First of all let me say I'm new to this newsgroups stuff, so I'm probably
sending this message to the wrong place. I want it to reach everyone, and hope
I've done the right thing! I'm sure to get it right eventually.
A quick biog: I've been making up languages since childhood (I'm now 48)
and read (that's /red/ not /ri:d/ - linguistics at University, specialising in
Philology and Celtic (specifically Breton). After graduating, I continued my
studies and diversified into such fields as sound symbolism and lignuistic
universals. I also encountered Tolkien's languages at that point, having
deliberately avoided JRRT as everyone else wasn't and said how I must read it,
I'd love it, etc.,etc. Eventually, someone discovered I was keen on inventing
grammars and told me about Elvish. I was instantly struck by the similarity of
Sindarin to the Celtic tongues and that did it! I eventually became editor of
Quettar, the official Tolkien Society's linguistic magazine.
My most highly-developed language doesn't actually have a name (for the
moment I'll call it omeina, the abstract noun meaning 'speech' from
ome- to speak. I've been at it, on and off, for about 20 years, but
from the start it was going to be an Ergative language. The phonology
is fairly Indo-European and mellifluous. I know for a fact there are two
words which kicked off the flavour. Like Tolkien, one is Finnish; the word is
Alarieston. Only the genitive form of the Surname Alariesto
seen on a Christmas card, but I thought it was the most beautiful word I'd
ever heard! So in Omeina it means 'most beautiful of all' (adjectives have many
degrees of comparison, including the hyperlative suffix -eston "...est of all"
as in the leg-, -obb construction in Hungarian). The other word was
encountered in a linguistics book at University, and I believe it was either
Tokharian or Burushaski; Barduquinta (though spelt in the actual
instance Barduqinta). Bar- is the adjective meaning 'old,
long-enduring', and I know for a fact that it was inspired by the word
Barhau in the Welsh national anthem (mutated from the radical form
Parhau, to endure).
Omeina is exclusively suffixing, with no consonant clusters other than
homorganic glides (such as -ndr-, -nt- and so on). There is a very clear
influence from Basque not only in the Ergative grammar but also in the fondness
for initial voiced stops (though these are fairly rare elsewhere).
I will soon be putting a grammar and vocabulary up on my website, but would
still like to hear from you-all. I am also available to help sort out general
grammatical, morphological and semantic queries!