Archive for April, 2020


Sunday, April 26th, 2020

A future English where fə- is the obligatory accusative prefix. It originates as a phonological reduction of “the fuck out of” as in “I put down the fuck out of this glass.”


Thursday, April 9th, 2020

<i> represents two different vowels if the tittle is a dot, like normal, or a heart.

Detail #394: A Detail in a Language with Subject and Object Verb Marking

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
Let us consider a language that has both of those; let us further consider the language to have two reflexive markers, one for singular subjects, the other for plural subjects.

A further detail: the number congruence for the subject marker follows morphological number (at least almost all of the time), whereas the object marker follows semantic number (so, e.g. 'family', when speaking of the family as a bunch of individuals, will have plural congruence, but when speaking of it as an entity, will have singular congruence).

And the final piece of setup before we get to the thing I want to describe: there are two reflexive markers that can fill the object slot. One for singulars, the other for plurals.

(N.B. the language could conceivably also have duals, but they will not affect the detail I am about to describe, and so I will not mention them any further.)

Now, we can imagine that in some language, a group X having Y as a member  can be expressed as 'X having Y'. For some contexts, this even works in English, so it shouldn't be particularly weird.

However, one could imagine that the particular construction mentioned there gets weird here:
X have-3pl-refl.1sg Y
and, one could even imagine, that this ignores the actual number of Y, that the (1/2/3)pl-refl.1sg affix on certain verbs simply signify 'have/acquire/... as a member or part'.

I considered working this idea into some Dagurib language, since those will, I think, have object congruence, ... however, with the pace at which my current conlangs are being developed, Dagurib might start getting done when I turn 120.

How to Not Verb

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020

Logan Kearsley lived in multilingual Belgium for three years as a child, but didn’t realise other languages were cool before moving back to the anglophone United States, where he started conlanging at a still-young age and eventually studied Russian in high school. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Masters in Linguistics, and has had the opportunity to study a wide variety of languages while working to develop software for teaching and learning foreign languages at the university level and researching language pedagogy.


“Can a language exist without verbs? What would such a language look like?” These are perennial questions in many conlanging communities. They do not, however, have a single unique answer. Whether a language can exist without verbs, or what that question even means, fundamentally depends on how one chooses to define “a verb”–something which is not universal between language or between linguistic theories. Under any given definition of “a verb”, however, a number of different strategies have been investigated by different conlangers over the years for eliminating the category from their languages. In this article, Logan Kearsley surveys some of the strategies that have been tried, with an analysis of which definitions of verblessness they do or do not meet, and provides reference materials and recommendations for other conlangers who may wish to tackle this kind of project themselves.

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