Kitlinar, the language of Kitlin

Background & Introduction

Kitlinar is a language I created in 2016 when I was developing the first version of The Gate at the End of the World. While that version of the story never ended up working out, the conlangs and worldbuilding were something I decided to keep.

kitlinqitinmap

Kitlinar is a language spoken on the eastern parts and islands of the land of Kitlin (called Qitin by the Qitiniina). It has been spoken in Kitlin since before recorded history. It is a language isolate and its origins are unknown, though the language was likely brought to Kitlin by its speakers, who are unrelated to the indigenous Qitiniina. Kitlinar has many loanwords and some grammatical influence from Qitiniasaaq, the language spoken by the Qitiniina.

There are two main dialects: eastern and western. Eastern dialects use retroflex consonants in place of the /rC/ consonant clusters used in the western dialects; this is seen in the pronunciation of the capital city Tyrsä: [ˈtə.ʂæ] vs. [ˈtər.sa]. These retroflex consonants did not exist in Kitlinar before it split into the two dialects.

The phonology of Kitlinar was primarily inspired by the Swedish & Norwegian languages. Before I reformed the orthography, it used <å> instead of <ä> to represent /æ/. You can see this in the old map up above; I only have a png version and can’t change the text.

Consonants

With the exception of /j/, the palatal consonants are allophones of /Cj/ clusters in the Western dialects. In the Eastern dialects, they are independent phonemes.

Retroflex consonants are allophones of /rC/ clusters in transition dialects, while they are independent phonemes in Eastern dialects.

LabialAlveolarRetroflexPalatalVelarGlottal
Nasalmnɳɲŋ
Stopp bt dʈ ɖc ɟk g
Fricativef vsʂɕ çh
Approximantlɭj
Trillr

Vowels

/a/ is usually /æ/ in Eastern dialects.

Eastern Kitlinar has a couple of diphthongs, gained from /Vl/ & /Vj/ shifting to /Vu/ and /Vi/. Western Kitlinar has no diphthongs, and transition dialects vary.

FrontCentralBack
Closeiu
Mideəo
Opena~æɑ

Syllable Structure & Stress

Syllable structure is (C1)V(C2), where:

  • C1 = any consonant or initial consonant cluster
  • V = any vowel
  • C2 = any consonant or final consonant cluster

Initial consonant clusters are CA & CT, while final consonant clusters are AC & AT, where:

  • C = any consonant
  • A = any approxmant
  • T = /r/

Primary stress falls on the initial syllable. Monosyllables are unstressed.

Orthography

Letteraäbdef
Sound/ɑ//a~æ//b//d//e//f/
Letterghijkl
Sound/g//h//i//j//k//l/
Lettermnngopr
Sound/m//n//ŋ//o//p//r/
Letterstuvy
Sound/s//t//u//v//ə/

Pronouns

Pronouns are marked for case and number. The third person distinguishes animacy.

The first person singular and plural are unique words, while the plurals of the 2nd and 3rd persons just take on the plural.

SingularPlural
1stjerlun
2ndmirdmirdyt
3rd Animatealtaltyt
3rd Inanimatehäjhäjt

Nouns & Adjectives

Nouns are either animate or inanimate and are marked for case, number, and definiteness. Plants, animals, humans, and things like weather and volcanoes are animate, while things that do not or never move are inanimate. This is distinguished only through the definite suffix; case and number are marked in the same way on animate and inanimate nouns.

There are three cases: nominative, genitive, and object. The object case covers direct and indirect objects of verbs; in that manner, it’s essentially a combined dative/accusative case.

Adjectives precede nouns and take on the case, number, and definiteness of the noun.

Indefinite SingularIndefinite PluralDefinite SingularDefinite Plural
Nominative-(y)t-(u)n-(y)tun
Genitive-(j)en-(y)ten-(u)nen-(y)tunen
Object-(r)äg-(y)täg-(u)näg-(y)tunäg
Animate Declension
Indefinite SingularIndefinite PluralDefinite SingularDefinite Plural
Nominative-(y)t-(a)l-(y)tal
Genitive-(j)en-(y)ten-(a)len-(y)talen
Object-(r)äg-(y)täg-(a)läg-(y)taläg
Inanimate Declension

Verbs

Verbs are conjugated for mood and tense.

  • Moods: indicative, subjunctive, imperative
  • Tenses: past, present, future

The future tense is used exclusively with the subjunctive mood:

Alt hyrvekev mar jartitun girnekev.

  • Ey will change when the glaciers melt (stubborn people do not change their minds easily).
  • 3SG.ANIM change.SBJ.FUT when glacier.PL.DEF.NOM melt.SBJ.FUT

The imperative mood is used for commands; the verb stem is preceded by word tal:

Tal bart lunäg!

  • Help us!
  • IMP help we.OBJ

I know the past and present tenses look pretty similar to English’s (-d for past tense verbs and -ng for present tense) but I genuinely was not thinking of that when I was creating the tenses, and I don’t particularly feel like changing it, either.

PastPresentFuture
Indicative-(V)d-(V)ng-(V)v
Subjunctive-(V)k(V)d-(V)k(V)ng-(V)k(V)v
Imperativetal {VERB}

Forming factual statements

Kitlinar has no copula; in places where English would use one for statements of of existence or fact, Kitlinar uses a “factual statement” particle, lirs:

Lirs fjevud häj.

  • It is special.
  • FS special 3SG.INAM

Additional Sentences

Jer herdekev loj parunäg.

  • I’ll travel to the sea.
  • 1SG.NOM travel.SBJ.FUT toward sea.DEF.OBJ

Frujen frujeng ben rad.

  • The sun shines warmly.
  • Sun.NOM.DEF shine.IND.PRS with warm

Slenyt kjul altäg.

  • Blessings of the goddess on you (pleased to meet you).
  • Blessing.NOM.PL on 3SG.ANIM.ACC

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