Features for Mîrkšam

Share & Bookmark


Consonant Inventories WALS Moderately small
Myrkçam has a moderately small inventory of 17 consonant phonemes, summarized thus:

            Bilabial    Dental      Alveolar    Alveolopal. Palatal     Velar
Nasal       m                       n                       ɲ           ŋ
Plosive     p                       t                       c           k
Fricative   ɸ           θ           s           ɕ           ç           x~h
Approximant                                                 j
Lab. Approx.                                                            w
Trill                               r

The plosive series contains only the four plosives /p t c k/. All plosives remain unaspirated in all positions in the standard central dialect. No dialect maintains any distinctions of aspiration. Plosives can, however, be slightly labialized before rounded vowels: [pʷ tʷ cʷ kʷ].

The nasal plosives correspond to these oral plosives, comprising /m n ɲ ŋ/. Nasal plosives preceding oral plosives, fricatives, or other nasal plosives across syllable boundaries or within the same syllable assimilate to the corresponding place of articulation. Almost always this occurs at syllable boundaries, as, of these combinations, the syllabic structure of Myrkçam would only permit /mn/, /ɲn/, or /ŋn/ to occur tautosyllabically. Additionally, in all positions /ɲr/ becomes [nr], but no other nasal is assimilated by /r/. A phonotactic constraint forbids /tŋ/ from occurring, and so when it would otherwise appear at syllable boundaries it becomes [tk].

The set of fricatives is comparatively large, consisting of /ɸ θ s ɕ ç x/. It is also the set that is subject to the most variation: while the standard central dialect realizes it as [ɸ θ s ɕ ç x~h] when unvoiced, in some dialects its realization can vary to [f θ s ʃ ç x~h]. In particular the nonstandard use of [f~v] for /ɸ/ has become quite widespread in recent times. Regardless of dialect, /x/ is realized as [x] syllable-finally or when in a consonantal cluster but otherwise realized as [h], disregarding voicing.

Myrkçam has one rhotic consonant /r/ and two approximants /j w/. The rhotic /r/ typically averages two or three taps, but in informal speech it may be reduced to [ɾ] when between two vowels. /w/ only occurs before unrounded vowels. In any case, neither /w/ nor /j/ show any significant variation or allophony, and they are primarily found in diphthongs.

If doubled tautosyllabic consonants arise from morphological or other concerns, they are phonologically reduced to single consonants rather than geminated.
Vowel Quality Inventories WALS Large (7-14)
The inventory of vocalic phonemes is larger than average, with ten present:

            Front                   Back
            Unrounded   Rounded     Unrounded   Rounded
High        i           y           ɯ           u
Mid         e           ø           ɤ           o
Low                                 a           ɶ

Despite their position in the phoneme table above, /a/ and /ɶ/ are not treated as back vowels but as central ones; in formal speech, they are typically pronounced centralized, as [ä] and [ɶ̈]. This ideally would result in a symmetric vowel system.

The actual realization of the vowel phonemes can show considerable variation by dialect, but as a rule, the rounding distinctions are preserved. In many dialects the rounded front vowels and the unrounded back vowels are centralized to some extent, especially in unstressed positions. This tends to cause both /y/ and /ø/ to approach [ʏ], while /ɯ/ becomes [ɯ̽] and /ɤ/ becomes [ʌ̽]. Many of these dialects also realize /ɶ/ as [ɔ̽], with such vocalization again more common in unstressed positions. 

Centralization of /i/, /e/, /u/, /o/, or /a/ is less common; these phonemes are realized more consistently across dialect, whether stressed or unstressed, as [i], [e̞], [u], [o̞], and [ä], respectively, though they may lose some vowel quality when unstressed.

In addition to the above variations in realization, unstressed vowels are in all dialects shorter than stressed vowels.

Diphthongs exist in /w/ and /j/, but /w/ can only occur before unrounded vowels. All vocalic variations still apply to the vocalic elements of diphthongs.
Consonant-Vowel Ratio WALS Low
The value here is 1.7, considerably below the natlang mean of 4.25.
Voicing in Plosives and Fricatives WALS No voicing constrast
Myrkçam may seem somwhat atypical in that it observes no voicing distinction (a feature shared by about a third of all languages); nonetheless, both voiceless and voiced consonants occur, in complementary distribution. /m/, /n/, /ɲ/, /ŋ/, /j/, /w/, and /r/ are always voiced; all other consonants are voiceless except when they fall between two other voiced phonemes or when they fall immediately after a nasal plosive, in which case they become voiced. This rule is not applied recursively.
Voicing and Gaps in Plosive Systems WALS Other
Myrkçam makes no voicing distinction.
Uvular Consonants WALS None
Glottalized Consonants WALS No glottalized consonants
Lateral Consonants WALS No laterals
The Velar Nasal WALS Initial velar nasal
Vowel Nasalization WALS Contrast absent
Vowels are partially nasalized when preceding nasal plosives, but this is not distinctive.
Front Rounded Vowels WALS High and mid
Syllable Structure WALS Complex
Syllables in Myrkçam maintain the sonority sequencing principle. In particular, the sonority hierarchy for Myrkçam is as follows, from highest to lowest:

/a ɶ/
/e ø ɤ o/
/i y ɯ u/
/j w/
/m ɲ ŋ/
/ɸ θ ɕ ç x/
/p c k/

Syllables are limited to a (CA)V(A), (CA)V(C), or (C)(C)V(A)(C) structure, where V represents any vowel, C represents any consonant, A represents any of the phonemes /r j w/, and parentheses represent optional elements. The only exception to this occurs when a nasal precedes a fricative across a syllable boundary, in which case an oral plosive at the fricative’s place of articulation is intercalated at the end of the first syllable regardless of structural constraints.
Tone WALS No tones
Fixed Stress Locations WALS No fixed stress
Weight-Sensitive Stress WALS Right-oriented: One of the last three
Weight Factors in Weight-Sensitive Stress Systems WALS Lexical stress
Rhythm Types WALS Trochaic
Secondary stress is not iterative, and it occurs at the opposite edge from primary stress, making it always fall on the initial syllable.
Absence of Common Consonants WALS All present
Presence of Uncommon Consonants WALS 'Th' sounds
Specifically, /θ/ and its allophones are present.


Fusion of Selected Inflectional Formatives WALS Exclusively concatenative
Myrkçam is a highly agglutinative language, hence its monoexponential concatenative morphology.
Exponence of Selected Inflectional Formatives WALS Monoexponential case
Myrkçam is a highly agglutinative language, hence its monoexponential concatenative morphology.
Inflectional Synthesis of the Verb WALS 4-5 categories per word
Myrkçam verbs are conjugated to agree with their subjects in person (exclusive first, inclusive first, second, present but not addressed, proximate, obviate, or hypothetical) and number (singulative, transnumeral, or plural).

Verbs mark three tenses (past, present, and future), three aspects (perfective, imperfective, and inchoative), and seven moods (indicative, imperative, subjunctive, potential, negative, participial, and infinitive). The prefices of a verb are always attached in the order aspect-tense-mood-number-person, resulting in a final construction in the reverse order: person-number-mood-tense-aspect-stem.

Thus, there are five categories per word.
Locus of Marking in the Clause WALS Double marking
Verbs are conjugated and subjects and objects are declined, each in agreement with the other.
Locus of Marking in Possessive Noun Phrases WALS Dependent marking
The genitive case is used to indicate that the marked noun is modifying another noun (which typically precedes it).
Locus of Marking: Whole-language Typology WALS Inconsistent or other
Prefixing vs. Suffixing in Inflectional Morphology WALS Strong prefixing
Reduplication WALS Productive full and partial reduplication
Case Syncretism WALS No syncretism
Syncretism in Verbal Person/Number Marking WALS Not syncretic

Nominal Categories

Number of Genders WALS None
Sex-based and Non-sex-based Gender Systems WALS No gender
Systems of Gender Assignment WALS No gender
Coding of Nominal Plurality WALS Plural stem change
Occurrence of Nominal Plurality WALS All nouns, always optional
Plurality in Independent Personal Pronouns WALS Person-number stem
The Associative Plural WALS Unique periphrastic associative plural
Definite Articles WALS No definite or indefinite article
Indefinite Articles WALS No definite or indefinite article
Inclusive/Exclusive Distinction in Independent Pronouns WALS Inclusive/exclusive
Inclusive/Exclusive Distinction in Verbal Inflection WALS Inclusive/exclusive
Distance Contrasts in Demonstratives WALS Two-way contrast
Pronominal and Adnominal Demonstratives WALS Different inflection
Third Person Pronouns and Demonstratives WALS Related for all demonstratives
Gender Distinctions in Independent Personal Pronouns WALS No gender distinctions
Politeness Distinctions in Pronouns WALS No politeness distinction
Indefinite Pronouns WALS Generic-noun-based
Intensifiers and Reflexive Pronouns WALS Differentiated
Person Marking on Adpositions WALS No person marking
Number of Cases WALS 6-7 cases
Asymmetrical Case-Marking WALS Symmetrical
Position of Case Affixes WALS Case suffixes
Comitatives and Instrumentals WALS Differentiation
Ordinal Numerals WALS First, two-th, three-th
Distributive Numerals WALS Marked by preceding word
Numeral Classifiers WALS Absent
Conjunctions and Universal Quantifiers WALS Formally different
Position of Pronominal Possessive Affixes WALS Possessive suffixes

Nominal Syntax

Obligatory Possessive Inflection WALS Absent
Possessive Classification WALS No possessive classification
Genitives, Adjectives and Relative Clauses WALS Adjectives and relative clauses collapsed
Adjectives without Nouns WALS Not without noun
Action Nominal Constructions WALS Possessive-Accusative
Noun Phrase Conjunction WALS 'And' different from 'with'
Nominal and Verbal Conjunction WALS Differentiation

Coordination is accomplished differently for different syntactic elements. Clauses are coordinated via one of a moderately small set of coordinating conjunctions, which is interposed between the clauses. Some common members of this set include ‹orm› “and”, ‹aš› “and, but”, ‹îš› “but”, ‹za› “but rather”, ‹hwat› “either… or”, ‹izi› “… or… or both”, ‹hjan› “resulting in, then”, ‹hwi› “for the motivating reason that, because”, ‹śa›, “logically implies that”, ‹ńug› “from the cause that, because”, and ‹pfâ› “so that”.

Coordination of noun phrases, of verb phrases, and of heads of phrases in general, by contrast, is accomplished via simple juxtaposition (asyndeton), with no intervening conjunction. To express semantic relations and nuances among the coordinated elements, particles may be added after the elements.

WALS instructs that, if noun phrases and verb phrases are coordinated similarly, but clauses differently (as in Mîrkšam), “Differentiation” should be used as the classification.

Verbal Categories

Perfective/Imperfective Aspect WALS Grammatical marking
The Past Tense WALS Present, no remoteness distinctions
The Future Tense WALS Inflectional future exists
The Perfect WALS No perfect
Position of Tense-Aspect Affixes WALS Tense-aspect prefixes
The Morphological Imperative WALS Second singular and second plural
The Prohibitive WALS Normal imperative + normal negative
Imperative-Hortative Systems WALS Maximal system
The Optative WALS Inflectional optative absent
Situational Possibility WALS Verbal constructions
Epistemic Possibility WALS Other
Overlap between Situational and Epistemic Modal Marking WALS No overlap
Semantic Distinctions of Evidentiality WALS Indirect only
Coding of Evidentiality WALS Separate particle
Suppletion According to Tense and Aspect WALS None
Verbal Number and Suppletion WALS None

Word Order

Order of Subject, Object and Verb WALS VSO
Order of Subject and Verb WALS VS
Order of Object and Verb WALS VO
Order of Object, Oblique, and Verb WALS No dominant order
Rather than "no dominant order", this is actually VXO, the only order that is unattested in any natlang (and which is therefore not listed by the WALS). This may be the only case in which Myrkçam violates a universal.
Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase WALS Prepositions
Order of Genitive and Noun WALS Noun-Genitive
Order of Adjective and Noun WALS Noun-Adjective
Order of Demonstrative and Noun WALS Noun-Demonstrative
Order of Numeral and Noun WALS Noun-Numeral
Order of Relative Clause and Noun WALS Noun-Relative clause
Order of Degree Word and Adjective WALS Adjective-Degree word
Position of Polar Question Particles WALS Other position
Position of Interrogative Phrases in Content Questions WALS Not initial interrogative phrase
Relationship between the Order of Object and Verb and the Order of Adposition and Noun Phrase WALS VO and Prepositions
Relationship between the Order of Object and Verb and the Order of Relative Clause and Noun WALS VO and NRel
Relationship between the Order of Object and Verb and the Order of Adjective and Noun WALS VO and NAdj
Order of Negative Morpheme and Verb WALS [Neg-V]
Position of Negative Morpheme With Respect to Subject, Object and Verb WALS NegVSO

Simple Clauses

Alignment of Case Marking of Full Noun Phrases WALS Nominative - accusative (standard)
Alignment of Case Marking of Pronouns WALS Nominative - accusative (standard)
Alignment of Verbal Person Marking WALS Accusative
Expression of Pronominal Subjects WALS Optional pronouns in subject position
Verbal Person Marking WALS Only the A argument
Third Person Zero of Verbal Person Marking WALS No zero realization
Order of Person Markers on the Verb WALS A and P do not or do not both occur on the verb
Ditransitive Constructions: The Verb 'Give' WALS Secondary-object construction
Reciprocal Constructions WALS Distinct from reflexive
Passive Constructions WALS Absent
Antipassive Constructions WALS No antipassive
Applicative Constructions WALS Non-benefactive object; both bases
Nonperiphrastic Causative Constructions WALS Morphological but no compound
Negative Morphemes WALS Negative affix
Symmetric and Asymmetric Standard Negation WALS Symmetric
Subtypes of Asymmetric Standard Negation WALS Non-assignable
Negative Indefinite Pronouns and Predicate Negation WALS No predicate negation
Polar Questions WALS Question particle
Predicative Possession WALS 'Have'
Predicative Adjectives WALS Verbal encoding
Nominal and Locational Predication WALS Different
Zero Copula for Predicate Nominals WALS Impossible

Complex Sentences

Relativization on Subjects WALS Pronoun-retention
Relativization on Obliques WALS Pronoun-retention
'Want' Complement Subjects WALS Subject is expressed overtly
Purpose Clauses WALS Balanced
'When' Clauses WALS Balanced
Reason Clauses WALS Balanced
Utterance Complement Clauses WALS Balanced


Hand and Arm WALS Different
Finger and Hand WALS Different
Numeral Bases WALS Decimal
Number of Non-Derived Basic Colour Categories WALS 5
Number of Basic Colour Categories WALS 9-10
Green and Blue WALS Green vs. blue
Red and Yellow WALS Red vs. yellow
M-T Pronouns WALS No M-T pronouns
N-M Pronouns WALS No N-M pronouns
Tea WALS Others


Writing Systems WALS Alphasyllabic
Para-Linguistic Usages of Clicks WALS Affective meanings


Conlang type Artlang


No comments yet