Lemohai: a linguistic overview

The main features of the language of Mohai, its history and status.

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

There are some 29.5 million native speakers in all. Around 26.2 million live in Mohai, whilst the rest live in nearby countries, mostly in ports and large cities. Lemohai is widely studied as a second language across much of North-East Aheku.

Lemohai is a member of the Northern branch of the Maritime language family.The Maritime people were formed in the Metal Age from the fusion of Transmontane and Cismontane peoples. Proto-Maritime culture developed on the borders of the modern states of Kuna and Tepi. It later spread throughout Kuna and Tepi plus adjacent areas and across the islands of Mohai.

Local dialects of Proto-Maritime drifted apart until they became the separate languages we know today.

Lemohai descended from Lekuna and has continued to be influenced by it. It later borrowed words from other neighbouring languages, chiefly from languages of Mohai’s colonies such as Senduri, the language of the Thuri archipelago.

Another source of loan words was Öklane. Ökla ruled part of North-east Aheku for a short period, though not Mohai. Other modern influences include Letepi, Loa Bateng, Ezenii and Chung Te.

Lemohai has developed three regional dialects: Northern, Southern and Central.

The morphosyntactic alignment is accusative-secundative. There are also two genitive case particles. Word order in the unmarked clause is Subject-Verb-Object. Phrases are consistently head-initial.

The language is mostly analytic, as grammar is expressed through particles and word order rather than inflections, but a rich system of derivational morphology is available. The language is particularly rich in derived verb forms, especially those concerned with valence adjustment.

Lemohai phonology is characterised by nasal vowels, aspirated stops and simple syllables. The language is written from left to right in a unicase alphabet.

Author: David Johnson

Conlanger, writer and activist.

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