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

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

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 06:49

All4Ɇn wrote:I'm currently working on a language with a bunch of homophones but is written in Chinese characters and thus avoids them in writing. But I just came across 2 pairs of really weird homophones. As of right now the words for Bandit (匪 Pứy) & Embryo (胚 Pứy) and the words for Neck (估 Tứy) & Foetus (胎 Tứy) are homophonous. Does it seem realistic for spoken language to maintain these homophones without adding suffixes to any of them?
Eh, it doesn't seem too bad. The first pair, for sure, isn't likely to be confused in most contexts. French has saint (saint, holy), sain (healthy), and sein (breast) /sɛ̃/, and it manages.

Maybe it would help if there was an alternate term, similar to "unborn child", that would more commonly appear in casual conversation, while Pứy and Tứy could be limited to medical contexts.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 07:22

I think the following shift is plausible, but I just wanted to see what others think.

/a e i o u/

/i u/ > /ə və/

/e o/ > /i u/

/a i u ə/ (with a new /v/ that only occurs before /ə/ - similar things have happened in Sino-Tibetan and Bantoid)

Particularly, the /i/ > /ə/ concerns me. I know that mid > high > fricative vowel/fricative "diphthong" chain shifts are uncommon but well-attested (esp. in Japonic languages and in Sino-Tibetan), and I know that shifts where only /u/ and not /i/ became fricated are attested (in Bantoid), and I know that /i/ can become centralized - but in the typology of chain shifts described by Labov, high vowels are only lowered/centralized when they're part of a short vowel subsystem. And I don't have a short-long distinction here. Well, I know it's probably fine, but I just want another pair of eyes on it.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 07:45

I wouldn't worry about it too much. Vowels are fairly unpredictable and can move anywhere in the vowel space without any motivation whatsoever (acc. to Peterson at least). Especially word finally, the vowel is going to move to a centralized position in any case.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 10:42

Do you have any justification for the centralization at all? I think /i u/ > /ə və/ makes sense in that the /v/ distinguishes the two vowels. I'm just wondering why the centralization would happen in the first place?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ashtăr Balynestjăr » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 15:59

gestaltist wrote:Do you have any justification for the centralization at all? I think /i u/ > /ə və/ makes sense in that the /v/ distinguishes the two vowels. I'm just wondering why the centralization would happen in the first place?
Doesn’t /e o/ > /i u/ count as justification?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 16:21

Ashtăr Balynestjăr wrote:
gestaltist wrote:Do you have any justification for the centralization at all? I think /i u/ > /ə və/ makes sense in that the /v/ distinguishes the two vowels. I'm just wondering why the centralization would happen in the first place?
Doesn’t /e o/ > /i u/ count as justification?
Not really, as I’m pretty sure Porphyrogenitos is planning a kind of chain shift whereby the high vowels centre first and so make space for the mid vowels to raise.

However, I don’t think there needs to be a justification. As pointed out earlier, vowels do crazy things. If you feel like a justification is needed, a simple solution would be to posit that in addition to the quality differences between /e o/ on one hand and /i u/ on the other, a further quantity contrast developed whereby /i u/ were shortened and as a result became lax and centred, rendering the quantity distinction obsolete and paving the way for e o → i u.

One question: did u → və have an intermediate stage such as wə or ʋə?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by esoanem » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 17:01

It could be a push chain rather than a pull chain. That'd allow /e o/ > /i u/ to justify the centralisation.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 17:04

esoanem wrote:It could be a push chain rather than a pull chain. That'd allow /e o/ > /i u/ to justify the centralisation.
True. I always think in terms of pull chains I just realised.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 18:00

gestaltist wrote:Do you have any justification for the centralization at all? I think /i u/ > /ə və/ makes sense in that the /v/ distinguishes the two vowels. I'm just wondering why the centralization would happen in the first place?
DesEsseintes wrote:
Ashtăr Balynestjăr wrote: Doesn’t /e o/ > /i u/ count as justification?
Not really, as I’m pretty sure Porphyrogenitos is planning a kind of chain shift whereby the high vowels centre first and so make space for the mid vowels to raise.

However, I don’t think there needs to be a justification. As pointed out earlier, vowels do crazy things. If you feel like a justification is needed, a simple solution would be to posit that in addition to the quality differences between /e o/ on one hand and /i u/ on the other, a further quantity contrast developed whereby /i u/ were shortened and as a result became lax and centred, rendering the quantity distinction obsolete and paving the way for e o → i u.

One question: did u → və have an intermediate stage such as wə or ʋə?
So, what I'm thinking is that first there would be /i u/ > /i v̩u̯/ - that /u/ fricativizes, but not all the way, leaving a non-fricativized offglide, which then proceeds to lower and center like /v̩u̯ > v̩ʊ̯ > v̩ə̯/, with the offglide ultimately becoming the the syllable nucleus /və/. As the offglide laxes and centers, so does /i/, and /e o/ start moving up to become /i u/.

The fricativized vowel /v̩u̯/ probably leaves a variety of affrication and fricativization effects on preceding consonants, meaning that /v/ would actually have a variety of realizations, e.g. perhaps ku > kxʷə, tu > tfə, ju > ʒʷə, mu > mṽə.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 10:24

I’m having some trouble with how adjectives should behave in Qutrussan so I was wondering if anybody knew of any languages/conlangs where adjectives behave differently to IE/Semitic. I also don’t really want to just copy the Japanese system of having them behave more like verbs. My initial idea was to have a set of ‘true adjective’ roots but most would be derived from nouns + affix, and the two classes behave differently. Any quirky examples of adjectives/adverbs would be great.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 11:22

Porphyrogenitos wrote:
gestaltist wrote:Do you have any justification for the centralization at all? I think /i u/ > /ə və/ makes sense in that the /v/ distinguishes the two vowels. I'm just wondering why the centralization would happen in the first place?
DesEsseintes wrote:
Ashtăr Balynestjăr wrote: Doesn’t /e o/ > /i u/ count as justification?
Not really, as I’m pretty sure Porphyrogenitos is planning a kind of chain shift whereby the high vowels centre first and so make space for the mid vowels to raise.

However, I don’t think there needs to be a justification. As pointed out earlier, vowels do crazy things. If you feel like a justification is needed, a simple solution would be to posit that in addition to the quality differences between /e o/ on one hand and /i u/ on the other, a further quantity contrast developed whereby /i u/ were shortened and as a result became lax and centred, rendering the quantity distinction obsolete and paving the way for e o → i u.

One question: did u → və have an intermediate stage such as wə or ʋə?
So, what I'm thinking is that first there would be /i u/ > /i v̩u̯/ - that /u/ fricativizes, but not all the way, leaving a non-fricativized offglide, which then proceeds to lower and center like /v̩u̯ > v̩ʊ̯ > v̩ə̯/, with the offglide ultimately becoming the the syllable nucleus /və/. As the offglide laxes and centers, so does /i/, and /e o/ start moving up to become /i u/.

The fricativized vowel /v̩u̯/ probably leaves a variety of affrication and fricativization effects on preceding consonants, meaning that /v/ would actually have a variety of realizations, e.g. perhaps ku > kxʷə, tu > tfə, ju > ʒʷə, mu > mṽə.
I like that. I like Des's ideas too, though.

If you want the frication of /u/ go first, it might be interesting to decouple the two processes diachronically and see where it goes. Also, if /o/ was more central in that language (e.g., [o~ɵ]) then /o/ > /u/ could provide an additional justification for the centralization of /i/, as the once occupied central space is now freed up.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 14:12

Davush wrote:I’m having some trouble with how adjectives should behave in Qutrussan so I was wondering if anybody knew of any languages/conlangs where adjectives behave differently to IE/Semitic. I also don’t really want to just copy the Japanese system of having them behave more like verbs. My initial idea was to have a set of ‘true adjective’ roots but most would be derived from nouns + affix, and the two classes behave differently. Any quirky examples of adjectives/adverbs would be great.
Your initial idea is also just like Japanese though...Japanese has verb-like and noun-like adjectives, both of which behave differently, with the nominal adjective behaving much as you describe them, i.e. a noun-like root with an attributive or possessive particle.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 14:58

Hmm yes that’s true. Looks like I copied the Japanese system more than I realized. I quite like it though, but I might have to rethink it a bit now.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 16:23

One alternative would be to have all adjectives behave like verbs (like the Japanese -i adjectives only fpr the whole set). Alternatively you could have it the other way round and have a small closed class of adjectives which behave a bit more like nominal and have the rest be stativ verbs (one example of this is Yimas, which has only 3 true adjectives). This closed class of adjectives could take the form of affixes and only be usable attributively on nouns (this is common in Algonquian languages).

Essentially the question with adjectives is "to what extent to they behave like nouns and to what extent do they behave like verbs". In some languages they may behave so like one of those classes to be effectively indistinguishable from them (Australian Aboriginal languages for nouns, many Native American languages for verbs), while others they do form more of a distinct class (e.g. IE, though even in that they are fairly firmly nominal-like in their morphology and syntax), and in some languages different adjectives exhibit differing behaviours with regards to this spectrum (again Japanese with its i- and na-adjectives).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 17:21

Thanks - that is all helpful. I think that since Qutrussan's aesthetic is based loosely on classical IE/Semitic languages, adjectives shouldn't be too verby or Algonquian like, but nor do I want them to simply agree & inflect like IE. The main challenge is trying to add in some things which 'spice it up' a bit, while making sure it is still consistent with the aesthetics and grammar.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Evynova » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 18:24

While messing around with K'anerhtówhí, I quickly realised that the agglutinative nature of the language and the heavy affixiation constantly created consonant clusters that are phonologically not allowed. I took the "adapt, improvise, overcome" approach, turning a cluster into a geminated consonant, following some rules that are usually regular. I have two questions, and I'll admit they're probably a bit dumb: first of all, should I change the basic phonology of my conlang, adding the potential geminated consonants as basic morphemes, knowing they only happen when affixes create clusters? And second of all, what do I do with my romanisation? Do I keep doing what I've been doing so far, and use a romanisation that doesn't always match the pronunciation but makes it easier to spot the root and affixes, or do I adapt it to match the pronunciation as closely as possible?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 18:53

Davush wrote:Thanks - that is all helpful. I think that since Qutrussan's aesthetic is based loosely on classical IE/Semitic languages, adjectives shouldn't be too verby or Algonquian like, but nor do I want them to simply agree & inflect like IE. The main challenge is trying to add in some things which 'spice it up' a bit, while making sure it is still consistent with the aesthetics and grammar.
You could play around with agreement and concord. Does the adjective agree with the noun it describes in (a) but not in (b), both (a) and (b) or maybe only (b). In any case this might give your language some 'spice'.

(a) The girl is tall.
(b) The tall girl runs.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ashtăr Balynestjăr » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 20:54

How plausible is it for the nominative ending in a marked nominative language to develop from a copula?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 20:58

Could you give an example sentence with an old and a derived form? I find it hard to wrap my head around it without an example.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ashtăr Balynestjăr » Thu 26 Oct 2017, 21:44

Suppose that the old simple past gave way to a progressive form like English “was X-ing”.

hasate riba-ma kudi
farmer till-PST field

hasate li-ma riba-n kudi
farmer COP-PST till-GER field

After syncope of unstressed vowels, the copula became a clitic attached onto the noun.
haste=ľ-ma riba-n kuď
farmer=COP-PST till-GER field

Then, the tense suffix on the copula is sent back to the verb as a prefix, and the stem becomes the nominative ending.
haste-ľ ma-riban kuď-Ø
farmer-NOM PST-till field-ACC
Last edited by Ashtăr Balynestjăr on Thu 26 Oct 2017, 22:54, edited 1 time in total.
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