Archive for February, 2016

Adjectives as Nouns in Ćwarmin

Monday, February 29th, 2016
Ćwarmin's equivalent to 'the X one' (where X is an adjective) has a little split - half the time, it's as easy as inflecting an adjective for a case and definiteness; the rest of the time, it's less easy. 
Ćwarmin only permits adjectives to stand independently as nouns in the definite and specific forms; an indefinite NP requires a nominal head. For the definite and specific forms, just take an adjective and add the def/spec case marker on it. For indefinite adjectives, there must be a noun that is a dummy head of the NP.

There are several nominal heads that can be used for this, and here the patterns that determine their usage is described.

The main words used for this purpose are
kalć - stick, branch, plant
mirgə - board, cloth, skin, cover
ogmo - stone
taxkar, taxŋar - assembly of parts, construction, something that is built out of smaller parts
voram - belly, torso (of persons)
garnun - body part
səkve - land animal
kic - fish or sea animal
loma - bird or bat
verći - account, words, story, sum, plan
mokmo - action, story, outcome, result
yulzər - assembly of people, bunch, gang, congregation
yulzvonar - horse-mounted assembly of people
semtə - flock of wild, non-carnivorous animals
roŋ - flock of wild, carnivorous animals
kiŋre - flock of tame animals, fortune, boon
There is also a pair of very vague words, erkar, erter  (lit. one-who, one-what) which can be used for almost anything. However, many of the words above are extended by some form of metaphor, so kalć, for instance, covers nearly any tool or implement, ogmo likewise covers many tools and implements, but also building material (even wood!), kic covers anything spotted moving in water (including boats!), loma covers anything in the sky, and yulzvonar covers any group of people ready to fight.

With case forms that lack definiteness, leaving these out is basically syntactically well-formed, but for most Ćwarmin speakers, if the nominalized adjective is semantically indefinite, it requires a noun, if it's specific or definite, it does not. Thus, definiteness marking with independent adjectives is obtained by absence of a dummy noun, which might be typologically unusual.

Fifth Lexember Month: for Something Completely Different, a Month of Haotyétpi Words

Monday, February 29th, 2016

First, let me apologise for leaving this blog to languish for so long. It's not that I haven't been active (anyone who follows my Tumblr blog knows that's not the case). Rather, I haven't been very active with the things I usually share on this blog, in particular with the development of Moten. Basically, what has happened in 2015 is that I burned myself out on Moten. Don't take me wrong: I love my conlang, and I'm glad I've been able to work long enough on a single language that it is now at a near usable point. However, I have also been full of new ideas of linguistic features I'd like to implement in a conlang, and I couldn't implement them in Moten without breaking the language. Still, I was bursting at the seams with ideas. This combination of working on a language that was basically done, apart from the vocabulary, together with this ever present need to create something new, caused me to start resenting working on Moten!

That was, of course, an unacceptable situation! Conlanging is my main hobby, and one of the only activities I find true satisfaction in doing. There was no way I could let it become poisoned for me. So, after a period of self-reflection, and identifying exactly what it was that was bothering me and preventing me from enjoying my work on Moten, I made two decisions:

  1. To pause my work on Moten for a while. Clearly, working on a single conlang for an extended period of time doesn't sit well with me. I needed to take a break and refill my Moten batteries, so to speak;
  2. To start a new conlang to canalise all those creative juices that were flooding my brains (if you'll allow me to stretch this metaphor to the breaking point). Like I said, I had plenty of new linguistic ideas I was dying to try out, and no way to play with them, creating a situation where my brains basically got blocked. the only way I could unblock it was by letting my creative juices flow in a new language.

And that's basically what I did. I paused my work on Moten and started working on a new language. With so much creative energy just begging to be used, it wasn't long before I had a working language description, which I eventually presented to the CONLANG mailing list back in November 2015. The conlang itself is called Haotyétpi, which is actually a nominalised verb phrase meaning "that which we speak to each other" (it's an endonym. Unlike Moten which is spoken in the here and now and has no associated culture to speak of, Haotyétpi is a more traditional "fictional" language, with a conculture associated to it. Since I don't know whether the world where Haotyétpi is spoken actually contains any English speakers, I don't have an English exonym for it).

As for the language description itself, it is available here (warning: PDF hosted on Google Drive. Good news is that Google Drive's PDF preview feature works well). Since I was working on a new language, I decided to try my hand at new tools for the purpose of documenting it. This language description has been created using XeLaTeX and the Brill typeface via ShareLaTeX (basically an online TeXLive installation, very complete and up-to-date, and with a great in-browser LaTeX editor). Working on this new language has allowed me to test these tools, and I am very happy with the results so far!

So when Lexember came around again last year, I was neither ready to resume working on Moten, nor willing to miss such a fun event. So naturally, I decided to participate with Haotyétpi. Giving such a young language a nice vocabulary injection was too good to pass.

As with last year, I wrote all my Lexember posts on Tumblr, automatically shared them on Twitter and Facebook, and manually shared them on Google+ and the CONLANG mailing list. I hadn't set up an automatic link between Tumblr and this blog for Haotyétpi posts, so they unfortunately didn't appear here or on the Conlang Aggregator, but this post is my way of correcting this oversight. I have now set up that automatic link, so this problem shouldn't happen again.

As I did last year, I will give here the short definitions of the created words and link to the relevant (Tumblr) posts. Don't hesitate to follow these links: each Lexember Tumblr post contains extensive descriptions of Haotyétpi in general and the created words in particular, together with topical GIFs and in some cases even example sentences! Also, Haotyétpi is very different from Moten, with a very distinct phonology, grammar and even semantics, so you really need to read those posts (together with the grammar document I linked to) in order to make sense of these entries. So, without further ado, here are all my new words for a new language:

1st word: wakkú [ʋäˈkːuˑ], alienably possessed noun:
rain.
2nd word: repáta [ɾe̞ˈpäˑtə̆], intransitive verb:
to be/become slow, late.
3rd word: oméw [o̞ˈme̞͡ʊ], intransitive verb:
to be/become early, fast.
4th word: yosék [jo̞ˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
food, something to eat.
5th word: pusék [puˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
drink, something to drink.
6th word: eyró [e̞͡ɪ̆ˈɾo̞ˑ], intransitive verb:
to be/become pleasant, liked.
7th word: hekáw [çe̞ˈgä͡ʊ], intransitive verb:
to be/become unpleasant, hated.
8th word: ankése [änˈd͡ʑe̞ˑʑə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
face, look, appearance.
9th word: honé [fo̞ˈɲe̞ˑ], inalienably possessed noun:
voice.
10th word: =nekkon [ɲe̞̽kːo̞̽ŋ], nominalising clitic:
seems like, but is not.
11th word: [ˈɲe̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to wear (clothes).
12th word: més [ˈme̞ˑɕ], transitive verb:
to be/become attached to.
13th word: nesék [ɲe̞ˈʑe̞ˑk], nominalisation:
clothes, thing to wear.
14th word: tawít [täˈʋiˑt], alienably possessed noun:
cat.
15th word: cupí [t͡suˈbiˑ], intransitive verb:
to sleep.
16th word: [iˈäˑ], transitive verb:
to breathe; to smoke.
17th word: inwé [iˈnʋe̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to hold, to carry.
18th word: paró [päˈɾo̞ˑ], transitive verb:
to carry (sthg) on one’s back.
19th word: samar= [sɐmɐɾ], adnoun:
other, another, else.
20th word: meún [me̞ˈuˑŋ], intransitive verb:
to be/become different.
21st word: ricá [ɾiˈd͡zäˑ], transitive verb:
to see, to look at, to watch.
22nd word: cupiapásko [t͡subɪ.ɐˈbäˑɕkə̆], alienably possessed noun:
dream (images seen while asleep).
23rd word: kommés [ko̞ˈmːe̞ˑɕ], intransitive verb:
to see, to look, to observe.
24th word: [ˈɾiˑ], transitive verb:
to hear, to listen to.
25th word: sepáne [ɕe̞ˈbäˑɲə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
ear.
26th word: [ˈt͡ɕe̞ˑ], alienably possessed positional:
day (24-hour period).
27th word: -(a)p [(ɐ)p], verbal suffix:
to have the quality of.
28th word: -ye [je̞̽], verbal suffix:
to have the quality of.
29th word: ortáse [o̞ɾˈtäˑʑə̆], inalienably possessed noun:
soul, spirit, god.
30th word: ortáp [o̞ɾˈtäˑp], intransitive verb:
to be holy, to be sacred.
31st word: turá [tuˈɾäˑ], alienably possessed noun:
skill, ability; endurance, stamina.

Since Haotyétpi is a very new conlang, I am not going to do any statistics this time. That would be pointless. However, I just want to mention a few things:

  • By convention, I type every Haotyétpi word in italics (like I type Moten in bold);
  • The romanisation I chose for Haotyétpi is strictly phonemic, up to and including an acute accent to mark stress on the syllable of every word that carries one (including monosyllables). However, Haotyétpi also features plenty of allophony, so I included phonetic transcriptions of the words above in order to make it clearer how they are meant to sound like;
  • I cite clitics (independent words that lack their own stress) with a = sign, and affixes with a - sign. In both cases, the position of the sign indicates whether the clitic or affix attaches on the previous or the following word (for clitics, only in terms of prosody). Such signs are only used when citing these forms. In normal Haotyétpi texts, affixes are simply attached to the words they complete, while clitics are written as separate words (their status as clitics is still obvious, dus to the lack of accent mark).

This year's Lexember has cemented my opinion that Tumblr is just the perfect platform for it. It possesses all the social features needed for what is really a group event, the casual atmosphere needed to make it fun, without the restrictions of Twitter's limited post length. However, greatness is not limited to just one platform, and whether on Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, Facebook or the Conlang Mailing List, I enjoyed reading everyone's Lexember entries. This event just keeps getting better with time. I'm looking forward to the next iteration!

Language Creation Tribune, Issue 8

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Language Creation Tribune

Issue 8

February 2016


A word from our President

Welcome to the 8th edition of the Language Creation Tribune. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been President for two years now! (And no one is plotting my demise as far as my spies have been able to ascertain, so I must be doing something right! Sorry, did I say that out loud?) Anyway, I am glad to be of service to the conlanging community, and I hope to carry on with it!

As you know, 2016 is what we could call an “LCC-less year.” Since the LCC4, the Language Creation Conference has been a biennial event, a schedule that fits our organisation well. However, as I’ve heard people saying they would like more frequent LCCs, even calling for “regional” or “informal” LCCs in off years, I thought I might clarify what my thoughts are on this.

First, people may remember that I’ve been saying that the conlanging community cannot support LCCs happening more frequently than once every two years. I want to explain exactly why I think this is the case. I’m not talking about a lack of interest—I know the interest is there. It’s not even a problem of getting enough people to attend a yearly LCC, although I do think that this could become an issue. Conlangers are typically not a very wealthy lot, and attending an LCC is not a cheap endeavour (especially if you have to fly to attend it). That’s why we try to keep attendance costs to a minimum, while still offering as much as possible (free lunches, for instance). This does mean that, given the costs we have for each LCC, we tend to run them at a loss. It is a manageable loss, given the current LCC biennial schedule, but I’m concerned that it would get worse if we moved to a yearly schedule. A yearly schedule would probably mean fewer participants at each LCC (many of us just don’t have the means to attend every year), which would mean a larger loss for us at each LCC (only part of the costs of an LCC is dependent on the number of attendees; venue location, for instance, is a fixed cost, regardless of attendance), which could easily start eating into our reserves unless we either increase attendance costs or remove features like free lunches. Both those measures would likely cause even fewer people to participate, meaning we would end up operating at an even larger loss… You can probably guess where I’m heading with this.

Yet even that isn’t the core reason I have for saying that the conlanging community cannot support more than one LCC every two years. The problem as it is right now isn’t actually with the attendance numbers or with the LCC budget. It is with getting people to organise the LCC itself, the local hosts. Look at it this way. Of the last three LCCs:

  1. LCC4 was organised by yours truly, not because I sent the LCS a proposal and won against other proposals, but because David Peterson asked me personally if I was interested in doing it after every person expressing the wish to organise an LCC ended up retracting their proposals;
  2. Although I was not involved in the organisation of the LCC5, as far as I know, the LCS was not submerged with proposals when it came to organising it;
  3. As for LCC6, Pete Bleackley’s bid ending up winning not only because it was the best proposal (although it always looked really good, and it would probably have won against other proposals), but because every competing host retracted their proposal before the deadline was even reached!

The issue here is quite simple: organising an LCC may not be extremely hard, but it is definitely time-consuming and (at least somewhat) stressful. The organisers really need to have enough time and energy to handle it, not to mention a very stable situation, or they simply won’t be able to handle the additional pressure. It’s not for everyone, as many have found out. Moreover, making a proposal isn’t just about throwing a few vague ideas about a venue. We need concrete plans for venue, lunch and technology, cost estimates associated with them, and more (see our checklist—warning: PDF).

So in the end, the main issue is not that the conlanging community cannot support attending more than one LCC every two years; instead, it’s that it cannot realistically support organising more than one LCC every two years.

That’s also why I don’t think proposals for “regional” or “informal” LCCs will help during our “LCC-less” years. LCCs are by nature already regional enough, and it’s definitely not the formal part of an LCC that is the bottleneck here. For now, we should keep our conferences on a biennial schedule—a schedule that works for our community and that allows the conferences to continue being great events.

That said, the need to meet like-minded people is strong, and I completely understand and share it. So what can be done during LCC-less years?

Once again, my answer is to turn it to you, the people who make up the conlanging community. As a reminder, the Language Creation Society is not here to “lead” the conlanging community. That would be arrogant and misguided. What we are here for is to support it, in all its endeavours. And that includes supporting conlangers who want to meet with other conlangers. But it’s up to you to take the lead on that. We can support you, but you’ll have to make the first step. I can imagine quite a few things people may want to organise:

  • A simple conlang meet-up at some local bar in your area. We could help by advertising such events. Just tell us when and where you are planning something, and we will be happy to advertise it on social media, like we do for job submissions;
  • Piggybacking an existing event. Some conventions (for instance Sci-Fi and Fantasy conventions) are likely to attract people interested in conlanging and conlangers themselves. If something is being organised in your area, let us know! We may look into participating in the convention itself (for which we will most likely need your help), or we could help you organise some sideline activity;
  • Organising some event yourself. It may sound daunting, but I am not talking about something of the size of the LCC. I am not even talking about something like a conference. There are plenty of other things you can do to attract other conlangers, or at least people interested in conlanging. An exposition (schools and universities may help providing the necessary venue), a screening of the film Senn or of the upcoming Conlanging, the Film documentary, for instance, are ways to attract people. We can, once again, help, both with advertisement, advice, organising support, and even possibly financial support.

And these are just a few ideas on top of my head (you can also consider promoting conlanging in your area—a very good way to meet conlangers that you may have not known were even in your neighbourhood). Really, the LCC is just one out of many events that could be organised around conlanging. If you choose to take a step and organise an event or outreach, we are happy to support you. Also, don’t hesitate to discuss possible events to organise on the Members List. Who knows, there may be other people among our members who would like to help you!

So, go ahead and start organising! Let us know, and we’ll do our best to support you!

Fiat Lingua!

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets,

President of the Language Creation Society.


Conlang Curiosities 

by John Quijada

Using my koindarauk to order øŋgör

While I tend to seek out the odd and unusual when looking for material for this column, I also like coming across conlangs that simply demonstrate the author’s intense ardor for the craft of conlanging, along with an impressive level of detail, originality, and a scholarly exposition of the material.

A great example of this kind of conlanging work comes from linguistics student Zachary D. Hart. Zach is the creator of several conlangs associated with his conworld creation The Republic of Ánhrush on the planet Askath. The primary language on this world is Gomain, and Zach has spent over a decade lovingly composing an official Gomain Reference Grammar.

The attention to detail and overall academic rigor of the Gomain Reference Grammar is truly admirable. It is a model for other conlangers in putting together their own grammars. And the language itself is a testament to what can be accomplished in natlang-style conlanging, displaying not only an attention to detail but also the sorts of subtle, only-in-real-life grammatical quirks and lexical oddities I talked about in my presentation at LCC5 that add real verisimilitude to a natlang-style conlang.

Con-cultural background and con-history are all discussed in the introductory sections of the grammar, followed by sections devoted to phonology, morphology, syntax, lexical domains, dialects, an appendix on irregular verb paradigms, and a dictionary.

The following example illustrates the Gomain script as well as the system of nominal case-prefixes:

LCT 8 - CC1

The language is mostly agglutinative, sometimes in the extreme, as for example:

LCT 8 - CC2

Unusually detailed rules for expressing mathematical operations are presented and illustrated, e.g.,

LCT 8 - CC3

 

Interesting oddities include an “intrative” case (a locative case signifying “between two [of something]”); separate neutral, honorific, and pejorative second-person pronouns; four different infinitives for verbs (simple and perfect, each with an active and passive form); informal versus formal imperative forms; and nine distinct conjugational classes/paradigms for verbs, as well as numerous “classless” or irregular verbs. There is also a very rich system of correlative pronouns reminiscent of Esperanto:

LCT 8 - CC4

There is a whole section providing nicely detailed rules for derivational morphology, with separate sub-sections for nominalization of verbs, adjectivization, and verbalization of nouns. A sub-section on compounding shows a myriad of innovative ways that Gomain can combine words with each other to form new concepts. Gomain’s complex phonotactic constraints often lead to some interesting internal sandhi/juncture effects and elision in these compounds, e.g.,

  • presäg ‘agreement’ + oproig ‘holy’ → preskoprë ‘covenant’
  • aukau ‘physical power’ + aišu ‘lightning’ → aukaišu electricity
  • ainu ‘air’ + praiķwei ‘say’ → aimpraikki ‘radio’

Some compounds utilize only part of their formative words (e.g., a single syllable), leading to some interesting results morpho-phonologically speaking e.g.,

  • koïund ‘machine’ + darúde ‘logic’ + aukaišyn ‘electronic’ → koindarauk ‘computer’

There is a rich assortment of verbal moods in Gomain. In addition to the usual indicative, subjunctive, conditional and imperative, we have obligative (“I have to/must…”), hypothetical (“I could…”), potential (“I can/am able to…”), deductive (“presumably, I…”), dubitative (“I might be…”), and a cohortative mood which signifies encouragement of the subject to perform an action and whose usage is worth illustrating via examples:

LCT 8 - CC5

The above examples only hint at the richness of the Gomain language and its associated con-culture. Check it out! I mean, after all, how can you not want know more about a language whose word for “pizza” is øŋgör?


Conlanging News

Articles and online media relevant to conlanging

  • ScienceLine wrote an article about conlangs, titled “Speaking in invented tongues.”
  • The New York Times published an article titled “Create Your Own Language, For Credit,” which discusses colleges that offer courses on conlanging.
  • FarpointCon took place Feb. 12-14 in Maryland; this year’s convention celebrated the 50th anniversary of Star Trek; Marc Okrand spoke about Klingon at the convention.
  • Karen Myers offers advice for creating a language for a fantasy novel.

Fiat Lingua‘s latest articles

  • December 2015: “Remembering Defiance” by David J. Peterson
    • Abstract: The show Defiance aired on the Syfy network for three seasons from 2013 to 2015. It featured four full conlangs, each with its own writing system. This paper details some of what went into making that a reality.
  • January 2016: “The Romanization of Middle Pahran” by George Corley
    • Abstract: In this essay George Corley expands on his “Design Parameters for Romanization” (Corley 2011), defining five parameters for designing and discussing conlang romanizations: elegance, accessibility, aesthetics, internal history, and technical factors. He applies this framework in a detailed discussion of his own process designing the romanization for his current conlang, Middle Pahran. He pays special attention to overspecifying the phonology for accessibility, and to the compromises he made due to the technical limitations of the software he uses.
  • February 2016: “The Birth of Xiis – A guide to font creation” by George Marques
    • Abstract: This paper shows general instructions to create a computer font for Xiis (a conscript made by George Marques). It uses the free (libre) font-making application FontForge to overview the basic knowledge of OpenType features needed to make fonts for more complex writing systems and how they were applied to Xiis.
  • Call for submission: Fiat Lingua publishes everything conlang-related, including reviews of conlang-relevant books, conlang grammars, essays on style, conlang criticism, scholarly work on a conlang-related topic, and conlang artwork and prose or poetic composition. If you have something you’d like to publish or have an idea you think might work as an article, email fiatlingua@nullconlang.org. All submissions must be in PDF format.

Conlangery podcasts

 


 

LCS Member Milestones

Maria Rui Corley (王柯睿 Wáng Kēruì), daughter of George Corley and Li Wang Corley, was born on December 17, 2015 at 11:25:04 pm. Congratulations to the Corleys!

 

Post-production work continues on the Conlanging documentary by Britton Watkins, his husband, Josh Feldman and producers David J. Peterson, Christine Schreyer, David Salo, Marc Okrand and Paul R. Frommer. A crowdfunding campaign IS coming in March and Britton, David P., and Josh will be speaking on a workshop panel about conlangs and the film at Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC)  also in March. They will be showing a 15 to 20 minute custom preview of the film at that time. If you can make it, please come. The custom preview will only be shown as a one off special sneak peek at the workshop event. Thank you, All, for your continued interest and support.

Conlanging Producers Meeting

 

John Quijada has released a second music video from his Kaduatán progressive-rock music project. The new song is called Unk’àtân (the Ithkuil word for “renegades”); as with his first song, David J. Peterson sings the lead vocals in Ithkuil. The lyrics to the song with translation can be viewed on the “Texts” page of the Ithkuil website.

 

Lorinda Taylor completed the final volume of the SF/F series The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head. The series incorporates her conlang Shshi, which is spoken by extraterrestrial termite people; the final book is titled The Buried Ship at the End of the World. Earlier volumes in the series are included in LCS’s library and have received positive feedback from our members.

Taylor - Buried Ship, front cover, final

 


LCS Membership benefits

You can find more information about becoming a member, as well as more information on the benefits, here.

  • Two permanent yournamehere.conlang.org domain names and free full web and email hosting; for more information or to fill out the form to claim a domain name, please visit this page.
  • Checkout privileges for the LCS Lending Library.
  • Access to a Hightail account (you can find more information about Hightail, an online file server, at its website); please email Sylvia to create your account.
  • Full voting rights in the LCS.
  • Discounts on all LCS events.

Please direct any questions you have regarding LCS membership to memberships@nullconlang.org. Also, all communication regarding your membership will come from that address as well, so please white-list memberships@nullconlang.org.


You shop. Amazon gives. If you shop Amazon, you can now support the LCS by using this Amazon link for your shopping. Amazon will give a percentage of its profits on all the purchases you make through that link to the LCS.

ocean is ozteri (revisited)

Saturday, February 27th, 2016
ozteri = ocean (noun) (Some things Google found for "ozteri": a rare term; user names, notably of someone from Finland; bad OCR of old text documents, often of Latin word posteri which can mean descendants; similar Ozter is a rare last name; similar Ozieri is the name of a place in Italy)

Word derivation for "ocean" :
Basque = ozeano (likely a borrowed word)
Finnish = valtameri (compound word: mighty or great + sea)
Miresua = ozteri

My previous Miresua conlang word for ocean was oztari. This is a small change, a tweak, to make the word look more like the Finnish word for sea.

This post was in draft mode yesterday, but I forgot to post it. So I'm going to fudge the posting date. Let's pretend I posted this word last night.

The word ocean doesn't occur in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or Through the Looking-glass.

Detail #258: A Really Weird Voice

Friday, February 26th, 2016
To come up with bizarre voices, one needs to come up with bizarre restrictions that make them reasonable. One imaginable restriction that could make such a thing reasonable would be this: subject pronouns can only refer to previous subject nouns, whereas object pronouns can refer to subjects as well as objects.

Consider then something like:
I wrote a book. It flopped.
"It" cannot refer to 'book', due to the previous restriction. So, there's a voice that moves subjects to objects, and leaves the subject spot empty. Thus:
I wrote a book. flopped-BIZARROVOICE it.
This voice could of course also take on other uses: change the scope of negation:
a student did not arrive can only mean a specific student did not arrive. However, did not arrive-BIZARROVOICE a student can mean 'not a student arrived', i.e. no student arrived.
The voice could imply lack of volition, or somesuch?. It could further have the regular object either be demoted to some kind of oblique position, or maybe permit for double (and even triple?) objects. Maybe a subj→obj→ind.obj→obl hierarchy exists. A quirk on that could be that things only are demoted if they are pushed, so e.g. an indirect object only turns oblique if there's a direct object that is demoted.




#448

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Conjugate cause and effect verbs based on moral judgments:

“If you poke that mama bear, she will attack(-and-you-will-deserve-it) you.”

“If the storm gets worse, it will trigger(-a-fact-of-physics-moral-judgement-is-irrelevant) a landslide that will destroy(-and-they-won’t-deserve-it) the town.”

“If you don’t look where you’re going, you will trip(-and-you-will-kind-of-deserve-it) on the sidewalk.”

Detail #257: ‘Final’ Numbers

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Consider a special marking on numbers that is used when finishing counting. This replaces both ordinals and cardinals.

Thus
... twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six.[end-morpheme].
Possible origins: markers for perfect or perfective aspects, or maybe reduced verbs (a structure expressing the idea that now, 'twenty six (pieces have been) counted').

Another source could be as simple as 'and' or a word like 'last'. And finally, maybe congruence with the noun class of the counted things only appear on the final number, and thus serves to signal completed counting.

Finally, some kind of superlative marking could work? Potentially, 'last' could already have a superlative marker in it (consider how English 'last' ends in what probably is the superlative morpheme, much like how the un-cognate word 'sist', with the same meaning, has the superlative morpheme in Swedish) - so a reduced 'last' could bring with it the superlative morpheme anyway.

But without bringing 'last' into it, maybe the final number is considered the greatest of the bunch, and just therefore it gets the superlative marker. This would be pretty neat.

Keep in mind that not all languages have comparatives and superlatives, though.

ANADEWs #1: Chukchi

Monday, February 22nd, 2016
In Chukchi, the absolutive case - which is pretty much what you'd expect from the label - is formed by root reduplication.

I guess if a conlanger did that, we'd all be having at him or her for being unrealistic.

Personal Pronouns: Ŋʒädär

Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Ŋʒädär has a relatively simple personal pronoun system:

IIIIII

sgplsgplsganimsginansgobvplplobv
abssaɤdatvärürehiisɤqı, isqisintɤnqı
posssaɤxomdaromväxemürimehemisɤqlıssinimɤŋrɤs
datsaɤmdarot'vämürüt'ehemisimɤqımsinit'ɤnqım
locsaŋadaŋoväŋäüŋöehmaisiŋa
(-iŋa)
ɤqŋasinŋäɤnŋɤ
ablsanadalovälöülöehnäisliɤqlasiŋläɤŋla
latsausdausväüsülüsehlüsislisɤqlıssilisɤŋlıs
comsaɤsdarasväräsüräsehlesislisɤqlıssilisɤŋrɤs
instrsarɤkdarɤkvälikülükehlükislisɤqlıksilikɤŋrɤk

I should probably ask for forgiveness regarding the colour combinations I have used for the table.

There are a number of minor irregularities with regards to the usual nominal case morphology. There's also a case distinction that is missing from most other nominals - the possessive vs. comitative distinction. The interested reader might try to ferret out cognates to the Ćwarmin pronouns.

Detail #256: Onwards with #255 – "Inverse Imperative" due to Social Rank

Sunday, February 21st, 2016
Consider, again, the imperative. In a highly hierarchical society, lower classes would very seldom give commands to higher classes. It would be economical to use the same markers though - so, for instance, 

direct imperative mood:
high → low: imperative
low → high: asking for permission to do something

reverse imperative mood:
high → low: granting permission to do something
low → high: imperative
One point I am trying to convey here, in part, is that asymmetrical inverse systems might be pretty cool.