Archive for December, 2016

31st Lexember Word

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

imíke [iˈmiˑd͡ʑə̆], inalienably possessed noun: “back, behind; end“

Originally posted by 2mainstreamhipster

Well, of the year and this Lexember month at least!

So, a fitting word for what is the end of this Lexember event, imíke refers primarily to the back or behind of an object or building, to the end of a road, or to the end of a period of time. It’s inalienably possessed, which makes sense as the end is always the end of something, and it’s considered a location, which means it can be used directly with the case particles of location (like the locative ta).

So that’s it for this year! I once again greatly enjoyed Lexember (despite the flu) and will probably go back and read everyone’s entries in the future (and steal the best ideas ;-)). But without further ado, here’s the last Lexember example of the year:

Kaam só imík urhartéan mik!: “It’s the end of the year, let’s celebrate!“ (literally: “let’s celebrate on the occasion of the end of this year!”)

30th Lexember Word

Friday, December 30th, 2016

peorrép [pe̞.o̞̽ˈre̞ˑp], alienably possessed noun: “writing, written words; document“

Originally posted by inabrush

Well, it is winter :P.

The Mountain Folk have had a complicated relationship with writing. Until just a few generations ago, they had no writing system, nor any will to create or adopt one, despite being very much aware of the existence of writing and its purpose. Basically, they viewed writing as a feeble attempt to correct what they saw as a weakness of the mind: the lack of an accurate memory. Having an oral-only culture, they relied on people’s memories to keep their tales and stories alive. They also valued trust and verbal contracts very much (and people breaking such contracts were punished severely).

The pride they had in their oral-only culture and their contempt for writing is reflected in their word for writing, which literally means “speech’s shadow” (in that writing is not speech, but a mere shadow of it, lacking the detail and richness of the real thing).

This attitude has changed of last. Realising that their culture was on the brink of extinction due to the campaign of “assimilation” they were facing, they decided that they couldn’t carry on relying on human brains alone to keep their culture alive and needed a more permanent way to record their folk tales, beliefs, and language. Haotyétpi is now also a written language, and teaching writing and reading forms a large part of the revitalisation efforts that must ensure the survival of the Mountain Folk’s culture and language.

Detail #323: Infinitives and Prepositions as Infinitive Markers/Articles

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
In English, and some other Germanic languages, prepositions have become a very article-like thing that in some positions appear before infinitives. The distribution often differs from that of articles, but the idea is quite similar. (Both have interesting quirks in English -  Separately from English, this has also developed in other Germanic dialects, even far enough to be separated from the rest of the 'to'-area by other constructions (e.g. despite Swedish having a non-cognate 'att' for the same role, some north Swedish dialects too use cognates to 'to'; 'att', however, also originates with a preposition.)

Now, several families subfamilies in the Indo-European clade have a feature whereby verb roots combine with prefixes that are quite clearly prepositions in the language. These combinations may form even rather opaque meanings:
The way the preposition affects the meaning of the verb is not really obvious in any of these examples. Now, an interesting development of this is how it's interacted with aspect in the Slavic family of languages.

However, we can go on and consider a situation whereby prepositions do not combine with verb stems and thus forming new lexemes (as in the IE examples). What if, instead of prepositions/adverbs* merging with verbs to form lexemes, we had prepositions merging with infinitives to form some TAMs (and also the potentially tense-, aspect- and moodless infinitive). It's easy imagining a preposition marking an imperative ('for', anyone?), another marking progressive tense ('at', perhaps?) and one marking the basic infinitive.

Another thing one could do is have the infinitive marker be lexically specified by the verb; if they have a similar origin as in English, one could imagine something like
to eat
by sleep
in think
with consider
possibly distinguished by type of action (cognition vs. kinetic vs. passive vs. ...) or by some lexical feature (inherent aspect), or even permitting some distinction to be made by choice of preposition.

This would, anyway, make for an interesting similar-but-different development as to what has happened in several Indo-European branches.

* IE prepositions originated as adverbs that apparently could modify verbs as well as nouns in oblique cases, and only later got more closely bound to the nouns. In many IE languages, they can still be used "intransitively", and as adverbs - English being a trivial example of this.


Thursday, December 29th, 2016

plurals are the same as singulars, just louder. The volume corresponds to the number of objects. Good luck trying to talk about uncountable nouns.

Lexember Words 22nd to 29th

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

So, as you may have noticed, I’ve fallen way behind with Lexember. I got sick with the flu a week ago, and by the time I was better it was Christmas time and I was away from home and my computer. So I’ve only just started to get back on track. So in order to make things quick, I’ve decided to put all the missing words in one post, rather than make a post for each word. No GIF either, the process of choosing GIFs just takes too much time. This post will just be words, and short explanations. Well, besides this introduction of course! :P

22nd Word: pekrépe [pe̞kˈɾe̞ˑbə̆], inalienably possessed noun: “disease, sickness“

Guess why! :P Anyway, this word is etymologically transparent (sound changes just happen to have kept it and its components recognisable) and means “bad shadow” and harkens back to an old belief of the Mountain Folk that one’s shadow could somehow become “infected” (mostly by bad spirits) resulting in diseases of the mind and body. Modern Mountain Folk naturally know where diseases come from, but the word stayed, just like we still call malaria “malaria” despite knowing it doesn’t come from “bad air”.

23rd Word: urún [uˈɾuˑn], intransitive verb: “to tire, to be/get tired“

This verb refers to the general feeling of tiredness one gets from exerting oneself physically or mentally. Fatigue due to illness is also included.

24th Word: tamín [täˈmiˑn], alienably possessed noun: “riverside village, fishermen’s settlement“

The generic word for “village” is hár. Tamín refers to a specific subset of villages, those set next to a river, and exploiting that river for subsistence.

25th Word: harté [häɾˈt͡ɕe̞ˑ], intransitive verb: “to party, to celebrate“

This verb originally means “to go/be in a village”. The shift in meaning probably comes from the custom of celebrating the most important ceremonies in one’s native village, rather than where one normally lives, with the travelling back to one’s birth village becoming as meaningful and important as the ceremonies themselves.

26th Word: saér [säˈe̞ˑɾ], transitive verb: “to enter, to go/come in“

Here we have another commonly used verb of motion.

27th Word: saériwe [säˈe̞ˑɾɪ̆ʋe̞̽], ditransitive (causative) verb: “to put in, to place inside“

As explained before, verbs referring to putting things in a certain locations are causatives of verbs of motion in Haotyétpi.

28th Word: wessó [ʋe̞ˈsːo̞ˑ], alienably possessed noun: “boat, ship“

This word refers mostly to small to midsize boats used on rivers and other waterways, although it can also be used to refer to larger, seafaring ships.

29th Word: peón [pe̞ˈo̞ˑn], alienably possessed noun: “speech, language; word“

There is another word for “language” in Haotyétpi: asotyétpi. But that word refers to language as a conceptual entity, an object one needs to know how to handle in order to communicate with others. Peón refers to the more mundane words themselves, the actual speech as it is spoken or externalised in any way.

Dairwueh: Noun Morphology in Depth, pt I

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
Providing the noun case and number suffixes for Dairwueh hides some of the things that are going on. We find, for instance, nouns like xei, whose plural stem is i-, giving us the following paradigm:
xei   ir
xena ijivna
xear ijivit
xeat ijedin
xeŋa ijeder
For most nouns, two stem forms suffice, but some nouns require up to four stem forms. However, there is no single system of four stems that is sufficient to account for all morphological variation – one needs five stems, of which no word uses more than four distinct ones:
    1. singular nominative stem
    2. singular oblique stem
    3. plural nominative stem
    4. plural oblique stem
    5. derivative stem
      Few nouns have only one stem - these are basically only nouns that lack plurals or singulars altogether.

      Nouns with two stems come in two main flavours: 2a: 12 / 345 (almost all being feminine), or 2b: 1234 / 5 (almost all being neuters). However, 2c: 1235 / 4 also exists for a few nouns, (e.g. erha, 'king') and 2d: bits, 'direction', exceptionally follows an 1 / 2345 pattern. Whenever a noun has three distinct stems, usually the lines of division are 3a: 1 / 234 / 5 (e.g. dor, 'man'). A small minority of nouns has 3b: 123 / 4 / 5. For nouns with four stems, the two that are merged are always either 4a: 2 and 4 or 4b: 3 and 4. Part 2 of this post will go through the historical reasons behind the morphophonological changes, this post only provides examples of the classes and explains the basic structure.

      Further, the derivative suffixes that are given as examples below are of course also members of such classes; -res, for instance, is a member of 3a, -res, -rto-, -rr, while -pan is a member of 3b, with -pan-, -po-, -pla- as the stem forms.

      2d: bits, 'direction'


      Derivative example:
      bətres: a signpost

      3a: dar, 'man'

      Derivative stem: dri-
      dripan: manliness, masculinity

      2c: erha, 'king'


      Derivative stem: erha-
      erhaksa: kingdom
      erhapan: royal legitimacy, inheritance of kingly title
      4a: soŋe, 'noble title'


      Derivative stem: sot-
      sotres: banner
      sotukri: a woman whose nobility passes by female inheritance
      sotsek: a nobleman

      A New Feature!

      Sunday, December 25th, 2016
      I've been considering introducing another feature here, which of course usually will lead into that feature slowly fading out because hey, too much bother, but let's hope this doesn't happen. The intention is to present conlanger lore about linguistic typology - things that are passed around in a variety of conlanging communities online, peculiar things that answer the question 'is X possible' with a resounding yes: it's not only possible, it's attested.

      yo can I get in the discord too?

      Sunday, December 25th, 2016

      Unfortunately, I don’t know who you are, but if you ask me off anon I’d love to send you the link!

      21st Lexember Word

      Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

      ankesocúp [änd͡ʑe̞̽zo̞̽ˈd͡zuˑp], nominalisation: “right side, right area”


      Originally posted by heartsnmagic

      Couldn’t find anything relevant, so here’s a puppy :).

      So, today’s word is to socú what yesterday’s word was to hayré: a nominalisation referring to the environment of the speaker, rather than to a specific object or location. And really, there is nothing more to say about it that hasn’t been explained yesterday :).

      Serí! Ankesocúp wataspá mo!: “No! Put it on the right please!”


      Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

      If your conlang doesn’t have any high front unrounded vowels, then make sure to not make any words for any reflective surfaces.
      Because, as the prophet said, “how can mirrors be real if our /i/s aren’t real?”