On 2012-10-03, I started an early version of Lwaitel. The only thing I actually did was make a writing system (and, implicitly, a phonology). When I came back to the language in 2014 to make the first version of what I have now, I pretty much completely started over. The following is the phonology (reconstructed from the writing system description); I intended for all the names in The Invention of Color to be the actual color names in this language, and designed the phonology around that.
|Stop||/p/ /b/||/t/ /d/||/k/ /ɡ/|
|Approximant||/w/||/l/ /lʷ/ /ɹ/||(/j/?)|
Approximants and /n/ can be syllabic, and all but one consonant in a cluster must be an approximant or /n/.
The writing system was a syllabary. Like the first published version of Lwaitel (and sort of like the current version), each symbol could represent either a consonant-vowel pair, or a vowel-consonant pair, or just a plain vowel, with vowel-consonant symbols being mirror images of consonant-vowel symbols. Unlike later versions, all approximants (syllabic or not) and syllabic /n/ were treated as vowels by the writing system. A CVC syllable with no approximants would have the vowel repeated twice; for instance, a syllable pronounced /kæt/ would be written with the symbol for /kæ/ followed by the symbol for /æt/.
Like the current version, it used color to distinguish sounds (the same colors), though in a more complicated manner than later versions. These are the symbols:
To get the symbol for a particular sound, find the row corresponding to the consonant, and the column corresponding to the vowel; then replace the yellowish part of the symbol with the color corresponding to the consonant, and the purple part of the symbol with the color corresponding to the vowel. For instance, for the syllable /ti/, the symbol looks like <O, which, depending on the colors, could be /pæ pɑ pe pi tæ tɑ te ti kæ kɑ ke ki sæ sɑ se si/; since /t/ is red, the < is red, and since /i/ is green, the circle is green, so it's <O.
Here are some examples (not sure if the last one was really what I intended):
This version was much more similar to the current version. The phonology was the same, except that all consonants other than nasals and glides had palatalized and labialized versions; I later replaced these with consonant clusters, and reanalyzed /tʃ/ and /ʃ/ as allophones of /t/ and /s/. Also for a while there were long vowels, which could not occur in syllables with a final consonant. Also for a while /lʲ/ and /lʷ/ were allowed at the end of any syllable.
The writing system was the same as the old writing system as currently described. However, before I got rid of long vowels, it worked a bit differently: stressed syllables ending in short vowels were written with a single letter, long vowels were written with a final no-vowel sign, and unstressed /i/ and /u/ were written, in both the writing system and the romanization, as if they were diphthongs /əi/ and /əu/. Summary:
|Syllable||Old||Version 1||Current version|
|/pi/ (unstressed)||pA pei||p pi|| pi|
|/ˈpi/ (stressed, short)||p pi||pA pí (originally pii)||p pí|
|/ˈpiː/ (stressed, long)||pA pii|
The grammar, on the other hand, was very different. I hadn't done anything with verbs yet. Words in a sentence could go in any order, including splitting noun phrases apart. Each noun and adjective had a case prefix (which later turned into prepositions), followed by a person/obviation prefix (which later became separate words); adjectives had to agree with their noun in both prefixes. The case prefixes (parenthesized letters are included or not depending on whether the word starts with a vowel or consonant):
|Locative||(-)p(e)-||p(e)-||pe||If modifying a noun, the modified noun's case prefix comes first (suffixaufnahme)|
|Genetive||-ant-||n(e)-||ant||The modified noun's case prefix comes first (suffixaufnahme)|
Note that some of these prefixes are stressed, whereas others are unstressed; it took me a while to figure out what sorts of things should be stressed and what sorts of things should be unstressed. At this point, I think these prefixes would result in words with multiple stressed syllables, rather than shifting stress away from the existing stressed syllable. Also note that unmarked obviation is medial, rather than obviate in the current version.
Relative clauses started with the particle pe, with the case prefix for the noun in the main clause, and ended with the particle ep, with the case prefix for the noun in the relative clause. This has been, of course, completely changed.
Before revision 20, a different romanization system was used:
In revision 28, I changed a few letters, making them hopefully easier to write legibly, and also in my opinion more visually appealing; also mp and nk now resemble combinations of the corresponding single-sound letters:
If the main verb is not new information, but some other part of the sentence is, the particle nes is placed before the main verb and swán is placed before the new information (noun or prepositional phrase). The main verb becomes a participle, with the new information being treated as proximate when determining the participle's voice. (Nes is derived from án hes and acts similarly; see relative clauses. However, nes can also be used to focus prepositional phrases, and the word order with nes is freer.)
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