Proto-Asuranesian language

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Proto-Asuranesian (PAS) is the linguistic reconstruction of the hypothetical common ancestor of the Asuranesian languages, one of the world's major language families.

PAS is estimated to have been spoken as a single language from 3500 BCE to 2500 BCE during the Neolithic Age, though estimates vary. According to the prevailing hypothesis, the original homeland of the Proto-Asuranesians was in south-west Nagu around the great lakes of Cananganam and the xxxx Mountains. The linguistic reconstruction of PAS has also provided insight into the culture and religion of its speakers.

As Proto-Asuranesians became isolated from each other through migration, the Proto-Asuranesian language became spoken by the various groups in regional dialects which then underwent various shifts in phonology and morphology, transforming these dialects into the daughter languages seen today. Today, these languages range across Nagu and Asuranesia and are spoken by xxxx million speakers.

PAS had a fairly elaborate system of morphology that included inflectional suffixes (analogous to English life, lives, life's, lives'‍) as well as ablaut and pitch accent. PAS nominals and pronouns had a fairly simple system of declension, marking only case and number whereas verbs were far more complex, conjugating not only for person and number but also for voice and valency, the latter being marked with ablaut for the three valency categories: intransitive, monotransitive and ditransitive. Adjectives were represented by verbs and were declined accordingly. PAS' phonology, particles and numerals are also well reconstructed.

An asterisk is used to mark reconstructed words, such as *mbuxʷ- 'canoe', *dnlákʷ- 'to swim' (Itongpe no̧n) and *sʷámenl 'I am big, I am harmful (first singular active intransitive imperfective)'.

Descendants

The following are listed by their theoretical glottochronological development:

Subfamily Clades Description Modern Descendants
Proto-Littoro-Marianic The largest branch of Asuranesian, ranging from south and west Nagu right across the Asura Ocean. Branched into Central Marianic, Eastern Marianic and xxxx Itongpe, Hangaian, Amakane, Dezaking
Proto-Cananganamese A smallish branch found in southern Nagu Cananganamese

Phonology

The phonology of PAS has been reconstructed by linguists based on the similarities and differences among current and extinct Asuranesian languages. Because PAS wasn't written, linguists must rely on evidence of its earliest attested descendants, such as Old Cananganamese and xxxx.

Due to the massive number of descendants, which often vary hugely from one another, there are disagreements on how to properly reconstruct PAS' phonology. The most commonly accepted features are:

  • Nasals at 3 POA's
  • Voiceless-Voiced stop distinction at 3 POA's
  • Glottal stop
  • Labiovelars
  • Labialised fricatives
  • The 5 common vowels (/i e a o u/) + at least 2 others

PAS is traditionally reconstructed to have had the following phonemes. See the article on Asuranesian sound laws for a summary of how these phonemes are reflected in the various Indo-European languages.

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain labial plain labial
Nasals *m *n
Stops voiceless *p *t *k *kʷ
voiced *b *d *g
Fricatives voiceless *f *s *sʷ *x *xʷ *h
voiced *z *zʷ
Laterals *l *ɫ~ʟ
Approximant *r *j

Stop series

PAS had a simple voiceless-voiced stop system at 3 points of articulation plus a labiovelar stop *kʷ and a glottal stop *ʔ. Unusually, there only appears to have been one labiovelar stop and despite attempts to reconstruct an even system by some linguists, virtually no evidence can be found that supports the existence of *gʷ. There is evidence however that [gʷ] was an allophone of *g before labiovelars as *g often surfaces as /b/ or /w/ in daughter langs where the proto featured a cluster, typically involving *xʷ.

Labials

PAS had 3 bilabials *m, *p, *b and 1 labiodental *f as well as 4 labialised consonants *kʷ, *sʷ, *zʷ and *xʷ. The labialised sibilants are particularly unusual and contentious. As they became lateral fricatives in several daughter languages such as Proto-Littoro-Marianic, the labialised sibilants have also variously been reconstructed as lateral release [sˡ zˡ], apical [s̺ z̺], alveolo-palatal [ɕ ʑ] and even dental [θ ð].