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Rum_Ham
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Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:28

Hey everyone, I made a thread about this on the Omniglot forum a while ago before I realized there are more bots than people on it, so I'm trying again here. This is mostly copied over from there.

I've been working on a conlang for a while now, maybe a couple years, and after overhauling it to get rid of some noob mistakes, I think it's okay. Its autonym is Hala, or Kalasian in English. It has some neat features:

- VOS default word order with OVS leanings sometimes
- no long vowels, but long (geminated) consonants
- postpositions!
- agglutinative, probably about as much as Hungarian
- written with a logographic script that uses diacritics for grammatical functions (I'll post about this later)

Phonology
Typing in IPA is a pain on my phone and I barely have a computer, so I'll do it once and use a Latin transcription after.

Vowels: ɑ, e̞, i, ɪ, o, u (a, e, i, o, u)
Consonants: b, ɟ (d), f, g, ɦ (h), j (y), l, m, n, p, r, s, ʃ (x), t, v, w, z

There are currently three diphthongs: ai, oi, and one I don't know how to represent with IPA, aw. It sounds like saying "all" with an American accent, but swallowing the L just before finishing the word.

Syllables are typically CV, but can sometimes be CVC, CCV, or VVC (or a single vowel or consonant). Consonants may not form clusters of three or more. I haven't nailed down all the sounds that can't go together, but generally alveolar consonants don't come before any other consonant. Stress is usually on the second to last syllable, which I think I ripped from Indo-European before I knew what that meant. This gets completely overridden if there's a geminated consonant, though, in which case stress comes on the vowel before it.

Morphology and grammar
Currently there are seven cases; nominative, genitive, accusative, dative, allative, locative, and ornative/instrumental. The four numbers are singular, dual, paucal, and general plural. Both are marked by suffixes attached to the noun, case first. The endings are:
Nominative: unmarked
Genitive: -d/Vd
Accusative: -n/ -Vn
Dative: -v/-Vv
Allative: -vva/ -Vvva
Locative: -hi/ -Vhi
Ornative: -gi/ -Vgi

Number endings for nouns:
Singular: unmarked
Dual: -ts
Paucal: -tya
Plural: -so

Note that if there's ever a time when putting two syllables together forces a consonant to follow another that normally can't, you insert the previous vowel between them. For example, it's heperiotovva (to/toward the king), not *heperiotvva.

Verbs have three persons with their own endings, the same four numbers, and currently five distinct tenses: present, future, future perfect, future imperfect, and past. Other past tenses are communicated with other constructions that I'm still ironing out, or through context. All of these are also marked with suffixes that replace the infinitive ending -ai.

Person:
1: -l/-ol
2: -u/-nu
3: -ne/-one

Verb numbers:
Singular: unmarked
Dual: -s
Paucal: -tya
Plural: -li

Tenses:
Present: unmarked
Future: -wes
Imperfect future: -wesse
Perfect future: -wei
Past: -wa
Suffixes go in the order of person, number, tense.

As for moods, I know about half of these aren't really moods, but I don't know where else to put them.
Indicative: unmarked
Imperative: -hV
Passive: gen-
Optative: nai-/nain-

And also
Atelic: eh-/ehe-
Durative: ta-/tat-
Habitual: ve-/vev-

Prefixes like these can be stacked and combined with suffixes to communicate more specific things. You could say naixuhu to roughly mean "kindly get out."

Word order

It's VOS, because I hate fun. Adjectives, which only change if used as nouns, always come before their nouns; same with adverbs. In general, any phrase that describes how or sometimes where the verb happens comes before it. For example, Sovigoihi sol voi (I'm at home; you could also drop the verb, sol, entirely in this case).

Sample text
I'll make a thread about the writing systems later, but for now I'll post my translation of The King and the God so you can see what this looks and sounds like.

Sonewa heperiot. Do gonewa tonso nas. Fogonewa ytsan nas. Zemariotov heronewa, "Voiv naisone ytsa!" heperiot. Heperiotov heronewa, "Zemav moruhu," zemariot. Xunewa zemavva morai Zemav ba heperiot. "Naiwezu voin, Panto Zema!" Ulin foso ai lanonewa zema. "Fogo zaman sita?" "Fogol ytsan voi." "Naigenurone baz," heronewa minde zema. Lanonewa heperiotod ahativ ytsa.

"There was a king. He had no children. He wanted a son. He said to his priest, 'I want a son!' The priest said, 'Speak to God.' The king went to talk to the god. 'Father God, hear me!' The god came down out of the clouds. 'What do you want?' 'I want a son.' 'Let this be done,' said the bright god. A son was born to the king's lady."


Let me know if you think I've missed anything important or explained something poorly. It's hard to keep track on this small screen.
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Rum_Ham
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 06:43

Writing system
Like I said, Hala uses a logographic script despite being agglutinative. Originally the whole point was to see if I could make an agglutinative language work with this kind of script, and actually yeah, it works. I also created an alphabet, but mostly so I could work around my weird handwriting.

The great majority of characters each represent a single word or root, with a few representing suffixes or prefixes. Standalone characters can be modified with diacritics for tense, case, etc. Most of these are written below the character, some some go on either side; these are connected by a line above, much like a slur in musical notation. N angular bracket is used above a character or characters to show that it's being used phonetically for a name or to transcribe a word without a character.

Below are some examples of what I mean. Just pretend my camera isn't garbage and you'll be okay.
Spoiler:
Image
Spoiler:
Image
Spoiler:
Image
Here's what the King and the God looks like:
Spoiler:
Image
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Frislander
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Re: Hala

Post by Frislander » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 16:15

First things first, I like the shapes of the case suffixes, there's definitely potential in this language. I'm liking the aesthetic as well as shown by the sample text.

OK, firstly, put the phonemes in a chart like so to make it easier to comment on.

/p t/
/b ɟ g/
/f s ʃ/
/v z ɦ/
/m n/
/w l j/
/r/

/i u/
/ɪ/
/e o/
/ɑ/

OK, now first thing we can see is that the stop system is very imbalanced. Cross-linguistically, if you have a stop system with a voicing contrast then by far the most likely phones to be absent are /p/ and /g/. Replacing the /d/ with the palatal stop is not ridiculous to me but lacking /k/ like this is totally unattested and I would expect a shift of g > k to happen very quickly. Other than that the consonants are fairly European.

Also with the vowels the system seems rather imbalanced and probably highly unstable, with that cluster of front vowels /i ɪ e/ looking ripe for a merger (also is there even a separate representation for /ɪ/?).
Rum_Ham wrote:
Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:28
Stress is usually on the second to last syllable, which I think I ripped from Indo-European before I knew what that meant.
I wouldn't call penultimate stress "Indo-European", because there's so much variation between different branches (e.g. while Spanish and Polish are mostly penultimate, Germanic and Czech are strongly word-initial, Persian is word-final and much of the rest of Slavic can see the stress pretty much anywhere).

Also you could really do with working on the phonotactics and morphophonology, it looks nice so far but some codification needs to happen.
Verbs have three persons with their own endings, the same four numbers
You know I hate this talk of verbs "having three persons" as if all languages that inflect their verbs along the typical Indo-European pattern, i.e. just to agree with the nominative subject, never with the object and never in non-nominative alignments.
and currently five distinct tenses: present, future, future perfect, future imperfect, and past.
Why do you have a future perfect and imperfect but no such distinction in the past tense? That is totally unnatural; you never have distinctions in the future but not the present or past. And what does this terminology even mean? Also the terminology is very European.
Indicative: unmarked
Imperative: -hV
Passive: gen-
Optative: nai-/nain-
OK, here the passive is the only one that's not a mood, it's a voice, which could probably do with its own slot. You could also use that for other voices like the reflexive.
Atelic: eh-/ehe-
Durative: ta-/tat-
Habitual: ve-/vev-
OK, so these are aspect prefixes, so if you have these why do you even have those three future "tenses"?
It's VOS, because I hate fun. Adjectives, which only change if used as nouns, always come before their nouns; same with adverbs. In general, any phrase that describes how or sometimes where the verb happens comes before it. For example, Sovigoihi sol voi (I'm at home; you could also drop the verb, sol, entirely in this case).
Wait, so oblique phrases come before the verb but core arguments come after. That doesn't strike me as natural at all. Having the oblique before but the object after is highly unusual, and is basically only attested in Chinese varieties, and none of them have the subject come after as well.
Sample text
I'll make a thread about the writing systems later, but for now I'll post my translation of The King and the God so you can see what this looks and sounds like.

Sonewa heperiot. Do gonewa tonso nas. Fogonewa ytsan nas. Zemariotov heronewa, "Voiv naisone ytsa!" heperiot. Heperiotov heronewa, "Zemav moruhu," zemariot. Xunewa zemavva morai Zemav ba heperiot. "Naiwezu voin, Panto Zema!" Ulin foso ai lanonewa zema. "Fogo zaman sita?" "Fogol ytsan voi." "Naigenurone baz," heronewa minde zema. Lanonewa heperiotod ahativ ytsa.

"There was a king. He had no children. He wanted a son. He said to his priest, 'I want a son!' The priest said, 'Speak to God.' The king went to talk to the god. 'Father God, hear me!' The god came down out of the clouds. 'What do you want?' 'I want a son.' 'Let this be done,' said the bright god. A son was born to the king's lady."
Give us an interlinear gloss please.

I don't do writing systems for my conlangs so I'll leave others to comment on that.
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 19:31

Thanks for your feedback, and yeah, it's now painfully obvious how much I didn't know when I started.

My original idea with /h/ was that it was 'hard', almost /k/, but in the process of being lost. That might not make sense at all, though, so I'll probably either add a /k/ or replace /h/ with it. Not sure yet.

I don't have separate representations for /i/ and /ɪ/, but I'm not sure a native speaker would see much difference; maybe the two are in fact about to merge.

The tenses were a straight up crap shoot to see how it worked out, not gonna lie. I'll probably just fill out some more past tenses.

I think you're right about those oblique arguments too. Normal, god-fearing adverbs will probably stay where they are, but other modifiers will come after the verb.

I'll do a gloss in a little while here. Breakfast comes first.
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Re: Hala

Post by Frislander » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 19:51

Rum_Ham wrote:
Sat 30 Dec 2017, 19:31
My original idea with /h/ was that it was 'hard', almost /k/, but in the process of being lost. That might not make sense at all, though, so I'll probably either add a /k/ or replace /h/ with it. Not sure yet.
Well then I'm not sure why you used the voiced symbol ɦ for it then. Having /g/ become /ɦ/ however is very well attested (e.g. Czech), and that would be what I'd recommend.
I don't have separate representations for /i/ and /ɪ/, but I'm not sure a native speaker would see much difference; maybe the two are in fact about to merge.
Well the question to ask is whether they are used to distinguish words, in which case if not you might want to just put it down to free variation or some kind of allophony.
The tenses were a straight up crap shoot to see how it worked out, not gonna lie. I'll probably just fill out some more past tenses.
Actually I'd recommend just getting rid of the future perfect and imperfect and let your aspect prefixes do the job for you.
Last edited by Frislander on Sat 30 Dec 2017, 22:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 20:27

Okay yeah, with my notes out here I see what you mean with the tenses and aspects. That seems a lot simpler than what I had going on.

For consonants, what do you think of:
/p t k/
/b ɟ/
/f s ʃ/
/v z ɦ/
/m n/
/w l j/
/r/

/i/ and /ɪ/ probably are just free variants at this point. So far they don't distinguish words or anything else.
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Re: Hala

Post by Pabappa » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 22:13

Rum_Ham wrote:
Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:28

Phonology
Typing in IPA is a pain on my phone and I barely have a computer, so I'll do it once and use a Latin transcription after.

Vowels: ɑ, e̞, i, ɪ, o, u (a, e, i, o, u)
Consonants: b, ɟ (d), f, g, ɦ (h), j (y), l, m, n, p, r, s, ʃ (x), t, v, w, z

Let me know if you think I've missed anything important or explained something poorly. It's hard to keep track on this small screen.
I sympathize with you on the tech issues, as Im in a similar situation.


I like the script a lot. I assume it's left to right?
Frislander wrote:
Sat 30 Dec 2017, 16:15

OK, now first thing we can see is that the stop system is very imbalanced. Cross-linguistically, if you have a stop system with a voicing contrast then by far the most likely phones to be absent are /p/ and /g/. Replacing the /d/ with the palatal stop is not ridiculous to me but lacking /k/ like this is totally unattested.
While it is indeed unbalanced, Mongolian has it, and even throws in an unbalanced voiced uvular, so I it's definitely attested. I would think that the /g/ would likely have voiceless allophones in clusters, but this language seems not to have too many consonant clusters.
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Sat 30 Dec 2017, 22:32

The script is indeed left to right, and you're right, the aren't many consonant clusters. I need to sit down and figure out which are allowed and which aren't, but they tend to be avoided as a whole.
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Re: Hala

Post by Reyzadren » Sun 31 Dec 2017, 05:33

Rum_Ham wrote:
Fri 29 Dec 2017, 19:28
Hey everyone, I made a thread about this on the Omniglot forum a while ago before I realized there are more bots than people on it, so I'm trying again here. This is mostly copied over from there.

There are currently three diphthongs: ai, oi, and one I don't know how to represent with IPA, aw. It sounds like saying "all" with an American accent, but swallowing the L just before finishing the word.
I stalked Omniglot for years, and though nobody posts in that forum, there aren't many other conlang forums anyway :/

Perhaps the third diphthong is /uɔ/ or its allophone, in the style of Long Island?
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Re: Hala

Post by Isfendil » Fri 05 Jan 2018, 16:46

Hey the mystery dipthong you were looking for is ɒʊ I think.
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 04:52

Alright, I finally got a real, big kid computer, and it comes with one whole keyboard. Now that my screen is bigger than my hand, let me do a gloss (changed a tiny bit from before):

Sonewa heperiot.
s-one-wa hepe-riot
be.3.PAST nation.person-who-does
Was king.
"There was a king."

Do gonewa tonso nas.
do go-ne-wa to-n-so nas
NEG have.3.PAST child.ACC.PL he/she
Not had children he.
"He had no children."

Fogonewa ytsan nas
fogo-ne-wa ytsa-n nas
want.3.PAST son.ACC he/she
Wanted son he.
"He wanted a son."

Zemariotov heronewa, "Voiv nailanone ytsa!" heperiot.
zema-riot-ov her-one-wa voi-v nai-lan-one ytsa hepe-riot
god.person-who-does.DAT say.3.PAST I.DAT OPT.come.3 nation.person-who-does
Priest-to said "Me-to hope-comes son!" king.
"The king said to the priest, "Let there come a son to me!"

Heperiotov heronewa, "Zemav moruhu," zemariot.
hepe-riot-ov her-one-wa zema-v mor-u-hu zema-riot
nation.person-who-does.DAT say.3.PAST god.DAT speak.2.IMP god.person-who-does
King-to said "God-to speak," priest.
"The priest said to the king, "Speak to God."

Xonewa zemavva morai Zemav ba heperiot.
x-one-wa zema-vva mor-ai zema-v ba hepe-riot
go.3.PAST god.ALL speak.INF god.DAT for nation.person-who-does
Went god-to to speak God-to for king.
"The king went to speak to the god so as to speak to God.

"Naiwezu voin, Panto Zema!"
nai-wez-u voi-n panto zema
OPT.hear.2 I.ACC father god
"May you hear me, Father God!"

Ulin foso ai lanonewa zema.
ulin fo-so ai lan-one-wa zema
down cloud.PL out come.3.PAST god
Down clouds out of came god
"The god came down out of the clouds."

"Fogo zaman sita?"
fog-o zam-an sita
want.2 what.ACC you
'Want what you?'
"What do you want?"

Fogol ytsan voi.
fog-ol ytsa-n voi
want.1 son.ACC I
'Want son I'
"I want a son."

"Naigenurone baz," heronewa minde zema.
nai-gen-ur-one baz her-one-wa minde zema
OPT.PASS.do.3 this say.3.PAST bright god
'Hope is done this,' said bright god.
"May this be done," said the bright god.

Lanonewa heperiotod ahativ ytsa.
lan-one-wa hepe-riot-od ahati-v ytsa
come.3.PAST nation.person-who-does.GEN woman.DAT son
Came king's lady-to son.
A son came to the king's lady.

Isfendil wrote:
Fri 05 Jan 2018, 16:46
Hey the mystery dipthong you were looking for is ɒʊ I think.
I think that's pretty close, or at least close enough.
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Re: Hala

Post by Evynova » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 10:06

/i/ and /ɪ/ probably are just free variants at this point. So far they don't distinguish words or anything else.
I would personally get rid of that feature. If there is no particular reason for the variation and /i/ is the only vowel to do that, it's safe to assume the two would merge. Or maybe you can play around with stress where /i/ is in a stressed syllable, and /ɪ/ is in unstressed syllables. But then I would also have unstressed counterparts for other vowels. Or, you can make tenseness phonemic, though once again I believe it would be more naturalistic to have it apply to more than one vowel.

That said, I really like the script :)
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Re: Hala

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:17

I think having [ i ] and [ɪ] in free variation is as naturalistic as it gets. Vowels tend to spread out in the vowel space.
Edit: forgot about the [ i ] BB-Code thing.
Last edited by Creyeditor on Fri 12 Jan 2018, 17:59, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hala

Post by Frislander » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 15:10

Creyeditor wrote:
Fri 12 Jan 2018, 14:17
I think having and [ɪ] in free variation is as naturalistic as it gets. Vowels tend to spread out in the vowel space.


I think what feels most weird about it is how it only applies to this one vowel, and not the others.
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Re: Hala

Post by gestaltist » Fri 12 Jan 2018, 15:41

I love the aesthetics of your language: both how it sounds, and the script. Really nice.

The one thing that bothered me reading your thread is that you have more future tenses than past tenses, which is just not a thing if you're aiming for naturalism, as Frislander already mentioned.
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Re: Hala

Post by Khemehekis » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 06:02

Rum_Ham wrote:
Sat 30 Dec 2017, 19:31
My original idea with /h/ was that it was 'hard', almost /k/, but in the process of being lost. That might not make sense at all, though, so I'll probably either add a /k/ or replace /h/ with it. Not sure yet.
Interesting that you're considering replacing /h/ with /k/, as that would make "Hala" homophonous with "Kala"!
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Re: Hala

Post by Rum_Ham » Sun 14 Jan 2018, 06:13

Khemehekis wrote:
Sun 14 Jan 2018, 06:02
Rum_Ham wrote:
Sat 30 Dec 2017, 19:31
My original idea with /h/ was that it was 'hard', almost /k/, but in the process of being lost. That might not make sense at all, though, so I'll probably either add a /k/ or replace /h/ with it. Not sure yet.
Interesting that you're considering replacing /h/ with /k/, as that would make "Hala" homophonous with "Kala"!
I'll fight that guy any day of the week over it, just hold my beer.

Seriously though, I've been thinking it over, and instead of /ɦ/ I may double down and go for something more like /ħ/ as a sort of midway point between some form of /k/ and /ɦ/. I just like the sound better mostly, but it also helps give me some direction with any daughter languages I may want to come up with.
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