Proto-Ara-Faren Language in Salan | World Anvil
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Proto-Ara-Faren

Proto-Ara-Faren was an ancient language spoken near the root of the Serme Mountains around 600-100 BFS . It became the proto-language of Nem (Faren language) and Aradal, two major modern languages that are known to be similar, but not understandable with each other. The speakers of this language are known as the Ara-Farens in the modern times.

No known written examples of Proto-Ara-Faren survive, and thus the understanding of the language is reconstructed based on its daughter languages. Since the invention of writing is situated deep in the Time of Wander according to the Faren Myth of the spirit swan, it is possible that the earliest writing could have reflected either the proto-language, or a Nem variant very close to it.  

Daughter languages

Nem (Faren language) and Aradal together cover the most of the Southern Continent, and are spoken in the largest metropoles of the world, making Ara-Faren the largest language family on Salan (measured by the number of speakers, arguably the Zeribian family is spoken on a larger geographic area, although mostly covered by the sea).  

Comparison

The following examples are reconstructed using the shared vocabulary of Nem and Aradal. In a random sentence there would be much fewer words in common.

(EN) The women went to the river to carry water
(Ara-Faren) túmun oçai saka anawak peka çeladenen
(Nem) tuimun fek anwá pekinei çelnneden
(Aradal) túmun oçäy sak’ä anäwäh pek’ä aya çelákän

(En)They saw (that)
(AF) keladenen
(N) Yenten kelleden yé
(A) k’eläden

(En) A large stone covered the river
(AF) kaya yána oçak gahataden
(N) kai yán fessé gaden
(A) k’ay yanä oçäh katädenne

(En)There was no water in the river
(AF) oçai anawa deden
(N) fes anú den ked
(A) oçäy senä anäw den

Phonology

Consonants

 

Vowels

i, e, o, u, a + long versions of each

Ara-Faren had a hight-based vowel harmony, which means that only high (i, í, é, ó u, ú) or low (a, á e, o) vowels could appear in one word. This harmony is still retained in Aradal, but lost in the most Nem dialects.

Stress

Ara-Faren had a fixed stress on the first syllable, leading to reduced vowels on the second syllables, which are realised as centralised vowels ä and ü in Aradal, and the loss of a vowel in Nem.

Morphology

Noun cases

Ara-Faren had a similar small case system to modern Aradal, consisting of probably no more than four cases, in contrast to seven currently attested in Nem.

  nominative: no ending
accusative: unreconstructible consonant, realised as -h in Aradal and vowel lenghtening in Faren, probably an original -k, which was probably already reduced by this stage.
genitive: -m
locative-adpositional: j/e~i. Realised as j in Aradal and e-element in Nem locative cases (-es/ek/ei)  

Grammatical gender

All Ara-Faren nouns were classified in animate and inanimate genders. Animate gender had nouns refering to things that were perceived to be living, like humans, animals, some natural forces, while the inanimate gender was for all the non-living things. This gender-system is still intact in Aradal, and reflected still in the pronouns of Nem.

The spread of the family

Based on reconstructed vocabulary Ara-Faren proto-language was spoken in the valleys near the root of the Serme Mountains, from where the Ara gradually colonised the highlands, while the Farens spread west during the time the name the Time of Wander.

The Aran branch consists of standard Aradal and it's closely related dialects. Aradal has been greatly affected by the highland languages, especially Sai Õl Tal (Saial language), so even though Aradal retains some of the features of the proto-language that were lost in Nem, the sounds, words and other properties of the branch have changed greatly.

On the other hand the Faren branch shows a lot larger variation, and the various dialects of Nem are only partially mutually intellegible with each other. In fact the eastern dialects could be classified as either independent survivors of the proto-language, or transitional dialects between Nem and Aradal, if the speakers weren't personally identifying as Nem-speakers.
Successor Languages

Comments

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Jul 13, 2021 11:32 by AS Lindsey (Pan)

Is the 'ç' here realised as /ç/ or /ʃ/? If it is /ç/, then that 'tç' is one funky affricate! Animacy distinctions are a guilty pleasure of mine. They keep sneaking in in some form or another, no matter what I do!

Jul 13, 2021 13:29

It's /ç/ and yes, it's a weird one but I like it :D Honestly I still haven't quite decided how it is being reflected in the daughter languages, but I imagine it might be coming from an even earlier voiceless palatal stop.

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Jul 13, 2021 14:41 by AS Lindsey (Pan)

I like it too! Definitely unique. I also really enjoy seeing the comparison of a few sentences across the Ara-Faren languages