Ebo Nganagam language

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Ebo Nganagam language
Ethnicity ethnic Ebo Nganagam people
Language family
Daleic
  • Kawa Mountain Languages
    • Ebo Nganagam language
Writing system no standard writing system
CWS code enn

Ebo Nganagam is the major language of the Confederation of Ebo Nganagam, however, it seems that it is actually a dialect continuum rather than a single language.

The Ebo Nganagam language belongs to the Daleic languages, a language family of North Baredina.

Originally the Ebo Nganagam language is the ethnic language of ethnic Ebo Nganagam people, but later it also became the main language of the Hux Kham settlers and the lokolo people, the people of mixed ethnic Hux Kham and ethnic Ebo Nganagam ancestry, and also the lingua franca of the area.

Despite the fact that it is the language of the ethnic Ebo Nganagam people and is also the native language of most people of the Confederation of Ebo Nganagam, it is still largely an unwritten language, the literacy rate of native language is very low, no government documents are written in the Ebo Nganakam Language, and most people of the Confederation of Ebo Nganakam are illiterate. To increase the literacy, the central government of the Confederation of Ebo Nganakam is going to establish an orthography for the Ebo Nganakam Language.

During the time of the Ebo Aga Empire, the use of the Ebo Nganagam language was greatly encouraged and promoted by the emperors of the empire, and as a result, the Ebo Nganagam language has become a lingua franca in most of the territory of the Confederation of Ebo Nganagam, and the Ebo Nganagam language is also used as a trade language and working language in Barradiwa, Tabiqa and the Algador.

Information of this article is mainly based on the western dialect.

Dialects

the Ebo Nganagam language has four dialects: the western dialect, the central dialect, the eastern dialect and the northeastern dialect.

People living in the Old Sunland States, the northwestern part of the State of Adzamasiin and ethnic Ebo Nganagam people living in Barradiwa generally use the western dialect; People living in the Midland States and most parts of the State of Adzamasiin generally use the central dialect; People living in the Old Ebo Lokngak states generally use the northeastern dialect; and people living in the Kahala States and the State of North Algador generally use the eastern dialect.

History

Not much is known about the Ebo Nganagam language in the past, the Ebo Nganagam language was first recorded in about 700 AD, and was only sparsely recorded before the 19th century, however, it is known that the vowel system of the modern Ebo Nganagam language had been formed as of 700 AD, and it is known that the following sound changed occured between 700 AD and 1500 AD, as some documents showed:

  • z > r
  • S > s(S indicates an unknown coronal fricative, likely /θ/)
  • h > 0 / _#
  • hp > pʰ > ɸ(applies across word boundaries)
  • ht > tʰ > θ(applies across word boundaries, happens after S > s)
  • hk > kʰ > x(applies across word boundaries)

Before the 16th century, all dialects of the Ebo Nganagam language were very similar, there were no known sound differences between dialects of the Ebo Nganagam language before the 16th century, as all documents before 16th century mentioned that the speech of the ethnic Ebo Nganagam people were very homogeneous and people from different villages and tribes can communicate with each other without difficulty, and Hux Kham loans also confirmed these claims; however, at some point of the 16th century, some sound changes started to separate the dialects away, making them less similar.

Phonology

Consonants

Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Epiglottal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative ɸ θ s x ɦ
Affricate
Approximant β j w
Trill r
Flap or tap
Lateral fric.
Lateral app. l
Lateral flap

Vowels

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close i
Near-close
Close-mid o~ʊ
Mid ə
Open-mid
Near-open
Open a

Phonotactics

Syllable Structure: (C)V(C), only nasals or plosives can end a syllable if the syllable is closed.

Vowel Cluster Reduction

There are rules governing the reduction of vowel clusters within a word:

  • if two identical vowles are adjacent to each other, then one of them disappear: VV > V
  • if the first vowel is /i/ or /o/ and the following vowel is /a/ or /ə/, then the /a/ or /ə/ disappear:
    • ia > i
    • ua > u
    • iə > i
    • uə > u
  • if the first vowel is /i/ and the following vowel is /o/, then the /i/ disappear: io > o
  • if the first vowel is /o/ and the following vowel is /i/, then the /o/ disappear: oi > i

The Vowel Cluster Reduction rule does not apply to word boundaries.


Dialectical differences

There are dialectical differences regarding the pronunciation of syllable-final /p/ /t/ /k/, the pronunciation of alveolars before /i/, and the prounciation of /p/ and /ɣ/ before vowels.

Below is the table about the exact pronunciation of different consonants:

comparison table
coda /p/ coda /t/ coda /k/ /t/ before /i/ /d/ before /i/ /n/ before /i/ /s/ before /i/ /l/ before /i/ /p/ in other positions /ɦ/ /ə/ /VwV/ /VjV/
western dialect [p] [t] [k] [t] [d] [n] [s] [l] [p] [ɦ] [ə] /VwV/ /VjV/
central dialect [β]~[w] [t] [ɣ]~[w] [t] [d] [n] [s] [l] [pɸ] [ɣ]~[g] [ə] /VwV/ /VjV/
eastern dialect [β] [r] [ɣ] [ʧ] [ʤ] [ɲ] [ʃ] [ʎ] [ɸ] [ɣ] [ə] /VwV/ /VjV/
northeastern dialect [w] [r] [j] [ʧ] [ʤ] [ɲ] [ʃ] [ʎ] [ɸ] [Ø]~[w] [ə]~[ɛ] /VwwV/ /VjjV/

From the evidence of Hux Kham loanwords, it is known that the current dialects of the Ebo Nganagam language only started to split fairy recently, the sound changes splitting different dialects only occurred after the latter half of the 15th century, most likely during the early 16th century, as shown in the documents by Algazi businesspeople in the latter half of the 16th century, the sound changes had already taken place and was nearly complete at that time.

It is generally thought that the sound changes originated from the northeastern dialect, and then they spreaded westwards, and the western dialect is the most phonologically conservative dialect among all dialects of the Ebo Nganagam language, as it is largely unaffected by the sound changes, although /ɦ/ in the western dialect might have been /ɣ/ in earlier stages, as shown by Hux Kham loanwords.

There's an ongoing sound change in the central dialect in which /ɣ/ is merged into /g/ before vowels, making them a single phoneme; also, in the central dialect, there's an ongoing sound change to shift /β/ and /ɣ/ into /w/ in the coda position.

Transcription

  • A-/a~ɑ/
  • B-/b/
  • BH-/β/
  • D-/d/
  • E-/ə/
  • G-/ɡ/
  • GH-/ɦ/
  • H-/x/
  • I-/i/
  • K-/k/
  • L-/l/
  • M-/m/
  • N-/n/
  • O-/o~ʊ/
  • P-/p/
  • PH-/ɸ/
  • R-/r/
  • S-/s/
  • T-/t/
  • TH-/θ/
  • W-/w/
  • Y-/j/

Grammar

Morphology

Nominal Morphology

Nouns don't decline according to gender, number or case, but there are possessive suffixes for nouns.

The plural form of a noun is formed by reduplication, however, the plural form is always optional, and is not used after quantifiers.

Possessive suffixes:

  • 1.SG: -ene/-ne
  • 1.DU.EXCL: -enem/-nem
  • 1.DU.INCL: -enom/-nom
  • 1.PL.EXCL: -enet/-net
  • 1.PL.INCL: -enot/-not
  • 2.SG: -engo/-ngo
  • 2.PL: -engot/-ngot
  • 3.SG: -eme/-me
  • 3.PL: -emet/-met

Verbal Morphology

Ebo Nganakam has a Philippine alignment, that means, it uses a focus system to indicate the role of the main argument(the one in direct case) in a sentence.

Some common focus triggers are listed below:

  • Agent Focus I: -a
  • Agent Focus II: -om
  • Agent Focus III: -o
  • Patient Focus: -and
  • Locative Focus: -an
  • Goal Focus: -on
  • Benefactive Focus I: -abow
  • Benefactive Focus II: -embow
  • Instrumental Focus I: -im
  • Instrumental Focus II: -ibow
  • Comitative Focus: -id
  • Start/Reason Focus: -en

Personal agreements are also used, they follow the focus triggers:

Direct agreements:

  • 1.SG: -ele/-le
  • 1.DU.EXCL: -elem/-lem
  • 1.DU.INCL: -elom/-lom
  • 1.PL.EXCL: -elet/-let
  • 1.PL.INCL: -elot/-lot
  • 2.SG: -o/-ho
  • 2.PL: -ot/-hot
  • 3.SG: -a
  • 3.PL: -at/-t
  • impersonal: -i
  • analytic form of verbs: -an

Indirect agreements:

  • 1.SG: -ene/-ne
  • 1.DU.EXCL: -enem/-nem
  • 1.DU.INCL: -enom/-nom
  • 1.PL.EXCL: -enet/-net
  • 1.PL.INCL: -enot/-not
  • 2.SG: -engo/-ngo
  • 2.PL: -engot/-ngot
  • 3.SG: -eme/-me
  • 3.PL: -emet/-met

Tense-Aspect-Moods:

  • Progressive: reduplicating the first syllable of the stem of the verb, if there's a causative prefix, reduplicating the causative prefix and the first syllable of the stem of the verb.
  • Perfective: ki-/kir-
  • Subjunctive: mo-/mor-
  • Conditional: ma-/mar-
  • Imperative: -ot(used before the direct personal agreements)

Other:

  • Negation: ra-(for verbs starting with a nasal)/na-(for verbs starting with a liquid)/ran-(for all other verbs)
  • Interrogative: re
  • Causative: la-

Consonant Mutation

Consonant Mutation Table
Lenition Nasalization Spirantization
p b m+b ph
t d n+d th
k g ng+g h
b bh m+m
d l n+n
g gh ng+ng

There's also a reverse mutation, which is basically the reverse of lenition, however, reverse mutation is unproductive and is only used in some words.

Mutation Condition

Lenition:

  • The initial consonant of the verb stem is lenited after the causative prefix la-
  • In compound words, if the previous component ends in a vowel, the initial consonant of the following component is lenited
  • In some reduplications, the initial consonant of the second component is lenited

Nasalization:

  • The initial consonant of a noun is nasalized after the indirect preposition "an" or the demonstrative "ayen".
  • The initial consonant of a word is nasalized after the negator "ran-"

Spirantization:

  • The initial consonant of a noun is Spirantized after ordinal numbers ending in "-di"
  • The initial consonant of the "tiyen" part of 11-19 is spirantized.
  • The initial consonant of words following the conjunction "ma"("and") is spirantized.
  • Certain derivational affixes also trigger spirantization.

Syntax

Word Order

  • Basic Word Order: Verb-Subject-Object(VSO)/Verb-Object-Subject(VOS), occasionally Subject-Verb-Object(SVO)
  • Adpositions are prepositions, adpositional phrases starting with the direct case preposition "ke" usually come last.
  • Numerals, Demonstratives, Adjectives precede the noun they modify, relative clauses may precede or follow the noun they modify, possessors follow the noun they modify, however, compound words are usually head-initial, or right-branching.

Interrogative words usually come first.

Words

Pronouns

Personal Pronouns

Direct Case:

  • 1.SG: de
  • 1.DU.EXCL: dem
  • 1.DU.INCL: dom
  • 1.PL.EXCL: det
  • 1.PL.INCL: dot
  • 2.SG: go
  • 2.PL: got
  • 3.SG: be
  • 3.PL: bet

Indirect Case:

  • 1.SG: ane
  • 1.DU.EXCL: anem
  • 1.DU.INCL: anom
  • 1.PL.EXCL: anet
  • 1.PL.INCL: anot
  • 2.SG: ango
  • 2.PL: angot
  • 3.SG: ame
  • 3.PL: amet

Demonstrative Pronouns

  • this/these: ki
  • that/those: a-yen

Interrogative Pronouns

  • Who: sande
  • What: dik
  • Where: ro
  • Which: ava

Adpositions

  • Direct case preposition(also used as a preposition for the possessive/genitive case): ke
  • Indirect case preposition: an
  • Oblique preposition: ko

Others

  • and: ma
  • or: baro
  • but/only: akdot
  • also: mep
  • because: da
  • so/therefore/thus: nadi
  • relativizer: go

Loanwords

Ebo Nganagam language has borrowed a lot of words from other languages, especially Hux Kham and Q'eb; on the other hand, the Ebo Nganagam language also exports words to other languages.

A peculiar phenomenon about loanwords in Ebo Nganagam is that they borrowed most of its animal names from other language, even for animals native to the area.

Examples