Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

pond is larmi

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
larmi = pond (noun) (some things Google found for "larmi": an uncommon term; an unusual last name; a rare first name; user names; Larmi S.A. of Costa Rica sells shirts; similar Larmy sla Gnaoui is a musician/band from Morocco; in Esperanto larmi means to shed tears, weep; name of places in Yemen and Nepal)

Word derivation for "pond" :
Basque = urmael, Finnish = lampi
Miresua = larmi

A pond is a natural body of standing fresh water, usually smaller than a lake and larger than a pool. This is a new word.

The word pond doesn't occur in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-glass. The word pool does occur, but that'll be another word.

A Song

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
As an entirely unrelated thing, I recently made a song that may be of some interest to conlangers, as it is in an unusual tuning system - 11 tone equal temperament. Except the minor second, pretty much each interval is audibly off from the scales we are used to.

There's no reason to expect non-human or even non-western cultures to conform to the tuning system that has swept the western world since about 200 years ago. 11-tone equal temperament is not a very likely contender to even appear in any realistic non-information age culture in my opinion, although scales with somewhat similar structures could be a bit more realistic.

Enjoy!

Barxaw: Possessive Constructions

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
The possessive constructions of Barxa tend to be rather varied in what other functions the different expressions overlap with. In this post, both predicative possession and attributive possession is described.

For nominal constructions, the overlaps mainly are in how the possessor or the possessee is marked:
One of the primary overlaps is the recipient or beneficiary:
aðál ðo Kpèma - Kpèma's horse (horse for Kpéma)
il istà kuì ðo Kpèma éŋxa  - that house belongs to Kpèma (by inheritance)
wík'an çùmut òrtho ðo Janwàp - three gifts (are/were) presented to Janwàp
saxk'ùlhimá ðo Inàm ðo Epáλ do Risíx - Nénsiqu òrtho ðo - harshword (~criticism) to Inàm, Epáɟ and Risíx was given by Nénsiqu. 
Qhuì ðo Kpèma - Kpèma's possession(s), alternatively also the VP 'belongs to Kpèma'. 

Another overlap is causative constructions, where causers and possessors can be marked the same for normally intransitive, stative verbs. The causee takes a preposition, as does the possessee. 
ɛ̀ŋðà kur jà Uqhir zémp'u t'rol - Eŋðà makes Uqhir carry burden
ɟə` kur t'aníp jà Epàλ - ɟə` cause scare to Epàλ 
C'aʝ kur lùjun  jà istà - C'aʝ's house is big, C'aʝ has a big house.

The fourth construction is a double comitative - with x with y, where y is the possessed noun. Often, this has animate nouns as possessees or culturally significant nouns, but some nouns we would normally consider inanimate are considered animate in Barxaw:

k'e kopì k'e dəsé - with thunder with rain - thunder brings rain, thunder has rain
k'e Inàm k'e aðál ðo Kpèma - Inam has/brings a horse for Kpèma.
k'e Inàm k'e tanaλ, k'e dìnaλ - Inàm has brothers and sisters.
k'e Epàλ k'e losàm - Epàλ has the respect of the community
k'e C'aʝ k'e níxqhà ðo il-Pəzézð - C'aʝ has judicial authority in Pəzézð village.

Tiroŝa lenoda galati gelote

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
Fālota-deloha Sikoti ŝitaheliĉi kenogi

Fālota-deloha Sikoti ŝitaheliĉi kenogi

Tiroŝa lenoda, galati gelote. Vorosa, C fagadi. Manali Sikota ŝitaheliĉa kenoga. Vorosa, fagadi nevirosa lenoda niðolenodo neviroso Tamasiko.

Ðoŝiholoĉa, Sikota ŝitaheliĉa hakenoga ŝitaheliĉa fagadi, vi menola galati. Seðoŝitaheliĉa kinoga nesamaki ðoŝitaheliĉe kitome. Haðoŝiholoĉa masati lenode, teĝi vo haðoŝiholoĉa hatelenoda ĥonesananō.

Hakita ko lenoda, pojekoso. Ku Tamasiko Tahateli jekosa fagadi. Patarō patāra ladasō tu.


Moten Word for the Day

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

badi /badi/, noun: “dog”

My desktop background (half of the year in any case. I’ve got an alternative for the winter months ;) ).

I can’t believe I haven’t done that word yet!

Anyway, it’s the generic word for “dog”. It doesn’t specify nor imply gender in any way.

And yes, this word comes from my dog’s name, Buddy :).


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Some verb-related derivations in Ćwarmin

Monday, August 25th, 2014
-enit - Adverb or noun derived from a verb, denoting the span of time it takes to carry out the action.

-irŋu -  Non-volitional agentive noun; klatirŋu - klutz.

-apir - Noun-form that refers to a person whose mandate or responsibility carrying the verb out is. Tends either to be negative or positive in connotation - important titles often end in -apir, so do several insults. Neutral designations tend just to use the regular agentive for similar roles.

-edra - A group-agentive noun, i.e. an ensemble of musicians, a theatre troupe, a crew, etc. Attaches to a verb. In the singular, it denotes one group, in the plural several groups, all who perform some kind of action together.

Moten Word for the Day

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

mejto /me̞jto̞/, interjection: “hello, hi”

Dogs and conlanging, the two main themes of this blog in one single post. My life is complete now ;).

Anyway, mejto is the most basic way to greet people in Moten. It’s neutral and can be used in all situations unless you want to be very polite, it’s symmetrical and you can just answer someone using it by repeating it back to them, and it’s usable in all situations, whether face to face, on the phone or through written text.

In terms of etymology, it seems pretty clear that it’s related to the verb imeti: “to greet (someone)” (especially when you remember that the root of this verb is met, with i-…-i being a circumfix marking the infinitive). The exact nature of the relationship is unclear though, or at least, there’s no productive derivational pattern in Moten that could explain the form mejto. There is, however, another interjection that seems to have arisen much the same way: the word davi|zo means “thank you” in Moten, and is obviously related to the verb idavi|zi: “to be happy with, to thank”. Both mejto and davi|zo seem to be derived from their respective verbs in the same way: an infix -i- after the last vowel of the stem (usual phonotactic rules in Moten easily explain why that infix ends up as -j- in mejto and disappears next to the i of the davi|z stem), along with a suffix -o (Moten productively marks case with the combination of an infix and a suffix, so it’s pretty much standard fare for the language). This probably used to be a productive pattern in Moten, but as the language changed it stopped being used and the two words mejto and davi|zo got fossilised as interjections.

As to the original meaning of the -i-…-o form, my bet is that it must have been some kind of hortative. It’s probable that in the past, verbs in Moten had more finite forms than they have now, and this might simply have been one of them. So the original meaning of mejto may have been “let (me) greet (you)”. An alternative explanation is that it may have been an optative (“(I) wish to greet (you)”). Both are possible, and without more evidence it’s impossible to rule one out.

One bit of evidence that both mejto and davi|zo probably started as finite verb forms is that even today they can take adverbial phrases, and when they do those always appear in front of them (i.e. they take the typical final position verbs normally always take). One can for instance say (using a benefactive): |laba mejto: “hello to you!” or |laba davi|zo: “thank you”. It’s not definitive evidence (in particular, since imeti is a transitive verb with the person being greeted as the object, one would expect the expression *bdan mejto, with the pronoun ba: “you” in the accusative case, to be licit. Yet it’s not, at least not in Moten as it is currently spoken), but it is tantalising.

In any case, what you can take away from this particular word as a language creator is that even if you don’t create your language according to the historical method (i.e. derive it from a proto-language), you can “fake” historical depth in your naturalistic conlang by peppering it with recognisable but non-productive derivation patterns, that hint at a previous stage where the language was somewhat different. Do not overuse it though: if a pattern is really common, why should it ever stop being productive? But used sparingly and with care, it can really add depth and naturalness to your language.

Questions?


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seaside is isameratz (revisited)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014
isameratz = seaside (noun) (some things Google found for "isameratz": an unique term; did not match any documents)

Word derivation for "seaside" :
Basque = itsasertz (prefix for sea + edge or border)
Finnish = merenranta (prefix for marine + shore)
Miresua = isemaratz (sea + edge or border)

My previous Miresua conlang word for seaside was isemaratz. I'm making this minor change because I changed the word for sea, from isema to isame. This is a compound word.

The word seaside occurs in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland once. This comes from Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears, in the sentence following the quote in the previous post.
(Alice had been to the seaside once in her life....)

Moten Word for the Day

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

|la /ʎa/, noun: “peace, good health; also as adj. peaceful, healthy”

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find good peace memes on Internet?!

|La seems to be a central concept in Moten culture (a bit like “aloha” in Hawaiian culture, although it seems somewhat less broad). Not only does it refer to good health (for a body) and peace (for a community), but it’s also used in various expressions and greetings. The informal expression |lag: “bye”, for instance, seems to be derived from ko|lea ag: “leave in peace” or “leave in good health”. The expression saj ko|lea, literally “definitely in peace/good health” is used as a polite form of both greeting and parting, and is also the usual expression used to mean “welcome” or “have a nice trip”.

Finally, there’s the expression |ledan, which is basically |la in the singular definite accusative case. It’s only used on its own as a reaction to someone sneezing (equivalent to “bless you” or “gesundheit”). Mostly, it’s used along with terms referring to a specific event as the equivalent of “happy…” or “merry…” in English. For instance, with adamla: “anniversary”, one forms adamla |ledan: “happy birthday, happy anniversary”. With Noel: “Christmas”, one forms Noel |ledan: “Merry Christmas”. And with Imonuj: “New Year celebrations”, one gets Imonuj |ledan: “happy new year”.

And that’s just looking at the surface. |La is used a lot in Moten.

Questions?


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Interview mit Jan Strasser zum Sprachenbasteln

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Interview mit Jan Strasser zum Sprachenbasteln