Archive for March, 2017

Addendum (#333B): Some Details

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
One thing to note with a rule that duplicated the tense-carrying morpheme for creating habituals is of course that different types of verbs may differ as to whether they carry tense at all. One could easily imagine tense-carrying infinitives (after all, participles are a kind of infinitive) – but it's also conceivable that not even certain types of tenses would be classed as tenses in a language - their distribution and behaviour should really determine whether tenses A and B actually belong to the same class of 'things marked on the verb'.

Detail #333: A Way of Forming Habituals and some Morphological Quirks to that Idea

Sunday, March 26th, 2017
An idea that probably has occurred to many is using reduplication for marking habituals. However, what about reduplicating the tense marker instead? Now, a different option appears: don't just reduplicate it, apply it twice instead.

What is the difference? Reduplication takes phonological matter and copies it, with some possible morphophonological rules applied. Applying it twice applies all morphological rules that are relevant, and then morphophonological rules. Thus, if there's two verb conjugations, and the first person singular past verb in the first conjugation looks like a  second conjugation stem, the first person singular past habitual would consist of a first conjugation suffix followed by a second conjugation suffix.

Different persons may behave differently with regards to that, due to the first inflected form appearance possibly deciding which conjugation the second suffix takes. Of course, one could have more conjugations that interplay in complicated ways as well. Other morphophonology could of course also apply.

One could of course consider similar things for plurals - duplicate case suffixes or gender suffixes, and do so by rules that make them vary a bit at times. However, this creates a fun situation with regards to the nominative, a case that oftentimes is not marked by any explicit morpheme. Maybe the reduplication then defaults to reduplicating the root or some syllable of it - or uses a different case marker, e.g. the accusative, thus conflating the two in the plural (not an unusual thing in the languages of the world).

#495

Friday, March 24th, 2017

A language that features clicks, but they’re only used in a specific class of words pertaining to baked goods, e.g. cookies.

Verbs of Perception in Sargaĺk

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
In Sargaĺk, there is a waysof forming new verbs of perception that are fairly interesting. All of the suffixes mentioned here create citation form verbs when applied to roots.

The derivative suffix -at'on goes on either the noun stem for an organ of perception (which either is the body part that felt a touch, or the eyes, or the face in the face in case of olfactory and gustatory perception), or the ears, or on an onomatopoeic string representing a sound. This leads to some lexemes which are basically forbidden by Sargaĺk phonotactics appearing anyway: s:::::::at'on ('to hear a light wind'), k'rktat'on (which in the causative means 'to eat nuts'), pŕtpŕtpat'on (which in the causative means 'to fart'), y::::::::at'on (to hear a wind howling in something), auwo:::::at'on (to hear wolves howling), pst'at'on: to hear water sloshing

An NP or an adjective you've visually perceived can also have -at'on on it, or even a number - normally indicating that you've counted them by eye. The way of perception can also be mentioned even if the verb has incorporated some adjective or noun or onomatopoeia, then as an absolutive (dative) argument. A thing that has been perceived as being something will be indicated as an absolutive (accusative) object, however, the thing can also be incorporated with the adjective left as an absolutive object complement.

-at'p'a indicates the sound one makes when perceiving a thing, quality or sensation, or a quality one senses, or even a noun one becomes.

Detail #332: Articles for Names Intertwining with Moods

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
In some languages, even names take articles. Fairly un-exotic examples of these include some dialects of German and Scandinavian. However, we can go on and do some fairly interesting things here.

We can obviously distinguish a variety of social status and age by such articles, but another thing we could include in them would be mood! We can of course also consider case, if we go for a German-style system with case distinguished in articles. However, subtypes of the vocative could have different markings - maybe also distinguishing a different number of subtypes in different social statuses, and maybe also distinguishing both the status of speaker and recipient. Consider, imperatives. A particle could easily change to indicate that the verb is to be parsed as a command, or indeed as a confirmation of a command. An article could also indicate that the verb is meant as a question to the listener. One could also imagine various optatives and jussives and the like having special markings with names (but no special markings on other NPs, where auxiliaries, independent particles and verb forms serve the whole heavy lifting duties.)

However, one could also have the question-articles appear on non-vocatives whenever the addressee also is a participant in the verb phrase, so some non-vocative cases also may need to have question-address-forms. A system where some cases are conflated may appear with those forms.

 The historical origin of these forms may be rich in different types of lexemes: verbs ('hear', 'do', '(I) obey', etc...), nouns ('boss', 'word (to)'), adjectives ('kind', 'right', 'worthy', etc), adverbs ('immediately'), etc. The dividing line between these and cognates in the language is that stress patterns for these have been different, leading to significantly different sound changes over time.


Create words in your language that revolve around a basic word/concept, but have different meanings for the word based on the state that the word is in. For example: A word that means "rushing water" and a word that means "cold water," which are both completely different from the word for "water." Bonus points if there is no word for water (ie, the base concept)

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

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Hi! Could I get the invite link to conville discord server? Thank you!

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

I can do that if you come off anon, but I can’t do that on anon.

Ćwarmin: The Polar Question and Its Other Uses

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
The polar question in Ćwarmin is formed partially by syntactical means, partially by morphological ones. In addition, intonation also plays a role, with rising intonation towards the end of the phrase.

The main morphological indication is a suffix, for human nouns -k[ə|o]r, for inanimates -t[ə|o]r. This is an exceptional morpheme in that it agrees with the animacy of the relevant noun – when marking a verb, it may distinguish whether the question pertains (more) to an animate or an inanimate argument of that verb. It usually is located on the verb, but can also be moved to a fronted NP. 

Here are different questions regarding whether Kier steals apples:
Kier-kər lend-itiś mesl-i
does Kier steal apples?

Kier lend-ijiś mesl-i-kər
does Kier steal apples?

lend-ijiś Kier mesl-i-tər
Kier lend-ijiś mesl-i-tər
Apples is what Kier steals, aren't they?

lend-(ijiś)-tər Kier mesl-i
does Kier steal apples?

-tər and -kər both sometimes surpress accusative marking, with inanimates even plural marking is sometimes omitted in the core cases before -tər. This is a place where some differential object marking actually occurs in Ćwarmin, with indefinites generally omitting the accusative or plural marking before the interrogative marker.

However, the same structure with -kər/-tər appears in 'regardless of'-style meanings, and in 'whether'-style meanings. In 'regardless of', the tone is falling throughout, whereas in 'whether' the tone has a light premature rise before falling.
bec a Alas staŋn-u-tor kinl-əc
you (c) Alas answer_yes-Q ask-2sg ?
you ask whether Alas answers yes?
'a' is an optional complementizer that introduces subordinate clauses. 
Parsing -tor/-tər in this way is only permitted with verbs of knowledge and perception.

The 'regardless of'-meaning usually goes after the verb, but can go elsewhere - clause-initial position or even just before the verb.
wərs-ic sewk-ər kurćap(-utćo) au-tor.
walrus-meat eat-1sg salty(-obj.compl.) is-Q
I eat walrus-meat regardless if it's salty
Autor sometimes is rendered as 'ator', aukor as 'akor'.

Call for Papers

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

ΤΕΚΤΩΝ (Tekton) is a new journal written by and for language constructors, containing articles and other material in constructed languages, about constructed languages, and all other subjects of interest to language constructors. Tekton is affiliated with the Constructed Languages Facebook group and the Linguifex wiki.

Tekton is a successor in spirit to Æquinox, a journal featuring prose, poetry, and drama written in or translated into constructed languages, published from 2011 and 2014. Tekton is a home for any material that could or would have been submitted to Æquinox.

Tekton also welcomes submissions covering all other aspects of language construction, including but not limited to:

  • Information about natural languages that can be used as inspiration
  • Tips on how to start and build a constructed language
  • Tools you can use to build your language
  • Quizzes and games to test your language construction skills
  • Reviews of books, films, shows, and games related to constructed languages
  • News about events in the world of language construction
  • How, when, and where you can get together with other language constructors
  • How to get your constructed language noticed
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  • Letters to the editor

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Conlangery #128: Lingua Philosophica

Monday, March 6th, 2017
David Salo comes on to talk about his historical research into George Dalgarno’s Lingua Philosophica, a 17th century philosophical language. We discuss the features of Dalgarno’s work, a little of how it compares to other work of the time and also its influence on the history of conlanging. Top of Show Greeting: Lingua Philosophica (translated... Read more »