Mli Vjačgu


The phonetic inventory of Mli Vjačgu is as follows:

i yu
e øo
p bt dk g
f vs z ðʃ ʒx ɣh

Yeah, it's not very realistic, is it?

ɣ is a marginal phoneme that has only shown up in one form of one word so far (granted, that word is eɣil, "the Sun").


Noun forms

The definite form evolved from an infixed _ek_, originally prefixed _ke_, which used to be a word meaning "this". The indefinite form evolved from an infixed _at_, originally a prefixed _ta_, which once meant "some". It was not necessary to mark definiteness when an object was possessed; having another noun in the genitive associated with it made the possessed noun definite by default. When the old genitive suffix _ha_ withered away and died, the possessed object was left in an unprefixed state, which became the construct form.

As sound changes made the definite and indefinite forms less regular, the resulting confusion of forms came to be analyzed as a number of noun classes, membership in which governed a noun's indefinite/definite/ construct declension.


IndefiniteDefiniteConstruct (possessed)

In the example above, "language" would be in the vat/vek/v noun class; "speaker" and "word" in the vočt/vixt/við noun class; and "giver" in the ped/pig/bo noun class.

Demonstrative pronouns

The demonstrative pronouns evolved from a very regular, if convoluted, system of prefixes and infixes where the wh-form began with _hi_, the "this" form contained the infix _ek_, "that" contained the infix _uw_, the "some" form contained the infix _ta_, etc. The oldest demonstrative pronouns were all accented on the first syllable, but as the system was expanded other accentual patterns were included, further complicating the matter.

questionrelativethis, herethat, thereyon, yondersome, anyeverynowhatevera different
how muchidytamyčkydvyjačɫuvytadyrdyzdyftyjačpady
using whatymumumumigmumwamumilwamumedmurwamusumupymuftumu
along which wayhjalrimelrilixrilwafrililwafriločrirwalrisulripjalriftelri
like whatjaðihwaotmihwaičkihwawadvihwatjaɫvihwaočtihwawartihwauztihwajaftihwatjaptihwa

Personal pronouns

Where sound changes did not wipe them away, personal pronouns retained the old genitive and accusative cases. Due to inherent definiteness of personal prounouns, they do not have a construct form; if a pronoun is possessed by a noun, neither is marked, and their juxtaposition alone shows the relationship. (If a noun is possessed by a pronoun which has a genitive case form, both are marked.)

1st personvwalmlivwalmimlövwalamli
2nd persontufdvitufmidvötufadvi
3rd person femaleöemjaömiemyhöaemja
3rd person male/mixedruromjarumiromyruaromja
3rd person inanimatesirserwasirmiserwasiraserwa

Verb forms

Originally, verb forms were related to noun forms by differences in the stressed syllable: verbs were stressed on the second syllable, and the resultative nominalization was stressed on the first syllable. Other nominalizations, as well as participles, come from the form stressed on the third syllable, if applicable.

NounVerbParticipleDerived nominal
[sad/šk/s]udthingzdubeudzodubeing[sez/sig/zo]dorjalway of being
[sað/šk/s]ertagreetingssarjathail, callosridoknown[sot/sik/sa]riðedmimeeting

Verbs themselves come in four basic stems plus two imperative forms: the non-past, past, habitual, and hypothetical stems, and the imperative and negative imperative.

Non-pastPastHabitualHypotheticalImperativeNegative imperative

The imperative is simply the most basic verb form; the negative imperative evolved from a suffixed "su", which may be realized, depending on the verb, as "swa", "zu", or just "z". Verbs whose negative imperative end in "z" only also prefix "waz" for emphasis.

The regular negative particle for other verb forms is a standalone "swaz" which precedes the verb.


"Our language is a way of being."
"Mli vjačgu zdi sezdorjal."
"A language is a tool!"
"Vatjačgu zdi lotsikwar!"
"Don't speak so. The language is a gift."
"Mwaf vitjagzu. Vekjačgu zdi padöži."

Overall evolution of the language

This is how I envisioned the language evolving:

Stage 1: Begin with a simple Polynesian-esque phonology entirely of CV syllables.

Phonology: ptkmlrswh/aeiuo

Stage 2: Apply derivational use of fixed accents. For example, create 3-syllable roots giving an abstract noun concept when accented on the first syllable, a verb root when accented on the second syllable, and various other nominals based on the root created by accenting the third syllable.

Phonology: ptkmlrswh/aeiuoáéíúó

Stage 3: Apply selected prefixes and affixes which conform to the existing stress pattern - things that were once transparent but will be fossilized by the time the language is done evolving. For example, prefixes to nouns will denote definite, indefinite, or (with no prefix) possessed, with the end results that nouns have definite, indefinite, and possessed root forms, which differ from one noun class to another due to the effects of sound change. Similar use of affixes could create past and non-past, or perfective and imperfective, verb root pairs.

Phonology: still ptkmlrswh/aeiuoáéíúó

Stage 4: Voicing and lenition: voicing in front of back/rounded vowels, lenition in front of front vowels, but the two have different scope as far as whether accented or ultra-short vowels affect them. (See in sound changes below)

Phonology: ptksfčxšbdgzmlrɫwh/aeiuoáéíúó

Stage 5: Drop shortest vowels, or H. (See in sound changes below)

Phonology: still ptkmlrswhfčxšbdgzɫ/aeiuoáéíúó

Stage 6: Combine double vowels. Maybe prevocalic i->l, u->r. Minimal umlauting occurs. (See in sound changes below)

Phonology: ptkmlrswhfčxšbdgzɫjv/aeiuoyöáéíúóÿô

Stage 7: Rotate just the stressed vowels, lose stress. Partial application of sound changes in process at the time Mli Vjačgu is being described: deletion of first-syllable unaccented vowels directly preceding an accented syllable, voicing of intervocalic consonants, h-deletion. (See and in sound changes below)

Phonology: ptkmlrswhfčxšbdgzɫjv/aeiuoyö

Stage 8: Regularize some paradigms by analogy. Add new affixes and clitics using the new phonology. Apply considerable semantic drift to obscure origins of word pairs/triads created in Stage 2. Provide suppletive roots for extremely common words. Create a grammar.

Phonology: still ptkmlrswhfčxšbdgzɫjv/aeiuoyö

Sound changes

In this table of several forms related to "speak", you can see how the current set of sound changes differs from those originally worked out for an early version (alternative forms from the metathesizing dialect are shown where applicable):

Proto-witíčku versionVjatjačkwa versionMli Vjačgu version
wititékuvjatjatigviðiðig (or jaftiðig)
witikúvjatjakwaviðikwa (or jaftikwa)

The current sound change rules of Mli Vjačgu are captured in the following files (designed for a modified version of Mark Rosenfelder's Sound Change Applier):

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Last updated: 11/1/2015