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Shár
Total speakers:
Language family: Torgyrian
 Limjiang
  Shár 
Writing system: Shár script

Template:Infobox Language/IPA notice

The Shár language is considered the dominant language of the Shár Empire, but it is not a single unified language - dialectal differences have grown to the point of mutual unintelligibility.

Evolution from Old Shár Edit

Base phonemes Edit

Initials Edit

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Dorsal
Plain Sibilant
Nasal /m/ /n/ /ŋ/
Stop Fortis /pʰ/ /tʰ/ /t͡sʰ/ /ʈ͡ʂʰ/ /kʰ/
Lenis /p/ /t/ /t͡s/ /ʈ͡ʂ/ /k/
Fricative /f/ /s/ /ʂ/ /x/
Approximant /w/ /l/ /ɻ/ /j/

Shár has 31 consonant phonemes in total, although most variants have more actual consonants than this - they are all allophones of one of these 31.

  • The best example is Imperial Shár, which palatalizes the velar /ŋ kʰ k x/ to [ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ] before /i/ and historical /j/.
  • Some southern variants lose distinction between the alveolar /t͡sʰ t͡s s/ and retroflex /ʈ͡ʂ ʈ͡ʂ ʂ/, usually (but not always) resulting in /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ s/.
  • In every single variant of Shár, the lenis/unaspirated stop consonants are voiced when they are following a vowel or a nasal. In most variants - including Imperial Shár - intervocalic /t/ becomes [ɾ] rather than [d].

To compare, here are the initials of Imperial Shár

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Plain Sibilant
Nasal <m> [m] <n> [n] <ng> [ŋ~ɲ]
Stop Aspirated <p> [pʰ] <t> [tʰ] <c> [t͡sʰ] <ch> [ʈ͡ʂʰ] <chi> [t͡ɕʰ] <k> [kʰ]
Plain <b> [p~b] <d> [t~ɾ] <z> [t͡s~d͡z] <j> [ʈ͡ʂ~ɖ͡ʐ] <ji> [t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ] <g> [k~g]
Fricative <f> [f] <s> [s] <sh> [ʂ] <shi> [ɕ] <h> [x]
Approximant <l> [l] <r> [ɻ] <y> [j] <w> [w]

For the sake of analysis, the minimalistic phonological chart will be used, and the Imperial Shár [ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ] will be analyzed as /ŋj kʰj kj xj/ or /ŋi kʰi ki xi/. Since the palatal sibilants can also originate in the palatalization of the alveolar sibilants, /t͡sʰj t͡sj sj/ will be also used during analysis.

Finals Edit

All Shár languages distinguish between at least six monophthongs - namely /ɐ/, /aː/, /ɔ/, /i/, /ɨ/ and /u/ - but most variants also have /ɛː/, /œ/ and /y/. The latter three came from the fronting of /aː/, /ɔ/ and /u/ after /j/ that did not occur in all variants. Additionally, most variants have lost /ɨ/, fronting it to /i/ or diphthongizing it to /ɐi̯/.

In the Shár languages, all syllables must have a main vowel. An initial consonant is optional, just as a glide is. The velar non-nasal consonants /kʰ k x/ can be followed by an optional glide /w/. All consonants could be historically followed by a glide /j/, but most variants have lost it.

Last but not least, a syllable may optionally have a tone (falling tone or rising tone), or alternatively a coda-rhotic /ɻ/, a glide /j/ or /w/, a nasal or an unreleased stop consonant. Some variants have lost the final stops and/or coalesced the vowels and the nasals into nasal vowels.

Historical shifts Edit

Traditionally, Shár had 31 consonants and 6 vowels. However, historical shifts either increased or decreased this number.

  • The fronting of /jaː jɔ ju/ to [jɛː jœ jy] happened in Imperial Shár, as well as most variants, but not all of them. This increased the number of vowels from 6 to 9.
  • The palatalization of /ŋ kʰ k x/ to [ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ] before /i/ and /j/ increased the number of consonants from 31 to 35 in Imperial Shár and most variants. This shift did not happened in all variants - the lack of palatalization of velars is the most marked feature of the Southern dialects.
  • The shift of /t͡sʰj t͡sj sj/ to [t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ] also happened in Imperial Shár and nearly every other variant that underwent the palatalization of velars.
  • Imperial Shár - and most variants - dropped the glide /j/ after any consonant, phonemicizing the fronted vowels /ɛː œ y/ and palatal consonants /ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ ɕ/. This yod-dropping happened even in some dialects that did not undergo the fronting after /j/ or the palatalization of velars.
  • Several dialects merged all the coda stops /p̚ t̚ k̚/ to /ʔ/
  • Several dialects delete all the coda nasals /m n ŋ/ and replace it by nasalization of the preceeding vowel, for example shifting /kʰaːŋ/ to /kʰãː/.
  • Some dialects delete the coda rhotic /ɻ/, but usually leave the effect the historical rhotic left on the vowel. For example, in Imperial Shár, /ɐɻ aːɻ ɛːɻ ɔːɻ uɻ iɻ/ are realized as [əɻ ɒːɻ ɜːɻ ɔːɻ ʊəɻ ɪəɻ]. In dialects that drop the coda rhotic, the same phonemes are realized as [aː ɒː ɜː ɔː ʊɐ ɪɐ].
  • Some - mostly southern - dialects lose distinction between the alveolar /t͡sʰ t͡s s/ and retroflex /ʈ͡ʂ ʈ͡ʂ ʂ/, usually (but not always) resulting in /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ s/.
  • A fairly recent shift in Imperial Shár and the southern dialects is the diphthongization of /i ɨ y u/ to [ei̯ ɐi̯ øy̯ ou̯] if there is nothing in the syllable coda - not even a tone. This shift has apparently happened much earlier in the south - where the remaining /ɨ/ got merged into /i/ - and happened independently (and somewhat more recently) in the Ngor Rok dialect, which serves and Imperial Shár, which is based off it.

The best way to demonstrate this comparison is the name of the ruling dynasty itself, Jiuk, which is diaphonically /kjuk/, but is actually pronounced [t͡ɕʏk̚] in Imperial Shár (hence the spelling Jiuk) - in other dialects, it can be pronounced [t͡ɕyʔ], [t͡ɕjʏk̚], [kjʏk̚], [kjyʔ], [kʏk̚], [kyʔ], [t͡ɕʊk̚], [t͡ɕuʔ], [t͡ɕjʊk̚], [kjʊk̚], [kjuʔ], [kʊk̚] or [kuʔ].

Comparison of dialects/languages Edit

Imperial Shár Ngor Rok Jiatsam Shinlung Binglang Shiejiang Ferkang Huádau
Fronting:
/jaː jɔ ju/ → [jɛː jœ jy]
YES YES YES NO YES NO NO
Palatalization:
/ŋ kʰ k x/ to [ɲ t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ] before /i/ and /j
YES NO YES NO NO NO YES
Palatalization:
/t͡sʰj t͡sj sj/ to [t͡ɕʰ t͡ɕ~d͡ʑ ɕ]
YES NO YES NO NO NO YES
Yod-dropping YES YES YES NO NO YES YES
R-dropping NO YES NO YES NO NO NO
Coda stop loss:
/p̚ t̚ k̚/ to /ʔ/
NO NO YES YES NO NO NO
Coda nasal loss:
/m n ŋ/ → /Ṽ/
NO PARTIAL NO NO YES NO NO NO
Open-syllable diphthongization:
/i ɨ y u/ to [ei̯ ɐi̯ øy̯ ou̯]
YES YES NO NO NO NO NO
/t͡sʰ t͡s s/ and /ʈ͡ʂ ʈ͡ʂ ʂ/ → /t͡ʃʰ t͡ʃ s/ NO YES NO NO YES NO NO
/ɨ/-/i/ merger NO YES NO YES YES NO NO

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