Archive for October, 2018

Kílta metaphor: SALT IS VITALITY

Sunday, October 28th, 2018
One standard feature of my current grammars for new languages is a separate section after the dictionary where I focus on particular areas of interest or difficulty. For example, copulas and verbs of existence in Kílta have a few complications, so there's a section on those. This lets me limit cross-references in the dictionary definitions to something reasonable, while still being able to give a thorough overview later.

A subsection on conceptual metaphor (Conlangery Podcast #66) is now standard in my grammars. I've recently been working out the metaphor SALT IS VITALITY (for some reason, conceptual metaphors are often given in all-caps like this). 

When I first thought about this metaphor, I spent a little while first thinking through the implications. In this instance, I already had an idiom involving salt that would interact a bit oddly with it —


Ches si tirat vuëtiso.
salt ACC give.1R-INF try-PFV
They tried to bribe me. (lit., "they tied to give me salt")

I decided this wasn't a vital problem, and in fact slightly enhanced the idiom and the conceptual metaphor I was about to develop.

Kílta has a modest set of derivational affixes, so I first thought about how some of those might work:

  • chesámin - "saltless," has the standard meanings of dull, lifeless, with an additional sense of mildly ill
  • chesëtin - "salty, having salt" is the core sense, but also means vital, lively, vigorous
For now, no other derivational elements have suggested themselves for this metaphor. In general, I try to take these metaphorical derivations only if they have a clear literal use, too.

Next, Kílta, as a verb-final language, favors N-V combinations for creating new verbal senses from nouns, rather than derivational affixes. These are more obviously idiomatic, with less clear-cut literal use:
  • ches si raho - literally, "throw (the) salt," has the same basic sense and tone as the English idiom "kick the bucket," but is a touch less respectful than the English
  • ches tëníto - literally, "(the) salt is gone," matches the idea of being dejected, or "the life has gone out of him/her/it"
  • ches si kwilë relo - literally, "carries too much salt," is for someone who has too much nervous energy, or a pet having the zoomies
That's as far as I want to take things for now with a new metaphor. I've made a notation in the dictionary entry for ches salt which reminds me of this sense if I add new examples to that headword, in addition to the conceptual metaphors section after the dictionary. Maybe that's as far as this metaphor will go, but it's always nice when a new metaphor-based idiom suggests itself.

Kílta metaphor: SALT IS VITALITY

Sunday, October 28th, 2018
One standard feature of my current grammars for new languages is a separate section after the dictionary where I focus on particular areas of interest or difficulty. For example, copulas and verbs of existence in Kílta have a few complications, so there's a section on those. This lets me limit cross-references in the dictionary definitions to something reasonable, while still being able to give a thorough overview later.

A subsection on conceptual metaphor (Conlangery Podcast #66) is now standard in my grammars. I've recently been working out the metaphor SALT IS VITALITY (for some reason, conceptual metaphors are often given in all-caps like this). 

When I first thought about this metaphor, I spent a little while first thinking through the implications. In this instance, I already had an idiom involving salt that would interact a bit oddly with it —


Ches si tirat vuëtiso.
salt ACC give.1R-INF try-PFV
They tried to bribe me. (lit., "they tied to give me salt")

I decided this wasn't a vital problem, and in fact slightly enhanced the idiom and the conceptual metaphor I was about to develop.

Kílta has a modest set of derivational affixes, so I first thought about how some of those might work:

  • chesámin - "saltless," has the standard meanings of dull, lifeless, with an additional sense of mildly ill
  • chesëtin - "salty, having salt" is the core sense, but also means vital, lively, vigorous
For now, no other derivational elements have suggested themselves for this metaphor. In general, I try to take these metaphorical derivations only if they have a clear literal use, too.

Next, Kílta, as a verb-final language, favors N-V combinations for creating new verbal senses from nouns, rather than derivational affixes. These are more obviously idiomatic, with less clear-cut literal use:
  • ches si raho - literally, "throw (the) salt," has the same basic sense and tone as the English idiom "kick the bucket," but is a touch less respectful than the English
  • ches tëníto - literally, "(the) salt is gone," matches the idea of being dejected, or "the life has gone out of him/her/it"
  • ches si kwilë relo - literally, "carries too much salt," is for someone who has too much nervous energy, or a pet having the zoomies
That's as far as I want to take things for now with a new metaphor. I've made a notation in the dictionary entry for ches salt which reminds me of this sense if I add new examples to that headword, in addition to the conceptual metaphors section after the dictionary. Maybe that's as far as this metaphor will go, but it's always nice when a new metaphor-based idiom suggests itself.

#525

Friday, October 26th, 2018

A Romance language where the Latin feminine agentive ending is reanalyzed as a diminutive marker, because -trix is for kids.

Two Notes on Walman

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

The Walman language of Papua New Guinea has two interesting grammatical features: a conjugated and, and an inflectional diminutive.

Conjugated Conjunction

Walman's verbs have polypersonal agreement on transitive verbs, marking both subject and object. Conjunction is handled with two verb stems, -aro- and <-a-> (subject is a prefix, object is a suffix):

nyue w-aro-n ngan
mother 3SG.F.SUBJ-and-3SG.M.OBJ father
a mother and father

Since verb serialization is already present in Walman, it looks like a verb got grabbed to mean and and got dropped into the serialization chain. There is also a non-conjugated and, which may be used instead of the conjugated form, but seems to be preferred for inanimate constituents and clauses. Interestingly, the Lamaholot language of Indonesia also has an inflecting and, but it can be used to join clauses.

See Verbs for 'And' in Walman for all the glorious details.

Inflectional Diminutive

Walman also has a third person singular diminutive marker which occurs on verbs and adjectives.

Pelen l-aykiri.
dog 3SG.DIMIN-bark
The puppy is barking.

Pelen w-aykiri.
dog 3SG.FEM-bark
The female dog is barking.

Pelen n-aykiri.
dog 3SG.MASC-bark
The male dog is barking.

Pelen y-aykiri.
dog 3SG.PL-bark
The dogs are barking.

The authors of the paper below believe that the diminutive marker was originally a neuter gender.

See Diminutive as an Inflectional Category in Walman for details.

Two Notes on Walman

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

The Walman language of Papua New Guinea has two interesting grammatical features: a conjugated and, and an inflectional diminutive.

Conjugated Conjunction

Walman's verbs have polypersonal agreement on transitive verbs, marking both subject and object. Conjunction is handled with two verb stems, -aro- and <-a-> (subject is a prefix, object is a suffix):

nyue w-aro-n ngan
mother 3SG.F.SUBJ-and-3SG.M.OBJ father
a mother and father

Since verb serialization is already present in Walman, it looks like a verb got grabbed to mean and and got dropped into the serialization chain. There is also a non-conjugated and, which may be used instead of the conjugated form, but seems to be preferred for inanimate constituents and clauses. Interestingly, the Lamaholot language of Indonesia also has an inflecting and, but it can be used to join clauses.

See Verbs for 'And' in Walman for all the glorious details.

Inflectional Diminutive

Walman also has a third person singular diminutive marker which occurs on verbs and adjectives.

Pelen l-aykiri.
dog 3SG.DIMIN-bark
The puppy is barking.

Pelen w-aykiri.
dog 3SG.FEM-bark
The female dog is barking.

Pelen n-aykiri.
dog 3SG.MASC-bark
The male dog is barking.

Pelen y-aykiri.
dog 3SG.PL-bark
The dogs are barking.

The authors of the paper below believe that the diminutive marker was originally a neuter gender.

See Diminutive as an Inflectional Category in Walman for details.

‘A Grammar of Ayeri’ Available as Print-on-Demand

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

If you’ve visited the Grammar page or the Grammar project’s GitHub page recently, you will have noticed that I finally decided to publish a version 1.0 of A Grammar of Ayeri on October 1st. While this is a big step forward that took me some courage, I didn’t announce it in a big way, because I have reason to make a somewhat bigger announcement still today.

That is, I’m excited to announce that you can now also buy print copies of the grammar! Moreover, this happens to be in time for Ayeri’s 15th birthday in December—something I only noticed the other day. A few people have suggested making print copies available on demand in recent months, so you can now order my Ayeri grammar as a real and full-fledged book from Lulu.com. Since I decided to give the book an ISBN (978-0-359-09583-4), it should also become available to booksellers of your choice sometime in the next 4–6 weeks. Here’s what the beauty looks like:

The digital version of the grammar will remain available free of charge and with fully disclosed sources, that is, I explicitly intended this as Open Access.

A Grammar of Ayeri provides an overview of the language’s phonemic inventory and an analysis of its phonotactics, an in-depth description of its writing system, as well as a detailed description of its morphology and morphosyntax. Interstitial chapters try to shed a light on Ayeri from a typological perspective, both regarding morphology and syntax. I incorporated a number of blog articles from recent years, so if you’ve been following my blog, you know what to expect. All discussions contain fully-glossed examples for illustration, especially to help with the more technical parts.

Even though I worked on this book for a little more than two years, there are some topics I mention in the grammar without elaborating on them. Since there is always more to do, I had to draw a line somewhere. Topics left for future consideration will thus probably result in blog articles again sooner or later, so stay tuned. A list of errata may likewise follow.


Besides having been asked for print copies, I’ve been asked why I chose to self-publish, and the main reason is that I don’t really see straightaway which kind of publisher I might want to offer the manuscript of this book to, elaborate as it may be.

For one, it does not fit established paradigms of either fiction or non-fiction publishing. The book’s subject is essentially a work of fiction, yet it’s not narrative, but a piece of formal documentation of a conceived abstract object: a made-up language. Moreover, as I see it, conlangs are up to the whims of their creators (at least while they’re alive) and are thus entirely arbitrary when it comes to documenting and analyzing the diversity of human language from the perspective of linguistics—unless, for instance, you do a study on conlanging as a social phenomenon, study and compare the way individual conlangs are made and what that says about their creators, or utilize them as a didactic tool to teach linguistics. In my opinion, the immediate value of a grammar of a personal artistic language to linguistic epistemology is debatable. Lastly, due to the book’s presentation as a scholarly text, it will only appeal to a small readership, which is not exactly profitable. But mainly, I think, the difficulty is in being this weird hybrid of fiction and non-fiction, or fiction in the guise of non-fiction.

Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic with this assessment. Maybe the very aspect of being fiction in the guise of non-fiction might be a selling point in the future (but again: to what kind of publisher?), provided I could still keep my work online because “selling out” is the last thing I want to do. So far at least, no comparable effort has been professionally published to my knowledge, and there exist a few works with a similar scope as mine that I’m aware of, for instance, Étienne Poisson’s Siwa grammar, Martin Posthumus’ Novegradian grammar, and Matt Pearson’s Okuna grammar.

#524Roses are red,my house has a doormat,A conlang where everythingmust be put in this format.

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

#524

Roses are red,

my house has a doormat,

A conlang where everything

must be put in this format.

Conlang Sketch Needed for a Fantasy Novel

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Description

Kaitlin Berry is looking for a conlanger to help create a language for a novel. It should be a language from the 8th to 9th century, spoken by Atlanteans and based on or influenced by several pre-existing Germanic, Celtic and Romance languages.

Employer

Kaitlin Berry

Application Period

Open until job filled

Term

No strict deadline, but the novel should be done within a year to a year and a half.

Compensation

Payment will be $150, based on a conlang sketch, or higher if more content is needed.
In addition, the conlanger will be credited for their work.

To Apply

Email Kaitlin Berry at kab3rry “at” gmail “dot” com to express your interest in the project. Please include qualifications and samples of previous work.

Note: Please assume that comments left on this post will not be read by the employer.

Inraj Sargaĺk: Spatial Deixis

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Inraj Sargaĺk differs from most surrounding languages by its system of spatial deixis; it has two flavours, "very close to both speaker and listener", and "everything else". The "middle deixis" of Sargaĺk, ʒur, has come to signify an inanimate distal deictical determiner.

ʒa - this here, in both of our reaches
ʒu - this here in my xor your reach, or that over there, inanimate
ʒi - this here in my xor your reach, or that over there, animate
As an aside, we find a more complex somewhat similar system in the Lamen language, a mainland isolate in geographical vicinity to the Inraj archipelago (in terms of easily navigable routes).
The Lamen system consists of
ksa - this, in both of our reach
gzət - this, in both of our reach, inanimate

tra - this/that, in the reach of one of us
zrət - this/that, in the reach of one of us, inanimate

eksa - he/she/it, over there, animate
gəksət - it, over there, inanimate
Whether the underlying similarities are due to genetic relation or sprachbund phenomena is not clear. (Obviously, Inraj Sargaĺk is not related to Lamen, but its substrate might be?) 

Inraj Sargaĺk: Spatial Deixis

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Inraj Sargaĺk differs from most surrounding languages by its system of spatial deixis; it has two flavours, "very close to both speaker and listener", and "everything else". The "middle deixis" of Sargaĺk, ʒur, has come to signify an inanimate distal deictical determiner.

ʒa - this here, in both of our reaches
ʒu - this here in my xor your reach, or that over there, inanimate
ʒi - this here in my xor your reach, or that over there, animate
As an aside, we find a more complex somewhat similar system in the Lamen language, a mainland isolate in geographical vicinity to the Inraj archipelago (in terms of easily navigable routes).
The Lamen system consists of
ksa - this, in both of our reach
gzət - this, in both of our reach, inanimate

tra - this/that, in the reach of one of us
zrət - this/that, in the reach of one of us, inanimate

eksa - he/she/it, over there, animate
gəksət - it, over there, inanimate
Whether the underlying similarities are due to genetic relation or sprachbund phenomena is not clear. (Obviously, Inraj Sargaĺk is not related to Lamen, but its substrate might be?)