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

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

Post by Salmoneus » Tue 13 Nov 2018, 01:55

Frislander wrote:
Mon 12 Nov 2018, 22:27
shimobaatar wrote:
Mon 12 Nov 2018, 19:25
Frislander wrote:
Mon 12 Nov 2018, 18:01
(personally tbh I think the whole idea of "allophones" is complete shit, but that's by the by).
Just out of curiosity, might I ask why?
Because I'm an exemplar theory man, who believes "phonology" is merely an emergent property of a multitude of remembered phonetic word tokens, so while ideas like "phonemes", "allophones", "features" and so forth may be useful in describing patterns in languages, they do not necessarily reflect an actual underlying mental representation.
*hackles raise instinctively*

OK, I'm sorry to have to go all philosopher here, but I really do.

A linguist saying that phonemes (etc) are 'complete shit' because they "don't necessarily reflect an actual underlying mental representation" is like a physicist saying that gravity is complete shit because gravity doesn't necessarily reflect an actual world-thought in the supreme mind of the All-Lord Saurgothmor. Three objections necessarily spring to mind:
a) nothing in the theory of gravity requires there to be a true representation of the actual world-thoughts in the supreme mind of the All-Lord Saurgothmor;
b) so far as anyone in physics or theology has been able to demonstrate, there are no such things as actual world-thoughts in the supreme mind of the All-Lord Saurgothmor, and if there were we'd have no robust way to determine what they were;
c) the existence, and if then necessary the properties, of actual world-thoughts in the supreme mind of the All-Lord Saurgothmor, are matters for theologians, as physicists have neither the empirical tools nor the theological training to explore the non-Euclidian interior hypostasis-sphere of the All-Lord's unfathomable thought-essence, and are probably not even employing commensurable concepts of truth.

Likewise, the people who should be building theories of what is and isn't 'an actual mental representation' are neuroscientists, guided by psychologists and evolutionary biologists, under the watchful supervision of philosophers and associated experts (logicians, information theorists, etc). Not linguists.

And likewise, there are, so far as we can tell, no such things as "actual mental representations", and if there were we wouldn't have any way to determine what they were; this is a superstition, albeit a popular one. What's more, the entire concept of "actual" representations is naive and incoherent - put simplistically, "actual" (as opposed to non-actual) is an absolute and objective property, but a "representation" is a subjective, relative, and insubstantial object. It's like saying "the cuboid immorality" or "the spherical irony". How many representations are actually in one landscape photograph, and what are they actually representations of?

And likewise: nothing in the idea of a phoneme requires any sort of 'actual mental representation'. A phoneme is a concept in science - it is an element in a narrative representation of the world that we employ for economic advantage, and gains its value as a scientific concept from its utility within that representation. The validity of the phoneme-concept rests upon its ability to enable people to make predictions about observable linguistic behaviours - which is to say, from the extent to which those who employ the phoneme-concept are able to conduct empirical behaviours without encountering unpleasant surprises. Likewise, for example, the validity (and limitations) of the 'brick' concept may be tested by seeing whether people who believe in bricks do or do not meet with unpleasant surprises in their attempts to construct tall buildings. The property "is (or is not) reflective of an actual mental representation", on the other hand, is not a scientific concept but a metaphysical one. It is therefore not only something that cannot be tested by science, but something that is irrelevent to science, even if it is a coherent an truth-bearing concept in its own right (which this is not). In the same way, whether quarks 'represent a true thought in the mind of God' (or the All-Lord Saurgothmor for that matter) is not only untestable, but unimportant to the particle physicist. Whether a green dot partakes in the universal property of greenness, or imperfectly instantiates an ideal of greenness, or exhibits a singular trope to which the name 'green' has been given by virtue of an intertropical resemblance, is entirely irrelevant to the question of the validity of the concept of red-green colourblindness. Empirical theories are, by the fact of their being empirical, necessarily metaphysically agnostic.

And in that way, the fact that something is "emergent" is by no means an indicator that it is "complete shit". Other concepts that describe emergent properties with no, or questionable, actuality include "harmonic resolution", "emotion", "Frislander", "fun", and of course "brick". Nonetheless, these concepts are not complete shit, but rather play important roles within their own specialised forms of discourse.



Come now, you're a smart guy - let's not wander back into the poorly-lit middle-ages, to argue about angels on pinheads and suchlike!




EDIT: sorry, not trying to be aggressive. Just, occasionally something riles my philosophical instincts. Imagine seeing someone explain that, actually, indo-european descends from tamil. You know you're not actually going to change their mind, but still...
[no, I'm not saying frislander's naivity is on that level exactly, it's just the principle of the thing]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » Tue 13 Nov 2018, 02:29

I think I’d like to change my username to All-Lord Saurgothmor. [xD]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Tue 13 Nov 2018, 02:36

DesEsseintes wrote:
Tue 13 Nov 2018, 02:29
I think I’d like to change my username to All-Lord Saurgothmor. [xD]
[}:D]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » Tue 13 Nov 2018, 03:15

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

Post by Frislander » Tue 13 Nov 2018, 11:45

You do make some good points Sal, such that I am prepared to revise my statement: in so far as the internal workings of language are to some extent impossible to directly observe on a mental level, I contend that the models with the most explanatory power are ones which work from a mainly cognitive starting point, as opposed to more formalist and abstracted models posited by many others in the field, which are often based on inadequate data and prone to predict certain attested features as being impossible.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch » Wed 14 Nov 2018, 23:01

What would the names of locative cases that correspond to compass points be?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Jackk » Wed 14 Nov 2018, 23:04

I don't know if there's standard words but you could make some up like:
septentrional, oriental, meridional, occidental
for
NESW
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch » Wed 14 Nov 2018, 23:28

Jackk wrote:
Wed 14 Nov 2018, 23:04
I don't know if there's standard words but you could make some up like:
septentrional, oriental, meridional, occidental
for
NESW
Thanks! [:D] That makes perfect sense, this is kind of a "duh" because I didn't even think about just using "oriental" and "occidental". I didn't even know the other terms, though, so double thanks. Now all that'd be needed are the movement from/to equivalents... [:x]

EDIT: Actually, that'd be unnecessary since it'd most likely be indicated by verbs anyway. Or if it was explicitly necessary, adpositions or whatever.
EDIT2: Actually, something as simple as "light case stacking" would do just fine. For example, stem+septentrional+lative, etc.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cedh » Thu 15 Nov 2018, 09:49

For north and south, you could also use boreal and austral respectively.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » Thu 15 Nov 2018, 23:44

While I know [Vr] (→ [Vw]) → [V.ʊ] (same's true of [er] and [or]) will suffice for my conlang's [r] → [ʊ] after vowels, how do I note that it only happens to a moraic [r] (cf. Arbaiter)? Also, is the [Vw] step even needed cause the [w] is still pronounced?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » Fri 16 Nov 2018, 11:46

Is moraic /r/ the same as coda /r/ in your language? If yes, you could just indicate that it happens at the end of a syllable. (I don't know about clusters in your conlang though.)
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » Fri 16 Nov 2018, 14:15

Historically, yes. The [r] in [Cr] stopped after [r] → [w], as the /r/ in question may end up doing as well depending on if I introduce a character for moraic/coda /w/. I'm tempted to have a {r l} → [w] merger.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » Sun 18 Nov 2018, 02:36

I'd, usually, edit this into my previous post. However, it's been more than a day since then, and I want to make sure it gets handled without a reposting.

My conlang unified the Romanizations of its moraic sonorants (ɲ (/Ɲ/)) and obstruents (q (/Q/)) a few centuries ago. Is the [c̚] in the hypothetical word soqça (/ɕœ̠Q.c͡çɑ̟/ [ɕœ̠c̚.c͡çɑ̟]) considered an allophone of /Q/? Is it natural for a language to only allow voiced moraic sonorants ([w]) and voiceless moraic obstruents?

Additionally, is the splitting of former voiced geminates between nasals (cf. [bb] → [mm]) and approximants (cf. [xx] → [ww]) plausible?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by this_is_an_account » Sun 18 Nov 2018, 22:06

A conlang I'm working on has pitch accent where an unaccented vowel has a low tone, and an accented vowel can have a high tone, a rising tone, or a falling tone. Is this naturalistic at all?

If it isn't, I had an idea for the low tone of an unaccented vowel to become a mid tone, and for the rising and falling tones to become high and low tones respectively. This means that an accented vowel can be high or low, and an unaccented vowel has a mid tone. IDK if this is naturalistic either though.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 00:37

this_is_an_account wrote:
Sun 18 Nov 2018, 22:06
A conlang I'm working on has pitch accent where an unaccented vowel has a low tone, and an accented vowel can have a high tone, a rising tone, or a falling tone. Is this naturalistic at all?
That sounds like the basic Baltic setup where unstressed syllables are homeless and stressed ones can of the three types á, áa, and aá. I use something similar as well in conlangs.

The second idea, though, sounds very unnatural. I think when linguists speak of accented syllables having a low tone , they either mean a downstep or a tone that isn't as high as expected but is still at least mid in terms of absolute pitch.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 01:59

Evynova wrote:
Thu 16 Nov 2017, 19:33
Have any of you implemented some system of avoidance speech in one of your conlangs? I've been thinking about it for a new project, but I'm not sure how to go about it. What did you come up with? Are some words completely banned, or is substituting a phoneme with another accepted? Must a synonym or paraphrase be used instead? Does grammar change in any way? Which words did you decide to ban? And what about the paralinguistic elements; did you also associate certain behaviours with avoidance speech?
I haven’t——at least not yet——but I might.
On the CWBB I’ve discussed a possible caste system that some conculture might have.
I’m pondering a conculture into which I might include such a caste system.
One way .that caste system might show up is avoidance-speech by certain castes.
I hadn’t gotten much more severe than RL Quakers’ use of “thee” instead of “you”.
That doesn’t seem to have changed grammar much.

Something like avoiding all sibilants, or all syllables with sibilant onset’s, or all words with sibilant first phonemes, would be likelier to have an extreme effect.
If a group avoided words beginning with a particular phoneme, I think that might only make a noticeable change in their lexicon, but not really their morphology.
But if they avoid all syllables beginning with that phoneme, they might have to have an alternate morphology.
And if, as a result, they could no longer pronounce the differences between two aspects or cases or genders or moods or numbers or tenses or voices or whatever, they might have to employ alternative syntax to be able to express those differences.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by this_is_an_account » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 02:43

Pabappa wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 00:37
this_is_an_account wrote:
Sun 18 Nov 2018, 22:06
A conlang I'm working on has pitch accent where an unaccented vowel has a low tone, and an accented vowel can have a high tone, a rising tone, or a falling tone. Is this naturalistic at all?
That sounds like the basic Baltic setup where unstressed syllables are homeless and stressed ones can of the three types á, áa, and aá. I use something similar as well in conlangs.

The second idea, though, sounds very unnatural. I think when linguists speak of accented syllables having a low tone , they either mean a downstep or a tone that isn't as high as expected but is still at least mid in terms of absolute pitch.
Is it possible for the high tone in this system to shift to either the falling or rising tone? Maybe it could become both in different situations?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 03:06

this_is_an_account wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 02:43
Pabappa wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 00:37
this_is_an_account wrote:
Sun 18 Nov 2018, 22:06
A conlang I'm working on has pitch accent where an unaccented vowel has a low tone, and an accented vowel can have a high tone, a rising tone, or a falling tone. Is this naturalistic at all?
That sounds like the basic Baltic setup where unstressed syllables are toneless and stressed ones can be of the three types á, áa, and aá. I use something similar as well in conlangs.

The second idea, though, sounds very unnatural. I think when linguists speak of accented syllables having a low tone , they either mean a downstep or a tone that isn't as high as expected but is still at least mid in terms of absolute pitch.
Is it possible for the high tone in this system to shift to either the falling or rising tone? Maybe it could become both in different situations?
😳homeless?😳 i obviously meant toneless .... as for your question, are you asking about the first setup or the second? If you mean the first one, yeah, tones can switch around .... I'm out of my depth here, but I know that the tones in Mandarin don't map well to those of Cantonese, even though the languages haven't been separated for all that long. If I knew more about pitch accent systems like Lithuanian and Ancient Greek I'd help. Navajo is somewhat similar, because even though it allows more than one tone per word, it is polysynthetic and still looks like a pitch accent language at the morpheme level. And it has the three-way contrast of /áá ~ áa ~ aá/ as well. However Wikipedia suggests that the level tone is far more common than the other two, so looking at sound changes within Navajo may or not give you any more useful information. But I think you might learn the most from looking at Chinese even though its tone system doesnt have much in common with yours.

I cant really give you much help from my conlangs either because I tend to have very conservative sound changes for tones. But here's what I have:

One change I use a lot is that no syllable can have both a long vowel and a final consonant. Usually, the language starts out allowing such a syllable, and at a later point either wipes the final consonant or shortens the vowel. in Khulls, the newly shortened vowels caused the previously existing short vowels to drop in pitch, so that the language went from having a contrast of áán~án to a contrast of án~àn. In another language, a disappearing final /q/ caused the tone of any preceding syllable to become high. A third change I've used is to spread contour tones out over the whole word, so that my falling tone (which was always long) becomes a sequence of H+L in almost all languages it appears in, and the rising tone becomes a sequence of M+H (the tonic syllable is bolded; asymmetry because of downstep ... though I cant back that one up with natlang attestation).

last thought: one difference between baltic & navajo is that in navajo, there is a level tone that is one mora (á) and one that is two (áá), whereas in baltic, *áá doesnt exist and the only level high tone is a short one.
Hope that helps at least a little.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 13:01

Pabappa wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 00:37

The second idea, though, sounds very unnatural. I think when linguists speak of accented syllables having a low tone , they either mean a downstep or a tone that isn't as high as expected but is still at least mid in terms of absolute pitch.
Why do you think this?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush » Mon 19 Nov 2018, 14:07

Salmoneus wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 13:01
Pabappa wrote:
Mon 19 Nov 2018, 00:37

The second idea, though, sounds very unnatural. I think when linguists speak of accented syllables having a low tone , they either mean a downstep or a tone that isn't as high as expected but is still at least mid in terms of absolute pitch.
Why do you think this?
My dialect of English consistently has the stressed syllable as a low tone, with the unstressed syllables higher (leading to the characteristic 'up-down/sing-song' rhythm of the dialect). The pitch of the stressed syllable is certainly low (and may even fall lower when extra stressed) and not just mid/neutral. It is probably comparable to the Cantonese low or low-falling tones.
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