Archive for February, 2015


Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Instead of marking your nouns for “singular,” “dual,” and “plural,” a much more logical system would be to describe “the number of objects is congruent to 1 mod 7,” “the number of objects is congruent to 2 mod 7,” and “the number of objects is not congruent to 1 mod 7 or 2 mod 7”

The Former Noun Morphology of Tatediem

Friday, February 27th, 2015
Back when I first came up with the name and the concept of Tatediem, I wanted to have cases in it. In fact, my first post about it on this blog assumes it has the old case system that I originally envisaged for it; however, I never spelled it out in detail, and I figure doing so might be a good idea, because it's not entirely half bad.
There are some things I'd do differently, now then years later. I might rather have conflated ergative and instrumental in part of the system, than ergative and dative. However, I might also have omitted mass as a 'number', and rather described mass nouns as having their own declension. The omission of indefinite dative makes some kind of sense - indefinite beneficients would call for a slight periphrasis. I think it's fairly likely that the indefinite plural would conflate absolutive and ergative if the indefinite singular does so - in fact, I find it more likely that the plural would do so than that the singular would.

Still, I like this system a lot even though it dropped out of Tatediem as it grew more noun-class-centered and less reliant on case. Might revive it sometime.

In many ways, playing around with a less case-centered language is pretty interesting.


Friday, February 27th, 2015

The phonology and grammar of your language should line up surprisingly well with the phonology and grammar of the language of a real-life race/ethnicity/religion/socio-economic group which just so happens to be stereotyped rather similarly to the “racial traits” of the conculture that speaks your conlang.

Tatediem: Numbers

Friday, February 27th, 2015
The numbers in Tatediem are somewhat inconsistent in their morphological behavior. Generally speaking, one to four take singular marking; usually, two is only used in counting and the morphological dual is used instead. With masculine, feminine and neuter I, it is not unusual for the dual to be used with three and four, but not mandatory. It is uncommon with neuters III and IV, due to the length of the gender-number prefixes (setem-, geme-) . The noun prefixes are used.


Thus, counting masculine things would go net, kint, wanpárt or nepárt, wansèlx or nesèlx, whereas counting feminine things would go sart, kint, xanpárt or sarpárt, xansèlx or sarsèlx. The right column gives the forms used when compounding for larger numbers.

A pair of things can be formed by compounding the dual number prefix to 'one', or, remarkably enough, by prefixing the singular prefix to kint.

Five, six and seven take the plural marking instead.


Eight, nine, ten and eleven do not take any morphological marking whatsoever, but force plural marking on the noun.

8 - buns (with the form -tikàr when compounding with su-, rupu-, sader-, etc, which will be introduced a bit down)
9 - xerans
10 - mbártans
11 - sanáns

from eleven upwards, however, all nouns take plural markers, and the least significant digit takes the gender congruence, except if that number is buns:
12 wan|sélx suxuns
13 wan|bara suxuns
14 wan|kena suxuns
15 wan|peli suxuns
16 buns suxuns
17 wan|khun suxera
18 wan|xera suxera
19 wan|párt suxera
20 wan|sèlx suxera
21 wan|barà suxera
22wan|kenà suxera
23 wan|pelì suxera
24 buns suxera

su- is a prefix that basically forms 'bunches of eight'; rupu- forms 'bunches of forty'. sader- forms 'bunches of 120'. kurber- forms 'bunches of 480'. When speaking of numbers as numbers, the grammatical class is used, i.e.
kurbértíkàr ya-dekàr l-mónta re-l-kàlù
ku:b:ɛ́:tíkà: yadekà: lónta relkàlù
8*480 neut2-number/amount  neut4-big gram-neut4-reach
3840 is a big number / reaches a big amount

Ordinals are formed by using the adjectival prefixes instead of the nominal ones, with one exception: the neuter II. The neuter II uses the same prefix as the neuter I. Here's 'the first', which also uses xuns, exceptionally, maybe because et, rat, ... would be too short:
neut Ikexuns
neut IIkexuns
neut IIIyexuns
neut IVyexuns
Et and rat do occur in some contexts - mainly in numbering the volumes of scholarly tomes, the points in the agenda of a meeting. Counterintuitively it also appears at times in faux-foreign accents, where often the -t/-xuns pair are intentionally mistaken.

Notice that the neut III and IV ordinals are identical to neut II cardinals.

The other number with exceptional ordinals is buns, eight. Its ordinal is formed using tíkàr.
The 'grammatical gender' version 'urxuns' is basically an analogous formation to English 'firstly', although its meaning is somewhat distinct - it is not so much used to state importance as it is to state temporal priority.
'urkint' essentially means 'next, thereafter, then, subsequently'. 'urxera' means 'secondly, in order of importance' - sometimes, it is compounded with gender prefixes forming eyurxera, rayurxera, kexurxera, etc, which signify 'second in order of importance'. Urpárt and ursèlx sometimes are used to weaken the causal connection or the time-span between the events in a narrative or discussion.

many is moso

Friday, February 27th, 2015
moso = many (adjective) (some things Google found for "moso": an uncommon term; moso bamboo (AKA phyllostachys edulis) is a species of bamboo; MOSO International B.V. of the Netherlands sells bamboo flooring and panel products; Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag which contains moso bamboo charcoal; Moso video software; the Moso (AKA Mosuo) people are a Chinese ethnic group; in Haitian Creole moso means piece; name of an small island in Vanuatu; Moso in Passiria (AKA Moos in Passeier) is the name of a town in northern Italy; name of places in Eritrea, Chad and South Korea)

Word derivation for "many":
Basque = asko, Finnish = moni
Miresua = moso

Many is an indefinite large number.

The word many occurs a dozen times in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

Some Ideas Regarding Ordinal Numbers

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
One morphological way of forming ordinal numbers that somehow makes sense would be the verbal perfect aspect marker or a perfect, active participle. Consider 'the fourth item' is the item that 'brings' the number to four, thus the item that 'reached' four, the item that caused the items to number as much as four.

However, there are other things to do with ordinals than just their formation. We can consider what other things than numbers can take ordinal marking. In Finnish, the word 'monta' (many) permits forming an ordinal - mones (manyeth), which mainly is used in combination with the interrogative particle -ko. Monesko? 'How manyeth?' Of course, we could imagine a language that has forms like:
I don't recall which, but in someth part of that series they really jump the shark.
He's not the first to do this, but at least fewth.
One could maybe extend it to meanings like 'every so many|often|':
the oftenth day, we throw a party.
no matter the manieth the ephemeral obsessions of the youth, there will always be a next.
Of course, next is sort of ordinal-like as well, and one could also imagine offset-ordinals: the n:th from this one, as well as periodically offset-ordinals: every n:th from this one, (versus every n:th).

But, to go further and create some semantic fun, consider a language where ordinals can go on both sides of their noun.

the n:th thing := the thing that is n:th in order
the thing n:th := a thing that completes a culturally sort of significant set of that particular type of thing; i.e. 'the seventh out of a set of seven unfortunate events', the third out of three deaths in a village in a short span of time, the twelfth month out of a year, the sixth beer in a six-pack - so month twelfth, death third, disaster seventh would all be somewhat grammaticalized phrases.

But we could go on even further. Any out of these nouns, if in the plural with the ordinal after it, would signify the whole set of months or disasters; with the ordinal in the plural, it would be such sets of months or disasters or six-packs.




Thursday, February 26th, 2015



Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

A conlang where all consonants are trilled ingressive sounds and all vowels require some combination of sticking your tongue out and opening your mouth as wide as it will go.

Music Theory for Conworlders

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I recently decided to write a series of posts about another favourite topic of mine - music! Many conworlders do mention the music of their concultures. Some even go so far as to compose some works set in those conworlds. However, most such works remain within the trappings of Euro-American styles.

Obviously, no co world can be an entire world, and no conworlder is omniscient. However, music is a field where innovation  is not all that unattainable.

At the tuning tarpit I present a primer to some type of generalised music theory, with audio examples to illustrate the concepts presented.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Make a sign conlang where “that face when no gf” is a phonemic facial expression.