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

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

Post by Pabappa » Fri 24 Nov 2017, 18:20

gestaltist wrote:
Fri 24 Nov 2017, 11:46
Davush wrote:
Fri 24 Nov 2017, 00:21
Do you like to be able to ...
I don't. I like knowing how a given sound is pronounced, though. E.g., I don't use epiglottals because I can't figure out how they work. I don't mind using pharyngealization, though, although I have trouble pronouncing, because I feel that I understand the underlying process.
Im basically like this. I have a difficult time with tones, ejectives,and pharyngealized vowels , but I can pronounce them in isolation, so I'm comfortable using them in a language, even one that has all three.

It may be wise to stick close to shore. I had ejectives all wrong for several years, and thought they would behave as clusters, and so never had words that began with ejectives.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 00:16

Davush wrote:
Fri 24 Nov 2017, 00:21
Do you like to be able to pronounce your conlangs more or less accurately and fluidly? I am asking because I have always tended to only make languages which I can pronounce easily. I am trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit, but I find it frustrating when the language is difficult to pronounce. E.g. recently I came up with something like /ʁobz maʔt ʂakʈʊɽʈaʁ/ which I find difficult because of retroflexes and clusters.
Yes. In fact, I have always wanted to include /ɣ/ for a long time into my conlang, and I don't include phonemes that I cannot differentiate. Although I can hear /x/ and /ɣ/ quite well, whenever I try to do /ɣ/, I feel it sounds more like /h/, so I decided not to include it amongst the griuskant phonology inventory.

Still, /ɣ/ is tempting...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 12:44

What could be good letters for the voiced and voiceless lateral fricatives if <l> is already used for a syllabic approximant?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by esoanem » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 15:08

fairly obvious options for lateral fricatives are <lh>, <hl>, <ll>, <lz>, <gl>, <lg> (with g being chosen by analogy to h because of its frequent realisation as /ɣ/ in many languages).

Of these, <lh> & <hl> would suggest voiceless fricatives and <gl> & <lg> would suggest voiced fricatives whilst <ll> & <lz> could reasonably be used for others.

If you're willing to move outside of the basic latin alphabet, I'm a fan of using λ for a second lateral (although it wouldn't easily allow for a distinction between a voiced and unvoiced lateral fricative)

Obviously using digraphs can potentially cause ambiguity between the digraph and clusters or geminated consonants.
My pronouns are they/them/their

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

Post by Creyeditor » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 15:16

If you are okay with digraphs, I could suggest some pairings:
<sl><zl>
<ls><lz>
<lh><ll>
If you are a fan of diacritics, here are some ideas:
<ļ><ľ>
<ł><ŀ>

If you like crazy letters, you could use the lamdas from APA for lateral affricates
<ƛ><λ>
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 15:19

Omzinesý wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 12:44
What could be good letters for the voiced and voiceless lateral fricatives if <l> is already used for a syllabic approximant?
ł ll l for /ɬ ɮ l/ if you don’t have geminates?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:16

I am trying to think of some interesting ways word order can interact with case/definiteness. If a language is predominantly SOV, would the following be likely:

woman.NOM man.ACC saw
'The woman saw a man'
VS
woman.NOM saw man.ACC
'The woman saw the man'

With a definite object appearing after the verb. Or would it be more likely to be the other way around in a SOV language? Is anything like this found in any nat langs? I know Mandarin sometimes has VS to convey indefiniteness.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:32

Im not sure the boundary of definite:indefinite always lies along the same division as English's does. My conlangs are all SOV and all get by with no definiteness distinction. Instead it's about "first mention" vs "previously mentioned". All nouns are unmarked except for a marking on a "first mention" noun when it has already occurred earlier in the conversation, which usually corresponds to English "another".

For example "I saw a man." / "She saw a man." (But they are 2 different people).

Therefore word order could be used to denote new ifnromation, not necessarily "the" vs "a". However, if the language is predominantly SOV already, I'd be thinking about fronting it to OSV, not backing it to SVO, to mark the more unusual of the two types of constructions.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sumelic » Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:55

Davush wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:16
I am trying to think of some interesting ways word order can interact with case/definiteness. If a language is predominantly SOV, would the following be likely:

woman.NOM man.ACC saw
'The woman saw a man'
VS
woman.NOM saw man.ACC
'The woman saw the man'

With a definite object appearing after the verb. Or would it be more likely to be the other way around in a SOV language? Is anything like this found in any nat langs? I know Mandarin sometimes has VS to convey indefiniteness.
This particular setup seems a little unlikely to me, in that I would expect definite objects to be fairly common in a language, so a language where SVO is used when the object is definite seems unlikely to end up being predominantly SOV. But I would imagine that word order can relate to definiteness.

The ways of indicating definiteness that I remember different languages having, aside from articles, include things like the use of accusative case markers on definite but not indefinite objects, or incorporating indefinite (or maybe it's non-specific) objects into a verb but not definite (or maybe just specific) objects. Noun incorporation might look similar to altered word order in some languages.

I think definite noun phrases usually tend to occur earlier in a sentence than indefinite noun phrases.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Sun 26 Nov 2017, 00:52

Davush wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:16
I am trying to think of some interesting ways word order can interact with case/definiteness. If a language is predominantly SOV, would the following be likely:

woman.NOM man.ACC saw
'The woman saw a man'
VS
woman.NOM saw man.ACC
'The woman saw the man'

With a definite object appearing after the verb. Or would it be more likely to be the other way around in a SOV language? Is anything like this found in any nat langs? I know Mandarin sometimes has VS to convey indefiniteness.
Your example is actually similar to some things that do happen in some natlangs. Some of the phenomena I talk about below are specifically geared toward languages with dominant VO word-order rather than OV word-order.
(My memory being what it is, the remainder of this post is all [citation needed]!)
What happens to an object depends on its animacy and its definiteness.
I once suggested a system, in a collaboration conlang, wherein:
Definite human objects had to come after the verb, had to be in the accusative case (if there was one) and/or have the accusative adposition (if there was one) and/or have the definite article (if there was one);
Definite animate objects, and specific/referential human objects, had to come after the verb and be in the accusative case and/or have the accusative adposition, but might do without an article (if it wasn't both definite and human);
Definite objects, human objects, and specific animate objects, had to come after the verb, but might not have case-marking nor any adposition (if it was definite but inanimate, or human but nonspecific/nonreferential, or specific animate but indefinite and nonhuman);
Specific nonhuman objects, and definite inanimate objects, could not only do without case-marking, adpositions, and articles, but could come before the verb; however they couldn't be incorporated in the verb;
Nonspecific/nonreferential inanimate objects could be incorporated in the verb.
The thing is, no particular piece of that system is unrealistic or unnaturalistic. The whole collection might be, taken altogether. But it's true that in languages where not all objects are treated the same, the more definite and/or the more animate it is, the more likely it is to not be incorporated in the verb and to be specifically marked for nominal features, in particular for its case-role, and for definiteness or specificity.
And in languages that are mostly VO, the less definite and/or less animate an object is, the likelier it is to move before the verb; and in languages that incorporate certain indefinite objects into verbs, they usually won't incorporate an object that couldn't appear before the verb if not incorporated, and won't incorporate it unless it is shorn of all inflection.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Sun 26 Nov 2017, 01:12

Sumelic wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:55
Davush wrote:
Sat 25 Nov 2017, 23:16
I am trying to think of some interesting ways word order can interact with case/definiteness. If a language is predominantly SOV, would the following be likely:

woman.NOM man.ACC saw
'The woman saw a man'
VS
woman.NOM saw man.ACC
'The woman saw the man'

With a definite object appearing after the verb. Or would it be more likely to be the other way around in a SOV language? Is anything like this found in any nat langs? I know Mandarin sometimes has VS to convey indefiniteness.
The ways of indicating definiteness that I remember different languages having, aside from articles, include things like the use of accusative case markers on definite but not indefinite objects, or incorporating indefinite (or maybe it's non-specific) objects into a verb but not definite (or maybe just specific) objects. Noun incorporation might look similar to altered word order in some languages.
Noun incorporation could actually give us an alternation. "Incorporated nouns" would be preverbal and "non-incorporated nouns" could be postverbal. "Incorporated nouns" are usually less definite, so it would be pretty similar.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Sun 26 Nov 2017, 11:20

Thanks all - it sounds like, if anything, a less definite object would be more likely to be post-verbal in a predominantly SOV language. I might try and use this in some form!
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov » Sun 26 Nov 2017, 21:28

Is it attested in natlangs to use the lative and ablative cases with Nominalized Verbs to mean "the time before" and "the time after", and if so, which case would go to which?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 12:23

I have a question about derivational morphology, compounding, and transparency - I hope it makes sense. I often check the etymology of words (usually from IE languages) for inspiration as to how I could derive words. What I find is that often the derivation of a word from a PIE root is very transparent, but by the time it has reached English/Latin/whatever, the average speaker would never have guessed where it came from.

For example, Latin 'cortex' supposedly derives from PIE *(s)kert- (to cut). Or 'fat' which supposedly derives from *poid- 'to abound in water, milk, etc.' It seems like these derivations would have been quite transparent to the PIE speaker, but sound changes and lexical replacement have obscured it in later languages. What I'm trying to ask is, why do some languages seem to have a lexicon with lots of very transparent derivations even for basic words (like PIE) and others don't (like English)?

Also, there was a thematic lexicon for conlangers floating about somewhere with a list of basic words and some showing how they could be related to others - does anybody know where this document can be found? It was very useful.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 12:51

Davush wrote:
Mon 27 Nov 2017, 12:23
Also, there was a thematic lexicon for conlangers floating about somewhere with a list of basic words and some showing how they could be related to others - does anybody know where this document can be found? It was very useful.
There you go.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 14:11

Davush wrote:
Mon 27 Nov 2017, 12:23
I have a question about derivational morphology, compounding, and transparency - I hope it makes sense. I often check the etymology of words (usually from IE languages) for inspiration as to how I could derive words. What I find is that often the derivation of a word from a PIE root is very transparent, but by the time it has reached English/Latin/whatever, the average speaker would never have guessed where it came from.

For example, Latin 'cortex' supposedly derives from PIE *(s)kert- (to cut). Or 'fat' which supposedly derives from *poid- 'to abound in water, milk, etc.' It seems like these derivations would have been quite transparent to the PIE speaker, but sound changes and lexical replacement have obscured it in later languages. What I'm trying to ask is, why do some languages seem to have a lexicon with lots of very transparent derivations even for basic words (like PIE) and others don't (like English)?
IIRC, there's a suggestion that the reason more transparently derived vocabulary turns up in earlier stages of languages, especially those based on reconstruction, is that there are elements of that language that have dropped out of the vocabulary, most likely due to sound change that things like context just couldn't handle or simple semantic drift. For example, Latin cortex took over as the word for "bark" because the original work for "bark", which turns up as liber in Latin, came to mean "book" (although this might have also derived from a word meaning "to cut" or "to peel" but its pretty solidly reconstructed as "tree bark" in terms of meaning). Similarly, English "fat" replaced the PIE *selp-, meaning "fat" or "oil" and doesn't appear to be derived from anything else, but turns up in English as "salve".

So, basically, it's likely that what we reconstruct as transparently derived vocabulary has probably just taken over the meaning of some less transparently derived word (of course every language has transparently derived vocabulary as well, but there just appears to be more of it the further back you go).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Porphyrogenitos » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 15:19

sangi39 wrote:
Mon 27 Nov 2017, 14:11
Davush wrote:
Mon 27 Nov 2017, 12:23
I have a question about derivational morphology, compounding, and transparency - I hope it makes sense. I often check the etymology of words (usually from IE languages) for inspiration as to how I could derive words. What I find is that often the derivation of a word from a PIE root is very transparent, but by the time it has reached English/Latin/whatever, the average speaker would never have guessed where it came from.

For example, Latin 'cortex' supposedly derives from PIE *(s)kert- (to cut). Or 'fat' which supposedly derives from *poid- 'to abound in water, milk, etc.' It seems like these derivations would have been quite transparent to the PIE speaker, but sound changes and lexical replacement have obscured it in later languages. What I'm trying to ask is, why do some languages seem to have a lexicon with lots of very transparent derivations even for basic words (like PIE) and others don't (like English)?
IIRC, there's a suggestion that the reason more transparently derived vocabulary turns up in earlier stages of languages, especially those based on reconstruction, is that there are elements of that language that have dropped out of the vocabulary, most likely due to sound change that things like context just couldn't handle or simple semantic drift. For example, Latin cortex took over as the word for "bark" because the original work for "bark", which turns up as liber in Latin, came to mean "book" (although this might have also derived from a word meaning "to cut" or "to peel" but its pretty solidly reconstructed as "tree bark" in terms of meaning). Similarly, English "fat" replaced the PIE *selp-, meaning "fat" or "oil" and doesn't appear to be derived from anything else, but turns up in English as "salve".

So, basically, it's likely that what we reconstruct as transparently derived vocabulary has probably just taken over the meaning of some less transparently derived word (of course every language has transparently derived vocabulary as well, but there just appears to be more of it the further back you go).
Exactly. I just finished reading Sapir's classic paper Time Perspective in Aboriginal American Culture, A Study in Method and he explains that
Edward Sapir wrote:One of the most useful principles for the determination of the age of a word is a consideration of its form; that is, whether it can be analysed into simpler elements, its significance being made up of the sum of these, or is a simple irreducible term. In the former case we suspect, generally speaking, a secondary or relatively late formation, in the latter considerable antiquity. We assume here, of course, that we are able to eliminate borrowed words, which, however recently introduced, are naturally incapable of analysis from the point of view of the borrowing language.
Essentially, words with obviously descriptive meanings - with an obviously compositional derivation - are likely newer in origin than unitary, unanalyzable words.
Edward Sapir wrote: We know, for instance, that the objects and offices denoted in English by the words bow, arrow, spear, wheel, plough, king, and knight, belong to a far more remote past than those indicated by such words as railroad, insulator, battleship, submarine, percolator, capitalist, and attorney-general, but we might have guessed this from the fact that the latter set, unlike the former, are clearly secondary formations, descriptive terms that seem to have been created out of older linguistic material to meet new cultural needs.
Or, for example, take the old words lord and lady, versus the newer words CEO and shareholder, both obviously formed out of other words.

But, Sapir points out, this doesn't in any way mean the older, unanalyzable words are in any way inherently different than the newer words - linguistic reconstruction (or knowledge of linguistic history gained from written sources) often shows us that such older words are compounds or derivations themselves, which have been made unrecognizable by sound change:
Edward Sapir wrote:This type of reasoning does not by any means imply that the older stock of non-descriptive words are necessarily in origin of a category distinct from the later descriptive ones. As a matter of fact, comparative, direct historical, or other evidence frequently enables us to show that what now appear to be nondescriptive terms are themselves originally descriptive in character, but, through the destructive agency of gradual phonetic change, have in time lost their morphological transparency.
And we can see this at work with English words lord and lady - which used to be hlāfweard "bread-guard" and hlǣfdīġe "bread-kneader".

So PIE would have had plenty of unanalyzable vocabulary terms, and in fact some of them come down to us in English - water from *wódr̥ and eat from *h₁ed-, both very basic concepts that aren't likely candidates for replacement.

But as Sapir details later on in the paper, in every language vocabulary gets replaced with time, often due to specific cultural reasons but also often due to simple semantic drift. So a great number of unanalyzable vocabulary terms that would have been in PIE were lost millennia ago and are now unknown to us.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Shemtov » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 17:10

Can Locative cases have temporal meanings, especially for verbal nouns, and if so, what cases would mean what temporal location?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 17:32

Shemtov wrote:
Mon 27 Nov 2017, 17:10
Can Locative cases have temporal meanings, especially for verbal nouns, and if so, what cases would mean what temporal location?
I don't see why not. The conceptual metaphor that "time is space" is pretty universal. The exact directions and "temporal locations" will differ from language to language, though, I imagine. For example, "to push a meeting back" means "to hold it later than planned" for most people. In Polish, a direct translation ("przesunąć spotkanie do tyłu") would mean the exact opposite: "to hold it earlier than planned."
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » Mon 27 Nov 2017, 17:47

Doesn't Finnish use locative cases in temporal nouns?
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
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