Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

Two Papers: Indexical Shifting

Sunday, February 7th, 2016
A friend made me aware of this article on 'indexical shifting' in indirect speech. E.g. contexts where 'I' can mean '(s)he'.

Another paper that deals with some other examples, and some even more exotic behaviors regarding index shifting can be found here.

Dairwueh: The Passive

Sunday, February 7th, 2016
In addition to its active verb forms, Dairwueh also has passives. In the present indicative, it is formed by affixes, but in other tenses and moods it is formed by auxiliaries with participles, much as in English. This table has been inserted in the Dairwueh tables of morphology:
passive, present -ŋor-ŋor-ŋa-ŋan-ŋan-ŋa
Periphrastic Passive forms
passive, neg. pres.erb- + passive neg participle
passive, irrealis ŋey- + passive irrealis participle
passive, past ŋe- + passive affirmative participle
passive, neg. erb- + passive negative participle

The form given for the periphrastic verb form's auxiliary is given as the 3rd person II form, although each form of the corresponding row in the table below can be used depending on the person of the passive subject. However, the 3rd person II form can also be used with other person subjects under certain circumstances, such as

Beyond promoting the object to subject, the passive has a few other uses as well: some intransitive verbs can be passivized to mark lack of volition. Some intransitive verbs, such as shine, stand out - əkšat, appear to be - aruas, deserve - kivankan, sweat - unhən, guess - iltad   only have passive forms.

Finally, most verbs of emotion are passive, and have the "object" as an oblique form, e.g.
keŋa tsayŋor
him-instr hate-1sg.pass
I hate him

xovit eirŋor
you-dat love-1sg.pass
I love you

The copula (erb-, ger-, dir-)

The auxiliaries in the table are forms of the copula, which has not yet been described in any post. The copula is highly irregular, having lots of different stems popping up in rather different positions. In tabular form, we would have:

1sg2sg3sg3sgII1pl2pl3pl
present indicativebrasererbaŋerbgangušeguni
present irrealisgergergiŋŋeygrangrasgran
present negativedirdivnedirnediršgruš(en)gruš(en)gruš(en)
past positivegisgerbgiŋŋegradgrabegari
past negativeediršediršediršedišgreyšingreyšingreyšin

These are all the finite forms of the copula in Dairwueh. The participles are formed from the form diral, which also is the infinitive.

First Review of Buried Ship – 5 Star!

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
 Thanks to Christopher Graham (The Story Reading Ape)!

Reading this last book of a series, about a group of characters I've grown close to, was a bitter/sweet experience.
Bitter because it's the last time I'll join in with their new adventures.
Sweet because I met new characters, discovered one character who was lost and found out how all the loose ends were neatly tied up by the author.
I was also reminded of some myths / legends I'd forgotten about.
The highest accolade I can give this author is - I will definitely be re-reading the series from the start again, probably more than once, so I can learn more about the characters, the legends the stories are based upon and so I can yet again enjoy the work of a Master Storyteller.

Speaking as the author, I wouldn't mind reading the series again myself!  I think it will wear well!


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Detail #254: A Restricted Case, with Noun Transitivity

Friday, February 5th, 2016
Let us imagine a case that appears on personal pronouns and which signifies 'according to whose opinion'. So, e.g. me-accord = by my opinion.

Let's then go on to some special situations. The third and first person are oftentimes indicative, whereas the second person generally speaking is interrogative unless very specific cues as to its indicativeness are present. One such cue is if it directly follows (alternatively precedes) a perfective verb:
I wrote your-accord the letter
I wrote the letter as per your opinion regarding how it was to be written
your-accord this is good?
is this good, in your opinion?
If there is a missing argument, there is sort of an implicit 'what':
your-accord we do now?
what should we do now, in your opinion?
In this circumstance, the by-your-opinion is always clause-initial (if the language does wh-fronting). 

Further, these can serve as a somewhat adpositional things, giving, for instance,
plan-acc your-accord is?
what is your opinion of the plan?
elections-acc his-accord are superfluous
by his opinion, elections are superfluous
However, pronouns are  incorporated, giving a double possessive structure:
its-his-accord: by his opinion of it

Detail #254: A Restricted Case, with Noun Transitivity

Friday, February 5th, 2016
Let us imagine a case that appears on personal pronouns and which signifies 'according to whose opinion'. So, e.g. me-accord = by my opinion.

Let's then go on to some special situations. The third and first person are oftentimes indicative, whereas the second person generally speaking is interrogative unless very specific cues as to its indicativeness are present. One such cue is if it directly follows (alternatively precedes) a perfective verb:
I wrote your-accord the letter
I wrote the letter as per your opinion regarding how it was to be written
your-accord this is good?
is this good, in your opinion?
If there is a missing argument, there is sort of an implicit 'what':
your-accord we do now?
what should we do now, in your opinion?
In this circumstance, the by-your-opinion is always clause-initial (if the language does wh-fronting). 

Further, these can serve as a somewhat adpositional things, giving, for instance,
plan-acc your-accord is?
what is your opinion of the plan?
elections-acc his-accord are superfluous
by his opinion, elections are superfluous
However, pronouns are  incorporated, giving a double possessive structure:
its-his-accord: by his opinion of it

#446

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Get yourself some denim and make yourself a jonlang.

Detail #253: Mixing Alignments – Split-Ergative/Inverse

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
I remember back when ergativity was sort of new and unfamiliar to most conlangers – today, split ergativity is almost old hat, and people are getting into alignments like inverse, secundative and so on.

Let's however consider split-alignment again for a moment. How do we resolve subjects when we coordinate a transitive and an intransitive verb?
man wolf see-DIRECT and run-INTRANS
[assuming man > wolf in the animacy hierarchy)
Is it the man or the wolf who runs? If the language underlyingly is accusative, it would be the man. If the language underlyingly is ergative, it's the wolf who is running. Now, the split-inverse/ergative option sort of appeals to me - and in this case, we'd have the man running if we did
man wolf see-INVERSE and run-INTRANS.
Now, how about some other options? We could have direct and inverse apply to intransitives in a way similar to switch-reference (but limited to intransitives after transitives), thus giving us:

man wolf see-DIRECT and run-DIRECT
man sees wolf and runs

man wolf see-DIRECT and run-INVERSE
man sees wolf and it runs
Another option could be that a subject of a previous verb automatically is temporarily shifted upwards in the hierarchy. Depending on where in the hierarchy it lands, different results obtain, e.g. if 1 p > 2 p > previous subject > 3p, then
I wolf see-DIRECT and run-DIRECT
I see the wolf and I run

I wolf see-INVERSE and run-DIRECT
the wolf sees me and I run

I wolf see-INVERSE and run-INVERSE
the wolf sees me and runs

I wolf see-DIRECT and run-INVERSE
I see the wolf and it runs

he wolf see-INVERSE and run-DIRECT
the wolf sees him and runs

he wolf see-INVERSE and run-INVERSE
the wolf sees him and he runs

Detail #252: Having (Optional) Morphemes follow Alignment-like Distributions

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
A thing that could be fun is having (optional) markers for some modal information (or some other thing pertaining to the whole verb phrase), whose distribution follows alignment-like patterns (these markers affix to nouns). A language with several different patterns like those could be pretty cool, e.g. some markers are ergative-like in distribution, some accusative-like, some nominative-like, some absolutive, some maybe secundative, etc.

#445

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

In the ancient language the conlang is descended from, there were no simple verbs for describing voluntary movement.  Instead, it was all done by describing the appropriate sequence of muscles to tense and relax.  This was very confusing and lengthy, so over time, these muscle word sequences became blurred together into compound words that left out a large number of phonemes (the resulting words are, of course, called “muscle contractions”).  Two of the resulting words are remarkably short, only one syllable each, and convey the meanings of “to walk and turn with ease” and “to lurch around awkwardly”.  They are, respectively, /wasd/ and /qwop/.

fat (adjective) is lova (revisited)

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
lova = fat (adjective) (Some things Google found for "lova": a very common term; an unusual to uncommon usually feminine first name; an unusual last name; Lova Lova is an 2009 album and song title by French pop/rock band Superbus; 868 Lova is a minor planet or asteroid orbiting the Sun; IKEA Lova (or Löva) children's bed canopy; Lova Weddings of Shanghai; Lova Hotel Spa in Turkey; in French a conjugation of the verb lover which means to coil; in Hungarian lova is the third-person singular possessive of ló which means horse; in Lithuanian similar lóva means bed; name of a village in Italy)

Word derivation for "fat" (adjective) :
Basque = lodi, Finnish = lihava
Miresua = lova

My previous word for fat (adjective) was lida. I like lova better for this word and, in addition, Lova is a rarer first name than Lida.

Regretfully, I've decided to decrease the number of scheduled postings to this blog to four per month. I seriously need to update my dictionary.

I found the word fat once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in the poem "You Are Old, Father William".
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?"