Late Night Conlang Project

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Linguifex
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Late Night Conlang Project

Post by Linguifex » 02 Jul 2014 10:23

So I was working with gleb and it whipped up a phonology that seemed pretty cool for a proto-lang. Here's what I have so far.

Phonology
/m n/
/p b t d k g/
/s χ h/
/w/

/u o ɔ a ɛ e i/

Syllable structure
({n,s,w})(C)V({m,n,w})(C)

Allophony
- /w/ becomes [f] or [v] in places where its presence would violate the sonority hierarchy (e.g., between two obstruents, or N_C).
- Where a cluster occurs that would violate phonotactic constraints, epenthetic [o] is inserted, giving preference to onsets (except where /ww/ would occur, which becomes [uw] or [wu] depending upon which produces the best legal sequence with preference given to onsets).

Verb template
EVIDENTIAL-COMPLETION-VOLITION-SPEED-MOOD-TENSE-VALENCE-STEM-PERSON-NEGATIVE

Evidential
hearsay n-
conjecture h-
visual a-
olfactory w-
other sensory o-
participant Ø-

If the participant is also the direct object, an evidential may be used for emphasis. If the participant is the subject, using an evidential implies disbelief, surprise, memory problems, or that one is relating one's actions in a dream.

Completion
started -k-
unfinished -Ø-
paused -w-
restarted -ɛ-
finished -ɔ-

Using the "started" marker implies that someone has just started or is about to start something.

Volition
deliberate -e-
willing -Ø-
unwilling -n-
accidental -p-

"Deliberate" is stronger than "willing" and implies some premeditation. The "willing" marker does not necessarily exclude premeditation, but "deliberate" is more emphatic—you'd likely see the "deliberate" marker used in a trial or an airing of a grievance as opposed to "I was passing by the flower shop and decided I'd pick up a bouquet for my wife". "Unwilling" often implies someone coercing someone else but can also simply mark someone doing something they'd rather not do. "Accidental" isn't usually used of, say, natural processes.

Speed
momentane -t-
brief -ɛs-
durative -χ-
protracted -wo-
iterative -i-

Here, "momentane" is used for extremely brief periods of time. For "brief", think "for a little while". The "durative" marker generally suggests either a neutral judgment to the amount of time taken or that whatever is being done is taking a more-or-less normal amount of time. Using the "protracted" marker gives a sense of "he's been working on it nonstop for hours" or "ugh, this is taking forever". The "iterative" marker is often used with the "started" marker to imply a habit. If also used with the "unwilling" marker, a subtext of addiction or lack of self-control is implied; if used with the "willing" marker, this implies that one is throwing one's life away or using something as an escape from reality.

Mood
indicative -Ø-
mirative -n-
interrogative -k-
imperative -na-

Tense
past -d-
nonpast -Ø-

Valence
normal -Ø-
causative 1 -d-
causative 2 -s-
benefactive -m-
malefactive -b-
antipassive -u-

Causative 1 merely changes up the argument structure of the verb a bit ("cause OBJ to X"). Causative 2 adds another argument ("cause OBJ to X OBL). The benefactive and malefactive take an additional argument for the benefited or slighted party. The antipassive removes the direct object ("X (something, not specified or important)"). Normal is a perpendicular line to the planar surface.

Person
1SG -i
2SG -u
3SG -t
1PL -os
2PL -es
3PL -ns
1COLL
2COLL
3COLL -n

Negative
NEG -p
Last edited by Linguifex on 08 Apr 2015 02:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Late Night Conlang Project

Post by gach » 02 Jul 2014 11:14

A quick question then. How does the language mark the recipient like argument especially in the case of the valency increasing inflections (CAUS2, BEN, MAL)? Does it use case or adposition marking or is the word order relevant?
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Re: Late Night Conlang Project

Post by Linguifex » 03 Jul 2014 04:34

gach wrote:A quick question then. How does the language mark the recipient like argument especially in the case of the valency increasing inflections (CAUS2, BEN, MAL)? Does it use case or adposition marking or is the word order relevant?
That's a good question. I have a conlang where word order plays a role in marking benefactives already but I'm on the fence about it, though I might make it a prepositional thing and have the prepositions conjugate or something. If no explicit beneficiary/maleficiary is mentioned I'm thinking about having it default to the object.

Speaking of, that helped give me an idea. If I make an agent/patient distinction, perhaps they affects the semantics of the prepositions.

Nouns
SG A χ-
SG P Ø-
PL A on-
PL P en-
COLL A s-
COLL P o-

Again, epenthetic /o/ that favors large onsets where clusters would be dispreferred, but /w/ will sometimes change to (wsɔ Ø-wsɔn [fsɔn] "male (patient)" vs. χusɔn χ-wsɔn [χusɔn] "male (agent)").

I'm thinking of having the experiencer default to the patient role. Maybe have the "unwilling" marker come into play with whether or not the subject takes A or P (P implies coercion, A implies that they did it reluctantly).

*aɔptodsχɛpto wsɔn
a-ɔ-p-t(o)-Ø-d-Ø-sχɛp-t(o) Ø-wsɔn
hearsay-done-accidental-momentane-IND-PST-normal-fall.down-3SG SG.P-male
"from what I heard, he tripped"

*aɔptodsχɛpto χusɔn
a-ɔ-p-t(o)-Ø-d-Ø-sχɛp-t(o) χ-wsɔn
hearsay-done-accidental-momentane-IND-PST-normal-fall.down-3SG SG.P-male
"from what I heard, he tripped (because of his carelessness)"

Word order
I'm thinking either VSO or SVO. Is it naturalistic to have VS in intransitive sentences but SV in transitive ones?

Prepositions
I'm assuming prepositions will conjugate unless an overt NP follows. Conjugations are the same as the verb endings, except agentivity is expressed with an interfixed *-s-.

valence u
from te
away (from) nu
to mbas
towards mɛn
above/on mɛs
below/under nduχ
to the side of, outside ap
in(side) i
through stɛm
via, using ak
according to dɛt
with all due respect to waχ
X is lying/mistaken hak
concerning, about mɛh

The "valence" preposition is used in constructions involving causative 2, the benefactive, and the malefactive. It is used for the object of the instigated action (the thing X was caused to do an action to), the beneficiary, and the victim, respectively. "X is lying/mistaken" is more forceful than "with all due respect to".

Deixis
Let's rip off Wari'. PROX.S means "near to the speaker", PROX.H = "near to the listener", MED is "medial", and DIST is "distal". "Here" means "present at time of utterance", "gone" means "recently gone", and "absent" means "left a while ago" or "has not been here".

PROX.S wne
PROX.H sχand
MED nwind
DIST wgɛnd

Pronouns

1SG wind
2SG un
3SG e
1PL wdos
2PL wdes
3PL wdɔs
1COLL wdɔ
2COLL wdɛ
3COLL wdɔn
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Re: Late Night Conlang Project

Post by gach » 03 Jul 2014 11:22

Linguifex wrote:I'm thinking either VSO or SVO. Is it naturalistic to have VS in intransitive sentences but SV in transitive ones?
VS in intransitive clauses but AVO in transitive (A = transitive agent) would be ergative word order. I can't remember if this is completely unattested as preferential word orders go or if there were a couple of real world examples. Anyway, you'll probably want to include pretty robust ergativity in other parts of the grammar before playing with an ergative word order.
I'm assuming prepositions will conjugate unless an overt NP follows. Conjugations are the same as the verb endings, except agentivity is expressed with an interfixed *-s-.
How are the verbal person-number affixes used with the verbs then, do they drop when there is an overt 3rd person subject present or are they always mandatory? I'm thinking of how truly verbal your prepositions are or is this construction close to just a merger of anaphoric pronouns with prepositions.

Fully verbal conjugated adpositions are attested as can be seen from the following example from Moi (West Papua):

Wi-sik o p-osu wi-gik p-ana lun.
SG3.M-take banana SG3.NON.HUMAN-to SG3.M(POSS)-mouth SG3.NON.HUMAN-go inside
"He put a banana in his mouth."
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