Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

Test Sentences, 41

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. On a sunny morning after the solstice we started for the mountains.

Leaving off the time phrases for the moment, “we started towards the mountains” uses the inceptive (or inchoative, or something) of notɨŋi “to go towards a destination”: lɛnna notambi laɬi. This will come in a second clause after a clause describing the time. The two clauses will be joined by the clausal conjunction na, which implies that the clauses take place simultaneously, or at least that the second clause happens during the first one.

Now for the time phrases. First the solstice, and then a sunny morning after the solstice. For the solstice, I will use the phrase bɨɬɨs da hɨddɨŋi “dawn of the season(s)”, which really corresponds more to the equinox, but…. The word for morning is galnanda and a sunny morning is a bright morning galnanda lo. To describe a morning after the solstice, we would use the verb daɬa, the third of the stance verbs, and one we haven’t had cause to use yet!

By the way, the day is divided into four parts and the four transitions are also named. Dawn and dusk have the same name: hɨddɨŋi. If you really have to distinguish them, dawn can be hɨddɨŋi ola and dusk is hɨddɨŋi tada. Noon is lɨnanda and midnight is lɨsɨnda. Morning is galnanda, afternoon is ɨnnanda, evening is galsɨnda, and late night is ɨssɨnda. The four parts all use daɬa as their preferred verb of stance. lɨnanda and lɨsɨnda prefer sɛdɛ, and hɨddɨŋi prefers tɛndɛ. Furthermore, ɨssɨnda and galnanda both move upwards when necessary, and ɨnnanda and galsɨnda move downwards.

63. galnanda lo daɬa bɨɬɨs da hɨddɨŋi ɨdeba na lɛnna notambi laɬi.

galnanda
morning.SSsg
lo
bright.SSsg
daɬa
daɬa.IMP
bɨɬɨs da hɨddɨŋi
equinox
ɨdeba
afterwards
na
when
lɛnna
1.MTpl
no-
near
tambi
tɨŋi.INC
laɬi
mountain.SSpl

In Kēlen:

63. la jānnalon jalū il jīstū jatāelle il antielen il aþ ñalta jānne rā anlāe;

la
LA
jānnalon
morning
jalū
bright
il
when
jīstū
year
jatāelle
new
il
when
antielen
after
il aþ
and then
ñ-
NI
alta
1PL
jānne
beginning
to
anlāe
mountains

Questions?

‘Wednesday’s’ Word – zir and ksir

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Today’s post delves a bit more into the grammar of Mychai than the previous few posts did. It’s all about reflexive and reciprocal expressions (see Middle voice); how they’re similar to English, and how they’re different.

First off, let’s cover how to make singular reflexive expressions along the lines of John shaved (himself), where in English the reflexive pronoun can be dropped and you still assume John is shaving himself and not someone else.

De ksir/zir kstire. 
de              ksir/zir            kstire
1.AGT      REFL                shave.PRS
I am shaving (myself).

In Mychai, the reflexive particles (not truly a pronoun) cannot be omitted as in English without changing the meaning. Since objects can easily be omitted, the meaning remains active:

De kstire. 
de            kstire
1.AGT     shave.PRS
I am shaving someone.

So, back to that reflexive particle: ksir and zir are often interchangeable in the singular, and largely either can be used. However, some dialects disallow ksir in singular expressions. Recently, the Seren dialect of Mychai (this reminds me, that I ought to put up some maps) has developed shades of meaning between ksir and zir in the singular, namely that ksir expresses something being done due to an external pressure (the agent was convinced to do something or forced to do something to themselves), while zir expresses that the agent has full agency in the action.

In the plural, however, there is a clearer distinction between ksir and zir. Zir is used for reflexive expressions, while ksir is used for reciprocal actions. In this way, ksir can be understood as meaning each other or one another.

Mire zir kstire.
mire            zir              kstire
3p.NOM     REFL        shave.PRS
They are shaving (themselves).
That is each man in the group I’m referring to is shaving himself, and no one else.

But:
Mire ksir kstire.
mire            ksir              kstire
3p.NOM     RECP        shave.PRS
They are shaving each other.
Perhaps they’re unable to shave themselves or need help.


Importantly, not all expressions in English that use reflexive pronouns are covered by the middle voice markers (ksir/zir). Intensive expressions such as I myself cut the grass, where the subject is being focused is primarily done through shifting word order in Mychai.

Also, anticausative expressions, such as the German Die Tür öffnet sich (The door opens) or English The window broke, are done simply through omission of a subject.


An additional meaning of the ksir/tsir particles is that of together or jointly.

Mal ksir e.
mal                 ksir               e
1.PL.NOM     together      went
We went together.

 


Test Sentences, 40

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Everybody knows about hunting.

Everybody knows about hunting? I don’t. :-) But, OK. This is not saying that everyone knows how to hunt, just that everyone has heard of it and knows something about it, not necessarily how to do it. So, I guess, everyone stands with some knowledge at/in hunting.

So, a hunter is ɛdan, a class I noun. The activity of hunting, though, is ɛdannan, a class IV noun. Knowledge syeni is also a class IV noun.

62. nadna amba syeninɛn sɛdɛ ɛdannan dɛstɛ.

nadna
all.MTpl
amba
some
syeni
knowledge.SSsg
-nɛn
with
sɛdɛ
sɛdɛ.IMP
ɛdannan
hunting
dɛstɛ
I’m told

In Kēlen:

62. sexe anērān;

s-
SE
exe
3PL.BEN
anērān
hunting

Questions?

Detail #85: Congruence blocking … again!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
In a language with some kind of noun classes and class congruence on verbs and adjectives, let the following circumstances block congruence on the verb:

  • subject and object complements trigger omission of class (and number) marking on the verb. Basically, the congruence migrates to the complement - but if the complement cannot mark class, the congruence marker will be entirely lost.
  • relative clauses where the relativized constituent is not the subject. However, complements still mark congruence.
As examples (with the prefixes te-, pa-, ku-, ri-, ne-), the following should illustrate a bit:
ne-solution ne-is (a solution exists)
ku-man is ku-tall (the man is tall)
pa-boss pa-expressed his ri-opinion with te-clarity (the boss expressed his opinion with clarity)
ku-man REL ku-expressed ku-his ri-opinion is ku-educated (the man who expressed his opinion is educated)
ku-man is pa-boss (the man is a boss)
te-computer is from apple (the computer is ...)
ne-project REL pa-boss launched ne-it ne-will ne-reform pa-synergy
Forms with bold italic are main clause non-congruence verbs, due to complements. The two non-bold italic verbs are unexpected examples of non-congruence: existential is and is with non-congruent complement. ku-expressed is the normal form in subclauses, viz. when the relativized thing is also the subject of the subclause. Finally, the bold italic underlined verb lacks congruence due to the subject not being the relativized element.

Test Sentences, 39

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. We sailed down the river for several miles.

This sentence is a good use of dantɨŋi “go along a path”, with the river as the path. Boat can be the instrument, which is generally… hmm, I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far without an instrumentive marker of some sort. That wouldn’t be the same as the purposive at all. Probably the best candidate is the comitative -nɛn, and I think that is a very common pattern for natlangs, using a comitative for an instrument.

OK, now the “for several miles”: a unit of distance with a non-specific quantifier. amba dɛŋɛ would be the right phrase, but what about it’s relationship to the river, the actual path. I’m inclined to turn this into a possessive phrase “the river’s several miles” or “several miles of river”: tanan ha amba dɛŋɛ. Of course one dɛŋɛ does not equal one mile, but it is a distance along those lines.

61. lɛnna gɛdɛnɛn danotni tanava ha amba dɛŋɛ.

lɛnna
1.MTpl
gɛdɛ
boat.SSsg
-nɛn
with
dan-
along
otni
tɨŋi.PRF
tanan
river.SSsg
ha
PS
amba
some
dɛŋɛ
miles

In Kēlen:

61. ñi lēim ānen jahēra sū jatāna il jarāŋŋi pē;

ñi
NI
lēim
1PC
ānen
with
jahēra
boat
on
jatāna
river
il
while
jarāŋŋi
miles
few

Questions?

machine is manke

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
manke = machine (noun) (some things Google found for "manke": an uncommon term; an unusual to uncommon last name; Manke Lumber Company of Washington State; Manke Trucking of California; Manke is a song title by Bhangra singer Lehmber Hussainpuri; a rare first name; means mane in Danish; means to lack in Haitian Creole; name of a place in Sierra Leone)

Word derivation for "machine":
Basque = makina, Finnish = kone
Miresua = manke

The word machines occurs once in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in Chapter 2 The Pool of Tears.
Alice had been to the seaside once in her life, and had come to the general conclusion, that wherever you go to on the English coast you find a number of bathing machines in the sea....
According to Wikipedia: The bathing machine was a device, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, to allow people to change out of their usual clothes, possibly change into swimwear and then wade in the ocean at beaches. Bathing machines were roofed and walled wooden carts rolled into the sea.

Test Sentences, 38

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Have you ever travelled in the jungle?

I think this sentence is a good use of eyaŋi “move about in”.

60. ŋidi eyonnɨt gyelele dɛmɛ?

ŋidi
2.MTsg
ey-
in
onnɨt
aŋi.PRF
gyelele
jungle.SSsg
dɛmɛ?
Q

In Kēlen:

60. ñi riēn rā anjēli mē kēñ;

ñi
NI
riēn
2SG
to
anjēli
jungle
in
kēñ
Q

Questions?

Conlangery SHORTS #14: 吃酒喝面 Eating Wine and Drinking Noodles

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Today George brings on his fiancé Li Wang to talk about some interesting little lexical facts in Chinese that might be an inspiration. Links and Resources Google shows nearly a million hits for 吃酒 A Conlanger’s Thesaurus Semantic Associations presenation

Test Sentences, 37

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Are you going with us to the concert?

This is simpler than it looks, though I don’t have a word for concert. Let’s substitute some other destination, like a ceremony (katɛn, a class IV noun).

59. ŋidi lɛnnanɛn tɨŋi katɛn dɛmɛ?

ŋidi
2.MTsg
lɛnna
1.MTpl
-nɛn
with
tɨŋi
tɨŋi.IMP
katɛn
ceremony.SSsg
dɛmɛ?
Q

In Kēlen:

59. ñi riēn nīkanle rā jakāenal kēñ;

ñi
NI
riēn
2SG
nīkanle
together with us
to
jakāenal
ceremony
kēñ
Q

Questions?

Test Sentences, 36

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Continuing with Gary’s list:

  1. Does the robin sing in the rain?

Earlier, we had a kitten playing in the rain, where “rain” was the destination, and “playing”, or rather “game”, was the purpose/source. And the kitten was “moving about”. Here we have singing, and habitual singing at that. That would probably be “emitting song”, and “emit” is a verb I used early on for the sun shining and people shouting, evi. And, while evi doesn’t allow for destinations, it does allow a location like “in the rain”.

Except, no robins. I dislike birds. (Which is a little odd, ’cause I like reptiles, and birds are essentially modern dinosaurs. When I think of them like that, I dislike them a little less.) Let’s see, what could be singing in the rain? Maybe tiny flying hadrosaurs? Hmm. Maybe the lizards sing on this world. I have a word for that: udle. As for “song”, that would be syɨme, a class II noun.

58. udle syɨme evna tadnavi dɛmɛ?

udle
lizard.MTsg
syɨme
song.MTsg
evna
evi.ITR
tadnavi
rain.SSsg
dɛmɛ?
Q

In Kēlen:

58. ñaxxa ansāla ā jūlri il antārranni kēñ;

ñ-
NI
axxa
3PL.A
ansāla
song
ā
A
jūlri
lizards
il
while
antārranni
rain
kēñ
Q

Questions?