The History of Niwyowid

proto-Niwyowid (PNV)

Xe eisi yi zuha vei yi xe yi skyay avan eyii tyi exi. /ɣe eˈihi dzi ˈzɯha ˈvei dzi ɣe dzi skjaj ˈavan eˈjii ci ˈeɣi/ “And stood his hat holding he and his wet face turned to the wind”

Proto-Niwyowid speakers invaded their current homeland about 1,500 years ago, where they encountered and mostly displaced the native Fujilu. Although the proto-Niwyow people didn’t import much vocabulary from Fujilu (aside from place-names), their sentence structure was massively influenced by the Fujilu substrate. PNV also went through an intense phonological simplification, becoming Old Niwyowid, or N’fyouf.

Xeo shou ouha fe shou suha xeo xeou shou shay af’n tyou xou. /jeo ʃow ouh fe: ʃow sjɯh jeo jou ʃow ʃæj ævn tʃou jou/ “And he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.”

And then the Vikings invade. Uh, I mean the …(rolls dice)… Pu Nichafawa…who spoke Old Tyihanyanyu (OTN). They didn’t do much to change N’vyouf sentence structure, but they added in a lot of vocabulary (including some pronouns and even definite articles) and re-introduced some phonetic diversity, which gets worn down in its turn by some new shifts. Late Old Niwyowid (ONV) or N’vyouf,

Xo i tautou feyieh sho shusi xo xouou sho asufou af’n tyo pu f’gith /jo i ta’uto: fejie: ʃo ˈʃusi jo jo’uwo: ʃo aˈzuvo: ‘avin tʃo pu viˈgiθ/ “And he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.”

We see in Late Old Niwyowid the emergence of regular past forms (-ou) and participles (-ey) on verbs, as well as a tendency to accent nouns on their first syllable and nouns on their second (causing dipthongization to distinguish second syllables from tense/mood suffixes). Note new words i (from OTN hi meaning “he,” now distinct from sho or “his”), tautou (“stood” from OTN tatau inflected like an ONV past tense verb), shusi (“hat”, from OTN zhusi, replacing sih (PNV suha, which now means “cloak”), asufou (“wet with tears”, from OTN hasuva “soaked in bodily fluids”, as opposed to ONV shayouou which now means “wet with water/alcohol/etc.”), pu (“the”), f’gith (“wind” from OTN zhagi-vugidha or “god-stream”).

The next invaders were the Iñàngi, speakers of Iñàngi Kwàchey (IKW). The Iñàngi had a long tradition of legalism and literacy, which meant that their words had standard spellings. By the time Niwyouwid emerged from its 200-year unrecorded “dark age,” it had standard spellings too, beginning the Middle Niwyouwid (MNV) period.

Xo i tauudo uhàng-wxixe sho chuza xo taddhouo sho azzuwo dhidha tho pu wixazzà /ja i tə’wudo waŋ’vjije ʃa ʃuz ja tədʒow’uwo ʃa əˈzuvo ‘dʒiʒ tʃa pu ‘vijəza/ “And he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.”

In addition internal phonological processes (reduction of unstressed vowels to ə or nothing, intervocalic voicing, the emergence of voiced fricatives as distinct phonemes), we see the emergence of the perfective past, formed from tadd- (from the same root as tauud, “stand”) prefixed to the verb xouo (“was/were turning”) to form taddhxouo (“turned”).

The Iñàngi introduced high-sounding particles to attach to native words, including the adjective marker –de (KW -ite) as in Niwyouwide (modern spelling “Niwyouwid”), and the augmentative –à as in wixazzà (“wind,” still worshiped according to Nichafa tradition). Some native words have been pejorated, such as avn (ONV af’n, “face”) which now means “a lazy or useless person” (In MNV, “face” is dhidha, from IKW jicho, “forehead”). Other KW words have become part of compounds, such as uhàng-wxixe literally “hand-holding” (from uhàng IKW “palm of hand” and feyi ONV “to hold,” now found only in compounds).

Borrowings from IKW have usually retained their spelling, and some native spellings have been altered to reflect the preferences of KW-speaking scribes (w=/v/, dh=/dʒ/, th=/tʃ/, and sometimes ch=/ʃ/, as is the case with chuza, which was borrowed into KW and back into NV). Other MNV spelling conventions are the result of native developments (double consonants indicate preceding shwas, x=/j-/, y=/-j/).

Modern Niwyouwid /’naɪvjəvɪd/ (NV)

Xo i gudiae taxudo uhàngwxayde sho shñokir chuza xo t’ddhoxuo sho nyax azzuwo dhidh tho pu xasipo wixazzà /jə aɪ gə’daɪje tə’juda waŋ’vjaɪjde ʃə ‘ʃnoʊkɪr tʃjuz jə tʃaw’juwa ʃə naɪk əˈzjuva dʒɪʒ tʃə pə ˈkeɪsɪpa ‘vaɪjəza:/ and he stood holding his hat and turned his wet face to the wind.

Modern Niwyowid is separated from Middle Niwyowid by the Enlightenment and Colonial periods, when Niwyow scholars reached back into classical languages (e.g. Dathu) and the languages of newly contacted peoples (e.g. Delta Ñañ) for new concepts. Spelling is now very standard, and loan-words retain their original spellings (though not pronunciations). Shñokir chuza, the most fashionable style of hat, is based upon the shuÑañtaf shñokir kutep, or “little military hat.”

Semantic drift has continued, as with taxud, which now means “stay, remain,” uhàngwxa (now, ironically, “lose”), and wixazzà (MNV “wind”), which now means “potential or unforeseen benefits.” “Stand in a place, be erect” is gudiae taxudo (from Dathu gudia, “upright,” pronounced /ˈgɯdia/). “Keep something in hands” is uhàngwxayd (with the addition of Dathu –d verbal suffix). “Outdoor movement of air” is distinguished as xasipo wixazzà (from Dathu xasipo, “wind,” pronounced /ˈxahipo/). The nyax in nyax azzuwo is also from Dathu (“tears” pronounced /ɲax/).

I owe a lot to vulgar, the conlang-generator.

And tune in on Friday for the funner version of all these technical notes.

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  • Vilike Morgenthal

    Paid version?

    • No, I used the free version and that turned out to be a problem when I had to shut down my computer and I found out that on the free site, you can’t reload the same language twice! For this project though, that was fine, since I was only trying to prove a point about spelling rules.