|blaw9hpla Plaw Hmaephla|
|Region||West, Northwest Nagu|
|Native speakers||34.2 million|
Second Language: 5.1 million (2016)
|Writing system||Mablic alphabet|
|Official language in||Mablag|
|Regulated by||Society for the Furthering of the Mablic Language (KTPPH)|
The Mablic language (Mablic: blaw9hpla, DLRM: plaw hmaephla, IPA: [plàw m̥āpʰlà]) is the Prra-Blen language spoken in Mablag where it is an official language. In 2018, it was spoken as a first language by 34 million, and as a second language by 5 million.
Mablic is a tonal and analytic language, largely monosyllabic, with a subject-verb-object word order. It is somewhat mutually intelligible with Deyab, another Prra-Blen language.
An example of spoken Mablic can be found here: File:Mablic - Spiders.mp3
Mablic belongs to the North Prra-Blen branch of the Prra-Blen languages. Mablic is the most widely spoken of the Prra-Blen languages. Mablic was also the first Prra-Blen language to develop a writing system.
- Literary High (H) form (xhbmf1bl<q nhaepmai auploing) the high variety, used in literature (formal writing), newspapers, and formal exchanges
- Spoken Low (L) form (bemhx1bl<q pemaenh auploing) the low variety, used in daily conversation, television, and informal writing
The literary form of Mablic retains archaic words no longer used in the colloquial form. In most cases, the relation between words in the literary and spoken forms is arbitrary. Examples of this phenomenon include the following lexical items:
- "I" (pronoun): HIGH b)f prrai → LOW bex penh
- "you" (pronoun): HIGH byaq pyang → LOW c5y chhuuy
- "no" (marker): HIGH debwa tepwa → LOW 9f hmai
- "hey" (interjection): HIGH )iq rring → LOW 2 eu
- "have" (verb): HIGH 7dn>y ietnuiy → LOW b1y pauy
- "speak" (verb): HIGH byhdx6 pyaetnhii → LOW xhg nhaek
- "book" (noun): HIGH k)7blh khrrieplae → LOW p4 phou
- "field" (noun): HIGH blom pleim → LOW dag tak
The following sample sentence reveals that differences between literary and spoken Mablic occur in various words:
The consonants of Mablic are:
|Nasal||m m̥||n n̥||ŋ ŋ̊||ɴ ɴ̥|
|Plosive||p pʰ||t tʰ||k kʰ|
|Affricate||t͡s t͡sʰ||t͡ɕ t͡ɕʰ|
The vowels of Mablic are:
Mablic is a tonal language, which means phonemic contrasts can be made on the basis of the tone of a vowel. There are four contrastive tones in Mablic. In the following table, the tones are shown marked on the vowel /a/ as an example.
(shown on a)
(shown on a)
|Low||t6xb)6x||[a˨]||à||low, often slightly rising|
|High||byfqb)6x||[a˦]||á||high, slightly rising|
For example, the following words are distinguished from each other only on the basis of tone:
- Low pv /pʰɯ̀/ "remnant; ash"
- Mid p+ /pʰɯ̄/ "today"
- High p< /pʰɯ́/ "gift"
- Falling p4 /pʰɯ̂/ "book"
The syllable structure of Mablic is (C)(G)V(C), which is to say the onset consists of an optional consonant followed by an optional glide or liquid, and the rime consists of a monophthong alone or a monophthong followed by a consonant. Glides cannot stand in the coda. Some representative words are:
- V /ɛ̂/ "man"
- CV /tʰá/ "most"
- VC /ɛ̀k/ "maintain"
- CVC /tʰɛ̂ŋ/ "site"
- CGV /tʰwɛ́/ "different"
- CGVC /tʰwɛ̄k/ "cook"
The Mablic alphabet consists of 23 letters and 5 vowels and is written from left to right. It requires no spaces between words, although modern writing usually contains spaces after each clause to enhance readability. Tone markings are written as diacritics placed to the top and bottom of letters.
Written Mablic dates to the early 4th century. Evidence shows that the Mablic script has been in use at least since 423-439 CE, the earliest source being the Prikmitnuew Rock Inscription. Standardized tone marking was not achieved until the late 19th century. From the 20th century onward, orthographers created spellers to reform Mablic spelling, because ambiguities arose over spelling sounds that had been merged.
From the perspective of linguistic typology, Mablic can be considered to be an analytic language. The word order is subject-verb-object, although the subject is often omitted. Mablic pronouns are selected according to the relative status of speaker and audience.
Adjectives and adverbs
There is no morphological distinction between adverbs and adjectives. Many words can be used in either function. They precede the word they modify, which may be a noun, verb, or another adjective or adverb.
- 3gkep iuk khep [îk kʰɛ̀p] "a slow turtle"
- kep3gbl1x khep iuk plaunh [kʰɛ̀p îk plâɴ] "A turtle crawls slowly."
- q6bexdal+& ngii penh ta loehng [ŋí pɛ̀ɴ tà lɯ̄ŋ̊] "He is richer than me."
- q6tfl+& ngii thai loehng [ŋí tʰá lɯ̄ŋ̊] "He is the richest (of all)."
Because adjectives can be used as complete predicates, many words used to indicate tense in verbs (see Verbs:Tense below) may be used to describe adjectives.
- bexr> penh rui [pɛ̀ɴ ɾú] "I am hungry."
- bexawr> penh aw rui [pɛ̀ɴ àw ɾú] "I am hungry right now."
- bext2xr> penh theunh rui [pɛ̀ɴ tʰɛ̂ɴ ɾú] "I will be hungry soon."
- dab1w(0 ta pauw hnee [tà pâw n̥ɛ̄] "We saw them."
- (0b1wda hnee pauw ta [n̥ɛ̄ pâw tà] "They saw us."
The passive voice is indicated by the insertion of brig (prik, [pɾìk]) before the verb. For example:
- dabrigb1w ta prik pauw [tà pɾìk pâw] "We are seen."
The imperative is indicated with &u (hngu, [ŋ̊ù]). For example:
- &ukotw0gphw hngu khei thweek phaew [ŋ̊ù kʰɛ́ tʰwɛ̄k pʰāw] "Go and buy some rice!"
Negation is indicated by placing 9f (hmai, [m̥á]) before the verb.
- q69fb1w ngii hmai pauw [ŋí m̥á pâw] "He is not seeing; he doesn't see."
- q6awbl1w ngii aw plauw [ŋí àw plâw] "He is running now; he is running."
Future can be indicated by t2x (theunh, [tʰɛ̂ɴ], "soon") before the verb or by a time expression indicating the future. For example:
- q6t2xbl1w ngii theunh plauw [ŋí tʰɛ̂ɴ plâw] "He will run; he is going to run."
- q6k0ybl1w ngii kheey plauw [ŋí kʰɛ̄j plâw] "He will run tomorrow."
Past can be indicated by h (ae, [ā], "before") before the verb or by a time expression indicating the past. For example:
- q6hbl1w ngii ae plauw [ŋí ā plâw] "He ran."
- q6p3b1bl1w ngii phiu pau plauw [ŋí pʰî pâ plâw] "He ran last week."
Tense markers are not required.
- c5y9hdwh chhuuy hmae twae [t͡ɕʰûj m̥ā twā] "You sit there."
- ba1992 w6q9hdwh pa 1992 wiing hmae twae [pà pʰjɛ̂mnàɴ pɛ̀tʰjâw kʰrìpkʰɛ̀jmìj wíŋ m̥ā twā] "You guys sat there in 1992."
- b)3doqtwoxna3x9hdwh prriu teing thweinh na iunh hmae twae [prî tɛ́ŋ tʰwɛ́nːàîɴ m̥ā twā] "He (the king) will sit there after His meal."
Mablic exhibits serial verb constructions, where verbs are strung together. Some word combinations are common and may be considered set phrases.
- q6kohx ngii khei aenh [ŋí kʰɛ́ āɴ] "He went to eat", literally "He go eat"
- bfwgay9fb2w paiw kay hmai peuw [páw kàj m̥á pɛ̂w] "[I] cannot sleep", literally "See tired no sleep"