Archive for July, 2016

Ŋʒädär Person Morphology

Sunday, July 31st, 2016
Beyond its direct/inverse marker, Ŋʒädär does have some extent of person marking on its verb. There is, however, some extent of optionality to the markers.

Ŋʒädär has polypersonal verb agreement - it marks for both the subject and objects. Objects and subjects are not morphologically distinguished per se, neither in the nominal morphology nor in the verbal agreement system. Thus, the two dimensions of the agreement systems are not full cartesian products along the lines of (persons x numbers) x (persons x numbers). Since we have dealt with reflexives previously, we also can tell that there are no elements along the 'diagonal', with the exception of obviative/obviative
The columns represent the lower ranked element, the rows the higher ranked element. The inverse/direct morpheme tells which of the two is the subject.

1 sg2 sg3 sg prox
/ intr.
3sg obv1pl2 pl3 pl prox3 pl obv

3sg prox
/ intr

-ε- **-h(I)qO--dA--Ur--s(I)--s(I)qO-
3sg obv



3pl prox

3pl obv

** the ε symbol signifies the empty string; for 3sg proximative, the form only permits an intransitive parsing; the 3sg obv / 3sg obv both permit an intransitive or transitive parsing. The 3sg. prox and 3sg. obv are also used with intransitive plural subjects.

* the initial -t of the suffix sometimes assimilates, along the following lines.
nt → n
lt → l
rt → r
st → s
qt → q
kt → k
pt → p
ft → t
mt → t
jt → j
ht → t
Voiced stops and voiced fricatives tend to turn into voiceless fricatives:
bt → ft
zt → st
dt → st
gt → xt

Interrogatives in Ŋʒädär, pt 1

Saturday, July 30th, 2016
The basic interrogatives come in two basic forms, corresponding quite closely to 'who' and 'what':
kaɣo, təɣə
the animate form has a plural absolutive as well:
Other than that, the case forms are conflated for plural and singular throughout the pronouns' paradigm:
dati.  kaɣam, təɣəm

lative kaɣlus, təɣlıs
locati. ka
ɣŋa, təɣŋo
ablat. kaɣluno, təɣlınə

gen-c. kaɣas, təɣəs
instru. kaɣak, təɣək
compl. ka
ɣuv, təɣıv
A similar pair of pairs of lexemes with similar morphological forms exist for 'pick one out of many' and 'pick one out of two'-questions. Both pairs have the same animate-inanimate distinction at their core, with the animate given to the left in the next lists.

One out of two:
abs. k'opo, roto
dat. k'opom, rotom
lat. k'oplus, rotus
loc. k'oŋa, roŋa
abl. k'opluno, rotuno
g-c. k'opos, rotos
ins. k'opok, rotok
cmp. k'opuv, rotuv
One (or more) out of several:
sg. abs.
camu, təmıt
pl.  abs
The rest of the inanimate are identical to the what form, whereas the cam- forms are formed analogously to the other animate forms given in the tables above. -ml- turns to -vl- in most dialects, but to -mn- in the easternmost dialect.
Ŋʒädär has two words for 'when',
ɣok'nu, when, (future)
ok'oś, when, (past)
these also have demonstrative analogues:
əqnu, then, (future)
əqoś, then, (past)
Unlike the very absolute future/past distinction of the interrogative pair, the demonstrative pair seem to showcase a rather relative future/past distinction.

Comparison in Ŋʒädär

Thursday, July 28th, 2016
In Ŋʒädär, the adjective for which two NPs are compared is in the instrumental case:
pöntü-rük ('with rough', 'with coarse', in comparative structures: rougher, coarser)
 However, it is also inflected like a verb:
lesnı-rık-ta-jut '(s)he is faster than you'
If both nouns are third person, the lesser one is marked by a circumposition, Un-[dative]-bI.
To compare non-subjects - something like 'I like her more than him', one would rephrase it as 'I like her, she un_him_bi like_ptcpl_instrumental_(3sg)_direct', or 'me.dat she un_him_bi like_pass.ptcpl_instrumental_(3sg)_direct'.

For even more oblique comparison, such as 'it's better at home than in the forest', one would construct the sentence as
soman* un orvur-(u)m bı maba-rak-s
home (than) forest-dat (than) good-instr-intransitive
For oblique comparisons, there is no way of using the inverse and direct to compare nouns of different rank - the circumposition is necessary.

Updated Trailer from The Story Reading Ape!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016



Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Make a conlang based on vaporwave. The script shall include full-width Latin alphabet and both Japanese and Chinese characters. Borrow random words from Japanese and Chinese languages and often alter their meaning. Many chopped up and repeated words. Numbers must always be written with at least one decimal.

Detail #301: Lexicalized Paths becoming Verbalized

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
Most readers probably are aware of satellite-framed and verb-framed languages. This idea takes verb-framing to eleven – by introducing way more lexemes.

Let's consider a culture where a variety of terms for different types of paths exist. A significant number of specific, real-world roads, paths, sea lanes, and waterways in general have specific proper nouns.
So, basically, verbs of movement often derive from proper nouns. These have affixes expressing
  • movement towards major location along the path 
  • movement towards personally significant location along the path (home, ritually important place, hunting grounds, etc)
  • movement away from a major location along the path
  • movement close to that path, possibly zig-zagging over it
  • movement up- or downstream with rivers, or uphill/downhill with very steep paths
Whenever movement along such a path is expressed, it is grammatically mandatory to use the path-specific verb. If no path is known, or the utterance refers to movement along paths in general, the verb is derived either from the four cardinal directions or more generic path-types.

The language doesn't let you walk, it lets you be moving along a named path, and maybe with an optional adverb that expresses 'walkingly'.

Detail #300: Suppletive "Half-Gender" Congruence

Monday, July 25th, 2016
Consider a language with two genders, ostensibly masculine and feminine. Have another distinction that almost creates a four-way gender system:
{masculine, feminine} x {animate, inanimate}
{masculine, feminine} x {human, nonhuman}
Now, let's have some marker that goes on verbs sometimes (maybe, say, only in the present tense, or maybe only in realis, or whatever, the details are not so important). However, we get some verbs having a suppletive form for only one out of the four combinations:

Each gender/animateness combination may be the one to get the exceptional form for some given verb. 

Of course, another thing can also happen: suppletive roots for the animate/inanimate distinction, but gender congruence according to masc/fem.


Sunday, July 24th, 2016

A diachronic change where voiced liquids and nasals are deleted, but voiceless ones are not.

For those who are sad to see those sounds go: if you liked it, then you should have put a r̥iŋ̊g on it.

Sargaĺk Possession

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
Attributive possession in Sargaĺk has a few small complications:
  • the possessor is in the pegative-genitive case
  • if the possessum is in a locative case or the comitative cases, it remains in those cases
  • if the possessum is in the pegative case, it remains in the pegative case
  • if the possessum is in the nominative case, it will turn into the comitative or the familiar comitative case.
There are two basic ways of expressing "X has Y". The first, and most common with animate nouns has the following structure:
subj.peg1 pronoun.nom2 object.nom2 is
Thus, the owner is the subject, and the possessum is represented by a personal pronoun (agreeing in gender with the possesssum), and a noun phrase, the direct object, that is the possessum itself.
Sometimes, the pronoun agrees with the subject, and most speakers seem to grasp this as meaning the same thing.

This is probably analogous to how the ergative in many languages can be used in constructions along the lines of
noun1.erg noun2 is
for meanings along the lines of noun1 has noun2. The extra pronoun serves to make it ditransitive and thus license the use of the pegative case. 

The other construction uses a dedicated verb, k'ir-. This is common with inanimate nouns, abstract nouns, and with an adjective for object, it expresses some command over a quality - an ability to control or use a quality.
Xivar c'oman k'ir : Xivar has a lot of endurance
Beyond this, k'ir in combination with an infinitive expresses ability:
Osini falməs k'ir-m
Osini read has.fem
Osini knows how to read
Literacy is very unusual in Sargaĺk villages, and so Osini would typically function as the village's record keeper and in an almost semi-diplomatic fashion when interacting with Ćwarmin and later Bryatesle-Dairwueh officials.


Sunday, July 17th, 2016

A conlang where /l/ is realized as its “light” [l] or “dark” [ɫ] variant based on the perceived brightness of the speaker’s environment, such as the time of day outside, proximity to light sources, whether or not their eyes are closed, if you’ve just been reading a Russian novel, etc.