(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Avo » 12 Aug 2011 00:43

Afaik there are no languages with a present/non-present distinction either, so I would doubt it.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 12 Aug 2011 00:52

plathhs wrote:Are there any languages with hodiernal/non-hodiernal tense distinction?
There sure as hell are! :-D (I didn't understand your question the way Avo did; if you meant it the way he took it, then my answer should be "I don't know".)

Read Comrie's "Tense".

You can have a hodiernal past, a hesternal past, and a pre-hesternal past, and a hodiernal future, a crastinal future, and a post-crastinal future, as well as a present.

Do you mean to ask whether there are any languages with two tense-like features, one for "past vs. present vs. future" and the other for "hodiernal vs. not", so that there are just five tenses, present + ({hodiernal, nonhodiernal} x {past, future})?

I don't know.

Maybe you're aware of the language (is it Bambara? pretty sure it's African anyway) that has a "last night" tense, as well as "right now, earlier today, later today, yesterday, tomorrow, before yesterday, after tomorrow"?

Anyway, AIUI, the minimal tense systems are "past vs nonpast" and "future vs nonfuture". As Avo says there's no natlang (as far as anyone knows) that has "present vs nonpresent", and just so, there's no natlang whose entire tense system is "hodiernal vs nonhodiernal".

But there is at least one language with some discontinuous tenses. Maybe you're aware of the Australian language with the following five tenses, four of which are discontinuous?
  • right now
  • earlier today, or day before yesterday
  • yesterday, or three or more days ago (that is, before the day before yesterday)
  • later today, or day after tomorrow
  • tomorrow, or three or more days from now (that is, after the day after tomorrow)
My conlang Adpihi's tenses form a nearly maximal set.
It has four units-of-measure for time; namely:
  • a "severalth" of a day (more than a few of them per day; say, a sixteenth to a sixth of a day, or, a quarter of an hour to four hours, or something like that);
  • a day;
  • several (more than a few) days but a "severalth" of a year (say, 19 days or a 19th of a year, or, a sixteenth to a sixth of a year, or, six to sixteen days, or someething like that);
  • a year.
The meanings of "few" and "several" are indefinite ("fuzzy"), of course.
I make them vary with dialect, genre, and register.
"Few" has a minimum value of "more than two" (that is, three) and a maximum value between four (two more than two) and nine (three threes).
"Several" has a minimum value of "more than a few" and a maximum value between "two more than a few" (i.e. six if "few" tops out at four) and "a few 'fews'", but practically speaking probably tops out at between six and twenty-five (five fives, because 100 (ten tens) just strikes me as too big for "several").

For each of these units it has the following times:
  • this time-period;
  • not this time-period but within these two time-periods;
  • not these two time-periods but within a few time-periods;
  • not within a few time-periods.
So it has thirteen degrees-of-remoteness. That works out to a total of 27 tenses; present, thirteen pasts, and thirteen futures.

Assuming the "severalth of a day" is an hour and the "several days / severalth of a year" is a fortnight (it could be a week or a month instead), these are the past tenses:
  1. earlier this hour
  2. not this hour but last hour
  3. more than two hours ago but not more than a few hours ago
  4. earlier today but more than a few hours ago
  5. not today but yesterday
  6. before yesterday but not more than a few days ago
  7. earlier this fortnight but more than a few days ago
  8. not this fortnight but last fortnight
  9. before last fortnight but not more than a few fortnights ago
  10. earlier this year but more than a few fortnights ago
  11. not this year but last year
  12. before last year but not more than a few years ago
  13. more than a few years ago
Many languages with degrees-of-remoteness in their tense systems have a more detailed and finer set of degrees-of-remoteness for the past tenses than for the present tenses. For instance, maybe it has three pasts, distinguishing between hodiernal, hesternal, and pre-hesternal; but only two futures, distinguishing only between post-crastinal (after tomorrow) and crastinal-or-hodiernal (tomorrow or later today).

Adpihi isn't like that; its future tenses exactly mirror its past tenses.

All of Adpihi's tenses occur in natlangs. I seriously doubt all of them occur in any one natlang, but there are natlangs with more than four degrees-of-remoteness (I don't remember which natlangs nor how many nor which degrees of remoteness, but I think a couple of natlangs in Comrie's book have around eight degrees-of-remoteness).

One interesting thing I observed about Comrie's examples, is that he gave an example of an absolute+relative tense system without degrees of remoteness could embed tenses in each other up to four deep (say, relative future within relative past within relative future within absolute past, or, relative past within relative future within relative past within absolute future, etc.), but for absolute+relative tense systems with degrees of remoteness he gave examples of embedding only up to two deep (say, immediate past within distant future, or distant past within immediate future, or immediate future within distant past, or something like at least two of those).

I don't know if that observation about his examples, actually translates into a rule or limitation on actual natlangs; he didn't say. I have decided to act as if it is such a natural limitation; I suppose I could write to him and ask; assuming he's still healthy and hasn't retired yet, he'd probably answer once he's back from vacation (if he's on vacation).
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 12 Aug 2011 12:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by plathhs » 12 Aug 2011 11:55

eldin raigmore wrote:Anyway, AIUI, the minimal tense systems are "past vs nonpast" and "future vs nonfuture". As Avo says there's no natlang (as far as anyone knows) that has "present vs nonpresent", and just so, there's no natlang whose entire tense system is "hodiernal vs nonhodiernal".
Yes, this was originally what I meant, but I suspected there'd be some universal suggesting it'd have to be otherwise.
Anyway, thanks again for a very interesting post! I will definitely try to look up the book you recommended.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 12 Aug 2011 12:47

plathhs wrote:Yes, this was originally what I meant, but I suspected there'd be some universal suggesting it'd have to be otherwise.
Anyway, thanks again for a very interesting post! I will definitely try to look up the book you recommended.
See this search, e.g.
For aspect see this search.
For mood, mode, modality see this.
For grammatical voice, see this search.
Maybe you also want to look into polarity?
For verbal accidents in general, and general conjugaton, inflection, and morphology of verbs, try this search.

If any of those links don't work for you, please let me know.

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squirrel = shade+tail?

Post by eldin raigmore » 19 Aug 2011 01:28

True or False:
English "squirrel"
comes from a Latin word (meaning "squirrel")
which comes from a Greek word (meaning "squirrel")
which comes from a Greek phrase meaning "shade tail"?

If you have any discussion to follow up your answer, I'm all ears eyes.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sankon » 19 Aug 2011 02:02

According to Wiktionary, English "squirrel" comes from Anglo-Norman "esquirel", which comes from Old French "escurel" (from which we get modern French "écureuil"), which comes from Vulgar Latin "scuriolus" which is the diminutive of "scurius", which is derived from Latin "sciurius", which was borrowed from Ancient Greek "σκίουρος" (skiouros), which, by tradition, is derived from "σκιά" (skia, "shade") + οὐρά (oura, "tail"), but that may just be folk etymology.

In other words, we have no idea. I'm inclined to disbelieve it, as (if I remember rightly) the Ancient Greeks and Romans were somewhat fond of thinking up false etymologies.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Raydred » 20 Aug 2011 22:07

I've been trying to learn German and I'm using this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_orthography to help me.
Can someone tell me what's the most common pronunciation of "pf" at the beginning of a word, "qu" and "r" in Bremen?

Also:
s: before and between vowels: [z] or [z̥]; beginning of syllable: [ʃ]
One rule must have priority over the other.
How do you pronounce "pasa", if the 1st syllable is "pa" and the 2nd "sa"?

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 20 Aug 2011 22:08

Sankon wrote:According to Wiktionary, English "squirrel" comes from Anglo-Norman "esquirel", which comes from Old French "escurel" (from which we get modern French "écureuil"), which comes from Vulgar Latin "scuriolus" which is the diminutive of "scurius", which is derived from Latin "sciurius", which was borrowed from Ancient Greek "σκίουρος" (skiouros), which, by tradition, is derived from "σκιά" (skia, "shade") + οὐρά (oura, "tail"), but that may just be folk etymology.

In other words, we have no idea. I'm inclined to disbelieve it, as (if I remember rightly) the Ancient Greeks and Romans were somewhat fond of thinking up false etymologies.
Thanks.

I asked because in the webcomic El Goonish Shive one of the names for the squirrel-girl is "Shade Tail".

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Avo » 21 Aug 2011 01:46

Raydred wrote:I've been trying to learn German and I'm using this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_orthography to help me.
Can someone tell me what's the most common pronunciation of "pf" at the beginning of a word, "qu" and "r" in Bremen?
I don't know about Bremen, but:

<pf> is /pf/ or even /p̪/ for me and for the majority of German speakers.
<qu> is /kv/ (not /kʷ/)
<r> is uvular for me, and reduced to something like [ə] or [ɐ] depending on the preceding vowels.
Raydred wrote:Also:
s: before and between vowels: [z] or [z̥]; beginning of syllable: [ʃ]
One rule must have priority over the other.
How do you pronounce "pasa", if the 1st syllable is "pa" and the 2nd "sa"?
That's not quite correct. /s/ is [z] at the beginning of words and between vowels. That <s> [ʃ]-thing is more an orthographical thing I think, when followed by <p> or <t>, <s> is indeed pronounced [ʃ] at the beginning of a word or a syllable, generally speaking. Pronouncing all syllable inicial <s> as [ʃ] would sound really odd, though.

So pasa is [ˈpʰaza]~[ˈpʰaːza] (while spasa would be [ˈʃpʰaːza]).

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Raydred » 21 Aug 2011 12:20

Thanks for answering. But I'm still unsure about s.
Avo wrote:
Raydred wrote:Also:s: before and between vowels: [z] or [z̥]; beginning of syllable: [ʃ]
That's not quite correct. /s/ is [z] at the beginning of words and between vowels. That <s> [ʃ]-thing is more an orthographical thing I think, when followed by <p> or <t>, <s> is indeed pronounced [ʃ] at the beginning of a word or a syllable, generally speaking. Pronouncing all syllable initial <s> as [ʃ] would sound really odd, though.
Can you help me generalize a rule for this then?
By what you're saying I'd guess:
<s> is [z] at the beginning of words and between vowels.
<s> is [ʃ] before p and t
So is this the only situation where <s> is pronounced as [ʃ]? If not can you try to make some generalization?
PS:I'm aware that German may not be completely phonemic (I don't know), but not having rules to follow is rather repulsive.


Edit:After some rereading and some testing with http://text-to-speech.imtranslator.net/ I think <s>'s pronounced as [ʃ] at the beginning of a word before p and t. I've tried to get it at the beginning of a syllable but the text to speech would always use if not at the beginning of the word. I think I have my rules well set now(the ones above are slightly wrong on the [ʃ]). If you have anything to add please do (like how to get an [ʃ] type <s> in the middle of a word. Anyway thanks!

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by plathhs » 21 Aug 2011 14:07

You might wanna read up on German phonology as well if you want to have correct pronunciation, not just the orthography.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Raydred » 21 Aug 2011 16:41

plathhs wrote:You might wanna read up on German phonology as well if you want to have correct pronunciation, not just the orthography.
I already did but thank you for the advice.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sodomor » 23 Aug 2011 23:22

I was snooping around wikipedia and learning stuff about evidentials and moods,

I was creating a rather fusional grammar and came across a problem.

Can evidentials be used systematically and usefully in future tenses and futuristic moods?

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Micamo » 24 Aug 2011 14:52

Sodomor wrote:Can evidentials be used systematically and usefully in future tenses and futuristic moods?
Yes, but the semantic validity of direct evidentials in the future depends on how you define them.
My pronouns are <xe> [ziː] / <xym> [zɪm] / <xys> [zɪz]

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sodomor » 24 Aug 2011 21:04

how many ways are there to define them?

-Thank you :-D

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xing » 24 Aug 2011 22:41

Sodomor wrote:how many ways are there to define them?

-Thank you :-D

A direct evidential might cover only direct perception (visual, or through other senses). Then it may be difficult to make sense of them together with a future tense. With ordinary human capacities, it's simply difficult to perceive the future.

(Note that a construction can be grammatically well-formed, even if it's semantically strange.)

But you may include intuition and such in your direct evidentials. Then it could be more plausibly used with a future tense.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sodomor » 25 Aug 2011 00:30

Ohh, ok. that makes sense. Like:

The dog will eat the rabbit because he told me vs.
The dog will eat the rabbit because dogs generally eat rabbits.

I should'v thought of that :oops:

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 25 Aug 2011 00:36

Sodomor wrote:Ohh, ok. that makes sense. Like:

The dog will eat the rabbit because he told me vs.
The dog will eat the rabbit because dogs generally eat rabbits.

I should'v thought of that :oops:
Don't be embarrassed!
I was trying to think of something like that, but you beat me to it.
So if you deserve to be embarrassed, so do I; and I hope I don't deserve to be embarrassed.

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sodomor » 25 Aug 2011 02:41

hahaha, lets call it even, shall we?? :mrgreen:

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Re: Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » 29 Aug 2011 21:23

If
Someone who does what they do for faith is a professional;
and
Someone who does what they do out of love is an amateur;
then
What do we call someone who does what they do for or from or out of hope?

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