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

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

Post by Creyeditor » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 12:46

Ælfwine wrote:What would be the best way to get rid of gender in a romlang?

My current idea was to both eliminate many word final vowels early on as well as derive the definite article from a genderless particle such as eccum, though I don't know if there is an easier way.
You could look at English. That's the number one example of a language losing gender, right?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 01:23

What are the official/proper linguistic terms for other "situations" of agreement? Like, this got me thinking from what I think are called "anti-plurals" in natlangs, but these are "unofficial terms" that I use in my head, in question marks:

1. Agreement. Eg, subject-verb agreement etc
2. Disagreement? Anti-agreement? Eg, "anti-plurals" etc
3. Non-agreement? "Isolation"? Eg, tenselessness etc

And I ask this because I observe that many conlangs here always adhere to #1, but I rarely see conlangs with features of #2 and #3. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a conlang with #2, while #3 seems to be rare and difficult to notice unless specifically stated (like in my conlang).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 02:48

Reyzadren wrote:What are the official/proper linguistic terms for other "situations" of agreement? Like, this got me thinking from what I think are called "anti-plurals" in natlangs, but these are "unofficial terms" that I use in my head, in question marks:

1. Agreement. Eg, subject-verb agreement etc
2. Disagreement? Anti-agreement? Eg, "anti-plurals" etc
3. Non-agreement? "Isolation"? Eg, tenselessness etc

And I ask this because I observe that many conlangs here always adhere to #1, but I rarely see conlangs with features of #2 and #3. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a conlang with #2, while #3 seems to be rare and difficult to notice unless specifically stated (like in my conlang).


Not quite sure I understand your question(s).

I'll make a few guesses, and try to answer each.

1. For some languages there are certain nouns that are unmarked when plural but marked when semantically singular; in that case the marking that means "there's only one" is called "singulative". It is considered a grammatical number, like singular, dual, trial, paucal, or plural. But I think words that agree with this number usually or always agree with it as if it were just singular. I could be wrong.

2. For some languages with an inclusive vs exclusive distinction in 1st-person-plurals, the 1st+2nd-person dual (that is, just one speaker and just one addressee) acts in many ways as if it were singular, and in many ways is treated as if it were singular. This most likely includes how verbs agree with it (I think).

3. For some languages, e.g. certain Semitic languages, certain numerals have the opposite gender from the noun they are counting. It might be something like: For numerals from two to ten, when expressing that many masculine objects, mark the numeral as feminine, but when expressing that many feminine objects, mark the numeral as masculine. I forget the details, but some other responder surely has them memorized, and/or you may be able to look it up yourself.

4. The following group of phenomena has a name, but I can't recall it at the moment. A grammatical entity -- e.g. a noun or a verb etc. -- may have two grammatical features, of which at least one is binary; (the other may be either binary or scalar, but after this upcoming period I'm going to assume it's scalar). For one value of the binary feature, the other feature's scale runs in one direction; for the other value of the binary feature, the other feature's scale runs in the opposite direction.
Sometimes when this happens, one of those features is grammatical number.

5. In his book on "Number", Greville G. Corbett talks about "top/second" systems of grammatical number.
In some languages, nouns etc. at the top of some hierarchy -- agency or animacy or empathy or topicality or focus or salience or ... something --- have very detailed grammatical number; there may be up to five numbers (including up to three of "singular, dual, trial" and up to three of "lesser paucal, greater paucal, lesser plural, greater plural"*).
But further down the hierarchy there are fewer distinctions of grammatical number.
At the bottom of the hierarchy, there may be no grammatical number at all.
At the lowest level at which there is grammatical number, it is typically (if I read Corbett correctly and he was correct) only plural vs non-plural.

*(Actually AFAIK if paucal is divided into lesser and greater then plural is not, and if plural is divided into lesser and greater then paucal is not; and if either of them is divided, there is no trial. Or I've never seen a publication of some language in which that wasn't the case.)

[hr][/hr]

Is any of that helpful?
Or does any of it pique your interest?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 09:04

Reyzadren wrote:What are the official/proper linguistic terms for other "situations" of agreement? Like, this got me thinking from what I think are called "anti-plurals" in natlangs, but these are "unofficial terms" that I use in my head, in question marks:

1. Agreement. Eg, subject-verb agreement etc
2. Disagreement? Anti-agreement? Eg, "anti-plurals" etc
3. Non-agreement? "Isolation"? Eg, tenselessness etc

And I ask this because I observe that many conlangs here always adhere to #1, but I rarely see conlangs with features of #2 and #3. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen a conlang with #2, while #3 seems to be rare and difficult to notice unless specifically stated (like in my conlang).
I don't think there are terms that are more proper than the ones you used, at least to my knowledge. I've heard Anti-Agreement a lot and then non-agreement is just the absence of agreement, so yeah.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 12:44

eldin raigmore wrote:
3. For some languages, e.g. certain Semitic languages, certain numerals have the opposite gender from the noun they are counting. It might be something like: For numerals from two to ten, when expressing that many masculine objects, mark the numeral as feminine, but when expressing that many feminine objects, mark the numeral as masculine. I forget the details, but some other responder surely has them memorized, and/or you may be able to look it up yourself.
Arabic agreement is weird in general. Plurals of non-human nouns are usually treated as feminine singulars for verb and adjective agreement, regardless of the 'original' gender of the singular.

However, numbers disagree with the 'original' gender of the singular noun, even if it appears in a broken plural and is treated as fem. sing. for everything else. Human nouns also disagree in gender with the number. Many dialects just use the masculine form in all cases though, and agreement systems have evolved differently.

bayt (m.) - house
buyuut - houses (broken plural, treated as fem. sing.)
thalaata buyuut - 3 houses (fem. number because sing. is masc.)

7aqiiba (f.) - bag
7aqaa2ib - bags (broken plural, treated as fem. sing)
thalaath 7aqaa2ib - 3 bags (masc. number because sing. is fem.)
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 14:46

Probably among the best discussion of the Semitic stuff is Martin Posthumous's History section to his Grammar of Alashian, as well as the Wikipedia page on Semitic.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ashtăr Balynestjăr » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 19:32

Davush wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:
3. For some languages, e.g. certain Semitic languages, certain numerals have the opposite gender from the noun they are counting. It might be something like: For numerals from two to ten, when expressing that many masculine objects, mark the numeral as feminine, but when expressing that many feminine objects, mark the numeral as masculine. I forget the details, but some other responder surely has them memorized, and/or you may be able to look it up yourself.
Arabic agreement is weird in general. Plurals of non-human nouns are usually treated as feminine singulars for verb and adjective agreement, regardless of the 'original' gender of the singular.
Is this exclusive to Arabic, or does it also occur in other Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Wed 08 Nov 2017, 11:40

Ashtăr Balynestjăr wrote:
Is this exclusive to Arabic, or does it also occur in other Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages?
As far as I am aware Arabic is the odd one out having inanimate broken-plurals agree as feminine singulars. It seems to be quite a 'recent' development in Arabic as some old texts allow the older more 'normal' form of agreement i.e. 'buyuut' (houses) could agree with the masc. pl. form, not fem. sg.

In some dialects it's also not uncommon to hear things like 'shift-hum' (I saw them) where hum is the 3 an. pl. referring to things like 'buyuut', whereas in standard/Classical Arabic the pronoun should be hiya/-haa (3 f. sg.)
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Wed 08 Nov 2017, 12:13

I'm trying to put together a bit of a more organised grammar of Qutrussan but I'm not sure how to structure some parts, especially morpho-phonology type stuff.

For example, the sequence (C)VCVCV is generally disallowed, usually becoming CVCCV. E.g. /kafar/ + /u/ > /kafru/ etc. This happens more or less in most cases where such a sequence would occur due to affixes. A few other similar things happen.

Would you include this in a separate section titled morphophonology, so when describing nominal/verbal/whatevcer morphology you can just state something like 'the usual reduction/deletion rules apply', or would you include it within each relevant section? For example, maybe counting such nouns as a separate inflectional class?

It gets a bit complicated when the rules don't always occur, for example CV:CVC syllables do undergo reduction in most cases e.g. /qo:tuv/ > /q:otvu/, but in some cases they don't e.g. /qo:tuv/ > /qo:tuvar/. So I don't really know how to best include and describe such processes.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý » Wed 08 Nov 2017, 12:45

Davush wrote:I'm trying to put together a bit of a more organised grammar of Qutrussan but I'm not sure how to structure some parts, especially morpho-phonology type stuff.

For example, the sequence (C)VCVCV is generally disallowed, usually becoming CVCCV. E.g. /kafar/ + /u/ > /kafru/ etc. This happens more or less in most cases where such a sequence would occur due to affixes. A few other similar things happen.

Would you include this in a separate section titled morphophonology, so when describing nominal/verbal/whatevcer morphology you can just state something like 'the usual reduction/deletion rules apply', or would you include it within each relevant section? For example, maybe counting such nouns as a separate inflectional class?

It gets a bit complicated when the rules don't always occur, for example CV:CVC syllables do undergo reduction in most cases e.g. /qo:tuv/ > /q:otvu/, but in some cases they don't e.g. /qo:tuv/ > /qo:tuvar/. So I don't really know how to best include and describe such processes.
So your question concerns the organization of grammar description. There are no 'right' way to do it. Same things are usually handled several times in descriptive grammars in different sections.
I don't know hoe your grammar works and whats the most explicit and most easily comprehensible way for Qutrussan, but in my Vtayn grammar I wrote a section of "Morphological Processes", and then in the section of noun cases I referred to that section and "Adverbial case is formed with diphthongization (see 2.3)" and gave some examples. If your process is not fully productive you can just say it and give examples of inflections with the elision and without it.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý » Wed 08 Nov 2017, 12:48

Ashtăr Balynestjăr wrote:
Davush wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:
3. For some languages, e.g. certain Semitic languages, certain numerals have the opposite gender from the noun they are counting. It might be something like: For numerals from two to ten, when expressing that many masculine objects, mark the numeral as feminine, but when expressing that many feminine objects, mark the numeral as masculine. I forget the details, but some other responder surely has them memorized, and/or you may be able to look it up yourself.
Arabic agreement is weird in general. Plurals of non-human nouns are usually treated as feminine singulars for verb and adjective agreement, regardless of the 'original' gender of the singular.
Is this exclusive to Arabic, or does it also occur in other Semitic or Afro-Asiatic languages?
Somali makes the grammar changes more oddly. Many plurals of masculine nouns are feminine and many plurals of feminine noun are masculine. Somali though has suffixal plurals. I small class of nouns forms plurals by tonal changes which also happen when the genders change.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » Thu 09 Nov 2017, 00:38

eldin raigmore wrote:Is any of that helpful?
Or does any of it pique your interest?
You provided a variety of insights, but Creyeditor answered the question [:D]
Creyeditor wrote:I don't think there are terms that are more proper than the ones you used, at least to my knowledge. I've heard Anti-Agreement a lot and then non-agreement is just the absence of agreement, so yeah.
Yea. I shall just call them agreement, disagreement/anti-agreement and non-agreement. Thanks, everyone.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Thu 09 Nov 2017, 17:35

Reyzadren wrote:...., but Creyeditor answered the question [:D]
Creyeditor wrote:I don't think there are terms that are more proper than the ones you used, at least to my knowledge. I've heard Anti-Agreement a lot and then non-agreement is just the absence of agreement, so yeah.
....
In my experience that sort of answer is usually correct.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by thaen » Mon 13 Nov 2017, 01:31

How (un)reasonable is the "overloading" of certain cases to handle multiple different jobs? Specifically, I'm wondering how plausible these examples are. I used parentheses because there is no phonetic representation of the language yet, and I wanted to be as clear as I can about what belongs to what. The case in question here is the Genitive. I've been using it along with the Dative to fill many roles that they might not typically fill. I wasn't sure how to have the arguments of non-finite verbs marked, so I've just been using the Dative and Genitive. Here are some examples of the Genitive being used in that way:

“I listened to the professor teach” lit. “I listened to the professor’s teaching”
(1st-PER SING ERG) (listen-PER SING PST APPL) (DEF-PER professor-PER SING GEN) (INF=teach-PER SING ABS)

“We should try to win the game tonight”
(1st-PER PLUR ERG) (try-PER PLUR NPST SUBJ OBLIGATORY) (INF=win-NEU SING ABS) (DEF-NEU game-NEU SING GEN) tonight

"They said one to another, 'Come, let us make bricks*, burning them well.'”
(3rd-PER PLUR ERG) (say-PER PST APPL REFL) “(2nd-PER PLUR ABS) (come-PER PLUR NPST) CONJ (1st-PER PLUR ERG) (make-PER PLUR NPST SUBJ) (brick-NEU PLUR ABS) (INF=burn-NEU) (3rd-NEU PLUR GEN)”

*This translation will probably be cleaned up eventually, as I don't think it's entirely correct.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Mon 13 Nov 2017, 11:04

thaen wrote:
Mon 13 Nov 2017, 01:31
How (un)reasonable is the "overloading" of certain cases to handle multiple different jobs? Specifically, I'm wondering how plausible these examples are. I used parentheses because there is no phonetic representation of the language yet, and I wanted to be as clear as I can about what belongs to what. The case in question here is the Genitive. I've been using it along with the Dative to fill many roles that they might not typically fill. I wasn't sure how to have the arguments of non-finite verbs marked, so I've just been using the Dative and Genitive. Here are some examples of the Genitive being used in that way:

“I listened to the professor teach” lit. “I listened to the professor’s teaching”
(1st-PER SING ERG) (listen-PER SING PST APPL) (DEF-PER professor-PER SING GEN) (INF=teach-PER SING ABS)

“We should try to win the game tonight”
(1st-PER PLUR ERG) (try-PER PLUR NPST SUBJ OBLIGATORY) (INF=win-NEU SING ABS) (DEF-NEU game-NEU SING GEN) tonight

"They said one to another, 'Come, let us make bricks*, burning them well.'”
(3rd-PER PLUR ERG) (say-PER PST APPL REFL) “(2nd-PER PLUR ABS) (come-PER PLUR NPST) CONJ (1st-PER PLUR ERG) (make-PER PLUR NPST SUBJ) (brick-NEU PLUR ABS) (INF=burn-NEU) (3rd-NEU PLUR GEN)”

*This translation will probably be cleaned up eventually, as I don't think it's entirely correct.
I am not familiar with this glossing style but I find it more readable than the Leipzig one. Is this how you do it or is it an official system?

As to your translation, I don't see an issue with using the Genitive that way. Makes perfect sense. You basically took the ACI construction and swapped Accusative for Genitive.
However, I must say I don't quite understand the role of the Genitive in the third sentence. It seems like "make" takes two objects ("bricks" and "burn") here? I feel like I'm missing something.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by thaen » Mon 13 Nov 2017, 17:30

I am not familiar with this glossing style but I find it more readable than the Leipzig one. Is this how you do it or is it an official system?

As to your translation, I don't see an issue with using the Genitive that way. Makes perfect sense. You basically took the ACI construction and swapped Accusative for Genitive.
However, I must say I don't quite understand the role of the Genitive in the third sentence. It seems like "make" takes two objects ("bricks" and "burn") here? I feel like I'm missing something.
This isn't how I've typically done it in the past; this is something I've picked up for this particular conlang since I do not have a phonetic realization for it. Since it is an isolating language, glossing yields many individual morphemes which can be difficult to keep track of without their being represented by chunks of visible language. To remedy this, I used the parentheses to keep track of things.

As far as the third example goes, "make" takes the object "bricks," and "burns" describes the bricks. This is going to change, as the original sentence is not using "burning" to describe bricks. Looking back, I think I made a translation error. I think the final translation will be something along the lines of "we make bricks and burn them well."
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » Wed 15 Nov 2017, 00:42

I want to ask for some inspiration.

I have a three vowel system /a i u/, and these vowels may be stressed or unstressed (every word has at least one stressed syllable, and every third syllable is stressed), and the syllable structure is (C)V(C), though any sequence of two or even three vowels can occur. I want to expand the vowel system, but I feel like I keep repeating myself when trying to come up with things, so if there is anyone who can give me some suggestions for interesting possibilities, it would be very much appreciated.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Wed 15 Nov 2017, 02:10

thaen wrote:
Mon 13 Nov 2017, 01:31
How (un)reasonable is the "overloading" of certain cases to handle multiple different jobs? .... (specific question ignored by my reply!)...
In general, that's what happens.
In fact, according to Barry J. Blake (author of "Case"), if I remember correctly, some l*nguist*s won't call a language's nominal-inflection system a "case system", unless at least one of the cases has both a semantic job and a syntactic job. (For instance, maybe "dative" means both goal (semantic) and indirect object (syntactic)).
Most cases are named for their main function, or for one of their main functions, rather than for their only function.
In addition, most "cased" languages have a "workhorse" case, or a "lord high everything else" case, that is used for multiple jobs; namely, any job it isn't obvious one of the other cases should be used for. An example (apparently; I don't know Latin myself) is the ablative case in Latin.

Is any of that useful to you?
Edit: *"Linguisticians" caused a diversion.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Wed 15 Nov 2017, 10:29

clawgrip wrote:
Wed 15 Nov 2017, 00:42
I want to ask for some inspiration.

I have a three vowel system /a i u/, and these vowels may be stressed or unstressed (every word has at least one stressed syllable, and every third syllable is stressed), and the syllable structure is (C)V(C), though any sequence of two or even three vowels can occur. I want to expand the vowel system, but I feel like I keep repeating myself when trying to come up with things, so if there is anyone who can give me some suggestions for interesting possibilities, it would be very much appreciated.
Under the assumption that you are aiming for a somewhat more exotic system (in terms of conlang vowel inventories)
If you want to add one vowel, you could add ɨ or ə.
If you want to add two vowels, you could add either both or ɪ and ʊ.
If you want to add three vowels, you could add ɪ, ʊ and ə or maybe ɪ, ʊ and ɐ.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Wed 15 Nov 2017, 10:46

clawgrip wrote:
Wed 15 Nov 2017, 00:42
I want to ask for some inspiration.

I have a three vowel system /a i u/, and these vowels may be stressed or unstressed (every word has at least one stressed syllable, and every third syllable is stressed), and the syllable structure is (C)V(C), though any sequence of two or even three vowels can occur. I want to expand the vowel system, but I feel like I keep repeating myself when trying to come up with things, so if there is anyone who can give me some suggestions for interesting possibilities, it would be very much appreciated.
Cray's ideas are good, as always. You could also consider some of these:

a) nasalization tends to lower vowels, so maybe have /a e o/ in nasal contexts.
b) have /u/ become unrounded in some contexts (e.g., if not next to a labial), and have rounding assimilation on /a i/ where they become [ɒ y] if they follow a rounded vowel.

If you apply these at a proto-stage, you can get several new vowels. If synchronically, you'll get cool allophony (and you could have your consonants react to the changing vowels in some way).
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