(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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

Post by Xonen » Mon 21 May 2018, 20:04

Salmoneus wrote:
Sun 20 May 2018, 18:21
Xonen wrote:
Sat 19 May 2018, 22:26
AFAIU, it's a bit more complicated than that. In Classical Arabic, the construct state is essentially the same as the definite form of the noun, but without the prefixed article; that is, the -n that usually marks indefinite nouns is dropped.
We should emphasise that despite the mystique of semitic language and their specialised terminology, this ultimately isn't something particularly weird.
For a parallel, I'd point to Irish. In Irish, the main noun in an 'of' construction takes no definite article - the article is attached to the 'possessor'.
Indeed; I'm not entirely convinced that the construct state in Classical Arabic needs to be analyzed as a distinct form at all, myself. Then again, I don't really know it that well, so I could be missing something. Also, there's the fact that it is clearly a distinct form (at least sometimes) in modern Arabic, and apparently in other Semitic languages as well, so maybe someone just felt it would be weird for it not to exist in Classical Arabic.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » Fri 25 May 2018, 00:32

Are there any languages known to use what Im going to call paradoxical inflection, where a word takes an inflection with an illogical meaning, precisely because it wont be ambiguous?

e.g. in Pabappa, the possessed form of all nouns ends in -i, deleting any final vowel to form the -i. ponnobla "pen" ---> ponnobli "her pen", etc. Thus, inalianable nouns always end in -i, but not many alienable nouns end in -i.

But some non-possessible nouns also end in -i, such as Wubi "God", pustipi "ocean", etc, and some of these are nouns that incorporated a suffix that also ended in -i. Many of these are proper names. Since there can never be a possessed form of the words for God, ocean,* or these proper nouns, there is no ambiguity with them ending in -i, and they have supplanted many previously existing nouns by way of sound coalescence.

Im not aware of any languages that do this ... we have plenty of examples of a perpendicular systemn like in PIE where a neutern oun always takes accusative case marking when behaving in a nominative role, but no examples that I can think of of the paradoxical system. The closest I can think of is that mass nouns may in some languages be referred to with plurals, since there are no plural forms of them.




*In this language. One could argue that there is ione, but it iis ambiguous with the free formn.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Fri 25 May 2018, 02:17

Pabappa wrote:
Fri 25 May 2018, 00:32
Are there any languages known to use what Im going to call paradoxical inflection, where a word takes an inflection with an illogical meaning, precisely because it wont be ambiguous?
Well, a good many Talarian nouns are of inanimate gender (terminating in (-an) / -ar). Many of these nouns refer to people and beasts (patar = father), which obviously are not logically inanimate and no one seems to find the situation ambiguous. When the verb is stative, there is no distinction between logically inanimate and logically animate-inanimates. But if one of these logically animate-inanimates needs to fill an agent role, they are declined in a weird sort of super-neuter-accusative declension (patrâm). No change in ambiguity, just an adjustment with respect to role. Sometimes you'll find -r root animate nouns (like wiros = man) that have adopted the same declensional pattern (wirâm). Perhaps it's seen as a stronger form of agency.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 29 May 2018, 16:31

Triglossia
There have been, historically, several cases of diglossia;
But has there ever been an example of triglossia?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xonen » Tue 29 May 2018, 17:27

eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 29 May 2018, 16:31
Triglossia
There have been, historically, several cases of diglossia;
But has there ever been an example of triglossia?
According to Google, yes.

Although many cases of diglossia actually seem to involve a lot more varieties than just two, anyway. So if we were to actually have a meaningful discussion on the subject, we'd probably need to start with a specific definition for when a situation qualifies as "triglossia" as opposed to just plain diglossia.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Tue 29 May 2018, 17:32

eldin raigmore wrote:
Tue 29 May 2018, 16:31
Triglossia
There have been, historically, several cases of diglossia;
But has there ever been an example of triglossia?
I'd say many areas of the Philippines are (truly) triglossic: in non-Tagalog regions, Tagalog is a kind of interlanguage and would certainly be used by anyone needing to communicate outside the local community; the local language is used at home and in the local community; education (particularly higher education) and international communications is done in English. If you want to keep it three related languages, then transitional areas where local languages overlap might exhibit situations where local people use their own local language plus a neighbouring relatively local language plus Tagalog.

A search revealed papers on Triglossia in Luxembourg and Morocco, and I wouldn't be surprised if other of the Low Countries, Belgium in particular, weren't tri- or perhaps even tetraglossic.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Clio » Tue 29 May 2018, 19:04

Pabappa wrote:
Fri 25 May 2018, 00:32
Are there any languages known to use what Im going to call paradoxical inflection, where a word takes an inflection with an illogical meaning, precisely because it wont be ambiguous?
It's not quite what you're asking about, but the Taos language has something similar (but involving a bit more than your example of plural mass nouns), according to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taos_lang ... inflection. Both mass and abstract nouns can only take the duoplural suffix -ne, and other classes of nouns follow an inverse system in which the duoplural suffix for some nouns is the singular of other nouns.

On another note, this post got me thinking about a similar system with inverse possession, although I know it's not what you had in mind:

Code: Select all

              Possessed Unpossessed
Alienable     -i        -V
Inalienable   -V        -i
Unpossessable N/A       -i
(-V stands for whatever vowel a stem happens to end in.) Fun to consider, at least.
Last edited by Clio on Wed 30 May 2018, 00:52, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý » Tue 29 May 2018, 20:12

Clio wrote:
Tue 29 May 2018, 19:04

On another note, this post got me thinking about a similar system with inverse possession, although I know it's not what you had in mind:

Code: Select all

              Possessed Unpossessed
Alienable     -i        -V
Inalienable   -V        -i
Unpossessable -i        -i
Fun to consider, at least.
So the unpossessable nouns can also be possessed and their suffix is -i?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Clio » Wed 30 May 2018, 00:49

Omzinesý wrote:
Tue 29 May 2018, 20:12
So the unpossessable nouns can also be possessed and their suffix is -i?
Oops, good catch!
Although I could also imagine a daughter language in which all nouns can be possessed but a class of nouns derived from the unpossessable nouns always having the suffix -i. But this is getting off-topic, both from Pabappa's question and from natlangs.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa » Wed 30 May 2018, 01:13

OK, thanks for the responses.
Clio wrote:
Tue 29 May 2018, 19:04
Pabappa wrote:
Fri 25 May 2018, 00:32
Are there any languages known to use what Im going to call paradoxical inflection, where a word takes an inflection with an illogical meaning, precisely because it wont be ambiguous?


On another note, this post got me thinking about a similar system with inverse possession, although I know it's not what you had in mind:

Code: Select all

              Possessed Unpossessed
Alienable     -i        -V
Inalienable   -V        -i
Unpossessable N/A       -i
Fun to consider, at least.
This (as originally posted) is functionally equivalent to what Pabappa has, since having an unpossessible noun be syntactically possessed isn't ungrammatical, it's just that the listener has to infer from context what's going on since there is no marking. If I wanted to translate the girl swam across her ocean into Pabappa, for the context to be clear it would need to be something like Mapta maptas pustipim pina pontisi, with the possessor mentioned twice, which would back-translate narrowly as "The girl swam across the girl's ocean". Likewise, inalienable nouns would obey the setup you have listed there since the vowel they end in is always -i. There are some semantically inalienable nouns that have stems not ending in -i because theyre derived from verbs, but that's just because Pabappa's words often migrat ebetween different classes ... the word for "eye" is inalienable, but it might mean a looking glass with a different classifier ending.

Yeah, I'm familiar with the Taos system and I think I've seen it elsewhere too. There was also a stage in Old French where masculine singular nouns ending in -s lost the -s to mark the accusative case, but trhe corresponding plual nouns without the final -s marked the accusative by adding an -s.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Wed 30 May 2018, 05:45

Re: Triglossia.

Thanks! @elemtilas and @Xonen!

I am interested in speech-communities wherein most people have two or more native languages and most adults are fluent in three or more languages.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 17:04

If Nahuatl is a VSO head-marking language, why does it have postpositions instead of prepositions? I get that it might not be that unusual in Mesoamerica, but I think the tendency is for Verb initial languages to have prepositions.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » Tue 05 Jun 2018, 20:39

LinguoFranco wrote:
Tue 05 Jun 2018, 17:04
If Nahuatl is a VSO head-marking language, why does it have postpositions instead of prepositions? I get that it might not be that unusual in Mesoamerica, but I think the tendency is for Verb initial languages to have prepositions.
The simplest answer here is just that tendencies are not absolute.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xonen » Wed 06 Jun 2018, 18:37

eldin raigmore wrote:
Wed 30 May 2018, 05:45
Re: Triglossia.

Thanks! @elemtilas and @Xonen!

I am interested in speech-communities wherein most people have two or more native languages and most adults are fluent in three or more languages.
Right. I was thinking more along the lines of, say, Welsh, which I've several times seen given as a typical example of diglossia, because the colloquial and literary varieties are fairly far apart. Point being, well-nigh all adult speakers of Welsh these days are also fluent in English (or Spanish), so a literal interpretation of the term diglossia already only makes sense from a language-internal perspective (and even then, there's really a spectrum of all kinds of dialectal, semi-formal and even regional standard varieties rather than just two cleanly distinct ones). A similar situation would exist among many minorities in Finland; Finnish itself is similar to Welsh in having a standard variant that differs in many ways from the colloquial varieties, and people from linguistic minorities (with the exception of some monolingually Swedish-speaking areas) tend to be fluent in both colloquial and standard Finnish in addition to the minority language itself.

But for the more narrow definition of a community-wide more or less stable situation involving three unambiguously different languages (with each of them having its own distinct function or functions), see elemtilas's post above. I can't really think of any clear examples myself right now, although I'm certain you could find lots in more multilingual areas of the world.


shimobaatar wrote:
Tue 05 Jun 2018, 20:39
LinguoFranco wrote:
Tue 05 Jun 2018, 17:04
If Nahuatl is a VSO head-marking language, why does it have postpositions instead of prepositions? I get that it might not be that unusual in Mesoamerica, but I think the tendency is for Verb initial languages to have prepositions.
The simplest answer here is just that tendencies are not absolute.
This. If anything, there's a universal tendency for languages to break universal tendencies. Often there's a clear historical explanation for how a language developed this or that quirk, but sometimes you just gotta shrug and accept that languages are weird. Don't really know about Nahuatl in particular, though.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 08 Jun 2018, 12:20

Ælfwine wrote:
Fri 04 May 2018, 00:53
Also, what umlaut are we speaking of here? I know that /m/ might have preserved the height for a while longer, as Old Spanish evidence suggests.
Vulgar Latin appears to have had umlaut, seen in the mid-low vowels, both front and back. These were raised (or diphthongised) in umlauting environments. The dialects - particularly in Italy where this seems to be massively varied - disagree on the exact environments - either just before -i or -j, or also before -um, or also before -u generally. And the outcomes also obviously differ.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Fri 08 Jun 2018, 23:39

Xonen wrote:
Wed 06 Jun 2018, 18:37
Re: Triglossia.
In most Indian states there is English which many know and which has some quasi-official status; the national official language Hindi which, depending on the state, may not be as familiar as English; and that state’s own official language, often a relative of Hindi, but also often a Dravidian language, less related to Hindi and English than they are to each other.
(And IIANM there are some languages in India that are neither prakrits nor Dravidian?)

Since India has about 66 languages, but 29 states and 7 territories, there’ll be plenty of states that have at least one minority language.
Do any of those states actually have two or a few official state languages, other than Hindi and English?
Edit: Meghalaya

There may be linguistic minorities in some such states who usually know five languages; Hindi, both of their official state languages, their own minority native L1 language, and English.
(I’m just guessing here! Maybe someone actually knows?)
Edit: Pnaro is spoken in Meghalaya; but is not one of the two state-level official languages. Or so I understand at the moment.

India has around 200 dialects, so I have been told, whatever was meant by that.

What in China corresponds to states in India?

I’d guess “state” triglossia would be less common in China than in India, since the imperial language is Mandarin instead of English.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 09 Jun 2018, 02:03

If "triglossia" is just "knowing more than two languages", it happens all the time. People in border areas will frequently speak the language both sides of the border, plus in some cases a third regional lingua franca. Or, just look at Europe. Lots of people in, say, the Netherlands, will speak Dutch, German and English. [people from peripheral regions of the Netherlands will probably speak Dutch, German, English, and Dutch low german (or Frisian)].

Or look at Switzerland. Swiss German speakers will be fluent in their own dialect, in standard swiss german, probably in standard german, 60% of the population also speaks English, and at least theoretically they have to learn French (or Italian) in school, and I'm sure at least some of them do so.


But 'diglossia' isn't just knowing two languages, so 'triglossia' shouldn't just be knowing three languages. Actual functional triglossia - the use of three distinct standards as parts of a register continuum, is probably rarer. I'm guessing historically Switzerland would have been an example for the upper classes? Local dialect for speech, Swiss Standard German for writing or formal conversations, but transitioning into Standard German for some literature? I don't know. Maybe now there's effectively triglossia for some people with dialect, Swiss Standard, and then English in some business contexts? You'd have to ask someone who knows better.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Sat 09 Jun 2018, 04:58

No, the triglossia I have given Meghalaya as an example of, is actually four official languages.
Some other Indian states have three; and all of India has two.
And for the most part, they aren’t registers of each other. Certainly English and Hindi aren’t registers of each other.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ælfwine » Sun 10 Jun 2018, 07:40

Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 08 Jun 2018, 12:20
Ælfwine wrote:
Fri 04 May 2018, 00:53
Also, what umlaut are we speaking of here? I know that /m/ might have preserved the height for a while longer, as Old Spanish evidence suggests.
Vulgar Latin appears to have had umlaut, seen in the mid-low vowels, both front and back. These were raised (or diphthongised) in umlauting environments. The dialects - particularly in Italy where this seems to be massively varied - disagree on the exact environments - either just before -i or -j, or also before -um, or also before -u generally. And the outcomes also obviously differ.
Interesting. Do you happen to know of any papers on this specific topic?
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Zekoslav » Sun 10 Jun 2018, 09:44

Ælfwine wrote:
Sun 10 Jun 2018, 07:40
Salmoneus wrote:
Fri 08 Jun 2018, 12:20
Ælfwine wrote:
Fri 04 May 2018, 00:53
Also, what umlaut are we speaking of here? I know that /m/ might have preserved the height for a while longer, as Old Spanish evidence suggests.
Vulgar Latin appears to have had umlaut, seen in the mid-low vowels, both front and back. These were raised (or diphthongised) in umlauting environments. The dialects - particularly in Italy where this seems to be massively varied - disagree on the exact environments - either just before -i or -j, or also before -um, or also before -u generally. And the outcomes also obviously differ.
Interesting. Do you happen to know of any papers on this specific topic?
I can't remember any papers specifically about Italian, but there's this paper on metaphony (the usual term for umlaut in Romance linguistics) in Spanish and Catalan. It's concerned mostly about the development of verbs, but there is a section where general rules of sound change are laid out. I can try to find more papers later.
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