Metin "Demonstratives", Prepositions, and Locative Stuff

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
Post Reply
Posts: 67
Joined: 20 Dec 2012 23:01

Metin "Demonstratives", Prepositions, and Locative Stuff

Post by greatbuddha » 03 Aug 2015 03:30

With some inspiration from the definite articles of Mexico's Seri language and the directional verb prefixes of countless American languages (and the addition of many features I'm not sure exist in a natlang), I have crafted a massive, bloated "demonstrative" system for Metin that displaces in part some of the semantic and grammatical space covered by verbs, adjectives and nouns. I suspect it may intrigue some segment of this forum's mempership.

Be warned, this is just a page of wordforms, explanations of how to use them are scattered across the wiki. I apologize, for many of the "demonstratives" I either did not know the linguistic terminology to describe their usage or said terminology has not been invented yet. For that aforementioned reason, I shall describe how these words/morphemes are used right here, in as simple English as I can manage. (Why do we, as linguists, use opaque latinized terms like "inessive", " "egressive", "commutative" to describe grammar anyways? We should know better than anyone that this needlessly impedes understanding. And yes, I have spoken to speakers of languages that do not use a prestige language for technical vocab and they do find their languages much more convenient than English in this respect.)

Anyways, onto the meat of this post.

The first collumn of the first table, marked "prepositions", are used to indicate locations in space relative to another object. These words are only ever used in an adverbial sense, indicating where a verbal action takes place or where an object is located. They are NOT used to indicate the origins or destinations of verbal actions, such as

I threw it there
I came from that place.

These words ALWAYS reference a noun they are relative to

haa: above me
hagáá: above you
oo: above the subject of the sentence
oon: above an oblique-declined noun phrase, e.g. oon tsuarme: Above the person

You will notice that the most commonly referred to directions (up, down, left, right) are conjugated for person irregularily, but the less common ones follow something of a pattern.

Examples of usage

oon tsuarme sxudhááy Above OBL-person NOM-staircase Above the person is the staircase.

t'a sxutl'an NOM-city Below me lies the city

een yeɬchin In.front.of OBL-path It is in front of the path

muyo It is under you

uulee ooji dez sxuaɬtl'an 3-flow NOM-water around OBL-city Water flows around the town

Subject-destination verbal prefixes

These are used to indicate the location a verbal action is directed to, relative to the preformer of the verb
txawowiiyyalaúr Self-behind.SUB-INTR-twist She looks back. (He turns himself and looks to a place behind him)
txawowiyywolaúr Self-Behind.1p.SUB-1p-INTR-twist I look back

Some of the subject-destination prefixes come in two varieties, the variety listed first is used for the first and second persons, and the second used for the third person. This is redundant, the subject will already be indicated elsewhere in the verb. These variations exist for historical reasons, the subject-destination prefixes are derived from the prepositions and some of the prepositions have suppletive stems for the first and second persons. This carries over.

Object-destination prefixes work the same way, only they refer to the destination of a verbal action relative to the object (which is in the dative case, or indicated by indirect object pronominal prefixes if the object is a pronoun)

intsuulee ooji tsueetxá Below.SUB-3p-flow NOM-water DAT-man Water flows to the man's feet. (Water flows to beneath the man)

Directional Prefixes

Directional prefixes indicate the direction a verb's action moves in (relative to the subject). They are quite similar in meaining to the subject-destination prefixes, only the emphasize the motion of the verb. (Something like the English "he comes hither" compared to "He comes here".

haahacaayn Up-3p-INTR-fly It flies up
fuuacaayn Down-3p-INTR-fly It flies down

One thing to note, these preceding words indicate 26 positions rather than the typical 6 (up, down, left, right, front, back). This is because in the dense, convuluted corsuscantesque urban environment of the Metin, 90 degree orthogonal directions are not sufficient.45 degree Diagonal directions are necessary as well, otherwise one would soon get lost navigating the cities of the Metin, which have population densities approaching 5 million people per cubic mile, and are built without the slightest hint of urban planning.

Self explanatory. They come after the noun they describe. Metin has many more degrees of distance for its demonstratives than English, and also distinguishes Visibility. They also conjugate for person as the prepositions do.

tsime Za NOM-person that-1p That person by me

tsime te NOM-person this-2p That person by you (Like Japanese sore)

tsime ghu NOM-person this.INV-3p This person by the subject of the sentence (The subject cannot see the person from where they are standing)

tsime tin sxualdhááy NOM-person this-REL OBL-staircase The person by the staircase (If someone where on the staircase, they'd refer to that person as "tsime ta" or "this person", almost impossible to translate unawkwardly intp English)

Demonstrative extensors

In between the demonstrative root and the person conjugation can be sandwiched "extensors", these function somewhat like adjectives or verbs of posture, describing the arrangement and position of the demonstrated noun.

oame Zomomoe NOM-pl-person that-swarm-2p That crowd of people by you

tsime tįgoya NOM-person this-sitting-1p This person sitting by me
तृष्णात्क्रोधदुःखमिति उद्धो बुद्धः

User avatar
eldin raigmore
Posts: 6369
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 19:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: Metin "Demonstratives", Prepositions, and Locative Stuff

Post by eldin raigmore » 04 Aug 2015 22:02


I had never before heard of a demonstrative system that included direction-of-motion.

Though I think English has at least a few set phrases that might do something like that; "this coming weekend" and "this past weekend", for instance.

Some Eskimo language -- or maybe Native North American language -- I'd heard of, has a demonstrative system that includes "higher than my/our current location" and "lower than my/our current location".

I've also never before heard of a demonstrative system that includes "mixed" directions. Up, down, left, right, ahead, behind; but not above-left, above-right, below-left, below-right, above-ahead, below-ahead, above-behind, below-behind, ahead-left, ahead-right, behind-left, behind-right.

Most natlangs' demonstrative system includes either two or three degrees of distance (near, far, in-between), or two or three deictic centers (near speaker, near addressee, near salient third-person (e.g. agent or topic)).

AFMCL Adpihi's demonstrative system includes both distance and three deictic centers.
There are six different ways the distances between each two of: {speaker, addressee, and referent}; can be ordered.
Also, the referent can be reachable by or unreachable by, and visible to or invisible to, each speech-act-particpant.
So there could be as many as 96 demonstratives, though frankly some of them would be improbable.
Edit: To give these demonstratives some work, I've required every definite noun to come with one.
greatbuddha wrote:…. (Why do we, as linguists, use opaque latinized terms like "inessive", " "egressive", "commutative" to describe grammar anyways? ….
"Commutative"? I don't remember seeing that used in linguistics. What does it mean in linguistics?
SIL's glossary goes from "common noun" to "complement".
Maybe you meant "comitative"?

Post Reply