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

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

Post by Creyeditor » 05 Dec 2018 07:48

Salmoneus wrote:
05 Dec 2018 03:04
I haven't read Francois' article, but it's worth pointing out that PAn *R is just insane everywhere. Reflexes of "*R" span literally an entire alphabet - /d/, /g/, /h/, /j/, /k/, /l/, /n/, /N/, /r/, /R/, /s/, /w/, /x/, 'y' (Blust lists both 'y' and 'j', not sure what values they have) and /z/, as well as a voiceless lateral, a retroflex flap, a palatalised lateral, and interdental fricative, and zero. And many, many languages have several of these at once - Blust concludes it shows "unconditioned phonemic splits in a variety of widely scattered languages from southern Taiwan... to Vanuatu and Micronesia. The alternative is to reconstruct "a potentially unlimited number" of different *R phonemes, since all the unconditioned splits don't line up with one another.

Something weird was going on there...
And my answer to this (based on Francois' other article "Phonotactics and the prestopped velar lateral in Hiw: Resolving the ambiguity of a complex segment" which is behind a paywall I fear) is: IIRC, Francois assumes that PAn *R and *r merged in Hwi before the change to the prestopped velar lateral. So it's still a bit weirder than the usual PAn *R.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 05 Dec 2018 10:49

shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 02:15
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 01:47
Perhaps, I should have asked about my conlang's case alignment before asking the other questions in this topic. Currently, the lang uses a nominative-accusative alignment, mainly, because that's the one I'm most familiar with. However, considering the lang's word order is free with a preference towards V/XSO syntax (think a community of Yodas), which case alignment would suit it the best?
You've referred to "case alignment"; are you only talking about the language's case marking, or its morphosyntactic alignment in general?

I'm also not sure what you mean by "suit it the best". At least in my experience, I've never heard about a strong link between word order and morphosyntactic alignment. Languages with the same basic word orders (at least in terms of subject, object, and verb) can have different alignments. For example, among the VSO languages listed by Wikipedia are members of the Mayan family, which tend to be ergative-absolutive, but also the living Celtic languages, which are nominative-accusative.
Thanks for the help. "Case alignment" was just the terminology, albeit incorrect, I thought of in the shower before bed last night, when I was somewhat tired. "Suit it best" came from my thinking that a lang's case marking was closely tied to its syntax when I posted. Thus, I seem to have been talking about my conlang's case marking.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 05 Dec 2018 11:43

shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 02:15
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 01:47
Perhaps, I should have asked about my conlang's case alignment before asking the other questions in this topic. Currently, the lang uses a nominative-accusative alignment, mainly, because that's the one I'm most familiar with. However, considering the lang's word order is free with a preference towards V/XSO syntax (think a community of Yodas), which case alignment would suit it the best?
You've referred to "case alignment"; are you only talking about the language's case marking, or its morphosyntactic alignment in general?

I'm also not sure what you mean by "suit it the best". At least in my experience, I've never heard about a strong link between word order and morphosyntactic alignment. Languages with the same basic word orders (at least in terms of subject, object, and verb) can have different alignments. For example, among the VSO languages listed by Wikipedia are members of the Mayan family, which tend to be ergative-absolutive, but also the living Celtic languages, which are nominative-accusative.
Verb-medial (SVO) languages tend not to be ergative/absolutive.
See
http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f= ... ive#p60979
http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f= ... ive#p72868

http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f= ... ive#p60737
http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f= ... ive#p61002
http://aveneca.com/cbb/viewtopic.php?f= ... ive#p60738

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

Post by shimobaatar » 05 Dec 2018 12:47

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 10:49
Thanks for the help. "Case alignment" was just the terminology, albeit incorrect, I thought of in the shower before bed last night, when I was somewhat tired. "Suit it best" came from my thinking that a lang's case marking was closely tied to its syntax when I posted. Thus, I seem to have been talking about my conlang's case marking.
Ah, alright. The reason I asked was that there are some languages that have, for example, ergative-absolutive case marking, but are not otherwise "syntactically ergative". In fact, if I remember correctly, it's actually more common for a language to show ergativity in its morphology alone than for it to be fully ergative in its syntax as well.
Hmm, interesting, but I'm not sure if I personally believe that's more than a coincidence, since I can't find any reasoning behind it, and if I understand what you were saying about the data in that thread, WALS only has information on both word order and alignment for 150 languages. The link given by Xing seems to go somewhere else, which isn't too surprising given it's almost been 7 years. Although maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place? Even if there is some explanation for this that I'm just not seeing, though, that would only show a correlation between one of the basic word order types and one type of morphosyntactic alignment. And it's not as if absolutely (no pun on "absolutive" intended) 100% of SVO languages have/have had alignments other than ergative-absolutive, right? It's something I'll try to look more into once I have time, though.

Anyway, more specifically, since this is in response to yangfiretiger121's question, even if there are correlations between word order types and morphosyntactic alignments, there doesn't appear to be a tendency for VSO languages to not be nominative-accusative.

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 05 Dec 2018 18:01

Thanks for the info, guys. However, I gave the wrong preferred word order, which I should have caught when I put in the Yoda analogy. Thus, my conlang's native speakers tend to communicate in O/XSV order, as opposed to the previously stated V/XSO order. Yet another consequence of being slightly tired while making that post.

A prior form of the lang had all the general local cases (ablative/lative/locative). However, the current lang consolidated to a single general local case. Is ABL, LAT, or LOC the most likely to survive the consolidation?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar » 05 Dec 2018 19:55

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:01
Thanks for the info, guys. However, I gave the wrong preferred word order, which I should have caught when I put in the Yoda analogy. Thus, my conlang's native speakers tend to communicate in O/XSV order, as opposed to the previously stated V/XSO order. Yet another consequence of being slightly tired while making that post.
Well, default OSV word order is extremely uncommon among natlangs, being the least common unmarked order of the 6 basic types named after subject, object, and verb order (although OVS is only slightly more common), so there likely isn't very much information out there about any proposed tendencies associated with it. My gut feeling, so to speak, though, is that "object"-initial word orders might fit well with syntactically ergative languages that have the "object"/absolutive argument fronted due to the prominence they might assign to that role. However, according to the Wikipedia article on Warao, "[t]he language's basic word order has been analyzed as object–subject–verb, a very rare word order among nominative–accusative languages such as [this]", so if you want your language to be nominative-accusative and have default OSV word order, and you're worried about having a natural precedent, I don't think that should be a problem.
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:01
A prior form of the lang had all the general local cases (ablative/lative/locative). However, the current lang consolidated to a single general local case. Is ABL, LAT, or LOC the most likely to survive the consolidation?
I can't think of a relevant example from the histories of any natural languages, but my first thought was that locative would be the most likely to survive, with the meanings of the other two cases coming to be conveyed through the use of the locative paired with verbs of motion and/or prepositions akin to "to" and "from". I think you could probably make any solution to this problem work, though. I'd like to invite anyone who might be able to give a natlang example to chime in.

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

Post by Salmoneus » 05 Dec 2018 20:57

shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 12:47
Hmm, interesting, but I'm not sure if I personally believe that's more than a coincidence, since I can't find any reasoning behind it
Well, it would make sense - a large number of ergative languages derive their "verbs" from noun-like forms, and languages tend to want to put all the arguments of a noun on the same side of the noun in the noun phrase. So you'd expect SVO and OVS to at the very least be markedly less common with ergative languages, no?

[Obviously this won't be absolute. Not all ergativity is from nominalisation, and not all languages put all arguments on the same side: English has "my eating the dog", for instance, alongside more incorporative "my dog-eating"]

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

Post by shimobaatar » 05 Dec 2018 22:09

Salmoneus wrote:
05 Dec 2018 20:57
shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 12:47
Hmm, interesting, but I'm not sure if I personally believe that's more than a coincidence, since I can't find any reasoning behind it
Well, it would make sense - a large number of ergative languages derive their "verbs" from noun-like forms, and languages tend to want to put all the arguments of a noun on the same side of the noun in the noun phrase. So you'd expect SVO and OVS to at the very least be markedly less common with ergative languages, no?

[Obviously this won't be absolute. Not all ergativity is from nominalisation, and not all languages put all arguments on the same side: English has "my eating the dog", for instance, alongside more incorporative "my dog-eating"]
Oh, interesting. I don't think I've ever read/heard that before, somehow. Thank you, this is the kind of explanation I was hoping to find.

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 06 Dec 2018 05:53

shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 19:55
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:01
Thanks for the info, guys. However, I gave the wrong preferred word order, which I should have caught when I put in the Yoda analogy. Thus, my conlang's native speakers tend to communicate in O/XSV order, as opposed to the previously stated V/XSO order. Yet another consequence of being slightly tired while making that post.
Well, default OSV word order is extremely uncommon among natlangs, being the least common unmarked order of the 6 basic types named after subject, object, and verb order (although OVS is only slightly more common), so there likely isn't very much information out there about any proposed tendencies associated with it. My gut feeling, so to speak, though, is that "object"-initial word orders might fit well with syntactically ergative languages that have the "object"/absolutive argument fronted due to the prominence they might assign to that role. However, according to the Wikipedia article on Warao, "[t]he language's basic word order has been analyzed as object–subject–verb, a very rare word order among nominative–accusative languages such as [this]", so if you want your language to be nominative-accusative and have default OSV word order, and you're worried about having a natural precedent, I don't think that should be a problem.
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
05 Dec 2018 18:01
A prior form of the lang had all the general local cases (ablative/lative/locative). However, the current lang consolidated to a single general local case. Is ABL, LAT, or LOC the most likely to survive the consolidation?
I can't think of a relevant example from the histories of any natural languages, but my first thought was that locative would be the most likely to survive, with the meanings of the other two cases coming to be conveyed through the use of the locative paired with verbs of motion and/or prepositions akin to "to" and "from". I think you could probably make any solution to this problem work, though. I'd like to invite anyone who might be able to give a natlang example to chime in.
Thanks again. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've added the vowel [ə̹] (*ω) to the lang. While I'd, originally, planned on it being a highly-restricted allophone of [ɑ̟], I like your idea so much that I'm considering expanding its use to a combined "to"/"from" particle with N ω V meaning "to a place" and N V ω meaning "from a place." If I do this, is N ώ N V or N N ώ V, with [ə̹] → [ə̹ː] in lieu of the second particle, the more natural construction when saying from A to B?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by cedh » 06 Dec 2018 08:24

shimobaatar wrote:
05 Dec 2018 12:47
Hmm, interesting, but I'm not sure if I personally believe that's more than a coincidence, since I can't find any reasoning behind it, and if I understand what you were saying about the data in that thread, WALS only has information on both word order and alignment for 150 languages. The link given by Xing seems to go somewhere else, which isn't too surprising given it's almost been 7 years. Although maybe I'm just looking in the wrong place?
The paper linked to by Xing is still available online, but in a different location: https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/000810/

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

Post by CarsonDaConlanger » 13 Dec 2018 19:22

How do you parse sentences with "told"?
I.E "The man told you why you are poor."
How about sentences with a quote?
I.E "He said you are funny."

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

Post by sangi39 » 14 Dec 2018 21:51

Is anyone aware of any languages that distinguish labialises velar stops and labial-velar stops, and/or labialised alveolar stops and labial-alveolar stops?
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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

Post by holbuzvala » 14 Dec 2018 22:43

@ CarsonDaConlanger

For glossing rules, check out the Leipzig rules here https://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/resources ... -rules.php or here viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1792

In general, you parse things word-by-word (and leave out words where words are left out) so I would gloss your examples as follows:


The man told you why you are poor.
DEF man tell.PST 2s REL 2s is.PL poor

He said, "You are funny".
3s say.PST 2s is.PL funny

I could be wrong, but that's how I'd do it. Also, your examples are English sentences - other languages might make use of quotative particles or complimentizers (even if they can be absent. See the equivalence of the English "He told me that glossing is hard." and "He told me glossing is hard.").

My question is this: as my language currently has noun classes, alienable-inalienable distinction, and polypersonal agreement on the verbs/adjs according to noun class, I was wondering whether it would be neat if the verbal agreements agree with the posessor noun in inalienable genetive constructions. Look at the following examples, where N1 = the animate noun class, N2 = the inanimate noun class, N3= the abstract noun class.

a) My hand is broken.
i) hand(N2) 1s.GEN.INAL N2-be.broken
ii) hand(N2) 1s.GEN.INAL N1-be.broken

In a.i, the agreement is with the hand, while in a.ii it's with the person (me) because I'm the one ultimately hurt. This makes sense. However, the next example feels not quite right.

b) The colour of the tree is nice.
i) colour(N3) tree(N2).GEN.INAL N3-be.nice
ii) colour(N3) tree(N2).GEN.INAL N2-be.nice

Does it make sense that the agreement could still be for the tree instead of the colour, even when referring to the colour? It seems off to me, especially in a circumstance where you could say "I like the tree, I just don't like its colour". Yet, having thought about it just now, natlangs do way weirder things with no problem.

I'm open to comments, suggestions, or refinements :)

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

Post by eldin raigmore » 15 Dec 2018 01:04

holbuzvala wrote:
14 Dec 2018 22:43
My question is this: as my language currently has noun classes, alienable-inalienable distinction, and polypersonal agreement on the verbs/adjs according to noun class, I was wondering whether it would be neat if the verbal agreements agree with the posessor noun in inalienable genetive constructions. Look at the following examples, where N1 = the animate noun class, N2 = the inanimate noun class, N3= the abstract noun class.

a) My hand is broken.
i) hand(N2) 1s.GEN.INAL N2-be.broken
ii) hand(N2) 1s.GEN.INAL N1-be.broken

In a.i, the agreement is with the hand, while in a.ii it's with the person (me) because I'm the one ultimately hurt. This makes sense. However, the next example feels not quite right.

b) The colour of the tree is nice.
i) colour(N3) tree(N2).GEN.INAL N3-be.nice
ii) colour(N3) tree(N2).GEN.INAL N2-be.nice

Does it make sense that the agreement could still be for the tree instead of the colour, even when referring to the colour? It seems off to me, especially in a circumstance where you could say "I like the tree, I just don't like its colour". Yet, having thought about it just now, natlangs do way weirder things with no problem.
To me, IMHO, it makes sense. I’d say “go for it; if you like it and it’s not too hard, keep it: OTOH if you don’t like it, or it makes things too difficult, let us know why, so we won’t make the same mistake”.

I assume you don’t know how to find out whether ANADJAB? ‘Cause I don’t. But if a natlang already does it, someone somewhere doesn’t find it too difficult, so from your POV as a conlanger, it would be a matter of aesthetic preference or taste. If you or anyone finds out about such a natlang, I hope it gets posted here!

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

Post by DesEsseintes » 15 Dec 2018 05:19

sangi39 wrote:
14 Dec 2018 21:51
Is anyone aware of any languages that distinguish labialises velar stops and labial-velar stops, and/or labialised alveolar stops and labial-alveolar stops?
Frislander must be busy, or he would have responded to this.

Enindhilyakwa distinguishes /k͡p kʷ/, and you might want to check if Yele does too. Yele does crazy things.

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

Post by Frislander » 15 Dec 2018 15:41

DesEsseintes wrote:
15 Dec 2018 05:19
sangi39 wrote:
14 Dec 2018 21:51
Is anyone aware of any languages that distinguish labialises velar stops and labial-velar stops, and/or labialised alveolar stops and labial-alveolar stops?
Frislander must be busy, or he would have responded to this.

Enindhilyakwa distinguishes /k͡p kʷ/, and you might want to check if Yele does too. Yele does crazy things.
Indeed I have been busy.

Yes Yele does make that distinction, and I'm pretty sure there are several languages in Africa that do as well: Igbo is a big one that springs to my mind.

Labialised alveolar and labial-alveolar on the other hand I think it basically unattested, partly because labial-alveolars in general are vanishingly rare: Yele only has labial-alveolars, while Adyghe shows labial-/labialised-alveolars in dialectal/speaker variation, but no contrast.

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

Post by sangi39 » 16 Dec 2018 13:00

DesEsseintes wrote:
15 Dec 2018 05:19
sangi39 wrote:
14 Dec 2018 21:51
Is anyone aware of any languages that distinguish labialises velar stops and labial-velar stops, and/or labialised alveolar stops and labial-alveolar stops?
Frislander must be busy, or he would have responded to this.

Enindhilyakwa distinguishes /k͡p kʷ/, and you might want to check if Yele does too. Yele does crazy things.

Frislander wrote:
15 Dec 2018 15:41
DesEsseintes wrote:
15 Dec 2018 05:19
sangi39 wrote:
14 Dec 2018 21:51
Is anyone aware of any languages that distinguish labialises velar stops and labial-velar stops, and/or labialised alveolar stops and labial-alveolar stops?
Frislander must be busy, or he would have responded to this.

Enindhilyakwa distinguishes /k͡p kʷ/, and you might want to check if Yele does too. Yele does crazy things.
Indeed I have been busy.

Yes Yele does make that distinction, and I'm pretty sure there are several languages in Africa that do as well: Igbo is a big one that springs to my mind.

Labialised alveolar and labial-alveolar on the other hand I think it basically unattested, partly because labial-alveolars in general are vanishingly rare: Yele only has labial-alveolars, while Adyghe shows labial-/labialised-alveolars in dialectal/speaker variation, but no contrast.
Thanks you two. Can't believe I forgot about Yeli Dnye, and didn't know that bit about Adyghe.

I was just wondering because I was thinking about a phoneme inventory that distinguishes /p pʷ t tʷ tp k kʷ kp/ but couldn't think of a language that made most of those distinctions (looking at Yeli Dnye, it makes all but one of those distinctions). Would anyone consider /tʷ/ vs /tp/ unnatural, even though it isn't attested?
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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

Post by Frislander » 16 Dec 2018 13:08

I don't think I'd consider it unnatural, but you'd need a good diachronic justification, particularly since both co-articulations frequently stem from the same historical environments.

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

Post by sangi39 » 16 Dec 2018 13:19

Frislander wrote:
16 Dec 2018 13:08
I don't think I'd consider it unnatural, but you'd need a good diachronic justification, particularly since both co-articulations frequently stem from the same historical environments.
oh definitely. I was thinking something along the lines of Slavic, but with several rounds of labialisation, instead of palatalisation.
You can tell the same lie a thousand times,
But it never gets any more true,
So close your eyes once more and once more believe
That they all still believe in you.
Just one time.

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

Post by Nloki » 16 Dec 2018 16:43

Hello. I would want to be aware of what do you conlangers think of a conlang which marks diacritically vowels in syllables not belonging to the lexeme of a word, or shorter: should every declension in my conlang contain a diacritic over its vowel, in my case, a circumflex?
Let's take an example from my latest conlang, Cẅènyon ([ˈkᶣeˌnʲɔn]): Cùivëasyêssêlvôrcyên (literally meaning "not even in your homes?"). There are up to 4 vowels with circumflex and... Well, I have many doubts of what to do with this.
And another question: can labial-palatalisation /ᶣ/ make a conlang sound a bit like mandarin chinese or other sinitic languages (just to avoid it in that case)?
Thanks.

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