Kuqaulan: "Land" in Ilughni
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Ilughni is an agglutinative synthetic language spoken by neolithic steppe nomads and a chalcolithic sedentary civilization in the valley of the river Āvin. It originates in the north of the world when a nomadic people came through the pass of Ūlakhli into the eastern steppe.

In Early Proto-Ilughni, the root *kuli (/'kʷu.li/) meant land in the very generic sense of the dirt under your feet with a less used synecdochial sense of the area in which we stand. For example, in the phrase:

kīni pal tni kudi.


noun subjective singular animate



verb intransitive indicative

to go


pronoun subjective singular animate

he, she, or an animate 3rd person proximate marker for the verb


noun inessive singular inanimate


Which translates from Early Proto-Ilughni to English as the horse goes onto the land.

Towards the end of the Early period, the population of speakers came to the river Hashni and began crossing over to explore the western steppe far out as the valley of the river Āvin. Primitive peoples with little notion of boat construction and little available timber with which to experiment, the river was only crossable a few months out of the year, when the depths of winter froze over the surface. This lead to the East and West divisions of the Middle period.

In East Middle Proto-Ilughni, *kuli (/'kʷu.li/) develops into *kuli (/'kʰu.li/), where the labialized pronunciation of [ku] shifts to aspiration. It retains the same semantic meaning of land, but has begun to narrow to refer to a specific kinds of land, namely steppe. The speakers at this point have wandered the steppe for centuries and always use *kuli when speaking of land. But, as they come into contact with other kinds of land, they adopt new words, reserving the generic for the category of land about which they are most familiar.

In West Middle Proto-Ilughni *kuli (/'kʷu.li/) develops into *qaula (/'qɔ.la/) and goes through a similar semantic transition, but it also splits off a new word. Western nomads develop a tendency to qualify land, providing additional markers to indicate the lands near villages in the valley of the river Āvin or near their own temporary encampments as distinct from the more generic land. This leads to a reanalysis of the gender of *qaula.

Within the period of Ilughni, renalyses of gender tend to result in the application of an additional suffix rather than the replacement of the existing suffix. The word thus retains the inanimate suffix la (a form peculiar to West Middle Proto-Ilughni, the suffix in Early and East Middle Proto-Ilughni having the li form) and gains an animate suffix marker, na, which gives us the word *qaulana for inhabited land.

Late Proto-Ilughni is contemporary with the domestication of the horse by the steppe nomads. Horses increased the range of the nomads, causing them to come in contact with each other much more often. This also led to a reintegration of the Eastern and Western dialects.

In the Eastern dialect the steppes are referred to as the high steppe or agi kulli, a term which eventually develops into the toponym Agikul. In the Western dialect, the steppes of Late Proto-Ilughni are called simply the land as tna qaulana, which becomes the Ilughni word for region: Naqaulan.

As they began to interact with the sedentary civilizations of the valley of the river Āvin, the nomads found need for a generic term for the steppes as a whole: Agikul and Naqaulan together. The need arose before the phrasal descriptions compounded into proper nouns. As a result, they took the two now distinct land terms and from them created a portmanteau: the eastern land with the western land: *kuqaulana, which becomes Kuqaulan in the modern language.