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

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

Post by LinguistCat » 17 Sep 2019 20:38

Thank you for clearing things up Vlürch. This sounds like an interesting project.

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

Post by Ahzoh » 18 Sep 2019 14:54

What's the nature/relationship of names with regards to the grammar of a language? Like, how would they work if the name is still transparent in meaning?

For example, if there was a name like the Akkadian names Šamaš-šuma-ukin "Shamash has established an heir" and Nabû-kudurri-uṣur "O god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son". How would such names, which are basically entire sentences, work grammatically in the sentence?

And if a language had case, how could the case interact with such a name? If the component of the name had case, would it need suffixnauhme?

I'm having troubles coming up with names because I can't figure out how they'll interact with the syntax.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch » 18 Sep 2019 17:20

LinguistCat wrote:
17 Sep 2019 20:38
Thank you for clearing things up Vlürch. This sounds like an interesting project.
I'll make a thread about it sooner or later, but first I have to derive a lot more vocabulary... and grammar... it's still in its early stages.
Ahzoh wrote:
18 Sep 2019 14:54
How would such names, which are basically entire sentences, work grammatically in the sentence?
I think in real life it depends on the language? With conlangs, you can do whatever you want, obviously. For some reason my gut feeling is that if the speakers have a high level of literacy with an established literary tradition going back centuries, names might be more likely to be inflected more than they would if the speakers have a low level of literacy and/or no established literary tradition. Maybe the lower class would only inflect the last part of the name, while the upper class inflects the entirety of it? I have no basis for any of this, it's just speculation. The opposite could just as well be true.

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

Post by sangi39 » 18 Sep 2019 19:58

Ahzoh wrote:
18 Sep 2019 14:54
What's the nature/relationship of names with regards to the grammar of a language? Like, how would they work if the name is still transparent in meaning?

For example, if there was a name like the Akkadian names Šamaš-šuma-ukin "Shamash has established an heir" and Nabû-kudurri-uṣur "O god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son". How would such names, which are basically entire sentences, work grammatically in the sentence?

And if a language had case, how could the case interact with such a name? If the component of the name had case, would it need suffixnauhme?

I'm having troubles coming up with names because I can't figure out how they'll interact with the syntax.
If I'm reading A Structural Grammar of Babylonian by Giorgio Buccellati, page 217, correctly, proper names are "occasionally inflectional", depending on their structure. Proper names that are just nouns decline as normal, while ones that that are compounds either can decline (they get treated as a single root with nominative, accusative, and genitive endings tacked on at the end), or they just don't decline at all, apart from the internal inflection that they already underwent to form the name (so they're identical in all cases).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren » 18 Sep 2019 23:33

Ahzoh wrote:
18 Sep 2019 14:54
What's the nature/relationship of names with regards to the grammar of a language? Like, how would they work if the name is still transparent in meaning?

And if a language had case, how could the case interact with such a name? If the component of the name had case, would it need suffixnauhme?
Names (are encouraged to) have no meaning in the native conculture, so such a problem wouldn't exist. If there is an ambiguous name or a very long phrase-like name-like noun compound word, anti-escapes or statefuctions would be used to distinguish them via strong and weak priority rules anyway.

My conlang also has no cases. Since there are triggers in my conlang, such morphosyntax/"case" affixations are passed on to the verb anyway.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat » 19 Sep 2019 00:36

I suppose you could also just use something before or after the name to denote that it's a name and not the normal word, somewhat like Japanese?

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

Post by shimobaatar » 19 Sep 2019 00:42

LinguistCat wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:36
I suppose you could also just use something before or after the name to denote that it's a name and not the normal word, somewhat like Japanese?
May I ask what it is you're referring to in Japanese?

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

Post by LinguistCat » 19 Sep 2019 00:53

shimobaatar wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:42
LinguistCat wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:36
I suppose you could also just use something before or after the name to denote that it's a name and not the normal word, somewhat like Japanese?
May I ask what it is you're referring to in Japanese?
Name suffixes. Granted, not all names in Japanese have meanings as normal words, but many do. I'm also not saying that name suffixes like san, kun or chan came about because many Japanese names have literal meanings, but that they do have a side effect that if you say "Sakura-chan" then you are talking to/about a person named Sakura, not speaking about literal cherry blossoms. Unless you are anthropomorphizing cherry blossoms, I suppose.

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

Post by shimobaatar » 19 Sep 2019 02:53

LinguistCat wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:53
shimobaatar wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:42
LinguistCat wrote:
19 Sep 2019 00:36
I suppose you could also just use something before or after the name to denote that it's a name and not the normal word, somewhat like Japanese?
May I ask what it is you're referring to in Japanese?
Name suffixes. Granted, not all names in Japanese have meanings as normal words, but many do. I'm also not saying that name suffixes like san, kun or chan came about because many Japanese names have literal meanings, but that they do have a side effect that if you say "Sakura-chan" then you are talking to/about a person named Sakura, not speaking about literal cherry blossoms. Unless you are anthropomorphizing cherry blossoms, I suppose.
Oh, honorifics. Thank you for the clarification.

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

Post by eldin raigmore » 19 Sep 2019 22:27

Ahzoh wrote:
18 Sep 2019 14:54
What's the nature/relationship of names with regards to the grammar of a language? Like, how would they work if the name is still transparent in meaning?
....
How would such names, which are basically entire sentences, work grammatically in the sentence?
....
And if a language had case, how could the case interact with such a name? If the component of the name had case, would it need suffixnauhme?
....
Both surnames and “first names” in modern English-speaking countries still have literal meanings; especially girls’ first names, like Faith and Hope and Joy, and April and May and June, and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday, but also boys’ firstnames, like Rivers and Leaf. Family names like White and Black and Brown and Green, and Strong, and Miller and Farmer and Brewer and Smith, etc., are also examples. Also Scott and Mann and French. And Church and Temple. And Bone.

Puritan names in Anglophone North America were usually also words, and often phrases, and sometimes clauses.
Consider Had-God-Not-Died-For-Thee-Ye-Had-Been-Damned Jones, for example.
How did that work in grammar? His friends usually just called him “Damned”.

In Latin, and IIANM some modern Romance languages, and also some modern Slavic languages, a personal name does inflect for case. In particular, the vocative case is used to directly address the named person.

If the language has case-stacking, and case is indicated by suffixes, I don’t see why proper personal or family names shouldn’t also stack cases by suffix-uptake.

—————

AFMCL Adpihi and Arpien, I’m going to try to generate names the way I’ll generate all major parts-of-speech, in such a way that no personal proper name is also a common noun, or adjective, or verb, or other part-of-speech. I may be able to do this by having seven categories of such anthroponyms, each containing 143 names, for a total of 1001 names (one for each Arabian night?);
* Matriclan names
* Patriclan names
* “Alterclan” names
* Women’s first names
* Women’s second names
* Men’s first names
* Men’s second names

There’s a good chance that as long as the population remains under 50,000,000,000 there won’t ever be two people alive at the same time with the same five names. In fact the population would probably have to get up to 400,000,000 for their to be a good chance that two contemporaneous people would share four of their five names.

The way that would work in grammar might involve always using at least two, and usually at least three, of a person’s names.

Adpihi will have both vocative case and honorifics. Don’t know about Arpien yet.

—————

Does any of that help any?

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

Post by brblues » 21 Sep 2019 17:06

I got a quick question about not!sound changes - when I delete a grammatical ending (i.e. do not delete the same string if it doesn't stand for the specific grammatical ending, in my case here IPFV), thats not a sound change as I understand it, since it is not applied universally without exception.

My questions now - is this valid? I would think so, cause I got the feeling that that happens all the time. If it is, what would you call that?

A quick illustration of what I have in mind:

In the proto-language, I have got /'tas.ma/ "he is swimming" vs /tas'ma.ka/ swim-IPFV "he regularly swims" vs /tas.ma'ka.li/swim-IPFV-PST "he was swimming"; in that stage, stress is always on the penultimate syllable.

In the daughter-lang, I want to - in addition to a good number of completely regular and universal sound changes - delete the last syllable of the IPFV ones, reasoning being that they are the same all the time, and people want to make things shorter - the burden of conveying the IPFV meaning could then be shouldered by stress alone:

/'tasma/ vs /tas'ma/ IPFV vs /tas.ma.'ka/ IPFV-PST

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

Post by Pabappa » 21 Sep 2019 17:32

I would expect at least some sort of similar change outside that context. A lot of languages have redundancy that survives for thousands of years. e.g. -os and similar endings in Greek and Baltic, the /de la/ of Spanish (vs Portuguese /da/), etc.. Portuguese contracted /de la/ to /da/, but only by eliminating some other intervocalic /l/'s as well.
Sorry guys, this one has the worst sting.

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

Post by Ser » 21 Sep 2019 18:12

That said, the kind of irregular reduction of common morphemes that brblues is asking about does happen now and then.

The expected outcome of the Spanish 2PL verbal ending would be -ades. This is what Old Spanish had (cantātis > cantades), but then it was irregularly reduced to modern -áis (vos(otros) cantáis) (and then further so in many dialects to -ás as in vos cantás, or in some dialects to -ái as in vos cantái). Note that in the many dialects where it gets reduced to -ás, it is only distinguished from the tú ending -as by means of stress: tú cantas [ˈkantas], vos cantás [kanˈtas].

The infinitive in Romanian split into two forms: 1) an unreduced form (cantāre > cântare [kɨnˈtare]) used to form deverbal nouns (iubire 'love', scriere 'writing', coborâre 'descent') and sometimes outright derived nouns (mâncare 'food' cf. Spanish (su) comer 'sustenance', cântare 'hymn, song' cf. Spanish cantar 'epic song'), and 2) a reduced form with the ending -re dropped but maintaining the stress shift (cânta [kɨnˈta]), used grammatically after prepositions and in future/conditional constructions.

The expected outcome of the French 1PL verbal ending would be *-aimes [ˈãj̃məs] (cantāmus > *chantaimes), cf. sānās > saines. However, the ending evolved into -ons (chantons), with the last syllable irregularly collapsed to a bare [ns], likely via analogy with the 2PL ending -ātis > ez [ets] (which does become [ets] through regular sound changes). EDIT: Actually, I think this might be a bad example, considering nōmen > nom had the plural nons (instead of *nomes), and that homō evolved in Old French into both om and on. This unstressed postvocalic -mus > -ns change could be regular.

The Mandarin 2SG polite pronoun 您 nín is sometimes thought to be an irregular abbreviation of 你們 nǐmen, although Wiktionary cites sources that suggest the opposite (namely that nǐmen is a lengthened version of 您 nín, which apparently ended in -m before). The negative imperative particle 別 bié is sometimes thought to be an abbreviation of 不要 bú yào (not want, not going to). 甭 béng is known to be an irregular fusion of 不用 bú yòng (not need). 醬 jiàng 'this way' is an irregular development of 這樣 zhèyàng (this way).

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

Post by TwistedOne151 » 22 Sep 2019 04:29

Are there any plausible contexts for a conditional sound change of unrounding u o > ɯ ɤ?

And while I've seen iw > ju, how plausible is the reverse change ju > iw (and wi > uj)?
And weː joː > wej jow > oːj eːw?

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

Post by Dormouse559 » 22 Sep 2019 07:53

Ser wrote:
21 Sep 2019 18:12
The expected outcome of the French 1PL verbal ending would be *-aimes [ˈãj̃məs] (cantāmus > *chantaimes), cf. sānās > saines. However, the ending evolved into -ons (chantons), with the last syllable irregularly collapsed to a bare [ns], likely via analogy with the 2PL ending -ātis > ez [ets] (which does become [ets] through regular sound changes). EDIT: Actually, I think this might be a bad example, considering nōmen > nom had the plural nons (instead of *nomes), and that homō evolved in Old French into both om and on. This unstressed postvocalic -mus > -ns change could be regular.
Yeah, the first-person plural is a bit vexing. I've seen it explained through analogy with sons, a variant reflex of sumus. If you ask me, I say the regular outcome of -amus in Modern French would be -ains /ɛ̃/.

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

Post by Zekoslav » 22 Sep 2019 11:00

Dormouse559 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 07:53
Ser wrote:
21 Sep 2019 18:12
The expected outcome of the French 1PL verbal ending would be *-aimes [ˈãj̃məs] (cantāmus > *chantaimes), cf. sānās > saines. However, the ending evolved into -ons (chantons), with the last syllable irregularly collapsed to a bare [ns], likely via analogy with the 2PL ending -ātis > ez [ets] (which does become [ets] through regular sound changes). EDIT: Actually, I think this might be a bad example, considering nōmen > nom had the plural nons (instead of *nomes), and that homō evolved in Old French into both om and on. This unstressed postvocalic -mus > -ns change could be regular.
Yeah, the first-person plural is a bit vexing. I've seen it explained through analogy with sons, a variant reflex of sumus. If you ask me, I say the regular outcome of -amus in Modern French would be -ains /ɛ̃/.
[+1] And Old French had, among others, an ending -omes, which is certainly related to somes < sumus. Why the ending -mes (and -tes) kept their final vowels in the verb 'to be' and in the passé simple is a long standing mistery.

The development of Latin - perfects in Romance is also an example of irregular shortening of endings. In the 1st and 4th conjugation, where - is added to the present stem giving -āvī and -īvī, /w/ is irregularly (or semi-regularly to be more precise) lost and the endings merge with the present stem, so in the first conjugation -āvī, -āvistī, -āvit, -āvimus, -āvistis, -āverunt > -āī, -āstī, -ā(u)t, -āmus, -āstis, -ārunt and similarly in the 4th conjugation -īvī, -īvistī, -īvit, -īvimus, -īvistis, -īverunt > -ī, -īstī, -ī(u)t, -īmus, -īstis, -īrunt (there were more variants which didn't survive in Romance).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor » 22 Sep 2019 12:14

TwistedOne151 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 04:29
Are there any plausible contexts for a conditional sound change of unrounding u o > ɯ ɤ?

And while I've seen iw > ju, how plausible is the reverse change ju > iw (and wi > uj)?
And weː joː > wej jow > oːj eːw?
I bet there are.
I think you were looking for something like: "ju jo > wɯ wɤ", right? This is basically a "shift" of the rounding feature from the vowel onto the glide.
But if you have a labialization/lip rounding/labial place of articulation anywhere else in the system you could also have an assimilation-like pattern.

Let's say you have the following places of articulation: labial, dental, postalveolar (with non-phonemic lip rounding), velar and labiovelar/labialized velar. You could have the change u o > ɯ ɤ after dentals and velars, i.e. all "true" non-labials. The rounding is only retained following all kinds of "labials" in the broader sense. If you then merge dentals and postalveolars and velars and labiovelars you get a phonemic distinction.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 » 22 Sep 2019 15:19

I've mapped out a progression of my setting's language with some help from you guys for which I'm grateful. Naturalistically speaking, is Bäïkal, which was meant for religious communications at first, a dialect of Common or its own language due to the changes?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch » 22 Sep 2019 15:53

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 15:19
Naturalistically speaking, is Bäïkal, which was meant for religious communications at first, a dialect of Common or its own language due to the changes?
That's entirely up to you within the context of the conworld/conculture.

A lot of people consider the Sinitic languages to be dialects of the same language even though they have very little mutual intelligibility due to different phonologies, lexical differences and even some different grammar, etc. while a lot of people consider Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin separate languages even though they have a high degree of mutual intelligibility. Some Finns consider Karelian merely a dialect of Finnish, and they can be mutually intelligible to a high degree (because there's a dialect continuum (or something like that) and the Karelian language is being absorbed into the Karelian dialects of Finnish (where it isn't being replaced by Russian, that is)), but it can also be totally unintelligible: there was once some documentary on TV about old people in Russian Karelia without subtitles, and at least I only caught a word here and another there...

So, basically, it's an entirely political distinction. You could have something equivalent to the real world controversies regarding dialect vs language within your conworld/conculture if you want. Usually I'd say it's nationalists that want everything to be lumped together as one language while less nationalistically inclined people don't really care or think it should be up to the speakers to decide how they want their language/dialect to be seen. One word that's sometimes used in ambiguous cases is isolect.

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

Post by spanick » 22 Sep 2019 17:56

When starting with a proto language, how do you typically go about developing case marking? Most cases seem pretty intuitive to me when derived from prepositions but there’s a few I’m not sure about, specifically Nominative, Accusative, Ergative, and Absolutive.

To be clear, I know that I may not need to make some of those, but languages like Latin do have nominative case marking, so I’m just curious about how that comes to be. Those four cases are also just the ones I’m curious about, I don’t necessarily intend to have all four in one language.

I really don’t ever make proto languages from which to derive more naturalistic conlangs, but I’m giving it a go. So, for those of you that do, how do you do it? Do you derive case markers or do you just randomly assign them in the proto lang?

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