So it's time to make my language public

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Jarhead
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So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 30 Dec 2011 06:42

So good news is I'm almost done writing a grammar of my conlang. Bad news is: the file is about 20 pages, excluding my handwritten notes (that are more convenient to measure in pounds than in pages) and a hundreds-word spreadsheet dictionary, and it's written in a language that is not native for me, so half of it probably just looks like ramblings. Before making it available to the entire world to mock me, should I seek advice of one of the wise users of this forum to check that I've been describing it in correct and comprehensible English? In other words, is there anybody that would take a peek at my description of the language before the official release and give me his/her opinion on my usage of the linguistic jargon and technical terms?
Last edited by Jarhead on 31 Dec 2011 19:20, edited 2 times in total.
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Trailsend » 30 Dec 2011 06:49

I'd be happy to take a look at it! Granted, I'm mostly self-taught myself, and I'm known to mix things up, but I could certainly give it a once over and point out anything I find amiss.
任何事物的发展都是物极必反,否极泰来。

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 30 Dec 2011 07:00

Oh I'd be eternally grateful! I'm sure another pair of eyes looking at it would help greatly figuring out what's incomprehensible. May I share the file with you on your email address?
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Thakowsaizmu » 30 Dec 2011 07:48

You should start sharing it here, it's what this forum is for, hehe

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Testyal » 30 Dec 2011 17:51

'Course I'll look at it. I doubt I'll be of any help, though.
:deu: :fra: :zho: :epo:

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 30 Dec 2011 18:59

Posting it here is my next step, but before deciding if it actually makes sense I wanted to make sure I used the right words (at least) [:P] testyal1 any help, even if small, I would appreciate.
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by eldin raigmore » 30 Dec 2011 21:38

Jarhead wrote:Posting it here is my next step, but before deciding if it actually makes sense I wanted to make sure I used the right words (at least) [:P] testyal1 any help, even if small, I would appreciate.
The important thing is to say what needs to be said.

Using "the right words" means we'll understand it faster, and won't as often have to search elsewhere in your document for how you're using your terms or what you mean by them.

So "using the right words" is nice -- indeed, quite nice -- but not strictly necessary.
Tell us what you need to tell us. Then ask about any terms you're unsure of. (We'll probably ask about terms we're unsure of, too.)

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 31 Dec 2011 19:22

I just wish to give the best possible presentation of a work that is probably going to turn out a bad kitchen sink type of language. I will share everything of course! But I'll use any help I can gather to make it presentable so the first impression is the best possible.
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Visinoid » 31 Dec 2011 23:27

Jarhead wrote:So good news is I'm almost done writing a grammar of my conlang. Bad news is: the file is about 20 pages, excluding my handwritten notes (that are more convenient to measure in pounds than in pages) and a hundreds-word spreadsheet dictionary,
You either clearly want to post it or not.

Post it?

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 02 Jan 2012 21:43

Visinoid wrote:
Jarhead wrote:So good news is I'm almost done writing a grammar of my conlang. Bad news is: the file is about 20 pages, excluding my handwritten notes (that are more convenient to measure in pounds than in pages) and a hundreds-word spreadsheet dictionary,
You either clearly want to post it or not.

Post it?
Do you consider extremely wrong to ask somebody's help to make grammar and basic concepts clear before posting it and start debating the underlying ideas?
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Ossicone » 02 Jan 2012 22:42

I wouldn't worry so much about getting the terminology right. Get the info down first and you can go back an revise.

As long as you're up front about the fact that you don't know everything and you'd like help in learning/improving, people are usually happy to help. That being said if you make your work public you'll have more people able to help you.

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by eldin raigmore » 02 Jan 2012 23:28

Are you worried that you'll be embarassed and ashamed by making mistakes in terminology?
Don't be; it's happened to every one of us, and still happens.
If we don't understand what you're saying we'll ask.
If we know a quicker way to say something we might mention it.
Just put it out there and we promise not to bite you.

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 02 Jan 2012 23:40

Okay I appreciate your will to help guys. Here it is. The whole section about verbs is missing. And to reply to eldin raigmore, yes, I'm worried, and scared. But you since promised... :P Also, I don't know how to put table in here so I still need to think of a way to post the little dictionary I compiled so far. Oh, and many many thanks to Trailsend. The first section looks much better thanks to him. He also pointed me on the problem of the failure of most olygosinthetic languages so now I'm trying to understand how synthetic this is and how to steer clear of already made errors.


Eil

Introduction

Ellar, methin tuym tealadhne. I mean, greetings, my unknown reader.

Eil is an a priori (poly?)synthetic, left-branching, nominative-accusative engelang with a logical taxonomic dictionary designed to make this language able to describe the world and abstracted ideas in a logical way, and I have cookies for you if you read this whole post.#

Now I suppose I have your attention.

Eil is an experimental language born and built around a specific concept that I call taxonomic dictionary#. This means that given a small amount of arbitrary roots, I built rather than a dictionary, a system to create all the words the language needs to be spoken. This makes Eil an engineered language (because it’s all built around a concept), a philosophical language (because that concept happens to have a deep impact on how the world should be perceived be the speaker) and an artlang (because it sounds damn good!) all in one. Now tell me this isn’t a good deal.

The taxonomic structure of the dictionary has several advantages: first of all, a hypothetical Eil speaker# would have to learn just a few words by memorizing them, and then, just by learning the rules that govern the language, could make up the words he needs, as he needs them. The same speaker would have immediate comprehension of new words. Exactly. No need to study hard words anymore, because you can just tear them apart, apply the rules, and understand what a 12-syllable-long word means without having heard it ever before. It also means if we were all talking Eil I would not need to explain what a taxonomic dictionary is. Also in Eil, similar words have similar meanings. Which just makes sense. #

Now: it’s time to get down some technical information for the ones among you that like words such as agglutinative and morphosyntax.

Morphologically, Eil is a synthetic language. In fact Eil has many# different affixes with many different meanings that you can squeeze into one word to alter it dramatically, much alike agglutinative languages. Furthermore, suprasegmental features# are morphologically relevant, and words inflect. Sounds like a big mess, but by design, and by purpose of the entire language, all the morphemes are meant to be distinguishable and recognizable for their function, which makes everything a lot easier than it seems.

Syntactically#, Eil is a left-branching and head-final language. It’s important to respect the word order because of the variety of words that is possible to obtain by combining different roots, and because the lack of agreement between adjectives and nouns would otherwise make the relationships between words easy to mistake.

Eil is an extremely conservative, latin-inspired, nom-acc language.

Phonology, Romanization et cetera
Vowels and eilian prominence
Eil has five vowels, /a e i o u/. But if you think its vowel system is easy, think again.
The first thing that can change in a vowel is length. All of Eil’s vowel can be short or long; in Latin script a long vowel is marked by a dieresis. When two vowels for whatever reason happen to be one next to the other, they're pronounced with a glottal stop between them, to distinguish between a double vowel and a long one.
The other aspect that can change in a vowel is called eilian vowel prominence#. Vowel prominence in this language has been described in many different ways, always incompletely:# To some extent, it’s comparable to a tonal system restricted to a single long vowel in the middle of a word, or that’s what some of the readers of my confused explanations wrote. To others, it looked like non-prosodic intonation. It comes down to this:
Stable: /aa/ Rising: /a’a/ Falling: /’aa/

Consonants and the like

There are 19 consonant sounds in Eil. They are written as b c ch d dh f g gh l m n nh p r s sh t th v in Latin script and pronounced as /b k ç d ð f g ? l m n ? p r s ? t ? v /. I wish I could give you a more interesting description of these consonants, but they're just consonants! There isn't much to tell. And if you were expecting something as overcomplicated and ununderstandable as the vowel system because I wrote a long title... Sorry. There is nothing like that. However, we have <w y> as vocoids (the fancy word for semi-vowels)! The glottal stop /?/ is also present (see previous section) but not morphological. A double consonant is pronounced geminated#.

Spelling

I tried to keep the spelling as straightforward as possible and free of unusual diacritic symbols, which I’m not a big fan of. Throughout the text I use <’> to show where two words couldn’t merge because of two same vowels in sequence.
It’s necessary to indicate explicitly the stress’ position with a diacritic accent (à) only if the stress is on a syllable other than the last one; when no stress is written, it’s assumed to be on the last syllable.
Phonotactics
Vocoids are not allowed as last letter.
Words ending with a consonant cluster add an /e/ sound after the cluster.

Morphology I - Nouns

Eil has room for a lot of customization when it comes to making up words. Let’s start by saying that even if an English-Eil dictionary is provided# for ease of use, is possible to speak and understand the language with the sole use of a reference for root words; this is due to the fact that that new words can be created by combining several roots or modifying one. Yes, you can combine modified roots and modify combined roots. Yes, I’ve been asked this question before.
When combining two roots there are four possible outputs. Two are given by the different order in which you are able to put the roots; two by the different stress placement you can use.
Since Eil is left-branching# the last root is going to be defining the object the new word refers to, while the first root is going to point out a characteristic or a property of such object. In Eil there is no morphologic way to determine if we’re using a word in its noun meaning or in its adjective meaning; when combining roots, the first one can be used in both its meanings. It’s going to assume its noun meaning, thus acting as an attribute that corresponds to the descriptive or the referential function of the genitive case if the stress stands on that syllable. Otherwise, it’s going to assume its adjective meaning.
There are several different variations that can be applied to a root word in order to derive a different word from it. They work with a system that I called “group system”. There are different “variation groups”: it’s possible to apply a transformation from every group to the same word, but not more than one transformation from a group to the same word. The groups are aspect, grouping, number, degree and participation; all of them include several variations. The word to which the variation is applied is called the base word, whereas the result is called the varied word; the concepts expressed by such words are the base concept and the varied concept.
Semantically, it’s not possible to apply every variation to every word, because some would not make any sense; on the other hand, it’s easy to create different words in Eil that translate in the same English word: that’s because you could describe the same object starting from a different perspective. This illustrates how Eil can handle nuances in the communication process that other languages sometimes miss.
Besides the various infixes neatly organized in the variation groups, I’m going to provide a table that shows how certain words are frequently used as a suffix with a fixed meaning. These words are not properly suffixes, but used almost exclusively# in that function.

The variations in the Aspect group relate to the situation of the object over time, thus allowing for the creation of words that refer to a different version of the object, like how it was before, how it’s going to be, et cetera.# The possible variations are the following:

Inceptive: the varied word is something that is going to become the base word. The inceptive of man is child, of river is spring, and so forth.

Exceptive: the varied word is something that once was the base word. The exceptive of man is a dead man, an old man and such.

This two variations can be used in a variety of contexts, assuming different specific significance. For example, the Inceptive variation of the word “man” can be used to describe a man that although old in age, is childish, not deemed ready for a certain task, and so forth. The same variation can also be used on issues unrelated to time: the Inceptive version of a river is a spring; of a road is the beginning of the road; and so on.
Grouping

The Grouping group relates to how the objects relate to each other in a group or set. This group should not be confused with Number, as it’s used to define groups or sets of things, to be considered as a whole, rather than such things in multiple instances all considered together.

Group: the varied concept contains several instances of the base concept, but all considered together as a group or a set, because of some organization, underlying logic, common purpose, etc.

Omniative#: the varied concept contains all the instances of the base concept. Used mostly in figures of speech and fixed forms.

Partial: the varied concept is recognizable as a single part of the base concept. This could apply to a limb, a branch, a fragment of an object, a passage in a text, etc.

Mass: the varied concept is an unorganized mass of instances of the base concept or of the matter that makes them up; or an uncountable quantity. This could apply to a pile of leaves, or to a quantity of water or of sand.

Number

This is plain and simple number and works as it works in all the other languages I know. I’m assuming if you are reading this paper you understand this concept even if I don’t give a thorough explanation#, and I’m tired because it’s late in the evening.

Singular: the concept is considered by itself, without relating it to anything else.

Dual: the concept is considered as in being part of a couple or a specific pair. This applies when referring to two object that are normally sen only in couples, such as hands, lovers, and so on. It doesn’t apply to two unrelated objects.

Plural: the varied concept contains several instances of the base concept, but they all stand for themselves, without having a specific relationship between them. It applies where most languages’ plural does.

Degree

The Degree group only has a few variations that have usually a fixed meaning closely related to

Combining this group with the Aspect group it’s possible to create a wide range of different gradation of aspects.#

These are:

Complementary or Negative: the varied concept is qualified by not having the features of the base concept, or having feature complementary to the base concept. “peace” is the complementary of “war”, “night” is the complementary of “day” and “woman” is the complementary of “man”. Which of the two is the base concept is usually determined by which of the two concepts is merely the absence of the other. Thus, “peace” is not considered to be something by itself, but to be just the absence of conflict. “night”, as “dark”, is the absence of “light” or “day”.

Intensive: this variation expresses a stronger form of the concept, or a form of the concept with enriched likable features (a likable person, a good day, a pleasant music). Most often is going to be used in fixed forms or for adjectives to express an absolute superlative.#

Aberrant: this variation expresses a concept lacking the features in the base concept (as in the Complementary variation) but with a negative connotation.

Participation

This group expresses how the varied concept relates to a specific action. It is similar to the use of participles in the romance languages.

Permanent Agent: this variation expresses a person or creature defined by having certain features. Can be used to describe someone based on ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, philosophy, etc.

Pro-tempore Agent: this variation expresses a person or creature defined by extemporaneous features, such as an illness, an occupation, a temporary status. Corresponding to the active present participle in romance languages.

Patient: this variation expresses a person or creature defined by being subject to an action. Corresponding to the passive perfect participle in romance languages.

Common suffixes

These are properly words, rather than suffixes, but used mostly in the latter function. I provided an explanation for what has become their fixes meaning.

Genitive: relex of Latin’s genitive case. It can be used to express belonging, pertinence or other relationships. When used in conjunction with a verb concerning “being in a place” can assume the meaning of complement of place.

Dative and Ablative: again, partial relex of Latin’s homonymous cases. They can both be used either to mean the direction or the origin of an action or if used in conjunction with a verb concerning movement, to assume the meaning of direction or origin of the movement.

Adjective: turns a noun into an adjective.

Verbal suffixes: since there’s more than one # i made an entire section for them. So here’s the next chapter...

Morphology II - Verbs


There are three different variations that can be applied to a word to magically turn it into a verb. These are:

Actual: used in verbs that express movement, creation, or change of status, position, etc.

Situational: used in verbs that express a fixed status, condition or situation without change

Experiential#: used in verbs that express making use of something (in its intended use) or experiencing something

If these descriptions are clear to you, you know the language better than me. In short, they serve to make it possible to derive from the same word verbs that differentiate between describing different action. For example, the different suffixes could be used to derive verbs that express that: a text is being written / is written / is being read; a music is being played / is being heard; a tool is being created / a tool exists / a tool is being used; etc.

There are three possible Aspects (Puntual, Imperfect and Perfect) and three possible Tenses (Present, Future, and Past). The verbs’ Aspect doesn’t have anything in common with the nouns’ Aspect so don’t mix them up.
Morphology III - Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives in Eil are usually absent, and their function is covered by nouns put before other nouns that assume an adjectival meaning. However, since there are sentences in which may come in handy being able to use an adjective without any noun accompaining it, there is a special word-suffix for this category too, that turns a regular noun into an adjective.

Adverbs do not exist as a separate category.

Nuances

Compare the following examples to better understand how different affixes bring different nuances to the word, and where how the affixes’ position in the word affect the resulting meaning.

Nil

innovation

Nille [pt agent of nil]

something new

Nyille /njil:e/ [exceptive of nille]

something that was new (something old)

Niylle [negative of nille]

something that is not new (something old)

Consider that to form the concept of something that is not new, we are using the Complementary/Negative infix -y- in nil, not in le. Hence niylle rather than nilley.

Nyillei [omniative of nyille]

the old things

Consider that we use the Omniative infix -i- not in nil but in le, because we are considering a the whole of things with a certain characteristic, rather than a single thing with a whole of characteristics. Hence nyillei rather than nyiille.

Sample complex words

Lirneal

the song of the wind

roots: lir, wind; nel, sound

Tuymne

stranger

roots: tum, familiarity (with Negative and Patient variations: someone or something that doesn’t inspire familiarity in the speaker)

Matei’irimnel

the sound of rain on the rocks

roots: mat, rock (from: at, something hard); irim, rain (roots: ir, air; im, water); nel, sound

Ellar

greeting

roots: el, speech; lar, meeting (from: ar, interaction)

Nyermirellaral

to greet the rising sun

roots: nermir, sun (roots: ner, fire; mir, sky(from: ir, air)); ellar, greeting; al, (verbal suffix)

Munyal

to start a journey

roots: mun, journey (from un, movement), al, (verbal suffix with Inceptive variation)
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by eldin raigmore » 03 Jan 2012 23:57

I think that's a great first post to display your conlang.
I have to leave in four minutes so I probably can't say anything more substantive yet.
I'll come back to it.

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 05 Jan 2012 14:28

Thank you. I'll wait for feedback.
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 10 Jan 2012 05:38

It's almost funny how the interest in my conlang was extremely high... until I posted it lol
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Ànradh » 10 Jan 2012 07:51

Heh, I lack the knowledge to make a truly valid critique, but I'll give it a run though now, just to get the ball rolling. :p
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Ànradh » 10 Jan 2012 08:06

Well, I can safely say I didn't understand your tone system. :p
The way you describe the dictionary reminds of Esperanto, which uses a similar idea.
I think you need to add put examples in each section to describe what you mean with more clarity.
You are likely to be told that a lot of this isn't naturalistic in the slightest, but I gather that wasn't your design goal anyway.

I can provide no real insight beyond this; I tend to be unfamiliar with much of the standard terminology myself, often only learning it when I start studying a feature so I may use it. Sorry. :/
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Visinoid » 10 Jan 2012 21:52

Jarhead wrote:And to reply to eldin raigmore, yes, I'm worried, and scared.
You don't need to. :3
Jarhead wrote:He also pointed me on the problem of the failure of most olygosinthetic languages so now I'm trying to understand how synthetic this is and how to steer clear of already made errors.
They aren't “failures”, just over-thought and over-estimated.
Jarhead wrote:Eil is an a priori (poly?)synthetic, left-branching, nominative-accusative engelang with a logical taxonomic dictionary designed to make this language able to describe the world and abstracted ideas in a logical way.
This is very relative. :|
Jarhead wrote:Eil is an experimental language born and built around a specific concept that I call taxonomic dictionary...........
Esperanto did that.
Jarhead wrote:Eil has five vowels, /a e i o u/. But if you think its vowel system is easy, think again.
It is pretty easy.
Jarhead wrote:Stable: /aa/ Rising: /a’a/ Falling: /’aa/
Yes, I am confused; since this -> /'/ should indicate stress in IPA. I demand an audio sample of you doing it.
Jarhead wrote:There are 19 consonant sounds in Eil. They are written as b c ch d dh f g gh l m n nh p r s sh t th v in Latin script and pronounced as /b k ç d ð f g ? l m n ? p r s ? t ? v /
Hum?

As for the rest... Well, it's not spaced,
(maybe once it's easy to read...), typed nicely enough to catch my attention.

I did make an effort, though. :|

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Re: So it's time to make my language public

Post by Jarhead » 11 Jan 2012 14:34

Visinoid wrote: Esperanto did that.
Awww :(
It is pretty easy.
Yes, I am confused; since this -> /'/ should indicate stress in IPA. I demand an audio sample of you doing it.
Told you it was confusing ;) This indicates stress in my sample also. I will provide audio.
Hum?
Please disregard. I must have messed up.
As for the rest... Well, it's not spaced,
(maybe once it's easy to read...), typed nicely enough to catch my attention.

I did make an effort, though. :|
Thanks for the effort. Do you wanna try an older but more nicely formatted version, here: http://localhostr.com/file/ZYEICbM/Eil.html ?
Well, I can safely say I didn't understand your tone system. :p
The way you describe the dictionary reminds of Esperanto, which uses a similar idea.
I think you need to add put examples in each section to describe what you mean with more clarity.
You are likely to be told that a lot of this isn't naturalistic in the slightest, but I gather that wasn't your design goal anyway.

I can provide no real insight beyond this; I tend to be unfamiliar with much of the standard terminology myself, often only learning it when I start studying a feature so I may use it. Sorry. :/
It's okay. Thank you anyways. Finding out that esperanto did the same thing with the dictionary is makking my day much worse. Also, I need to work on a better explanation for the tones.
L1: :ita:
Fluent (on a good day): :eng:
Written: :lat:
Beginner: :esp:
Working on: :con: ~ Eil

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