Ozarian language

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Ozarian
OVA
Õzāra
Pronunciation[ə'zɑɾɔ]
RegionAtsiq
Native speakers14 million  (2016)
Language family
Osveraali
  • Greater Osveraali
    • Osveraalic
      • Osveraali Proper
        • Ozarian
Early forms:
Old Osveraali
  • Middle Osveraali
    • Ozarian
Writing systemOsveraali script
Official status
Official language inOzaria
CWS codeOVA

Ozarian is the official language of Ozaria and the largest of the modern Osveraali languages by number of speakers. It is the modern lingua franca of Atsiq.

Classification

Ozarian is the standardised form of the vernacular spoken in Ozaria. Its ancestors, Middle and Old Osveraali, belong to the Osveraalic branch of Greater Osveraali, making it a close relative of Jaegian and Kepran.

History

Phonology

Phonemes

Like most modern Atsiq languages, Ozarian distinguishes alveolar from retroflex consonants. The uvulars have merged with the velars or have been lost; /h/ is absent. Length is no longer phonemic in consonants and only partially so in vowels. Schwa has full phoneme status and may appear in stressed syllables. Stress is unpredictable from a synchronic perspective but can be traced to Middle Osveraali stress patterns. As with all Osveraalic languages, Greator Osveraali vowel harmony has been lost entirely.

Consonants

Bilabial Labiodental Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Nasal m n
Plosive p b t d ʈ ɖ k g
Fricative f v θ s z ʂ ʐ x ɣ
Lateral approximant l ɭ
Approximant j
Flap ɾ

Vowels

Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e: o:
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open ɑ

Diphthongs

Ozarian has three diphthongs, /ɑi/, /ɑu/ and /ɔu/.

Phonotactics

Grammar

Ozarian 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. Nuns mark number (singular and plural) and two cases (common, and oblique). The common case is used for both subjects and objects, which are distinguished by verb agreement. The oblique case, sometimes also called postpositional, reflects the Middle Osveraali genitive case and is used only with postpositions, which have replaced the system of locational cases of Imperial and Middle Osveraali. For nominal possession, Ozarian employs a possessive declension on the possessed noun while the possessor remains in the common case. This construct state pattern is typical of the modern Osveraalic languages.

There are many irregular nouns, including several suppletive stems.

Verbs

The Ozarian verb's main inflectional category is aspect. It distinguishes three main stems (progressive, perfective and resultative) but does not inflect for tense. There are three synthetic moods (indicative, subjunctive, imperative) and two periphrastic ones (potential, negative). Ozarian is one of the modern Osveraali languages that preserve asymmetric negation; in negative sentences, the aspect distinction is levelled. Agreement with the subject is by rhyme, as in Imperial Osveraali - the verbal flexive is copied onto the subject.

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.

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

Adjectives

Ozarian 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

Ozarian 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 are internally headed or adjoined. While conjunctions are used a lot in the spoken language, written Ozarian mostly avoids them in favour of synthetic adverbial constructions.

Vocabulary

Ozarian is the Atsiq language with the highest percentage of Imperial Osveraali loans, reflecting its position as the vernacular language of the Imperial capital of Usuva. Another major source of borrowings is Shyorian, either indirectly through Imperial Osveraali or as more recent adoptions. The other languages of Atsiq have also contributed to the Ozarian lexicon.

Writing and literature

Ozarian is written in a modified version of the Osveraali alphabet.