Hux Kham language

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Hux Kham
Ethnicity Hux Kham people
Language family
Hux Kham-Ame?
  • Hux Kham-Qgam
    • Hux Kham
      • Hux Kham
Early forms:
Old Hux Kham
  • Classical Hux Kham
    • Hux Kham
Writing system Eamsien
Letsic(in the Confederation of Ebo Ganagam)
Official status
Official language in Hux Kham
CWS code x00

The Hux Kham language, also called the Lakelandish, is the language spoken by the Hux Kham people, it is the official language of the Republic of Hux Kham, and is one of the two official languages of the Confederation of Ebo Nganagam.

The Hux Kham language is a language isolate, the only known relatives are its predecessors in the history, like the Classical Hux Kham language.

The Hux Kham language mainly uses a script derived from the Eamsien script, however, the writing system is etymological-based, it is basically the same to the Classical Hux Kham language, therefore, it does not perfectly fit the pronunciation of Modern Standard Hux Kham or any form of colloquial speech, for example, the writing system has two signs for <i>, while Modern Standard Hux Kham and all modern colloquial dialects have merged them into a single phoneme /i/ and don't distinguish them anymore except in writing. Besides the Eamsien script, it is very common for Hux kham people who live in the Confederation of Ebo Nganagam to write the Hux Kham language in the Letsic script

Information below is mainly based on the Modern Standard Hux Kham language.

Classification

The Hux Kham language doesn't appear to be related to any other known languages in Sahar, therefore, most linguists classify it as an language isolate.

However, some linguists argue that the Hux Kham language is distantly related to the Ame language spoken by the Ya Amo people in Shekku, however, this claim is highly controversial, as there are few possible cognates between the Hux Kham language and the Ame language, although recent researches have shown that the Hux Kham people are most similar to the Ya Amo people genetically.

Evidence suggests that the Hux Kham people had a strong taboo naming against the dead before the 11th century, in the taboo system, a synonym or a loanword from another language would be used for a certain period, after which the original word could be used again; but in some cases the replacement word would continue to be used. This practice might partly explain the difficulty in classifying the Hux Kham language. It is known that the old taboo system was abolished at some period of time before the 11th century.

Phonology

Consonants

Bilabial Labio-dental Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal Epiglottal Glottal
Nasal m n ȵ ŋ
Plosive p pʰ b t tʰ d k kʰ g ʔ
Fricative s z ʂ ʐ ç~ɕ x (h)*
Affricate ʈʂ ʈʂʰ ɖʐ t͡ɕ t͡ɕʰ d͡ʑ
Approximant w ɻ j
Trill
Flap or tap
Lateral fric.
Lateral app. l ȴ
Lateral flap
  • [h] is an allophone of /x/ in coda position.
  • /g/ was [ɣ] before the late 19th century.
  • In Classical Hux Kham, /b/ and /d/ might be [ɓ] and [ɗ] respectively.
  • there's an ongoing sound change shifting /ç/ into [ɕ], there's also an ongoing sound change merging /ɖʐ/ and /ʐ/

Vowels

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close i u
Near-close
Close-mid
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Near-open
Open a

Phonotactics

Syllable Structure: (C)(C)V(C)(C).

Up to two consonants can start or end a syllable. when there are two consonants in the coda position, the second consonant must be a glottal consonant, that is, [ʔ] or [h].

Most roots are monosyllabic or sesquisyllabic, sesquisyllabic roots contain two syllables, the first syllable is an unstressed syllable called a minor syllable, the vowel of a minor syllable is usually /ə/ and minor syllables are always open.

/ə/ does not appear in stressed syllables in Modern Standard Hux Kham(/ə/ used to appear in the stressed syllable of Classical Hux Kham, but stressed /ə/ has merged with /i/ in Modern Standard Hux Kham), usually, /ə/ is seen as the reduced vowels, and all other vowels are seen as full vowels.

/i/ is frequently pronounced as [ɨ] after non-palatal sibilants.

Tones

Some linguistics reported that there are three tones in syllables with full vowels in Modern Standard Hux Kham: high, mid and low; However, it has been shown that tones are not distinctive phonemes in Modern Standard Hux Kham, as high tones correspond to codas containing a stop, low tones correspond to codas containing a glottal continuant, and mid tones correspond to other kinds of codas; however, in northern dialects, tones have become distinctive phonemes due to the loss of final glottal consonants.

The exact value of the high tone is 45(IPA: /˦˥/); the exact value of the mid tone is 33(IPA:/˧˧/); and the exact value of the low tone is 31(IPA: /˧˩/)

Some examples of tones in Modern Standard Hux Kham are shown below:

  • hu "to fly, to draw, to write", the pronunciation is rendered as [xu˧˧]
  • huh "sky" [xuh˧˩]
  • hux "sea, lake" [xuʔ˦˥]
  • huk "straight, proper" [xuk˦˥]

In northern dialects, however, due to the lost of final glottal consonants, tones have become phonemic, and the distinction of tones have become important. For example:

  • hu "to fly, to draw, to write", the pronunciation is rendered as [xu˧˧]
  • huh "sky" [xu˧˩]
  • hux "sea, lake" [xu˦˥]
  • huk "straight, proper" [xuk˦˥]

Orthography

Grammar

Morphology

Morphology, the Hux Kham language is largely analytic, however, there is still a small class of verbs that do conjugate according to persons, they are called "Conjugatable verbs".

All aux verbs and several other verbs are Conjugatable verbs, however, the class of Conjugatable verbs is a closed class, that means, there can be no new Conjugatable verbs.

The nominalization suffix -ta is also used in relative clauses, it is added to the ending of a relative clause.

Derivational Affixes

The Adjectival suffix -lu is used after another adjective to indicate the meaning "seemingly A but actually not", it is from the verb lu "to hear, sound (like)". For example

  • gam - great
    • gamlu - grandiose(seemingly great but is actually not great)
  • ki - good
    • kilu - seeming good but is actually not good, hypocritical
  • ta - right, correct
    • talu - specious, fallacious, seeming correct but is actually not correct
  • bat - strong
    • batlu - be wih the character of a paper tiger, seeming strong but is actually not strong
      • batlu tu - paper tiger

Reduplication

Hux Kham language uses reduplication, reduplication of adjectives can intensify the meaning; reduplication of verbs can form the frequentative form of the verb; reduplication of nouns can indicate the plural or collecctive form of the noun; and reduplication of numerals can indicate the distributive numerals:

  • wan - big
    • wan wan - very big
  • gu - to eat
    • gu gu - to eat repeatedly/habitually
  • khin - mountain
    • khin khin - mountains
  • pikut - three
  • pikut pikut - three each

also, there is also a l-reduplication and m-reduplication for nouns, both of them are used to form collective nouns of certain types, l-reduplication is used to indicate the meaning "a group of, a load of, etc.", m-reduplication is used to indicate the meaning "a variety of, all kinds of". In l-reduplication, the initial consonant of the second component becomes /l/ and minor syllables are dropped; in m-reduplication, the initial consonant of the second component becomes /m/ and minor syllables are dropped.

Examples of l-reduplication:

  • khin - mountain
    • khin lin - mountain range
  • mtak - stone
    • mtak lak - a load of stone
  • troh - forest
    • troh loh - forests, jungle
  • klar - bone
    • klar lar - skeleton

Examples of m-reduplication:

  • sar - flower
    • sar mar - a variety of flower, all kinds of flower
  • mtak - stone
    • mtak mak - a variety of stone, all kinds of stone
  • nlu - person
    • nlu mu - all kinds of people, all walks of life
  • truk - iron, metal
    • truk muk - metal(as a collective noun)

Conversion

Conversion, also called zero-derivation, is also a process of derivation, verbs can be directly converted into nouns to indicate the meaning "the action of...", or the meaning indicated by suffixes like "-ing" or "-tion" in English; adjectives can also be directed converted into nouns to indicate the meaning indicated by suffixes like "-ness", "-hood", etc. in English.

Below are some examples of conversion in Hux Kham:

  • uk - dead (adj.)
    • uk - death (n.)
  • lak - to fall (v.)
    • lak - fall (n.)
  • zranx - to rise (v.)
    • zranx - rise (n.)

Syntax

Word Order

Theorically, the Hux Kham language is a V2 language, finite verbs come second in main clauses, however, except for conjugatable verbs, all verbs require an aux verb, and thus Hux Kham language is effectively a SOV language.

Adpositions are postpositions, they come after the noun they modify.

Relative clauses are internally-headed.

Demonstratives usually follow the noun they modify.

Negation precedes the word it negates.

Possessives

Possessors precede the possessed noun, personal pronouns are added directly before the possessed noun, and the third person pronoun wa is added between the possessor and the possessed noun when the possessor is not a pronoun, the pronoun wa added between the possessor and the possessed noun does not change even the possessor is plural:

  • ah sat - my house
  • ir sat - our house
  • an sat - your(singular) house
  • in sat - your(plural) house
  • wa sat - his/her/its house
  • wi sat - their house
  • Troh Lim Mtoh wa sat - Troh Lim Mtoh's house
  • nlu hwa amta wa sat - the house of that person
  • nlu hwa emta wa sat - the house of those people

Conjunctions

There are subordinate conjunctions and adverbial conjunctions, subordinate conjunctions follow the sentence they modify and the sentence with a subordinate conjunction uses the word order of subordinate clauses; adverbial conjunctions usually come first in a sentence, and when they come first, they are seen as the first constituent of the sentence, and the V2 order rule applies.

subordinate conjunctions are listed below:

  • e - after
  • that - before
  • te - because
  • tho - if
  • ar - when
  • tit - because
  • tu - and(sometimes)

adverbial conjunctions are listed below:

  • paku - but
  • pim - or
  • wate - so, therefore

The sentence preceding the conjunction tu "and" can use the word order of subordinate clauses, or the word order of main clauses.

Negation

One uses aux verbs to negate the whole sentence:

  • nlu hwa amta du kah gu - that person eats meat
  • nlu hwa amta mya kah gu - that person does not eat meat.

Note that there are no tense-aspect distinctions in negations, so the sentence "nlu hwa amta mya kah gu" can be interpreted as "that person does not eat meat" or "that person did not eat meat".

one can also use the particle ma to negate a word:

  • nlu hwa amta ya ma myah phan sax - that person found no fish.

the ma particle can also be used to negate verbs:

  • nlu hwa amta ya nga myah ma phan sax - that person did not find any fish.

Verbs

As Hux Kham is a V2 language, in main clauses, verbs in finite forms come second, while verbs in infinite forms come last; and in subordinate clauses, verbs in finite forms come after verbs in infinite forms, and all verbs come last.

There can be at most one finite verb in each clause; on the other hand, Hux Kham allows serial verb construction, there can be many verbs in infinite forms in a clause, and they can be used to indicate multiple actions happen at the same time, multiple actions that happen consecutively, and/or actions that are seen as a single action.

However, only conjugatable verbs have finite forms, and the class of conjugatable verbs is closed and pretty small, Hux Kham language is effectively a SOV language.

Adpositions

Adpositions are postpositions, and like many languages, in the Hux Kham language, different adpositions require different forms of nouns when they are used with nouns.

In adpositions that require the nominative form of nouns, the noun directly precedes the adposition, the pronoun wa cannot be used with these adpositions; in adpositions that require the possessive form of nouns, the third pronoun third person pronoun wa is added between the noun and the adposition, and as in the case of possessive constructions, the pronoun wa added between the noun and the adposition does not change even the noun used with the adposition is plural.

Adpositions that require the Nominative form of nouns:

  • am - at, to(the adposition for locations, destinations and definite direct objects in a sentence.)
  • te - from(the adposition for the source, origin or cause of someone or something in a sentence.)
  • so - through, across, via(the adposition for a place that someone or something passes through in a sentence.)
  • tu - with(the adposition for the accompanied person or thing of someone or something in a sentence.)
  • sru - with, using(the adposition for the instrument of the action in a sentence.)
  • sam - like, as(the adposition for the person or thing that is similar or does something in a similar manner to someone or something in a sentence.)
  • khwan - for(the adposition for the meaning of "over a period of time" in a sentence)

Adpositions that require the possessive form of nouns:

  • e - after
  • that - before
  • tit - for, because of(the adposition for the benefactor of the action in a sentence)
  • phe - by(the adposition for the person or thing that is by someone or something)
  • im - above, on, over
  • pak - below, under
  • ma - around

Adjectives

Adjectives can directly precede nouns to modify them:

  • wan sat - a big house.
  • kin mtoh - a tall tree

To indicate the degree of an adjective, one simply put the noun representing the degree in front of the adjective:

  • thang thi amta Tut Khar 10 khwan - the road is 10 Tut Khar long.
  • mtoh hwa amta ma lim 100 dang - the tree is about 100 years old

Predicative adjectives simply occupy the position of verbs:

  • sat hwa amta wan - the house is big.
  • mtoh hwa amta kin - the tree is tall
Comparatives and Superlatives

there are no comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, one uses "A+Adj+B+am" to indicate the meaning "A is more Adj than B":

  • mtoh thi amta kin mtoh hwa amtam - tree this tall tree that=LOC - this tree is taller than that tree
  • an sat wan wa sat am - 2.SG house big 3.SG house LOC - your house is larger than his house

To indicate superlative meanings, one uses the structure "kim+Adj":

  • kim kin mtoh - the tallest tree
  • kim wan sat - the biggest house
  • kim ki thang - the best way
    • mo kah mplu kim ki thang - cow meat cook first good way - the best way to cook beef.

to indicate the meaning "too Adj", one uses the structure "Adj+zrat":

  • hyi zrat - too bad.
  • kin zrat - too higl/too tall.
Adjectives without nouns

As WALS states, "Adjectives may occur either as predicates, for example This apple is red, or within noun phrases. When within noun phrases, they typically function as attributes to nouns, for example I want the red apple. However, in some cases, when the noun is either unimportant or is reconstructible from the discourse, it is absent from the construction, and, as a result, the adjective remains as the main lexical item within the noun phrase, denoting the understood object."( http://wals.info/chapter/61 )

In Hux Kham, adjectives without nouns are constructed by the following structure:

(Adjective)+ ko "to become" + -ta "nominalizer/complementizer"

For example:

  • wan ko-ta - big become-NMLZ - the big one
  • tix ko-ta - small become-NMLZ - the small one
  • zruk ko-ta -evil become-NMLZ - the evil one

words

The speakers of the Hux Kham language have a long tradition resisting foreign words since the 19th century, they have a strong tendency to create new words using existing roots, neverthless, some loanwords have still entered the Hux Kham language.

Examples

  • nlu hwa amta ya gepta=m oh - person there be.at-NMLZ PST.3.SG spider=ACC kill(hwa amta = that) - the person killed a spider/some spiders.
  • nlu hwa amta ya gepta hwa amta=m oh - person there be.at-NMLZ PST.3.SG spider there be.at-NMLZ=ACC kill(hwa amta = that) - the person killed the spider.
  • nlu hwa amta ya gepta hwa amta=m ma oh - person there be.at-NMLZ PST.3.SG spider there be.at-NMLZ=ACC NEG kill(hwa amta = that) - the person didn't kill the spider.(oh "kill" is negated)
  • wa ma zru tho, ma zruh ah pax-wate - 3.SG NEG go if NEG go 1.SG also - if he does not go, I won't go either.