Archive for September, 2014

Notes from Twitter

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

#44

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
#44:

Get your language down to a core vocabulary of 100 or so atomic concepts. (Try to beat Toki Pona!) Then assign each of these concepts a distinct phoneme. (/a/ = water, /e/ = energy, /p/ = seed, /f/ = leaf, etc.) Create new words by combining the atomics. (/epa/ = coffee, /efa/ = tea, etc.)

Conlangery #104: Spatial Metaphors for Time

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Today we discuss how languages talk about time. Particularly, how do we map time onto space metaphorically. Top of Show Greeting: Duojjin Links and Resources: From Space to Time (Haspelmath) — warning, big download Metaphor SPACE AS TIME across languages How Languages Construct Time Time and the mind: Using space to think about time Spatial... Read more »

Conlangery #104: Spatial Metaphors for Time

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Today we discuss how languages talk about time. Particularly, how do we map time onto space metaphorically. Top of Show Greeting: Duojjin Links and Resources: From Space to Time (Haspelmath) — warning, big download Metaphor SPACE AS TIME across languages How Languages Construct Time Time and the mind: Using space to think about time Spatial […]

Conlangery #104: Spatial Metaphors for Time

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Today we discuss how languages talk about time. Particularly, how do we map time onto space metaphorically. Top of Show Greeting: Duojjin Links and Resources: From Space to Time (Haspelmath) — warning, big download Metaphor SPACE AS TIME across languages How Languages Construct Time Time and the mind: Using space to think about time Spatial […]

#43

Monday, September 29th, 2014

A spoken language in which eyebrow raising and other facial expression chiremes are phonemic.

An a posteriori idea

Monday, September 29th, 2014
I am not a big fan of a posteriori conlangs as a concept, although some of the best conlangs out there are of that kind (Novegradian, I am looking at you). There is one such idea that increasingly has haunted me ever since I visited Iceland.

I have come across claims that I have been unable to relocate (and thus I now doubt it) that in the early 20th century, there were plans to attract more settlers to the eastern half of Iceland. According to my now lost source, one option they considered was inviting a few thousand (or even tens of thousand, not sure on that) Finns.

Now, let us imagine this had happened a bit earlier - Sweden had in fact similarly attracted Finns (then of course subjects of the Swedish crown) to settle various uninhabited forests in mainland Sweden (and even in non-integral parts of the Swedish empire) as far back as the late 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, such groups also settled in Norway, then under Danish rule. Some Finns probably have lived in northern Norway since times immemorial, but a large migration occurred between 1820 and 1890.

So, what if Denmark had invited Finns to settle on the eastern part of Iceland in the middle of the 19th century? What would their language be like today? What would Icelandic be like today?

A few things may lessen the weirdness of the pairing:

  • Both have quirky case, although Icelandic has more of it for objects than Finnish has. Finnish has differential object marking, though!
  • Both have rich morphology, although Finnish is more agglutinating and Icelandic more fusional.
  • Both have rounded vowels, both have diphthongs, and Icelandic preaspiration does not differ all that much from Finnish hC clusters.
Differences abound, though.

It is not a conlang I will ever make, but here's the idea up for grabs! If you decide to go for it, do tell!

Moten Words for the Day

Monday, September 29th, 2014

voslim /vo̞slim/, noun: “beauty, appropriateness, fitness for purpose”

uflebe /ufle̞be̞/, noun: “quality, objective value, value”

kemabal /ke̞mabal/, noun: “opinion, subjective value, value”

No meme right now.

Okay, those nouns are going to need a small explanation. If they look familiar, it’s because they are: they are formed by mashing together the pairs of words I presented in the last three posts.

What’s happening here is that in Moten, when two nouns are semantically opposites (i.e. like “big vs. small”, “wide vs. narrow”, “rich vs. poor”), it’s common to form the noun that refers to the generic concept underlying them by compounding them. In English, it would be as if the generic concept of “size” (in general, rather than a big or a small size) was referred to by the word “bigsmall” :).

So that’s what’s happening here:

  • Voslim is the combination of vo|sa and slim, and refers to appropriateness or fitness for purpose in general;
  • Uflebe is the combination of ufan and tlebe, and refers to objective quality in general;
  • Kemabal is the combination of kemi and abal, and refers to the concept of opinion in general.

In all cases, those nouns refer to a generic concept, and not to a specific value of that concept. It’s easy to understand with a word like kemabal, where the translation “opinion” is also neutral. It’s slightly more difficult for a word like voslim, where the usual translations (“appropriateness”, “fitness for purpose”) tend to have a positive connotation in English. But voslim doesn’t have a positive connotation in Moten. It’s perfectly neutral, just like kemabal. It doesn’t refer to appropriateness as a positive quality (that’s what vo|sa means), but to the generic concept of appropriateness. You can see vo|sa and slim as extreme points on a scale, while voslim refers to the entire scale itself.

The idea of compounding opposites to form the name of a generic concept is common in Moten, so keep it in mind as I describe new words in future posts.

Questions?


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Detail #102: First and Second Person and a Noun Class System

Sunday, September 28th, 2014
A language with a noun class system such as that of the Bantu languages could imaginably have the first and second person fall outside of the noun class system in some way - quite obviously, first and second person are somewhat exceptional referents.

Thus, one could easily imagine a language with Bantu-style verb congruence to entirely lack congruence for first and second person:

Ta-kulu ta-pade - IV.chieftan IV.rule - the chieftan rules
Ne-kume ne-kpeŋdu tu-hirin - III.village III.host II.prophet - the village hosts a/the prophet
É gbile tu-hirin - I doubt II.prophet
Su ragan ta-hixlo - You hate IV.king
However, first and second person may sometimes interact with noun class marking. This is especially common with constructions amounting to 'as a ...':
gi ta-kulu ta-é inki-i ta-humesxa : as IV.chief IV.I not.(intense) IV.tolerate/approve
'as a chieftain, I do not approve'.
If the identification is hypothetical, the pronoun does not, however, acquire class marking - the verb in these cases acquires an irrealis marking, however:
gi ta-kulu é inki-i an-humesxa : as IV.chief I not.(intense) irrealis.approve
'as a chieftain, I would not approve'
This type of marking can also appear on objects, whenever the object is an object due to some specific thing it is:
ba-kpappi tu-tí  tu-muda f-tu-pade tu-ahid : 3pl(human)-beat II.you II.son gen.II.chieftain II.other
they beat you (because you are the) son of another chieftain
 

carrot is azporano (revisited)

Saturday, September 27th, 2014
azporano = carrot (noun) (some things Google found for "azporano": an unique term, did not match any documents; similar Vie A-Z Porano lists streets in the town of Porano in central Italy; similar az Porano in Hungarian texts refers to same town in Italy)

Word derivation for "carrot":
Basque = azenario, Finnish = porkkana
Miresua = azporano

My previous Miresua conlang word for carrot was azporena. This is a small change, part of my ongoing effort to lessen the words ending in -A.

The word carrots (plural) appears once in Through the Looking-glass, about the White Knight.
"There are so many candlesticks in the bag." And he hung it to the saddle, which was already loaded with bunches of carrots, and fire-irons, and many other things.