(C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 10:04

Void wrote:
Tue 28 Nov 2017, 20:24
A newbie question, but still: if my language is generally VSO, and has postpositions, would it be classed as a head-initial language?
It depends on the head directionality of other phrases, I'd say. VSO=head-initial. Postpositions=head-final. So you'd have to look what it does with it's other phrases to determine which one it uses predominantly.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 10:15

Wouldn't postpositions by their nature indicate (somewhat) a head initial language rather than head final as you say? I mean, head-on versus on-head seems clear that the noun is the head of the "adpositional" phrase in both, with the former using a postposition and thus be head initial?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 12:51

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 10:15
Wouldn't postpositions by their nature indicate (somewhat) a head initial language rather than head final as you say? I mean, head-on versus on-head seems clear that the noun is the head of the "adpositional" phrase in both, with the former using a postposition and thus be head initial?
The adposition is the head of the adpositional phrase. AFAIK, head-initial languages tend to have prepositions, and head-final - postpositions. SOV languages tend to have postpositions.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 17:58

Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 10:15
Wouldn't postpositions by their nature indicate (somewhat) a head initial language rather than head final as you say? I mean, head-on versus on-head seems clear that the noun is the head of the "adpositional" phrase in both, with the former using a postposition and thus be head initial?
There is no consensus about what are the heads in certain phrases in general linguistics. Some say it is the thing that carries the lexical informaton (e.g. the noun in a prepositional phrase) some say it is the word that determines the syntactic distribution of the phrase, which would be the preposition in a prepositional phrase.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:01

gestaltist wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 12:51
Thrice Xandvii wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 10:15
Wouldn't postpositions by their nature indicate (somewhat) a head initial language rather than head final as you say? I mean, head-on versus on-head seems clear that the noun is the head of the "adpositional" phrase in both, with the former using a postposition and thus be head initial?
The adposition is the head of the adpositional phrase. AFAIK, head-initial languages tend to have prepositions, and head-final - postpositions. SOV languages tend to have postpositions.
So it's not the noun (or verb) that's the "head"?? That seems a bit confusing!
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:26

elemtilas wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:01
gestaltist wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 12:51
The adposition is the head of the adpositional phrase. AFAIK, head-initial languages tend to have prepositions, and head-final - postpositions. SOV languages tend to have postpositions.
So it's not the noun (or verb) that's the "head"?? That seems a bit confusing!
There are competing definitions for "head"; or, rather, it's probably more profitable to believe "head word of a phrase" is a polysemous term in linguistics, like "theme".
I re-select the definition I'm going to use for each conlang.
For Arpien, the definition is:
"The head word of a phrase is the word that determines which distributional class ('part-of-speech') the other word(s) of the phrase must come from, and the distributional class the entire phrase will have."
That means, among other things, that adpositions are the heads of adpositional phrases.
Edit: The other constituent of the adpositional phrase must be a noun-phrase; and the entire adpositional phrase acts like either an adverb phrase or an adjective phrase.

It also means that in the phrase "red apple" the head word is "red".
Edit: Because "red" is an adjective, the phrase "red X" is grammatical only when X is a noun-phrase; and then the whole phrase "red X" acts like a noun-phrase.

For some uses, some grammarians say the "head word" is the one which has the same distributional class as the entire phrase;
when using "head word" that way when using that definition of "head-word", they'd say "apple" is the head-word of "red apple".
For my grammar of Arpien, however, that creates a problem, because it would mean most types of phrases don't have head-words.
(Because for most production rules of Arpien, the first constituent and the last constituent and the entire phrase are from three different "parts-of-speech" or "word-classes" or distributional classes.)

Edit: By using the definition I mentioned above for Arpien, I got its grammar to be relentlessly head-final.
In fact, I prefer the definition I just stated when talking about "head-initial" vs "head-final" word-order, of any language, not just my conlang Arpien.

But perhaps a different definition would be preferable when talking about "head-marking" vs "dependent-marking"? Or other linguisticish things we use the word "head" when talking about?
Edit: For instance, if I am not mistaken (and I could be!),
usually when possessive phrases mark the possessor in the genitive case and leave the possessum unmarked, they are said to be "dependent-marked";
but when possessive phrases leave the possessor unmarked, but mark the possessum in the construct state, they are said to be "head-marked".
Last edited by eldin raigmore on Thu 30 Nov 2017, 02:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:12

eldin raigmore wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:26
It also means that in the phrase "red apple" the head word is "red".

when using "head word" that way, they'd say "apple" is the head-word of "red apple".
Hmm. Were ifs and buts was candy and nuts.

To me this sounds like a rather less than useful scheme!

I think I'll crawl back under the Rock of Bliss now! [;)]
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » Thu 30 Nov 2017, 00:32

Void wrote:
Tue 28 Nov 2017, 20:24
A newbie question, but still: if my language is generally VSO, and has postpositions, would it be classed as a head-initial language?
Head-directionality depends on many parameters. Ultimately, you decide the head-directionality based on which parameter(s) is/are more dominant in your conlang.

In my conlang griuskant, head-directionality of compounding is very important. Virtually everything adheres to it including affixations, so according to isahasa relations, griuskant is head-final. However, griuskant has "prepositions", so some linguists will consider it to be head-initial, though this isn't really correct because griuskant languagely uses particles instead of linguistical prepositions. Ie, there are "preposition" particles that can wait and interrupt, so what are they - bidirectional? Hence, I rely on compounding as the main criterion for head-directionality here.

In your case, if that's all the necessary information that you provide, then your conlang would probably be head-final, because usually languages with postpositions are head-final.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Thu 30 Nov 2017, 01:37

elemtilas wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:12
eldin raigmore wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:26
It also means that in the phrase "red apple" the head word is "red".
....
when using "head word" that way, they'd say "apple" is the head-word of "red apple".

Hmm. Were ifs and buts was candy and nuts.
To me this sounds like a rather less than useful scheme!
To you, for all I know, this might be of zero usefulness, though I doubt it could be less! [:)]
As for me, I find linguists easier to understand, if I start out verifying what they mean by that word (whichever word "that word" is) this time.
Early on it helps to suppose it's possible -- maybe not likely, but possible -- they don't mean the same thing some other linguist meant.
Later on it's usually helpful to have identified with which other linguists they do share that definition of that term.

elemtilas wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:12
I think I'll crawl back under the Rock of Bliss now! [;)]
You mean you're just going to stuff the whole chicken back into the egg? [;)]
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Thu 30 Nov 2017, 03:50

eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 30 Nov 2017, 01:37
elemtilas wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:12
eldin raigmore wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 18:26
It also means that in the phrase "red apple" the head word is "red".
....
when using "head word" that way, they'd say "apple" is the head-word of "red apple".

Hmm. Were ifs and buts was candy and nuts.
To me this sounds like a rather less than useful scheme!
To you, for all I know, this might be of zero usefulness, though I doubt it could be less! [:)]
Ah, right you are! After all, if it were less than zeroly useful, twould actually become useful again, only in the opposite direction!
eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 30 Nov 2017, 01:37
As for me, I find linguists easier to understand, if I start out verifying what they mean by that word (whichever word "that word" is) this time.
Early on it helps to suppose it's possible -- maybe not likely, but possible -- they don't mean the same thing some other linguist meant.
Later on it's usually helpful to have identified with which other linguists they do share that definition of that term.
Sir, thank you very kindly for this most perspicaciously eloquent explanification!

Appears that linguists and lawyers share more in common than an initial ell!
elemtilas wrote:
Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:12
I think I'll crawl back under the Rock of Bliss now! [;)]
eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 30 Nov 2017, 01:37
You mean you're just going to stuff the whole chicken back into the egg? [;)]
I'm not sure I'll actually go quite that far, though it may be worth a shot! I mean, what's the worst that could happen? Of course there's always the risk of precipitating an inverse eschaton or something like...

I think the Rock is a safer bet. No eschata, inverse or otherwise, under there!
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45

I have the idea of creating a writing system that originated from writing on whale or sea bones, but I do not know how the medium would affect the shape of the letters, if at all, nor do I know what implement would be involved.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » Sat 02 Dec 2017, 23:34

Ahzoh wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45
I have the idea of creating a writing system that originated from writing on whale or sea bones, but I do not know how the medium would affect the shape of the letters, if at all, nor do I know what implement would be involved.
The closest I can come to answering this is with the Chinese Oracle Bone script. If you look at actual written text on bone*, you'll notice that the vast majority of strokes are straight lines with the curved lines of characters written using a brush having to be either simplified or broken down into a series of smaller straight lines. From what I can tell the writing implement was a sharp bronze tool, but don't hold me to that.

* A lot of the examples of Oracle Bone characters you might find online, especially in dictionaries, often employ a larger number of curved lines, possibly due to not being written on bone.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Keenir » Sat 02 Dec 2017, 23:48

Ahzoh wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45
I have the idea of creating a writing system that originated from writing on whale or sea bones, but I do not know how the medium would affect the shape of the letters, if at all, nor do I know what implement would be involved.
like scrimshaw?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Sun 03 Dec 2017, 01:05

Keenir wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 23:48
Ahzoh wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45
I have the idea of creating a writing system that originated from writing on whale or sea bones, but I do not know how the medium would affect the shape of the letters, if at all, nor do I know what implement would be involved.
like scrimshaw?
Scrimshaw can be incredibly detailed and not limited to certain stroke types. Here's a good tutorial to get you started.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 04 Dec 2017, 23:39

Ahzoh wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45
I have the idea of creating a writing system that originated from writing on whale or sea bones, ....
sea bones? What are "sea bones"?

Ahzoh wrote:
Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:45
.... but I do not know how the medium would affect the shape of the letters, if at all, nor do I know what implement would be involved.
I am confident the medium would affect the shapes of the glyphs; but I, too, do not know how, exactly.
The implement, also, would affect the script.

Based on the examples of scrimshaw and netsuke, I expect the implement could be a needle or a pocketknife or the equivalent of either.
Ogham and futhorc runes were influenced by the fact that wood has a grain that must be considered when carving glyphs into it.
I'm not sure whalebone has any such grain? Maybe it does?
[url wrote:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_le ... ng_surface[/url]]The rounded letters of many of the scripts of southern India (such as Oriya and Sinhala), of Burmese, and of Javanese, for example, are thought to have been influenced by this: Sharp angles and tracing straight lines along the vein of the leaf with a sharp writing implement would risk splitting the leaf and ruining the surface, so rounded letters, or letters with straight lines only in the vertical or diagonal direction, were required for practical daily use.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Tue 05 Dec 2017, 02:00

eldin raigmore wrote:
Mon 04 Dec 2017, 23:39
Based on the examples of scrimshaw and netsuke, I expect the implement could be a needle or a pocketknife or the equivalent of either.
Ogham and futhorc runes were influenced by the fact that wood has a grain that must be considered when carving glyphs into it.
I'm not sure whalebone has any such grain? Maybe it does?
I believe whale bone does have a strong grain, yes, like wood. This is different from the grain of leaves, though, as there's little danger of splitting. The problem is more than you're likely to get caught in the grain - it'll be hard to do subtle curves and lines at a shallow angle to the grain. You'd expect lines either with the grain or quite firmly against it, and large curves if any, I would think. Not unlike ogham and furthorc.

However, one thing to note: whalebone is not made from whale bone, or indeed any type of bone. Though whalebone presumably has an even stronger grain than whale bone. I don't know, though.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 07:38

Salmoneus wrote:
Tue 05 Dec 2017, 02:00
However, one thing to note: whalebone is not made from whale bone, or indeed any type of bone. Though whalebone presumably has an even stronger grain than whale bone. I don't know, though.
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » Thu 08 Feb 2018, 23:46

I'm trying to flesh out a religion I am designing for a conworld. It is monotheistic, or henotheistic, depending on how you look at it. The setting is a world without a sun, at least, not in the way we have one. Instead, the source of light and energy for all life in the world is a Phoenix, which is essentially an eldritch abomination. It is believed by the inhabitants of the world that if the Phoenix dies, the world will end and all life as they know it will cease to exist, so they worship the Phoenix and give it offerings and sacrifices in order to increase its lifespan, or live beyond its natural lifespan. The world has different "Ages", based on the death of and rebirth of each Phoenix. Due to the nature of the religion and the Phoenix, people have a sense of collective responsibility in making sure the status quo is preserved.

I asked this on a subreddit, but I'd like your inputs. The main thing for me to figure out is the code of morality. I'd imagine the Phoenix is neutral, neither good nor evil, so it isn't concerned with anything that doesn't directly bring about the end of the world. I guess you could say that refusal to worship the Phoenix is seen not only as immoral, but also a punishable crime as you could be potentially dooming mankind and leading others away from the faith, and thereby the apocalypse. I am thinking of maybe having a Confucius figure who teaches a code of morality that people adopt, and its mostly common-sense stuff like murder and stealing are wrong. The society might also condemn homosexuality, as it is not favorable for procreation, and more children are seen as more worshipers.

My main questions are: How do the people know that what they are worshiping is a Phoenix, and how do they know that they can extend its lifespan, and the methods necessary to achieve that? What would they base their morality on, and how would this affect the day-night cycle?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Keenir » Fri 09 Feb 2018, 00:42

LinguoFranco wrote:
Thu 08 Feb 2018, 23:46
The world has different "Ages", based on the death of and rebirth of each Phoenix. Due to the nature of the religion and the Phoenix, people have a sense of collective responsibility in making sure the status quo is preserved.

I'd imagine the Phoenix is neutral, neither good nor evil, so it isn't concerned with anything that doesn't directly bring about the end of the world. I guess you could say that refusal to worship the Phoenix is seen not only as immoral, but also a punishable crime as you could be potentially dooming mankind and leading others away from the faith, and thereby the apocalypse.
does the phoenix care whether or not it is worshipped? (or what the status quo is, beyond its own existence?)

if it doesn't care about anything beyond itself, I can see people adopting the argument of "my law is the right one, because it does not upset the phoenix". (though then they may not have a concept of heresy - because nothing disturbs the phoenix)
I am thinking of maybe having a Confucius figure who teaches a code of morality that people adopt, and its mostly common-sense stuff like murder and stealing are wrong. The society might also condemn homosexuality, as it is not favorable for procreation, and more children are seen as more worshipers.
then what happens to heterosexuals who can't have kids? or to people who either don't want to marry, or can't afford to? (them and homosexuals can at least raise children, even if the childbearers are horrible parents)

I can see how some cults/denominations in at least some Ages might focus purely on rampant population explosions, but such Malthusian actions might actually irk the phoenix eventually (does it need to eat?)
My main questions are: How do the people know that what they are worshiping is a Phoenix, and how do they know that they can extend its lifespan,
because they are told so?
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Re: (C&C) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » Wed 04 Apr 2018, 06:44

Are there examples of polytheistic religions where the number of deities is fixed? I know the Game of Thrones religion is like that, but any real-life examples?

This is how I view the Mantian religion: it consists of a pantheon of 12 deities, six gods and six goddesses, but the number is very much fixed. The 12 correspond to the 12 months of the year as well as the 12 hours on a clock; there could never be more or any less. But the polytheistic religions I know about always have hundreds or thousands and can incorporate new gods easily; this religion would never be able to do that.
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