Archive for October, 2016

#477

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Construct a fictional Aleut dialect. Include over 1000 different words for “basketball”. Call this condialect “Aleup”.

Ŋʒädär: Residing and Wearing

Saturday, October 29th, 2016
Ŋʒädär conflates 'wearing' and 'residing' in one single lexeme. As an intransitive verb, it takes the location, or the clothing as an instrumental argument:
saətaŋux-rukkäŋüt-s
Isheep skininstrumenalwearintransitive
Isheep skin
wear
I wear sheep skin
With transitive marking, it can mark 'to clothe' or 'to house':
sulkast'osmıg-arkäŋüt-siqö-jüt
villagefifteenanimate
plural
wear/reside3pl/3sgindirect
villagefifteen(people)houses

the village houses fifteen people / has fifteen inhabitants
yajot'äne-qikäŋüt-hiqö-z
motherdaughterobviativeclothe3sgobv/3sgproxdirect
motherdaughter
dresses

the mother dresses (her) daughter
The origin of this verb is the PŊĆ root *kɛŋüst-, signifying 'protect, cover, hold'.

A few nouns are derived from this verb, e.g.
käŋürti - clothes
käŋüsmö - settlement
käŋele - anything that forms a natural protection against weather
There is a Ćwarmin cognate, keŋəc,  signifying 'fabric, cloth'.

A Sargaĺk Conjunction

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
In Sargaĺk, a conjunction corresponding to 'and' exists. However, normally when expressing multiple NPs that do something together, either the comitative is used or apposition suffices.

Apposition is the most common strategy for listing things, but is not unusual with two coordinated nouns either. Normally, the pitch contour of nouns in coordination-by-apposition becomes very static, with a slight drop at the final syllabic core.

Two coordinated human nouns, often at different levels of some kind of definiteness hierarchy or person hierarchy, will call for using the comitative. Thus, first > second > third def > third indef

Finally, the conjunction u is used to express meanings such as
not even
In combination with negation, u often signifies 'not even'. Oftentimes, but not always, the negation will come directly after u, giving upin or upic, but sometimes u ... pic/pin ... appears.

who even caresA similar thing happens with the 'irrelevant' mood, u ḿte, which can be parsed as 'who even knows|cares'
just not
In the order "pic/pin u" signifies, generally, 'just not'

also, even, tooplacing u phrase-finally expresses a meaning similar to the three English words given above.


A Sargaĺk Conjunction

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
In Sargaĺk, a conjunction corresponding to 'and' exists. However, normally when expressing multiple NPs that do something together, either the comitative is used or apposition suffices.

Apposition is the most common strategy for listing things, but is not unusual with two coordinated nouns either. Normally, the pitch contour of nouns in coordination-by-apposition becomes very static, with a slight drop at the final syllabic core.

Two coordinated human nouns, often at different levels of some kind of definiteness hierarchy or person hierarchy, will call for using the comitative. Thus, first > second > third def > third indef

Finally, the conjunction u is used to express meanings such as
not even
In combination with negation, u often signifies 'not even'. Oftentimes, but not always, the negation will come directly after u, giving upin or upic, but sometimes u ... pic/pin ... appears.

who even cares
A similar thing happens with the 'irrelevant' mood, u ḿte, which can be parsed as 'who even knows|cares'
just not
In the order "pic/pin u" signifies, generally, 'just not'

also, even, too
placing u phrase-finally expresses a meaning similar to the three English words given above.


Update on the Grammar Writing Process

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Draft for the 2016 Ayeri grammar cover
Draft for the 2016 Ayeri grammar cover
At the moment I’m still working on rewriting the grammar. It’s at about 150 pages of content proper now (at regular copy paper size, no less) and I’m working on describing the morphology of the verb right now. Much more still needs to be written, for instance, the chapter on syntax. It’s proven useful to some degree that I’ve already written blog posts detailing the one or the other issue in the past. In these cases, I could simply adapt what I had written before, which sped up the writing process a little. Other than that, I’ve more or less come to mostly ignore what I had written some 5 years ago, since most of it was not very detailed anyway. The new grammar will thus be completely rewritten for the most part, not merely adapted to LaTeX and with extended contents.

For the past four months I’ve tried to basically return to the mode in which I worked on my MA thesis last winter, which involved writing at least 1–2 pages every day. This seems to be the most workable way for me, since taking too long breaks has proven deadly with regards to motivation before. Thus, permanence is probably a virtue with such things, at least as far as I’m concerned, and seeing things grow in manageable increments effectively counters the paralysing fear of the whole mountain of work. Since life is life, however, I have not managed to keep this schedule up very strictly, but I’m still trying to do my best.

At the top of this article, you can see a front cover draft I’ve come up with some weeks ago. My current motivation is to finish writing this thing this time, and to then print out a full copy and have that bound as a reward to myself. It won’t be quite like a real book, of course, but it will still be something I can proudly put on my shelf as an Achievement. I’ve already written an 80-page MA thesis before, so I know I can manage this as well if I want to, even though this time it’s likely going to be three times as long. Plus, if I manage this, I suppose a PhD thesis will also be manageable.

You can still find all the source files in my GitHub repository at https://github.com/carbeck/ayerigrammar/. There’s also a PDF of the most recently compiled version of the grammar there, as well as an overview of the topics covered so far.

Update on the Grammar Writing Process

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Draft for the 2016 Ayeri grammar cover
Draft for the 2016 Ayeri grammar cover
At the moment I’m still working on rewriting the grammar. It’s at about 150 pages of content proper now (at regular copy paper size, no less) and I’m working on describing the morphology of the verb right now. Much more still needs to be written, for instance, the chapter on syntax. It’s proven useful to some degree that I’ve already written blog posts detailing the one or the other issue in the past. In these cases, I could simply adapt what I had written before, which sped up the writing process a little. Other than that, I’ve more or less come to mostly ignore what I had written some 5 years ago, since most of it was not very detailed anyway. The new grammar will thus be completely rewritten for the most part, not merely adapted to LaTeX and with extended contents.

For the past four months I’ve tried to basically return to the mode in which I worked on my MA thesis last winter, which involved writing at least 1–2 pages every day. This seems to be the most workable way for me, since taking too long breaks has proven deadly with regards to motivation before. Thus, permanence is probably a virtue with such things, at least as far as I’m concerned, and seeing things grow in manageable increments effectively counters the paralysing fear of the whole mountain of work. Since life is life, however, I have not managed to keep this schedule up very strictly, but I’m still trying to do my best.

At the top of this article, you can see a front cover draft I’ve come up with some weeks ago. My current motivation is to finish writing this thing this time, and to then print out a full copy and have that bound as a reward to myself. It won’t be quite like a real book, of course, but it will still be something I can proudly put on my shelf as an Achievement. I’ve already written an 80-page MA thesis before, so I know I can manage this as well if I want to, even though this time it’s likely going to be three times as long. Plus, if I manage this, I suppose a PhD thesis will also be manageable.

You can still find all the source files in my GitHub repository at https://github.com/carbeck/ayerigrammar/. There’s also a PDF of the most recently compiled version of the grammar there, as well as an overview of the topics covered so far.

Ćwarmin Voice Markers beyond the Passive

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016
Ćwarmin has some more voices beyond the passive and active, but unlike the active voice, all of them use the passive -aśp morpheme for the third person, and lack person marking for first and second person subjects. The main voices beyond passive and dative-passive are the causative (of intransitives), and the causative (of transitives). There is also a detransitive-habitual aspect-voice combination.

Morphologically, there is some overlap between the two causatives. Almost all causatives of intransitives are entirely unmarked in the present tense, as are a handful of causatives of transitives. A few entirely regular such verbs are:
taun - sit, seat
wecəm - smile, make someone smile
gaxar - laugh, make someone laugh
miler - rise, raise
colan - sink, submerge
Some intransitives that are marked in the present causative include
pəlnəm - jump
polnom - jump
kəjn - run
The few transitives that are not marked in the present causative are
taslon - leave, make someone leave
kolkor - carry, load
kolćojn - carry, send
In all other TAMs but the present indicative tense, the intransitive causative has the marker -ka(n)-/-ke(n)-, and takes either no person suffix (for 1st and 2nd person) or the passive suffix -aśp/-eśp for the third person. A more "neutral" way of describing -aśp/-eśp would be as a non-canonic voice marker, which in the absense of other markers is parsed as a passive.

The causative, further, has the causee in either the accusative or the nominative, often depending on the amount of coercion or force involved (nominative indicating less such).

The use of the causative voice is clearly and easily related to the structure of a fact: someone made someone be or do something, and that is what is being expressed. Asking someone to do something, telling them to do something, suggesting they do something, placing them in a situation where they are forced to or even prone to do something is all considered forms of causation.
A further voice marker is a sort of passive causative, which is formed by -kar(u)-/-kər(i)-. This passive causative signifies a few different meanings:
(being made to do something (subject in nominative))
doing something with little volition involved (subject in genitive)
resigning to doing something (subject in dative)
accidentally doing something (subject in genitive, aspect being punctual)
No matter the case of the subject with these forms, the congruence works similarly to the passive: -aśp/-eśp for third person, no marker for first and second person.

Usage of the passive causative is more pragmatically marked, mainly indicating that something is accidental, non-volitional or even somewhat undesirable. Sometimes there is no causer stated, and this basically communicates that there is no causer but that the whole state described by the verb is very untowards according to the speaker or the subject.

There is a further voice, the applicative. It turns a locative of any type or an instrument into a direct object. For transitive verbs, it also permits turning the object into an instrumental, although we also finds speakers that permit retaining the direct object as an accusative direct object (thus having two direct objects). The applicatives morpheme is -tak-/-tək-.

With locatives the kind of locative (that is, direction or location) correlates with the aspect of the verb.
ireleś-imməśforxo-rga-tak--aśp
3sg.defdoorpaucal
definite
accusative
carry
by
wagon
perfective
non-past
indicative
applicativenon-active
3sg
hethe doors(a few)deliver (by wagon)


he delivers all the way to the doors(paucal)
This serves to emphasize a non-patient argument or to make it available for certain syntactical operations.

#476

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

The negation particle has worn down to a null morpheme, so whether a sentence is positive or negative must be determined from context.

“Most of these chemicals are safe. However, some of them are safe. You must handle them with caution, and it goes without saying that you must eat them.”

Detail #315: Noun-specific Quirky Case

Friday, October 21st, 2016
Since I am a fan of various forms of irregularities, I find the idea of quirky case that only applies to particular nouns with particular verbs to be kind of interesting. However, let's phrase it vaguely as 'nominally conditioned quirky case' and we can use this vagueness to generate even more ideas.

Quirky case possession, for instance, could have certain nouns (or even noun-noun combinations) require their possessors to be marked for an exceptional case, or vice versa, certain nouns could be marked for an exceptional case when possessors (despite having a genitive that as far as everything else but possession goes has the same distribution as the genitive for other nouns), or the whole thing requires two nouns that together trigger the quirk.

Quirky case could of course be extended to nouns with adpositions, but this would sort of just be an extension of the previous two - no matter whether the adpositions originate as semantically bleached nouns or verbs, a previous stage exists to account for it.


Detail #314: "Untransitive" Verbs and an Odd Voice

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
Let's consider verbs with meanings such as 'to be at', 'to stand at', 'to lie at', etc. These verbs could easily take accusative complements without being perceived as really being transitive (or for that part, in an ergative language might fail to have the subject marked for ergative!).

Now, we can start considering what it'd mean for an accusative complement of a verb not to be an object. This would mean we can't coordinate them, despite identical marking, with other objects:
*John wasat and hated school
 This in itself is kind of interesting. However, we could imagine something really weird going on here: using some kind of circumstantial (or whatever) voice to turn these verbs into actual transitive verbs; then, some voice marker could be used to permit something along the lines of
John was being be-at-ening and hated school
where obviously be-at-ening is a pretend form in English, a nonsense thing I use to present this form. This use of voice would probably have to be called something like explicit active or somesuch.