A descendant of the ancient Tūçi language, Lāki, sometimes known by itʻs formal name “Lākisihusēʻihetesu”, is the ancestral language of all those which are spoken in the Great Archipelago, to the point that it could be argued that Lāki is the only language, and all others are but dialects.
|Plosive||p||t||k||ʔ||Closed||i iː||u uː|
|Fricative||f||s||h||Mid-Closed||e eː||o oː|
Before a Velar or Glottal consonant, [i, iː]→[ɯ,ɯː] and [a,aː]→[ɑ,ɑː]
Consonants are palatalised before a /i/, and labialised before a rounded one, though the severity of the secondary articulation varies based on dialect.
In unstressed syllables, [e eː] → [ɛ, ɛː]
CV - exclusively open syllables.
Most phonemes are written as IPA. However:
Morae are used to determine stress position in regular speech. A short vowel is one mora, while a long vowel is two. Stress usually falls upon the syllable containing the penultimate mora, but one may draw attention to the verb by stressing it in an uncommon way. Meanwhile, Prosodic Stress typically falls on the verb, but this “rule” may also be violated for expressive purposes.
Preceding note: In any case, if a long vowel and another vowel of the same quality (e.g. ū and u) come into contact, an epenthetic glottal stop, <ʻ>, is added.
The prefix mi- , with a deleted first consonant, is used to denote the indefinite, and the definite is unmarked. With a numeral, mi- is used to convey that this is a number of a group.
Plurals are marked with the prefix: li-
The collective is marked with the prefix se-. It is also sometimes used to refer to the entirety of something, for example would be “the whole day”
The introduction of cases is one of the greatest changes between Tūçi and Lāki, and, like many of the other linguistic feats of Lāki, can be boiled down to the early scholar, Hetesunifoʻi Hefulaie, who also developed the Lāki Syllabary. Her great innovation may seem quite bizarre to an onlooker, but it greatly shaped the face of Lāki as we know it. It was this: In writing using the syllabary, Hefulaie discovered that a single disruption on the beach where she wrote could often lead to a misunderstanding, with the reader not understanding that there was nothing missing. To combat this, she developed ʻitelaʻa, or “name number”, a case system derived from the numbers -me, -tu, and -kē, which would represent the Agent, Object, and Indirect Object respectively. . The subject of an intransitive verb would remain unmarked. It is worth noting that this creates a Tripartite, or Ergative-Accusative alignment. Possession was also simplified, with the old form of the cu particle changing to a genitive suffix, -hu, and the locative case was created from the locative postposition, -kū*. Finally, a semblative case** was developed from uā, coming in changing the last vowel to -ū. Below is full table of nominal declensions for kene, island.
* The Locative case can be used by itself to mark general location near the subject, or can be used with a postposition to specify or convey a temporal sense e.g. laʻalo fa kuia = “on the last day”.
** The Semblative case can also be used to convey meaning similar to the english “In the manner of” when used following the verb (See example 3).
Tense is separated into the Past, Present, and Future tenses, which is further separated into Perfective and Imperfective aspects (though they are treated as part of tense.). The Perfective past is for actions that have a fixed ending point, while the Imperfective is is used with actions that don’t.
Past: -u for the imperfective, and -au for the perfective.
Present: The imperfective and perfective are not distinguished, and are left with the root.
Future: -ni for the imperfective, and -ani for the perfective - At this point the conditional is no longer needed.
The Conditional and Habitual are given using a affix which follows the verb, after tense.
Conditional: -kī - used for what a subject wants to do/wishes would happen, or what would happen under a condition. In the case of wishes, kī is followed by the noun for the person who wishes it, or none at all if it is the subject. In the case of events which would occur under a condition, the verb is followed by a clause denoting the condition, without a conjunction. The irrealis is mandatory.
Habitual: -se - used for events which occur frequently, and general statements. The Habitual requires the Imperfective.
In addition, there is a further Realis-Irrealis distinction which may be made. There are various situations for when to use a Realis (unmarked) form, and when to use the Irrealis prefix ni-:
|Irrealis Conditional Habitual||niniēusekī||niniēausekī||niniēsekī||niniēnisekī||niniēanisekī|
To create an ordinal form, prefix laʻa-
Someone who does the word:-ʻi
Location associated with word: -hu
An instrument used in the word: -su
An abstract noun related to the word: -e
Resembling the word: -ko
lu- produces an antonym or negative equivalent of a word.
ke- is an augmentative, and la- is a diminutive.
The default word order is Subject-Object-Verb-Oblique (with a ditransitive verb, the recipient is the Object and the Theme is the Oblique), though cases enable a relatively free word order, which can be used to emphasise.
Adjectives precede the noun, and are derived from either verbs or nouns.
Adpositions follow the noun, and are derived from nouns. The locative case is used on the noun that is a part of the postpositional phrase.
The possessor precedes the noun, and is marked by the genitive suffix, -hu
The particle lu, following a verb, makes the sentence negative.
To mark the passive, follow the verb with the particle iu.
To mark the causative, follow the verb with the particle li. The oblique is the person who causes it in this case.
To mark the benefactive, follow the verb with the particle he, with the beneficiary following the particle. This often indicates that the denoted person(beneficiary) wishes it, whether or not it is actually beneficial for them. Combining the causative and the benefactive, when the beneficiary and the subject are the same, implies that the action was intentional, and the beneficiary can be dropped.
pe follows the verb to mark a yes-no-maybe question.
The copula (ā) functions as an intransitive verb, with the descriptor being adjectives
Kekeneki Island was the first place of colonisation for the Lāki peoples.
Another aspect of Kekeneki which is quite foreign to the Lāki languages is its system of honorifics, many of which have been borrowed from Laŋèèvó, a mysterious language.. They take the form of prefixes, which are all Ŋksju borrowings, though heavily modified to fit the much more restrictive phonotactics of the North Lāki languages (originals shown in brackets). These honorific prefixes also function as pronouns.
|Second Person||Third Person|
|Older Clanmembers||fēse- (fé)||fēū- (féu)|
|Younger Clanmembers||tayē- (làyee)||taū- (lawyy)|
|Older Others||nafe- (nákwe)||nafu- (nakwú)|
|Younger Others||nate- (tc'ê)||natū- (t'úú)|
|Animals||kūpe- (kuté)||Kūpu- (kutú)|
Likeheʻime ūhu lilaheʻitu hetesunifouse lume ūme ūhu lilaluʻitu soʻite. - The keheʻi always taught their laheʻi language(writing) but not their laluʻi.
Ītu ēmi hekolise. - I love you (lit. You please me) - Note here the use of a flexible word order.
Sēlakihélu lākimeáfu Kēlikenekū me Nihelúme kekenétu heusófu heusoū. - All the boats landed at Kēlikene, and Nihelu wept for the mainland out of loss.