Daedalus et Icarus, 4

August 27th, 2015 by Sylvia

Pater filium sic monuit, “Tene viam mediam, Icare. Si ibis prope mare, unda pennas gravabit. Si prope solem ibis, ignis pennas vastabit. Te viam mediam tenere iubeo. Vola inter utrumque, mare et solem. Me duce, carpe viam.”

semme jatasēña ke masōwa mo mīsa ien ñi riēn rā jaþīña jāña, λi īkarus. hi ñi riēn rā anālhāri nō hi ñi jatīāni jatūmi tō jatāoni; hi ñi riēn rā malō nō hi ñi jatīāni annōri tō annāoli; selre ien ñi riēn rā jaþīña jāña; ñi riēn matū rā jēnne ē anālhāri ē malō āñ kā; nīkanle mahālien ñi riēn rā jaþīña kā;

ke masōwa mo mīsa pater filium
jatasēña (monuit)
ñi riēn rā jaþīña jāña tene viam mediam
λi īkarus Icare
hi ñi riēn rā anālhāri nō si ibis prope mare
hi ñi jatīāni jatūmi tō jatāoni unda pennas gravabit
hi ñi riēn rā malō nō si prope solem ibis
hi ñi jatīāni annōri tō annāoli ignis pennas vastabit
selre ien ñi riēn rā jaþīña jāña te viam mediam tenere iubeo
ñi riēn matū (vola)
rā jēnne ē anālhāri ē malō āñ kā inter utrumque, mare et solem
nīkanle mahālien me duce
ñi riēn rā jaþīña kā carpe viam

sword is mekata (revisited)

August 27th, 2015 by Mariska
mekata = sword (noun) (Some things Google found for "mekata": an uncommon term; a unusual last name; Yoriko Mekata is a Japanese TV announcer; Old Mekata Family's House of a Samurai family in Iwakuni, Japan; name of a couple anime characters; means weight in Japanese (Romanized); name of a place in Botswana)

Word derivation for "sword" :
Basque = ezpata, Finnish = miekka
Miresua = mekata

My previous Miresua conlang word for sword was mezaka. I think my new word better resembles the Basque and Finnish source words. The Basque word appears to be derived from the Spanish word for sword, espada.

This blog almost always keeps to a regular posting schedule. On the 22nd, four days ago, I skipped a post. I was on vacation and unfortunately didn't prepare a word in advance.

The word sword doesn't occur in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it occurs twice in Through the Looking-Glass. This quote is a stanza from the Jabberwocky poem.
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

Detail #196: Pronouns pertaining to Contrary Interests

August 26th, 2015 by Miekko
Consider situations where people together do something, all in order to safeguard their own interest – in opposition to each others' interests. Although it seems unlikely that nouns would have such forms - except maybe a few specific nouns - plural pronouns could imaginably have forms for this, especially subject forms. 'We negotiated a truce' could then have two different meanings depending on which form is used:
weregular negotiated a truce → we had negotiations with them that concluded with them and us reaching a truce
wecontrary negotiated a truce → we1 and 2 negotiated a truce between us1 and 2
This could extend to more collaborative verbs as well:
weregular got married → both of us found spouses whom we married
wecontrary got married → we married each other
Basically the name of the pronoun type could be something like 'preemptively reflexive/reciprocal pronoun' or something. However, since the type of reflexivity/reciprocality is not specified – i.e. there's no, for lack of a better, more specific term, pseudo-resumptive pronoun to tell us the actual role that the subjects take with regards to one another – this creates some nice ambiguity while also dissolving some ambiguity.

Detail #195: Contrastive Pronouns for Enumeration

August 26th, 2015 by Miekko
Consider a fishmonger asking a customer which fish the customer wants:
"this one? or this one? how about this one?"
There could easily develop a slightly productive way of marking listed pronouns:
this, or this, this then, even this, ... → this, oris, thsen, evnis
The same morphemes could affect personal pronouns when ordering several different people, for instance:
you do this, oryou do this, youn do this, evnyou do this
Same goes with third persons. With first person pronouns, however, it can be used to mark sequences of events:
I went to town, ori found a sweet girl, Ithn bought her a drink, evni never heard of her again
After 'evn-', that form is repeated (or maybe the sequence restarts at or-). Derive the pronouns from adverbs, conjunctions and pronouns in your own language, of course. One possible source could also be intensifiers and comparatives, even superlatives.

Detail #194B: Contrastive Dummy

August 24th, 2015 by Miekko
A dummy pronoun with the contrastive case mentioned in the previous post could be a pretty intriguing thing: instead of saying "but X verbs" you'd have "X verbs dummy.CONTR". Which particular syntactic position - subject, object, indirect object, more general adverb - that the dummy takes depends on the argument structure of the verb itself.

Detail #194: Contrastive Marking

August 24th, 2015 by Miekko
Let's consider differential object marking (DOM) along the Baltic Finnic type, i.e. one of the cases is universally used with negative verbs, and also quite often with affirmative verbs - basically, the other possible case marks a combination of things, of which affirmativeness only is one. Now, imagine constructions with contrastive gapping:
I don't eat pork but venison
Let's further assume that the DOM over time is weakened, and the more general case - the one used both with negatives and many affirmatives - turns into a more general accusative. The other case remains, but is used for whatever usages there might be.

However, we return to the form above: the case might have been used to contrast the two objects even when not enough of the usual requirements were fulfilled. So, one usage that gets tied up with it is contrast.
I don't eat pork.ACC venison.CONTR

This might extent to other roles: contrasting with subjects, locations, etc. Contrast might go even beyond negative-affirmative:
I solve problems.ACC and also cause them.CONTR
even beyond that, you can get subjects:
I solve problems.ACC and he.CONTR creates them.ACC
in both of these examples, 'and' could be more idiomatically translated into English as 'but'. However, in the language we're dealing with, 'and' might not even necessarily be marked. In a way, CONTR marks the central argument of a coordinated, contrasting VP.

It might even develop further, to get things like:
I got 99 problems.ACC a bitch.CONTR
 where the first construction we saw also has an affirmative structure - i.e. we're not just contrasting verb phrases with each other, or a negative verb phrase with a contrasting object coordination, we're also doing the same for affirmative verbs.

Daedalus et Icarus, 3

August 24th, 2015 by Sylvia

Puer Icarus, filius Daedali, ad patrem stat spectatque dum pater laborat. Nescit se sua pericula tangere dum pennas tenet et ceram digito mollit et ludo suo mirabile opus patris impedit. Denique postquam ultima penna in loco posita est, artifex, duabus alis apertis et motis, in aere pependit.

ē la īkarus mīsa taetalus mamōīñēma sū masōwa nū ē sema sakēwīke mo sarōña; wā sema jaxiēna ien il ñamma sāka rā ansēña āñ il ñamma sāka rā jatīāni āñ il ñamma anmēpi anmēxi; samma japāsre mo masōwa sakēwīke jamārwakie ānen jajēra; il antielen ñi jatīān japēxena rā jasōþa il ñi makēlanen ānen jañānte ēnne jakōrja jarēspe melūr;

īkarus mīsa taetalus mamōīñēma puer Icarus, filius Daedali
sū masōwa nū ad patrem stat
sema sakēwīke mo sarōña spectatque dum pater laborat
wā sema jaxiēna nescit
il ñamma sāka rā ansēña āñ se sua pericula tangere
il ñamma sāka rā jatīāni āñ dum pennas tenet
il ñamma anmēpi anmēxi et ceram mollit
samma japāsre impedit
mo masōwa sakēwīke jamārwakie mirabile opus patris
ānen jajēra ludo
il antielen postquam
ñi jatīān japēxena rā jasōþa ultima penna in loco posita est
makēlanen artifex
ānen jañānte ēnne jakōrja jarēspe duabus alis apertis et motis
melūr (pependit)


August 24th, 2015 by kanpeteshuniami

A language where there is no word for “they” or “them”. Instead, it is represented by saying a sentence with one pronoun, followed by the other. Have a grammar, such that in order to say, for example, “you do it for them”, you would say, “you do it for her, that is to say, you do it for him.”

Conlangery SHORTS #19: Kinship in Henan Mandarin

August 24th, 2015 by Conlangery Podcast
George discusses his own observations about the use of kinship terms in his wife’s village in Henan province, China. NOTE: We’re going to change how our audio is hosted soon. This might mean some oddness in the feeds in the coming weeks.

The Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär Family of Languages

August 23rd, 2015 by Miekko
Ćwarmin belongs to a geographical span of about a dozen languages with transitional zones between them. Ćwarmin itself is the southeasternmost of these languages – there is a geographical discontinuity from Ćwarmin to the east, but after some nearly uninhabited regions as well as some regions where languages related to Tatediem, as well as some local relict populations still exist, a few non-contiguous zones of languages related to Ćwarmin appear. Ŋʒädär, being the language with the largest population in the whole family beside Ćwarmin, can reasonably be used as the other language by whose name to form a compound term for the whole family. It also belongs to a clearly different branch - one of the three principal branches - of the family.

In some senses, Ćwarmin is somewhat exceptional, in having lost several features characteristic of the family:
  • the inverse system
  • the lack of a distinct accusative case (however, the reflexively possessed suffix does go on reflexively possessed objects in related languages as well), but also an inverse alignment
  • the proximate-obviative system (or rather, it is drastically reanalyzed in Ćwarmin)
  • the front rounded vowels
  • the requirement that non-pronominal roots be at least bisyllabic
  • some prefixing (only traces remaining in Ćwarmin)
  • a rich system of participles
  • morphological differentiation between transitive and intransitive verbs
  • loss of ejectives (due to Dairwuo-Bryatesle influence)
We can notice in fact, that Ćwarmin's unrelated neighbour - Dairwueh - acquired the beginnings of a proximative-obviative system from other, now extinct languages of Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär stock, but the differences between the systems in early Ćwarmin and early Dairwueh influenced Ćwarmin more. It seems that Dairwueh's population largely derives from groups that have spoken languages closely related to Ćwarmin.

Ćwarmin has kept many features intact though:
  • vowel harmony
  • palatal consonants
  • mostly suffixing (although Ćwarmin has indeed nearly maxed this feature out)
  • a rather simple tense-aspect system (other branches seem to have created more complicated things) with regards to finite verbs
  • separate cases for complements (a separate object complement case is known in roughly a third of the Ćwarmin-Ŋzädär stock, nearly all sub-branches have languages in them that have it, and nearly all languages have traces of it)
  • mainly dependent-marking
  • the paucal number
  • a rich case system (which it in fact has also almost maxed out)

In the farther eastern branches, a few interesting developments have occurred:
  • Parts of the Dagurib branch (insular) has abolished consonant clusters almost thoroughly, and has lost a lot of the case system, and extended the inverse to some rather odd constructions
  • The Ŋʒädär branches only have traces of the paucal
  • The Dagurib have turned the paucal into a dual, but have also restricted it to only appear on nominatives and accusatives and pronouns and a small set of nouns.
  • Ŋʒädär languages have developed a greater amount of adjective congruence
  • Ŋʒädär languages have increased the morphological complexity of the verb significantly, with significant numbers of voices, aspects, moods and so forth.
  • the non-insular Dagurib languages have developed a gender system, and also a gender-based congruence system; the inverse system has been quite strongly affected by the gender system as well.

The Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär languages cover pretty much all of the arctic region of the world they inhabit. The only exceptions are incursions along the southern border of the arctic region, where groups related to Dairwueh and Bryatesle, Tatediem as well as Barxaw intrude. In addition, four small isolate languages persist in small pockets among the Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär areas. Three of these are typologically very similar to the ĆŊ languages, whereas the fourth is quite exceptional.