Modern Standard Osveraali language

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Modern Standard Osveraali
MSO
Osverālí
Pronunciation[ɔsvɜʁaɐɪɭi:]
RegionAtsiq
Native speakers20 million  (2016)
Language family
Osveraali
  • Greater Osveraali
    • Osveraalic
      • Osveraali Proper
        • Modern Standard Osveraali
Early forms:
Old Osveraali
  • Middle Osveraali
    • Modern Standard Osveraali
Writing systemOsveraali script
Official status
Official language inDachashk
CWS codeOVA

Modern Standard Osveraali or MSO is the official language of Dachashk and the largest of the modern Osveraali languages by number of speakers. It is the modern lingua franca of Atsiq.

Classification

Modern Standard Osveraali is the standardised form of the vernacular spoken in the Kingdom of Dachashk. Its ancestors, Middle and Old OSveraali, belong to the Osveraalic branch of Greater Osveraali, making it a close relative of Thargian and Qotsian.

History

Phonology

Phonemes

The phoneme inventory of MSO is typical for the Atsiq languages. Consonants generally distinguish voicing in plosives, fricatives and affricates but not length, in contrast to earlier stages. Rhotics are absent, with both liquids being lateral approximants. MSO has three retroflex consonants, considerably less than the neighbouring Shyorian or Thargian. The vowel inventory is large and spread out across five degrees of backness and seven degrees of openness, but the length contrast found in many Osveraali languages has been lost outside of the close peripheral vowels. MSO has two comparatively rare vowels, /ɜ/ and /ɤ/. Vowel harmony has disappeared from the language.

Consonants

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d k g
Fricative f v θ s z ʂ ʐ χ ʁ h
Affricate ts dz
Lateral approximant l ɭ
Approximant j

Vowels

Front Near-front Central Near-back Back
Close i: y: ɨ u:
Near-close ɪ ʏ ʊ
Close-mid e ø ɤ o
Open-mid ɜ ɔ
Near-open æ ɐ
Open a

Diphthongs

MSO has largely lost its long vowels, converting them into a complex system of diphthongs and triphthongs. Uniquely for an Osveraali language, there are both short and long polyphthongs, with length sometimes found on centralised vowels: /aɐɪ/, /æeɪ/, /aɐ/, /æe/, /oɔ/, /oɔ:/, /iɪ:/, /yi:/, /uʊ:/, /aɔʏ/ and /aɔ/.

Phonotactics

Grammar

Modern Standard Osveraali has lost most of the complex inflectional system of Greater Osveraali, continuing a process that is attested already in Old Osveraali.

Nouns

Like all Osveraali languages with the exception of Shyorian, there is no inflection for gender. MSO nouns inflect in three cases (common, genitive and oblique), but a number distinction appears only in the common case, which covers both nominative and accusative. The possessive inflection has been lost entirely and replaced with possessive pronouns. Many common nouns are irregular in their common plural formation.

Verbs

The MSO verb's main inflectional category is aspect. It distinguishes three main stems (progressive, perfective and resultative) but does not inflect for tense or agreement with any of its constituents. There are three synthetic moods (indicative, subjunctive, imperative) and two periphrastic ones (potential, negative). MSO is one of the modern Osveraali languages that preserve asymmetric negation; in negative sentences, the aspect distinction is levelled.

There is a sophisticated system of derivational affixes that encode different aspectual shades, as well a several participles that serve to link clauses together in adverbial constructions. A passive can be formed periphrastically; in contrast to Imperial Osveraali, passives are simple main clauses. Reciprocal and reflexive constructions are also expressed via particles.

MSO continues the use of applicatives for relativisation on obliques, comparees, genitives and locations.

Adjectives

MSO adjectives do not inflect for number or agreement. A dozen very common adjectives retain synthetic comparative and superlative forms; for most, however, these are expressed analytically. There are no adverbs; if an adjective describes a verb, both are nominalised.

Syntax

MSO is a prime example of the characteristic Osveraali tense-based word order. The timeframe of an action is described not by verb inflection but by constituent order, with present, past and future each expressed by a different arrangement. Past-tense sentences begin with the verb, while the future moves the verb to the end. If subject and object are separated by the verb, the sentence is understood to be present tense. In intransitive sentences, the present and future are indistinguishable; this can be avoided by nominalising the verb and reformulating the sentence with an auxiliary ("I sleep" -> "I perform sleep"), resulting in a structure that is transitive.

Relative clauses tend to branch left with a retained pronoun and the verb in participle form, but can also be put tpo the right of their head, again requiring an explicit pronoun. While conjunctions are used a lot in the spoken language, written MSO mostly avoids them in favour of synthetic adverbial constructions.

Vocabulary

Writing and literature

MSO is written in a modified version of the Osveraali script that originated during the 11th century and was first used to write Imperial Osveraali.