Conlang Plausibility Inspection

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Isfendil
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Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 15 Aug 2016 05:28

Maybe this can be a common testing thread or maybe it can just be used for me, I don't know. What I am going to do, at least, is post a detailed gloss of a sample phrase from my language, with a translation, and ask whether or not this conlang is plausible for its intended purpose.

My intended purpose: I am creating a natlang (albeit one spoken by a very long-lived race of people) and wish to see if what I have done is plausible, mainly with my case endings. I figured that if other languages can change whole case endings based on stuff like gender, that maybe I could replace that with something more useful, from my point of view, such as definiteness. I want to know if the below phrase is possible in a natlang:

“Old languages such as ours are more refined than the common tongues of mortals like yourself.”
Lögoþün vonzün erotsiil ïcxï mäntanta va lodrin xurkza suwaiazün yüil.
[Lo:gɔ'θun βɔn'zun ɛɾɔtsi:l iʧi 'mɑntænta βa lɔdɾɪn ʃʊɾkzɐ suwæjæ'zun juɪl.]



Lögoþ-ün von-zün ero-tsi-il ï-cxï män-ta-nta va lodr-in xurk-za suwaia-zün yü-il.

Language-NOM.PL.NDEF old-GEN.PL.NDEF our-DAT.PL.DEF-PTC COP-3PL.DIR fine-INT-ACC.PL.DEF
NEG.CNJ tongue-NOM.DEF.PL vulgar-GEN.DEF.SG lifeless-GEN.NDEF.PL 2SG.DAT.PRON-PTC.


Given that this is a case system inspection, here is the full case table.

Image

The pronouns and cases are a bit inconsistent, meaning they need to be memorized for each case and there's very little pattern between cases, but the compensation I offer is that otherwise the language is very regular. Does that work?

I hope that others use this thread for plausibility inspections too, if it turns out to be useful. Also, if my language is a bit implausible, I will be very sad, but I will not be surprised. Although, I did work rather hard on it...
Last edited by Isfendil on 15 Aug 2016 15:50, edited 2 times in total.

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Frislander
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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Frislander » 15 Aug 2016 13:35

Wait, when you say you want to create a natlang, do you mean create a language set in the real world, or one that is intended to be used by humans?

I'm glad when you said that definiteness would be more useful from your point of view, not just "more useful" (whatever that means), which is nonsense. I still think that it is a weird thing to say, but that's also my opinion.

Your actual gloss is so small in relation to the rest of your example that it is rather hard to read and make sense of, which is not good considering that it is probably the most important part when it comes to analysing your conlang.

Also the idea of whether your language is plausible or not is equally weird: what do you even mean? Do you mean plausible as in naturalistic? Plausible as in coherent and makes sense? Plausible as in something that humans could use?

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 15 Aug 2016 15:49

Frislander wrote:Wait, when you say you want to create a natlang, do you mean create a language set in the real world, or one that is intended to be used by humans?

I'm glad when you said that definiteness would be more useful from your point of view, not just "more useful" (whatever that means), which is nonsense. I still think that it is a weird thing to say, but that's also my opinion.

Your actual gloss is so small in relation to the rest of your example that it is rather hard to read and make sense of, which is not good considering that it is probably the most important part when it comes to analysing your conlang.

Also the idea of whether your language is plausible or not is equally weird: what do you even mean? Do you mean plausible as in naturalistic? Plausible as in coherent and makes sense? Plausible as in something that humans could use?
Alright, I distanced the gloss and increased its size so that it's a bit easier to see. And yes, I personally am asking whether or not it would be plausible for a language to be human and naturalisitc despite having fairly varying pronouns and case endings for a wide variety of case-definite-number combinations provided that the rest of the language is pretty regular.

Also I genuinely mean in my opinion.
Language is arbitrary after all, and in the two languages I speak natively gender is almost entirely unimportant morphologically, so that's what shaped my perception, at least for my original languages. I acknowledge its importance when studying semitics, for example. That might be an internal contradiction but I don't have to worry or care about that, because language is arbitrary and so is human opinion.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Aug 2016 16:36

I think the OP used natlang in the sense of naturalistic conlang, whereas this forum usually uses natlang as natural language (i.e. non-conlang). This might cause confusion...
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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 15 Aug 2016 16:41

Creyeditor wrote:I think the OP used natlang in the sense of naturalistic conlang, whereas this forum usually uses natlang as natural language (i.e. non-conlang). This might cause confusion...
I thought they were semantically equivalent!! Nooooooooooo!!

[xD]
Sorry about that. What is the abbreviation for naturalistic, rather than natural?

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Creyeditor » 15 Aug 2016 16:57

I don't know. I think there is no abbreviation for naturalistic conlang.
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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Davush » 15 Aug 2016 17:28

As for case + definiteness combination, I think it's definitely possible and Arabic does something similar. In fact, it looks like you may have been inspired by Arabic! (Or is it just a coincidence?)

NOM: -un
ACC: -an
GEN: -in

Remove the -n and you get the definite versions, although Arabic uses the definite article (al-) with these too. As far as I know, Swedish and Norwegian mark definiteness on their nouns although I'm not sure about case. There's no reason the two can't fuse.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 15 Aug 2016 18:57

Davush wrote:As for case + definiteness combination, I think it's definitely possible and Arabic does something similar. In fact, it looks like you may have been inspired by Arabic! (Or is it just a coincidence?)

NOM: -un
ACC: -an
GEN: -in

Remove the -n and you get the definite versions, although Arabic uses the definite article (al-) with these too. As far as I know, Swedish and Norwegian mark definiteness on their nouns although I'm not sure about case. There's no reason the two can't fuse.
Actually I had no idea that Arabic could use case to mark definiteness like that. I always assumed they just used the definite article. Wait so, the cases are applied in arabic plural, are they not? So if you remove the end, is it a definite plural? That you don't need the article to mark?

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Frislander » 15 Aug 2016 21:05

Isfendil wrote:
Davush wrote:As for case + definiteness combination, I think it's definitely possible and Arabic does something similar. In fact, it looks like you may have been inspired by Arabic! (Or is it just a coincidence?)

NOM: -un
ACC: -an
GEN: -in

Remove the -n and you get the definite versions, although Arabic uses the definite article (al-) with these too. As far as I know, Swedish and Norwegian mark definiteness on their nouns although I'm not sure about case. There's no reason the two can't fuse.
Actually I had no idea that Arabic could use case to mark definiteness like that. I always assumed they just used the definite article. Wait so, the cases are applied in arabic plural, are they not? So if you remove the end, is it a definite plural? That you don't need the article to mark?
You have to remember that Semitic languages have this thing called "state", which marks several non-case distinctions on nouns, including definiteness, but also the "construct", which is used in genitive constructions, for instance.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 16 Aug 2016 05:34

Frislander wrote:
Isfendil wrote:
Davush wrote:As for case + definiteness combination, I think it's definitely possible and Arabic does something similar. In fact, it looks like you may have been inspired by Arabic! (Or is it just a coincidence?)

NOM: -un
ACC: -an
GEN: -in

Remove the -n and you get the definite versions, although Arabic uses the definite article (al-) with these too. As far as I know, Swedish and Norwegian mark definiteness on their nouns although I'm not sure about case. There's no reason the two can't fuse.
Actually I had no idea that Arabic could use case to mark definiteness like that. I always assumed they just used the definite article. Wait so, the cases are applied in arabic plural, are they not? So if you remove the end, is it a definite plural? That you don't need the article to mark?
You have to remember that Semitic languages have this thing called "state", which marks several non-case distinctions on nouns, including definiteness, but also the "construct", which is used in genitive constructions, for instance.
I know about that in regards to case, I just didn't realize it affected definiteness. In Akkadian, for instance, There is Bit šarrim (house of the king) or Bitum ša šarrim , where the use of the preposition allows you to show what case and number the item is.

To be fair though I am only just starting my official venture into learning a real semitic language so I'm not entirely clear on how the relationship works.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Frislander » 16 Aug 2016 10:16

Isfendil wrote:
Frislander wrote:
Isfendil wrote:
Davush wrote:As for case + definiteness combination, I think it's definitely possible and Arabic does something similar. In fact, it looks like you may have been inspired by Arabic! (Or is it just a coincidence?)

NOM: -un
ACC: -an
GEN: -in

Remove the -n and you get the definite versions, although Arabic uses the definite article (al-) with these too. As far as I know, Swedish and Norwegian mark definiteness on their nouns although I'm not sure about case. There's no reason the two can't fuse.
Actually I had no idea that Arabic could use case to mark definiteness like that. I always assumed they just used the definite article. Wait so, the cases are applied in arabic plural, are they not? So if you remove the end, is it a definite plural? That you don't need the article to mark?
You have to remember that Semitic languages have this thing called "state", which marks several non-case distinctions on nouns, including definiteness, but also the "construct", which is used in genitive constructions, for instance.
I know about that in regards to case, I just didn't realize it affected definiteness. In Akkadian, for instance, There is Bit šarrim (house of the king) or Bitum ša šarrim , where the use of the preposition allows you to show what case and number the item is.

To be fair though I am only just starting my official venture into learning a real semitic language so I'm not entirely clear on how the relationship works.
Good! It seems to me that state is completely separate from case (though given Semitic languages tend to have only 0-3 cases anyway it might not make that much of a difference). The distinction appears to be more to do with how nouns relate to each other and the wider discourse, rather than to the argument structure of the verb, which is what case marks. A possessed noun, for instance, can fulfill all case roles (nominative, accusative, prepositional), so it has to be marked with something other than case i.e. the construct state. A definite noun (which has to be unpossessed in these languages it seems to me) can also fulfill all case roles, so it has to be marked with something other than case i.e. the definite state. That sort of thing.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Davush » 17 Aug 2016 13:18

To illustrate what Frislander is saying:

Non-construct state
NOM: Waladun - A boy / Al-waladu - The boy
ACC: Waladan / Al-waladu
GEN: Waladin / Al-waladu

In the contrust state, the second noun always appears in the genitive and the first noun is definite but without al-. It seems Arabic differs from Akkadian here in thst the first noun is still marked for case:

Baytu l-waladi - The house (NOM) of the boy
Bayta l-waladi - The house (ACC)...
Etc.

With plurals it gets a bit more complicated because Arabic plurals are a chaotic mess in general.

If it's a broken plural they take those case endings as normal:
NOM: Baytun / Buyuutun / Al-buyuutu - A house, houses, the houses
ACC: Baytan / Buyuutan / Al-buyuuta
Etc.

If it's a sound plural in -uun the acc and gen plural is -iin.
Feminine plurals in -aatu(n) have -aati(n) for the acc and gen.

Interestingly, the case endings basically don't exist in modern dialects:
Classical: dhababtu ilaa bayti l-rajuli - I went to the man's house
Kuwaiti: riḥt il-beet il-rayyaal

Some Bedouin dialects in Saudi do still maintain an indefinite form (-in) but which doesn't mark for case.
Last edited by Davush on 24 Aug 2016 11:53, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 22 Aug 2016 17:41

I am starting to get this. I am also starting to understand how Arabic gets its reputation for being wildly different from the other members of its immediate family...

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Re: Conlang Plausibility Inspection

Post by Isfendil » 23 Aug 2016 17:41

How are two indefinite nouns represented in that state? Is it possible? If not how is it done alternatively.

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