Rartakan languages

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West Parshita, East Vaniua
Linguistic classification:One of Sahar's primary language families
CWS code

Rartakan is a language family of about 220 languages that are spoken across western and north-central Parshita and parts of eastern Vaniua, predominately the area surrounding the Zwazwan Gulf.

Rartakan languages have ? million native speakers. The number of branches is debated but typically accepted to be eight: Askkumic, Central Rartakan, Circum-Zwazwamic (which is however most likely a paraphyly), Janutic, Kodrentic, Qoqaabitic, Tamazic, and Virkolic. The most widely spoken Rartakan language is Irathi, a cluster of related Eirathic language varieties and lingua franca of inland west Parshita. In addition to Irathi, the Qoqaabitic language Qabaasi is an important Rartakan language in Jeehoop where it is widely taught due to its prestige as a language of the well-educated and affluent.

Typological characteristics


The Rartakan languages are well known for their glottalised consonants, in particular their clicks, although the frequency and diversity of clicks varies across the family with a general decreasing trend moving from west to east. Glottalised obstruents are also ubiquitous for the family, primarily realised as ejective but also pharyngealised or implosive. Coronals typically contrast a dental-retroflex distinction which is believed to have been a feature of Proto-Rartakan. This trait is shared with the neighbouring Cathani and Wethelian languages, as well as the more distant Proto-Vaniuan and Doktakur isolate.

Rartakan languages tend to have moderately complex syllables, typically permitting clusters of two or three consonants with roots largely taking the canonical form of (C)CVC. Some languages challenge this conception however, notably the Naqui Valley Tamazic languages that are renowned for their vowelless words and syllabic consonants. For instance, the ? word ? ([]) "" has ? consonants in a row with no phonetic or phonemic vowels. The exact nature of these syllables remains debated however; see the phonology section in Tamazic languages for more information.


Most Rartakan languages are agglutinative languages with a relatively high number of affixes and clitics, and clear morpheme boundaries. Like the neighbouring East Zwazwam Gulf languages and Wethelian languages, but unlike the Cathani and Vaniuan families, Rartakan languages distinguish masculine and feminine genders, with the masculine being the more common default unmarked gender. Gender agreement occurs on nouns, nominal modifiers like adjectives and determiners, pronouns, and verbs.

Nouns of high animacy, including humans and most higher animals, are classified according to natural gender. Typically, the genders of lower animals and inanimate objects are determined according to shape and size: large, long or primarily 3D animals and objects, as well as many nouns of place, are typically classified as masculine (likely as a result of phallic imagery), while small, short or primarily 2D animals and objects, as well as most abstract and mass nouns are typically classified as feminine. In some languages, objects can be classified as either masculine or feminine, depending on the physical characteristics intended for emphasis. To illustrate, below is an example in ?, an ? language:

[insert here]

Many Rartakan languages also have three grammatical numbers: singular, plural, and collective. In some languages, collective nouns have been lexified. Possessive clitics are also common across Rartakan languages.


Most Rartakan languages have SOV word order and are largely suffixing, although Central Rartakan languages are distinguished by a largely VSO word order with SVO tendencies. The placement of person and number marking on verbs is more varied however; Qabaasi is notable among Rartakan languages for being heavily prefixing.

Language contact


Origin and History

- include some history of the people incl. genetics + migrations as well as probable language loss (Nekhilian) + groups who adopted langs (cathani peoples? indigenous miralayans?) - history of movements into joop - look at arab tribes + forces me to think more about the older history + ethnolinguistic makeup of joop

Further Reading