Joining affixes to words, and word endings

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OTʜᴇB
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Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by OTʜᴇB » 03 Oct 2016 20:35

I've been working on a lot of affixes recently in my conlang, and have been trying to make the affixes merge with the end of the word as much as possible to keep word length down, but I also don't want to lose important distinguishing parts of the original word to minimise ambiguity.

Here's an example of some noun cases on the word run [ɾun] meaning "earth/soil":
Normal - run
Nominative - runwe
Accusative - runag
Genitive - runed
Locative - runði
Instrumental - runui
Vocative - runid

This is just a couple of letters stuck on the end, but I have some rules to merge them if run ended with a different letter e.g. ruþ + ði = ruði

What possibilities are there for merging affixes into the word more to make it feel less "bolted together" if you will?

Thanks for any help.
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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by clawgrip » 04 Oct 2016 05:12

Just a couple ideas:

deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita

Addition of sounds:
zuur + er → zuurder
suop + ro → suopuro

Consonant gradation/alteration:
luku + lla → luvulla
knife + s → knives

umlaut:
schlag + st → schlägst
cwch + od → cychod

coalescence:
kāma + i → kāme
men + potong → memotong

morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by OTʜᴇB » 04 Oct 2016 17:27

clawgrip wrote: deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita
This would be the easiest, but I'd become concerned that words with the same ending would become indistinguishable e.g. "tak, tam" + "pe" = "tape, tape".
Addition of sounds:
zuur + er → zuurder
suop + ro → suopuro
This would also work, but then I'd be making the words longer, where my ideal is to keep them as concise as possible.
Consonant gradation/alteration:
luku + lla → luvulla
knife + s → knives
I'm already using a variation of this where if there are two consonants of the same manner of articulation then the voicing switches to match and if they are of different methods then the place changes and the voicing - though this doesn't happen very often.
umlaut:
schlag + st → schlägst
cwch + od → cychod
I'm not entirely sure how that's working. I'd appreciate some explanation.
coalescence:
kāma + i → kāme
men + potong → memotong
This one is nice and is similar to the consonant alteration. I'd probably go down this route, but it doesn't quite shorten the word as much as I'd like it to.
morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus
This one seems to add variation which would be rather useful, but I'm not sure how I'd define how the word would change.
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BTW I use Arch

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by Frislander » 04 Oct 2016 17:54

OTʜᴇB wrote:
Spoiler:
clawgrip wrote: deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita
This would be the easiest, but I'd become concerned that words with the same ending would become indistinguishable e.g. "tak, tam" + "pe" = "tape, tape".
Addition of sounds:
zuur + er → zuurder
suop + ro → suopuro
This would also work, but then I'd be making the words longer, where my ideal is to keep them as concise as possible.
Consonant gradation/alteration:
luku + lla → luvulla
knife + s → knives
I'm already using a variation of this where if there are two consonants of the same manner of articulation then the voicing switches to match and if they are of different methods then the place changes and the voicing - though this doesn't happen very often.
umlaut:
schlag + st → schlägst
cwch + od → cychod
I'm not entirely sure how that's working. I'd appreciate some explanation.
coalescence:
kāma + i → kāme
men + potong → memotong
This one is nice and is similar to the consonant alteration. I'd probably go down this route, but it doesn't quite shorten the word as much as I'd like it to.
morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus
This one seems to add variation which would be rather useful, but I'm not sure how I'd define how the word would change.
Use a combination of them, e.g. "tak" + "pe" becomes "tape" but "tan" + "pe" becomes "tampe" or "tame".

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by clawgrip » 05 Oct 2016 02:22

OTʜᴇB wrote:
clawgrip wrote: deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita
This would be the easiest, but I'd become concerned that words with the same ending would become indistinguishable e.g. "tak, tam" + "pe" = "tape, tape".
You don't have to apply it unilaterally. There could be a hierarchy, such that when a "strong" and "weak" consonant come together, only the weak one is dropped, and when two equally ranked consonants come together, nothing happens, or something entirely different happens.

For example:
very weak: t
weak: p, k
mid: b, d, g
strong: s, z, n, m

When we add suffixes, different things happen depending on the consonants involved.

stronger + weaker: assimilation to stronger consonant
tas + pe = tasse

weaker + stronger = elision of weaker consonant
tat + pe = tape

equal strength: assimilation to suffix
tak + pe = tappe

There will still be some ambiguity, e.g. a suffix beginning with a very strong consonant will neutralize the final consonant of many stems, so stems differentiated only by their final consonant will be identical in that case or tense or what have you. It may not be as big an issue as it seems, though, or if it is, your conpeople will come up with a way to disambiguate, adding an affix or using a synonym in place of the ambiguous word.

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by clawgrip » 05 Oct 2016 13:09

OTʜᴇB wrote:
morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus
This one seems to add variation which would be rather useful, but I'm not sure how I'd define how the word would change.
Basically, you have a thematic vowel with a very general meaning, and case suffixes with more specific meanings. You can even have the same suffix with different thematic vowels to create different meanings, for example:
tam- "rock"
-a- static
-i- dynamic

-m location
-r origin
-ks instrumental
-sag "until; as far as"

tamam at the rock
tamim to the rock
tamar of the rock
tamir from the rock
tamaks with/using the rock
tamisag as far as the rock

In essence, this gives us:
-am locative
-im lative/dative
-ar genitive
-ir ablative
-aks instrumental
-isag terminative

If you're feeling adventurous, you could try merging this idea with some of the other ideas I mentioned, like:
du + am = dom
du + im = dim
re + am = rem
re + im = reim
sa + am = sam
sa + im = sem

or maybe
sa + am = sawam
sa + im = sayim

Be creative!

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by OTʜᴇB » 05 Oct 2016 17:46

Frislander wrote:
OTʜᴇB wrote:
Spoiler:
clawgrip wrote: deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita
This would be the easiest, but I'd become concerned that words with the same ending would become indistinguishable e.g. "tak, tam" + "pe" = "tape, tape".
Addition of sounds:
zuur + er → zuurder
suop + ro → suopuro
This would also work, but then I'd be making the words longer, where my ideal is to keep them as concise as possible.
Consonant gradation/alteration:
luku + lla → luvulla
knife + s → knives
I'm already using a variation of this where if there are two consonants of the same manner of articulation then the voicing switches to match and if they are of different methods then the place changes and the voicing - though this doesn't happen very often.
umlaut:
schlag + st → schlägst
cwch + od → cychod
I'm not entirely sure how that's working. I'd appreciate some explanation.
coalescence:
kāma + i → kāme
men + potong → memotong
This one is nice and is similar to the consonant alteration. I'd probably go down this route, but it doesn't quite shorten the word as much as I'd like it to.
morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus
This one seems to add variation which would be rather useful, but I'm not sure how I'd define how the word would change.
Use a combination of them, e.g. "tak" + "pe" becomes "tape" but "tan" + "pe" becomes "tampe" or "tame".
That would solve that problem, but I'm actively avoiding adding in separated groups of words that behave differently. I'm trying to get every word following the same laws.
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BTW I use Arch

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by Frislander » 05 Oct 2016 20:28

OTʜᴇB wrote:
Frislander wrote:
OTʜᴇB wrote:
Spoiler:
clawgrip wrote: deletion of sounds:
Inuk + it → Inuit
kiku -u + ita → kiita
This would be the easiest, but I'd become concerned that words with the same ending would become indistinguishable e.g. "tak, tam" + "pe" = "tape, tape".
Addition of sounds:
zuur + er → zuurder
suop + ro → suopuro
This would also work, but then I'd be making the words longer, where my ideal is to keep them as concise as possible.
Consonant gradation/alteration:
luku + lla → luvulla
knife + s → knives
I'm already using a variation of this where if there are two consonants of the same manner of articulation then the voicing switches to match and if they are of different methods then the place changes and the voicing - though this doesn't happen very often.
umlaut:
schlag + st → schlägst
cwch + od → cychod
I'm not entirely sure how that's working. I'd appreciate some explanation.
coalescence:
kāma + i → kāme
men + potong → memotong
This one is nice and is similar to the consonant alteration. I'd probably go down this route, but it doesn't quite shorten the word as much as I'd like it to.
morphologically motivated alteration:
iku → ikanai, ikeba
vid + us → visus
This one seems to add variation which would be rather useful, but I'm not sure how I'd define how the word would change.
Use a combination of them, e.g. "tak" + "pe" becomes "tape" but "tan" + "pe" becomes "tampe" or "tame".
That would solve that problem, but I'm actively avoiding adding in separated groups of words that behave differently. I'm trying to get every word following the same laws.
It's not a question of "groups of words", it's a matter of how the sounds react with each other: this would be parts of the general morphopho.

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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by HoskhMatriarch » 05 Oct 2016 23:11

Yes. Regular morphophonological processes, even quite baroque ones, are not only possible but pretty common in agglutination (although usually it's not quite Navajo-level).
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Re: Joining affixes to words, and word endings

Post by clawgrip » 06 Oct 2016 00:49

As has been mentioned, it's not classes of words, it's classes of phonemes. Consequently, the forms of any given word are, barring any irregular forms, entirely predictable via the rules laid out.

If you're unclear on what this means, let's look at English as an example. We will work with the plural morpheme -s, which gives us these phoneme classes:

non-voicing: k, p, t (neither induces nor undergoes voicing)
weak voicing: f, θ (induces and undergoes voicing*)
strong voicing: b, d, ð, g, d͡ʒ, l, m, n, r, v (induces voicing)
strong voicing, non-merging: t͡ʃ, s, ʃ, z, ʒ (requires epenthetic schwa, induces voicing)

(I may have missed one or two, sorry, this is just a general example)

non-voicing + s:
cat (kæt) → cats (kæts)
top (tɑp) → tops (tɑps)

weak voicing + s (may vary among speakers and words somewhat):
knife (naɪf) → knives (naɪvz)
bath (bæθ) → baths (bæðz)

strong voicing + s:
dog (dɑg) → dog (dɑgz)
gill (gɪl) → gills (gɪlz)

non-merging + s:
batch (bæt͡ʃ) → batches (bæt͡ʃəz)
maze (meɪz) → mazes (meɪzəz)

This does not mean that batch and maze belong to some specific noun class, only that the final phoneme of both words happens to require an epenthetic schwa, and a voiced -s. Additionally, some of these categories only apply to -s (particularly obvious are the schwa-inducing ones).

I hope this clears it up.

*when the voicing rule does not apply, the word is generally spelled with something other than a single f, e.g. gaffe, laugh)

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