What did Proto-Dahu-Kemba sound like?

Proto-Dahu-Kemba is reconstructed as having 27 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.

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Proto-Dahu-Kemba : a linguistic overview

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.

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The Dahu-Kemba language family

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.

History

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.

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Eastern Dahu : a linguistic overview

The modern Lemohai language is descended from Eastern Dahu, a language spoken on the island of Mohai and in Etsuri and Pekau, the nearest parts of mainland Aheku. ED was in turn descended from Dahu and ultimately Proto-Dahu-Kemba.

The Proto-Dahu-Kemba were a race of Ikhe, living in the north-east of Aheku. They then began a westward trek along the north coast. Archaeological evidence suggests the trek began around OH -186X (-1500 BC in our calendar).

Some PDK tribes reached what is now Pekau, others only went as far as modern Heiko. From this point on the speech of the two communities diverged, becoming separate Dahu and Kemba languages.

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The sound of Lemohai dialects

There were seven dialects in Eastern Dahu, four of which were represented on Mohai. By the modern era these have reduced to three thanks to a mixture of education, broadcasting and increased travel. The three modern dialect areas are: Northern, Central and Southern. The Central dialect has most speakers.

The phonology of Modern Standard Lemohai (MSL) is based on educated speech from the capital Orisu and the surrounding area. This lies within the Central dialect zone, half way up the east coast.

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What does Lemohai sound like?

Vowels

Monophthongs

Modern Standard Lemohai has five oral monophthongs plus a nasal equivalent for each, making ten monophthongs in all.  Nasal monophthongs are written with a trailing nasal consonant.

Oral: a, e, i, o, u = /a, ɛ, i, ɔ, u /

Nasal: an, en, in, on, un

OR: am, em, im, om, um = /ã, ɛ̃, ĩ, ɔ̃, ũ/

Historical VN and CVN syllables gave rise to of the modern nasal vowels. Hence trailing -N are retained in the native script and in transliteration.

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Lemohai : a linguistic overview

Lemohai is a contemporary language from the planet Tekuo. Its speakers are a race of Ikhe, who call themselves the Romohai. They are found mainly on the island of Mohai, though some moved to colonies on the mainland during the island’s Imperial Era.

There are some 15.6 million native speakers in all. Around 12.1 million live on Mohai, whilst the rest live in nearby mainland countries, mostly in ports and large cities. The language is also used as a lingua franca across much of North Aheku and widely studied as a second language.

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