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

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

Post by Frislander » Sat 28 Oct 2017, 15:03

sangi39 wrote:This was what I was thinking about (suddenly remembered it):

"Australian languages typically favour peripheral consonants word- and syllable-initially, and they are not allowed or common word- and syllable-finally, unlike the apicals."

... which seems to support the non-initial retroflex plosive idea (might vary from language to language, or course, since I'm sure I've seen <rt> occur word-initially, possibly in Western Desert).
Pretty much, yeah. There's also a more general prohibition against word-initial liquids, though this again varies from language to language (e.g. if a language has a dental lateral it may well allow it word-initially like other dentals, but I'm not sure it's terribly common to permit alveolar-laterals initially).

As for the retroflex question it's more complex than is sometimes portrayed, because in quie a few languages which only permit one series of apicals word-initially, it's also common for it to be the retroflex that's permitted there and not the alveolar. Warlpiri is like this but the orthography just writes them as plain alveolars for economy's sake.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 29 Oct 2017, 08:34

Consider the following two rules for a language.
Considering morphemes to be certain strings of phonemes, and measuring the length of morphemes as the number of phonemes they contain:
What if:
1. No two different morphemes can share a common initial substring that is both more than three-fourths (75%) the length of one of them and also more than three-fifths (60%) the length of the other.
2. No two different morphemes can share a common final substring that is both more than four-fifths (80%) the length of one of them and also more than two-thirds (~66.67%) the length of the other.

FIrst question; How hard would it be to arrange that a conlang obeys both of those two rules?
Second question; What's the easiest way to make that happen?
Third question; Could an easy-to-use conlang be constructed that satisfies those rules?
Fourth question; How (a) naturalistic and (b) realistic are those rules?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 13:27

That doesn't sound naturalistic at all since sound change would garble up any such system in no time.

You could probably create a language like that but it would have to be purely artificial, I think.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 19:44

gestaltist wrote:That doesn't sound naturalistic at all
I kind of expected that.

gestaltist wrote: since sound change would garble up any such system in no time.
Really? I don't see why you say that. (that is, the part about sound change destroying the system.)
(Though there are other reasons why it might not be naturalistic.)

gestaltist wrote:You could probably create a language like that but it would have to be purely artificial, I think.
You're probably right. On the other forum that someone answered, that was what they said too.

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Thanks for being the first one on the CBB to answer!
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » Mon 30 Oct 2017, 20:36

I would comment on your suggestion Eldin but as I actually don't understand what you're getting at I have no basis on which to say anything. Could you give some examples of how this system might work?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 31 Oct 2017, 18:45

Frislander wrote:I would comment on your suggestion Eldin but as I actually don't understand what you're getting at I have no basis on which to say anything. Could you give some examples of how this system might work?
I was actually kind of asking for help with that!
I'll try, and post it later somewhere on the CBB; and/or maybe a PM to to you.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » Tue 31 Oct 2017, 23:51

gestaltist wrote:That doesn't sound naturalistic at all since sound change would garble up any such system in no time.

You could probably create a language like that but it would have to be purely artificial, I think.
If you put limits on suffixation and restrict it to polysyllables, then I'd bet it'd move to ANADEW territory.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 15:07

I have been thinking about subordinate/adverbial clauses for Qutrussan. Although it is SOV, I think I would prefer for it to behave more like Latin in that the adverb appears at the start of the clause, not after the verb, like Japanese. However, the verb is marked for 'subordinateness'. I don't know if this is attested in any language (or the correct term)?

For example:

smai hósha yaḥ-anda
because good be-3P SUB
'because it is good'

-anda is attached to verb, despite the subordinator 'because (smai)' already being used.

Or

zaiga curucc-anda
when go-2P-SUB
'when you go'

Is it also reasonable for these forms to alternate with the nominalised versions, which are probably more formal, i.e. 'because of its being good' 'at the time of your going' etc. I feel like one form would quickly win over the other, but I like both...

căn cúcŭrmi
your go.GER-LOC
'at your going' (when you go)
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 15:32

Davush wrote:Although it is SOV, I think I would prefer for it to behave more like Latin in that the adverb appears at the start of the clause, not after the verb, like Japanese. However, the verb is marked for 'subordinateness'. I don't know if this is attested in any language (or the correct term)?

For example:

smai hósha yaḥ-anda
because good be-3P SUB
'because it is good'

-anda is attached to verb, despite the subordinator 'because (smai)' already being used.

Or

zaiga curucc-anda
when go-2P-SUB
'when you go'
This seems to fall rather nicely under the blanket of what one would term "subjunctive" (words like smai and zaiga triggering the subjunctive -- whatever that may mean in your lang).
Is it also reasonable for these forms to alternate with the nominalised versions, which are probably more formal, i.e. 'because of its being good' 'at the time of your going' etc. I feel like one form would quickly win over the other, but I like both...

căn cúcŭrmi
your go.GER-LOC
'at your going' (when you go)
Two ways of doing it also seems perfectly fine. You could make the more formal/more conversational split (or some other distinction in register), but you could also just leave it à la "I like to cook." vs. "I like cooking." (which is a game of inches, IMHO). I don't see a reason one usage should necessarily eclipse the other and vive la différence besides. But how will you know what feels right until you actually USE them?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 15:36

Davush wrote:I have been thinking about subordinate/adverbial clauses for Qutrussan. .... However, the verb is marked for 'subordinateness'. I don't know if this is attested in any language (or the correct term)?
It is so attested in many languages.
A (but probably not the only?) correct term is "Subjunctive mood or mode (or modality?)".

A mood (or mode or modality) is a good candidate for the label "subjunctive", if its main use, or one of its main uses, is to mark the verb of a subordinately-conjoined clause, or to signal that the clause of which the verb is the nucleus is a subordinate clause.

It is a historical accident that most educated Western Europeans' first encounter with the label "subjunctive" is moods which are now (i.e. in the last few centuries) mostly irrealis -- moods which signal that the clause their verbs are in are not known to be matters of fact.
English's "subjunctive" mood, for instance, were better termed "dubitative". (For instance one might say "were better termed" instead of "is better termed".)

Do you want me or anyone to go into detail about what makes a clause "subordinate" to another clause?
Spoiler:
One clause is subordinate to another clause (its "matrix" clause) if it is both embedded in the matrix clause and dependent on it.

If a clause is used within another clause, for instance as if it were a noun (complement clause) or an adjective (relative clause) or an adverb (adjunct clause), we say it is "embedded".

If a clause depends for part of its meaning on another clause, we say it's "dependent".
For instance, consider "Ben sitting on the couch" in the following three sentences; when, exactly, is Ben sitting there? Past, present, or future?

Code: Select all

1. I got home and saw Ben sitting on the couch.
2. She turns around and there she sees Ben sitting on the couch.
3.  What will you do if when you go into the new apartment the first thing you see is Ben sitting on the couch?
As you can see, the tense of "Ben sitting on the couch" depends on the tense of the clause in which it occurs.

Edit: As Lao Kou pointed out in his ninja-post, one verbal noun is an infinitive and another verbal noun is a gerund.
Some languages have more than one infinitive and some have more than one gerund [citation needed].
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 15:41

Thanks both! Similar to what Eldin mentioned, in my mind I had associated the subjunctive with how Spanish uses it, i.e. more irrealis than to indicate subordinate-ness, but subjunctive is probably a good name for now. It does have some other uses which aren't usually covered under 'subjunctive', but I'll work that out later.

Would a 'because' clause then be dependent even though they can often stand alone?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 16:29

Davush wrote:Thanks both! Similar to what Eldin mentioned, in my mind I had associated the subjunctive with how Spanish uses it, i.e. more irrealis than to indicate subordinate-ness, but subjunctive is probably a good name for now.
Well, you did offer examples like:
smai hósha yaḥ-anda
because good be-3P SUB
'because it is good'

-anda is attached to verb, despite the subordinator 'because (smai)' already being used.
(which is about subordinate-ness (and quite common)) Or
zaiga curucc-anda
when go-2P-SUB
'when you go'
which might fall under certain language irrealis/subjunctive structures, because we don't know what the future might bring (also quite common).
Would a 'because' clause then be dependent even though they can often stand alone?
I would say yes. The main clause may not be explicit, but it needs to be understood for the dependent clause to make sense.

A) Which dress do you like?
B) The red one.

"The red one" is prescriptively ungrammatical, in that it's not a "sentence". Obviously, we know what's going on, given the previous sentence ("I like the red dress.").

A) Why did you buy the red dress?
B) Because I liked it.

"Because I liked it." is also a ruler-slapper prescriptively grammatically in English, because it's not a "complete" sentence. But we know the context is "because I liked (the red dress) it for its fashion/price/etc." Whether this triggers some sort of subjunctive structure in your lang is up to you, but I wouldn't sweat it.

Frankly, I like your -anda, and hope it won't be relegated to irrealis, just 'cause that's what we know and are familiar with.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 17:00

Thanks! That helps clarify things. I do want to keep -anda form as it is so I'm glad you also like it, I was just looking for a better way to describe/understand it than I currently do as 'a suffix with a variety of uses which I don't know how to categorise but which seem vaguely related'. [:D]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » Fri 03 Nov 2017, 20:52

I need help coming up with a good (glotto-)chronology of my languages, because I'm continually dissatisfied with any numbers I come up with:
Spoiler:
Image
(Tomosian is supposed to be deceased too and it's an undeveloped branch)
(The "present" is equivalent to 400 AD our earth and global population is 315 million)
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » Sat 04 Nov 2017, 23:32

At least within Indo-European, branching into speech variations that might firmly be called distinct languages seems to happen anywhere between 500 and 1000 years, and seems to tie in with geographical dispersal as well. For example, Greek, Albanian and Armenian have notable dialects, but in general there haven't been any splits into distinct languages in those branches, possibly because they're found in pretty specific areas. The Germanic, Indo-Iranian and Romance languages, on the other hand, have fairly large numbers of splits much more frequently, possibly because they've spread across relatively large areas of land with long-distance communication being maintained for a handful or centuries (so the splits occur more frequently).

So for your languages, perhaps the East Charric languages split into Ethuanic, Toryugh and the other two languages early on, after spreading quickly, or quite recently, with a later date for their spread. West Charric would likely have split quite recently. So perhaps something like this:

Code: Select all

2500BC -------------- 2000BC -------------- 1500BC -------------- 1000BC -------------- 500BC -------------- 1AD -------------- 500AD
                 |             |                         |                  |          |        |   |      |         |       |
               2200BC        1800BC                    1250BC              900BC      600BC   400BC 300BC  50BC     200AD   400AD  
                 |             |                         |                  |          |        |   |      |         | 
                 V             V                         V                  V          V        V   V      V         V      
                                                                                                                        
Proto-Haxyakian -+- Tomosian                                                                                                
                 |                                                                                                          
                 +- Himoshian -+- Old Takshian ----------+- East Charric --------------+- Ethuanic ------------------------------>>>
                                                         |                             +- Toryugh  ------------------------------>>>
                                                         |                             +- ???      ------------------------------>>>
                                                         |                             +- ???      ------------------------------>>>
                                                         |                                                                           
                                                         +- Middle Takshian -+- West Charric ---+- C. Vrkhazhian ----+- Uzerian  >>>
                                                                             |                  |                    +- Mukhebic >>>
                                                                             |                  |                                 
                                                                             |                  +- Tligkiz ---------------------->>>
                                                                             |                  +- Huslean ---------------------->>>
                                                                             |                                               
                                                                             +- Central Charric ----+- Hambyyic ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                      +- ???      ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                      +- ???      ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                      +- ???      ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                      +- ???      ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                      +- ???      ----------------->>>
                                                                             |                                                    
                                                                             +- NE Charric ----------------+- Moarchan ---------->>>
                                                                                                           +- ???      ---------->>>
                                                                                                           +- ???      ---------->>>
Here, Middle Takshian split into three branches after 350 years, but a fairly quick period of expansion without long-distance communication could sum that up.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 01:31

I guess I wouldn't not be able to give Haxyakian family the kind of time depth like that of Afro-Asiatic without developing more language descendants.

The specific migration patterns of the Haxyakians is like this:

The speakers inhabited a northern peninsula on the Southern Continent near the equator of Sedi for a thousand or so years, then they started spreading out into the ocean along the equatorial island chains as well as expanding further inland on the continent. The people exploring and inhabiting the island chains migrate further north reaching the south coast of the western half of the Northern Continent. At this point what was once Haxyakian is now split into Himoshian and Tomosian; Tomosian spoken by those that remained on the Southern Continent and Himoshian spoken by those inhabiting the coast of the Northern Continent. Then the Himoshians expand farther north until they span an area of 13.3 million km2 (which includes a desert along the west coast, a mountain range in the middle, and a rainforest near the southern coast) and that's when Himoshian becomes Old Takshian.
Central Charric is probably the last branch to diverge, since it is in the area where the Himoshian settlers originated.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 01:57

Ahzoh wrote:I guess I wouldn't not be able to give Haxyakian family the kind of time depth like that of Afro-Asiatic without developing more language descendants.

The specific migration patterns of the Haxyakians is like this:

The speakers inhabited a northern peninsula on the Southern Continent near the equator of Sedi for a thousand or so years, then they started spreading out into the ocean along the equatorial island chains as well as expanding further inland on the continent. The people exploring and inhabiting the island chains migrate further north reaching the south coast of the western half of the Northern Continent. At this point what was once Haxyakian is now split into Himoshian and Tomosian; Tomosian spoken by those that remained on the Southern Continent and Himoshian spoken by those inhabiting the coast of the Northern Continent. Then the Himoshians expand farther north until they span an area of 13.3 million km2 (which includes a desert along the west coast, a mountain range in the middle, and a rainforest near the southern coast) and that's when Himoshian becomes Old Takshian.
Central Charric is probably the last branch to diverge, since it is in the area where the Himoshian settlers originated.
Oh well that's not too bad to work with [:)] I think the main things to keep in mind are a) how long did each period of expansion take, b) how much area did the expansion cover, and c) how long was long-distance communication maintained in these new areas.

For example, if the expansion was rapid, but with little to no real long-distance communication, then you might expect the spreading language to split off relatively quickly, but possibly following more of a wave-like division. If, however, long-distance communication was maintained for quite some time, you might expect slower branching followed by more rapid division at the end of that communicative period. If the expansion is slow or non existent, then you'd expect slow branching.

So, during the Old Takshian period, which seems to be one of fairly rapid expansion, what is long-distance communication like? Is the expansion something we might see as similar to that of the Roman or Mongolian empires (Rome doubled in size in about 150 years, maintaining that size for almost another three centuries while the Mongolian Empire tripled in size in about two decades, doubling again over the next century before falling apart), or was it something a little bit slower, possibly dotting the landscape with smaller independent territories on the outset?

The dates you come up with will tie in quite heavily with these sorts of factors, how well communication can be maintained across the geographical and political landscape, and, generally speaking, how soon various speech groups become more isolated from each other (IIRC, there was a suggestion that bodies of water, especially seas rather than rivers, and mountains/valleys are more likely to lead to simple splitting of languages, while more easily navigable plains show evidence of wave-like divisions).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 02:40

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

Post by Ahzoh » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 03:36

sangi39 wrote:Oh well that's not too bad to work with [:)] I think the main things to keep in mind are a) how long did each period of expansion take, b) how much area did the expansion cover, and c) how long was long-distance communication maintained in these new areas.

For example, if the expansion was rapid, but with little to no real long-distance communication, then you might expect the spreading language to split off relatively quickly, but possibly following more of a wave-like division. If, however, long-distance communication was maintained for quite some time, you might expect slower branching followed by more rapid division at the end of that communicative period. If the expansion is slow or non existent, then you'd expect slow branching.

So, during the Old Takshian period, which seems to be one of fairly rapid expansion, what is long-distance communication like? Is the expansion something we might see as similar to that of the Roman or Mongolian empires (Rome doubled in size in about 150 years, maintaining that size for almost another three centuries while the Mongolian Empire tripled in size in about two decades, doubling again over the next century before falling apart), or was it something a little bit slower, possibly dotting the landscape with smaller independent territories on the outset?

The dates you come up with will tie in quite heavily with these sorts of factors, how well communication can be maintained across the geographical and political landscape, and, generally speaking, how soon various speech groups become more isolated from each other (IIRC, there was a suggestion that bodies of water, especially seas rather than rivers, and mountains/valleys are more likely to lead to simple splitting of languages, while more easily navigable plains show evidence of wave-like divisions).
That does seem like a thing to look for:
The Himoshian settlers would have not had horses, being unable to carry them on the ships. They would have had to redomesticate a new subspecies of horse or possibly displace native populations of people. The same for camels in the desert. And then there is the whole "extradimensional being threat" that start popping up when the Takshians start being a thing.
The Takshians would be a society of nomadic horse people but with some variants deciding to become sedentary. Tropical climates, I don't know much about how well people can travel in those or if there's any hindrance to communication at all (which is what you'd expect in a dense forest).

I came up with a diagram of expansion:
Spoiler:
Image
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by esoanem » Sun 05 Nov 2017, 04:03

Losing word final vowels (after losing -m/-s etc.) ought to be enough. It'd leave you with a difference in the plural genitives (western romance 1st declension/feminine -ar vs 2nd declension/masculine -or) but if you lose some cases (and, given the fact this sound change would merge all forms other than the plural genitive and maybe 3rd/4th/5th declension plural dative/ablative, massive erosion of the case system seems likely) this isn't a problem; alternatively you can merge a and o (potentially only before r) to remove gender there.

This would also probably get rid of plural marking without shenanigans on your part (you could probably rescue a -(ə)s from the dative/ablative without too much difficulty, the -s is retained there in many romance languages that lost final -s in other forms) which could be fun, but I can see why you might not want it.

Another option could be doing some funky vowel stuff instead. Vulgar Latin merged most things into either the 1st or 2nd declensions (for feminine and masculine/neuter nouns respectively) so, losing final -s again (at least in the nominative singular), you'd need an -a/-u, an -am/-um, an -ae/-ī, an -ā/-ō, an -ās/-ōs, and an -ārum/-ōrum merger which could be done just with an ae/ī merger, an a/u merger, and a ā/ō merger. This wouldn't be possible with Western, Sardinian, or Eastern vowel developments but it doesn't seem implausible (probably with a,u > ə). It would allow you to keep the full case system if you wanted.
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