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LotM - Oct 16: Cathilean
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Happy Ngauodhibh and congratulations to Egil's Cathilean: our 27th LotM!
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 16 Oct 2016, 22:03.

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1. Cathilean
2. Phonology and Orthography
3. Morphology
4. Syntax
5. More on Cathilean
6. A Note on LotM


Happy October Ngauodhibh! First of all, I would like to apologise for the lateness of this article since the two assigned writers have mystically vanished, so I quickly had to step in. Though as per tradition, congratulations to @Egil and  Cathilean for being October 2016's LotM (well, Language of the Latter Fortnight)! Cathilean is a fully-fledged polysynthetic artlang created for the kingdom of Cathilea in @Egil's own conworld of Igamarea, and is phonetically influenced by Finnish and Welsh (you have chosen well) dressed up in Irish phonology. There is even a reconstruction of Old Cathilean with provided sound changes! You can find a more in-depth summary of  Cathilean on the language page but I digress not, let's dive right in!

[top]Phonology and Orthography

As aforementioned, the orthography is inspired by Irish, seen in the abundance of creative polygraphs (I mean, <eaio> anybody?). As for the phonology, all in all there are 19 consonants; plosive consonants follow the simple /p t k b d g/ setting, whose corresponding graphs are the same as the IPA, with the exception of /k/, which has a romancesque <c> before a central or back vowel as well as <cqu> before front vowels. Fricatives have just one more PoA than plosives, with /f v θ ð s x/ which can be represented with either a Germanic-like <f f þ ð s/c ch™> or a more Celtic <ph bh th dh s/c ch> (<c> is /s/ before front vowels). Additionally, there are only 5-7 nasals and liquids altogether: /m n ŋ ɾ l (j w)/ written <m n ng r l * *>.

In terms of vowels, there are 6 distinct qualitative vowels, each with their own long variants and spread between front, central and back. And let's not forget about the 6 diphthongs too, sharing between them a total of 10 different polygraphs! Furthermore, *the semivowels /j w/ have multiple written forms depending on the vowel that follows. So for example, /wei̯/ can be written as aoei, aoeu, uaei or uaeu.

A significant part of Cathilean phonology is the umlaut and lenition system, which can be read about in greater detail in the phonology article.

To finalise, stress is mainly irregular, quoting @Egil here with:
Stress is quite irregular, but it usually falls on the first syllable of the main component of a word when all syllables of it [the main component] are light. However, when there is a heavy syllable in the main component, the stress usually falls on this. /ɜ/ is rarely stressed unless it is an umlauted /e/. Some affixes also take som stress, and adjectives that are attached to a noun are somewhat stressed as well.


Right, let's go over the nominal morphology first! Nouns decline to definiteness, location, case, number and possession, and since it's polysynthetic, you'll find an adjective in there too. The inflection hierarchy is as follows:
[Definite prefix] [Prepositional prefixes] [Adjectives] Noun stem [case/number] [possessive affix]

Yup, definiteness and location are determined with prefixes; definiteness consists of a varying prefix depending on how the word begins, though the prepositional prefixes are more regular. As for the cases, there are 17! That's right: 17, whose inflections can be found in the article. What I find neat is how, since location is already expressed in a separate affix, the locational cases only address the motion in relation to the location: whether an object is stationary or in motion to or from the noun.

As for verbal morphology, it's nice and simple: 4 persons, 3 tenses, 3 moods and 2 numbers, and the inflectional hierarchy is as so:
[negative marker] [other prefixes] Verbal base [person/number/tense] [mood]

You can read more on the verbal system in the article, as well as the myriad of derivational affixes at hand.


And to finalise, the syntax of Cathilean follows a tidy topic-comment system, in that the topic is usually stated first (though adverbs and conjunctions tend to precede) followed by the comment (verb and other arguments). The topic can also be left out, and be left to context if mentioned previously during conversation.
What's more, subordinate clauses are, similar to Japanese, formed through either verbalisation or nominalisation. You can read more about it here.

[top]More on Cathilean

If after that you're longing for further information, Cathilean has plenty of articles at your disposal! You can also indulge yourself in the dozen hundreds of words that have already been created, and let's not leave the names unmentioned~

[top]A Note on LotM

Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Cathilean that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Hate my guts and want to tell me? Feel free to shoot us (either phi2dao or argyle or Avlönskt this time) a PM with your thoughts, suggestions, and hate mail. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!
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on 16/10/16 22:03-80AvlönsktFixed the word for October.
on 16/10/16 21:02-9AvlönsktRemoved wip tag because I is a silly
on 16/10/16 20:54+42AvlönsktFixed mentioning tags
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