Archive for June, 2019

One of these things…

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Here is a picture of my cat:

Cat in the line with flowerpots
One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong. Can you tell me which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?

That sounds like a translation challenge! In Kenda Soro:

ŋiri
ŋiri
PL
koyonda
koyo=nda
this=SRC
idiridu
idiri=du
others=GOAL
naravu.
nara=vu
one=NOT
One of these is not like the others.

ŋiri
ŋiri
PL
koyonda
koyo=nda
this=SRC
kozos
kozo=s
here=LOC
nara
nara
one
ŋodose.
ŋodo=se
wrong=STAY
One of these is wrongly here.

ŋiri
ŋiri
PL
koyonda
koyo=nda
this=SRC
idiridu
idiri=du
others=GOAL
naravuza
nara=vu=za
one=NOT=PATH
evihi
e=vi=hi
3PL.IN=OUT=POT
Can be told which one is not like the others

zimivito
zimi=vi=to
music=OUT=STOP
tileya?
tileya
before
before the music stops?

Bryatesle: Adpositions vs. Location and some thoughts on Subjecthood and Adpositions

Thursday, June 27th, 2019
I will be talking about a technical notion of subject for a lot of this post, but at times, I will need to also refer to a less technical notion of subject. Not quite topic, since it's clearly not a role that can be filled by any old NP, nor necessary is it the topical NP. It rather is some vague notion of the quality that distinguishes the NP which in some way is active, whose state or change thereof the verb describes or whose active part in the interaction with some other NP or itself is expressed by the verb. Subjects are defined by certain subjecthood tests, but would almost all exhibit that vague notion (except maybe the subjects of passive verbs), but not all nouns that exhibit these vague notions are strict subjects, nor would pass subjecthood tests.

I will call any NP that carries these vague notions - including proper subjects - subjectids, and any subjectid that is not a subject is a subjectoid.

Proto-BDS did not strictly speaking have grammatical subjects, and their evolution in all the daughter languages showcases traces of the pre-subject state of the language. This statement requires a rather technical notion of what a subject even is, but for now, let's look at what NPs in Bryatesle with any kind of certainty are proper subjects, starting at the most certain:
1st and 2nd person pronouns that trigger verb congruence
proper nouns pertaining to humans that trigger verb congruence
These are, in all analyses, beyond doubt  as far as subjecthood goes.
Third person pronouns with human referents that trigger verb congruence are almost certain to be subjects as well
Here, congruence only really helps determine those cases where explicit congruence is present, e.g. plurals or non-neuters. (The neuter congruence is in fact a kind of zero congruence, as can be seen with the many instances where a verb gets neuter congruence despite no neuter argument being present).

A verb lacking a subject does not necessarily signify that no one or nothing is doing that, or even that who- or whatever is doing is not present in the clause. It simply means there is no noun phrase present with certain syntactical properties - it cannot control reflexives, it cannot undergo certain syntactical operations, it cannot be relativized, etc.

Now, this lax subjectness can be seen with inanimate masculine or feminine subjects:
aryktëk-utë--tyrn-ai
winteryouaccRESLTkill3sg neuter
winteryou
(will)kill

winter will kill you
The non-subjectness of aryk, winter, is not obvious from the example above, but  if we change the structure of the clause a bit we find for instance, the following permissible construction:
ark-ity tëk-u të-tyrn-ai

ark-itytëk-u-tyrn-ai
winterABLyouACCRSLTkill3sg neuter
winter-fromyou
(will)kill
winter will kill you
It turns out most inanimate nouns can be somewhat subject-like even in the ablative and dative cases.

A similar lack of subjecthood even occurs with intransitive verbs, and we find, for instance, that verbs like 'cease, end', 'begin' or 'last' basically can take an inanimate subjectoid in any case, but is more picky with the case marking on animate subjects. Plural animates may also behave as subjectoids at times, and this seems to correlate with the extent to which the plural animates act as a group or as a bunch of independent agents. Funnily enough, the 'independent agents' end of the spectrum behaves more like inanimate subjectoids than like animate subjects; it seems there is, among Bryatesle speakers a sense that the less internally organized a plural NP is, the less it is like an animate NP.

Neuter nouns fall even lower, however, on the rank of animacy, than inanimate feminine and masculine nouns, and it seems this is the reason why a separate ergative construction has emerged specifically for them. The assumption has been so strong when parsing that a neuter noun is an object if the verb is not intransitive. We shall divert our attention for a while to the formation of the ergative case:

Neuter nouns, when subjects of transitive verbs, take a masculine nominative pronoun as a particle. This pronoun is somewhat phonologically reduced, and comes immediately before the noun. Adjectives preceding the noun mark masculine congruence.

A piece of evidence that quirky case subjectoids are proper subjects in Bryatesle emerge in some dialects: quirky case neuter noun subjects of ~transitive verbs in fact also take the masculine pronoun – in some dialects in the appropriate quirky case, in some only the noun (and adjectives!) are marked for the appropriate quirky case. This could arguably be called 'quirky ergative case'.

Now that we have looked at the notions of subjectids and subjectoids, let's delve further into a different relation that oftentimes is one between two nouns; that encoded by adpositions. An adposition can relate not just a verb to a noun, e.g. telling the location of a verb's occurrence, but also of nouns related to that verb, or even more specifically, telling us about the location or direction of a noun. Like with subjectids, we sometimes get nouns displaced from their adposition, either due to them being fronted as topics, or due to some other noun being more strongly attracted to the adposition. Maybe we could name this relation anchors in lack of any better term. We get a similar set of anchors, anchoroids, anchorids. 

The oblique/obliquid/obliquoid generally sort of is analogous to the object of a verb phrase, but sometimes, an adposition also has something similar to a subject as well - e.g. in simple statements of where something is - "John is in Western Papua". In English - and mostly in Bryatesle - such NPs are not just similar to subjects, they are subjects. However, we do get situations where the notional subject of the adpositional phrase is not the subject of the VP:
I put the bottles in the refrigerator
The children found berries in the forest
Bryatesle has a tendency of not wanting to have the topic be the object of an adposition, but it also has a tendency of not wanting to have adpositions without NPs. Thus, if we were to topicalize 'refrigerator', we would get the following transformations:
I put [bottle.acc.] [[refrigerator.dat.def] in]
refrigerator.dat.def I [put bottle.acc] [[_____(.dat.def)] in]
refrigerator.dat.def I [Ø →] [[put bottle.dat] in] 
Secondary case is not as closely tied to morphosyntax as primary case is, and so does not carry over, whereas the primary case is morphosyntactical in nature, and therefore the erstwhile 'subject' of the postposition now does adopt the case the object previously had, but usually remains on the left-hand side of the adposition.

In some sense, verbs and objects behave in a similar manner here: verbs push certain types of subjectids away from being actual subjects, but rather some kind of oblique argument with subject-like properties. Somethings, postpositions push anchorids away from being anchors and into being oblique objects with anchor-like properties.

However, looking at it from a different direction they seem very different:
Verbs permit non-subject subjectoid nouns to be parsed as agents, and do not require syntactic gaps to be filled. Postpositions do not permit gaps, but permit anchors to become objects in order to fill them.

This treatment is probably a bit too technical, but this should be read as a policy statement rather than an actual grammatical treatment. This is a post clearing up some of my thoughts on this issue, attempting to form a coherent idea of the Bryatesle subjects

Bryatesle: Adpositions vs. Location and some thoughts on Subjecthood and Adpositions

Thursday, June 27th, 2019
I will be talking about a technical notion of subject for a lot of this post, but at times, I will need to also refer to a less technical notion of subject. Not quite topic, since it's clearly not a role that can be filled by any old NP, nor necessary is it the topical NP. It rather is some vague notion of the quality that distinguishes the NP which in some way is active, whose state or change thereof the verb describes or whose active part in the interaction with some other NP or itself is expressed by the verb. Subjects are defined by certain subjecthood tests, but would almost all exhibit that vague notion (except maybe the subjects of passive verbs), but not all nouns that exhibit these vague notions are strict subjects, nor would pass subjecthood tests.

I will call any NP that carries these vague notions - including proper subjects - subjectids, and any subjectid that is not a subject is a subjectoid.

Proto-BDS did not strictly speaking have grammatical subjects, and their evolution in all the daughter languages showcases traces of the pre-subject state of the language. This statement requires a rather technical notion of what a subject even is, but for now, let's look at what NPs in Bryatesle with any kind of certainty are proper subjects, starting at the most certain:
1st and 2nd person pronouns that trigger verb congruence
proper nouns pertaining to humans that trigger verb congruence
These are, in all analyses, beyond doubt  as far as subjecthood goes.
Third person pronouns with human referents that trigger verb congruence are almost certain to be subjects as well
Here, congruence only really helps determine those cases where explicit congruence is present, e.g. plurals or non-neuters. (The neuter congruence is in fact a kind of zero congruence, as can be seen with the many instances where a verb gets neuter congruence despite no neuter argument being present).

A verb lacking a subject does not necessarily signify that no one or nothing is doing that, or even that who- or whatever is doing is not present in the clause. It simply means there is no noun phrase present with certain syntactical properties - it cannot control reflexives, it cannot undergo certain syntactical operations, it cannot be relativized, etc.

Now, this lax subjectness can be seen with inanimate masculine or feminine subjects:
aryktëk-utë--tyrn-ai
winteryouaccRESLTkill3sg neuter
winteryou
(will)kill

winter will kill you
The non-subjectness of aryk, winter, is not obvious from the example above, but  if we change the structure of the clause a bit we find for instance, the following permissible construction:
ark-ity tëk-u të-tyrn-ai

ark-itytëk-u-tyrn-ai
winterABLyouACCRSLTkill3sg neuter
winter-fromyou
(will)kill
winter will kill you
It turns out most inanimate nouns can be somewhat subject-like even in the ablative and dative cases.

A similar lack of subjecthood even occurs with intransitive verbs, and we find, for instance, that verbs like 'cease, end', 'begin' or 'last' basically can take an inanimate subjectoid in any case, but is more picky with the case marking on animate subjects. Plural animates may also behave as subjectoids at times, and this seems to correlate with the extent to which the plural animates act as a group or as a bunch of independent agents. Funnily enough, the 'independent agents' end of the spectrum behaves more like inanimate subjectoids than like animate subjects; it seems there is, among Bryatesle speakers a sense that the less internally organized a plural NP is, the less it is like an animate NP.

Neuter nouns fall even lower, however, on the rank of animacy, than inanimate feminine and masculine nouns, and it seems this is the reason why a separate ergative construction has emerged specifically for them. The assumption has been so strong when parsing that a neuter noun is an object if the verb is not intransitive. We shall divert our attention for a while to the formation of the ergative case:

Neuter nouns, when subjects of transitive verbs, take a masculine nominative pronoun as a particle. This pronoun is somewhat phonologically reduced, and comes immediately before the noun. Adjectives preceding the noun mark masculine congruence.

A piece of evidence that quirky case subjectoids are proper subjects in Bryatesle emerge in some dialects: quirky case neuter noun subjects of ~transitive verbs in fact also take the masculine pronoun – in some dialects in the appropriate quirky case, in some only the noun (and adjectives!) are marked for the appropriate quirky case. This could arguably be called 'quirky ergative case'.

Now that we have looked at the notions of subjectids and subjectoids, let's delve further into a different relation that oftentimes is one between two nouns; that encoded by adpositions. An adposition can relate not just a verb to a noun, e.g. telling the location of a verb's occurrence, but also of nouns related to that verb, or even more specifically, telling us about the location or direction of a noun. Like with subjectids, we sometimes get nouns displaced from their adposition, either due to them being fronted as topics, or due to some other noun being more strongly attracted to the adposition. Maybe we could name this relation anchors in lack of any better term. We get a similar set of anchors, anchoroids, anchorids. 

The oblique/obliquid/obliquoid generally sort of is analogous to the object of a verb phrase, but sometimes, an adposition also has something similar to a subject as well - e.g. in simple statements of where something is - "John is in Western Papua". In English - and mostly in Bryatesle - such NPs are not just similar to subjects, they are subjects. However, we do get situations where the notional subject of the adpositional phrase is not the subject of the VP:
I put the bottles in the refrigerator
The children found berries in the forest
Bryatesle has a tendency of not wanting to have the topic be the object of an adposition, but it also has a tendency of not wanting to have adpositions without NPs. Thus, if we were to topicalize 'refrigerator', we would get the following transformations:
I put [bottle.acc.] [[refrigerator.dat.def] in]
refrigerator.dat.def I [put bottle.acc] [[_____(.dat.def)] in]
refrigerator.dat.def I [Ø →] [[put bottle.dat] in] 
Secondary case is not as closely tied to morphosyntax as primary case is, and so does not carry over, whereas the primary case is morphosyntactical in nature, and therefore the erstwhile 'subject' of the postposition now does adopt the case the object previously had, but usually remains on the left-hand side of the adposition.

In some sense, verbs and objects behave in a similar manner here: verbs push certain types of subjectids away from being actual subjects, but rather some kind of oblique argument with subject-like properties. Somethings, postpositions push anchorids away from being anchors and into being oblique objects with anchor-like properties.

However, looking at it from a different direction they seem very different:
Verbs permit non-subject subjectoid nouns to be parsed as agents, and do not require syntactic gaps to be filled. Postpositions do not permit gaps, but permit anchors to become objects in order to fill them.

This treatment is probably a bit too technical, but this should be read as a policy statement rather than an actual grammatical treatment. This is a post clearing up some of my thoughts on this issue, attempting to form a coherent idea of the Bryatesle subjects

Bryatesle: Comparison (An Introduction)

Monday, June 24th, 2019
Bryatesle has some interesting uses of its case system with regard to comparison. It sort of falls in several categories: it has both fixed case and derived case. The fixed case is of a locative type, viz. the ablative. Strictly speaking, though, the Bryatesle ablative is only marginally locative, so we can pretend that this is not comparison of the locative type at all.

In line with not considering it a locative type, the verbs used are not of a locational nature, i.e. 'grow', 'hold', 'continue, keep doing', 'cease, run out', ''. The quality may be a finite verb in a subordinate syntactical position, a noun or an adjective after the contextual preposition ('du') or a more complex predicate.

In addition to the ablative case, the secondary subject or reciprocal object or partitive case will be further applied to the compared nouns, depending on what is being compared.

The comparative clauses generally begin with the verb that signals comparison, one out of the following:
seler ('grow', atelic)
tuzla ('remain', atelic)
agza ('continue', no specific telicity, and the telicity morphology shifts in different persons)
symta ('win, "beat"', telic)
If the subject is compared, the verb will be congruent with it, but if some other NPs are compared, this verb will invariantly be 3 p. sg. n. This reduces the possibility of distinguishing the two with 3 sg. n. nouns.

Congruent examples:
Selei Talim Aris-ëta-nisr valm selei
grow Talim from-Aris-2nd_subj old reach
Talim is older than Aris
Selei Aris Talim-ity-nirs perxai
grow Aris Talim-abl-2nd_subj hear_3sg
Aris hears (more) than Talim
Implicit superior quantities or qualities of comparison
Seler Aris ard-ë-sus perxai
grow Aris doctrine-acc-recipr.obj. hear
Aris hears (more) than the (explicit) doctrine
With no object or other complement, the verb 'seler' signifies increase in the quantity or quality:
Seler Aris tasdai
Aris knows more (now than before?)
With 'tuzla' instead:
tuzler Aris tasdai
It would imply  that Aris knows more than he lets on, or has told us.

Cross-cutting comparison
Cross-cutting comparison is when the comparanda are not of the same type. In English, we could go for something like 'Elrem is the chieftain of more people than the number of people that hate Avkir".

I have not been able (in, admittedly, a short time) to come up with any smooth English examples. Bryatesle's comparison system handles these systems using two separate systems woven together: a resumptive pronoun approach, and the secondary case system.

Tuzla Elrem kjevam-dureh resren-isr ka tërsi tekjëz raga-rsi-nyx Avkir-ak  tejleis
remain Elrem many-abl chieftain*-2nd-sub gives
they-them.part people-pl.abl.-2nd-subj Avkir-acc  hate-3pl
Elrem give from many chieftain, they exceed the people who hate Avkir.
We also find here a special use of the verb 'give', signifying 'to be something to someone'. The complement might, due to the complex clause structure, actually omit the secondary subject marking that otherwise is common for this particular meaning.

Bryatesle: Comparison (An Introduction)

Monday, June 24th, 2019
Bryatesle has some interesting uses of its case system with regard to comparison. It sort of falls in several categories: it has both fixed case and derived case. The fixed case is of a locative type, viz. the ablative. Strictly speaking, though, the Bryatesle ablative is only marginally locative, so we can pretend that this is not comparison of the locative type at all.

In line with not considering it a locative type, the verbs used are not of a locational nature, i.e. 'grow', 'hold', 'continue, keep doing', 'cease, run out', ''. The quality may be a finite verb in a subordinate syntactical position, a noun or an adjective after the contextual preposition ('du') or a more complex predicate.

In addition to the ablative case, the secondary subject or reciprocal object or partitive case will be further applied to the compared nouns, depending on what is being compared.

The comparative clauses generally begin with the verb that signals comparison, one out of the following:
seler ('grow', atelic)
tuzla ('remain', atelic)
agza ('continue', no specific telicity, and the telicity morphology shifts in different persons)
symta ('win, "beat"', telic)
If the subject is compared, the verb will be congruent with it, but if some other NPs are compared, this verb will invariantly be 3 p. sg. n. This reduces the possibility of distinguishing the two with 3 sg. n. nouns.

Congruent examples:
Selei Talim Aris-ëta-nisr valm selei
grow Talim from-Aris-2nd_subj old reach
Talim is older than Aris
Selei Aris Talim-ity-nirs perxai
grow Aris Talim-abl-2nd_subj hear_3sg
Aris hears (more) than Talim
Implicit superior quantities or qualities of comparison
Seler Aris ard-ë-sus perxai
grow Aris doctrine-acc-recipr.obj. hear
Aris hears (more) than the (explicit) doctrine
With no object or other complement, the verb 'seler' signifies increase in the quantity or quality:
Seler Aris tasdai
Aris knows more (now than before?)
With 'tuzla' instead:
tuzler Aris tasdai
It would imply  that Aris knows more than he lets on, or has told us.

Cross-cutting comparison
Cross-cutting comparison is when the comparanda are not of the same type. In English, we could go for something like 'Elrem is the chieftain of more people than the number of people that hate Avkir".

I have not been able (in, admittedly, a short time) to come up with any smooth English examples. Bryatesle's comparison system handles these systems using two separate systems woven together: a resumptive pronoun approach, and the secondary case system.

Tuzla Elrem kjevam-dureh resren-isr ka tërsi tekjëz raga-rsi-nyx Avkir-ak  tejleis
remain Elrem many-abl chieftain*-2nd-sub gives
they-them.part people-pl.abl.-2nd-subj Avkir-acc  hate-3pl
Elrem give from many chieftain, they exceed the people who hate Avkir.
We also find here a special use of the verb 'give', signifying 'to be something to someone'. The complement might, due to the complex clause structure, actually omit the secondary subject marking that otherwise is common for this particular meaning.

Xuunu Midu

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Xuunu Midu consists of three! documents and a torch.

The following non-ascii characters appear in the torch: ñ (n-tilde) ŋ (eng) ʃ (esh) ʒ (ezh).

Lononne wunnu, taatada deŋgada genne datase. Sejewa yeelele yekeke yeelele deŋga pideli genne monna setasa. Dadannewu sejewali nee yekekeli nee golinnestebo.

Deŋga bududa ceesu lañjawa ceñena gakugesteza xoo yebeda degisteze.

Dadastewa cumona canoba, tene ceñele niikena pee xooʒolinnenosteba nolo dodo. Gakugestewa ceñena soo danna doñjame kundebaya. Yebeda cendo danna daññesa nono.

Ceñena caskujeba, lañja yeejedi soo deŋga yeejedi soo danna seezaya. Yeejena benna kaakadesaya.

Deŋga tonoli noojeze; lañjaka pee yebeda haŋŋido kiidoki dase. Dadastewa cumona gakugestewa ceñena soo doñjamespezaya.

Wospe deŋgada yekekeli cendo tanno.

Xuunu Midu

Congratulations, you are the first person to see my new language, called Xuunu Midu. It is a daughter language, mumblety generations later, of Xunumi Wudu. Nouns have fused with their classifiers and then been reinterpreted to contain noun class markers. Verbs have simplified their auxiliaries into new aspect/tense markers, and the evidentials have fused with the enclitic pronouns and then been simplified into something an 18th century armchair linguist might call decorative.* Pronouns are now explicitly stated when needed. The deictic tags have become a third person animate pronoun set. And consonants and sometimes entire syllables have disappeared leaving behind lengthened vowels.

*I have seen an Aztec grammar that calls evidentials ornamental.

A note on pronounciation. Most letters are more or less IPA. Except, c and j are palatal stops or alveolar-palatal affricates. y is therefore the palatal glide. ñ is the palatal nasal. x is the palatal sibilant (ʃ). Long vowels are written double. z is actually an allophone of s (and ʒ of x) but I am writing them separately because in another few generations, after initial s becomes h, they will become separate phonemes.

Anyway, I am going to mix grammar and vocabulary a bit.

Vocabulary

Nouns/Adjectives/Verbs/Time Words

budu mouth
cano think or feel or wonder or otherwise engage in mental activity
caskuje be angry
ceñe adult female person, woman
cumu adult male person, man, becomes cumo in plural
da go
dada travel or wander
data fall, come down
deŋga river
degi be, recline
doñjame watch, observe
gakuge wash (transitive), bathe oneself (intransitive)
goli long time, a long period of time
kaakade help, assist with a task
kiido rock, stone
kunde want, wish, need
lañja mountain
lono day
niike nearby, next, neighbor
nooje change, be changed or altered
pide edge, bank or a river
see talk to, speak to, say to
sejewa finishing, west
seta stop, pause in a journey
taatada rain
tanno flow
tene each with a singular noun; every, all with plural nouns
tono path, road
wospe from then on, since then
xooʒoli beautiful
yebe pool, lake
yeeje spirit, deity
yeele person, adult person
yekeke south

The above may or may not take the following suffixes:

Derivational Suffixes

These are closer to the word stem than other suffixes.
=nne turns a noun or adjective or adverb into a verb or a copula; turns a verb into a noun before adding a noun class marker
=no aspectual suffix for becoming, expanding, or contracting. Used with adverbs nolo/nota for more/less so of a quality
=ññe aspectual suffix for starting. Used with adverb nono
=spe aspectual suffix for failing at an intended task
=stewa turns a verb into an adjective describing something that is in the process of Ving
=wa turns a noun into an adjective of association (of the N)

Tense + Evidentiality + Person suffixes for verbs

=ba recent past + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=baya recent past + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject + 3rd person animate object
=sa recent past + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject. Also –za
=saya recent past + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject + 3rd person animate object. Also –zaya
=se recent past + reported + 3rd person inanimate subject. Also –ze
=steba current present + inferred + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=stebo current present + inferred + 3rd person inanimate subject
=steza current present + reported + 3rd person animate or 2nd person plural subject
=steze current present + reported + 3rd person inanimate subject
=za see =sa
=zaya see =saya

Use of tenses/evidentiality/etc

Recent Past is the default tense. Present will be used when wanting to talk about a current or an imminent happening. There is also a zero marked non-past/present which does not mark evidentiality or person and is used for timeless events and past events continuing into the present and future. That is the base form of the verb, used in auxiliary constructions and so on. Reported is used for facts learned by being told or taught and for indirect speech. Direct is used for eyewitnessed events, events one has participated in, one’s own thoughts and feelings, and for direct speech reports. Inferred is used for supposition, reasoning, and deduction, including the deduction of what other people are thinking and feeling.

Noun Class Markers

These are only used on definite nouns. Indefinite nouns don’t get to have one. A noun can take different noun class markers with a corresponding change in meaning.
=da noun class marker for water
=di noun class marker for a spirit or deity
=ka noun class marker for large things, heaps, mounds, etc.
=ki noun class marker for many large things
=le noun class marker for an adult person
=li noun class marker for abstract nouns, paths, and uncountable or immeasurable things
=na noun class marker for multiple people or spirits, i.e. animate plural
=wu noun class marker for time periods and events

Full Pronouns

benna 3rd person animate plural object pronoun
danna 3rd person animate plural subject pronoun
monna 3rd person animate plural non-volitional subject pronoun
xoo relative pronoun for places, where

Postpositions and Adverbs

ceesu at, among, in an area
cendo towards
dodo marks a subordinate clause
haŋŋido around, to around
genne along a path, up and/or down a river, along an edge
nee via, along, with
nolo more and more
nono start (redundant with =ññe)
pee from. Denotes a source or cause or a standard of comparison
soo marks an object when an object needs to be marked
wunnu while, during. Marks a subordinate clause of scene-setting

Other Grammatical Quirks

Nouns in juxtaposition, particularly if the first noun has no noun class marker, make a whole – part construction. As in Sylvia kuuwu ‘Sylvia’s hand’.

Animate nouns include those denoting people, spirits and deities, and celestial objects (which are also spirits). Everything else is considered to be inanimate.

Word Order

XM is SOV where S is a full noun phrase. It is OSV where S is a pronoun. If S is divided from V by enough other stuff, it will sometimes be repeated as a pronoun just before the verb. Redundancy is good! Most of the times peripheral phrases (marked by postpositions) will come between the subject and the verb. Sometimes they won’t.

Also, particularly for verbs derived from time words, sometimes there is no stated subject.

O is not always marked by soo. Some pronouns are inherently O, so soo would be redundant. Redundancy is good, but not in this case. Also, if O is inanimate, it isn’t always marked because of course the inanimate argument will be the object.

Since the language is OV, adjectives come before nouns, relative clauses come before the relative pronoun which comes before the noun, and there are many postpositional modifiers. It is also strongly suffixing. Auxiliary verbs follow main verbs and aspectual adverbs follow verbs.

=== end of torch ===

And since the LCC7 relay isn’t online anywhere that I can find, here is the translation…

My translation of the previous torch:

As the day was growing*, the rain flowed on the river. Because of the water, those from the west and those from the south stopped at the riverbank as well. Travel to the west and to the south would probably be using for a long time. (take a long time)

At the mouth of the river was the lake where the mountain women bathed.

From Kalin: every sister will probably be more beautiful that the one before. However, the man of the quiet mountain was watching the women, and starting towards the lake and the place the women’s husbands will probably begin to hate.

The sisters spoke with the creator of the mountain and were angry. The spirit of the river helped them.

The river changed course and the men who went towards Quiet Mountain failed to watch the women who were bathing.

And the spirit of the mountain covered the lake all the way to the rocks. After which, the river is flowing only to the south.

*I love this metaphor!

My changes for translation purposes and cultural make-sense-of-it-ness:

During the day, rain fell on the river. Those from the west and those from the south stopped at the riverbank. Travel to the west and to the south takes a long time (inference).

At the mouth of the river was the lake where the mountain women bathe.

The traveling men thought, every woman was more beautiful than her neighbors (inference). They wanted to watch the bathing women. They started towards the lake.

The women were angry and spoke with the mountain spirit and the river spirit. The spirits helped them.

Boulders from the mountain went into the lake and the river’s path changed. The traveling men failed to watch the bathing women.

Since then, the river flows south.

Inavewa

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Inavewa was very short-lived. One neat thing it had was a verbal paradigm with a 1st/2nd vs 3rd person distinction. There was also a collective vs separated (not collective) plural. It exists in two documents: A google doc and a google sheet with vocabulary.

Since that was so short, here is the song that convinced me that it really was okay to have multiple ŋ’s in a word.

August 2018 Precursor to KS

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

This is all that exists. Think of it as a look at how I brainstorm. Note that I really do make up body parts very early on in the process. Also, this still has evidentiality, which I discarded for KS. The next language will definitely have to have evidentiality!

This is also where I decided to have an ‘r’ already.

Gary’s Sentences

1. The sun shines. HABITUAL

2. The sun is shining. PROGRESSIVE

Light is what moves: sele

Motion is OUT, and from contact with the SRC

Sun is the source: loo

loho=ru sele=vi

Is light, singular, multiple, or collective? Coll.

loho=ru sele=viyi

Tense is non-past

ADV for emphasizing habitual: lena or lenaka

loho=ru sele=viyi lenaka

(actually, can appear in any order)

lenaka lohoru seleviyi

seleviyi lenaka lohoru

etc.

3. The sun shone. Distant PAST

5. The sun has been shining. RECENT PAST PROG

loho=ru sele=viyi (Non-past)


SGMULTCOLL
NPvivenaviyi
DIRvelavelanaveleyi
INFvibovibonavibuyi
REPvitevitenavitiyi

loho=ru sele=veleyi

4. The sun will shine. FUTURE

7. The sun will shine tomorrow. FUTURE

loho=ru sele=viyi rerehe (in the future)

loho=ru sele=viyi lanalan (tomorrow)

6. The sun is shining again. ITERATIVE

loho=ru sele=viyi rus (again)

8. The sun shines brightly. adverb

9. The bright sun shines. adjective

loho=ru sele=viyi luluvu

luvu loho=ru sele=viyi

loho=ru luvu sele =viyi

If Subject NP is complex:

luvu sele lohoru ma=viyi

ma=viyi loho=ru luvu sele

10. The sun is rising now. PROGRESSIVE/PATH

loho=ŋi sono (up/head) lala (now)

cājkigabellyinside
cēmkimawaistmiddle
ciēlkilifacesurface
hālgalachestfront
hēññgeŋihair
hīñgiŋinosepoint
hōrrgoroheel
jāonginubutt
jētgitepalm
jōlgiloknees
kāckakenails
kāenkeneflesh
kēmkemefinger
kīwkibiskin
kōλkolineck
ku(vu)hand
lēŋŋleŋeguts
līwlibinerves
lōhlogoelbows
lōmmlomoforearm
mācmakeliver
māllmalaheart
mānmanablood
mōlmolowomb
mūñmuŋibones
ñāmŋimashouldernext to
nīmnimitoe
nōmnomowrist
nōsnosopenis
ŋākŋakabackback
ōrwworulegs
piēxpiziteeth
rēxreziurine
rōñrunueye
sārsaraears
sāttsatabody
sērjserinavel
sēsssesekidneys
sōnsonoheadtop
tāktakaarms
tāltalavagina
tāwrtarumouth
þākdakathigh
þēlldelelung
tīrrtiriankle
ūsnwunutongue
ūxwuzianus
wānnbanafootbottom
wērberename
wūnbunusweat
wūtbutushit

11. All the people shouted.

12. Some of the people shouted.

13. Many of the people shouted twice.

thing moving: sound

source: people (all, some, many)

type of motion: OUT

yele = people

animate nouns get explicit plurals: yele, yena, yeliyi

a shout, a cry, a loud noise: rul

yeleyi=ru rulu=veleyi (all at once)

yena=ru rulu=velana (separately)

all = tene + sg

some = peve + mult

many = nana + mult

tene yele=ru rulu=veleyi/velana

peve yena=ru rulu=veleyi/velana

nana yena=ru rulu=velana yene (twice)

14. Happy people often shout.

hanada yena=ru rulu=velana lenaka

15. The kitten jumped up.

16. The kitten jumped onto the table.

yirele = kitten

motion = VIA and up

yirele=ŋela sono tebe=s (onto the table)

17. My little kitten walked away.

No my in this context

yirele=ŋela peze=no (away) liye=pe > lipe (from me (no contact))

18. It’s raining. & 19. The rain came down.

tatara=ŋeleyi (bana)

20. The kitten is playing in the rain.

tatara=nen yirele=ru gire=ŋi

21. The rain has stopped (falling).

tatara=ŋeleyi toro (bana)

22. Soon the rain will stop.

23. I hope the rain stops soon.

tatara=ŋiyi rehe (soon) toro (stop)

diri=me liye=s / les rehe toro tatara=ŋiyi=ru diri=me

24. Once wild animals lived here.

long ago = lilite

wild animals = pake+yi

here = do=s

lived/dwelled = =ye > past.reported = tiyi

dos lilite pakeyi=tiyi (mara=gi (their home))

li / ri / sa / ma / ye

BE/no motion

ye – yena – yigi

la – lana – leyi

bo – bona -buyi

te – tena – tiyi

Kēpa Sōro

Monday, June 10th, 2019

So back in January, I shared this document with John Quijada. It contains the immediate precursor to Kenda Soro, called Kēpa Sōro. Some changes:

  • No more long vs short vowel distinction
  • Fewer particles, though the same motion particles
  • Changes in what gets marked

For the particles, I specifically got rid of several and renamed =ko to =nda. This was a big improvement, as I have a tendency to add a new particle anytime I have a new relationship to code.

Otherwise the motion particles and the nouns are more or less the same.

About the New Language

Friday, June 7th, 2019

Kēlen is the old language, of course, and it took 20+ years to develop into something more than a few names, words, and phrases.

The New Language started in December of 2012. Here is a timeline:

Sodna-leni (Dec 2012)
This started as an experiment with a small number of verbs encoding different types of motion. Posts tagged for this language.

Sodemadu (Dec 2015)
a better Sodna-leni. Website.

Tessese(ya) (Feb 2016 – Aug 2016)
Then I got fed up with the limitations of a small number of verbs, and created Tesseseya in order to relieve the stress and have some fun. Nuvutani is the first text for an early version of this language. Website.

Xunumi Wudu (Aug 2016-June 2017)
Back to a limited number of verbs (though about 3-4 times as many as Sodemadu) and a better understanding of what I am trying to do. Maybe. Website. Posts tagged for this language.

Xuunu Midu (July/Aug 2017)
an updated XW.

Ciye Sodo (Feb-July 2018)
a better XW.

Inavewa (July 2018)
scrap it all and play a bit

Precursor to KS (Aug 2018)

Kēpa Sōro (Nov 2018)
OK, a limited number of verbs AND the ability to translate into it without too much trouble. Also, allowed ‘r’ in the phonology.

Kenda Soro
a better Kēpa Sōro. See previous posts!

I’ll see over the weekend if I can find some material on the ones that are not on the web.