Archive for November, 2016

Conlangery #125: Grammatical Number

Monday, November 7th, 2016
This month we talk about grammatical number. What number distinctions can you make for a language (beyond singular and plural)? What do you mark for number? And how does number interact with agreement and other grammatical systems? We’ll help you with all of that. Top of Show Greeting: Classical Latin (translated and read by Nicholas... Read more »

Dairwueh: Semi-genitive Adjectives

Saturday, November 5th, 2016
In Dairwueh, there is a set of adjectives whose congruence pattern is slightly off. Their behavior differs in one particular spot: for nominative nouns, their marking is masculine genitive. (The one exception is the word sabrin, "unusual, foreign, strange" which is in the feminine plural genitive with nominative nouns).

Not only do these behave slightly oddly within noun phrases (and fail to have comparative marking altogether), they also behave weirdly with copulas.

The main examples that are widespread through Ćwarmin dialects include
koŋsat: last, final, complete
rəmgat: tired
lodat: correct, right, entitled
satpat: sturdy, firm
nestat: ancient
bartat: partial, incomplete, one among many, a few among many
Notice that the -at suffix in all of these is the genitive masculine morpheme, so the roots will consist of the adjective without that suffix.  Less widely distributed examples that are found in the capital area prestige dialect are
sxundat: wafer-thin
ropsat: bloody (from 'rapəs', blood, from *rrabx, bleed)
julkat: lazy
silgat: rank, rancid
xugat: brave
xsəlrat: avid, skilled, obsessed
tagrat: content
nalkat: sad
rusnat: smooth
With the copula, this type of adjective is marked by the preposition 'lo', when marking having that quality, and by the preposition 'əre' when marking acquiring that quality, and no congruence marking with regards to gender or number appears. The adjective then is in the masculine instrumental (-ŋa) with 'lo', and masculine accusative (-na) with 'əre'.


Friday, November 4th, 2016

Make an alt-history where the expansion of the horse-mounted Indo-Europeans is thwarted by a different tribe whose advantage was the taming of the mountain-bike. Words that can be reconstructed for the proto-language obviously include various bike parts. However, due to this tribe, Indo-European vocabulary also begins to contain terminology for how silly a man wearing bike-shorts looks.

Detail #316: An Indirect Imperative

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
Have a way of inflecting imperative-like forms for the person who gave the command and for the time and aspect of the command-giving. One possibility would be for this to be morphologically related to causatives.

Dairwueh demonstratives

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
Dairwueh has two and a half level of demonstratives.
The two basic ones are 'this', av, and 'that', xev. The third, ŋev, is only distinguished in the nominative and genitive, and otherwise conflates with xev. The basic inflections are:
xev, xejxenaxenarxenatxeŋa
ŋev, ŋej

av, ajanaanaranataŋa
There are some further related adverbials derived from the same roots:
xeke - there
ŋeke -
there (even further away)
ajke - here

xekem - thither
ŋekem - thither
ajkem - hither

xeŋesa - from there
xeŋesa - from even further away
aŋesa - from here
There are also verbs deriving from these roots, although ŋe- entirely is absent from these.
xevin - to go towards there
avin - to come towards here

xevki - to arrive there
avki - to arrive here

xeŋsin - to leave from there
aŋsin - to leave from here

xeski - to exit an enclosed volume, such as a house
ŋaski - to exit an enclosed volume, such as a house, in which the speaker is located
These four infinitives ending in -ki are the only Dairwueh infinitives to end in vowels. Beyond the verbs above there are also causatives, which are the main ways of expressing 'bringing' something:
xevlik - to bring there
avlik - to bring here
Avlik is mostly common as an imperative, avlu, avlisu, but appears in other forms as well. Xevlik in all its forms is by all counts significantly more common.

A Naming Language

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Jeffrey Henning is a language creator who is probably most famous for creating and maintaining the website Before it shut down, Langmaker was the undisputed number one destination for all things related to language creation. Langmaker was an outgrowth of Jeffrey Henning’s Model Languages newsletter, which was one of the first communities (in the broadest sense of the term) for language creation enthusiasts.


In this essay, Jeffrey Henning describes how to create a naming language. Unlike a full conlang, which has its own grammar and syntax, a naming language is a phonology coupled with rules for compounding that can, among other things, allow a novelist to generate realistic, language-like names for characters, towns, regions, and geographical elements. Since its first publication in 1995 it’s continued to serve as a useful tool for world builders and game makers—and has also served as a jumping off point for many conlangers.

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