Archive for the ‘grammar’ Category

A New Song

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

This song is a rework of an old song. Each voice of the old version has been inverted around some 'B' close to the middle of that voice's range, so this is a non-strict example of 'negative harmony' in a microtonal environment.

A New Song

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

This song is a rework of an old song. Each voice of the old version has been inverted around some 'B' close to the middle of that voice's range, so this is a non-strict example of 'negative harmony' in a microtonal environment.

A Challenge: Origin of Person Congruence

Friday, July 6th, 2018
Can anyone come up with other origins of person congruence than pronouns that are merged with the verb (or, for that part, merging the verbs with verbs that previously have been merged with pronouns)?

I have two ideas, out of which one is not very good.

Reinterpretation of direct-inverse morpheme

Easily, the direct morpheme could be reinterpreted as solely being used when the subject is at the top of the animacy hierarchy, and thus either becomes a first person or first-and-second person congruence marker. (Some langs iirc rank second person higher, so that's also a possibility.)

This even leaves open the possibility of using the inverse marker solely as a marker for third persons, and then an unmarked verb could be second person. Other paths to such a situation can be constructed.

Unlikely rebracketing of case morphemes

Some languages permit omitting the accusative marker on nouns when the subject is, say, a pronoun. (This might assume case marking on the pronouns still obtains or some type of congruence already in place - otoh, Chinese is somewhat pro-drop so why couldn't this work without a pre-existing congruence?)

Now, we can restrict this to, say, omitting case marking in the presence of a first (or second) person subject. See where I am going with this? Now, let's have the case marker - either a suffix or a prefix of the noun - condition a sound change at the word boundary of the verb or just be rebracketed as a subject marker, and then generalized to all persons.

SVO: an object with an object prefix triggers a change, causing a verbal suffix
SOV: an object with an object suffix triggers a change, causing a verbal prefix

Of course, a thing that could further influence this could be a split-ergative system, where absolutives and ergatives and accusatives cause different things to be rebracketed with different persons as subject.

A Challenge: Origin of Person Congruence

Friday, July 6th, 2018
Can anyone come up with other origins of person congruence than pronouns that are merged with the verb (or, for that part, merging the verbs with verbs that previously have been merged with pronouns)?

I have two ideas, out of which one is not very good.

Reinterpretation of direct-inverse morpheme

Easily, the direct morpheme could be reinterpreted as solely being used when the subject is at the top of the animacy hierarchy, and thus either becomes a first person or first-and-second person congruence marker. (Some langs iirc rank second person higher, so that's also a possibility.)

This even leaves open the possibility of using the inverse marker solely as a marker for third persons, and then an unmarked verb could be second person. Other paths to such a situation can be constructed.

Unlikely rebracketing of case morphemes

Some languages permit omitting the accusative marker on nouns when the subject is, say, a pronoun. (This might assume case marking on the pronouns still obtains or some type of congruence already in place - otoh, Chinese is somewhat pro-drop so why couldn't this work without a pre-existing congruence?)

Now, we can restrict this to, say, omitting case marking in the presence of a first (or second) person subject. See where I am going with this? Now, let's have the case marker - either a suffix or a prefix of the noun - condition a sound change at the word boundary of the verb or just be rebracketed as a subject marker, and then generalized to all persons.

SVO: an object with an object prefix triggers a change, causing a verbal suffix
SOV: an object with an object suffix triggers a change, causing a verbal prefix

Of course, a thing that could further influence this could be a split-ergative system, where absolutives and ergatives and accusatives cause different things to be rebracketed with different persons as subject.

Conlangery on hiatus!

Friday, July 6th, 2018
I apologize for being quiet for so long. Many of you will notice that we have not put out a new episode for a couple months. I (George) am currently working furiously on finishing my dissertation. Between data wrangling, writing, looking for jobs, and playing with a toddler I haven’t had much time or opportunity... Read more »

Ŋʒädär: Further with the Reciprocal

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
It has previously been stated that the reflexive pronoun ŋul- in Ŋʒädär can encode both reflexive and reciprocal meaning, but that the difference is encoded in whether the pronoun is high in the animacy hierarchy (which implies reciprocality) or low (which implies reflexivity). However, no general reciprocal / reflexive distinction was presented.

Also, the various approaches for reciprocality that exist in Ŋʒädär are not entirely trivial, and we'll find that a variety of interesting behaviours happen with regards to it.

1. Lexical Distinctions (intransitive vs. reciprocal vs. reflexive)
Some intransitive verbs have their meaning changed by turning them into reciprocals or reflexives.

 A few examples include
ʒgaŋ(uk)- 'be part of a tribe or family'
talpa-hus ʒgaŋ-sa
talpa-husʒgaŋ-sa
talpa (proper noun)comitativebe affiliated1 sg/(intransitive/3sg)-direct
the Talpa clanwithbelongI
dat ŋul-ır ʒgaŋ-da-z
datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-z
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directdirect
weselvesbelong1 pl

we belong to the same family unit (rather wider than core family, though)

datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-jut
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directinverse
weselvesbelong1 pl
we belong to the same clan

2. Non-object Reciprocal vs. Reflexive distinctions

There is an adverb ıbars, cognate to the -bara suffix. It can signify something along the line of 'in haphazard, random disarray' -
datıbarsban-da
wearoundrun1pl/intransitive
wearoundare running

we are running around / we are running all over the place
It can also be used for transitive verbs to signify e.g. sending things all around, doing something in multiple places, etc. However, it can also signify reciprocality. Some verbs in Ŋʒädär have suppletive forms for different recipients, and with these, for instance, ıbars will signify reciprocality:
 ür karos ıbars kep'är-ür-z
'you give each other gifts'
(note: karos, "gift" is non-count!)
The same holds with other verbs of giving, but also goes with less semantically specific verbs, albeit there is some ambiguity:
sint ıbars vörvör-täs
'they speak over each other/they speak in all directions/they speak random stuff/they argue'

Ŋʒädär: Further with the Reciprocal

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
It has previously been stated that the reflexive pronoun ŋul- in Ŋʒädär can encode both reflexive and reciprocal meaning, but that the difference is encoded in whether the pronoun is high in the animacy hierarchy (which implies reciprocality) or low (which implies reflexivity). However, no general reciprocal / reflexive distinction was presented.

Also, the various approaches for reciprocality that exist in Ŋʒädär are not entirely trivial, and we'll find that a variety of interesting behaviours happen with regards to it.

1. Lexical Distinctions (intransitive vs. reciprocal vs. reflexive)
Some intransitive verbs have their meaning changed by turning them into reciprocals or reflexives.

 A few examples include
ʒgaŋ(uk)- 'be part of a tribe or family'
talpa-hus ʒgaŋ-sa
talpa-husʒgaŋ-sa
talpa (proper noun)comitativebe affiliated1 sg/(intransitive/3sg)-direct
the Talpa clanwithbelongI
dat ŋul-ır ʒgaŋ-da-z
datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-z
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directdirect
weselvesbelong1 pl

we belong to the same family unit (rather wider than core family, though)

datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-jut
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directinverse
weselvesbelong1 pl
we belong to the same clan

2. Non-object Reciprocal vs. Reflexive distinctions

There is an adverb ıbars, cognate to the -bara suffix. It can signify something along the line of 'in haphazard, random disarray' -
datıbarsban-da
wearoundrun1pl/intransitive
wearoundare running

we are running around / we are running all over the place
It can also be used for transitive verbs to signify e.g. sending things all around, doing something in multiple places, etc. However, it can also signify reciprocality. Some verbs in Ŋʒädär have suppletive forms for different recipients, and with these, for instance, ıbars will signify reciprocality:
 ür karos ıbars kep'är-ür-z
'you give each other gifts'
(note: karos, "gift" is non-count!)
The same holds with other verbs of giving, but also goes with less semantically specific verbs, albeit there is some ambiguity:
sint ıbars vörvör-täs
'they speak over each other/they speak in all directions/they speak random stuff/they argue'

Language Needed for Fantasy Novel

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

Description

Jakob E. Fenwick is looking for a conlanger willing to work with him on Silvarian, a language to be used in one or more fantasy novels. It is one of the languages of Mælcöroth, an ancient world with a lost continent sort of feel, inhabited by humans called Avarii “children of the Earth”. Silvarian is the language of an Empire made up of three ancient kingdoms (Valdéronia, Ægalia and Étania), each of which has a long, detailed history and culture. The Silvarians tend to be tall, fair in complexion and live very long lives. They are a people of balance with the natural world and have a great love of trees, waters, mountains, music and poetry, but also have a long history with wars and military.
The language to be developed is Common Silvarian, an a priori language influenced by Old English, Latin, Finnish and Italian, intended to sound exotic, smooth and elegant, yet with a slight imperialistic feel. Maps and names of geographical locations have been established, along with many words, phrases and part of the script. The conlanger is expected to develop this language into a full conlang and orthography. Most of what has been established is open to change, in good communication with the employer.

Employer

Jakob E. Fenwick

Application Period

Open until job filled

Term

There is no specific deadline, but seven months would be a reasonable time-frame.

Compensation

Compensation is $800, but a higher amount can be negotiated. Payment will happen in the form of a deposit of $300 up front, followed by increments that work best for both sides. Should the conlanger wish for more work, including older forms of the language in question and other languages for different cultures in this fictional world, further arrangements can be worked out.
Besides compensation, the conlanger will be credited as a co-creator of the language.

To Apply

Email Jakob E. Fenwick at fenwickbows “at” gmail “dot” com to express your interest in the project. Please include qualifications and samples of previous work.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer.

Alien Language Needed for Science-Fiction Novel

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Description

Michael Chorost is looking for a conlanger interested in non-naturalistic languages to create an alien language to be used in a science fiction novel. The aliens are social insect colonies, in which the “body” of each colony is a 100-meter polyhedron filled with billions of larvae that have evolved to act like neurons, while the “hands” are parasitised mammals. The medium of their language is auditory holograms. The human protagonists have to ask this species for help in solving a problem on Earth. Of course, the aliens have a very different experience of space and time than we do, which makes communication with them extremely difficult. The plot revolves around the humans struggling to learn the language well enough to ask for their help.
The language does not have to be extremely elaborate, but it should be enough to give verisimilitude to the humans’ struggles to learn the aliens’ language, and to be concrete about how the negotiation develops over the course of the novel.

Employer

Michael Chorost. Click on the link for more information about the author.

Application Period

Open until job filled

Term

There is no specific deadline—the novel is a work in progress.

Compensation

Compensation is $300, but a higher amount can be negotiated. Payment will happen in two instalments (half up front, half upon completion).
Besides compensation, the language creator will be fully credited for their work.

To Apply

Email Michael Chorost at mikechorost “at” gmail “dot” com to express your interest in the project. Please include qualifications and samples of previous work.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer.

A Grammar of Eastern Classical Dryadic

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Jesse is 21 years old, and enjoys creating languages as well as his own fantasy worlds and cultures that go with them. As far as natural languages are concerned, he speaks English, Korean, Japanese, Polish, French, and Russian. He has also studied a myriad of other languages to varying degrees including Lithuanian, Kazakh, Turkish, Mandarin, etc.

Abstract

This grammar was presented as Jesse Holmes’ undergraduate thesis at the University of Wrocław, in Poland. It includes a description of the grammar, as well as a description of the orthography and fictional romanization systems, and includes example texts.

Version History

Creative Commons License
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