LotM - Feb 17: Lithian
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Happy February and congratulations to our winner Lithian! Created by Arnoldii, Lithian is inspired by Indonesian and has an impressive vocabulary of over 5,000 words.
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 5 Feb 2017, 14:43.
[comments] [history] lhnlotm feb 17lotm
Happy February! This month we're traveling to Arnoldii's world of Hanagant to look at an Indonesian-inspired conlang, Lithian, with an impressive vocabulary of over 5,000 words.
[top]Phonology and orthography
Lithian has a rich phonology, with a three-way distinction between voiced, tenuis, and aspirated stops. There are also a large number of stop-liquid clusters, which each have their own grapheme in the orthography. These are composed forms, similar to the precomposed consonant clusters in many Indic scripts. The Lithian script, called Delvia, is an abugida with a lovely 'Phags-pa-inspired look, and you can read more about it in this article. Finally, there is a simple, classic 5-vowel inventory with loads of diphthongs.
Lithian has a direct morphosyntactic alignment, with the genitive in -di being the only marked case. There are separate inclusive and exclusive versions, itra and nitna respectively, of the first person plural pronoun. There is also an animacy distinction in third person pronouns, with dei "he or she" and dolum "they (animate)" being distinguished from ti "it" and gume "they (inanimate)". Finally, pronouns can form a reflexive with -mair.
Nouns form the genitive in the same way as pronouns do, and additionally have a plural form -na, which is notably not used along with a cardinal number. For instance, the word for books is patrumna, but the phrase meaning ten books is hanafa patrum, not *hanafa patrumna.
While nouns are wonderfully simple, verbs are delightfully complex, with an agglutinative system that conjugates for polarity, voice (active and passive), aspect (perfective and imperfective), and tense, which includes not only present, past, and future, but aspectual and mood distinctions within those three tenses. There are also several different affixes that can be applied to verbs to form nouns and participles, such as lika "to work", likale "worker".
Finally, while adjectives don't agree with the head noun, they do inflect for comparative and superlative forms. These forms use changes in the vowel of the affix to show gradations in meaning, from -ga "most" to -gi "more", -go "less", and finally -gu "least".
Lithian syntax is overall head-initial, with SVO order in the clause, adjectives normally preceding the noun, and prepositions. However, adjective-noun order can be inverted using the particle ga. This particle can also introduce a relative clause, as in de fidri ga mei gitane "the man who I met", and it can even be used as a pronoun on its own, e.g. ga lulimne mei "the one who saw me". Unlike relative pronouns, it doesn't decline for animacy, number, or case. Finally, the noun phrase may begin with an article, either de (definite) or hen (indefinite).
[top]More on Lithian
Craving more Lithian in your life? Check out the phrasebook, grammar test, LexiBuild sets, or the articles, including an impressive translation of the first six generations of Pokemon names into Lithian.
[top]A Note on LotM
Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Lithian that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Feel free to shoot us (phi2dao, argyle, protondonor, or Avlönskt) 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!
on 05/02/17 14:43-4protondonorOops