(Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » 11 Oct 2016 06:27

French has the interrogative adjective quel/quelle/quelles, which functions similarly to what you describe, e.g. quelle robe "which dress", quel jour "which/what day", though it has the noun quoi as well, so the other functions you mentioned are handled differently.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » 11 Oct 2016 06:36

I've always thought of (modifier) "what" and "quel" as determiners, rather than adjectives. For example, in both English and French, nouns modified by adjectives can also take articles (e.g. the old car, la vieille voiture). But a noun modified by "what" or "quel" can't take an article (e.g. *the what car? *la quelle voiture?).

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 11 Oct 2016 08:29

Dormouse559 wrote:I've always thought of (modifier) "what" and "quel" as determiners, rather than adjectives. For example, in both English and French, nouns modified by adjectives can also take articles (e.g. the old car, la vieille voiture). But a noun modified by "what" or "quel" can't take an article (e.g. *the what car? *la quelle voiture?).
Well, in English it can take a determiner, although it doesn't mean the same thing (asking about an adjective, maybe only as an echo question).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 11 Oct 2016 11:11

Dormouse559 wrote:I've always thought of (modifier) "what" and "quel" as determiners, rather than adjectives. For example, in both English and French, nouns modified by adjectives can also take articles (e.g. the old car, la vieille voiture). But a noun modified by "what" or "quel" can't take an article (e.g. *the what car? *la quelle voiture?).
I also always thought of "what" as a determiner since it has an etymological relationship with "that" and behaves similarly.
He saw what?
He saw that.
What man over where?
That man over there.
I also think determiners have some sort of definiteness which is why they don't make sense to use definite articles with.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » 11 Oct 2016 12:19

Syntactically it patterns with determiners, but morphologically it patterns with adjectives, so a bit of a mix.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nachtuil » 11 Oct 2016 20:31

I just want to confirm I am understanding something correctly. Is the following correct?

"The cat caught the mouse"
Cat = agent and subject
Mouse = patient and object

"The mouse was caught by the cat"
Cat = agent and object
Mouse = patient and subject

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 11 Oct 2016 21:29

Nachtuil wrote:I just want to confirm I am understanding something correctly. Is the following correct?

"The cat caught the mouse"
Cat = agent and subject
Mouse = patient and object

"The mouse was caught by the cat"
Cat = agent and object
Mouse = patient and subject
Yes.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 11 Oct 2016 21:40

The last one the cat is the oblique, not really object.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 11 Oct 2016 21:46

Nachtuil wrote:I just want to confirm I am understanding something correctly. Is the following correct?"The cat caught the mouse"
Cat = agent and subject
Mouse = patient and object
Yes.
Nachtuil wrote:"The mouse was caught by the cat"
Cat = agent and object
Mouse = patient and subject
No. Instead:

"The mouse was caught by the cat"
Cat = agent and optional oblique/adjunct/adverbial
Mouse = patient and subject
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nachtuil » 12 Oct 2016 05:14

Ok thank you guys. I really need into those terms. This hobby is wonderful for learning terminology! :P
Are there incidents in English where the agent is the object or is that just impossible by definition?

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Axiem » 12 Oct 2016 06:01

So does that mean that a language that explicitly marks the Patient and Agent, there's not really a need for a passive? In other words, if you just indicate the verb and the Patient, and leave out the Agent (adjusting word order because cases are marked), does that effectively become a passive, then?

Or do languages just not actually mark things quite that way?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by gestaltist » 12 Oct 2016 09:41

Axiem wrote:So does that mean that a language that explicitly marks the Patient and Agent, there's not really a need for a passive? In other words, if you just indicate the verb and the Patient, and leave out the Agent (adjusting word order because cases are marked), does that effectively become a passive, then?

Or do languages just not actually mark things quite that way?
According to WALS, less than half of the languages have a passive construction: http://wals.info/chapter/107.

Makes me want to remove the passive from Tisisito now...

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by k1234567890y » 12 Oct 2016 10:02

gestaltist wrote:
Axiem wrote:So does that mean that a language that explicitly marks the Patient and Agent, there's not really a need for a passive? In other words, if you just indicate the verb and the Patient, and leave out the Agent (adjusting word order because cases are marked), does that effectively become a passive, then?

Or do languages just not actually mark things quite that way?
According to WALS, less than half of the languages have a passive construction: http://wals.info/chapter/107.

Makes me want to remove the passive from Tisisito now...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » 12 Oct 2016 13:37

Axiem wrote:So does that mean that a language that explicitly marks the Patient and Agent, there's not really a need for a passive? In other words, if you just indicate the verb and the Patient, and leave out the Agent (adjusting word order because cases are marked), does that effectively become a passive, then?

Or do languages just not actually mark things quite that way?
The basic purpose of the passive voice is to remove focus from the agent and place it on the patient or some other similar argument. If a language has some way of shifting focus away from the agent, such as changing word order, explicit topocalization, or by dropping the agent, then the passive voice becomes less necessary.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » 12 Oct 2016 14:13

gestaltist wrote:
Axiem wrote:So does that mean that a language that explicitly marks the Patient and Agent, there's not really a need for a passive? In other words, if you just indicate the verb and the Patient, and leave out the Agent (adjusting word order because cases are marked), does that effectively become a passive, then?

Or do languages just not actually mark things quite that way?
According to WALS, less than half of the languages have a passive construction: http://wals.info/chapter/107.

Makes me want to remove the passive from Tisisito now...
There are several reasons why your language might not really "need" a passive. One is topic-prominence: in topic-prominent languages when a passive is present (e.g. in Chinese/Japanese) it is frequently used to indicate adverse effect, and many such languages (eg. Lakhota) lack the passive altogether.

Ergative syntax is another way to forgo the passive, as the transitive patient is already unmarked.

Removing the passive is also easy to achieve using heirarchical morphosyntactic-alignment, most famously used in Algonquian, but also present in Southern Wakashan and rGyalrongic languages, among others.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by clawgrip » 12 Oct 2016 15:49

Can you explain or provide an explanation of this? It seems interesting, but I am not familiar with it or the languages that use it.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Axiem » 12 Oct 2016 16:12

I...may have solved my "how do I do a passive in Kuvian?" problem. As a language that already marks case on the noun into Absolutive, Agentive, and Patientive and uses word order for emphasis, I may just be able to poke things a little to do what I want.

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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 12 Oct 2016 17:00

Is it necessarily Arabic/Semitic to have a fused superlative and comparative adjective?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 12 Oct 2016 17:24

If it is possible to do in a non-Arabic/Semitic language, then no. I would just go light on the Arabic stuff if I didn't want my language to be a clone of Arabic.

@Frislander Ergativity doesn't make you not need a passive, since it's about the subject, not semantic roles. Ergativity isn't really a consistent thing though.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 12 Oct 2016 17:31

Well the problem is is that Arabic is the only language with a fused superlative and comparative in so far as I know because there could be other languages but I don't know them. Thus I cannot determine its Arabicness.
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