How to make a non-concatenative language

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Artaxes
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How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by Artaxes » 02 Oct 2016 20:47

Like in title; how to make something in this style. I was experimenting with ablaut, but I am not satisfied. Are there another methods ?

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by k1234567890y » 03 Oct 2016 01:11

I have done like three non-concatenative languages with Semitic-like roots as of now...

Phonologically: Ablaut + elision + vowel quality change, and probably open syllable lengthening at some point

Also, you might need to have a regular stress position in the pre-non-concatenative proto-language

Morphologically: there might be something similar to the phrasal verbs in the pre-non-concatenative languages, think of the plural forms of English words like "runner-up", whose plural form is "runners-up".

Maybe I should show you the evolution of one of my non-concatenative langs?

Some examples of the evolution of the verb patterns, this is taken from my most recent non-concatenative language:
Spoiler:
pattern formation from stage 1 to stage 2:

verbs:

biconsonantal:

CaC-ah > Ca:Ca: > Ca:Ca

CaC-u > Co:Cu > Cu:C

CaC-ahi > CaCe:hi > CaCi:

CaC-i > Ce:C > Ci:C

derivation:

CaC'-a > Ca:C'a > Ca:C' > Ca:C'C'

CaC'a-a-C' > CaC'a:C' > CaC'a:C'

++++

class I:

CaC-ah Ca > Ca:Cah-Ca > CaCaC

CaC-u Ca > Co:Cu-Ca > CuCu:C

CaC-ahi Ca > CaCe:hi-Ca > CaCi:C

CaC-i Ca > Ce:Ci-Ca > CiCi:C

derivation:

CaC-a Ca > CaCa:Ca > CaCa:C

CaC-a-i Ca > CaCehi:Ca > CaCi:C

++++

class II:

Ca-CaC-ah > CaCa:Ca: > CaCa:Ca

Ca-CaC-u > CaCo:Cu > CaCu:C

Ca-CaC-ahi > CaCaCe:hi > CaCCi:

Ca-CaC-i > CaCe:Ci > CaCi:C

derivation I:

Ca-CaC-a > CaCa:Ca > CaCa:C

Ca-CaC-a-i > CaCaCe:hi > CaCCi:

derivation II:

Ca-ha-CaC > Caha:CaC > Ca:CC

Ca-ha-CaC-i > Ca:haCe:Ci > CaCi:C

++++

Quadriliteral root:

CaC-CaC-ah > CaCCa:Ca: > CaCCa:Ca

CaC-CaC-u > CaCCo:Cu > CaCCo:C

CaC-CaC-ahi > Ca:CCaCe:hi > CaCCaCCi:

CaC-CaC-i > CaCCe:Ci > CaCCi:C
relevant sound changes behind the evolution of the patterns:
Spoiler:
sound changes:

1st:

a > o / _{o,u}
a > e / _{e,i}

o > oe / _{e,i}
e > eo / _{o,u}

u > ui / _{e,i}
i > iu / _{o,u}

2nd:

open stressed vowel become lengthened

a > @ in unstressed sylalbles

havlik-like law

eo > e:
oe > e
ui > i
iu > i:

V: > V /_CC

4rd:

e,o > a / in stressed syllable

i,u > @ > i

e > i
o > u

e: > i:
o: > u:

V: > V in unstressed syllables
...

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by sangi39 » 03 Oct 2016 02:08

I'd mostly agree with k1234567890y, but I think it's also worth pointing out that languages that frequently use nonconcatenative morphology frequently use concatenative morphology as well, it's just that nonconcatenative morphology plays a large role in those languages.

If you take a look at the first eight 3rd person perfect forms of the root K-T-B in Arabic, you'll see that four of them employ the use of a prefix that isn't used in any of the other forms ('a-, ta-, i-, in-) alongside vowel changes and infixes that similarly don't appear in other prefixed forms. The same is more or less true of the respective imperfect forms as well. Differences in person and number in verbs are similarly handled by means of affixes alongside changes in the root, rather than purely changes in the root.

Ahzoh's Vrkhazhian eventually fell on this balance quite well, in my opinion. The presentation of Arabic, Hebrew and even PIE's ablaut, often over-represent the use of changes in the root as a productive process for changing grammatical meaning, but that same process very often occurs alongside what you might consider more "typical" morphology, e.g. prefixes and suffixes. The two systems combine together in a sort of semi-redundant way. The root change indicates a grammatical change, but the affixes that occur alongside those root changes usually only occur with certain root changes, so if you mishear a change in the root the affix helps fill in the gaps and vice versa, perhaps.

For me, a "good" non-concatenative language is one that doesn't burden itself with an overabundance of root changes, but finds a balance between root changes and affix use.
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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by k1234567890y » 03 Oct 2016 02:30

sangi39 wrote:I'd mostly agree with k1234567890y, but I think it's also worth pointing out that languages that frequently use nonconcatenative morphology frequently use concatenative morphology as well, it's just that nonconcatenative morphology plays a large role in those languages.

If you take a look at the first eight 3rd person perfect forms of the root K-T-B in Arabic, you'll see that four of them employ the use of a prefix that isn't used in any of the other forms ('a-, ta-, i-, in-) alongside vowel changes and infixes that similarly don't appear in other prefixed forms. The same is more or less true of the respective imperfect forms as well. Differences in person and number in verbs are similarly handled by means of affixes alongside changes in the root, rather than purely changes in the root.

Ahzoh's Vrkhazhian eventually fell on this balance quite well, in my opinion. The presentation of Arabic, Hebrew and even PIE's ablaut, often over-represent the use of changes in the root as a productive process for changing grammatical meaning, but that same process very often occurs alongside what you might consider more "typical" morphology, e.g. prefixes and suffixes. The two systems combine together in a sort of semi-redundant way. The root change indicates a grammatical change, but the affixes that occur alongside those root changes usually only occur with certain root changes, so if you mishear a change in the root the affix helps fill in the gaps and vice versa, perhaps.

For me, a "good" non-concatenative language is one that doesn't burden itself with an overabundance of root changes, but finds a balance between root changes and affix use.
Speaking of this, I actually have concatenative morphologies in them as well.

Also, speaking of nonconcatenative morphology, in my opinion, it actually shows up in Slavic languages(and Germanic languages) to a limited degree as well, for example, the genetive plural form of the Polish word macek is macka(note the <e> in the two forms).
...

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by Chagen » 03 Oct 2016 03:16

It's hard. Very hard. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner, especially since many conlangers, even venerable ones, have really skewed/incorrect views on how Semitic tri-literal roots actually work.

However, one thing I do recommend is having a proto-language which is not non-concatenative and deriving the language from that. You can derive the root changes through things like collapsing unstressed vowels, umlauting vowels, changing the values of unstressed and stressed vowels differently, etc. That's one option, and one I'm trying (albeit with little success).
Nūdenku waga honji ma naku honyasi ne ika-ika ichamase!
female-appearance=despite boy-voice=PAT hold boy-youth=TOP very be.cute-3PL
Honyasi zō honyasi ma naidasu.
boy-youth=AGT boy-youth=PAT love.romantically-3S

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by Artaxes » 03 Oct 2016 17:56

Thank you, friends ! Your experience is very important for me.

My ablauting language was published here, but as I say, I'm not satisfied, but I would want to come back to this project.

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by gestaltist » 03 Oct 2016 19:05

k1234567890y wrote: Also, speaking of nonconcatenative morphology, in my opinion, it actually shows up in Slavic languages(and Germanic languages) to a limited degree as well, for example, the genetive plural form of the Polish word macek is macka(note the <e> in the two forms).
It's the other way around. "macek" is the GEN plural, and "macka" is NOM singular. Slavic languages have a lot of weird reflexes like this due to the whole yer thing.

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Re: How to make a non-concatenative language

Post by k1234567890y » 03 Oct 2016 19:39

gestaltist wrote:
k1234567890y wrote: Also, speaking of nonconcatenative morphology, in my opinion, it actually shows up in Slavic languages(and Germanic languages) to a limited degree as well, for example, the genetive plural form of the Polish word macek is macka(note the <e> in the two forms).
It's the other way around. "macek" is the GEN plural, and "macka" is NOM singular. Slavic languages have a lot of weird reflexes like this due to the whole yer thing.
sorry my wrong
...

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