Archive for February, 2019

Detail #390: Participles Used in Odd Ways

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
In many Germanic languages, one can form adjectives that describe 'being equipped with' (or something along those lines) by forming the past participle of a noun.This is a peculiar idea, but there's multiple examples:
blue-eyed
one-legged
warm-blooded
pot-bellied
freckled
right-handed
straight-backed
bearded

Now, this thing every now and then inspires me a bit to try and apply participle morphology on other parts of speech with some lightly unpredictable meanings.


For this, we can imagine a language with active and passive participles (to get rid of the weird tense * voice con[flation/fusion] that English has). What if, say, passive participles of cardinals signify fractions? If we by an imaginary verb 'to three' mean 'turning a thing into three things (by splitting it)', a 'threed thing' would be a third of the thing. We could of course here come up with some way of distinguishing between full things split in three parts and some number of thirds. Maybe through, say, case/number congruence or adpositions or numerals or whatever? (So, e.g. 'two threed cakes' is six thirds, whereas 'two threed cake' is two thirds?) Next step: active participles could imply ordinals?

Or maybe active participles could imply coordinated groups of N members?

And of course, all of these could imaginably be applied to indefinite pronouns like 'some', 'any', 'none', 'all'.

We could of course try and go further and include tense - or maybe just have tense-based participles with voice being marked in some other fashion. Now, for numerals, expressing any voice would maybe be superfluous, and so we only keep the tense marking (rather, maybe, numerals are normally intransitive participles?).

A different potential meaning: an active participle of the number x would imply being the leader over a group of size x.

Detail #390: Participles Used in Odd Ways

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
In many Germanic languages, one can form adjectives that describe 'being equipped with' (or something along those lines) by forming the past participle of a noun.This is a peculiar idea, but there's multiple examples:
blue-eyed
one-legged
warm-blooded
pot-bellied
freckled
right-handed
straight-backed
bearded

Now, this thing every now and then inspires me a bit to try and apply participle morphology on other parts of speech with some lightly unpredictable meanings.


For this, we can imagine a language with active and passive participles (to get rid of the weird tense * voice con[flation/fusion] that English has). What if, say, passive participles of cardinals signify fractions? If we by an imaginary verb 'to three' mean 'turning a thing into three things (by splitting it)', a 'threed thing' would be a third of the thing. We could of course here come up with some way of distinguishing between full things split in three parts and some number of thirds. Maybe through, say, case/number congruence or adpositions or numerals or whatever? (So, e.g. 'two threed cakes' is six thirds, whereas 'two threed cake' is two thirds?) Next step: active participles could imply ordinals?

Or maybe active participles could imply coordinated groups of N members?

And of course, all of these could imaginably be applied to indefinite pronouns like 'some', 'any', 'none', 'all'.

We could of course try and go further and include tense - or maybe just have tense-based participles with voice being marked in some other fashion. Now, for numerals, expressing any voice would maybe be superfluous, and so we only keep the tense marking (rather, maybe, numerals are normally intransitive participles?).

A different potential meaning: an active participle of the number x would imply being the leader over a group of size x.

Derivation of the Day: tëtúmot

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

For Kílta, tëtúmot sauce, via intensive reduplication of the verb tuëmo pound, and the object noun suffix -ot.

Korka vë tëtúmot në kwilë chesëtin no.
(wal)nut ATTR sauce TOP too salty be.PFV
The walnut sauce is too salty.

Korka is by default a walnut, but is used in other nut terms generically.

Derivation of the Day: tëtúmot

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

For Kílta, tëtúmot sauce, via intensive reduplication of the verb tuëmo pound, and the object noun suffix -ot.

Korka vë tëtúmot në kwilë chesëtin no.
(wal)nut ATTR sauce TOP too salty be.PFV
The walnut sauce is too salty.

Korka is by default a walnut, but is used in other nut terms generically.

Detail #389: A Set of Affixes on some Adpositions

Monday, February 4th, 2019
This gets a bit abstract, and in some way feels familiar. I had envisioned this idea as fitting into one of my conlangs, but I don't really see it as part of any one of them right now.

Since I formulated it with a rather clear idea of whether to use pre- or suffixes as well as pre- or postpositions,, the post will assume prefixes and prepositions. I guess fixing this might make the text significantly easier to read. 

Let us imagine a system whereby prepositions are marked as to what kind of a constituent they pertain to. By this, I mean 'whosoever moves or is moved,  whosoever is located or has been made to be somewhere'. Now, we get maybe three obvious markers, and we could of course let these be similar to, say, the relevant case morphology or something. Hold on.

When a subject moves somewhere, the preposition expressing this movement could be imagined to have a pronoun standing in front of it, something like
he goes he in the house
Now, we can imagine the pronoun becoming reduced, and also that the person congruence is lost, so it always becomes
I go e into the house
he goes e into the house
Next, we can imagine when an object is placed somewhere or seen somewhere or whatever, that an object pronoun goes somewhere:
Tina saw the man him in the park
Tina saw the man min the park
and as the reduction and loss of congruence happens, we also get
Eric put the shoes mon the shelf
We can imagine one more obvious distinction here without going too fine-detailed, that of oblique objects. Let's use i- for this.
He went eto sea iin winter
The distinction between 'he went eto sea iin winter' and 'he went ein winter' is that in the latter, it is just a statement about what he did, in the former, the point is that it is in winter he in fact went to sea.

Now, finally, let's imagine that some kind of indefinite pronoun (any, one, some?) appears when there's an object or tool implicit in the verb itself. Let's use ni- for this (from 'any').
he painted nion the wrong wall.
he fired niat the thief
Now, I imagine such implicit tools or objects (or obliques) may sometimes get quite culturally quirky, and one possible path one could see is having, for instance, verbs of sex omit a lot of nouns, such that, for instance, penetration would be expressed as
pushing ni-in it,
oral sex as
licking ni-on it,
etc
 Here, we can imagine two rather opposite situations:
  1. omission is something that is naughty, used to quickly get to the point, and so the 'non-naughty' way of talking about these use more, uh, referential nouns. In this case, ni- becomes a bit of a "naughty" morpheme in some contexts.
  2. omission is something that is used for euphemism, and in this case, ni- becomes a "polite" morpheme for talking of certain things.

Detail #389: A Set of Affixes on some Adpositions

Monday, February 4th, 2019
This gets a bit abstract, and in some way feels familiar. I had envisioned this idea as fitting into one of my conlangs, but I don't really see it as part of any one of them right now.

Since I formulated it with a rather clear idea of whether to use pre- or suffixes as well as pre- or postpositions,, the post will assume prefixes and prepositions. I guess fixing this might make the text significantly easier to read. 

Let us imagine a system whereby prepositions are marked as to what kind of a constituent they pertain to. By this, I mean 'whosoever moves or is moved,  whosoever is located or has been made to be somewhere'. Now, we get maybe three obvious markers, and we could of course let these be similar to, say, the relevant case morphology or something. Hold on.

When a subject moves somewhere, the preposition expressing this movement could be imagined to have a pronoun standing in front of it, something like
he goes he in the house
Now, we can imagine the pronoun becoming reduced, and also that the person congruence is lost, so it always becomes
I go e into the house
he goes e into the house
Next, we can imagine when an object is placed somewhere or seen somewhere or whatever, that an object pronoun goes somewhere:
Tina saw the man him in the park
Tina saw the man min the park
and as the reduction and loss of congruence happens, we also get
Eric put the shoes mon the shelf
We can imagine one more obvious distinction here without going too fine-detailed, that of oblique objects. Let's use i- for this.
He went eto sea iin winter
The distinction between 'he went eto sea iin winter' and 'he went ein winter' is that in the latter, it is just a statement about what he did, in the former, the point is that it is in winter he in fact went to sea.

Now, finally, let's imagine that some kind of indefinite pronoun (any, one, some?) appears when there's an object or tool implicit in the verb itself. Let's use ni- for this (from 'any').
he painted nion the wrong wall.
he fired niat the thief
Now, I imagine such implicit tools or objects (or obliques) may sometimes get quite culturally quirky, and one possible path one could see is having, for instance, verbs of sex omit a lot of nouns, such that, for instance, penetration would be expressed as
pushing ni-in it,
oral sex as
licking ni-on it,
etc
 Here, we can imagine two rather opposite situations:
  1. omission is something that is naughty, used to quickly get to the point, and so the 'non-naughty' way of talking about these use more, uh, referential nouns. In this case, ni- becomes a bit of a "naughty" morpheme in some contexts.
  2. omission is something that is used for euphemism, and in this case, ni- becomes a "polite" morpheme for talking of certain things.

What a day!

Monday, February 4th, 2019
As I was walking down the street this week on an unseasonably warm morning, I found myself trying to say "What a warm day!" in Koa. This turned out to be a much more complicated proposition than I had initially expected. My first instinct was a calque on broadly Indo-European and particularly Romance structures, something like

pai lami kea sa!
day warm what FOC
"what kind of warm day is it!"

or

ke pai lami sa!
INT day warm FOC
"which warm day is it!"

Clearly these structures is entirely arbitrary, though, and as such feels pretty un-Koa-like; or more to the point, they're assuming that we can use question words for affective value (NB apparent questions with explanation points at the end), which I'm not at all sure is true. I really want something solidly, natively Koa to express a concept like this. So what is a statement like "What a warm day!" really saying?

I'm pretty sure that there are two things going on here from a Koa standpoint: we're pointing something out (presentative - vo), and we're expressing that that thing is unexpected (mirative - ho). How exactly to combine these into a sentence, though? If it were a complete clause, somehow it would feel simpler:

vo ta ho lalu kali!
PRES 3SG MIR sing beautiful
"how beautifully she sings!"

Literally this is something like "Whoa, look, she sings beautifully!" ...which sounds pretty much perfect for my warm day: "Whoa, look, it's a warm day!" So I'm happy with that. But again, how exactly to say it? There's a parallel structure to the preceding example:

vo ti pai i ho lami!
PRES DEM day FIN MIR warm
"my, but this day is warm!"

...and that's fine, but it's so much wordier, so much more...syntaxful...than the English expression and, I think, than the emotional situation requires or suggests. And after all we can say things like

vo ka ávale se
PRES DEF key 2SG
"here's your keys"

with no verb in sight. So what if we combine the relevant particles into a compound that's tailor-made for this specific affective situation: voho?

voho pai lami!
PRES-MIR day warm
"what a warm day!"

We could potentially even use this for clauses with a finite verb, I think, maybe?

voho ta lalu kali!
PRES-MIR 3SG sing beautiful
"how beautifully she sings!"

and even

voho ti pai i lami!
PRES-MIR DEM day FIN warm
"my, but this day is warm!"

This also gives us a lovely new exclamatory word which is satisfyingly deeply rooted in the particle system, voho! "whoa!" I wonder if this could even be a predicate, meaning...what, exactly? Unexpected? Noteworthy? Noteworthily unexpected? Unexpectedly noteworthy? I think I may like it!

to pai i lami mo voho
DEM day FIN warm SIM noteworthy
"it was an unexpectedly warm day"

I mean, if we don't do that then voho ends up having to mean something else, and we potentially encounter sentences like

voho voho púano
PRES-MIR fashion-sense bad.AUG
"what dreadful taste"

which would clearly be much too silly...beyond which I'm all for accidentally creating predicates that end up being both useful and internally motivated. So there it is!

(Okay, no, I know, "taste" wouldn't be expressed monomorphemically like that, it was just a joke. It would be something like...hm...kopavapíta, if pita meant "like" or "appreciate": "quality of that which is habitually liked!")


What a day!

Monday, February 4th, 2019
As I was walking down the street this week on an unseasonably warm morning, I found myself trying to say "What a warm day!" in Koa. This turned out to be a much more complicated proposition than I had initially expected. My first instinct was a calque on broadly Indo-European and particularly Romance structures, something like

pai lami kea sa!
day warm what FOC
"what kind of warm day is it!"

or

ke pai lami sa!
INT day warm FOC
"which warm day is it!"

Clearly these structures is entirely arbitrary, though, and as such feels pretty un-Koa-like; or more to the point, they're assuming that we can use question words for affective value (NB apparent questions with explanation points at the end), which I'm not at all sure is true. I really want something solidly, natively Koa to express a concept like this. So what is a statement like "What a warm day!" really saying?

I'm pretty sure that there are two things going on here from a Koa standpoint: we're pointing something out (presentative - vo), and we're expressing that that thing is unexpected (mirative - ho). How exactly to combine these into a sentence, though? If it were a complete clause, somehow it would feel simpler:

vo ta ho lalu kali!
PRES 3SG MIR sing beautiful
"how beautifully she sings!"

Literally this is something like "Whoa, look, she sings beautifully!" ...which sounds pretty much perfect for my warm day: "Whoa, look, it's a warm day!" So I'm happy with that. But again, how exactly to say it? There's a parallel structure to the preceding example:

vo ti pai i ho lami!
PRES DEM day FIN MIR warm
"my, but this day is warm!"

...and that's fine, but it's so much wordier, so much more...syntaxful...than the English expression and, I think, than the emotional situation requires or suggests. And after all we can say things like

vo ka ávale se
PRES DEF key 2SG
"here's your keys"

with no verb in sight. So what if we combine the relevant particles into a compound that's tailor-made for this specific affective situation: voho?

voho pai lami!
PRES-MIR day warm
"what a warm day!"

We could potentially even use this for clauses with a finite verb, I think, maybe?

voho ta lalu kali!
PRES-MIR 3SG sing beautiful
"how beautifully she sings!"

and even

voho ti pai i lami!
PRES-MIR DEM day FIN warm
"my, but this day is warm!"

This also gives us a lovely new exclamatory word which is satisfyingly deeply rooted in the particle system, voho! "whoa!" I wonder if this could even be a predicate, meaning...what, exactly? Unexpected? Noteworthy? Noteworthily unexpected? Unexpectedly noteworthy? I think I may like it!

to pai i lami mo voho
DEM day FIN warm SIM noteworthy
"it was an unexpectedly warm day"

I mean, if we don't do that then voho ends up having to mean something else, and we potentially encounter sentences like

voho voho púano
PRES-MIR fashion-sense bad.AUG
"what dreadful taste"

which would clearly be much too silly...beyond which I'm all for accidentally creating predicates that end up being both useful and internally motivated. So there it is!

(Okay, no, I know, "taste" wouldn't be expressed monomorphemically like that, it was just a joke. It would be something like...hm...kopavapíta, if pita meant "like" or "appreciate": "quality of that which is habitually liked!")


Quantitative Verse References

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Over time I've collected a few references to quantitative verse forms from different poetic traditions. The primary feature of these systems is that syllable weight is the defining measure of verse, rather than patterns of stress or syllable counting.
I'm sure there are some traditions I'm missing.

I've never successfully created a poetic system for one of my conlangs. Though Kílta has vowel length, it looks like syllable counting will be the way to go for it, but there are still plenty of experiments to work out.

Quantitative Verse References

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

Over time I've collected a few references to quantitative verse forms from different poetic traditions. The primary feature of these systems is that syllable weight is the defining measure of verse, rather than patterns of stress or syllable counting.
I'm sure there are some traditions I'm missing.

I've never successfully created a poetic system for one of my conlangs. Though Kílta has vowel length, it looks like syllable counting will be the way to go for it, but there are still plenty of experiments to work out.