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On Tue, 18 Jan 2011 22:38:48 +0100, Lars Finsen wrote:

> The current relay helped me give birth to Tubenian over the last  
> weekend. I created it on the basis of Starostin's published Eurasian  
> roots and a phonological analysis of the names in the Tubenian king  
> list from my childhood, which gives a phoneme inventory of /a e i o u  
> y j l m n r b d g p t k h s S x/.

This is a nice, though not very remarkable, inventory which fits
into a European setting well.

> Notably there is no labial fricative, which suits me fine, because  
> Starostin's Eurasian doesn't have any either. But it does have /w/,  
> so I have to find a way to handle that. Tentatively I have combined  
> them with neighbouring vowels to produce o's, but this makes the  
> language somewhat o-heavy, so I'm not sure I will go for it. Another  
> notable feature of the king list is that there is no initial b. There  
> are only about a 100 different names, so this could be a coincidence,  
> but tentatively I have mutated initial b's, which are plentiful in  
> Eurasian, into m's, merging with the original ones. Another feature I  
> have added is the palatalisation of /x/ before front vowels.

I am somewhat sceptical about Starostin's etymologies, but at
any rate, one can build a conlang from them.  I am not familiar
with Starostin's Proto-Eurasian phoneme inventory, nor which
languages he includes in his family.  (The traditional definition
of "Eurasiatic" includes Indo-European, Uralic, Altaic and
whatever looks similar enough to be included; but I have noticed
long ago that different authors use the same or similar names for
very different macrofamilies, sometimes.)

> Morphologically I have made the language verb-initial and added a  
> particulariser for mass nouns because I am thinking of this as a  
> substrate language for Celtic in my conworld. The lack of initial b  
> may be a sign of early mutation, too.

If it is in the prehistoric British Isles, verb-initial word order
makes perfect sense; one of the few things we can say about the
languages of pre-Celtic Britain is that they probably were verb-

> This is a marked change from Eurasian, which seems to have been verb- 
> final instead of verb-initial. The language is situated in a  
> neolithic time-frame, but at the stage of my present creation I am  
> presuming that it has evolved some morphologically. The king list is  
> long, and must span several centuries. And I am supposing that the  
> language will have been reformed consciously, too. The grammar isn't  
> really worked out in very great detail yet, but it has ergativity and  
> lative cases as well as many verbal aspects. I am currently thinking  
> of doing without tense.
> The noun system is what I think may be the most artificial of the  
> grammar, because it differs from what I think would have developed  
> naturally. Nouns are divided into four classes, each with a different  
> vowel ending.
> A-class: natural nouns
> I-class: non-sentient or abstract nouns
> O-class: sentient or spiritual nouns
> U-class: artificial nouns
> Here, names for humans and their physical parts in fact belong to the  
> a-class; for example a woman is _kuna_, but their mental or spiritual  
> exercises belong to the o-class, for example arrogance is _tonko_.  
> You can often give a word a new meaning by switching classes, for  
> example _salka_ is a plateau, _salku_ is a table, _poro_ is trade and  
> _pora_ may be changing weather.

This may feel artificial, but some languages actually use class
affixes on nouns, most notably the Bantu languages, so I see no
problem with it (Old Albic also has such suffixes).

> This classification affects verbs, too. A-verbs are acts of nature, i- 
> verbs are involuntary acts, o-verbs are voluntary acts and u-verbs  
> are acts of manufacture. There are also e-verbs that go outside the  
> classification.
> I suppose there is nothing unique about this system. I have seen  
> similar things here before. Anyhow I think it is interesting and I'd  
> like to see what it can develop into.

It is interesting, and I haven't seen such a system yet in any
language, nat or con.

> The name Tubenian is provisional. I think of it as coined by modern  
> readers of the king list. Tuben is the first name on the list.  
> Eventually it may be named in itself like my other languages (except  
> Scollerinian, which is indirectly named by the Romans). But languages  
> often are named from the outside, and if the Tubenians name it, I  
> suppose they will call it 'The Speech' or similar, like the Suraetua  
> did.

Many people call their language just "The Speech" or "Our Tongue"
or something like that.  Sometimes, a language receives a native
name from the confrontation with a foreign language.  For instance,
_Deutsch_ is from Old High German _diutisc_ 'of the people' (as
opposed to Latin, the language of the Church and the scholars).

>       Since the nearest land to my conworld is Scotland, where Jörg's  
> Elves lived, I am wondering if perhaps Jörg might consider doing me  
> the great honour of proposing a name for the Tubenians and thus their  
> language in a neolithic stage of his Elvish.

In my conworld, the Albic languages were not yet spoken in the
British Isles before the Copper Age (Bell Beaker culture).  The
British Isles were occupied by people who spoke languages
unrelated to Albic, and not yet explored by me.  A fellow member
of the League of Lost Languages, Taylor Selseth, has recently
started a language of Scotland from that older stratum, Plitnakya:

>       Facts about them that  
> may inspire the naming: they are ancient and think of themselves as  
> wise, they live in the north and are good navigators, as they need to  
> be, because their waters are full of reefs and often stormy. I think  
> they would be likely to sell amulets and other stuff made from  
> whalebone or walrus ivory.
> What do you say?

This looks like a good idea to pursue.

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