So, I’m back! While I’ve been away, I’ve been thinking. This is always dangerous and usually heralds a big rewrite somewhere. This is also true now.
Gradually, and without my consciously deciding it, the project has become less about Lemohai and more about the rest of the Dahu-Kemba language family. I’ve been looking at how language families are modelled on the Akana collaborative conworld site and have been struck by a number of impressively concise phoneme inventories there.
Languages like Kataputi, Proto-Lukpanic, Pencek and Proto-Tulameya have only nineteen or twenty phonemes, yet still have interesting phoneme inventories. I thought I’d been brief-but-interesting with Lemohai’s twenty-eight sounds, but clearly I could go briefer and still maintain interest value.
A couple of points have long bothered me about the current Lemohai inventory. Eight of the twenty-eight phonemes are written with digraphs and that’s a high number. Whatsmore, nine of the eighteen consonants are obstruent stops, another high number. I’m also struggling to derive all twenty-eight sounds from Proto-Dahu-Kemba.
If I reduce the number of phonemes in Lemohai, this makes it easier to model the sound changes from Proto-Dahu-Kemba to Lemohai. It also frees up phonological ideas for use elsewhere in the family. Most of the family will still only be sketched-out and act as naming languages and sources of loanwords for Lemohai, but I think it’s worth getting the basics right for them.
I have a new inventory in mind for Lemohai. It’s settled bar a couple of points which I shall mull over some more between now and New Year. I also have positive plans for re-using the phonemes I drop from Lemohai. I still like these sounds and moving them will enhance the project as a whole.
Alert readers will have noticed that I’ve not posted here for while. This is due to three or four factors.
My mother-in-law died in April. Since then my wife and I have been busy organising the funeral and sorting out her mother’s estate. While we were doing that, some bright spark called a general election, so once again politics drew me away from conlanging.
The election finished in mid June, since when I’ve got back to working out sound changes from Proto-Dahu-Kemba to Lemohai. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that this has occasioned a rethink or three about my conlangs and their setting.
Proto-Dahu-Kemba is reconstructed as having 21 phonemes. It was characterised by its few points of vowel articulation, a lack of voicing contrast amongst consonants and the prominence of velar, uvular and pharyngeal sounds. Syllables were simple or moderately complex.
The standard model of PDK has stood the test of time, but some uncertainties remain. These are indicated below. The language was unwritten. We must assume that it had dialects, but nothing is known about them.
The Proto-Dahu-Kemba language, the ancestor of the Dahu-Kemba language family, was spoken by the Proto-Dahu-Kemba people who lived in North-East Aheku until Omun Hemwan-186X (what we would call 1500 BC). OH -186X was the first of several years of migration for the PDK people.
They moved west to establish two new settlements, one in what is now Heiko and one in modern Pekau. Once the two colonies were established, their speech patterns began to diverge. Separate Dahu and Kemba languages were recognisable from somewhere around OH -1722 (i.e. 1300 BC).
Their language is known to us as Proto-Dahu-Kemba. What its speakers called it, though, is unknown. They kept no written records, so PDK is known to us only through reconstruction.
The Dahu-Kemba languages are spoken today across much of North-West Aheku, including on Mohai, though they originated further east. There are, or have been, twenty-four Dahu-Kemba languages of which fourteen are extant.
Proto-Dahu-Kemba was spoken by the Proto-Dahu-Kemba people who lived in North-East Aheku until Omun Hemwan-186X (what we would call 1500 BC). In OH -186X the PDK people began to migrate west. They established two new colonies, one in what is now Heiko and one in modern Pekau. The dialects of the two colonies became separate Dahu and Kemba languages from around OH -1722 (i.e. 1300 BC).
The Dahu language had a strong sub-stratum influence from local languages in the Macro-Senduri family. For reasons which are not clear, Kemba had no influence from pre-existing local languages. It is therefore considered closer to PDK.
Most of these states and territories are on the north coast of the continent of Aheku and are peopled by Ikhe. Ikhe are one of the three sapient species of Tekuo.
Mohai is an island to the north of Aheku. It has an area of 162,350 square kilometres (62,683 square miles), approximately 450 miles by 150. The population stands at 13,280,000. This works out at 82 per square kilometre.
Mohai was the ancient home of the Senduri, before the Dahu arrived. The Dahu conquered much of north-west Aheku. Later, it was absorbed into the Kemba Empire. Mohai attained independence in the early modern era. At this point, Lemohai (an Eastern Dahu language) became the official language and its people became known as the Romohai.
This blog is now some nineteen months old. During this time, content and appearance have been unusually stable by my standards and until recently there has been a regular updating.
I took time off in the Spring for a period of political activity. That has now finished and I have come back to the blog following another period of reflection on content and presentation.
My attempts to produce a set of sound changes from a proto-language have suffered setbacks, but the project has emerged stronger for them. I can now see what a couple of Lemohai’s sister languages will look like.
This post is the counterpart to the previous wherein I outlined the changes I have made to the concept of my study area. This post states what I am doing to content posts and subject metadata to realise the changes to the scenario.
As luck would have it, not much change is required on the site. I will now list all the posts, categories and tags I need to alter. I will update this post to record when changes are made.
This post brings together my current thoughts on the overall scenario discussed on mohai.conlang.org.
There needs to be a plausible number of peoples and languages in the study area. I mostly have this now. The site looks at the north coast of the continent of Aheku and focuses on the island of Mohai. The timeline post notes the existence of Etsuri and Pekau, mainland states speaking languages from the same Dahu language family as Lemohai. Other unnamed Dahu states are hinted at.
The existence of Heiko is well-documented. This is Mohai’s main rival for power within its culture sphere. Heitak speaks a language from the Kemba family and the existence of other Kemba language states is hinted at.
I’m pleased to report that I have found four more old files and added them to my Previous page, a list of old projects from before the Mohai scenario.
There’s two new language files been added and two new sports files. The language files are sketch grammars of Suomina (a Finno-Latin hybrid) and Xelhara a moderately head-marking language from the Lesdeka scenario. These flesh-out the brief descriptions of those languages already on the page.
As to sport, I’ve found the oldest version of Yhebano. Yhebano was a ball-handling team game and ancestor to the Mohaian sport of Hebanon. I’ve added a description of the rules and history of the game plus a set of results from the league I once ran.
You can check this all out following the link above.