The Language of the Month this July is Kawa's Felinese! Felinese is spoken by a spacefaring species of gynomorphic alien cat people. Fittingly, it has a conscript with a high-tech aesthetic, as well as a purring phonology with tons of resonants and trills.
This public article was written by Admin Sheep, and last updated on 25 Nov 2019, 13:25.
Felinese has a load of taps, trills, and fricatives, as befits a language spoken by a feline species. The taps and trills are /ɾ r ʀ/, which are augmented by the trilled and tapped release clusters /mɾ hɾ gʀ/. In addition to the labial approximant /ʋ/, there are a whopping three labial fricatives, /β f v/, plus two sibilants /s ʃ/, and /θ h/ to round the whole set out. We finish off our tour of the sonorants with the sole lateral /l/ and the nasals /m n/. Finally, we have stops at 4 places of articulation, /p b t d c k/, and a single affricate /tʃ/.
Our next stop is the vowel system. There is one low vowel, /ɐ/, with a short allophone [ɐ̌]. There are two low mid vowels, /ɛ ɔ/, which are only found in diphthongs with /ɪ/. The other mid vowels contain the schwa (written <e>) and one high mid back vowel /o/. The high vowels are /ɪ i: u/. Finally, we have the four diphthongs /ɛɪ ɔɪ aɪ ɪɐ/.
Felinese also has a couple of scripts. The one in present use is alphabetic, and derives from the Felin Upperspeech. Although there is no article on the script, you can see many examples among the translations. The older script, derived from Lowerspeech, is a logography, which is no longer in common use. This article shows some nifty examples of how Felin computers encode these two scripts.
Felinese has a mildly agglutinative, slightly fusional grammar. Verbs agree with the subject and mark for one of four tense-aspect combinations: present progressive, past, present, and future. On top of that, they can also inflect for imperative, interrogative, abilitative, and propositional moods. Furthermore, a noun can be zero-derived from a verb, and a verb or noun can take the -aw suffix to become an adjective. That's absolutely it for noun declensions. That's right: no numbers or cases are present in Felinese nouns, although pronouns do have number (singular and plural only).
Syntax is largely head-final, with SOV order in the clause, and adjectives and numerals preceding the noun. However, nouns precede the relative clause, which is formed using a gapped construction with an overall adjectival structure. That about wraps it up for basic Felinese syntax.
Got suggestions for how the next LotM should be written? See something in Felinese that wasn't covered and you wish it had been? Feel free to shoot us (phi2dao, argyle, protondonor, or Avlönskt) a PM with your questions, comments, and/or concerns. Also feel free to drop by the LotM clan if you have other feedback, want to join in the voting process, or nominate a language!