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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Some nations and languages of Tekuo

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

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.

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Simplifying the site

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.

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Simplifying the scenario

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.

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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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Time for a timeline (1)

Before we go much further, I think it’s time for an overview of the main linguistic, religious and political developments in the study area. The three are very much intertwined. Other topics will get their own timelines when the need arises.

Dates for events are given below in the Zayedin calendar. They are expressed as years before or after the Proclamation of the Faith in the year we call 1154 A.D. In the Zayedin calendar, this is Year Zero. It inaugurates Omun Zeikan, the Age of Light. Earlier dates are expressed negatively. These belong to Omun Hemwan, the Age of Error.

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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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