Archive for November, 2016

Lexember 2016

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Hi everyone! December is around the corner, and you know what that means. No, not the holiday seasons, but something much more important: it’s Lexember time again!

As usual, I will once again participate in Lexember, creating (hopefully) 1 word a day from the 1st of December till New Year’s Eve. Like last year, I will create words for my newest conlang Haotyétpi (warning: PDF). It’s the one that mostly in need of more vocabulary, especially given a certain (secret) project of mine.

Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy my Lexember entries. As usual, I will post here on Tumblr and on Twitter (@tsela), and I’ll try to remember to post my entries on Facebook and Google+ too.

As usual, likes, reblogs and comments are more than welcome!


from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2g3NqfO
via IFTTT

Detail #319: A Pronoun Quirk

Monday, November 28th, 2016
A really minor quirk one could have in a language is marking the gender of a different person on the pronouns of some person; maybe even have a cross-thing where the first person pronoun encodes the gender and number of the second person and vice versa.

#481

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

An oligosynthetic conlang where all phonemes are slight variations of /joʊ/, using the orthography ⟨Yo⟩.

Language Creation Tribune, Issue 10

Monday, November 21st, 2016


Language Creation Tribune

Issue 10

November 2016


A word from our President

 

Welcome to the 10th edition of the Language Creation Tribune—the last one of the year! And my, what a year it’s been, right? For me personally, 2016 wasn’t a good year. I nearly lost my job due to a reorganisation, I have had various health issues, and a month ago I had to say farewell to my best friend Buddy (whose picture is below). And although he lived to the respectable age of 14 years and 9 months, his loss has hit me very hard, and I am still recovering from it. Luckily, the memories remain, and his name will forever remain in my conlang Moten as the word badi: “dog”.
buddy-from-christophe

But it’s not the right place for me to speak only of my personal life; for the art and craft of conlanging in general, and the LCS in particular, 2016 has definitely not been a bad year. The Paramount vs. Axanar court case resulted in a lot of attention—quite a lot of it positive—and while once again no definite decision was made as to the legal status of conlangs, the fact that Paramount effectively dropped their Klingon ownership claim (albeit silently) only strengthens our position on the matter (as described in the link) and conlangers’ ability to create without having to face spurious legal attacks.

Summer was also a good time, with the Conlanging documentary successfully completing its crowdfunding effort. LCS members had a big role in it being a success, as members generously donated to the cause, and ensured the LCS also made a full $3000 donation. Now, unless a calamity arises, the documentary should be ready next year in time for the next Language Creation Conference, where it will be viewed by the live audience!

Indeed, as the year draws to a close, we don’t only look back on it, but we look into the next year. And the big event next year is of course LCC7! (LCC7 in 2017? This calls for a logo that combines year and initialism. Anyone up for it?) As you know, we closed the call for proposals back in September. And if you’re wondering what happened since then, it’s quite simple: we had so many good proposals to choose from that the Board has had a hard time making a decision. But we eventually managed to make a choice, and I am happy to announce that the 7th Language Creation Conference will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of July 2017 in Calgary, province of Alberta, Canada! This time, the local host is Joseph W. Windsor, and the venue will be located at the University of Calgary. And Joseph is not alone in organising this LCC: he has enlisted the help of Christine Schreyer. If you think you’re somehow familiar with this name, that’s because Christine is rather well known in conlanging circles! She teaches a course called “Pidgins, Creoles and Constructed Languages” at the University of British Columbia, is the creator of the Kryptonian language for the movie Man of Steel (2013), and is one of the executive producers of the Conlanging film! With Joseph and Christine at the helm, I have no doubt that the LCC7 will be a resounding success!

Naturally, more information will be released as the event gets organised, but as I did back then with the LCC6 announcement, I want to use this occasion to start the call for presentations already. So if you are interested in giving a talk, please contact us at lcc7-talks@nullconlang.org with your name, the title of your presentation (or a placeholder if you are uncertain about it) and at least a short description of its topic. Once again, all topics relevant to language creation are allowed, with the exception of proselytism. If you have other ideas besides talks, you’re welcome to propose them via this address as well. And if you are interested in the LCC7 in general, whether you are planning to attend it as a presenter or as a participant, or even just remotely, don’t hesitate to join the LCC7 mailing list: lcc7-info@nulllists.conlang.org, which you can subscribe to via this webpage: http://lists.conlang.org/listinfo.cgi/lcc7-info-conlang.org. You can use this mailing list to ask us and/or the local hosts questions, discuss relevant ideas, or even plan your trip together with other attendees. It’s available for any discussion as long as it’s relevant to the LCC7.

Oh, and if you are wondering already, we will have an LCC relay once again, as we have done since LCC2. More information will be available in time, but I can already tell you that I am looking into providing the original text myself this time! Be very afraid?

Fiat Lingua!

Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets,

President of the Language Creation Society.


Conlang Curiosities 

by John Quijada

 

Oh, damn! I’m O’odham

I recently returned from an Arizona road-trip, during which I visited my ancestral homeland, the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation west of Tucson. During my childhood, my mother told me and my siblings that our deceased paternal grandfather was Native American. (My father would never talk about it.) My mother whispered to us that she thought our grandfather might be Yaqui because he was from Arizona. (No idea how she reached that conclusion.)

Then a couple of years ago, my cousin learned from one of the aunts or uncles that our mutual grandfather Juan Quijada and his brother Eduardo had been enrolled in one of the Arizona Indian schools during the early 1900s. (Similar to the situation with the aborigines in Australia, these “Indian schools” were designed to take Native American children off their reservations, teach them to hate and deny their culture and heritage, then train them to be docile and obedient second-class American citizens.)

My cousin did some sleuthing and managed to turn up the 1910-1911 enrollment ledger for the Phoenix Indian School, listing Juan and Eduardo Quijada and indicating their tribe as Papago, the politically-incorrect former name of the Tohono O’odham people. (NOTE: Being south of the Gila River, the tribe’s lands were entirely in Mexico prior to the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. Therefore, most Tohono O’odham adopted Spanish-language names to avoid persecution by the Mexican army, which is why I have a Spanish surname.)

So, like Paul Muad’dib Atreides from Dune, I can now say I am a desert person, as tohono o’odham means “desert people” in my grandfather’s native tongue.

Needless to say, upon seeing the records my cousin unearthed, the first thing I did was purchase a Tohono O’odham grammar book and dictionary. I’ve been studying this Uto-Aztecan language off and on since then and, as is often the case when examining a non-Indo-European language for the first time, I discovered some nice linguistic surprises, one of which I want to share with you.

It turns out the language has a really cool feature when it comes to describing spatial position and orientation of objects — something that some of you might want to think about for your conlangs.

Like many languages, the language utilizes postpositions to indicate the usual array of positions or direction of an object relative to the speaker or relative to another (landmark) object. Where things get interesting, however, is that sentences containing such a postposition are accompanied by one of three particles called “specifiers” that precede the noun: ʼab, ʼam, or ʼan. These specifiers are used to indicate the orientation of the directional/interactive “face” of the noun relative to the speaker. Specifically, the sentence tells the listener whether the object is facing/moving toward the speaker, facing/moving away from the speaker, or standing/moving alongside/parallel to the speaker. Here are some examples using the postposition wui ‘to(ward)’ and the verb of motion him ‘walk’:

Huan ʼo ʼab CukṢon wui him.
Juan 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER1 Tucson toward walk
John is/was walking to(ward) Tucson [coming toward the speaker (who is in Tucson)]

Huan ʼo ʼam CukṢon wui him.
Juan 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER2 Tucson toward walk
John is/was walking to(ward) Tucson [going away from the speaker (who is not in Tucson)]

Huan ʼo ʼan CukṢon wui him.
Juan 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER3 Tucson toward walk
John is/was walking to(ward) Tucson [parallel to/alongside the speaker (who is also headed toward Tucson)]

(ORTHOGRAPHIC NOTE: the letter <c> represents the affricate [tʃ] while <s> with underposed dot represents sibilant [ʃ], both unrounded. Long vowels are indicated by a colon.)

Here are some examples using the postposition ba’ic ‘in front of (a person)’ and the static verb ke:k ‘stand’:

Mali:ya ʼo ʼab Klisti:na ba’ic ke:k.
Mary 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER1 Christina in-front-of stand
Maria is/was standing in front of Christina [and facing the speaker].

Mali:ya ʼo ʼam Klisti:na ba’ic ke:k.
Mary 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER2 Christina in-front-of stand
Maria is/was standing in front of Christina [and facing away from the speaker / with her back to the speaker].

Mali:ya ʼo ʼan Klisti:na ba’ic ke:k.
Mary 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER3 Christina in-front-of stand
Maria is/was standing in front of Christina [and on a line parallel to the speaker’ s position relative to Christina].

The following example using the postposition we:big (in some dialects we:gac) ‘behind/in back of’ further illustrates how the specifier ʼan is used with static verbs:

Mali:ya ʼo ʼan Klisti:na we:big ke:k.
Mary 3rd/sg/IMPERF SPECIFIER3 Christina behind stand
Maria is/was standing behind Christina [and next to the speaker].

While the above system is reminiscent of the elaborate matrix of spatial/locative noun cases found in Northeast Caucasian (Dagestanian) languages, e.g., Tsez, those languages merely specify position relative to a landmark object and any accompanying direction of motion relative to the speaker (or lack thereof). They do not specify the orientation of the face of the object relative to the speaker as does the Tohono O’odham system.

I am reminded of Benjamin Lee Whorf’s claim that Hopi (also a Uto-Aztecan language) is a better language than English for discussing physics. For those readers who know some higher physics, Tohono O’odham’s capacity for specifying the internal orientation of an object relative to the speaker seems to echo the mathematical description of an object in Hilbert space, where in addition to the usual three-dimensional x-y-z coordinates, an object’s internal orientation (like the degree of pitch, yaw, and roll of an airplane) is also specified.

Pretty weird/cool for a natlang, eh? I’m guessing other Uto-Aztecan languages do the same thing, and perhaps a few natlangs elsewhere in the world, but I’ve certainly never encountered such a system before. Now that I think about it, I ought to explore how to incorporate it into Ithkuil, as a nod to my own heritage!

p.s. An interesting note for conlangers/conworlders regarding tribal nomenclature: the former name of the Tohono O’odham, “Papago,” is a Spanish-language corruption of an insulting nickname used by the neighboring (and closely related) Pima tribe for the Tohono O’odham: ba:bawĭko’a “eating tepary beans.” Ironically enough, the name “Pima” is a Spanish-language corruption of the words pi mac “(I) don’t know,” apparently indicating their frequent reply to questions from the Spanish conquistadors. (The correct name for the Pima is now Akimel O’odham “river people.”)

 


LCS Lending Library Update

New library books

Any member can check out these books.

Phonetics & Phonology

 Writing Systems

 Typology

 Other


Conlanging News

Articles and online media relevant to conlanging

  • There’s still time to sign up for the 2016 Conlang Card Exchange!  Please visit https://goo.gl/lSuzIg to sign up by Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 24th). If you have any questions about the Exchange, please email jamin@nullbenjaminpauljohnson.com.
  • The LCS now has an official Tumblr: tumblr.com.
  • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets was interviewed for Apex, a British radio show, for a segment focusing on conlanging, titled “From the Mouths of Snakes.”
  • There will be a panel on conlanging and linguistic pedagogy at the January 2017 Linguistics Society of America conference in Austin, TX. The panel is called “Teaching Linguistics with Invented Languages,” organized by Jeffrey Punske (Southern Illinois University) and Amy Fountain (University of Arizona). The panel will be held at the JW Marriott Austin, Grand Ballroom 7, on Saturday, January 7, 2:00-5:00 p.m. Anyone who wishes to attend will need to register for the LSA conference.

Fiat Lingua‘s latest articles

  • September 2016: “Nuvutani: Introducing a new language” by Sylvia Sotomayor
    • Abstract: “Sylvia is most famous for Kēlen, a verbless language, and so for her second language, sodna-leni or sodemadu, she created a language with a closed class of verbs. However, in fleshing out Sodemadu, she became frustrated with its limitations, so one weekend she decided to forego the limitations of Sodemadu and created a new language, her third, that had an open class of verbs. Like Sodemadu, most of the vocabulary has cognates in Kē At the end of the weekend she had a draft of a story in this new language. The story comes from a book of Australian Aboriginal myths and legends, shortened and adapted to suit her and this new language.”
  • October 2016: “Language Creation in Early Learning” by Danny Garrett
    • Abstract: “This paper explores how conlanging impacts learning outcomes for middle school students in a structured English classroom. Starting in May and ending in the same month, 6th and 7th graders from Iberville Charter Academy in Plaquemine, LA created conlangs for their end-of-the-year English projects. 44 students participated. Danny Garrett, their teacher, oversaw the project, taught the necessary material for it, and studied the project’s pre- and posttest data. The data and highlighted student works are presented in this paper, framed in their proper historical, pedagogical, linguistic, and literary contexts. To protect student identities and statuses as minors, all student names are fictional and thus obscured in accordance with California law.”
  • November 2016: “A Naming Language” by Jeffrey Henning
    • Abstract: “In this essay, Jeffrey Henning describes how to create a naming language. Unlike a full conlang, which has its own grammar and syntax, a naming language is a phonology coupled with rules for compounding that can, among other things, allow a novelist to generate realistic, language-like names for characters, towns, regions, and geographical elements. Since its first publication in 1995 it’s continued to serve as a useful tool for world builders and game makers—and has also served as a jumping off point for many conlangers.”

Call for submissions: 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

  • September 2016
    • Conlangery #123: Stress Systems
    • Description: An overview of word-level stress systems.
  • October 2016
    • Conlangery #124: Old Irish (natlang)
    • Description: Matt Boutilier, a guest speaker, focuses on Old Irish.
  • November 2016
    • Conlangery #125: Grammatical Number
    • Description: A discussion on grammatical number distinctions in languages and how it interacts with other grammatical systems.

LCS Member Milestones

In July, John Quijada posted a new video on YouTube as part of his Kaduatán progressive-rock music project, once again featuring David J. Peterson singing the lyrics in Ithkuil.

 

John E. Clifford celebrated his 80th birthday on September 21. His daughter flew in from Portland, OR, and his niece’s choir serenaded him. How cool! Happy birthday, John!

On October 22, William S. Annis gave a brief talk, “How to Invent an Alien Language,” at the Science Storytellers’ Jam, part of the Wisconsin Science Festival.


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.

I have bragging rights

Sunday, November 20th, 2016
It never crossed my mind to brag about this when it was relatively recent, but ... a piece of mine was included in a microtonal compilation album a while ago.

Go check out NextXen

It's pretty neat.


Detail #317: Indirect Object Marking and Possessive Suffixes

Monday, November 14th, 2016
Many languages have possessive suffixes. There's some kind of semantic similarity between being a recipient or indirect object and being a possessor. These could easily be marked in similar ways on an NP - i.e. the recipient could be marked on the object, the possessor on any NP.

The grammaticalization path here might be pretty obvious: indirect object pronouns get fused to the direct object noun, and turn into affixes. Trivial, no? 

An obvious result could be identical markers, so
I gave (away?) your car = I gave you the car
The other possibility of course distinguishes the two, although we can of course limit the amount of distinctions made - maybe indirect object markers cannot be reflexive, and the second person plural conflates indirect object and possessor, or whatever.

Now we can start doing fun things - if our markers are distinct, they're also case markers – their presence indicates that an NP is a direct object. Now, we could imagine a double marking here, where both possessive and IO markers can appear simultaneously on a noun, turning
I gave away your car ≠ I gave you the car
Now, this could be sort of different from case marking, though, when interacting with passivization! For passive verbs, maybe this marking remains whenever the direct object is made subject, but disappears when the indirect object is made subject.

Unclogging the Sink: Avoiding Center-Embedding with Subordinating Verbs

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

While working on the chapter on verb morphology in the revised Ayeri grammar I’ve been working on all the way since July, I had to stop the other day and consider how to deal with participles. Participles in Ayeri are what I call the infinite form of subordinate verbs which appear with verbs which may take another verb – or even a whole phrase headed by such an infinite verb – as a complement:

    1. Cunyo
      Cun-yo
      begin-3SG.N
      makayam
      maka-yam
      shine-PTCP
      perinang.
      perin-ang
      sun-A

      ‘The sun began to shine.’
    2. Manangyeng
      Manang=yeng
      avoid=3SG.F.A
      pengalyam
      pengal-yam
      meet-PTCP
      badanas
      badan-as
      father-P
      saha
      saha
      in.law
      yena.
      yena
      3SG.F.GEN

      ‘She avoids to meet her father-in-law.’

Example (1a) shows two intransitive verbs being combined, cun- ‘begin’ and maka- ‘shine’; example (1b) illustrates an intransitive verb which takes a transitive verb as a complement, manang- ‘avoid’ and pengal- ‘meet’. We can also observe word order differences in that the agent NP in (1a) follows the initial verb complex while the agent NP is a enclitic pronoun directly following its governing verb in (1b), which is not surprising, since agent pronouns take verbs as clitic hosts. That is, the agent pronoun goes together with its governing verb manang- ‘avoid’ rather than cliticizing to the whole verb phrase,1 i.e. appending -yeng ‘she’ (3SG.F.A) to pengalyam ‘meeting’. As far as describing the morphology goes, we are basically done here, and this is also where I stopped thinking previously.

However, if we actually continue from here to a morphosyntactic point of view, an interesting question arises: what happens to the constituents’ linearization if we (a) use full NPs instead of cliticized agent pronouns, and (b) not only combine an intransitive verb with a transitive one, but try all possible combinations–intransitive, transitive, ditransitive, and any of these with adverbial adjuncts? I think that for the sake of sketching out my thoughts here, it won’t be necessessary to give examples of all 18 possible combinations, since the more complex cases should all be treated alike anyway.

Assuming that she in (1b) is Maha, who just doesn’t get along with her husband’s father, where does the agent NP go? As noted above, the position of the agent clitic is somewhat special, so I take it that (1a) should be the basic word order. Thus, for (1b), we get:

  1. Manangye
    Manang-ye
    avoid-3SG.F
    pengalyam
    pengal-yam
    meet-PTCP
    badanas
    badan-as
    father-P
    saha
    saha
    in.law
    yena
    yena
    3SG.F.GEN
    ang
    ang=
    A=
    Maha.
    Maha
    Maha

    ‘She avoids to meet her father-in-law.’

Besides the fact that the agent winds up at the very end of the clause instead of at its otherwise preferred position after the verb, this still seems to be comprehensible. What happens, however, if we use a transitive subordinating verb? The dictionary, for instance, lists pinya- ‘ask (s.o. to do sth.)’ as a candidate. With regards to the normal constituent order of Ayeri, we can assume that the patient NP will follow the agent one:

  1. Ang
    Ang
    AT
    pinyaya
    pinya-ya
    ask-3SG.M
    sahayam
    saha-yam
    go-PTCP
     
    Ø=
    TOP=
    Yan
    Yan
    Yan
    sa
    sa=
    P=
    Pila.
    Pila
    Pila

    ‘Yan asks Pila to go.’

This also still looks very harmless with regards to parsability. However, things become more complicated if we increase the complexity of the embedded phrase by making the subordinate verb transitive (4a) or even ditransitive (4b):

    1. Ang
      Ang
      AT
      pinyaya
      pinya-ya
      ask-3SG.M
      konjam
      kond-yam
      eat-PTCP
      inunas
      inun-as
      fish-P
       
      Ø=
      TOP=
      Yan
      Yan
      Yan
      sa
      sa=
      P=
      Pila.
      Pila
      Pila

      ‘Yan asks Pila to eat the fish.’
    2. Ang
      Ang
      AT
      pinyaya
      pinya-ya
      ask-3SG.M
      ilyam
      il-yam
      give-PTCP
      koyaley
      koya-ley
      book-P.INAN
      ledanyam
      ledan-yam
      friend-DAT
      yana
      yana
      3SG.M.GEN
       
      Ø=
      TOP=
      Yan
      Yan
      Yan
      sa
      sa=
      P=
      Pila.
      Pila
      Pila

      ‘Yan asks Pila to give the book to his friend.’

The distance between the subordinating verb and its arguments grows by the increasing number of constituents in the embedded phrase, which in turn becomes increasingly “deep” in terms of underlying syntactic structure or “heavy” with regards to syntactic weight. The parser in both the speaker’s and the listener’s brain thus has to keep track of more and more relations in parallel. In terms of information flow, this does not strike me as beneficial or intuitive either to a speaker constructing the phrase, or to a listener having to decode the utterance. For the same reason, there is already a rule that relative clauses constitute “heavy” elements which pull their referent NP all the way to the back of the clause to keep the center-field free of clutter. While (4a) is a little awkward since there are two patients to keep track of at the same time and at the time the first patient NP occurs we don’t know yet whether -ya is just for agreement or a cliticized agent-topic pronoun, example (4b) seems even more impenetrable with its three referents in the embedded clause and two in the matrix clause, placed at the end. Putting less important information before imporant information also goes against information-flow intuition.2 Restructuring seems advisable here, thus, and there are two possibilities:

    1. Ang
      Ang
      AT
      pinyaya
      pinya-ya
      ask-3SG.M
      _​​i​
       
       
       
      Ø=
      TOP=
      Yan
      Yan
      Yan
      sa
      sa=
      P=
      Pila
      Pila
      Pila
      [ilyam
      il-yam
      give-PTCP
      koyaley
      koya-ley
      book-P.INAN
      ledanyam
      ledan-yam
      friend-DAT
      yana]​​i​​.
      yana
      3SG.M.GEN

      ‘Yan asks Pila to give the book to his friend.’
    2. Ang
      Ang
      AT
      (da​​i​-)pinyaya
      (da=)pinya-ya
      (so=)ask-3SG.M
       
      Ø=
      TOP=
      Yan
      Yan
      Yan
      sa
      sa=
      P=
      Pila
      Pila
      Pila
      [, ang
      ang
      AT
      ilye
      il=ye.Ø
      give=3SG.F.TOP
      koyaley
      koya-ley
      book-P.INAN
      ledanyam
      ledan-yam
      friend-DAT
      yana]​​i​​.
      yana
      3SG.M.GEN

      ‘Yan asks Pila to give the book to his friend.’

In the past I might have preferred (5a) as a solution, but since the analogy to relative clauses suggests itself and complement clauses are useful, I find that I tend towards the sentence in (5b) currently. To indicate that the sentence structure has been remodeled and information will be following, it might also be useful to add the da- particle to the verb: a more literal translation of (5b) could be ‘Yan asks Pila such, that she give the book to his friend.’ Either way, however, the normal VSO word order is restored this way, important information is present early on, and the heavy constituent is banned to the back. Information should now be able to flow easily again.

  1. If Ayeri has such a thing, which is kind of a problem for me right now. I need to read up on VSO-language syntax before I can make conclusive claims.
  2. Hat-tip to Oliver Schallert (blog article in German).

#480

Friday, November 11th, 2016

A set of honorifics for fandoms:
 - the person who got you into the fandom
 - for anyone who is more into the fandom than you
 - your favorite fanfiction authors
 - the actors/writers themselves

#479

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Give your conculture some set phrases from famous speeches that refer to things much bigger than what the words literally mean

To give a little flavor, let’s have the honorific -nis added after a name to show that someone is married, like a non-gendered English Miss, Mrs. distinction

If there were a speech about LGBTQ progress, a famous speech might use the conculture-popular male name “Grejt” to mean “role that we affirm men can be in”

To start “Some men are born Grejt”

And to show that your consociety supports how trans people’s genders are not their assigned ones “Some men become Grejt”

And to show that your conculture has same-sex marriage “Some men have Grejt-nis thrust upon them”

The Anatomy of the Description of a Conlang

Monday, November 7th, 2016
My previous post got a question that got more difficult to answer the more I was thinking about it.
Is this meant to be a simple quirk of the language or is there a shade of meaning implied by the genitive marking of tired, as opposed to, say, sleepy?
This was meant to be a quirk of the language, much like there are words that lack congruence, have incomplete congruence or have extra congruence in a variety of languages. Consider, for instance, English this/these vs. the, or Swedish trött which conflates neuter and common gender forms (but seems to rather maybe lack a neuter form altogether?).

However, I here need to divert attention to what I am describing when I describe Dairwueh (or Sargaĺk, Bryatesle, etc ...). Of course I am describing some kind of partial language whose only 'real' existence is in the descriptions I have created and the ideas I have in my mind. However, these ideas have some kind of structure to them, and I don't just mean that the ideas belong together. In some sense, my descriptions of these languages are synchronic - they pertain to one particular timespan in an imaginary timeline. There's some ideas as to what came before, often in a rather vague form, and sometimes there's ideas as to what is coming to come later.

Of course, any real language has a lot of individual variations - consider, for instance, the difference between partitive and accusative objects in Finnish. Can we be sure that every native speaker encodes the exact same distinction by that? I am not so sure of that! I am inclined to think that, in fact, we have a lot of greatly overlapping distinctions, most of which don't differ by much, but the occasional outlier exists. Any 'properly realistic' conlang should also have this, I think. And thus I will usually end up with slightly fuzzy ideas of what's going on - I'll try and fuzzily permit for variation in my idea.

The tired bear ate the honey. (the bear possesses tiredness?)
The sleepy bear ate the honey. (the bear has the property of sleepiness)
I don't think there's any such meaning-difference distinguished here in the Dairwueh-period I am describing, but the origin of the construction might be an almost-onset of such a development. Consider "a strong man" vs. "a man of strength" as a similar distinction, but with strength in the morphologically marked genitive instead, and as an adjective, not a noun of the same root. So, the origin of this construction might've had some such meaning, but only the form got conserved, not the meaning. This is also why it did only remain in the nominative - being that it was more often used with nominatives than with other nouns (due to such distinctions being more often made for the subject than for other NPs), which is why the normal congruence won out for those.
Would a Dairwueh speaker notice the genitive marking or just think it 'proper Dairwueh-ish'?
They would notice it as the normal thing to do with those adjectives for those adjectives they are used to using that way, i.e. other dialects would feel weird if their set of such adjectives differed significantly. It is possible that they wouldn't perceive the -at marker as the same morpheme as the genitive masculine marker, though, but rather as an exceptional gender-indifferent nominative marker.

However, I can imagine a Dairwueh scholar writing something like
erbe--tsihka(l)--šorrəmgdar,tsihkarəmg-atdar
3sg negative passive auxiliaryneg pcpl prefixwriteneg pcpl
suffix
tiredman
writepassivetiredsg masc genman
is not
written
tiredman
is written
tired
man

erbe--tsihka(l)--šorrəmg-itol-i,tsihkarəmg-attol-i
3sg neg passive auxiliaryneg pcpl auxwriteneg pcpl auxtiredfem nomwomanfem nom
writepassivetiredsg masc genwomanfem nom
isnotwritten
tired
woman

is written
tired
woman
Or in translation "it's not (to be) written 'rəmg dar', it's written 'rəmgat dar', it's not to be written 'rəmgi tol', it's written 'rəmgat tol', correcting uneducated speakers who are generalizing the adjectival congruence patterns even to these, or conversely saying to use an adjective in the regular pattern instead of the genitive pattern.

I ask because, perhaps frighteningly, I use your blog to learn linguistics and so I always look for a meaning in the bits of grammar you create and I can't see what marking 'tired' differently does to the word.
Usually, if such a different marking does something to the meaning of the word, I will point it out; in this case, it's just a morphological deviation with regards to these few nouns. As to using this blog for learning linguistics, I guess there's worse places, but I really really suggest you also use some kind of complement. This is of course just a sample of ideas from typology, filtered through potential misunderstandings on my part and then brewed in a vat where my imagination acts as the fermenting agent.

This will obviously result in a somewhat unbalanced diet when it comes to learning linguistics.