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Aradal

Aradal [ɑɾɑⁿdɑl] is the national language of the Ara people of the Mountain kingdom, spoken in the Serme Mountains. It is distantly related to Nem Ressalit spoken by the Farens.

Sample text

Ren ńumürüm, edenäh munüncü. Ímü fawarań sakä fawakäsencä. Edenäh un-pek'äncä saddemäy sakä, ńumüwüm lenäkay sak'ä. Edenäh nenäń läytä saläkäsencä. Lenäkay sak'ä tamwoh ama, lasäraneh ama, fusüh ama pek'äncä. Run teläpe un-çeläncä, yátancä.
— An Ara telling about their funeral customs
  analysis and translation
ren ńumü-rüm, edenä-h munü-n-cü.
man die-TEMP he-ACC wash-PRES-1PL
‘when a man dies, we wash him’

ímü fawarań sakä fawa-käse-n-cä
beautiful cloth.PREP in dress-CAUS-PRES-1PL
‘we dress him in beautiful clothes’

Edenä-h un-pek'ä-n-cä sad-demä-y sakä ńumüwüm lenäka-y sak'ä
he-ACC up-carry-PRES-1PL mountain-top-PREP to dead living.place.PREP to
‘we carry him to the hilltop, to the houses of the dead’

Edenä-h nenä-ń läytä salä-käse-n-cä.
he-ACC father-PL.PREP with sit-CAUS-PRES-1PL
‘we place him sitting among the ancestors’

lenäka-y sak'ä tamwo-h ama, lasärane-h ama, fusü-h ama pekä-n-cä
dwelling.PREP to ceramic-ACC PL food-ACC PL beverage-ACC PL bring-PRES-1PL
‘We bring a lot of ceramics, food and beverage to the grave’

run teläpe un-çelä-n-cä, yáta-n-cä.
each year up-go-PRES-1PL celebrate-PRES-1PL
'Each year we go back there and celebrate'

Alphabet

Mostly not written. The Ara rely on a long tradition of preserving oral history organised by the Áçäwals.

Phonology

Vowels

front central back
close i í ü u ú
close-mid é ó
open-mid e o
near-open ä
open á a
The exact qualities of the vowels in IPA are:
e = [ɛ], é = [e:], o = [ɔ], ó = [o:], ä = [ɐ], ü = [ɨ]

Aradal vowels have two lenghts (long vowels are marked with accents: á)   Aradal has a hight-based vowel harmony. High or closed vowels (here close-mid and close) form the high group while the low or open vowels (here open-mid to open) form the low group. Only one vowel group can appear in one word, except for compound words. Notice that long é and ó are high while short e and o are low!
 

Consonants

labial alveolar palatal velar
nasal m n ń
stop/ejective p t d k k'
fricative f s c(t͡s) ç h
approximant w r y

Aradal has almost completely lost it's ancestral voicing distinction in stops. /b/ has completely merged with /w/. /k/ has become ejective /k'/ while /g/ has lost it's voicing. /d/ is still voiced, but it's slightly prenasalised too, especially intervocally (where it corresponds to Nem /nt/ cluster). In some dialects ejective t' can be found in place of the unvoiced /t/.   The changes are probably influenced by Sai Õl Tal (Saial language), that has a full series of ejective stops but no voicing distinction.

Morphology

Aradal has two genders: animate (humans, animals and other similar entities) and inanimate (non-active things like items).   Aradal has three numbers: singular, paucal and plural. Numbers 2-5 are in paucal. Animate gender has paucal ending -n, and inanimate -arä/irü. Quantities above 5 are in singular and take quantifier ama 'many' after them. Mass nouns are treated as singular.   Aradal has four cases: nominative , accusative (-h), genitive (-m) and adpositional (-y) which is used with adpositions. This is significantly less than in the related Nem Ressalit which has seven. It should be noted that the Aradal postpositions sakä 'to' and senä 'in' seem to be related to Nem allative -ek and adessive -es case endings. The proto language likely had a system more similar to Aradal. Adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.   Aradal verbs agree in three persons, but only in two numbers, singular and plural, unlike the nouns. They have three tempus: present, past and future, which can combine with multiple aspects such as imperfective, perfective and incoative. Aradal verbs have two stems, the short stem and long stem, which is differentiated by the lenght of the first vowel of the word. The long stem is the stem for imperatives and irrealis mood. Lenghtening can also change the vowel harmony class of the verb!
lasä 'eat' -> lásä (same harmony class)
ńemä 'speak' -> ńémü (changes from low into high class)
fídü 'love' -> fídü (the indicative is already in long stem, no change)

Vocabulary

Based on shared vocabulary the proto language of Nem and Aradal was probably spoken in the lowlying mountain valleys, from where the Ara people migrated uphill, and Farens further West to the plains. Later Aradal has borrowed vocabulary related to the mountain dwelling lifestyle from multiple local languages. Modern aradal has far more vocabulary that stems from the local Saial languages, than from the proto-language. Because of this and the many sound changes that have happened, Aradal and Nem are completely mutually unintellegible.
Root Languages
Spoken by
sermardan man 1.0.png
by Tuisku
Aradal speaker
 

Language contact

Aradal has been strongly influenced by the Sai Õl Tal (Saial language), that used to be the dominant language of the area before the Ara expansion. Aradal has received a lot of grammatical influence and loan words. Most notably 'person' in Aradal is sayal, which is an obvious loan from Saial, originally meaning 'common people' (sai + õl).   Additionally, many recent loan words have come from Nem, which is the language of the foreign relations in the area.
 

Spatial refrences

Aradal tends to use absolute spatial references. This means, that they prefer to say that things are wáńalo 'upstreams, up the hill' or wánwílü 'downstreams, down the hill' from something else, rather that using realtional words such as 'left' or 'right'.

-Nákal túm kärädenne?
'Where is mother?'
-Wáńalo lenäkaläy sak'ä kärädenne.
'She went to the house upstreams'
  -Tála wánwílü çeläkäswäh!
'Can you pass me the letter that is downstreams?'
  This system reflects the environment they live in: in the steep mountain valleys most things are noticably up or down the mountains. Notably Saial language uses a similar reference system, so this may be one of the plentiful Saial loans in Aradal.

Syntax

The basic word order is SOV:
Asä tótü-h lasä-n-äs.
I rabbit-ACC eat-PRES-1SG
'I eat rabbit.'
  Prepositional phrases are placed before the verb:
cewä feläy senä hufün
fire house.PREP in burn.PRES.3P
'The fire is burning in the house'   Negation is formed with a negation verb desä:
Asä tótü-h de-s lasä.
I rabbit-ACC NEG-PRES.1SG eat
'I don't eat rabbit.'
  Interrogative phrases begin with a question word.
Polar questions (yes-no) begin with question marker ańa.
Wala nen saddemä-y sak’ä kärä-denne?
Why father mountain to go-PST.PF
‘Why did father go to the mountain?’
  Relative clauses end with a relative pronoun:
Ayäporo-h katä aya kärä-denne.
animal-ACC protect in.order.to go-PST.PF
‘He went to protect the animals’   Imperatives are formed by having the verb in the pure long stem in clause initial position:
Lásä totü-h!
eat.IMP rabbit-ACC
'Eat the rabbit!'

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Cover image: by Paolo Costa Baldi

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