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

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

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 08 Jul 2017 08:14

Do any of your conlangs have "superfluous" marking/inflection? Like root ablaut in PIE, for example. How the root of the noun changes in addition to a case ending being added (something like German Mann pluralizing as Männer. The plural suffix -er is added, but the vowel also raises).

Also (and this may be better in the natlang questions thread), do any natlangs outside of IE have situations like this? (Where, for example, a noun might have two stems, one for some cases, another for others).

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

Post by Trebor » 08 Jul 2017 10:49

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

Post by Creyeditor » 08 Jul 2017 10:52

This is sometimes called multiple exponence and in its broader form it is really common. I think most languages kind of have something like that.
Edit: Also, I should really do that more often in my conlangs.
Last edited by Creyeditor on 08 Jul 2017 18:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » 08 Jul 2017 12:15

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Do any of your conlangs have "superfluous" marking/inflection? Like root ablaut in PIE, for example. How the root of the noun changes in addition to a case ending being added (something like German Mann pluralizing as Männer. The plural suffix -er is added, but the vowel also raises).
You've put superfluous in quotes, and I get where you're going, but in what sense is the <ä> a superfluous plural marker? Isn't the whole point of umlaut in German the fronting (and perhaps raising) of those back vowels in environments with <e> or <i> knocking about. The <ä> is there because the -er is there; it was not added as an extra plural flourish. You also have:

Männlein, Männchen, männlich -- none of which are plural indicators
Also (and this may be better in the natlang questions thread), do any natlangs outside of IE have situations like this? (Where, for example, a noun might have two stems, one for some cases, another for others).
Do you mean something like the Hungarian word for "snow"?

Code: Select all

                   singular    plural
nominative 	      hó 	     havak
accusative 	      havat 	  havakat
dative 	          hónak 	  havaknak
instrumental 	    hóval 	  havakkal
causal-final 	    hóért 	  havakért
translative 	     hóvá 	   havakká
terminative   	   hóig 	   havakig
essive-formal 	   hóként 	 havakként
essive-modal 	      — 	        —
inessive 	        hóban 	  havakban
superessive 	     havon 	  havakon

And the rest proceeds without surprise:

adessive 	 
illative 	 
sublative 	 
allative 	 
elative 	 
delative 	 
ablative 	 
European, so close to home, and not nearly as exciting, I'm sure, as a language of the Pacific Northwest, but not IE. [B)]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by DesEsseintes » 08 Jul 2017 15:29

Lao Kou wrote:European, so close to home, and not nearly as exciting, I'm sure, as a language of the Pacific Northwest, but not IE. [B)]
So deliciously pointed, brother Kou. [B)]

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

Post by Trebor » 08 Jul 2017 16:18

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Do any of your conlangs have "superfluous" marking/inflection? Like root ablaut in PIE, for example. How the root of the noun changes in addition to a case ending being added (something like German Mann pluralizing as Männer. The plural suffix -er is added, but the vowel also raises).

Also (and this may be better in the natlang questions thread), do any natlangs outside of IE have situations like this? (Where, for example, a noun might have two stems, one for some cases, another for others).
Perhaps there are other or better examples, but Estonian and Nuer* (South Sudan) might be instructive.

*The 'Nuer' link (PDF) is now broken, but you can do a Google search for

"nuer noun morphology"

and peruse a cached version (HTML).

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

Post by Lao Kou » 08 Jul 2017 16:26

DesEsseintes wrote:
Lao Kou wrote:European, so, close to home, and not nearly as exciting, I'm sure, as a language of the Pacific Northwest, but not IE. [B)]
So deliciously pointed, brother Kou. [B)]
Things have been changing recently, but back in the day on Conlangery, George Corley would constantly refer to Mandarin Chinese and William Annis, to languages of the Pacific Northwest. One certainly appreciates passions of the moment and longer-reaching interests. Back in the late 90s on the conlang mailiing list, you couldn't swing a cat without hitting mention of trigger systems. In the early 2010's, you just weren't hep if you couldn't introduce "Athabaskan" into a sentence about conlanging. Here, of late, lots of interest and airplay about Austronesian langs. One understands wanting to get away from and fully relishing phonetic and grammatical palettes that are not the ol' familiar Western SAE models.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » 08 Jul 2017 18:49

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:Do any of your conlangs have "superfluous" marking/inflection? Like root ablaut in PIE, for example. How the root of the noun changes in addition to a case ending being added (something like German Mann pluralizing as Männer. The plural suffix -er is added, but the vowel also raises).
Yup. Rozwi technically does, though the in the streets, markets and hassayampa auctions of Rozwiland, one can hear it get violated for sure.

It occurs in noun stems

E.G.
SG____DU____PL
har____her____hur (usually realized as hru) 'time'

Θe____Θu____Θie 'structure', 'building'

ni____no____ 'animal', 'creature'


Technically, when one uses the collective suffix /iti/, the singular-stem is supposed to be used, but this frequently gets violated/hypercorrected as well.

And there's definitely something going on with Rozwi verbs. Verbs have principle parts that are differentiated by
'superfluous vowel changes' in the stem. It's rather complicated, though not much more than the shifts of
Germanic Strong Verb Classes (I think Rozwi has 5-6 conjugational classes). I think there were more, but, over tme, I looked for analogies and a-collapsing I would go. I'm not even sure anymore: it's a Rozwi world and I'm just livin' in it Plus a separate vowel-changes for SBJV1, SBJV2, a vowel-change plus metathesis for the handful of naughty SBJV3 verbs, and the Optative, which basically behaves a lot like just run-o-the-mill secondary endings. Rather PIE, after a fashion. :roll:



Also (and this may be better in the natlang questions thread), do any natlangs outside of IE have situations like this? (Where, for example, a noun might have two stems, one for some cases, another for others).
My bet was with Magyar. But Lao Kou beat me to the skadoosh. [B)]
Hate to beat the Merychippus but What about Semitic languages?

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

Post by Lao Kou » 08 Jul 2017 19:02

Lambuzhao wrote:My bet was with Magyar. But Lao Kou beat me to the skadoosh. [B)]
Snooze, you lose, bra. [xD]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » 08 Jul 2017 19:11

[:3]

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

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien » 08 Jul 2017 19:15

Thank you for your answers, guys, this has been very helpful :mrgreen:

You're right, Lao Kou, the German example was not the best, and since I know very little about German, I probably should've stuck to a language I know [xP] But what you said about the vowel umlauting because the suffix is added (rather than them both being plural markers) probably explains some of the situation in PIE too. We don't have much understanding of PIE ablaut's original functions, but sometimes it seems it happens when accents shift, syllables become unaccented/unstressed and they lose their vowel as a result (i.e. become "zero grade").

For example, in my conlang, the noun damétar "shield" is underlyingly *dametarés in the genitive, but rather than have three unaccented syllables in a row, the penultimate just "collapses" and loses its vowel, so the genitive form is dametrés. So really, it's not exactly two stems as much as it's a change in the stem as a result of an accented ending being added.

But some of the PIE words really do seem to have two (or more) stems, like the word for house *dṓm, where the stem becomes dem- in the "oblique" cases and loses its long vowel in the vocative.

The Hungarian examples are also very similar to what I was thinking of, so thanks for that. Same with the Rowzi example--looks pretty cool [:D]

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

Post by Trebor » 08 Jul 2017 19:54

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:You're right, Lao Kou, the German example was not the best, and since I know very little about German, I probably should've stuck to a language I know [xP]
You need look no further than English:

'child' -> 'children'

'sleep' -> 'slept'

'lose' -> 'lost'

'buy' -> 'bought'

'sell' -> 'sold'

'wear' -> 'worn'

'strike' -> 'stricken'

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

Post by Shemtov » 09 Jul 2017 08:15

A Tripartate language that becomes split-ergative- what is the most likely out comes of the three cases ie. Nominative, Ergative and Accusative?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ashtăr Balynestjăr » 09 Jul 2017 09:44

Shemtov wrote:A Tripartate language that becomes split-ergative- what is the most likely out comes of the three cases ie. Nominative, Ergative and Accusative?
The intransitive case could become the default nominative/absolutive, restricting the distribution of the ergative and accusative cases.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 10 Jul 2017 05:21

Shemtov wrote:A tripartite language that becomes split-ergative- what is the most likely outcomes of the three cases ie. Nominative, Ergative and Accusative?
Ashtâr Balînestyâr wrote:The intransitive case could become the default nominative/absolutive, restricting the distribution of the ergative and accusative cases.
[+1] What Ashtâr B. said.

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

Post by TwistedOne151 » 10 Jul 2017 06:17

So I've got a language with the following vowel system:
Short: /a e ə o i ɨ u/
Long: /aː eː əː oː iː ɨː uː/
Diphthongs: /ai aɨ au ei əɨ ou oi ui/

And there is also a pitch accent similar to Ancient Greek, with high pitch marking the accented mora; thus, a long vowel or diphthong with the accent may have a rising (acute) or falling (circumflex) tone contour.
Now, I'm working on the system to romanize/transcribe these vowels. Given the interaction of length and tone, I was hoping to avoid the usual double letter=long technique. Does the following system make sense?
  • short unaccented (low): no accent (a, e…)
  • short accented (high): grave accent (à, è…)
  • long unaccented (low): macron (ā, ē…)
  • long rising: acute accent (á, é…)
  • long falling: circumflex accent (â, ê…)?
(This was based partially on notations for Balto-Slavic accents.)
But how would be best to indicate the central vowels /ə ɨ/? Particularly if i want to avoid "stacking" accents, which rules out things like ë ï. Perhaps use Vietnamese <ơ ư>?

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

Post by Creyeditor » 10 Jul 2017 12:01

TwistedOne151 wrote:So I've got a language with the following vowel system:
Short: /a e ə o i ɨ u/
Long: /aː eː əː oː iː ɨː uː/
Diphthongs: /ai aɨ au ei əɨ ou oi ui/

And there is also a pitch accent similar to Ancient Greek, with high pitch marking the accented mora; thus, a long vowel or diphthong with the accent may have a rising (acute) or falling (circumflex) tone contour.
Now, I'm working on the system to romanize/transcribe these vowels. Given the interaction of length and tone, I was hoping to avoid the usual double letter=long technique. Does the following system make sense?
  • short unaccented (low): no accent (a, e…)
  • short accented (high): grave accent (à, è…)
  • long unaccented (low): macron (ā, ē…)
  • long rising: acute accent (á, é…)
  • long falling: circumflex accent (â, ê…)?
(This was based partially on notations for Balto-Slavic accents.)
But how would be best to indicate the central vowels /ə ɨ/? Particularly if i want to avoid "stacking" accents, which rules out things like ë ï. Perhaps use Vietnamese <ơ ư>?
Ogoneks are another option, so e.g. <ę> and <į>
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco » 10 Jul 2017 15:32

Can someone further explain pluralactionality to me? I read the Wikipedia article and I sorta get it, but I'd like some clarification.

I'm thinking about creating a language with a fusional morphology on its verbs, and it has polypersonal agreement. Over time, the separate affixes for the subject and object merge into a new fusional affix. How would I mark number? I could add a suffix to it, but it wouldn't tell you whether it is the subject or the object that is plural.

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Post by Salmoneus » 10 Jul 2017 16:28

LinguoFranco wrote:Can someone further explain pluralactionality to me? I read the Wikipedia article and I sorta get it, but I'd like some clarification.

I'm thinking about creating a language with a fusional morphology on its verbs, and it has polypersonal agreement. Over time, the separate affixes for the subject and object merge into a new fusional affix. How would I mark number? I could add a suffix to it, but it wouldn't tell you whether it is the subject or the object that is plural.
These seem like separate questions?

-----------

Pluractionality means that the action is plural - the verb inherently (that is, in its fundamental relations) describes more than one discrete event. That's pretty much all there is to it.

So, "I saw the cat" is one event. "I saw the cats all at once" is one event. "I have seen each cat on at least one occasion" is more than one event. So a language with pluractionality marking could say "I saw-PLUR the cats" to mean "I saw each cat on at least one, but not all the same, occasion", and "I saw-NONPLUR the cats" to mean "I saw the cats, all of them, they were all there together". Likewise, "I ate the tablets" - this could mean "I ate the tablets, one at a time, in accordance with the prescribed regimen" (pluractional, because there are several eating-events) or it could mean "I ate all the tablets in one mouthful, please call an ambulance" (non-pluractional, because all the eating takes place in the same event).
Or how about "During the 19th century, Britain invaded more than half the countries in the world"? Does that mean that for each country, there was some point in the century when Britain invaded them? (pluractional) Or does it mean that there was some point in the century when Britain suddenly invaded everywhere at once? (non-pluractional)

Then you have iteratives, frequentatives, habituals, etc. I could imagine a language treating these as pluractional, but that's not necessary, because in each of those cases you can say that the plurality of events is superfluous, not inherent - the inherent proposition is fulfilled the first time it happens, and then just keeps being fulfilled again and again, as opposed to the prototypical case of a pluractional, where the relations are not fulfilled until each event has occured.

For many languages, pluractionality is really plural object. However, theoretically plural subjects can be pluractional too. ("We passed the exam" - all at one go, or did you each take the exam separately?). Similarly, you could conceivably have pluractionality with single (or mass) objects - "I ate the body" - all in one go, or bit by bit?

What exactly "pluractionality" is used for will vary, because it's just a convenient label. But it can cover anything where the single verb refers to more than one discrete event. And obviously pluractionality can interact with categories like aspect on verbs, or collectivity on nouns.

-----

What do you mean "affixes for the subject and the object"? Do you just mean for their person? In IE languages, person and number agreement are often fused. So they could be fused for you too. Or you could have two number affixes, one for each argument. Or you can have one number affix which is fused to show the combination (as you already do with person). Or you could have one number affix, and leave the detail of what exactly is plural to context (and to number marking on nouns).

So, you could have:

The woman ate.ka the dogs - where 'ka' means 'human 3rd person singular subject, animate 3rd person plural object' (the woman ate the dogs)
vs
The women ate.lo the dog - where 'lo' means 'human 3rd person plural subject, animate 3rd person singularobject' (the women ate the dog)

or
The woman ate.ka.bi the dogs - where 'ka' means 'human 3rd person subject, animate 3rd person object', and 'bi' means 'singular subject, plural object'
vs
The women ate.ka.lu the dog - where 'lu' means 'plural subject, singular object'

or
The woman ate.ka.ta.nu the dogs - where 'ta' means singular subject and 'nu' means plural object
vs
The women ate.ka.na.tu the dog - where 'na' means plural subject and 'tu' means singular object

or
The woman ate.ka.wa the dogs - where 'wa' just means "watch out, something's plural here!"
vs
The women ate.ka.wa the dog - and you can work out which argument is singular because it's marked on the noun itself.


Etc etc

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

Post by eldin raigmore » 10 Jul 2017 17:59

LinguoFranco wrote:Can someone further explain pluralactionality to me? I read the Wikipedia article and I sorta get it, but I'd like some clarification.
Salmoneus's response was crystal clear, or so it seems to me:
A verb is inflected for pluractionality (in languages where that can happen) to say it means more than one event.

Pluractionality can be, and typically is, about one (or more) of the following four notions:
* more than one agent;
* more than one patient;
* more than one time; or,
* more than one place.
(There may be, also or instead, other nuances of pluractionality.)

The verb's morphology may not tell the addressee which of these is meant.
It may nevertheless be clear, whether because of the rest of the clause, or because of information external to the clause.
Or, it may be unclear; the speaker may have to disambiguate, or the addressee may have to be content with the ambiguity.

Take for example the "clause-oid" or "pseudo-clause"
"boy kissed-PLURACT girl".
Maybe this means "Many boys kissed the girl".
Maybe this means "The boy kissed many girls".
Maybe this means "The boy kissed the girl many times".
Maybe this means "The boy kissed the girl all over".
Or it could mean various combinations:
"Many boys kissed many girls";
"Many boys kissed the girl many times";
"Many boys kissed the girl all over";
"The boy kissed many girls many times";
"The boy kissed many girls all over";
"The boy kissed the girl all over many times";
and more.

In some languages, the particular inflection on the verb that shows pluractionality, partially disambiguates which kind of pluractionality is meant.
In other languages it doesn't disambiguate at all.
In others it disambiguates pretty much completely.
LinguoFranco wrote:I could add a suffix to it, but it wouldn't tell you whether it is the subject or the object that is plural.
The nouns or pronouns that are the subject or object will probably have morphology telling you whether they are singular or plural.
(It might be lexical or syntactic instead of morphological.)

In some languages, there are two kinds of plural;
collective or aggregate plural, vs
distributive plural.

So, for instance,
"boy-COLL.PLU greeted-PLURACT girl-DISTR.PLU"
could mean
"the group-of-boys (acting together) greeted this girl, and that girl, and the other girl, etc., greeting each and every one of the girls, one at a time in separate greetings."

"boy-DISTR.PLU greeted-PLURACT girl-COLL.PLU"
could mean
"this boy and that boy and the other boy and indeed each and every one of the boys, in separate acts, greeted the group-of-girls (all at once)."

"boy-DISTR.PLU greeted-PLURACT girl-DISTR.PLU"
could mean
"Each and every one of the boys, one after another, greeted each and every one of the girls, one after another."

"boy-COLL.PLU greeted-PLURACT girl-COLL.PLU"
could mean
"The group-of-boys, acting together, greeted the group-of-girls (all together), in many different places (e.g. each capitol of each province or state in NAFTA)."
or
"The group-of-boys, acting together, greeted the group-of-girls (all together), at many different times (e.g. at least one national holiday each month)."
and the disambiguation between the "many times" or the "many places" interpretation of pluractionality might have to come from some other utterance or some other knowledge.

LinguoFranco wrote:I'm thinking about creating a language with a fusional morphology on its verbs, and it has polypersonal agreement. Over time, the separate affixes for the subject and object merge into a new fusional affix.
I think you are saying that you will have a portmanteau agreement morpheme that agrees both with stuff about the subject and with stuff about the object. Is that right?
Perhaps you are saying that some values of this morpheme tell you that both subject and object are singular; while other values tell you that one or the other or both are plural, without telling which is the plural one or whether they are both plural. Is that right?
Or maybe there are three sets of values. One says they're both singular; one says they're both plural; and another says one is singular and the other is plural, but not which is which. Is that it?

(If any of that is right, then Salmoneus is right to say this isn't the same question; it's not exactly even the same kind of question.)

Does this morpheme tell you also the persons and/or genders of the subject and object?

LinguoFranco wrote:How would I mark number?
However you like.
The verb needn't tell you.
Or the verb may tell you, but by means of some other marking.
Or the verb may be suppletive for number of one of its arguments.

There are languages that tell you, via a marking on the verb, that, say,
* both agent and patient are animate; or
* both agent and patient are inanimate; or
* one is animate and the other is inanimate; but not which is which.

And/or they might tell you, via a (maybe the same) marking on the verb, that
* both agent and patient are 1st-or-2nd-person; or
* both agent and patient are 3rd-person; or
* one is 1st-or-2nd-person and the other is 3rd-person; but not which is which.

In some of those languages, there might be an additional inflection on the verb to tell which of them -- the agent or the patient -- is which gender or which person.

The same could be true for number.
Your morpheme could fusionally tell you both which genders are involved (including whether agent and patient are both the same gender) and which numbers are involved (both singular or both plural or one of each) without telling you which gender goes with which participant, nor which number goes with which participant, nor even which gender goes with which number.

It seems likely, though, that the participants will be marked for number somehow, whether lexically or morphologically; and also marked for case-role, whether syntactically (e.g. word-order) or morphologically (case-marking) or lexically. If so, the nouns or pronouns will tell you which number goes with which case-role.

LinguoFranco wrote:I could add a suffix to it, but it wouldn't tell you whether it is the subject or the object that is plural.
It doesn't have to.
The addressee may not need to know.
The speaker may not be required to say.
The information may be carried elsewhere in the clause instead of on the verb.

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