The river Nikri
Proto-Alasian, known as *ála [ˈɑ.læ], is the reconstructed ancestor of the Alasian languages. It was originally spoken at the base of the river Nikri [ˈni.kri], close to the coast. As the the Alasians started settling the steppes around the coastal ares, the common language started to separate into two different dialects. These two dialects eventually became the foundation of the Continental branch of the Alasian languages. After some time, the coastal Alasians started to settle surrounding areas to the north-west by traveling across the sea. This meant that the common Proto-Alasian language spawned a separate branch known as Insular Alasian. These dialects were still part of the common language, being mutually intelligible with each other. By the end of the common period, the continental and insular branches had produced distinct daughter languages that were no longer mutually intelligible. The daughter language of the insular branch came into contact with other languages and cultures earlier—most likely the Jabeq and Wahlichi cultures—which caused it to move further away from its continental relatives.
Proto-Alasian had a rather balanced set of phonemes. There was a total of 27 phonemes, divided into 10 vowels and 17 consonants.
The nasal vowels are believed to have been lower than their oral counterparts, in other words they were more likely to have been realized as [ɛ̃] and [ɔ̃] rather than [ẽ] and [õ]. There were no long vowels or diphthongs in Proto-Alasian, but sequences of a vowel and a glide occurred frequently. This eventually caused diphthongs to form due to the deletion of unstressed *j in an intervocalic position: *má.ji > *má.i > *mái. Similarly, the deletion of a preconsonantal *x caused the preceding vowel to lengthen: *moxki > *mo:ki.
|Mid||e ẽ||o õ|
It is unknown wether /r/ was a pure trill [r] or a simple tap [ɾ]. Similarly, /w/ might have been a bilabial approximant [β̞] rather than a pure labio-velar approximant. We're going to assume a trill and a pura labio-velar approximant for simplicity's sake.
All consonants could be geminated in a non-word initial position. In other words, *kkiti wasn't allowed, but both *kiti and *kitti were allowed.
We will transcribe most of these sounds using their IPA equivelants, with the exception of: /ẽ/ and /õ/ which will be transcribed using an ogonek; <ę> and <ǫ>. /ɯ/ and /ɑ/ will be transcribed using an acute accent; <ú> and <á>. /nʲ/, /tʲ/, /ɕ/ and /t͡ɕ/ will be transcribed using a dot below; <ṇ>, <ṭ>, <ṣ>, and <tṣ>.
Nasal consonants most likely assimilated to match the following consonant. This probably happened across both word- and syllable-boundries: /Np/ → [mp] /Nt/ → [nt] /Nɕ/ → [nʲɕ] /Nk/ → [ŋk]
Proto-Alasian had a fixed stress on the first syllable of the root.
Syllables could have up to two consonants preceding the vowel nuclues, and two following it. Allowed onset clusters consisted of a consonant followed by a glide, lateral or rhotic. Allowed final clusters consisted of a nasal followed by any other consonant. This is represented by the formula (C)(j,w,r,l)V(N)(C).
Examples of monosyllabic words:
- lǫ – parent
- njá – food
- wa – two
Glides, rhotics or laterals could only appear on their own or as the secondary element of the onset cluster, meaning that *we and *li could occur, but *wje or *lji couldn't. Consonant clusters across syllable-boundries could only take the shape of N.C(C) or C.C(C). Only plosives, affricates and fricatives follow a nasal in a coda cluster. Geminates followed this shape: (C).C: or C:.(C) or N:(C).C.
- kánk - CVNC
- tekra – CVC.CV
- ánna – V.C:V
- nimmri – CVC:.CV
- kynnṣka – CVN:C.CV
Nouns were typically monomorphemic words that consisted of minimally a single syllable and maximally three syllables.
Demonstratives & quantifiersEdit
The demonstratives *rá (proximal) *lána (distal) and the interrogative determiners *kyn (which) and *jǫ (what) preceded the noun they determined. They also required a linking morpheme (below). Quantifiers like *wa (two) and *nipi (many) followed the noun they modified. They didn't require a linking morpheme.
The linking morpheme was a suffix that occurred when a noun was linked to some other element of the noun phrase. Most of the elements that required linking were the ones that preceded the head noun, like demonstratives.
- lána niṣtę – that animal (that animal-LNK)
- krijo olo – the tree is big (tree big-LNK)
When following a fricative or affricate the linking suffix was -tę, when following a high vowel it was -jo. Words ending nasal vowels used -nu, and any other vowel used -ká. Words ending in other consonants used -wo.
Words of kinship and body parts doesn't require a linking morpheme, as they were inalianable.
Most Alasian nouns were alienable, which meant that they could stand on their own or be possessed by another noun using the possessed ṣi- prefix.
- án ṣitokoká – my house (1SG POSS-house-LNK)
Inalienable nouns had an obligatory possessed relationship with another noun. They were most commonly associated with a possessive pronoun as the possessor.
- án lǫ - my parent (1SG parent)
- tǫ tṣaŋ - his mouth (3SG mouth)
These nouns did not require the possessed prefix, however, it was possible to add the possessed prefix to an inalienable noun, particularly those referring to body parts. In this case the meaning changed from being part of a body into being a body part that is somehow separated from the rest of the body. Thus a sentence like “an animal's head” would mean “an animal head” or “an animal's head detached from its body” when used with the possessed prefix.
Proto-Alasian used the quantifiers 'two' and 'many' or 'several' to indicate dual and plural.
- niṣ – (the/an) animal
- niṣ wo – (two) animals (animal two)
- niṣ nipi – (many) animals (animal many)
- niṣ kjy – (several) animals (animal several)
When used attributively, adjectives didn't require the linking morpheme. However, when being used to mean 'X is Y' the noun received the linking morpheme (as demonstrated under the section called linking).
Adjectives followed the noun it modified, and when used alongside a quantifier it preceded the quantifier.
Rather peculiarly, Proto-Alasian distinguished between singular and plural in the pronouns, but not the nouns.
There were two types of pronouns: the free pronouns and the bound pronouns. The bound pronouns were prefixed to verb, while the free pronouns were used as possessive pronouns or to add emphasize to a sentence or statement.
The bound pronouns had two different forms. The single consonant form was used if the verb began in a vowel, while the single vowel was used if the verb began in a consonant.
|1st sg.||nǫ||n-, ǫ-|
|2nd sg.||ápe||w-, á-|
|3rd sg.||ję||j-, i-|
|1st pl.||xju||x-, u-|
|2nd pl.||ta-||t-, a-|
|3rd pl.||mú-||m-, ú-|
Proto-Alasian place its postpositions after the last element in a noun phrase.
- lána kri olo nú – to that big tree (that tree big to)
- lána kri olu yrú – from that big tree (that tree big from)
|toko||"on", "at, "in"|
|lu||"with (in the company of)"|
Proto-Alasian formed its infinitive by suffixing the verb stem with -te. Verb stems were usually mono- or disyllabic and ended in a vowel. The infinitive construction was used when following the verb *ji-, meaning “want”, or the verb *ká-, meaning “be able”.'
Tense & moodEdit
The tense & mood system of Proto-Alasian was rather extensive. It featured one present tenses, two past tenses, two future tenses, a habitual and an imperative. The habitual could also be called the second present tense.
Present I expresses an action that is currently happening or is about to happen. ála ǫṣera – I am speaking Alasian ǫmora – I'm about to eat Present II expresses the habitual. ála ǫṣelky – I speak Alasian Past I is a simple past. ála áṣetin – you spoke Alasian Past II is a perfect. imotep – he/she has eaten Future I is a general future. ǫmoṭú – I will eat Future II expresses an event that is imminent. ámotṣá – you're going to eat Imperative expressed a simple command or pleading. ámoṣki – eat!/please eat
Proto-Alasian had a negative verb which followed the main verb and had to agree in tense or mood with the verb it modified. It was the only irregular verb in Proto-Alasian. Present and past I and II had been fused in the negative verb. The present tense used on the main verb depended on the dialect and/or personal preference as there was no difference in meaning. This did not apply for the past tenses.
- ápe ǫtira kor – I can't see you (2SG 1SG-see-PRS1 NEG.PRS)
- ápe ǫtilky kor – I can't see you (2SG 1SG-see-PRS2 NEG.PRS)
- ję ǫtitin kot – I haven't seen him/her (3SG 1SG-see-PST1 NEG.PST)
- ámoṣki xok – don't eat
The subordinate formEdit
Proto-Alasian had a special verb form used to introduce subordinate clauses. It was formed by replacing the infinitive suffix with -we, which was suffixed on the main verb of the subbordinate clause. Additional tense & mood suffix preceded the subordinate suffix.
- ála áṣewera kor ǫtrálky – I know that you don't speak Alasian (alasian 2SG-speak-SUB-PRS1 NEG.PRS 1SG-know-PRS2)
Ála was a head-final language, with verbs as head. The common word order was OV; in Ála, a verb's person was marked with prefixing pronouns, so that the subject and verb were actually the same word-form.
Subordinate clauses preceded the main clause. The main verb of a subordinate clause was marked with a suffix, as described before.