Ŋʒädär: Further with the Reciprocal

July 4th, 2018 by Miekko
It has previously been stated that the reflexive pronoun ŋul- in Ŋʒädär can encode both reflexive and reciprocal meaning, but that the difference is encoded in whether the pronoun is high in the animacy hierarchy (which implies reciprocality) or low (which implies reflexivity). However, no general reciprocal / reflexive distinction was presented.

Also, the various approaches for reciprocality that exist in Ŋʒädär are not entirely trivial, and we'll find that a variety of interesting behaviours happen with regards to it.

1. Lexical Distinctions (intransitive vs. reciprocal vs. reflexive)
Some intransitive verbs have their meaning changed by turning them into reciprocals or reflexives.

 A few examples include
ʒgaŋ(uk)- 'be part of a tribe or family'
talpa-hus ʒgaŋ-sa
talpa-husʒgaŋ-sa
talpa (proper noun)comitativebe affiliated1 sg/(intransitive/3sg)-direct
the Talpa clanwithbelongI
dat ŋul-ır ʒgaŋ-da-z
datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-z
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directdirect
weselvesbelong1 pl

we belong to the same family unit (rather wider than core family, though)

datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-jut
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directinverse
weselvesbelong1 pl
we belong to the same clan

2. Non-object Reciprocal vs. Reflexive distinctions

There is an adverb ıbars, cognate to the -bara suffix. It can signify something along the line of 'in haphazard, random disarray' -
datıbarsban-da
wearoundrun1pl/intransitive
wearoundare running

we are running around / we are running all over the place
It can also be used for transitive verbs to signify e.g. sending things all around, doing something in multiple places, etc. However, it can also signify reciprocality. Some verbs in Ŋʒädär have suppletive forms for different recipients, and with these, for instance, ıbars will signify reciprocality:
 ür karos ıbars kep'är-ür-z
'you give each other gifts'
(note: karos, "gift" is non-count!)
The same holds with other verbs of giving, but also goes with less semantically specific verbs, albeit there is some ambiguity:
sint ıbars vörvör-täs
'they speak over each other/they speak in all directions/they speak random stuff/they argue'

Ŋʒädär: Further with the Reciprocal

July 4th, 2018 by Miekko
It has previously been stated that the reflexive pronoun ŋul- in Ŋʒädär can encode both reflexive and reciprocal meaning, but that the difference is encoded in whether the pronoun is high in the animacy hierarchy (which implies reciprocality) or low (which implies reflexivity). However, no general reciprocal / reflexive distinction was presented.

Also, the various approaches for reciprocality that exist in Ŋʒädär are not entirely trivial, and we'll find that a variety of interesting behaviours happen with regards to it.

1. Lexical Distinctions (intransitive vs. reciprocal vs. reflexive)
Some intransitive verbs have their meaning changed by turning them into reciprocals or reflexives.

 A few examples include
ʒgaŋ(uk)- 'be part of a tribe or family'
talpa-hus ʒgaŋ-sa
talpa-husʒgaŋ-sa
talpa (proper noun)comitativebe affiliated1 sg/(intransitive/3sg)-direct
the Talpa clanwithbelongI
dat ŋul-ır ʒgaŋ-da-z
datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-z
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directdirect
weselvesbelong1 pl

we belong to the same family unit (rather wider than core family, though)

datŋul-ırʒgaŋ-da-jut
weselfplur nombelong1pl/(intransitive/3sg)-directinverse
weselvesbelong1 pl
we belong to the same clan

2. Non-object Reciprocal vs. Reflexive distinctions

There is an adverb ıbars, cognate to the -bara suffix. It can signify something along the line of 'in haphazard, random disarray' -
datıbarsban-da
wearoundrun1pl/intransitive
wearoundare running

we are running around / we are running all over the place
It can also be used for transitive verbs to signify e.g. sending things all around, doing something in multiple places, etc. However, it can also signify reciprocality. Some verbs in Ŋʒädär have suppletive forms for different recipients, and with these, for instance, ıbars will signify reciprocality:
 ür karos ıbars kep'är-ür-z
'you give each other gifts'
(note: karos, "gift" is non-count!)
The same holds with other verbs of giving, but also goes with less semantically specific verbs, albeit there is some ambiguity:
sint ıbars vörvör-täs
'they speak over each other/they speak in all directions/they speak random stuff/they argue'

Language Needed for Fantasy Novel

July 3rd, 2018 by LCS

Description

Jakob E. Fenwick is looking for a conlanger willing to work with him on Silvarian, a language to be used in one or more fantasy novels. It is one of the languages of Mælcöroth, an ancient world with a lost continent sort of feel, inhabited by humans called Avarii “children of the Earth”. Silvarian is the language of an Empire made up of three ancient kingdoms (Valdéronia, Ægalia and Étania), each of which has a long, detailed history and culture. The Silvarians tend to be tall, fair in complexion and live very long lives. They are a people of balance with the natural world and have a great love of trees, waters, mountains, music and poetry, but also have a long history with wars and military.
The language to be developed is Common Silvarian, an a priori language influenced by Old English, Latin, Finnish and Italian, intended to sound exotic, smooth and elegant, yet with a slight imperialistic feel. Maps and names of geographical locations have been established, along with many words, phrases and part of the script. The conlanger is expected to develop this language into a full conlang and orthography. Most of what has been established is open to change, in good communication with the employer.

Employer

Jakob E. Fenwick

Application Period

Open until job filled

Term

There is no specific deadline, but seven months would be a reasonable time-frame.

Compensation

Compensation is $800, but a higher amount can be negotiated. Payment will happen in the form of a deposit of $300 up front, followed by increments that work best for both sides. Should the conlanger wish for more work, including older forms of the language in question and other languages for different cultures in this fictional world, further arrangements can be worked out.
Besides compensation, the conlanger will be credited as a co-creator of the language.

To Apply

Email Jakob E. Fenwick at fenwickbows “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.

Alien Language Needed for Science-Fiction Novel

July 1st, 2018 by LCS

Description

Michael Chorost is looking for a conlanger interested in non-naturalistic languages to create an alien language to be used in a science fiction novel. The aliens are social insect colonies, in which the “body” of each colony is a 100-meter polyhedron filled with billions of larvae that have evolved to act like neurons, while the “hands” are parasitised mammals. The medium of their language is auditory holograms. The human protagonists have to ask this species for help in solving a problem on Earth. Of course, the aliens have a very different experience of space and time than we do, which makes communication with them extremely difficult. The plot revolves around the humans struggling to learn the language well enough to ask for their help.
The language does not have to be extremely elaborate, but it should be enough to give verisimilitude to the humans’ struggles to learn the aliens’ language, and to be concrete about how the negotiation develops over the course of the novel.

Employer

Michael Chorost. Click on the link for more information about the author.

Application Period

Open until job filled

Term

There is no specific deadline—the novel is a work in progress.

Compensation

Compensation is $300, but a higher amount can be negotiated. Payment will happen in two instalments (half up front, half upon completion).
Besides compensation, the language creator will be fully credited for their work.

To Apply

Email Michael Chorost at mikechorost “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.

A Grammar of Eastern Classical Dryadic

July 1st, 2018 by Fiat Lingua

Jesse is 21 years old, and enjoys creating languages as well as his own fantasy worlds and cultures that go with them. As far as natural languages are concerned, he speaks English, Korean, Japanese, Polish, French, and Russian. He has also studied a myriad of other languages to varying degrees including Lithuanian, Kazakh, Turkish, Mandarin, etc.

Abstract

This grammar was presented as Jesse Holmes’ undergraduate thesis at the University of Wrocław, in Poland. It includes a description of the grammar, as well as a description of the orthography and fictional romanization systems, and includes example texts.

Version History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Detail #383: A Tiny Idea about Mixed Alignments

June 28th, 2018 by Miekko
All the low-hanging fruit regarding mixed alignments and alignment in general probably already has been picked (and even cooked into marmalade) by now, but this one has eluded that grasp.

So, consider a system of split alignment whereby the split is conditioned on something like TAM; the usual is of course that present, imperfect, realis, ... are nom-acc, and perfective, past, etc... are absolutive-ergative.

Now, there's an obvious twist to add here: lexical exceptions. A few verbs may have nom-acc in all TAMs, alternatively a few may have erg-abs in all TAMs; possibly, you may have both these in parallel.

Of course, there could also be a separate set of systems that enforce splits anyway: e.g. subclauses might still always have erg-abs, or maybe first person always enforces nom-acc, despite the lexical exceptions.

And finally, of course, over the life-span of a language or the territory over which it is spoken, verbs may migrate from type to type, giving dialectal and historical variation!

Detail #383: A Tiny Idea about Mixed Alignments

June 28th, 2018 by Miekko
All the low-hanging fruit regarding mixed alignments and alignment in general probably already has been picked (and even cooked into marmalade) by now, but this one has eluded that grasp.

So, consider a system of split alignment whereby the split is conditioned on something like TAM; the usual is of course that present, imperfect, realis, ... are nom-acc, and perfective, past, etc... are absolutive-ergative.

Now, there's an obvious twist to add here: lexical exceptions. A few verbs may have nom-acc in all TAMs, alternatively a few may have erg-abs in all TAMs; possibly, you may have both these in parallel.

Of course, there could also be a separate set of systems that enforce splits anyway: e.g. subclauses might still always have erg-abs, or maybe first person always enforces nom-acc, despite the lexical exceptions.

And finally, of course, over the life-span of a language or the territory over which it is spoken, verbs may migrate from type to type, giving dialectal and historical variation!

Sargaĺk: Reciprocality and Reflexives

June 25th, 2018 by Miekko
The Sargaĺk reflexive marker -fuš- is cognate to the reciprocal object markers 'sy(v)-' and '-sus' of Bryatesle, all three going back on a PDBS lexeme 'izguš', signifying 'spirit, soul'. The reflexive marker is a bit more complicated in behaviour than English, and can even be the subject of an embedded verb, e.g. in constructions like
nen manda-tsa tamup-ser-i mar k'an-sepem*-fuš
I thought-from fall-past*-1sg something do-inferential active past-reflexive
I fell from the thought of something self did
I forgot what I did
* marks morphemes that really are participal forms that encode tense as well as evidentiality.

Here we also see how Sargaĺk forms its usual past tense in main clauses: participles (e.g. -ser-) followed by 2nd conjugation morphemes. The subordinated verb is not finite, and so does not have a finite verb morpheme. However, not all constructions use participles, but rather require finite verbs and may have the reflexive marker followed by a person marker.

The reflexive marker also appears when the reflexive action is not done as unto an object, but rather as unto an oblique. In these cases, either an oblique dummy pronoun will appear as well, usually the pronoun corresponding to the person of the subject combined with the suffix -fuš, or the morpheme -fuš will be affixed to an adposition.
nen nəru-fuš lonk-ser-i
I me-at.refl told-past*-1sg
I told of myself

nen iknur oxi-fuš yər(a)-ser-i
I seal skin onto-refl put-past*-1sg
I wrapped myself in the seal skin

Sargaĺk has two main reciprocality markers, '-ant' and '-jivi'.
These are are cognate to the Bryatesle words  'jyg', 'centre, in the middle of' and 'amet', 'guild, private pact'. The PDBS words were something like 'amate' - 'a temporary, loose grouping of people', and 'ʒiɰ̊gu' - 'a pair'.

There are certain differences in their use:
-jivi is mainly used with subjects that actually form a pair, although the pair may also be two groups acting on each other. It can also be used for groups of pairs acting reciprocally within their pairs.

-ant can be used for larger groups with more random interactions, but is also permissible with dual subjects if the interaction is not entirely symmetric.
Like the reflexive, these can also be subjects of embedded verbs.

These do not only go on verbs, but also on a particle that can go after adjectives and nouns. The circumstances under which these markers follow nouns and adjectives will be described below.

When a complement of a verb is a noun, the -jivi may mark that the relation is mutual, e.g.
nista  uvas-jivi k'ivo
they are members of the same seal-hunting team

nista k'omo-jivi k'ivo
they are friends
Adjectives behave similarly:

nista k'omosi-jivi əvo
they are friendly (to each other)

miv-air tobas-air-jivi əvo
the villages are far-recp(apart)
However, if villages A and B are far from village C, it will say
villages A and B village-from C-from far are
miv-air A B miv-rut C-rut tobas-air əvo
('villages A (and) B are far-plur.fem in village C')
If the relation is mutual among a bigger set than two, -jivi is still used, -ant only appearing in this use in some dialects.

The -jivi and -ant morphemes are also entirely missing from Imraj Sargaĺk, which uses a unique system of adpositions for reciprocal constructions.

Sargaĺk: Reciprocality and Reflexives

June 25th, 2018 by Miekko
The Sargaĺk reflexive marker -fuš- is cognate to the reciprocal object markers 'sy(v)-' and '-sus' of Bryatesle, all three going back on a PDBS lexeme 'izguš', signifying 'spirit, soul'. The reflexive marker is a bit more complicated in behaviour than English, and can even be the subject of an embedded verb, e.g. in constructions like
nen manda-tsa tamup-ser-i mar k'an-sepem*-fuš
I thought-from fall-past*-1sg something do-inferential active past-reflexive
I fell from the thought of something self did
I forgot what I did
* marks morphemes that really are participal forms that encode tense as well as evidentiality.

Here we also see how Sargaĺk forms its usual past tense in main clauses: participles (e.g. -ser-) followed by 2nd conjugation morphemes. The subordinated verb is not finite, and so does not have a finite verb morpheme. However, not all constructions use participles, but rather require finite verbs and may have the reflexive marker followed by a person marker.

The reflexive marker also appears when the reflexive action is not done as unto an object, but rather as unto an oblique. In these cases, either an oblique dummy pronoun will appear as well, usually the pronoun corresponding to the person of the subject combined with the suffix -fuš, or the morpheme -fuš will be affixed to an adposition.
nen nəru-fuš lonk-ser-i
I me-at.refl told-past*-1sg
I told of myself

nen iknur oxi-fuš yər(a)-ser-i
I seal skin onto-refl put-past*-1sg
I wrapped myself in the seal skin

Sargaĺk has two main reciprocality markers, '-ant' and '-jivi'.
These are are cognate to the Bryatesle words  'jyg', 'centre, in the middle of' and 'amet', 'guild, private pact'. The PDBS words were something like 'amate' - 'a temporary, loose grouping of people', and 'ʒiɰ̊gu' - 'a pair'.

There are certain differences in their use:
-jivi is mainly used with subjects that actually form a pair, although the pair may also be two groups acting on each other. It can also be used for groups of pairs acting reciprocally within their pairs.

-ant can be used for larger groups with more random interactions, but is also permissible with dual subjects if the interaction is not entirely symmetric.
Like the reflexive, these can also be subjects of embedded verbs.

These do not only go on verbs, but also on a particle that can go after adjectives and nouns. The circumstances under which these markers follow nouns and adjectives will be described below.

When a complement of a verb is a noun, the -jivi may mark that the relation is mutual, e.g.
nista  uvas-jivi k'ivo
they are members of the same seal-hunting team

nista k'omo-jivi k'ivo
they are friends
Adjectives behave similarly:

nista k'omosi-jivi əvo
they are friendly (to each other)

miv-air tobas-air-jivi əvo
the villages are far-recp(apart)
However, if villages A and B are far from village C, it will say
villages A and B village-from C-from far are
miv-air A B miv-rut C-rut tobas-air əvo
('villages A (and) B are far-plur.fem in village C')
If the relation is mutual among a bigger set than two, -jivi is still used, -ant only appearing in this use in some dialects.

The -jivi and -ant morphemes are also entirely missing from Imraj Sargaĺk, which uses a unique system of adpositions for reciprocal constructions.

Update on the Grammar Writing Process VIII

June 18th, 2018 by carsten

I wrote earlier this month that I had been revising the index of my Ayeri grammar. I also noticed that a discussion of verbs with predicative complements like tav- ‘become’, maya- ‘feel’, etc. has been missing so far. I added those things yesterday. This also means that the manuscript is basically finished since it should now include everything I meant to discuss, and it should be rather presentable. However, hold your horses, it still needs another round of proofreading to weed out mistakes that have crept in due to adding and deleting index tags from the source files, as well as mistakes which are due to my not being a native English speaker, or just plain lapses.