Compound generator thread

A forum for all topics related to constructed languages
Post Reply
Nloki
hieroglyphic
hieroglyphic
Posts: 56
Joined: 15 Dec 2018 16:01

Compound generator thread

Post by Nloki » 17 May 2019 16:25

Hello. Quite recently, I started wondering what kind of roots could provide semantical meaning for certain compounds, such as abstract concepts like "enthropy", to give a clear (not quite common, though) example. Which roots would derive or attach together in order to create such complex vocabulary?
My idea is; A starts with one compound for B users to post their proposals, for instance:
•Galaxy — "giant-ether-cloud".
or
•Nebula — "star-ether-cloud".
or
•Entomology — "insect-science".
Well that last one was quite straight forward...
Anyway, I'll start with:
Verb
Which kind of compound (or single root) would you use to depict the concept of "Verb"?
I have already tried with something like "action-word". Although, it seems too unnaturallistic to me.
Thanks

Khemehekis
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2323
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 09:36
Location: California über alles

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Khemehekis » 17 May 2019 16:38

Verb: Make-word

Good idea! We have a similar thread for animal names, but nothing yet for compounds in general.
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 60,137 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

GoshDiggityDangit
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 115
Joined: 18 Dec 2018 21:27
Location: Misawa AFB, Aomori, Japan

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by GoshDiggityDangit » 25 Aug 2019 00:23

Verb : Move-Word

Next, please...

Boot

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1636
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Salmoneus » 25 Aug 2019 00:47

Verb: lobster scratch

Boot: terracota thump

User avatar
Ser
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 78
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Ser » 25 Aug 2019 18:46

Galaxy: star-hive, star-sea.
Actually attested: Mandarin 恆星系 héngxīng-xì fixed.star-system, typically abbreviated to -星系 -xīng-xì star-system when it is itself part of a compound (e.g. 仙女星系 xiān-nǚ-xīngxì immortal-woman-galaxy 'Andromeda'). 恆星 heńg-xīng 'fixed star' is itself literally constant-star. The name of a character in My Little Pony, Star Swirl the Bearded, seems to mean "galaxy". Anglish has "starset" and "starwhirl" (besides "starswirl").

Nebula: star-mist, space-mist, sky-mist.
Actually attested: Mandarin has 星雲 xīng-yún star-cloud for 'nebula'.
Nloki wrote:
17 May 2019 16:25
I have already tried with something like "action-word". Although, it seems too unnaturallistic to me.
ANADEW: Sanskrit uses क्रिया kriyā for 'verb', which is actually just the word for 'action'.
Salmoneus wrote:
25 Aug 2019 00:47
Verb: lobster scratch

Boot: terracota thump
Yes, sometimes things like these happen because of semantic extension. Could've been clearer about that.

CivilixXXX
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 93
Joined: 19 Mar 2019 07:25

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by CivilixXXX » 25 Aug 2019 18:58

About verb, interesting example from Polish: time-word (as all verbs happen during some time).
/tsʲi¹⁴vʲiː⁵³ʎiks³³ iksʔiksʔiks/

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1636
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Salmoneus » 26 Aug 2019 01:15

Ser wrote:
25 Aug 2019 18:46
Salmoneus wrote:
25 Aug 2019 00:47
Verb: lobster scratch

Boot: terracota thump
Yes, sometimes things like these happen because of semantic extension. Could've been clearer about that.
To clarify, only the first involves semantic extension - in that it uses 'scratch' to mean 'word' (i.e. in its written form). 'Lobster' is a straighforward analogy - just as lobsters grab hold of things, so verbs grab hold of their arguments through their agreement markers.

The second is much more straightforward: 'thump' because it's the sound that boots make, and 'terracotta' because boots are made out of terracotta.

I suppose my point is that you don't always have to strive for some 'objective', 'logical' (i.e. European, from a particular philosophical tradition) definitions, when you can use culture- and language-specific explanations.

User avatar
Corphishy
greek
greek
Posts: 720
Joined: 18 May 2013 18:28
Location: Route 102, Route 117, Petalburg City

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Corphishy » 28 Aug 2019 04:35

Salmoneus wrote:
26 Aug 2019 01:15
The second is much more straightforward: 'thump' because it's the sound that boots make, and 'terracotta' because boots are made out of terracotta.
I am pretty sure terracotta in that context is just a name for a type of leather.

Anyway, that being said...

Next: leather
Aszev wrote:A good conlang doesn't come from pursuing uniqueness. Uniqueness is usually an effect from creating a good conlang.
Project Garnet
(used to be Bulbichu22)

holbuzvala
sinic
sinic
Posts: 211
Joined: 01 Jan 2017 14:03

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by holbuzvala » 28 Aug 2019 23:28

@Khemehekis - the animal name thread seems to have disappeared.

Building on Sal's point of not being to 'logical' or 'philosophical' about this, I think it's also worth noting how mythology can affect where words originate from. A classic being 'galaxy', which comes from the myth of Hera suckling Hercules (please correct me if I'm wrong on this), and spilling some of her breastmilk across the heavens. This is because on a clear night the stars appears to cluster in a streak across the sky (thanks to our being in a galactic arm). So, 'galaxy' has something to do with the Greek for milk ("lactos?" maybe 'ga' is an augmentative prefix? or denotes godliness somehow?). So we might need to bear in mind the technological level of the speakers, and where in a/the galaxy they are located.

'Leather' brings up another point, in that some languages don't make distinctions that others do. Like in (Modern Standard) Arabic, 'jild' means 'skin' and 'leather' because...well, leather is made of skin. Just not human skin. although it can be (Also a fun cognate with this is 'ice' in Hebrew, which is 'glida' or something like that, because ice is the water's skin!).

So, for 'leather' I'd either have its compound constituents be 'skin' alone, or maybe 'cow skin' or 'lime'd skin' - lime not being not the citrus fruit.

Also, as a question to Nloki, are there any rules governing how your compounds link together? Does the second element modify the first? What if there are three elements? Does each 'root' need to be noun-y, or can there be verb-y ones too? I just wonder what the parameters are, as 'typewriter' could be rendered as 'finger-tool-write' (as I imagine 'tool-write' would be a pen), but I know in one Algonquian language it's a verb complex meaning 'it presses steel.'

Next: magnetism (and electromagnetism)

P.S. Don't forget, sometimes cool words can be created from extant derivation processes yielding unexpected results. In a lang of mine, the word for 'writer' is 'kaw-o' and a suspicious person (or someone you ought to be wary of) it 'ja-kaw'. Each has the root 'kaw' in it, which relates to writing, with the former being the agentive-derivation, and the latter being the patientive. But why would someone being written about ('jakaw') make them suspicious? It's because 'kaw' used to mean 'notch', into trees and such, as that was the original means of written communication for these people. Most of what one notched into a tree would be a warning of some kind, so by implication if a person is written/notched onto a tree, it means to watch out - they're bad news.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1636
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Salmoneus » 29 Aug 2019 00:04

Corphishy wrote:
28 Aug 2019 04:35
Salmoneus wrote:
26 Aug 2019 01:15
The second is much more straightforward: 'thump' because it's the sound that boots make, and 'terracotta' because boots are made out of terracotta.
I am pretty sure terracotta in that context is just a name for a type of leather.
No, I got the idea from actual clay boots. To be fair, the terracotta boots in the picture at the top of the Wikipedia page probably weren't worn, but are just an artwork. But in this conculture, boots are indeed often made at least partly of terracotta - just as in Europe they were often made of wood.


Leather: urine wood

('wood' because leather is a substitute for wood (eg in huts, boats, chariots, etc); 'urine' because it's made with urine)

Magnetism: other weight

(because it's like weight, but different)

Galaxy: baby shark

(a trick answer: English 'galaxy' comes from the Greek word for a dogfish, a small shark*)

While we're at it: English 'magnetism' is just 'phenomenon related to that stuff from the city of Magnesia', and 'boot' comes from words meaning 'numb, blunt, cut-off', and later 'fat'. 'Leather' is unanalysable, and 'verb' just means 'word'.

User avatar
Lambuzhao
korean
korean
Posts: 7779
Joined: 13 May 2012 02:57

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Lambuzhao » 29 Aug 2019 05:14

Salmoneus wrote:
29 Aug 2019 00:04
[

Galaxy: baby shark

(a trick answer: English 'galaxy' comes from the Greek word for a dogfish, a small shark*)
You're talking about γαλεός, ¿?

As another possibility, one could use the possibly related γαλέη 'weasel' (mustelid), and said a galaxy was something like an Ermine-Cloud. :wat:

holbuzvala
sinic
sinic
Posts: 211
Joined: 01 Jan 2017 14:03

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by holbuzvala » 29 Aug 2019 09:47

Having done some snooping, I'm pretty sure 'galaxy' comes from the Greek gála (genetive galaktos) for 'milk'. Look here:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/Galaxy
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/galaxy

But I'm not 100% sure about the spilled breastmilk myth. Where'd dogfish come from?

Anyhow, as no one's suggested a new thing to derive (despite the loose rules), might I suggest: telephone

P.S.
Magnetism: other weight

(because it's like weight, but different)
This is excellent.

Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1636
Joined: 19 Sep 2011 19:37

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Salmoneus » 29 Aug 2019 17:17

"galaxias", meaning "milky" became the word for 'galaxy' (milky circle), chalk (milky stone) and dogfish (milky fish, presumably because dogfish are viviparous like mammals).

Telephone: spark pigeon.

User avatar
Ser
cuneiform
cuneiform
Posts: 78
Joined: 30 Jun 2012 06:13
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia / Colombie Britannique, Canada

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Ser » 30 Aug 2019 00:01

Lambuzhao wrote:
29 Aug 2019 05:14
You're talking about γαλεός, ¿?
I think he is, although Beekes prefers to link it to γαλέη 'weasel', yeah.
But I'm not 100% sure about the spilled breastmilk myth.
  • Κύκλος Γαλαξίας.
    Οὕτος γίνεται ἐν τοῖς φαινομένοις κύκλοις, ὃν προσαγορεύεσθαί φασι γαλαξίαν· οὐ γὰρ ἐξῆν τοῖς Διὸς υἱοῖς τῆς οὐρανίου τιμῆς μετασχεῖν, εἰ μή τις ἀυτῶν θηλάσει τὸν τῆς Ἥρας μαστόν. διόπερ φασὶ τὸν Ἑρμῆν ὑπὸ τὴν γένεσιν ἀνακομίσαι τὸν Ἡρακλέα, καὶ προσσχεῖν ἀυτὸν τῷ τῆς Ἥρας μαστῷ, τὸν δὲ θηλάζειν. ἐπινοήσασαν δὲ Ἥραν, ἀποσείσασθαι ἀυτὸν, καὶ οὕτως ἐκχυθέντος τοῦ περισσεύματος, ἀποτελεσθῆναι τὸν γαλαξίαν κύκλον.

    The Milky Circle.
    This one is born in the shining circles [of heaven], and is [also] called by the term The Milky. It wasn't appropriate for the sons of Zeus to participate in the Uranian honour unless they suckled from Hera's breast. For this reason, Hermes carried Heracles placing him at Hera's breast for him to suckle. When Hera realized this, she pushed him away, spilling the remaining milk and forming the Milky Circle.

    (Author unknown. Katasterismoi. 1st century AD. Section 44. Historically misattributed to Eratosthenes.)
  • Praeterea ostenditur circulus quidam in sideribus, candido colore, quem lacteum esse nonnulli dixerunt. Eratosthenes enim dicit Mercurio infanti puero insciam Iunonem dedisse lacte; sed postquam rescierit eum Maiae filium esse, reiecisse eum ab se; ita lactis profusi splendorem inter sidera apparere. Alii dixerunt dormienti Iunoni Herculem suppositum, et experrectam id quod supra diximus fecisse. Alii autem Herculem propter nimiam aviditatem multitudinem lactis adpetisse neque in ore continere potuisse: quod ex ore eius profusum, circulum significasse. Alii dicunt, quo tempore Ops Saturno lapidem pro partu attulit, iussisse ei lacte praebere, quare cum pressisset mammam, profuso lacte circulum deformatum, quem supra demonstravimus.

    Furthermore, a certain circle exists among the stars, of a pale colour, that some have said is milky. Eratosthenes says unaware Juno was given an infant boy by Mercury for her milk, but after she found out he was Maia's son, she threw him away, and so the abundant milky brightness appeared among the stars. Others have said Hercules was placed next to Juno while she slept, doing the above after waking up. Others say Hercules eagerly tried to get too much milk, and when he couldn't hold it in his mouth, he poured it out of his mouth creating the circle. Others say that when Ops brought a stone to Saturn after giving birth [instead of her actual son], he ordered her to give it milk, and so when she squeezed her breast, the milk poured out and the circle we have mentioned above was formed.

    (Gaius Julius Hyginus. De Astronomia. 1st century AD. Book II, section 43.)
Last edited by Ser on 01 Sep 2019 18:56, edited 1 time in total.

Khemehekis
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2323
Joined: 14 Aug 2010 09:36
Location: California über alles

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Khemehekis » 30 Aug 2019 09:05

Lambuzhao
korean
korean
Posts: 7777
Joined: Sat 12 May 2012, 17:57
Contact:


7,777 posts! The speakers of Géarthnuns must be rejoicing right now!
♂♥♂♀

Squirrels chase koi . . . chase squirrels

My Kankonian-English dictionary: 60,137 words and counting

31,416: The number of the conlanging beast!

Nloki
hieroglyphic
hieroglyphic
Posts: 56
Joined: 15 Dec 2018 16:01

Re: Compound generator thread

Post by Nloki » 01 Sep 2019 01:14

holbuzvala wrote:
28 Aug 2019 23:28
Also, as a question to Nloki, are there any rules governing how your compounds link together? Does the second element modify the first? What if there are three elements? Does each 'root' need to be noun-y, or can there be verb-y ones too? I just wonder what the parameters are, as 'typewriter' could be rendered as 'finger-tool-write' (as I imagine 'tool-write' would be a pen), but I know in one Algonquian language it's a verb complex meaning 'it presses steel.'
I think linking order in compounds relies mainly on syntax, and thus depends on your conlang’s head-directionality.

I tend to make my conlangs head-final by default (just a matter of personal preference, regarding also how few "good" (must say, to poor standards) conlangs I've ever worked on). Thus, my compounds will place the modifying elements preceding their respective heads.

A good way to figure out the order in a compound is to array a noun phrase (or a verb phrase also) with its elements. So in English, "finger-tool-write" would be arrayed as a noun phrase like "writing tool [used by means/for] of fingers" (if adding morphology for accuracy).

Then, I'd go taking all of the needless morphology out of the phrase and stacking the terms in the most phonologically pleasing way (clustering, allophony, etc.)

To illustrate the example, Nlokian 7, if using those terms for "typewriter", it would be dincxērmāki (IPA [d̪iɲˈc͡çeɾmɐki]) from diŋ "finger(s)" (inanimates are defaultly unmarked as collectives in Nlokian), cxer- (verb stem for "to write") and finally "tool", pmāki (with a preglottalized voiceless nasal as shown in the IPA transcription /ˈˀm̥ɐki/).
Although, Nlokian's actual word for typewriter would be rather kehljitkea (IPA [keʎ̝itkea]), coming from the verb kehljit-, formerly meaning "to press with the finger(s)" repurposed during steampunk-like periods in my conworld as "to type". Then the instrumental case affix and finally the nominalizer suffix -a.

As for whether roots in compounding need to come exclusively from nouns or verbs, that is subject to how much does your conlang use different roots for both, instead that of most languages using derivation with an only root to discern among either of them.
I've never seen any language using suppletion to an extent that they would have various roots for multiple morphological cathegories instead of just deriving. Although, I don't think that to be impossible in natlangs, but I guess those to be primarly analitic ones. Does someone know any natlang doing so?

Post Reply