Meiji-go

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Meiji-go (明治語) is a Japanese creole spoken in Meidji-dò. It exhibits significant influence from Montreiano and Castillian, the languages of Meidji-dò's neighbors, Alta California and Montrei. Some of the characteristics of the language:

Contents

Phonology

  • De-affrication of /dZ/ (hence j romanization in name)
  • Palatized /h/ becomes /S/
  • H pronounced as /x/
  • F is labiodental
  • U and O are fully rounded
  • E preceded by a vowel or word initial pronounced /je/
  • Voiced stops have affricate allophones
  • Gemination lost?
  • Moraic n (ん) becomes non-moraic; no distinction between moraic n + vowel or y and moraic n + n (thus, "tonight" is written connia (こんにゃ) rather than coñia (こんや)
  • R is pronounced as a simple alveolar tap (in all instances, no [l] allophone)
  • /l/ exists in borrowings from Castilian and Montreiano (written as r-series with maru - many early borrowings of /l/ will fluctuate between r and l)
  • De-voicing (or, in some instances, loss) of certain instances of /u/ and /i/:
    • After a voiceless fricative or affricate (s, f, ç, tx), r, or l which is preceded by a vowel and either word-final or followed by a voiceless consonant (thus, hanas < hanasu), after /s/, /f/, or /l/ is almost always completely silent, after r more often simply voiceless (Alta Calforunia) (in kana, little i or u is used when the vowel is actually pronounced)
    • Between a voiceless stop and r or l (kuroi -> croi (generally pronounced with voiceless /u/))
  • Certain vowel sequences (ai, au, oi, eu) pronounced as diphthongs (one mora), generally written in kana with a small i or u (thus, くろぃ for kroi)
  • Merger of ee and ei as /ej/ (one mora)
  • Long o pronounced as /ow/ (one mora)
  • Use of stress accent, generally on penultimate syllable (however, long a, i, or u tends to attract stress)
  • Some speakers have developed a more radical vowel alteration:
    • E and O are /E/ and /O/
    • Short /i/ and /u/ become /e/ and /o/
    • Long /i/ and /u/ are shortened to /i/ and /u/
    • Short /a/ merges with /O/
    • Long /a/ becomes short
    • Thus, these speakers have completely lost the vowel length in Japanese.

Vocabulary

  • Large number of Castillian and Montreiano loans. Tendency to mix Japanese and Castillian/Montreiano words

Grammar

Nouns and adjectives

  • Use of -tatx as a simple plural (from -tatxi)
  • Introduction of definite article an (derived from ano), becomes an n- before vowels (otoco "man", an n-otoco "the man", but xoujo "girl", an xoujo "the girl") (ano remains for "that")
  • Use of "one" as an indefinite article
  • Drastic simplification of counter system (to just -nin, -hiqui, -çu)
  • Loss of adjective inflections, i-adjectives treated much like na-adjectives in Standard Japanese
  • -cu used as adverb inflection, tacked on to na-adjectives (thus, -nacu)

Verbs

  • Loss of respectful speech forms (perception in Japan proper of rudeness)
  • Simplification of verbal inflections (loss of 1st, 4th and 5th bases)
  • Bare 2nd base used as imperative (e.g., tabe instead of tabero, iqui instead of ique)
  • Splitting of stem and auxilary
  • Auxilaries preposed (some older speakers retain postposed auxilaries)
  • Development of future tense (V2 + -nicu, from V2 + ni icu, modelled on Spanish ir a)
  • Division between simple past (-ta) and perfect (past + kotar < koto ga aru; kotar sometimes preposed)
  • Simplification of past inflection to V2 + -ta
  • Progressive form likewise simplified
  • Loss of -tara, -tari, -ba, etc (if indicated by invariant mox)
  • Loss of negative inflections, use of pre- or post-posed nai as an invariant negative marker (older speakers generally postpose, younger speakers prepose)
  • Passive formed by sareru followed by V2 (e.g., sarer tabe instead of taberareru)
  • Causative marked by saseru followed by V2
  • Some speakers have lost the third base (dictionary form), using V2 as the only form
  • Des treated as copula, inflected as regular verb
  • -maxou used for "Let's" (these two being the sole survivors of the polite forms in Standard Japanese)

Particles and adpositions

  • no, wa, ni, wo treated as suffixes (usually, but see below; also, does not affect position of stress)
  • to used for "and"
  • cara preposed (Otoco wa Nippon cara Meidji-dò ni itta -> An n-otócowa cara nippon Meijí-douni iquita or ...nonacaye Meiji-dou iquita)
  • ga retained only in a few set phrases
  • wa is now a simple marker of subject, increasingly often dropped
  • Reversal of possessor-possessed, except with pronouns (ano hito no ie -> an casa ano xítono, that man's house; using Hispanic loan-word casa)
  • Postpositional phrases become prepositional, no often becomes reanalyzed as part of preposition (e.g., ie no naca ni -> nonacani an casa, inside the house)
  • Younger speakers often use cara to indicate posession (an casa cara an n-otoco instead of an casa an n-otócono)
  • Ni often replaced by nonacaye (for movement or dative) or nonacani (for location) (see example above with cara)

Syntax

  • Verbs are still generally sentence-final, but post-posing of objects does occur, especially in younger speakers.

Orthography

  • Generally written in Roman letters within Meidji-dò itself.
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