Wenja’s Roots: Dwani (Sounds), Part 3

Smarkaka, salwa!  Having looked at the realization of PIE stops & fricatives in Wenja, we can now turn our attention to the resonants.  Resonants, as their name implies, are relativity loud (in linguistics, we use the term sonorous) sounds, ones which are made with very little obstruction of airflow. Phonetically & phonologically, they have much in common with vowels, which will be the focus of our next Winjas Surka post.

There are six resonants in PIE & Wenja.  Each is present in English, with one crucial difference.  The < r > of both PIE & Wenja is trilled, not approximant, as we here in the stereotypical “American” r.  You can hear the correct < r > in a whole slew of commercials for Ruffles potato chips. (Note too that the PIE < r > was likely dental, not alveolar)

  • < r > (voiced alveolar trill)

PIE *prō ‘forward’Hitt. p(a)rā ‘forth’, Ved. prá, Av. fra-, Gk. pró, Lat. prō ‘in front of’, Eng. fro, OCS pro- ‘through’, Lith. prã ‘past’, Wenja pra ‘ahead, forth’

  • < l > (voiced alveolar lateral approximant)

PIE *lewk- ‘light’ Hitt. lukke- ‘kindle’, Ved. rócate ‘shines’, Av. raocaiieti ‘lights up’, Gk. leukós ‘bright’, Lat. lūc- ‘light’, OIr. luchair ‘a shining’, Arm. loys ‘light’, Eng. light, TA/B luk ‘to shine’, OCS luča ‘beam of light’, Wenja lawka- ‘bright’, lawkari ‘firefly’, lawkisna ‘glowing’, lawkas ‘light, color’, lawkaya ‘shine, light (transitive); kindle’, lawkwal ‘white wolf’

  • < m > (voiced bilabial nasal)

PIE *men- ‘think’ > Ved. mánas- ‘mind’, Av. manah- ‘mind’, Gk. ménos ‘mental energy’, Lat. ment- ‘mind’, OIr. do-moiniur ‘I think’, Arm. i-manam ‘I understand’, Eng. mind, OCS mĭnjǫ ‘I believe’, Lith. menù ‘I think’, Wenja manas ‘plan, strategy’, manaya ‘warn’, mani ‘think; rage, be angry’

  • < n > (voiced alveolar nasal)

PIE *ne ‘not’ > Hitt. na-tta ‘not’, Ved. , Av. na, Lat. ne-, OIr. , OEng. ne, OCS ne, Lith. , Wenja nay ‘no’, na ‘not’, nakwayda ‘never’, etc.

  • < w > (voiced labiovelar glide)

PIE *wh– ‘to lead, convey (in a vehicle)’ >  HLuv. waza- ‘drive’, Ved. váhati ‘leads, brings’, Av. vazaiti ‘leads, brings’, Gk. ekhetō ‘let him convey’, Lat. uehere ‘to convey’, OIr. fén ‘wagon’ (< *weǵh-no-), OCS vezǫ ‘I convey’Middle Dutch wagen ‘wagon’ ( > English), Wenja waja ‘drive; ride (a bear, sabertooth)’

  • < y > (voiced palatal glide)

PIE *yugom ‘a yoke’Hitt. iukan ([jugan]), Ved. yugám, Gk. zugón, Lat. iugum, Welsh iau, Lith. jùngas (with secondary -n-), Eng. yoke, Wenja yawga ‘to yoke, join’ 

In PIE, that’s not the end of the story for resonants. In fact, each of these sounds, under certain conditions (to learn more than you could ever want, see http://www.brill.com/products/book/indo-european-syllable :D) are realized as “vowels” in that they act as the peak of their syllable. For < r, l, m, n > this is indicated by a little circle under the consonants in question, for < w, y > they are re-written as < u > and < i >, respectively.

  • < r̥ > 

PIE *mr̥tos ‘dead’ Ved. mr̥tá-, Av. mǝrǝta-, Gk. brotós (< *mrotós) ‘mortal’, Lat. Morta ‘goddess of death’, Arm. mard ‘man’, Eng. murd-er, Old Russ. mĭrtvŭ ‘dead’, Lith. mirtìs ‘death’, Wenja marti ‘death’, marwa ‘dead’

  • < l̥ > 

PIE *wl̥kwos ‘wolf’Hitt. walkuwa- ‘monster’, Ved. vr̥ kás, Av. vǝhrka-, OCS vliku, Lith. vilkas, Wenja wal(kwa) ‘wolf(pack)’

  • < m̥ > 

PIE *deḱm̥ ‘10’Ved. daśa, Av. dasa, Gk. déka, Lat. decem, OCS desȩ-tĭ, Lith. dẽšimt, Wenja dacham ’10’

  • < n̥ > 

PIE *n̥- ‘un-‘ Ved. a(n)-, Gk. a(n)-, Lat. in-, OIr. an-, Eng. un-, Wenja an-fraji ‘distracted’, an-sharta ‘unharmed’, an-shurdwa ‘wrong, incorrect’

  • < u > 

PIE *nu ‘now’ > Greek nun, Latin nunc, Sanskrit nu, Wenja nu ‘now’

  • < i > 

PIE *n‘down’ > Sanskrit ni ‘down’, ni-taram ‘downward’, Greek nei-othen, Old Church Slavonic ni-zŭ ‘low down’, English ne-therWenja ni ‘down’

If you look closely at the Wenja forms above, Wenja does not have these reduced resonants — rather, with very few exceptions (there are more cases with i & u), there is always a vowel next to resonant in question.  In Indo-European terminology, we would say that Wenja is pre-ablaut. For the most part, no reductions have happened yet.  This is one of the “proto-PIE” features we refer to in our past interviews.

2 thoughts on “Wenja’s Roots: Dwani (Sounds), Part 3

  1. Anon says:

    I'm interested in your method of creating a Proto PiE language in Wenja.

    When I consider the arguable onomatopoeic nature of words like:

    PIE *mr̥tos ‘dead’ > the m and voiceless trill could be similar to a repeated quiet mourning sound. The -os is an ending vowel that requires the least oral muscles to pronounce (as opposed to i, or a).

    PIE *wl̥kwos ‘wolf’ > The onomatopeic nature of this word is evident in that the wl̥k is the sound of a wolf cry. Again the -os is an ending vowel which requires the least facial muscles to pronounce.

    I'm curious as to how your reconstructions into Wenja:

    Wenja marti 'death', marwa 'dead'

    Wenja wal(kwa) 'wolf(pack)'

    Are a regression. At first sight they seem to me to be an evolution of PIE by a few thousand years rather than a regression.

    I'm genuinely curious as I love your work immensely on Wenja! Questions like these spring to mind when delving into the linguistics for me.

  2. Andrew Byrd says:

    Interesting ideas here! You may be right about PIE *mer- being originally onomatopoetic, but something that could prove problematic is that the root originally meant "to disappear" (we find this meaning in Anatolian) and not "to die". It's likely that the meaning "to die" was initially euphemistic, just as we find in English "to pass away". You could be right about *wlkw- sounding like a wolf howl, but it's impossible to prove.

    As for the *-o-s ending, this is one of the most common suffixes in PIE to form nouns. (It's called the thematic suffix) It'd be difficult to make any claims as to the origin of it, though to be sure many within the field have tried.

    As for the specific Wenja reconstructions, marti, and marwa are regular reflexes from PIE mrti- & mrwo- (with syllabic "r"s). Note that positing Wenja as proto-PIE, we assume that the syllabic "r"s in actual PIE (and Izila) are *later* developments. In general, ablaut is absent in Wenja, though we do cheat here and there to avoid homophony.

    Walkwa (the expected Wenja form of PIE *wlkwo) is an instance of word clipping that we had to do in the game to ensure that important words weren't overlong. I decided to keep walkwa to mean "wolfpack".

    U Winja war-warha!

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