Archive for January, 2017

A completed Universal Language

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Here's a language made to be easy for anyone from any language to learn. (NOTE: I say this, knowing full well that I only have an English translation to explain how it works :) I'm working on it other language speakers!!).

From the front page:
"Language is one of the biggest barriers that divides us all.

The only solution today if a businessman wants to create a partnership in another country is to hire a translator or spend lots of valuable time learning only ONE specific language. Even if he learned seven languages, he'd still be out of luck for many places. There are literally thousands of languages here on Earth, and many are very different from each other.

I PROPOSE A SOLUTION!!

ZANA ZIKA is a constructed language designed to be as easy to learn as possible to many different language learners. Instead of structured grammar there are concepts, strung together in any order. Instead of massive dictionaries there are less than 150 words. There aren't any confusing sounds, I've combined them and taken them out. For instance, some languages have no different sound for 'p', 'b', and 'v'. ZANA ZIKA has just one 'p', that can be mispronounced, but still understood!

It's super simple to learn and create concepts in ZANA ZIKA, so give it a try!!"

A completed Universal Language

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Here's a language made to be easy for anyone from any language to learn. (NOTE: I say this, knowing full well that I only have an English translation to explain how it works :) I'm working on it other language speakers!!).

From the front page:
"Language is one of the biggest barriers that divides us all.

The only solution today if a businessman wants to create a partnership in another country is to hire a translator or spend lots of valuable time learning only ONE specific language. Even if he learned seven languages, he'd still be out of luck for many places. There are literally thousands of languages here on Earth, and many are very different from each other.

I PROPOSE A SOLUTION!!

ZANA ZIKA is a constructed language designed to be as easy to learn as possible to many different language learners. Instead of structured grammar there are concepts, strung together in any order. Instead of massive dictionaries there are less than 150 words. There aren't any confusing sounds, I've combined them and taken them out. For instance, some languages have no different sound for 'p', 'b', and 'v'. ZANA ZIKA has just one 'p', that can be mispronounced, but still understood!

It's super simple to learn and create concepts in ZANA ZIKA, so give it a try!!"

Detail #326: Remnants of the Dual

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
A language with remnants of a defunct dual number can have many interesting peculiarities - consider, for instance, the case of Russian, where nominative numbers from two to four take singular genitive nouns - because historically, the nominative dual was identical to the singular genitive. However, even today, some exceptional nouns exist with an exceptional form in this context.

However, what if the duals leave different types of traces? Let's consider a language where the dual has been thoroughly present - in verb morphology, in pronouns, etc - but since the society has become more complex and bigger numbers have become commonplace, the dual has mainly fallen out of use. However, it survives in a few contexts:
  • things that often come in pairs
  • socially pairwise things
However, it also survives in certain participles and verbs with a variety of unexpected meanings:
  • With some applicative participles, formerly signifying the use of both hands for carrying out the action, now signifying intensity and without the applicative meaning preserved.
  • With applicative participles of verbs of perception, the dual signifies 'with the ears' or 'with the eyes' and thus basically just serves to enhance the fact that the speaker has seen or heard what he's speaking of.
  • With some active participles that formerly just signified pairs doing something, now the dual marker signifies reciprocality within socially important structures of two. 
  • With some gerunds a dual morpheme indicates repetition, whereas plural marks habituality.

Also, as a side note: yay, definitely 100k views in total, although no idea to what extent those are bots.

#488

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Let’s look at playing around with metrical extensions with “high” and “low.”

First, their superlatives “highest” and “lowest” could easily be extended to mean “top” and “bottom.”

You could always make their positives act like directions and not just states, so “high"and “low” could mean “up” and “down.”

You could get more creätive with the comparatives, and use them for personalities. Like, a “higher” person can have a lot of “charm” and a “lower” person could be “strange.”

This would get the regular looking:
High higher highest
Low lower lowest

To also be the more interesting:
Up charm top
Down strange bottom

Shalts Language Institute

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Check out this conlang I created. I tried to replicate the changes that came to be in English, Germanic roots becoming overcome with latin and Greek ones (I decided not to try and add French).

So yeah, it's German, remade with Latin and Greek or different aspects of use.

Basically I wanted a language that would sound like simplified (read un-Normanized) English to non-native speakers of English, but it sounds more like Dutch to most English speakers. You can find it HERE.

Shalts Language Institute

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Check out this conlang I created. I tried to replicate the changes that came to be in English, Germanic roots becoming overcome with latin and Greek ones (I decided not to try and add French).

So yeah, it's German, remade with Latin and Greek or different aspects of use.

Basically I wanted a language that would sound like simplified (read un-Normanized) English to non-native speakers of English, but it sounds more like Dutch to most English speakers. You can find it HERE.

Conlangery SHORTS #22: Axanar Update

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
George gives a quick update on the Paramount v Axanar case and the LCS’s part in it. This was previously discussed in episode 119. For more information, please see the Language Creation Society’s Axanar information page.

Ŋʒädär Cases: Grammatical Subsystems as Bundles of Features pt I

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Sometimes systems in languages can be analyzed in terms of feature bundles. This can work for cases, tenses, moods, lexical subsystems (say, family terminology, or such), etc. This article will look into the case systems of several of my languages, attempting to find some economical yet powerful description of the case systems.

Ŋʒädär has a fairly simple case system:
The absolute marks subjects and objects. The dative marks recipients. The genitive-comitative marks possessors or accompanying participants. The three locatives - locative, lative and ablative - have similarities, but there is an odd one out among them. The complement case has certain similarities to the absolute case.
We find beyond these that there is an unabsolutive case for certain nouns. Counting the regular cases we have seven, and the unabsolutive would give us eight. log28 is 3, so the most optimal case would only have three binary variables. Let us first look at the seven 'common' cases before taking a look at the unabsolutive.

It seems three basic qualities distinguish the three cases: involvement, direction and centrality. Involvement is whether the noun is a participant in any way whatsoever, or just a frame or scaffold for the action. Direction is whether there is a spatial progress involving the noun as some form of source or sink, and 'centrality' largely corresponds to likelihood of being topicalized or focalized but also the likelihood of being an argument.


participantdirectionalcentral
absolutive+-+
dative+++
ablative?+-
lative-+-
locative---
genitive-comitative+--
complement-?+
The question marks indicate that the relevant spots seem to go both ways. The ablative thus can acquire the same meaning as the lative in some contexts, but can also acquire a distinct meaning. We can expand this by having both the complement and the ablative appear as two versions of themselves - giving a total of nine, but this is ok since ablative2 is the same as lative as far as its features go.



participantcentraldirectional
dative+++
absolutive++-
ablative++-+
genitive-comitative+--
complement+-++
complement--+-
lative--+
ablative---+
locative---
here, the cases are ordered assuming participant > central > directional

By now we have exhausted the number of states three binary variables can occupy, so the unabsolutive wouldn't fit into this. We could attempt to rearrange this so that we get rid of the question marks and express both the complement and ablative in terms that do not require them to occupy two different states - however, this particular setup will prove useful to understand the shenanigans of the case systems. We shall rearrange the system a bit for a truly full three-variable system without any cases occupying two slots, and using a different set of features that better catch the "morphological reality". The middle column has different values for the upper and lower half.



potential
participant
active
core case/
framing
non-core
case
"associate"
reference
dative+-+
absolutive++-
ablative+-+
genitive-comitative++-
complement-+-
lative---
locative-++
unabsolutive--+
This model also has its drawbacks; 'active core case' signifies cases that (can) participate in an action, but obviously the absolutive can be the object as well, and quirky case verbs can take datives that do things. Framing is a question of locating a VP or subject either spatially or conceptually. Associate reference is whether a noun in such a case necessarily refers to a noun's referent itself or possibly to things associated therewith - i.e. the locative may be marked upon a noun the vicinity of which is referred to (whereas the lative more usually goes on the name of a place, or a noun on the inside or top of which something moves). 

Asking what features an NP satisfies for these two schemes gives a pretty good idea of what case an NP in Ŋʒädär takes, but even then the two models give some mistakes. Similar models for Ćwarmin would be huge, but Bryatesle, Sargaĺk and Dairwueh may get their own treatment among these lines. On the other hand, the interaction of number, case and definiteness in Ćwarmin could make for interesting models that demonstrate how weirdly intervowen those three really are in Ćwarmin.

Subordinating Verbs: A Small Blast from the Past

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

I was recently thinking about this with regards to writing my New and Improved (tee-em) grammar of Ayeri and my previous post on subordinating verbs. I saw subordinating verbs as posing the problem of putting too much stuff in the constituent that holds the verb. As a solution, I described moving the complement of the main verb into a finite complement clause. When I did some analysis of verbs yesterday to maybe shed some light on the alternation between -isa and -isu in deverbal adjectives, I came across the following example sentence in the entry for pinya ‘ask’, entered October 24, 2008:

  1. Sa
    Sa
    PT
    pinyayāng
    pinya=yāng
    ask=3SG.M.A
    ye
    ye
    3SG.F.TOP
    rimayam
    rima-yam
    close-PTCP
    silvenoley.
    silveno-ley
    window-P.INAN

    ‘Her he asks to close the window.’

Material from 2008 is not quite fresh anymore, but going through my example texts, I also found the following sentence fragment in the 2010/11 Conlang Holiday Card Exchange (interlinear glossing updated to current standards):

  1. nārya
    nārya
    but
    le
    le
    PT.INAN
    tavisayang
    tavisa=yang
    receive=1S.A
    takan
    takan-Ø
    chance-TOP
    incam
    int-yam
    buy-PTCP
    dagangyeley
    dangang-ye-ley
    card-PL-P.INAN

    ‘but I got the chance to buy cards’

In both cases, the subordinating verb is transitive: (1) ‘(you) ask her’, (2) ‘I got the chance’; pinya- ‘ask’ in (1) is a raising verb (the logical subject of the subordinate verb is the object of the verb in the matrix clause), while int- ‘buy’ in (2) should simply be an infinite clausal complement. However, in both cases we do neither get the complement awkwardly placed in the middle, nor are the sentences rephrased so as to result in a finite complement clause or a nominalized complement to avoid the infinite verb form:

    1. ??
      Sa
      Sa
      PT
      pinyayāng
      pinya=yāng
      ask=3SG.M.A
      rimayam
      rima-yam
      close-PTCP
      silvenoley
      silveno-ley
      window-P.INAN
      ye.
      ye
      3SG.F.TOP

      ‘Her he asks to close the window.’
    2. Pinyayāng,
      pinya=yāng,
      ask=3SG.M.A,
      ang
      ang
      AT
      rimaye
      rima=ye.Ø
      close=3SG.F.TOP
      silvenoley.
      silveno-ley
      window-P.INAN

      ‘He asks that she closes the window.’

    1. nārya
      nārya
      but
      le
      le
      PT.INAN
      tavisayang
      tavisa=yang
      receive=1S.A
      takan
      takan-Ø
      chance-TOP
      intanena
      intan-ena
      purchase-GEN
      dagangyena
      dangang-ye-na
      card-PL-GEN

      ‘but I got the chance of a purchase of cards’
    2. nārya
      nārya
      but
      le
      le
      PT.INAN
      tavisayang
      tavisa=yang
      receive=1S.A
      takan,
      takan-Ø,
      chance-TOP,
      ang
      ang
      AT
      incay
      int=ay.Ø
      buy=1SG.TOP
      dagangyeley
      dangang-ye-ley
      card-PL-P.INAN

      ‘but I got the chance that I buy cards’

Both constructions, (1) and (2) are not widely attested in my materials, and the new grammar doc as it currently is does not rule out cases like (2), insofar I only need to make up my mind about constructions like in (1): continue allowing them as a variant, declare them ungrammatical, or simply ignore them? In the first case I might be required to keep a VP or a functional equivalent of it, after all, since there would be a post-subject position associated with verbs, then.1 In any case, raising and control should be interesting topics to come to terms with in my conlang.

  1. What with my trying to learn more about syntax lately (LFG specifically because it’s interesting for languages like Ayeri), I was recently wondering if (IP (DP) (I’ (I) (S (NP) (XP) ) ) ) might be a/the appropriate way to describe a basic transitive clause in Ayeri, with DP as the topic marker; the finite verb in I; NP as the subject NP; and XP as whatever is under predication. If we don’t assume empty terminal nodes, everything governing S can be omitted in predicative statements, and the XP position would be filled with an AP – though that alone possibly doesn’t accommodate for the negator, which is located between subject and predicative adjective. This, in turn, triggers the question where to place it if the order of adjective and noun is reversed.

#487

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Your werewolf conlang’s syntax should work strictly off of transformational grammar.