| Proto-Taic |
|Basic word order||VSO|
The Proto-Taic language is the reconstructed most recent common ancestor of the Taic languages
It is thought that the word order of Taic languages were due to the influence of Arhoan languages, and Taic languages might have a SOV word order in earlier stages, as the nearby Sed-Ashiran Languages and the possibly related Highlandic languages(all Highlandic languages are extinct and are poorly-attested) have SOV word order.
Proto-Taic is reconstructed as having a moderately small inventory of 15 consonants and 3 vowels.
The cannonical structure of the Proto-Taic syllable is CV(X), where X may be any of /p, t, k, q, ʔ, m, n, h, j, w/. The majority of Proto-Taic roots are disyllabic, although the epenthetic vowel -a- is regularly inserted between a root ending in a consonant and any suffix it may take. Consonant clusters, including geminates, are tolerated intervocalically.
Proto-Taic has a fixed dynamic stress accent which falls on the penultimate syllable of a word.
Allophony and Phonetic DetailEdit
The fine details of Proto-Taic phonology cannot be reconstructed with any precision, but the following patterns have been proposed based on the reflexes of each sound in the attested Taic languages and analogy to known languages with similar phonemic inventories.
- /j/ merges with /h/ in intervocalic position
- /e/ tends to be raised to [i] following bilabial consonants and lowered to [ɛ] following uvulars. Otherwise it is mostly realized as a mid vowel, in free variation with near-close [ɪ]
- /o/ is usually realized as a mid vowel, but is lowered to [ɔ] following uvulars and is otherwise in free variation with [ʊ]
- /a/ is usually realized as a open central vowel, but backed to [ɑ] following uvulars and is otherwise in free variation with [æ] and tends to centralize to [ə] in unstressed syllables
Although Proto-Taic had a predominantly analytic grammar, there is sufficient evidence to reconstruct a small number of inflectional suffixes used in the language. By this stage in its development these markers already appear to have been highly eroded, and they were subsequently abandoned entirely in some branches of the Taic language family.
Proto-Taic verbs inflect only for voice: the active voice is unmarked, while the mediopassive voice is marked by the suffix -j. The mediopassive voice is used in a wide range of grammatical constructions, and may be interpreted as passive, reflexive, or reciprocal depending on context. Furthermore, stative verbs are always marked as mediopassive, and in some branches of the Taic family the mediopassive suffix has evolved into a derivational morpheme found in most or all intransitive verbs.
Besides voice, Proto-Taic verbs also have the distinction of imperfective/perfective/stative aspect and pluractionality, and there's also a concrete/abstract distinction for verbs indicating directions; however, pluractionality only exists in a small number of verbs, and every verb is inherently imperfective or perfective, is inherently dynamic or stative and is inherently concrete or abstract, affixes forming imperfective, perfective or stative verbs and affixes forming concrete or abstract verbs are considered as derivations rather than inflections.
Proto-Taic nouns are declined for two cases, both of which are are marked with an obligatory suffix.
The Nominative case is used for the subject of an intransitive verb and the agent of a transitive verb, and is marked with the suffix -j. Although this suffix is identical to the mediopassive voice suffix in verbs, it is generally agreed among linguists that the two have different etymologies and merged as a result of sound changes in in earlier stage of the language. The majority view regarding the origin of the nominative case marker is that it most likely originated as a derivational suffix used in forming deverbal nouns.
The Oblique case is used for the direct and indirect objects of verbs and prepositions, and is marked with the suffix -h. It's probable that the original form of this marker consisted of the nominative suffix -j followed by an ending most likely consisting of a single vowel, but the final vowel appears to have been lost relatively early on and it cannot be reconstructed from any attested Taic language.
The status of adjectives as a class of word independent from verbs in Proto-Taic is a topic of some debate. There is evidence from several branches of the Taic family that most or all adjectives were marked with an obligatory infix tentatively reconstructed as 〈awh〉. The exact nature of this morpheme is unclear, though a strong argument has been made that it originally served to mark the participle form of a verb.
Just how extensively the 〈awh〉 infix was used appears to have been subject to a great deal of dialectical variation. Its reflexes appear only irregularly in most High Taic languages, while most reconstructions of Proto-Low Taic posit that the western dialects of Proto-Taic consistently used it not only in adjectives, but adverbs and certain types of determiners as well.
|Proto-Form||Part of Speech||Meaning|
|qawo||v.||not, be not|
|maka-/makam-(maka is more common)||n.||all|
|m(awh)aka/m(awh)akam(m(awh)aka is more common)||qtf.||all|
|peka/pekam(peka is more common)||num.||one|
|saka/sakam(sakam is more common)||num.||two|
|teqam||v.||attack, (try to)kill|
|taʎam||v.||swim to (direct object is destination)|
|waka||v.||fly to (direct object is destination)|
|taʎej||v.||walk to (direct object is destination)|
|keme||v.||come to (direct object is destination)|
|ʔano-j||v.||sit, be in a place, be present|
|qaʎa-||n.||sand, granular material|
|s(awh)ane||adj.||red, yellow, orange|
|l(awh)ape||adj.||blue, green, grue|