Sambeke

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The Sambeke language (sambeqqĭ jqmŏdăb, sometimes written տապбєզզև յզպբճaб) is probably a morphological isolate that has been spoken in several unrelated ficticious countries and projects, including Harpy, a country that was part of the Nywal project, which was never started, and Sambekistan in the Taratai project.

History and classification

Sambeke is most often considered an isolated language, the origins of which are for the largest part unknown. There are however older texts that give an idea of the phonological and morphological development of Sambeke in the last 500 years or so. Sambeke figured in two (almost three) interaction projects of the Dutch Geofiction Association: Pangeo (2003 - 2006), Thalassa (2007 - 2010), and Nywal (never started). In 2017 Sambeke is set to become the main language of the Kingdom of Sambekistan in a new Dutch interaction project. There is also one private project in which Sambeke would be the official language of a country in the earth region of Central-Asia (like the Pangeo country of the Sambekes also called Sambekistan), but this plan has not been further developed.

In both Pangeo and Thalassa, the language was lexically influenced by languages that were the local equivalents of Greek: Atalantejjan and Dardanic.

Fagurna

The only reference of another language that may have been a member of the same language family morphologically, was made in the DGA's Thalassa project, where Sambeke was spoken as a minority language in the Kagqizeinshaims province of a country called IJzerland. In the same country, a language called Fagurna was spoken many centuries before the project's events took place. The only written sentence of this language known in modern days was tiapiv pakurnal apasalu chalmban, which probably means: 'We are Fagurna, free and proud'). In modern Sambeke this is translated thus: amu faagjnaŏ, leĭfers ŏ houwes.

The basis for the possible link between the two languages is the older form of modern Sambeke am ('to be'): hamv, of which some scholars reconstructed the even older form *xãƀ-, wich - according to them - may also have been the ancestral form of Fagurna (t)iap-. The relationship between chalmban and houwe ('proud') is more evident, according to the same scholars.

Most scholars however don't want to conclude anything based on only one sentence.

Fagurna wasn't a part of other DGA projects, so in those situations, Sambeke really was an isolate.

Sambeke on Taratai

In the Taratai project, Sambeke is the dominant language in a small language family of related languages, including Nisurian, Vivilakian, and Luinbeke.

Phonology

Pronunciation of Sambeke words is in most cases a matter of patience. Sambekes pronounce every sound of a word, but this becomes more difficult in rapid speech, so it is considered distinguished not to rush speaking. In rapid speech especially consonants tend to get pronounced wrongly or disappear altogether, which in numerous occasions causes the meaning of a word to change. Single or groups of consonants may form a syllable on their own; stops are in some cases pronounced by many as fricatives, although the literary elite strongly disencourages this.

Each sound has more or less the same length, and syllables are normally articulated equally, which gives Sambeke a rather lazy sound. Double written consonants and vowels are pronounced as one sound, but twice as long, unless it concerns two of the same sounds that are put next to each other by 'accident' (e.g. in combined words), in which they are pronounced separately. A word like afriqqqŏdruu (African man) is therefore pronounced afriʡ:ʡʌdrɯ:.

The sounds that are written with a breve in the western alphabet (ă, ŏ, etc.) are most often pronounced with an added movement of the vocal cords which is said to be typically Sambeke and almost impossible to imitate by foreigners who wish to learn the language. The common cold also makes this special pronunciation impossible and Sambekes suffering from it normally stay indoors so as not to be mistaken for a foreigner by fellow countrymen.

Consonants

In the table below, the spelling of the various sounds in both the latin alphabet and the IJzerlandic alphabet in which it was written in the Thalassa project, is put between brackets after their phonetic values.

bilabial labio-dental alveolar palatal velar epiglottal glottal
nasal ɱ (m պ) n (n ո)
voiceless stop p (p թ) t (t ց) k (k ը) ʡ (q զ)
voiced stop b (b б) d (d ճ) g (g գ)
voiceless fricative f (f փ) s (s տ)
voiced fricative v (v ն) z (z շ)
approximant j (j յ) h (h հ)
trill r (r ր)
lateral approximant l (l լ)

Furthermore, there is the co-articulated labio-velar approximant w, which is written է in the IJzerlandic alphabet.

Vowels

Sambeke has ten vowels: ɑ (ă a), a (a ա), ɜ (ĕ դ), e (e є), ɪ̈ (ĭ և), i (i ı), ʌ (ŏ բ), ɤ (o օ), ʊ (ŭ կ) and ɯ (u ս).

Morphology

Sambeke words don't often use affixes to create different functions of one root, although they do exist. Jdeetqe can therefore mean to defend, defense and defensive and act as a verb, a noun or an adjective. Often the context (and/or endings and suffixes for definiteness, plural, person, numeral etc., which are however not always present) makes clear what exactly is meant, but there are situations where it doesn't, which makes Sambeke a rather intransparant language.

Nouns

Sambeke nouns exist in definite and indefinite forms. The definite forms are created by putting an -s behind the noun's root, e.g. trae (house), which becomes traes (the house, the houses), or maqm (dog), which becomes maqms (the dog, the dogs). In their definite forms, nouns do not make distinction between singular and plural. The indefinite forms however do, by putting an behind the noun's root, when it ends in a vowel, e.g. traeŏ (houses), or an -a when the noun's root ends in a consonant, e.g. maqma (dogs).

Personal endings, to indicate e.g. possession (see below), are attached after the endings for definiteness or plural.

Sambeke nouns can be altered by suffixes, which often vary depending on whether the root ends in a vowel or a consonant. Qŏdruu ('man') normally doesn't change (holăndqŏdruu, Dutchman; vrăzzĕqŏdruu, Frenchman), but aqqă ('woman') does (holăndeqqăse, Dutchwoman; vrăzzĕqaise, Frenchwoman). Irregular formations also exist. When regularly formed, the suffixes are always put directly behind the noun's root, so without the endings for definiteness or plural.

Adjectives

Sambeke adjectives are normally placed before the noun to which they refer. They have singular and plural forms. Roots ending in a consonant add -a to indicate plural. Roots ending in a vowel add -w. A small group of adjectives containing one strain of multiple successive vowels may drop one or more of these vowels to create their plural forms (at least one vowel is left in these cases). Examples: soid (small), plur. soida; jadjzte (possible), plur. jadjztew ; oard (complicated), plur. ord.

If used predicatively (i.e. in combination with the verb am 'to be'), an -s is added to the adjective, no matter whether it's singular or plural or what ending it has: maqms am soids (the dog(s) is/are small), moois am oards (the situation(s) is/are complicated), gjteromsĕ jdaal am amjads (your theory is probable).

Verbs

Verbs always have a subject. Some of these subjects can be regarded as 'personal pronouns', which have clitical forms that are put behind the root of the verb. The facts that not all of the personal pronouns have clitical forms and some of them have only clitical forms for roots that end in a consonant or in a vowel, and that the same clitical forms are used as possessive markers that can be added to nouns, makes linguists hesitant to speak of a real verbal conjugation.

Sambeke has some auxiliary verbs, not only to indicate modality, but also to indicate time. The verb nosi for instance is combined with another verb and together they form the preterite tense of the latter. Nosi itself does appear as an independent verb from time to time, having meanings varying from 'to have been in the past', 'to have done in the past', 'to be over', 'to have/be finished', etc. In speech, nosi can be used in the answer to a question: Nosimĕ heiqwer probleemsom? (Did you solve your problem?) - Bĭq, ai nosi. (Yes, I did).

Personal 'pronouns'

These exist in full forms (which are used e.g. as objects in a sentence) and clitic variants that may have different forms after a vowel and a consonant. In the examples below, e.g. vaarwĕmĕ can mean 'you believe' or 'a belief of yours'; taadqomom can mean 'you experience' or 'an experience of yours'.

full form clitic after vowel clitic after cons. example vowel example cons.
I ai - -j ai vaarwĕ taadqomj
you (sing./fam.) om -mĕ -om vaarwĕmĕ taadqomom
you (sing./pol.) nouq -nqĕ -ouq vaarwĕnqĕ taadqomouq
he -nĕ vaarwĕnĕ taadqomĕ
she nos -ns -os vaarwĕns taadqomos
it (def./countable) ăqt -qt vaarwĕqt taadqomĕ
it (def./uncountable) edv -dv vaarwĕdv taadqomĕ
it (indefinite) nĕve -nve vaarwĕnve taadqomĕ
one jdŏq -jdĕ -jdĕ vaarwĕjdĕ taadqomjdĕ
you two mĕl -mĕl - vaarwĕmĕl mĕl taadqom
we jeu -jŏ -u vaarwĕjŏ taadqomu
you (plur./fam.) ĕma -ma -ĕm vaarwĕma taadqomĕm
you (plur./pol.) qda -qda -ĕd vaarwĕqda taadqomĕd
they (masc./fem./neutr. indef.) niŏ -njŏ - vaarwĕnjŏ niŏ taadqom
they (neutr./def.) dva -dva vaarwĕdva taadqomă

In possessive clauses, the person or thing that is possessed normally gets the ending, which adapts to the possessor. The possessor normally follows the possessed:

htaderjj: 'a son of mine'
htaderjsj: 'my son(s)'
ai htaderja: 'sons of mine'
htaderjĕ basal: 'a son of a king'
htaderjos basila: 'a son of a (reigning) queen'
htaderjsĕ basals: 'the son(s) of the king(s)'
htaderjsos basilas: 'the son(s) of the (reigning) queen(s)'
niŏ htaderjs basals ŏ basaleqqăses: the son(s) of the king(s) and the queen(s)'
htaderjanĕ basals: 'sons of the king(s)'
htaderjanjŏ basals ŏ basaleqqăses: sons of the king(s) and the queen(s)'

Numerals

Sambeke numerals follow an octonal counting system. To make things complicated, some decimal numbers were borrowed from (a language looking like or related to) Greek, although traditional Sambeke numbers can be composed for them instead as well. The cardinal numbers 1 to 8 have independent and clitic forms; for the ordinal numbers substantive and adjective variants exist. There is a symbol for 0, but Sambeke doesn't seem to have a separate word for it; instead the word qeemmŏst (nothing) can be used. When referring to the symbol O, Sambekes say qeemmŏstsĕ seems (the sign of the nothing).

cardinal full form card. clitic after vowel card. clitic after cons. ordinal subst. ordinal adj. symbol
0 (qeemmŏst) O
1 qeb -w -ĕb aqvs qaŭ A
2 ŏnd -d -ĕtt ands and B
3 zod -ze -est zods zod Γ
4 luqmo -qem -ŭqmo lauds luqma Δ
5 zezi -z -ezzi zaezs zezi Ε
6 jowd -jud -id idvs jowd F
7 oeqi -qi -ĕqi jeqs oeqi Z
8 oqq -p -oqq opvs oqq AO
9 eneea enees eneea AA
10 deqa deeqs deqa AB
11 oqq-ŏ-zod opvs-ŏ-zod oqq-ŏ-zod