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

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

Post by holbuzvala » 29 Apr 2019 09:12

@Linguofranco

I think a good method is translation, so you can just trawl through your list when you need a new word. However, I think most people work in reverse where they are trying to translate something, and so coin a new word/compound/phrase to get across a particular meaning from the text they're translating.

I also think it's worthwhile to consider what a 'word' is. For example, if one of your words is "go'ikkeshakkavaknaharrm", then having it mean "Let us go and cook them well" could be reasonable if its polysynthetic. Or even have it mean 'dog', if on breakdown it means "animal for hunting from foreign place". The inverse of this is if you have words like "lam" and "mo" and you have them mean "the heart of the universe is within me" and "that feeling you get when you want to talk to someone and you think they want to talk to you but both of you do nothing", which strikes me as supremely unlikely (if you're going for naturalism). The 'shorter' a word, chances are the 'simpler' its meaning will be.

In short, if you're looking for efficiency, I think your repeating aloud method is probably not the best (but may be slowly fruitful given the considerations above). IMHO, unless you defo need that wordbank for whatever reason, do this:
1. find out what phonotactic rules underly the formation of your words
2. kill your darlings (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define. ... 20darlings)
3. do a bunch of translation into your conlang, coining as you go using the phonotactic rules derived.

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

Post by spanick » 06 May 2019 17:36

I'm working on a conlang in which the adjectives are stative verbs but this is a new concept for me so I'm trying to figure out how it should work. The language uses tripartite alignment, so it marks A, O, and S all separately. The example I'm working on is "green ideas" (from Colorless green ideas sleep furiously). Verbs are only marked for aspect, tense, and voice.

Just expressing that line is easy:
yit’ænæk’æ pææt’æ
yit'-'LnL-Ø-k'L p'ææt’-L
think-N-INT-P be.green-GNO

But I'm unsure how this would work in a transitive sentence, where the Subject would be marked as Ergative rather than Intransitive. Should the stative verb form remain the same and just act as a kind of special class of verbs that can take both INT and ERG subjects or should it be marked in the passive voice when used with an Ergative subject? Hopefully, my question makes sense.

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

Post by shimobaatar » 06 May 2019 17:55

spanick wrote:
06 May 2019 17:36
I'm working on a conlang in which the adjectives are stative verbs but this is a new concept for me so I'm trying to figure out how it should work. The language uses tripartite alignment, so it marks A, O, and S all separately. The example I'm working on is "green ideas" (from Colorless green ideas sleep furiously). Verbs are only marked for aspect, tense, and voice.

Just expressing that line is easy:
yit’ænæk’æ pææt’æ
yit'-'LnL-Ø-k'L p'ææt’-L
think-N-INT-P be.green-GNO

But I'm unsure how this would work in a transitive sentence, where the Subject would be marked as Ergative rather than Intransitive. Should the stative verb form remain the same and just act as a kind of special class of verbs that can take both INT and ERG subjects or should it be marked in the passive voice when used with an Ergative subject? Hopefully, my question makes sense.
I think I might be missing something here, or misreading something, or both. Why would stative verbs be transitive?

Just to be sure, what do "N" and "P" stand for in the gloss? "nominalization" and "plural", to derive "ideas" from "think"? I assume "INT" is the intransitive case and "GNO" is gnomic aspect.

Also, for clarity, is yit’ænæk’æ pææt’æ a noun phrase ("green ideas"), a sentence ("ideas are green"), or could it be interpreted as either?

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

Post by spanick » 06 May 2019 18:13

shimobaatar wrote:
06 May 2019 17:55
I think I might be missing something here, or misreading something, or both. Why would stative verbs be transitive?

They're not. What I'm asking is how would I treat a noun which is the subject of a stative verb when it is the subject of a transitive verb.
Just to be sure, what do "N" and "P" stand for in the gloss? "nominalization" and "plural", to derive "ideas" from "think"? I assume "INT" is the intransitive case and "GNO" is gnomic aspect.
Yes. "N" is just one kind of nominalizer, in this case one which forms abstract nouns from verbs.
Also, for clarity, is yit’ænæk’æ pææt’æ a noun phrase ("green ideas"), a sentence ("ideas are green"), or could it be interpreted as either?
I guess this is where I'm getting tripped up myself. My understanding is that it could be both, after all, it is a verb but since this language doesn't have adjectives, it could also be used as a noun phrase, I think. This is part of what I don't understand...

Maybe a different example"
Yit šaaka. "(The) man is angry" or "Angry man"
Yiitæ p’išne namnoo. "(The) man is eating fish."

What I'm trying to figure out is how to say "(The) angry man is eating fish."

EDIT:
I suppose the whole thing could be resolved by a subordinate clause:
Yiitæ še šaaka p’išne namnoo.
man-ERG INDEF.3-INT be.angry-GNO fish-ACC eat-IMP

Just trying to get a feel for how these are used in natlangs.
Last edited by spanick on 06 May 2019 18:53, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by shimobaatar » 06 May 2019 18:50

spanick wrote:
06 May 2019 18:13
shimobaatar wrote:
06 May 2019 17:55
I think I might be missing something here, or misreading something, or both. Why would stative verbs be transitive?

They're not. What I'm asking is how would I treat a noun which is the subject of a stative verb when it is the subject of a transitive verb.
spanick wrote:
06 May 2019 18:13
Also, for clarity, is yit’ænæk’æ pææt’æ a noun phrase ("green ideas"), a sentence ("ideas are green"), or could it be interpreted as either?
I guess this is where I'm getting tripped up myself. My understanding is that it could be both, after all, it is a verb but since this language doesn't have adjectives, it could also be used as a noun phrase, I think. This is part of what I don't understand...

Maybe a different example"
Yit šaaka. "(The) man is angry" or "Angry man"
Yiitæ p’išne namnoo. "(The) man is eating fish."

What I'm trying to figure out is how to say "(The) angry man is eating fish."
Oh, OK, I think I understand now.

Does the language have a way to form relative clauses, or at least some structure that's generally equivalent in meaning to relative clauses in English? Could you say, for example, something equivalent to "(The) man who is angry is eating fish"? Or, to replace "angry", "(The) man who bought a boat last week is eating fish"? Or do you want "(The) man is angry" and "(The) angry man"/"(The) man who is angry" to be structurally identical? If so, do you want that to be something unique to these stative verbs, or would "(The) man bought a boat last week" and "(The) man who bought a boat last week" also be structurally identical?

Anyway, I think I'd personally have case marking be determined by the role a noun plays in relation to the verb of the main clause. So, for example, in a sentence like "(The) angry man is eating fish", I'd have "man" be marked as ergative, because even though "man" can be interpreted as the sole argument of the stative, intransitive verb "to be angry", "man" is also acting as the agent of the main verb of the sentence/matrix clause, "to eat". Hopefully that makes sense.

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

Post by spanick » 06 May 2019 18:59

shimobaatar wrote:
06 May 2019 18:50
Does the language have a way to form relative clauses, or at least some structure that's generally equivalent in meaning to relative clauses in English? Could you say, for example, something equivalent to "(The) man who is angry is eating fish"? Or, to replace "angry", "(The) man who bought a boat last week is eating fish"? Or do you want "(The) man is angry" and "(The) angry man"/"(The) man who is angry" to be structurally identical? If so, do you want that to be something unique to these stative verbs, or would "(The) man bought a boat last week" and "(The) man who bought a boat last week" also be structurally identical?
Right, this makes sense...I could say
Yiitæ še šaaka p’išne namnoo.
man-ERG INDEF.3-INT be.angry-GNO fish-ACC eat-IMP
Anyway, I think I'd personally have case marking be determined by the role a noun plays in relation to the verb of the main clause. So, for example, in a sentence like "(The) angry man is eating fish", I'd have "man" be marked as ergative, because even though "man" can be interpreted as the sole argument of the stative, intransitive verb "to be angry", "man" is also acting as the agent of the main verb of the sentence/matrix clause, "to eat". Hopefully that makes sense.
OK, yes...this makes perfect sense. I guess I was just worried whether or not it was considered natural

Yiitæ šaaka p’išne namnoo.
man-ERG be.angry-GNO fish-ACC eat-IMP

In which case, the stative verb functions very much like an adjective and its placement and semantic role determine which noun it modifies (or in this case is its subject).

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

Post by Salmoneus » 06 May 2019 23:11

spanick wrote:
06 May 2019 18:13
shimobaatar wrote:
06 May 2019 17:55
I think I might be missing something here, or misreading something, or both. Why would stative verbs be transitive?

They're not. What I'm asking is how would I treat a noun which is the subject of a stative verb when it is the subject of a transitive verb.
I would say: how do you normally treat nouns that are the subject of both stative and transitive verbs?

Forget about 'adjectives' for a moment: how do you translate things like "I fell and hit my head", or "I slept, showered, ate breakfast, went"?

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

Post by spanick » 06 May 2019 23:19

Salmoneus wrote:
06 May 2019 23:11
spanick wrote:
06 May 2019 18:13
shimobaatar wrote:
06 May 2019 17:55
I think I might be missing something here, or misreading something, or both. Why would stative verbs be transitive?

They're not. What I'm asking is how would I treat a noun which is the subject of a stative verb when it is the subject of a transitive verb.
I would say: how do you normally treat nouns that are the subject of both stative and transitive verbs?

Forget about 'adjectives' for a moment: how do you translate things like "I fell and hit my head", or "I slept, showered, ate breakfast, went"?
That's exactly what I'm struggling with. Using your example I would probably avoid needing to switch to the transitive "hit my head" by switching to the passive so that it was literally more like "I fell and my head was hit". I could do the same with the second: I slept, I was washed, breakfast was eaten, went". To me, that feels the most natural.

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

Post by ixals » 07 May 2019 17:24

Can a voicing distinction arise in consonants because of vowel length?

/ta ta: sa sa:/ > /ta da sa za/, etc.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 08 May 2019 14:27

I would say it can, but not in the way you showed it in your example. Postvocalic consonants make more sense IINM. Starting out from English, which slightly lengthens vowels before voiced consonants, you could have the following.

/ata a:ta asa a:sa/ > /ata a:da asa a:za/ > /ata ada asa aza/

Another option is to transfer length to consonants first (lengthen consonants after short vowels) and then do voicing of short consonants and shortening of long consonants. (I think some language in Estonia is similar).


/ata a:ta asa a:sa/ > /at:a a:ta as:a a:sa/ > /at:a ata as:a asa/ > /at:a ada as:a aza/ > /ata ada asa aza/

Hope that helps.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 08 May 2019 20:33

Does the back-vowel constraint make sequences like [ʘɨ] impractical? The article mentions [əi], but [ɨ]'s the high central unrounded vowel so I want to confirm practicality before finalizing my roleplay setting's current language's vowel system.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 08 May 2019 20:39

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
08 May 2019 20:33
Does the back-vowel constraint make sequences like [ʘɨ] impractical? The article mentions [əi], but [ɨ]'s the high central unrounded vowel so I want to confirm practicality before finalizing my roleplay setting's current language's vowel system.
If [ə(i)] is OK, I'd think [ɨ] should be too. At the very least, I wouldn't bat an eye at it.

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

Post by ixals » 08 May 2019 21:16

Creyeditor wrote:
08 May 2019 14:27
I would say it can, but not in the way you showed it in your example. Postvocalic consonants make more sense IINM. Starting out from English, which slightly lengthens vowels before voiced consonants, you could have the following.

/ata a:ta asa a:sa/ > /ata a:da asa a:za/ > /ata ada asa aza/

Another option is to transfer length to consonants first (lengthen consonants after short vowels) and then do voicing of short consonants and shortening of long consonants. (I think some language in Estonia is similar).


/ata a:ta asa a:sa/ > /at:a a:ta as:a a:sa/ > /at:a ata as:a asa/ > /at:a ada as:a aza/ > /ata ada asa aza/

Hope that helps.
Thank you! I definitely want it to happen to word-initial consonants so those ideas wouldn't work out. However, I had an idea similar to your second example. The only allowed syllable is CV or CVV (aka CV:) and the language wants to keep everyt syllable the same length (mora and stuff?), so CV changes to CCV (aka C:V) so it matches the length of CVV syllables. Then ungeminated consonants get voiced and at the end long consonant and vowels get shortened. So /ta ta: > t:a ta: > t:a da: > ta da/. Would that be realistic enough?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 09 May 2019 01:37

Word initial geminates are rare and onsets bearing moras is to. There are some language though where similar things happen, so it might be natural after all. Nina Topintzi has worked on this topic a lot IIRC.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Tuyono » 09 May 2019 12:29

What are some common ways to handle stative verbs in a language that distinguishes perfective/imperfective? Are they likely to have similar marking to other verbs, with the perfective form meaning "X was in Y state but isn't anymore"? That was what I originally did in Źilaa Ruńu, but I'm not sure if it makes sense.
The only other option I can think of is for stative verbs to just fall outside this distinction and do their own thing. I don't really want to do it though. What am I missing here?

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

Post by WeepingElf » 09 May 2019 18:19

It at least appears to have been that way in (Late) Proto-Indo-European: stative verbs ("perfects") are a third category besides imperfective ("present") and perfective ("aorist") verbs.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 10 May 2019 16:23

Speaking of which, how do langs with no tense and only aspect convey a generic past tense? Do they use perfective aspect? Wouldn't that just make it a tense anyways? For example how would they say "John fought the snake?"

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

Post by Dormouse559 » 10 May 2019 16:39

Using perfective is a common strategy, but that doesn't make it a past tense; it's just that most of the time an event considered without internal structure takes place in the past. Any event in the present is ongoing to some extent, and while the future is a possibility, it's just less likely than the past.

One big way to communicate tense in a language with just aspect is adverbs. It's likely the perfective aspect on its own will be interpreted as referring to the past for the reasons mentioned above. But if for some reason there might be ambiguity, you could add "yesterday" or "a few days ago" or whatever is appropriate. If you wanted to say "John will fight the snake", you might take perfective aspect and add "tomorrow" or "in a few hours".

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

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 10 May 2019 18:04

Dormouse559 wrote:
10 May 2019 16:39
Using perfective is a common strategy, but that doesn't make it a past tense; it's just that most of the time an event considered without internal structure takes place in the past. Any event in the present is ongoing to some extent, and while the future is a possibility, it's just less likely than the past.

One big way to communicate tense in a language with just aspect is adverbs. It's likely the perfective aspect on its own will be interpreted as referring to the past for the reasons mentioned above. But if for some reason there might be ambiguity, you could add "yesterday" or "a few days ago" or whatever is appropriate. If you wanted to say "John will fight the snake", you might take perfective aspect and add "tomorrow" or "in a few hours".
Thanks! I had no idea about using perfective for future.

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

Post by Tuyono » 10 May 2019 22:05

WeepingElf wrote:
09 May 2019 18:19
It at least appears to have been that way in (Late) Proto-Indo-European: stative verbs ("perfects") are a third category besides imperfective ("present") and perfective ("aorist") verbs.
Thanks for the answer! So in that system, how do you describe a state that's in the past and no longer true? Also, was "to be" a stative verb or not?

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