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

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

Post by Vlürch » 21 Jan 2019 12:38

shimobaatar wrote:
28 Dec 2018 13:57
Ohh, got it. My mistake. When you said "I know phonemic R-coloured consonants are (almost certainly) unattested and probably the only languages that ever have them at all are American English and Mandarin Chinese" (emphasis mine), I interpreted "them" as referring back to "phonemic R-coloured consonants", not just "R-coloured consonants". I know exactly what you mean now.
Mmh, I guess that sentence was a bit vaguely even with the "at all".
shimobaatar wrote:
28 Dec 2018 13:57
Ah, yes, "purdy". [:P]
Yeah...
shimobaatar wrote:
28 Dec 2018 13:57
I don't think you'd absolutely have to have r-coloring spread to the consonants beyond the vowels adjacent to the originally r-colored consonants, but I also don't think it's a problem if you want to have r-coloring only spread regressively/leftward. And yeah, you should be fine making the schwa an exception if you don't want /ɚ/. I don't know what you have in mind for the phonotactics of this language, but if you weren't planning on allowing final r-colored consonants, maybe you could have something like /Cʴ/ > [Cʴɚ] / _#?
Just CV(C), where every consonant can appear both initially and finally. So, the best solution would probably be to have /Cʴ/ > [Cʴɚ] word-finally if the following word starts with a consonant and having word-final [ə] become [ɚː] after the R-coloured consonants to distinguish the two; that could then be said to be a borderline phonemic /əː/, which would go nicely with the phonemic vowel length of other vowels. That's realistic enough, right?
Nortaneous wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:41
Prinmi (Pumi) has been claimed to have unit R-colored labial and velar stops.
Interesting!
Nortaneous wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:41
When rhoticity exists, it tends to spread. Yurok has a e o > ɚ in any word where /ɚ/ appears: /nahks-/ 'three' > /nɚhks-ɚʔɚjɬ/ 'three animals'.
Yeah, I knew about Yurok and its rhotic madness.
Nortaneous wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:41
R-coloring is also common in Qiangic, so you could look there for precedent as to how rhotic harmony would work -- IIRC (could be wrong, haven't checked in ages and don't have time to rn) Ronghong Qiang has rhotic harmony but it doesn't spread over an entire word like it does in Yurok.
Well, any kind of "proper" rhotic harmony is the last thing I want. I mean, as fun as rhotic vowels and whatnot are, having too many of them gets a bit annoying.
Omzinesý wrote:
28 Dec 2018 19:06
need some extra/special/strange pheneme
More or less realistically speaking, maybe /ɺ/ or something?
Salmoneus wrote:
28 Dec 2018 21:40
I don't think I've ever seen a language become "interesting" by having a "strange phoneme". If the language is interesting, it'll still be interesting if you take the strange phoneme out; if it's not interesting without a strange phoneme, there's no phoneme in the world strange enough to make it interesting.
Even though I mostly agree, I'll have to say that if there was a language with /t̼͡r̼̊ʰ/ where related languages had /j/ or something, that'd be pretty interesting. Might not make the language as a whole inherently interesting, but at least in my opinion it would make it more interesting than the related languages unless they had other features that were more interesting.
this_is_an_account wrote:
30 Dec 2018 21:56
In pitch accent laguages, are accented vowels less likely to be reduced, like in stress accent languages, or are they usually pronounced just like an un-accented vowel but with a different pitch?
I'm not entirely sure, but I think in the Turkic languages with pitch accent there tends to be some kind of quality difference as well. Or at least in Turkish, I'm fairly certain... but I could be wrong since I totally suck at hearing stress of any kind unless it's the kind of lengthening like in Romance languages. Well, in Japanese the pitch differences are often obvious and often pleasant-sounding and as such more noticeable, but like Zekoslav said, there's (almost certainly) no difference in quality (at least in standard Japanese, dunno about dialects).

Obviously my problems are caused by being Finnish, since Finnish has fixed initial stress and what the actual defining difference between stressed and unstressed syllables is is anyone's guess. Maybe it really is just loudness or whatever, but I doubt that.
Keenir wrote:
10 Jan 2019 22:16
why not? give it a name, and that way, whether you eventually create that nation or not, now you have something to call it - worst comes to worst, its a placeholder.
This. I barely ever think about concultures first, it's almost always conlang first and then conculture later (if ever). What I like to do is come up with some "symbol" simply to name the language, and from there all the conculture stuff starts flowing uncontrollably. For example, an animal/element/object/whatever that would be culturally significant to its speakers, or a combination of animals and elements or whatever. For example, "water elephant". If you can't think of a justification for why the language's speakers would want to call their language "water elephant language", add a word like "hunter" or something and voilà! Then you can make "water elephant" mean whale (or hippo or whatever), and you'd have "whale-hunter language".

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

Post by Shemtov » 21 Jan 2019 22:08

What is the difference between an applicative and a causative?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Frislander » 21 Jan 2019 23:14

Shemtov wrote:
21 Jan 2019 22:08
What is the difference between an applicative and a causative?
A causative adds an agent argument that causes an action a d makes that a new subject, demoting the original subject. An applicative raises an oblique argument to object status, which may or may not displace the original object, depends on the language.

For example in Asta

mi‘xi‘xuntə
m-VCC-i‘xənt-wə
1s-PROG-return-PROG
I am returning

Causative

‘imi‘xi‘xəruntə
‘i-m-VCC-i‘xənt<ər>-wə
3erg-1s-PROG-return<CAUS>-PROG
They are making/letting me return

Applicative

muwi‘xi‘xatruntə
mə-w-VCC-i‘xənt<atr>-wə
1s-Is-PROG-return<APPL>-PROG
I am returning to them

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

Post by Shemtov » 21 Jan 2019 23:55

Thanks! Also, is it common for split-erg langs to have both an antipassive and a passive? If so is it naturalistic for them to be marked by the same morpheme, and let the trigger for shifting to Nom-acc sort it out?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by MysteryMan23 » 22 Jan 2019 01:36

sangi39 wrote:
20 Jan 2019 02:31
Simplification/collapse of grammatical gender is attested well enough (the Romance languages, for example, typically see the neuter merge in with the masculine, and, if I remember correctly, Danish has merged the Old Norse masculine and feminine into a "common" gender).

I'm not sure I understand the bit about the writing system, though. Are you saying that the language of the empire precedes these developments in grammatical gender in daughter languages, or that there was no writing until several hundred years after the fall of the empire? If it's the former (writing within the age of the empire), then, again, there's a precedent in the Romance languages. If it's the former, then I can't see how the lack of writing would have any impact on how the gender system develops, and chances are you can find several instances of languages having different gender systems that their unwritten descendants (IIRC, Classical Armenian has no grammatical gender at all, and that was, from what I can tell, the first instance of the language being written down, meaning it had lost gender completely from PIE).
Writing definitely exists in the time of the empire and the imperial language; the daughter languages just aren't written until centuries after the empire's fall. I agree that the lack of writing wouldn't have any impact on the development of gender systems; I was actually asking about the plausibility of daughter languages having different gender systems from each other as well as the parent language so soon after the parent language broke up.
I think it's plausible to keep the original gender contrast in writing under the proviso that people would mix that up and it would probably distinguish the "truly learned" elites from the common literate folk. Also, if there is a lot of contact between these descendant languages which don't share a gender system, the preservation of the original system in writing would be more likely. Any language with limited external contact would likely drop the original genders even in writing.
Well, since the daughter languages weren't written until well after the empire fell, they probably were written with their gender systems rather than their parent's; the descendant languages exist in an area with European-style topography, so chances are external contact between them wasn't that great once the empire fell apart.

Although, didn't Vulgar Latin start to lose Classical Latin's gender system even before Rome fell? The imperial language has a similar Classic/Vulgar divergence, so chances are the original gender system would be preserved in the written form of the language even as it changed in the "lower" dialects of the spoken language; what's more, these changes would be reflected as solecisms in the written language from time to time.

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

Post by eldin raigmore » 22 Jan 2019 01:44

Shemtov wrote:
21 Jan 2019 23:55
Thanks! Also, is it common for split-erg langs to have both an antipassive and a passive? If so is it naturalistic for them to be marked by the same morpheme, and let the trigger for shifting to Nom-acc sort it out?
WALS.info has examples of natlangs with both passives and anti passives.
Feature 107A has to do with the passive.
Features 108A and 108B have to do with the antipassive.
Features 98A, 99A, and 100A have to do with alignment.
You can look at up to four of these features simultaneously.

———

For 100A, only 28 out of 380 languages recorded there, have split alignment; that’s about 7.4%. I wouldn’t call that “common”.
For 107A, 162 out of 373 languages have passives. That’s about 43.4%. I’d call that common.
For 108A, 48 out of 194 languages have some kind of antipassive. That’s about 24.7%. I’d say that’s common enough.

Using both 107A and 108A, 12 out of 158 languages have both a passive and an antipassive. That’s about 7.6%. Not common among languages in general. But it’s about 38.7% of the languages that do have an anti-passive, and about 15.6% of the languages that do have a passive. So I’d say that, if a language has an antipassive, it commonly also has a passive; and if a language has a passive, it not-too-infrequently also has an antipassive.

Using both 107A and 100A, only 12 out of 372 languages — 3.2% — have a passive and are split. That’s uncommon. But 12 out of 26 split languages have a passive. That’s about 46.2% — I’d say that if you already know a language’s alignment is split, it is common for it also to have a passive. OTOH of the 162 languages that have a passive, the 12 that are split make up only 7.4% — not common in my opinion.

Using 108A and 100A, only 3 of 158 languages are split and have an antipassive. That’s 1.9%. Pretty rare.
Of the 12 languages that are split, 25% (i e 3) of them have an anti-passive. So that’s relatively common.
But of the 31 languages that have an antipassive, 9.7% are split. I’d call that relatively uncommon.

———

Using 100A and 107A and 108A, gives us information on 148 languages. Only two are split, and have passives, and have antipassives. These two use the same strategy — oblique patient — to handle the anti passive. I don’t know how to find out how they handle split-ergativity.
But of the 12 split languages there, about 16.7% (that is, 2 out of 12) have both a passive and an antipassive. I wouldn’t call that relatively common; but I’d say that, relatively at least, it’s not too uncommon.

———

The problem with answering your question out of WALS’s data is that split-ergstivity, all by itself, is so uncommon among them.

It’s like asking something about the behavior of the average black swan. There are so few black swans that for all we know any observed behavior might not be unusual. We can only guess; if either the average white swan does it, or the average black water bird does it, then why wouldn’t it come naturally to the average black swan?

I’d say, just take a guess! Then if anyone wants to either criticize your guess as unnaturalistic, or to defend it as naturalistic, let the burden of proof be on them, while you go to the fridge for a beer and pop some popcorn to watch the debate!

OTOH my advice might be worth no more than I’m charging you for it.

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

Post by Ahzoh » 22 Jan 2019 02:11

My conlang has three voices, one of which is the applicative, which is used like this:

a) John-NOM man-ACC write-APL
"John made the man write [something]"
b) John-NOM pen-ACC write-APL
"John wrote [something] with a pen"

I have a series of verb-to-noun morphemes, that are basically make the resultant noun's meaning become:

Active:
One who Xes (animate concrete noun)
That which Xes > Tool used to do X (inanimate concrete noun)
The act of Xing (abstract noun)

Passive:
One who is Xed (animate concrete noun)
That which is Xed (inanimate concrete noun)
Place where X is done (abstract noun)

Applicative:
??? (animate concrete noun)
??? (inanimate concrete noun)
??? (abstract noun)

I don't know what the applicative nouns would mean, whether they have causative meaning or an instrumental one.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » 22 Jan 2019 02:32

Ahzoh wrote:
22 Jan 2019 02:11
I don't know what the applicative nouns would mean, whether they have causative meaning or an instrumental one.
Image

The two possible meanings are clearly related, and I'm sure context would clarify which was intended. I say both. If the active derivation for inanimate concrete nouns is also going to retain its intrumental meaning, I could see room for it or the applicative derivation to specialize (like maybe the applicative is for one-time, improvised or unexpected usages; "The murder weapon [murder-APL] was a golf club [golf-ACT].")

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

Post by Ahzoh » 22 Jan 2019 02:43

Dormouse559 wrote:
22 Jan 2019 02:32
Ahzoh wrote:
22 Jan 2019 02:11
I don't know what the applicative nouns would mean, whether they have causative meaning or an instrumental one.
Image

The two possible meanings are clearly related, and I'm sure context would clarify which was intended. I say both. If the active derivation for inanimate concrete nouns is also going to retain its intrumental meaning, I could see room for it or the applicative derivation to specialize (like maybe the applicative is for one-time, improvised or unexpected usages; "The murder weapon [murder-APL] was a golf club [golf-ACT].")
The difference would mean whether, say, the animate concrete noun is "that which causes [others] to do X" or "that which is used to do X", or, for instance, a commander vs. a subordinate.

Also, these are lexical derivations, so that would mean that, the morpheme being CəCCuCe, g-l-f would become gəllufe and wouldn't mean "gold club used to murder" but either a golf club itself or something that causes golfing to happen.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 22 Jan 2019 02:48

To further explain my reasoning, This Vrkhazhian sentence:
Haššaki ʾulden t-ʾildan ʾaldəm
All-DET.MASC soldier-NOM.MASC.PL ACC-civilian-FEM.PL guard\ACT.PRES-PL

ulde (soldier, one who watches, watching one) is an agent noun, ilda (civilian, one who is watched, watched one) is a patient noun. In this sentence they each fulfill their roles their inherent meanings indicate. That is, of being agent and patient, respectively. In the same way a writer indicates active voice (even if it syntactically doesn't, it still indicates "one who writes").

Since the applicative promotes an oblique to patient, it would mean a verbal noun derived from an instrumental applicative would have indicate the role of the applied object, being the instrument or the causee, not the causer.

But I don't like this because it would mean the applicative inanimate would basically indicate a tool noun, which is the same as what an active inanimate noun would indicate (since a tool can be "that which does X").
Last edited by Ahzoh on 22 Jan 2019 03:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 » 22 Jan 2019 03:00

Ahzoh wrote:
22 Jan 2019 02:43
The difference would mean whether, say, the animate concrete noun is "that which causes [others] to do X" or "that which is used to do X", or, for instance, a commander vs. a subordinate.

Also, these are lexical derivations, so that would mean that, the morpheme being CəCCuCe, g-l-f would become gəllufe and wouldn't mean "gold club used to murder" but either a golf club itself or something that causes golfing to happen.
Well, I didn't phrase my example quite right. The idea was that the "murder weapon" was improvised — hence the applicative — from a "golf club", which is intended for golfing — hence the active.

Anyway, I think I see where you're coming from now. I suppose the choice depends on your underlying principle. There's the one you described. Another one based on the active and passive is that the noun describes the nominative argument of the implied clause, leading to the causative interpretation.

Ahzoh wrote:
22 Jan 2019 02:48
But I don't like this because it would mean the applicative inanimate would basically indicate a tool noun, which is the same as what an active inanimate noun would indicate (since a tool can be "that which does X").
As I said in my previous post, specialization can occur. I was just giving an example with the golf club thing; I'm sure you could come up with any number of other variations that would appeal to your sensibilities.

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

Post by Shemtov » 22 Jan 2019 03:09

See, my language is ergative so the applicative takes an argument that is neither A or P and makes it P. Thus, if there's no other P, the S becomes A, with the ergative case.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh » 22 Jan 2019 03:14

Dormouse559 wrote:
22 Jan 2019 03:00
Anyway, I think I see where you're coming from now. I suppose the choice depends on your underlying principle. There's the one you described. Another one based on the active and passive is that the noun describes the nominative argument of the implied clause, leading to the causative interpretation.
I have ultimately decided that an inanimate agent noun would indicate objects that do things, seemingly of their own volition, that is, machines or automatons, not tools.

Thus, the inanimate applicative noun would be the instrument noun, indicating a noun used to do an action. Similarily, the animate applicative noun would imply an almost benefactive use, since it's a causee.

That only leaves me indecisive as to what the abstract applicative noun would indicate, since the abstract active noun indicates "the act of Xing" and the abstract passive noun indicates "place where X is done".

EDIT: I got it, “manner by which X is done”
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 22 Jan 2019 15:02

Is it naturalistic for a language with person and/or gender agreement on a verb for the verb to agree to the person/gender of the possessor when it would agree with a possessed noun?

I.E
Pora ra kyebra.
dog-nom.sg def run-pres-3sg.an
The dog runs

Eli pora kyebre.
1sg.Gen dog-nom.sg run-pres-1sg

And then maybe the possessive pronoun could be dropped in that instance too?

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

Post by Zekoslav » 22 Jan 2019 15:30

Vlürch wrote:
21 Jan 2019 12:38
this_is_an_account wrote:
30 Dec 2018 21:56
In pitch accent laguages, are accented vowels less likely to be reduced, like in stress accent languages, or are they usually pronounced just like an un-accented vowel but with a different pitch?
I'm not entirely sure, but I think in the Turkic languages with pitch accent there tends to be some kind of quality difference as well. Or at least in Turkish, I'm fairly certain... but I could be wrong since I totally suck at hearing stress of any kind unless it's the kind of lengthening like in Romance languages. Well, in Japanese the pitch differences are often obvious and often pleasant-sounding and as such more noticeable, but like Zekoslav said, there's (almost certainly) no difference in quality (at least in standard Japanese, dunno about dialects).

Obviously my problems are caused by being Finnish, since Finnish has fixed initial stress and what the actual defining difference between stressed and unstressed syllables is is anyone's guess. Maybe it really is just loudness or whatever, but I doubt that.
If I may add some nuance to my statement, I'd say that vowel reduction in a pitch accent language depends on how much length and/or loudness there is in addition to pitch. In Croatian, and especially in Kajkavian (which has shortened all unaccented long vowels), accented syllables are always longer than unaccented ones (curiously, the extent to which they are longer depends on which tone they have), and accented short vowels may be longer than unaccented long vowels!

Timing might also play a role. Roughly speaking, Štokavian is mora-timed, while Kajkavian is stress-timed* (this may be related to the greater tendency in Kajkavian to loose pitch accent and transform quantitative oppositions into qualitative)

*This is according to my own analysis: In my Kajkavian dialect, words have secondary accent according to a trochaic or dactylic pattern, and the dactyls are spoken more quickly than the trochees so that they have roughly the same duration, while in my colleague's Štokavian dialect closed syllables are distinctly longer than open syllables. I don't know if this is a typical case of stress vs. mora timing.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 22 Jan 2019 18:29

CarsonDaConlanger wrote:
22 Jan 2019 15:02
Is it naturalistic for a language with person and/or gender agreement on a verb for the verb to agree to the person/gender of the possessor when it would agree with a possessed noun?

I.E
Pora ra kyebra.
dog-nom.sg def run-pres-3sg.an
The dog runs

Eli pora kyebre.
1sg.Gen dog-nom.sg run-pres-1sg

And then maybe the possessive pronoun could be dropped in that instance too?
To the first question: Yes, and this is sometimes called possessor raising. To the second: This seems like a legitimate context for pro-drop.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by brblues » 22 Jan 2019 21:02

Does anybody have an overview of sources of case marking?

The reason I ask is the following - according to https://wals.info/chapter/51, case suffixes are vastly more common than prefixes, and I would like to use suffixes in the proto-language for my second conlang. The only source I could think of for case suffixes would be postpositions, which would only really work for OV languages as opposed to VO languages if I'm not mistaken; however, many VO languages also use case suffixes, so either there are plausible other sources or the languages used to have different word order at the time they formed their case system.

It would be great if somebody could untie the knot in my brain here :)

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

Post by eldin raigmore » 23 Jan 2019 04:52

Adverbs are a good source.

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

Post by elemtilas » 23 Jan 2019 18:47

eldin raigmore wrote:
23 Jan 2019 04:52
Adverbs are a good source.
In many instances, these are quite simply (old) case endings. (Latin -ê, LL / Span. -mente, etc., and certainly any IE language that still permits "singular neuter" to be used adverbially (I run quick, (ella) esta corriendo rapido, e.g.))
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by brblues » 25 Jan 2019 16:52

Thanks to both of you! If I understood eldin raigmore correctly, they weren't referring to adverb endings/markers, but rather the fact that adverbs themselves can develop into a case ending. I can't think of an example for that myself though.

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