Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

Challenge: Onwards with Detail #11

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
I went and edited a really old post recently, because I realized I had never visualized the idea in it well enough.

I realized while looking at it, that maybe a few quirks could make it even better. Right now it's fairly rigid - two or three words are resolved to their roles, and no way of changing how they are resolved. Every adverbial and other argument basically requires its own VP, so that's a bit unwieldy, but not all that impossible ultimately. The language probably needs a bunch of subordinating conjunctions for that kind of thing, but let's not get our hands in that deep just yet.

Let's consider the illustration of the words' "distributions" along the SOV circle:
life as a graphical artist is not in my future
Now, what operations would give us full control over this? How many possible elements do we have in the first place? An element is an n-tuplet of the form [S, O, V, d, z]. S, O and V ∈ {1, 0}, d ∈ {clockwise, counterclockwise}, z ∈ {s,v,o}.

Interpretation of this tuplet works like this: if S,V or O is 0, it is not close to that point along the circumference, if S,V or O is 1, it is close to the corresponding point along the circumference. d gives the direction along the perimeter as shown, and z (for 'zero') is the starting point, the most preferred element out of the elements.

Thus there are 2⁴*3 possible configurations for the words, a total of 48 possibilities. A three-word clause can be 48³ combinations of configurations. Meanwhile, three words can map onto subject, object and verb in six ways. We have a bit of a gap of orders of magnitude here. 48³ = 110592.

We have more than one hierarchy here: for each word, there's an internal hierarchy. [1, 1, 0, clockwise, s] prefers being Subject, over Verb, over Object. However, when resolving which out of a = [1,1,0,clockwise, s] and b = [1,0,0,clockwise,s] gets to be the subject, we find that b is more likely of the two to be the object, and a ends up our subject. 

Challenge: come up with a small set of markers that operate on this system in a way that does not reduce to directly marking role, but that operate on the tuplet-level of the representation, yet provides us a full way of getting any of the six possible SVO-assignments out of any of the 48³ possible configurations.

Detail #164: A Register in a Tonal Language

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
In a tonal language, have a specific register with some added complications to the phonology. This register deals with the music theory of the language, and the complications are entirely due to this.

Triads as well as common motifs all are thus given fairly straight. The underlying syllables, however, inform us a bit about the melodic/harmonic structure - so, i.e. "major triad played in first inversion simultaneously" comes out as naaa - with the three vowels having the tones of such a chord. An arpeggio is given with an exaggerated pause: naʔ:naʔ:naʔ:. Glissandos are expressed as actual glissandos. Closer details may be given: to specify which degree of the scale it starts and which it goes to, you use the tone's name's syllable and substitute the lexical tone it should have with a pitch (if possible, corresponding to the actual scale tone if a musical context is present), and a glissando upwards.

A lot of the musical terminology is basically more regular lexemes with tonal substitutions that illustrate the musical details. E.g. glissandos in general are the (monosyllabic) words for "jump" or "fall", but with a glissando (rising on jump, falling on fall) instead of the usual tone the words should have.

Chords. motifs, intervals and progressions in general may be given in slightly shortened forms, and with underlying words like "order", "sequence", etc. Such combinations enable theorists to innovate terminology rather efficiently, by reusing the word for "progression" with different tones to obtain different progressions, or the word for

Of course, "sequence" has its own real tone that is used in the rest of the language. These tones are carried over and remain - the "usual" tones of the language are pronounced in a way that is slightly off from the musical intervals, in a sufficiently audible way that a person who has mastered the register can distinguish "sequence" as "sequence" from "sequence" as "I-IV-V progression".

those are huok

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
huok = those (pronoun) (demonstrative pronoun) (Some things Google found for "huok": an uncommon term; a rare last name; a rare first name; user names; in English Glossic (Ingglosh Glosik) which was a 19th century spelling system for English an added apostrophe is called hook and spelled huok; means pig in Abau which is a language of Papua New Guinea; similar Phu Huak (or Phou Huak) is a mountain in Laos; similar Huoka is a place in Yunnan, China)

Word derivation for "those":
Basque = horiek, Finnish = nuo
Miresua = huok

In Basque, the word those is a plural of that, and these is a plural of this. My Miresua words are constructed so they retain some of that similarly, but those is not a plural of that.

I found the word those ten times in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, mostly as a determiner. Perhaps I can use huok as a determiner, too.
"How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

"How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!"
"I'm sure those are not the right words,' said poor Alice...

My first conlang #12

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

My first conlang was spoken by alien dolphins who somehow had the ability to articulate human sounds. It used all the same sounds of English except for [ŋ], [w], and [p] and featured just one different sound, the uvular ejective.

My first conlang #11

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

…was based on a system of grouped words with numbers as suffixes. So, “walk” and “run” were “[walk-like verbs]:one” and “[walk-like verbs]:two”.

My first conlang #10

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

My first conlang had 5 genders. The /a/ gender, corresponding to animates, the /e/ gender for feminine, /i/ for ideas, /o/ for masculine, and /u/ for physical objects.

Adjectives agreed for gender. Some had 5 forms, and others had 3. Some of the ones with three forms would conflate /i/ and /e/ genders, and /o/ with /u/, and the rest would lump feminine, masculine, and animate into one class.

My first conlang #9

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

First conlang I ever wrote, at age ten or so, had a ludicrously complicated natural gender system, including special inflected forms for umpteen different kinds of trans, intersex and genderqueer people — all of which I thought of at the time as TOTALLY FICTIONAL CONWORLD DETAILS that I had MADE UP OUT OF MY OWN HEAD, since I had no idea yet that not being cis was an option in real life.

…yeah, in hindsight, I have no idea why anyone was surprised when I started to transition a few decades later.

My first conlang #8

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

My first conlang had three-consonant-cluster roots, roughly modeled after Semitic triliteral roots. (Slightly less bad since I am conversational in a Semitic language)

My first conlang #7

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

My first conlang’s phonology consisted of seven fricatives and three nasals, one of them /ɱ/.

My first conlang #6

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

My conlang, along with core cases and a few locative cases, included one that roughly corresponded to the Latin ablative absolute (‘with X being the case, …’) and one that meant “with respect to Y”