General Conlang Discussion

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-17, 4:29

I was playing around with my conlang's tense system, which has seven basic tenses but has a perfective distinction in only one of them (the pluperfect).

I wanted to see what would happen if the language's speakers extended some idiomatic uses for the relative future tenses to their counterparts in the other "core" tenses (from future to present to past) through analogy, but when I finished I realized that I'd essentially created a full complement of perfective tenses - the twist? They were only used in the negative. :o

What I want to know is (1) how realistic you think it is for a language to develop new dimensions in its verbal morphology through analogy and (2) whether you think polarity-dependent aspect distinctions are very unnatural or just quirky.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Narbleh » 2012-04-19, 18:16

I'm trying to decide if the dual will be for everything that there is two of or just for things that occur in pairs :) There's a dual version of every case so it is a bit cumbersome.

ąąme (eye) -> ąąnut (two eyes) -> ąąnunten (with my own two eyes)
peja (arm) -> pejat (two arms) -> pejatse (in my arms)

So then do we talk about "indu" (two books) and "siolu" (two people) or maybe it means "a pair of"?

I'm not sure what seems most useful or realistic. :silly:
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-26, 0:51

I have a question. I was thinking last night about my case system in Nithalos, and I had a thought that Nithalos may employ some sort of split-ergative system. I'm not 100% comfortable in my comprehension of these systems, so I want to double check and ask. So some examples to illustrate what I'm talking about.

Take the following sentence: "I (am) sit(ting) on the chair".
Anešo alsumviđ
i.nomchair .locsit

In Nithalos, I can simplify this to: "I am on the chair".
Anešo alari
i.nomchair .locbe

However, in reality, I very rarely use the ari(đ) verb (to be), and end up dropping it. However, when I do this, I have been attaching the accusative (I realise this is the wrong name for it, hence this question) case ending (-u, or sometimes -i) to the subject of the sentence. This would make it:

"I [am] on the chair"
Anuešo al
i.acc*chair .loc

The above pattern can be applied to any stative statement (which are, in Nithalos, all verbless). For example:
Anu okođ praia [i.acc* big boy] - I am a big boy
Moi ana yuda [you.acc* i.gen friend] - You are my friend

So I guess the summation of what my question is, if not some type of ergative-absolutive alignment, what would you call the use of the "accusative" markings on the subject of stative sentences?

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-27, 5:32

Any thoughts on this??

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-27, 19:39

Narbleh wrote:I'm trying to decide if the dual will be for everything that there is two of or just for things that occur in pairs :) There's a dual version of every case so it is a bit cumbersome.

ąąme (eye) -> ąąnut (two eyes) -> ąąnunten (with my own two eyes)
peja (arm) -> pejat (two arms) -> pejatse (in my arms)

So then do we talk about "indu" (two books) and "siolu" (two people) or maybe it means "a pair of"?

I'm not sure what seems most useful or realistic. :silly:
A quick search on Wikipedia tells me that Hebrew goes with the natural pairs method; it also says that Slovene uses the dual any time there are two of something except when the objects in question are a natural pair, when it uses the regular plural. It seems to me you have a lot of leeway when it comes to naturalistic assignment of the dual, so I'd tell you to choose whichever way you like better (which seems to be the natural pairs method).

hashi wrote:So I guess the summation of what my question is, if not some type of ergative-absolutive alignment, what would you call the use of the "accusative" markings on the subject of stative sentences?
Can the direct object of ari(đ) take the accusative case, and does this change when you delete the verb?
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 0:53

Dormouse559 wrote:
hashi wrote:So I guess the summation of what my question is, if not some type of ergative-absolutive alignment, what would you call the use of the "accusative" markings on the subject of stative sentences?
Can the direct object of ari(đ) take the accusative case, and does this change when you delete the verb?


In the rare case that I actually use ariđ, yes it would take the accusative.

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 1:32

If I'm interpreting this correctly, the nominative case is zero marked, so you could say that a popular device in the historical language was to invert the arguments of a stative verb and delete the verb, but that over time the technique was reanalyzed as a neutral, un-inverted stative phrase and even became the preferred form.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 1:45

Dormouse559 wrote:If I'm interpreting this correctly, the nominative case is zero marked, so you could say that a popular device in the historical language was to invert the arguments of a stative verb and delete the verb, but that over time the technique was reanalyzed as a neutral, un-inverted stative phrase and even became the preferred form.


That is one possibility to explain how the form came about, however this form already does have some history. Observe below:

mo yu prai ó ari - this was the original form (using current lexicon - digging up my old notes, this was originally mö yu braya öy arïx...). The yu was a particle meaning that the subject was part of a stative sentence. The ó was the old accusative marker, and ari being the verb. In this example, ari was often just dropped leaving:

mo yu prai ó - sentence without the verb. In my next revision of the language, what happened, was I dropped the ó on the object in favour of a suffix, and merged the yu with the subject making:

mou prai - this is pretty much the current form. However, the first time I started using this form, the stative suffix was only -u, while the accusative could still sometimes be -i (maybe good to note that ó changed to -u/-i in this reform). Gradually I started using both where I could and now both these are acceptable to mean "I am a boy":
moi prai
mou prai
In contrast, you could use the now unproductive form of mo praiu ari.

The thing I'm really having difficulty understanding is what name I am supposed to give the grammatical feature used to produce the sentences. It is effectively the accusative case (when you look at the morphemes used), but is not really an accusative case.

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 2:40

:hmm: Maybe its present form could be explained as some sort of variation on the language's nominative case, because it performs the same function as a typical nominative case (marking the subject of an intransitive verb and the agent of a transitive verb), but it's only used in verbless stative phrases. Something similar could be said of the direct object, that it's taking an unmarked variation of the accusative case.

If you want to differentiate the case the subject takes, you could maybe call it an oblique case, only used in stative phrases. The fact that English translates this marked word as the subject might not preclude this possibility, because I seem to remember that other languages are much looser about what is the subject and what is the object in stative expressions.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 2:53

Dormouse559 wrote::hmm: Maybe its present form could be explained as some sort of variation on the language's nominative case, because it performs the same function as a typical nominative case (marking the subject of an intransitive verb and the agent of a transitive verb), but it's only used in verbless stative phrases. Something similar could be said of the direct object, that it's taking an unmarked variation of the accusative case.

If you want to differentiate the case the subject takes, you could maybe call it an oblique case, only used in stative phrases. The fact that English translates this marked word as the subject might not preclude this possibility, because I seem to remember that other languages are much looser about what is the subject and what is the object in stative expressions.


A variation of the nominative case sounds like the most intuitive suggestion I think. I was almost thinking in my next revision of the language diverging this feature away from the common accusative and giving it a more distinguishable suffix. My issue at the moment with it really is that both the accusative, and that form can occur in one sentence. Like this:

Sou tišau taprilana kit. - That is the man who ate (all) the cheese.
that.? cheese.acc eat.aor.rel person.

I'm not really sure I understand how the oblique case differs from the accusative to safely evaluate whether that would be a more appropriate label. Wikipedia, doesn't help much either lol.

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 5:42

hashi wrote:I'm not really sure I understand how the oblique case differs from the accusative to safely evaluate whether that would be a more appropriate label. Wikipedia, doesn't help much either lol.
True. Eh, we'll just throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. :mrgreen:

hashi wrote:A variation of the nominative case sounds like the most intuitive suggestion I think. I was almost thinking in my next revision of the language diverging this feature away from the common accusative and giving it a more distinguishable suffix. My issue at the moment with it really is that both the accusative, and that form can occur in one sentence. Like this:

Sou tišau taprilana kit. - That is the man who ate (all) the cheese.
that.? cheese.acc eat.aor.rel person.
You could perhaps call it the secondary nominative or the stative nominative (or secondary/stative accusative), to differentiate the two.

Or you could be bold and invent your own case! The Stative Case: the case used to mark the subjects of stative expressions. (read: throwing ideas at the wall :) )
Last edited by Dormouse559 on 2012-04-28, 6:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 6:16

Dormouse559 wrote:Or you could be bold and invent your own case! The Stative Case: the case used to mark the subjects of stative expressions. :)


I was thinking about this, but then I also wonder how many prescriptivists will have a heart-attack seeing such a case :P I'm currently planning an overhaul of my case system anyway, so I think this "stative case" will work and I will make it distinct from the accusative.

I am also planning to rid myself of a few more of the postpositions too and make them into suffixes. This is mostly following the trends in the southern dialect I created (it is partly seen in the "poetic" version of the text I wrote in the "Interpreter Translation Game" thread).

I'm planning the following changes:
(Examples use šemo (island) and praran (library))
Basic location: šemo al / praran al -> šemol / prananal
Other locative postpositions: šemo ula / praran ula -> šemoa ula / prarana ula

The second change comes about as the southern dialect of the language uses the genitive case with most locative postpositions. I thought about affixing -al, but praranal ula is bit of a mouthful, so I will drop the -l (that way it could be viewed either way).

This is in addition to the "stative" case, which will have the base suffix of -o (so praranu -> prarano, but šemou/šemoi stays šemo instead of an alternate suffix).

I'm also cutting the dative back from the postposition eg, to be just a suffix of -(e)y/-g, so: šemo eg -> šemog and praran eg -> praraney. In the latter example, the -g will now lenite to -y when after the -e-.

I know it's probably all trivial for you guys, but I just wanted to get it down while the ideas were coming to me :P

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 6:24

hashi wrote:I'm planning the following changes:
(Examples use šemo (island) and praran (library))
Basic location: šemo al / praran al -> šemol / prananal
Other locative postpositions: šemo ula / praran ula -> šemoa ula / prarana ula

The second change comes about as the southern dialect of the language uses the genitive case with most locative postpositions. I thought about affixing -al, but praranal ula is bit of a mouthful, so I will drop the -l (that way it could be viewed either way).
Those changes to the seem fine to me. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a language altered, or even deleted, a grammatical feature for the sake of pronunciation.

hashi wrote:I'm also cutting the dative back from the postposition eg, to be just a suffix of -(e)y/-g, so: šemo eg -> šemog and praran eg -> praraney. In the latter example, the -g will now lenite to -y when after the -e-.
I like that idea. It adds a bit of "regular irregularity" to the language.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 6:34

Dormouse559 wrote:
hashi wrote:I'm planning the following changes:
(Examples use šemo (island) and praran (library))
Basic location: šemo al / praran al -> šemol / prananal
Other locative postpositions: šemo ula / praran ula -> šemoa ula / prarana ula

The second change comes about as the southern dialect of the language uses the genitive case with most locative postpositions. I thought about affixing -al, but praranal ula is bit of a mouthful, so I will drop the -l (that way it could be viewed either way).
Those changes to the seem fine to me. It certainly wouldn't be the first time a language altered, or even deleted, a grammatical feature for the sake of pronunciation.


Even the transition between the -a and u- is a bit tricky, but fortunately ula isn't a common postposition. This means the person after me will go from štei alna kit to kita štei as it's no longer really necessary to use the relative pronoun with the genitive linking the two together. And this is why I love conlanging :)

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 6:40

For the difficulty of pronunciation, you could have allophonic diphthongization at word boundaries, like Italian does. I'm not totally sure of the particulars, but you could possibly limit it to closely linked words.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 7:04

Dormouse559 wrote:For the difficulty of pronunciation, you could have allophonic diphthongization at word boundaries, like Italian does. I'm not totally sure of the particulars, but you could possibly limit it to closely linked words.


At the moment I solve this by using intervocalic palatalisation, but this is not always that aesthetically pleasing as I thought it would be.

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-04-28, 7:14

hashi wrote:At the moment I solve this by using intervocalic palatalisation, but this is not always that aesthetically pleasing as I thought it would be.
Oh, what's that? I don't think I've heard of it before.

To clarify, I'm assuming that you mean this sound change applies to word boundaries like those in šemoa ula and prarana ula.
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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-28, 8:19

Dormouse559 wrote:
hashi wrote:At the moment I solve this by using intervocalic palatalisation, but this is not always that aesthetically pleasing as I thought it would be.
Oh, what's that? I don't think I've heard of it before.

To clarify, I'm assuming that you mean this sound change applies to word boundaries like those in šemoa ula and prarana ula.


Yeah exactly that. By intervocalic palatalisation I mean I insert a palatal approximant in between vowels to avoid diphthongisation. In the modern language, I lessened the affect of these within word boundaries, but interlexically they still exist. So, šemoa ula would be pronounced [ʃemoʲa ʲʊla], in the modern language though, the <oa> is closer realised as [oə̯]. The only real patalisation inside words is where there is a double vowel (of which, really only <aa> occurs) as in ansomaam ("police officer") [anˈsɔmaʲˌam].

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby Quetzalcoatl » 2012-04-29, 12:23

Hey people,
I have a little question about my locatives in Miwonša. I noticed that having locative cases leads to a very rare usage of prepositions so that most place descriptions are quite imprecise. So I was thinking about whether it would be a good idea to change the locative cases from a productive inflectional category into something extinct that only persists in combination with certain and very frequent nouns, like for example in such expressions like "at home", "at school", "at work" etc.
In this case it would make sence to treat such old locatives like adverbs and not like declined nouns anymore. However, I wonder if such locative adverbs that all share the same ending wouldn't automatically lead to the reconstruction of a locative case, if my conlang were a natural spoken language. Weird problem :hmm:

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Re: General Conlang Discussion

Postby hashi » 2012-04-29, 13:03

Plusquamperfekt wrote:However, I wonder if such locative adverbs that all share the same ending wouldn't automatically lead to the reconstruction of a locative case, if my conlang were a natural spoken language. Weird problem :hmm:

I wouldn't think this would be much of an issue, especially not if there are adequate prepositions to still mark some sort of locative case onto the noun.


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