "da-w-a-ssy" in careful speech.

The "Y" represents a close unrounded back vowel, IPA /ɯ/. It is frequently reduced to a "voiceless vowel" (cf. Nihonish), as this vowel phonologically resists carrying the stress of a word. It is thus used as an epenthetic for foreign borrowings, e.g. "Sytraik" is the local spelling for the borrowed word "strike," as the standard dialect does not allow a word-initial /str/ cluster. Word-initally it frequently disappears, thus "ylla" (island) ends up being pronounced /lɒ/.

The "U" always represents a mid-central vowel (sometimes called "schwa," IPA /ə/). Non-natives frequently get this wrong, which causes no end of confusion.

The only "official" vocalic digraph is "IY" which represents the mid, front IPA /e/. Others series of vowels represent diphthongs or syllables in series (which depends partly on dialect). Most other vocalic digraphs in "-Y" (e.g. the common "AY", rare "OY"), the "Y" is unpronounced in modern dialects, thus "Sa" (seed) and "Say" (capital city of) are the same: /sɒ/. The digraph "UY" used to represent the same sound as "E" (evolved from a medieval sound that was a central, mid vowel, while medieval "U" was a close central sound), but was eliminated in spelling reform in 1904. Old books and some regionalisms retain the spelling.

In some regional variants of the language, other vocalic digraphs continue to be used especially in toponyms and onomastics.

The digraph "EI" is common in the so-called "northern band," which includes Dawassy, Nellappe and northern Puh. In modern times, "EI" is equivalent to "IY" but historically it represented a diphthong, /eɪ̯/.

The digraph "AO" occurs in toponyms in several regions, generally representing a simplification of the diphthong /aʊ̯/ to /ɔ/. In some dialects, the vowel series "OA" (normally two separate syllables, as in the the Kingdom name) is also reduced to this same sound /ɔ/.

The list of "official" vowel correspondences is thus:

Character IPA Value
a,A /ɒ/
e,E /æ/
i,I /i/
o,O /o/
u,U /ə/
w,W /u/
y,Y /ɯ/
iy,IY /e/

Vowel length is not phonemic in Mahhalian and is thus not written, but there are distinct differences in vowel length depending on syllable stress and position.

Consonants

Doubling

The frequent doubled consonants of Mahhalian orthography represent a feature of the medieval language that is mostly not in use except in the most formal speech, currently. Thus in colloquial language there is no difference between the pronunciations the name "Mahhal" and the word "mahal" (meaning a stone fence), or between the name "Sikwtta" (a prefecture in Dawassy) and the word "sikwta" (meaning traffic lane). The spelling is retained for clarity and by tradition.

Historically, and in formal speech, the doubling represents a faucalized or fortis pronunciation of the consonant, but dialectically, the fortis pronunciations have either merged with the unfaucalized equivalents, or else they have diverged for different points of articulation, thus "TT" is sometimes /θ/ and "DD" is sometimes /ð/, while "MM" and "NN" frequently represent voiceless variants of "M" and "N" (thus IPA /m̥/ and IPA /n̥/ respectively). Finally, "LL" universally represents a "lighter" l than "L".

Liquids

The "L" and "R" are quite distinct.

The "R" is a tapped or trilled variety (IPA /ɾ/ or /r/), which in rapid speech is frequently reduced to a dental full stop in syllable-final position (IPA /t/); thus "bor" (tree) and "bot" (lizard) end up with identical pronunciation. The most common spelling mistake by native speakers is spelling words ending in "-t" with "-r" and vice versa, e.g. "demer" for "demet" (Municipality).

Meanwhile the the "L" is always "dark" (IPA /ɫ/) and in some dialects the "L" is reduced further to a rounded mid-back semivowel (IPA /w/). Thus the name of the country is often pronounced "mahaw". For the "lighter" sound (IPA /l/), "LL" is used. Dialectically, "LL" also can be a lateral fricative, IPA /dɮ/.

Glottal Stops

Doubled vowels always represent two syllables that are coincidentally the same value, thus "zaa" (meaning a city or fortress wall) is two syllables, and a light glottal stop will sometimes be inserted for clarity, e.g. "zaʔa"

The syllable-final "H" is not silent, but should be pronounced as a glottal stop. Thus "pu" (IPA /pə/ - a breed of goat native to Oa) and "Puh" (IPA /pəʔ/ - the kingdom) are distinct pronunciations, difficult to master for non-natives.

Fricatives and Affricates

In classical Mahhalian, the "H" (and "HH") represents a voiceless velar fricative (IPA /x/), however most casual modern variants have it as glottal fricative (IPA /h/) or even reduced to glottal stop (IPA /ʔ/).

The "J" is fricative not affricate, so as in Gaullais IPA /ʒ/, never as in Ingerish IPA /d͡ʒ/. To represent this latter affricate, the digraph "DJ" is used.

"X" (and "XX") represents Ingerish "sh", IPA /ʃ/.

"C" (and "CC") represents Ingerish affricate"ch", IPA /t͡ʃ/. Some names and archaic words represent this same sound with the digraph "TX", and the failed spelling reform of 1955 tried to make the digraph standard. Under the influence of Ingerish-as-a-second-language, many poorly educated Mahhalians have been increasingly using the digraph "CH" for this sound, but this usage is condemned.

Except in careful, archaizing speech, however, the affricates in most Mahhalian dialects (including the standard West Rakkan) are frequently merged to equivalent fricatives, thus "C" (or "CC") becomes equivalent to "X" (or "XX") and "DJ" (or the extremely rare "DJDJ") becomes equivalent to "J" (or "JJ"). On the other hand, rural, out-island Jessitim dialects tend to merge in reverse, making e.g. "X" into "C".

Ghezic Orthography Fidelly

Fidelly characters are an alphasyllabary. As such, to find the representation of a given sound, the first part of the syllable (consonantal onset) is the defined by the rows in the below table, while the second part of the syllable (vocalic coda) is defined by the columns. For a syllable-final consonant sound, an additional null-coda character is used, which is the rightmost column. This can lead to some ambiguity in spelling, but it is generally easily resolvable through context.

Thus Rewk Mahhal would be written re-w-ky ma-hha-ly, i.e. ሬዑክ ማኣል.

Ghezic Abugida as adapted to Mahhalian Phonology
kastelly   u w i a e o iy y
  IPA ə u i a æ o ɛ ɯ or ∅
l ɫ
ll l
m or mm m̥ or m
s s
r ɾ
ss s or ts
x ʃ
kk k or q
b or bb b
v or vv β or v or w
t t
c
h h or x
n n
nn n̥ or n
hh h or x
k k
xx ʃ
z z
j ʒ
i j
dj
djdj
g or gg g or ɢ
d d
dd d or ð
pp p
tt t or θ
tt t or θ
f or ff ɸ or f
p p

Traditional Script Hhenkully

Literature

Vocabulary

List of Common Auxiliaries

Note: most auxiliaries come in positive/negative pairs. Where there is no negative form given, derivation is regular (i.e. -sy for verbs of movement, -to for others).

  • tun = "do"
  • tunto / tyn = "not do"
  • pa / m- / null = "be"
  • pato / to / h- = "not be"
  • la / l- = "go"
  • lasy / lys = "not go"
  • po = "come"
  • posy / ws = "not come"
Work in progress This list is incomplete. It will be expanded in the future.

See Also