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A Short Introduction to hPeiput

An Introduction to huPeiput

 

Phonetics

 

The phonetic inventory of huPeiput can be divided into three broad groups of phonemes – main consonants, auxiliary consonants, and vowels – each of which function differently in the language.  Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of huPeiput is the intimate link between its phonemes and its syntax and morphology.

 

 

Main Consonants all fall within three consonant families: the p family, the k family, and the t family.  In principle, each family consists of one of these unvoiced plosives along with its voiced plosive, unvoiced fricative, voiced fricative, and voiced nasal counterparts.  Note, however, that this grouping has been tweaked a bit for aesthetic purposes, so in several places it does not fall in perfect accordance with formal phonology.

Main consonant grouping is a crucial aspect of huPeiput syntax.  Different consonants in the same family are never lexically contrastive, but they are syntactically contrastive.  For example, changing a p to a b will not change the meaning of a word, but it will change the function of that word in its sentence.  Specifically, voicing/stopping/nasality of main consonants serve to indicate whether a word is a subject, verb, direct object, indirect object, or modifier.  (This will be clearer later.)

 

Subject            Verb                Direct Object              Indirect Object              Modifier     

p                      b                                  f                                   v                                  m

k                      g                                  x                                  G                                 N

t                       d                                  T                                  D                                 n

 

These family relations are distinctly represented in huPeiput’s orthography (which, owing to my unfortunate computer skills, does not yet exist anywhere outside my notebook).  That is, for these 15 phonemes there are only three basic symbols – one per family.  Symbols within the family are distinguished only by diacritical marks – a horizontal underline for voicing, a vertical slash for fricatives, and a sort of umlaut for nasals.

 

 

Auxiliary Consonants are those that do not affect the syntax of the language, but they do have morphological functions.  The consonants

s                                  z                                   S                                  Z

are used to indicate such things as word senses and agency versus subjecthood.  For example, these consonants can be added to a word to distinguish a metaphorical or figurative use from a literal one.  Similarly applied, the sounds      r        and      l

govern verbal tense and aspect.

 

 

Vowels are a much simpler matter in huPeiput, and their roles and behavior in the language are nothing that would be unfamiliar to English speakers.  There is no necessary classification among vowels, and any two distinct vowels are always lexically contrastive.  Vowels are the backbone of every lexeme, as they are its only components that never change.  HuPeiput words commonly use the monophthongs

u                                  i                                   o

as well as the diphthongs      ei    and        ai.   Each of these vowels (as well as the @ sound, which is less commonly used) has its own orthographic character and is almost always pronounced the same way regardless of context.  The only exception is that the two diphthongs may be shortened to e and a when they appear in word affixes, but never within the word itself.  

 

HuPeiput also uses the glottal fricative h in all articles (such as the hu in huPeiput), but rather than a consonantal phoneme it is regarded as a feature of the vowel it precedes.  Orthographically, for example, hu is recorded like the sound u but with a diacritical to mark aspiration.

 

 

The base of every word, regardless of its part of speech, is of the form CVCVC (let C refer specifically to main consonants, and c stand for auxiliaries).  Auxiliary consonants can be inserted in certain places, namely C[c]V[c]C[c]V[c]C, where brackets represent a place of permissible insertion.  For certain verbal moods, an extra VC segment can be added in the middle to the effect that it forms a “parabolic” syllable – so patuk could be made into p@paituk, pait@tuk, or paituk@k.  This is to maintain an important rule that every word must have exactly three main consonants.  Words can be augmented on the outside only in two cases.  Where appropriate, articles appear as aspirated vowels at the beginnings of words, making them (h)VCVCVC.  Number is expressed in various suffixes, all of the form VcV, so when number is indicated a word can take on the form CVCVCVcV.

The inflection of the main consonants within words presents all one needs to know about huPeiput syntax. 

 

Sample Phrases

haxeitip giTaig bodud hukitsaik.  hopaipug dod@deig.

(5art.+[DSS]glass) ([VDV]eat)  ([VVV]can) (1art.+[SS{s}S]eat{thing that eats}).  (3art.+[SSV]action) ([VV{@V}V]harm{negated}).

“This eater can eat glass.  That action does not harm.”

“I can eat glass.  It does not hurt me.”

 

huvaiDuGzuru.

(1art.+[III]hand+{ordinal}one)

“(To/from/by/etc.)[like a dative case] this right hand.”

Hello.”

 

huvaiDuGziri.

(1art.+[III]hand+{ordinal}two)

“(To/from/by/etc.)[like dative case] this left hand.”

“Goodbye.”

 

huGeiviDiri.

(3art.+[III]knee+two)

“(To/from/by/etc.)[like dative case] these knees.”

“Thank you.”

 

higaixit dodeik!

(2art.+[VDS]heart) ([VVS]harm)

“For that (addressed) heart to be harmed [whole phrase is infinitive]!”

“Fuck you!”

 

hopotsaitala piNeitsuru bodlaid fiNeiTsuru.

(3art.+[SSS]be-true[thing that is true]+<10) ([SMS]finger+{ordinal}one)

([VV{l}V]be-true{cause to be true}) ([DMD]finger+{ordinal}one)

“Those true-things, on the first finger, make-true the first finger.”

“Those truths make themselves true.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

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