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

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

Post by Xonen » 05 Jan 2020 20:17

Omzinesý wrote:
30 Dec 2019 23:25
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
29 Dec 2019 03:08
sangi39 wrote:
29 Dec 2019 02:24
ixals wrote:
28 Dec 2019 21:36
Is /θ/ > /ts/ possible?
Finnish had this, apparently, e.g. *meθän > metsän.
I found that on the Diachronica, but it looks like proto-Finnish *θ derives from earlier *ts (e.g. *meθän is from proto-Finic *meccä). There might be a good reason for having /θ/ in the middle, but it looks a bit suspicious.
Dialectal representation of Standard Finnish ts is a mess.
*ts => θ: happened only in Western Dialects, which still have NOM mettä GEN mettän without consonant gradation.
Eastern dialects have metathesis metsä => mehtä. Im not sure if any traditional dialect has ts of Standard language, but my understanding is that it is the original pronunciation.
Traditional dialect map (from here):
Spoiler:
Image
So yes, /ts/ occurs (or occurred) in the far southeastern dialects.

The original pronunciation is a long affricate, represented in UPA by cc; phonetically it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of [ts:] or [tʃ:] (the latter of which still occurs in Karelian). In any case, there's no evidence, as far as I'm aware, for the opposite change from /θ:/ to /ts/ - except in the sense that the /θ:/ pronunciation has died out, and may have been partially replaced by /ts/, due to influence from the standard.

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

Post by Nloki » 05 Jan 2020 20:54

I recently came up with a conlanging idea I don't really know how to continue developing. Basically, either nouns and verbs have an unaltered form, and undertake reduction into a contracted form when inflected (though it has already other uses, not just any sort of inflections).
In verbs, this may result into a perfective vs imperfective dual root system appliable to almost every way.

There is a big problem though. The language's phonoaesthetics look like the eroded result of a whole loot of vowel loss, consonant gradation, metathesis, stress and vowel alterations, etc. Which results on the conlang's phonotactics to look halfway between Georgian and Biblaridion's Edun (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y9K1gegu-vg). Here's an example on two words which had a common incorporated element in the proto-language:
Kethjaanu (lit. "High-place" (mountains, highlands)) and kethaana (lit. "person of the heights" (highlander)).
Then dental continuants turned into alveolar sibilants before palatals and remained the same everywhere else; Ksaanu, kthaana.
Sibilants metathesized, and later became postalveolars when preceding velar stops;
Shkanu, kthana.
And finally, vowel loss in unstressed syllables;
Shkan, kthan.

By the way the second word is the endonym for the speakers of this language, which I'm naming Ketanian for now. And since their endonym and their word for "mountain" are etymologically related, it's logical for me to think that my fictional speakers will inhabit highlands or mountains.

Returning to the original topic, the most reliable explanation to why do most inflected words in the language take a contracted root might be stress; a strict stress patern may cause stress in a word to shift when an affix is added, perhaps in reduplication as well (although that wouldn't mean much for non-monosyllabic words), so that, in later stages of the evolution towards the modern lang, vowel loss in unestressed syllables might cause the vowel in the root to disappear. For example:

Shkan "mountain.ABS, shkŋt/shkŋut (I don't know which one is easier for me to pronounce, since the first one might involve a syllabic velar nasal and the second one contains its preglottalized voiceless equivalent) "mountain.ERG".

As for verbs, roots like dak "to hit" get reduced to -thk-, which is already so difficult to pronounce that it might metathesize into kth- if there's an absence of a preffix... It's really confusing, I don't know what's easier to pronounce for me, so discerning among different options resulted from evolution is a nightmare. And I don't even know if any natural language features an even slightly similar system, so that I can't figure out whether these features can pass as naturalistic or not. Phonotactics and the phonoasthetic look of the mothern language become a real problem regarding the fact that I even want postpositions to get incorporated to inflected nouns, so what do you think?
Last edited by Nloki on 05 Jan 2020 23:56, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by WeepingElf » 05 Jan 2020 21:47

Salmoneus wrote:
05 Jan 2020 15:39
WeepingElf wrote:
31 Dec 2019 17:11
Substratum theories are now pretty much out of fashion in Romance and Celtic linguistics. The dialectal divisions within Romance do not match the linguistic divisions in pre-Roman Western Europe well, and the phenomena the substratum theories sought to explain are in most instances simply not old enough. Also, ideas such as a Semitic substratum in the British Isles were so far-fetched that the whole enterprise got a bad name.
I think "it's out of fashion" and "a completely unrelated crackpot theory is nonsense" are bad reasons to neglect the possibility of a Celtic substratum influence. There's nothing magical about Latin that should render it immune to ordinary linguistic processes.
Of course, Provincial Latin was susceptible to substratum influences, especially regarding the fact that it mostly spread by language shift: the Gauls, Iberians, etc. weren't replaced by Romans, they just adopted the language of their new rulers. Also, "out of fashion" is not the same thing as "wrong". Fashions may err. Yet, many of the attempts to ascribe changes in the Latin dialects to substratum features have turned out to be unsuccessful. For instance, we have no evidence of /u/-fronting in Gaulish, so why should the /u/-fronting in Gallo-Romance have been caused by the Gaulish substratum?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch » 07 Jan 2020 02:53

It's realistic for /ue/ to (optionally) be [ye~ɥe~yø~ɥø~yə~ɥə] when the following syllable contains /i/, right? And the shift /ow/ -> /uo/ should also be fine, since it's basically just metathesis? Just making sure because even though I feel like they're obviously naturalistic, there's something nagging me about them...

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

Post by VaptuantaDoi » 07 Jan 2020 03:55

Vlürch wrote:
07 Jan 2020 02:53
It's realistic for /ue/ to (optionally) be [ye~ɥe~yø~ɥø~yə~ɥə] when the following syllable contains /i/, right? And the shift /ow/ -> /uo/ should also be fine, since it's basically just metathesis? Just making sure because even though I feel like they're obviously naturalistic, there's something nagging me about them...
/ow/ → /uo/ could have /oː/ as an intermediate, both parts of which (ow → oː and oː → uo) are commonly attested.

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

Post by Vlürch » 07 Jan 2020 06:22

VaptuantaDoi wrote:
07 Jan 2020 03:55
/ow/ → /uo/ could have /oː/ as an intermediate, both parts of which (ow → oː and oː → uo) are commonly attested.
I'm not sure if that'd work in the conlang in question since it has phonemic long vowels, considering that'd cause the old /oː/ and /ow/ to merge, which I don't want. Maybe that could be not-exactly-handwaved-but-tbh-handwaved as /oː/ and /ow/ being [ɔː] and [oː] in the intermediate stage or something like that...? Anyway, thanks!

~

Another question, this time stemming from a massive brain fart that froze my ability to think clearly: in a language that doesn't necessarily mark a distinction between nominative and accusative (at least with the default word order) but has a (rarely necessary) topic marker (or something like that), is having some kind of (agentive?) suffix or particle or whatever to mark the secondary subject in constructions with two subjects a necessity, a violation of some linguistic universal, or something in between?

I realised there's a problem when I was coming up with some sentences to flesh out the grammar, and one sentence doesn't feel right the way it logically "should" be... the sentence in question means "the man who came to the party is the handsome twenty-four-year-old actor that everyone is talking about", which couldn't have any room for ambiguity in any case but even more so because the "the man who came to the party" is followed by a topic marker (or whatever), but it still feels like "everyone" shouldn't be unmarked even though it's obvious that the sentence couldn't be interpreted any other way.

Note that the conlang in question isn't meant as a total rip-off of Japanese in terms of syntax and stuff, it's practically somewhere between SAE and Japanese and I feel like this might be why I'm having this prolonged brain fart right now. I don't know if I'm just feeling a clash between "do what SAE languages do" (resist the temptation to mark "everyone" in any way) and "do what Japanese does" (mark "everyone" with an agentive suffix/particle) leading to indecisiveness, or if some universal case hierarchy violations are about to happen if I do what feels right. Like, if I shove some kind of (agentive?) suffix or particle or whatever into that sentence, would it have massive un-undoable implications on the overall case marking in the language?

Practically speaking, using English to make it as obvious as possible what I'm asking about:

1. Everyone is talking about X.
2. X-TOP is the Y everyone-AGT is talking about.

If 2 has an agentive suffix/particle, would it be necessary for 1 to have it as well? The rationale I'm imagining for why it wouldn't be necessary in 1 is that there's only one subject, while in 2 there are two; maybe additionally the presence of the topic marker (or whatever, since it may or may not be a 100% pure topic marker) for some reason would induce the agentive? Would that work?

If the question doesn't even make any sense, maybe my current brain fart is even more severe than I think... or maybe I'm wording it in a way that makes no sense since I'm really tired... [>_<] It's probably not a "quick question", either, since it took so long to even type... but I don't want the question to be confusing.

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

Post by VaptuantaDoi » 07 Jan 2020 06:50

Vlürch wrote:
07 Jan 2020 06:22
VaptuantaDoi wrote:
07 Jan 2020 03:55
/ow/ → /uo/ could have /oː/ as an intermediate, both parts of which (ow → oː and oː → uo) are commonly attested.
I'm not sure if that'd work in the conlang in question since it has phonemic long vowels, considering that'd cause the old /oː/ and /ow/ to merge, which I don't want. Maybe that could be not-exactly-handwaved-but-tbh-handwaved as /oː/ and /ow/ being [ɔː] and [oː] in the intermediate stage or something like that...? Anyway, thanks!
Perhaps you could get around this with

ow → aw
aw → ɔː
ɔː → oɔ → uo

The last stage happened in several Romance languages where stressed open /ǫ/ which was allophonically [ɔː] became /uo/ while /ọ/ in the same position ([oː]) didn't change.

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

Post by Vlürch » 07 Jan 2020 23:52

VaptuantaDoi wrote:
07 Jan 2020 06:50
Perhaps you could get around this with

ow → aw
aw → ɔː
ɔː → oɔ → uo

The last stage happened in several Romance languages where stressed open /ǫ/ which was allophonically [ɔː] became /uo/ while /ọ/ in the same position ([oː]) didn't change.
That works perfectly if /ɑw/ already became /oː/ earlier, or even later if there was some subtle difference like /ow/ -> /ɒw/ or whatever. Thanks!

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

Post by Miar » 08 Jan 2020 20:35

How unusual is a language with very few voiced fricatives?

I think natural Spanish lacks any: no z, v, ð, and ʒ. But my personal project has Z [ʒ] (and in turn [dʒ]) as its only voiced fricative.

I'm not aiming for naturalism (in fact, it's artificial in-universe), but I want a little realism. OTOH, if I drop it I'd have to change the language's name.

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

Post by Creyeditor » 08 Jan 2020 20:55

Many languages have no voiced fricatives at all. Having no voiced fricatives and still having voiceless fricatives is very common.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 » 08 Jan 2020 20:57

Miar wrote:
08 Jan 2020 20:35
How unusual is a language with very few voiced fricatives?

I think natural Spanish lacks any: no z, v, ð, and ʒ. But my personal project has Z [ʒ] (and in turn [dʒ]) as its only voiced fricative.

I'm not aiming for naturalism (in fact, it's artificial in-universe), but I want a little realism. OTOH, if I drop it I'd have to change the language's name.
Having a quick look, Dahalo has /z/ as its only voiced fricative (despite also having /f s ʃ ʜ h ɬ ɬʷ ʎ̥˔/), Saigon Vietnamese has /f s ʂ x h/ vs. /ɣ/ (Wikipedia suggest older /z/ has merged into /j/), and Modern Hebrew has /f s ʃ x h/ vs. /v z/. There's a fair bit of debate as to how to treat Icelandic, but under some analyses, /v/ is its sole voiced fricative, against /f θ s h/.

IIRC, the general trend is for language to have no more voiced fricatives than it has voiceless ones, and, I think, more often than not the number of voiced ones tends to be lower than the number of voiceless ones. There are, of course, a ton of languages that have no phonemic voiced fricatives at all.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Nortaneous » 08 Jan 2020 23:24


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

Post by Creyeditor » 09 Jan 2020 00:26

This client should be in the resource section.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 09 Jan 2020 05:39

In Galactic Standard, both palatalization and labialization pull the glottal stop forward before vowels, causing [ʔī ʔū → c pˠ]. The same is true of labialization and the velar nasal before vowels, which causes [ŋū → mˠ]. Is the allophony as written below fine, or should the distinct patterns for the aforementioned sounds be on separate lines from the main changes?

[c ɕ ʑ ç] of [ʔī tī dī kī] before vowels
[ʝ̃] of {gī ŋī} before vowels (included for full context)

[mˠ pˠ tw dw kw gw] of [ŋū ʔū tū dū kū gū] before vowels
Alien conlangs (Font may be needed for Vai symbols)

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

Post by Ser » 14 Jan 2020 10:09

I just read that essay by Borges where he mentions a hilarious "Chinese" (read: exotic) classification of animals with 14 weird main categories like "those belonging to the Emperor", "embalmed ones", "stray dogs" and "those that tremble like mad". I had heard about this essay many times, and only because of this 14-item list. The English and Spanish Wikipedia pages also discuss the list and little else.

The essay was a response to John Wilkins' philosophical conlang, from the 17th century. Wikipedia mentions this, but I was surprised that the weird animal classification actually seems like a rhetorical device to criticize a (probably real!?) system used by a bibliographical institute in Belgium, which he finds chaotic and biased.

I also liked it when he mentions he thinks that in a language with a divine scheme of the universe, you wouldn't just get a classification of an object inside the universe, but the details of the object's "fate", namely its past and future. It reminded me of Tolkien's Ent language, which is supposedly long-winded because to be able to use a single concept in a sentnece the entire knowledge about that concept must be discussed. A named sword is not just a particular sword but its entire known history.

I added some of this to the English Wikipedia page, to see if it stays there... The essay is about more than the fun 14-item list anyway.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial ... _Knowledge

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

Post by wintiver » 18 Jan 2020 18:07

I know Basque has laminal and apical sibilants. As I was tooling around with my current conlang's phonology I ended up pronouncing two different sibilants. A dental/interdental sibilant and a whistly, kind of Matthew McConaughey-esque, apical alveolar sibilant.

Is this ostensibly what Basque has? If there are other languages which present this sort of dental/alveolar sibilant pairing I'd love to know about it. I'm trying to justify this as a naturalistic language.

Andara has a dental series and an alveolar series. I was thinking it would be nice to have two sibilants instead of the non-sibilant (inter)dental fricative.

If anyone knows of having multiple sibilants like this please let me know. Much appreciated.

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

Post by VaptuantaDoi » 18 Jan 2020 22:10

wintiver wrote:
18 Jan 2020 18:07
I know Basque has laminal and apical sibilants. As I was tooling around with my current conlang's phonology I ended up pronouncing two different sibilants. A dental/interdental sibilant and a whistly, kind of Matthew McConaughey-esque, apical alveolar sibilant.

Is this ostensibly what Basque has? If there are other languages which present this sort of dental/alveolar sibilant pairing I'd love to know about it. I'm trying to justify this as a naturalistic language.

Andara has a dental series and an alveolar series. I was thinking it would be nice to have two sibilants instead of the non-sibilant (inter)dental fricative.

If anyone knows of having multiple sibilants like this please let me know. Much appreciated.
Mandarin and Polish have a similar apical / laminal distinction but in post-alveolars. Some Daly Languages such as Nganʼgityemerri have the same distinction with alveolars. A lot of Australian languages have the distinction in plosives and approximants but they generally don't have fricatives. It's not an unheard-of distinction.

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

Post by wintiver » 18 Jan 2020 22:40

I forgot about the Australian languages with their thorough dental/alveolar distinction. Thank you.

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

Post by Nortaneous » 19 Jan 2020 09:05

wintiver wrote:
18 Jan 2020 18:07
If anyone knows of having multiple sibilants like this please let me know. Much appreciated.
some Northwest Caucasian and Qiangic languages have four sibilant POAs - for example, Ubykh and Ersu

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