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

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

Post by Nloki »

Could a fusional affix resulted from merging a venitive or andative and a passive be considered or even reanalyzed as an ablative or allative applicative respectively ?
VEN.PASS = ABLV
For the sake of keeping things clear I would stick with the first glossing, as ABLV could be thought of as a nonstandard abbreviation for an abilitative. What are your thoughts on such regard?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

shimobaatar wrote: 02 Aug 2020 21:58
yangfiretiger121 wrote: 02 Aug 2020 17:33 Actually, I hadn't thought about [l]'s intervocalic phone for some reason, but it'd be either [l̪] or [l].
So either [l̪] or [l] can occur intervocalically, but can the occurrence of one as opposed to the other potentially change the meaning of a word or morpheme? For example, using V to stand for any vowel, could [Vl̪V] and [VlV] be different words/morphemes in this language?

If so, then [l̪] and [l] are in contrastive distribution intervocalically, and I'd describe them as the intervocalic realizations/allophones of two separate phonemes /l̪/ and /l/, even if the distinction between these two phonemes seems to be neutralized in most other environments.

If, however, [Vl̪V] and [VlV] are just two possible pronunciations of the same word/morpheme, then it sounds like [l̪] and [l] are in free variation intervocalically. In that case, I'd still describe them as allophones of a single phoneme /l/.
I was saying only one of either [l̪] or [l] will occur intervocalically, not that both do.
shimobaatar wrote: 02 Aug 2020 21:58
yangfiretiger121 wrote: 02 Aug 2020 17:33 [l] only occurs adjacent to [m, ŋ] in compounds, where it's unchanged because of phonotactics.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean that it's unchanged because of phonotactics. However, if only [l] can occur adjacent to [m] or [ŋ], then it still sounds like [l̪ l ʟ] are all allophones of a single phoneme.
English walkway [ˈwɔkˌweɪ] is an example of the compounding I'm talking about because it's never [ˈwɔ(l)ˌkweɪ] or [ˈwɔ(l)ˌkʷeɪ]. Essentially, the assimilation doesn't happen if the word has two distinct components. For example, the hypothetical translation of "walkway" is "genlak," which would always be [geɪ̯ŋ.lɐk] while never being [geɪ̯ŋ.ʟɐk]. The working syllable sttcure is (C)(C)V(C), with restrictions preventing [m, ŋ, r, l] from appearing consecutively in the onset. I still don't know if [lm, ml] are allowed at syllable boundaries because of <l>'s assimilatory nature. Although, I'm leaning towards allowing [ʟŋ, ŋʟ] since <l> assimilates easily in that case.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

Nloki wrote: 02 Aug 2020 22:24 Could a fusional affix resulted from merging a venitive or andative and a passive be considered or even reanalyzed as an ablative or allative applicative respectively ?
VEN.PASS = ABLV
For the sake of keeping things clear I would stick with the first glossing, as ABLV could be thought of as a nonstandard abbreviation for an abilitative. What are your thoughts on such regard?
I think this is unlikely, because a passive reduces valency, whereas an applicative increases valency, but maybe there is way to make it work. Do you gave any ideas for any intermediate stages?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by littlesalmon »

Another glossing question:
If an attribute of a word, like, for example, its tense is indicated by a phonologically distinkt word that is separated from the main word by another, how can I gloss this?
There is an option I used before (not conveying at all which word's attribute I'm describing), but this information can be important, and it doesn't feel right to leave it out. Example (here it's obvious, but it isn't always that way):

Will you marry me?
FUT you marry I[ACC]
216 always explains everything. ilaki onito itota ti ji ji ti akina itota ma. 216 всегда всё объясняет.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

littlesalmon wrote: 05 Aug 2020 18:44 Another glossing question:
If an attribute of a word, like, for example, its tense is indicated by a phonologically distinkt word that is separated from the main word by another, how can I gloss this?
There is an option I used before (not conveying at all which word's attribute I'm describing), but this information can be important, and it doesn't feel right to leave it out. Example (here it's obvious, but it isn't always that way):

Will you marry me?
FUT you marry I[ACC]
Are you hinting at the fact that (in the English example) tense marking is indicated by "will" which is separated from the main verb "marry" by the subject "you"? I think there is no reason to include it into your glossing. Glosses do not need to be fully self-explanatory. They usually come with some paragraph of explanatory text. If you really need to convey this, you could go with "marry[FUT]", I guess. This would be a combination of rule 6 snd 8 of the LGR.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by littlesalmon »

Okay, thank you for clarifying that the glosses don't need to be fully self-sufficient and self-explanatory; that was the main point I didn't understand. Though if I ever need to convey a thing like that, your suggestion works (but now I realize that this wasn't my situation).
216 always explains everything. ilaki onito itota ti ji ji ti akina itota ma. 216 всегда всё объясняет.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Indeed; in a pure sense, the gloss is really only telling us what each morpheme does - the grammar (in this case the discussion on syntax) will tell us how the morphemes interact to create the meaning of the sentence.

That said, there are tools at hand. One thing I'd say would be to remember that you can gloss things that are zero-marked, and this can help make structures clearer. In the case of "will you marry me", you can mark "marry" as an infinitive, even though the infinitive category is zero-marked. You can also - apparently! - use parentheses to mark categories, so in this case you can clarify that "will" is an auxiliary:

will you marry me?
FUT(AUX) you marry[INF] I;ACC

This doesn't remove the need for a grammar, but it does make it easier for the reader to use the grammar to work out what's going on.


Online, another simple trick you can use is colour: you can link connected elements in a gloss by making them the same colour:

will you marry me?
FUT you marry I;ACC

...not very formal, but can be useful, particularly if you're doing this to explain a construction.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis »

Salmoneus wrote: 07 Aug 2020 12:21 Online, another simple trick you can use is colour: you can link connected elements in a gloss by making them the same colour:

will you marry me?
FUT you marry I;ACC

...not very formal, but can be useful, particularly if you're doing this to explain a construction.
Lao Kou does this in his Géarthnuns thread!
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

Salmoneus wrote: 07 Aug 2020 12:21 Online, another simple trick you can use is colour: you can link connected elements in a gloss by making them the same colour:

will you marry me?
FUT you marry I;ACC

...not very formal, but can be useful, particularly if you're doing this to explain a construction.
A more formal way, that I have seen in some publications for circumfixes, is to use indexes, so you could get:

Will you marry me?
FUTi you marry[FUTi] 1SG;ACC
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

I tried doing that index thing for a while but it was a real pain to type and looks messy on screen. I would use colors if I was doing it again now but for the meantime Im not really doing glosses at all. Sure, it doesnt look professional, but that's a matter of style .... my conlang work goes onto a website that is already colorful and doesnt use academic language.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco »

How would you describe the sound of a velarized consonant, like the broad consonants found in Irish?
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Post by Creyeditor »

I'd do it with a superscript gamma, like this /t/ for example /tˠ/.
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Post by WeepingElf »

Creyeditor wrote: 01 Sep 2020 20:10 I'd do it with a superscript gamma, like this /t/ for example /tˠ/.
Yes, that's the usual way to do it.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco »

How important is aesthetics and sound in a conlang?

Obviously, a conlang needs sound to be spoken, but some conlangers aim to make a language that sounds nice to them, while others point out that a language that sounds pleasant all the time is impossible and thus aesthetics and preference isn't that important.

I find myself continuously scrapping projects because I don't like how it ends up sounding.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

LinguoFranco wrote: 09 Sep 2020 15:11 How important is aesthetics and sound in a conlang?

Obviously, a conlang needs sound to be spoken, but some conlangers aim to make a language that sounds nice to them, while others point out that a language that sounds pleasant all the time is impossible and thus aesthetics and preference isn't that important.

I find myself continuously scrapping projects because I don't like how it ends up sounding.
It can be a strong motivating factor. I have simply never been able to get myself to work on a conlang that doesnt have a phonology i appreciate, beyond at most a list of sound changes so i can produce placenames. e.g. i have two languages, Tarise and Leaper, which to most people would look essentially indistinguishable in most regards, including the phonology. but Tarise lacks the labial consonants /p b/ that I love so much, except as rare place allophones of other sounds (e.g. /mk/ is [mp], and that cluster is very rare). So I put all of my effort into Leaper and none into Tarise.

If Poswa didnt sound like baby talk, it would lose its main gimmick and I probably would never have gotten as far with it as I have. Likewise Pabappa was originally my main project but now it depends on Poswa, so I would have stalled with Pabappa as well.

My most recent project is Moonshine. It is an extremely high-maintenance language, with little output, and I can tell you that I would have given up on Moonshine as well by now if not for its phonology sounding distinctly European .... like all my projects, it's a priori, but it just so happens that many nouns end in the suffixes -az -ez -as -ez and less commonly in -os, -īs, -aš, etc. It doesnt have the word-initial extrasyllabic s- like PIE does but it otherwise definitely would fit right in if placed somewhere in eastern Europe. But if those final -z's and -s's had just happened to evolve into, say, -l and -r instead, I just wouldnt be interested in developing the language so much.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Reyzadren »

LinguoFranco wrote: 09 Sep 2020 15:11How important is aesthetics and sound in a conlang?
Sound is not aesthetics to me though, it's practicality.
If I can't distinguish or pronounce the sound, it becomes frustratingly difficult so I would stop using it. Also, diphthongs and consonant clusters make learning words in my lang easier than those without imo.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Khemehekis »

I have never scrapped a conlang because I didn't like the way it sounded!

The thing you have to understand is that I'm a filler, and if I were to scrap, say, Bodusian, then my poor Bodusians would be left without a language to speak.
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Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Sound and euphony are important to me. I choose sounds that I like (e.g. I like final consonants to be limited mainly to /n/, /s/, /r/, and vowels, I like clusters like /nt/, /nk/, and I like geminate /t:/ and /l:/, etc.) I don't use sounds that I myself cannot pronounce and I like my conlangs to have a general "sound" that distinguishes them from each other and natlangs.

I also do warm up to sounds, though. Lihmelinyan ablaut and verb morphology recently produced a word with the sound /txʷ/ in it which I initially found to be kind of ugly, but I now think sounds cool. [:)]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch »

LinguoFranco wrote: 09 Sep 2020 15:11How important is aesthetics and sound in a conlang?
With most of my conlangs, how they sound (at least in theory) is usually the most important thing. Ones that aren't long-term (and by "long-term" I mean even just a couple of months) sometimes have phonologies I don't really like, as experiments or whatever, and like KaiTheHomoSapien, I sometimes end up liking those sounds in the process.

Some of my favourite sounds are [ɕ~ʃ], [t͡ɕ~t͡ʃ], [ð~ð̞] and [ŋ], as well as various uvular sounds, so naturally those often end up in my conlangs.

Orthography is almost as important for many of them, but for some it's not really important especially if they're not meant to be "art on their own", eg. the conlang I currently consider my main project; because it's for actual use in a story I'm writing, it just has a "stand-in romanisation" meant to be easy for English-speakers to imagine a reasonably close pronounciation as they read the names and phrases (in the story, it has a unique writing system with just a vague description of how it looks, but the specifics aren't important).

Aesthetics (probably) includes a lot more, and honestly I'd say all of it is important for the general "vibe" of a conlang... just like with natlangs.
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 10 Sep 2020 04:21/txʷ/
That's a pretty interesting sound, especially if it's an affricate and not just a cluster! [:D]
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Aevas »

LinguoFranco wrote: 09 Sep 2020 15:11 How important is aesthetics and sound in a conlang?

Obviously, a conlang needs sound to be spoken, but some conlangers aim to make a language that sounds nice to them, while others point out that a language that sounds pleasant all the time is impossible and thus aesthetics and preference isn't that important.

I find myself continuously scrapping projects because I don't like how it ends up sounding.
Since the purpose of a conlang is entirely subjective, there is no right or wrong answer to any question regarding how important a certain feature is. For an IAL, phonological esthetics take a back seat to practicality and simplicity, while for Tolkien's Black Speech an unpleasant sound was an active design principle. For naturalistic conlangs, which I take most of us to be aiming for here, there are numerous ways to approach this issue, especially since so much of it is simply a matter of taste.

That said, I feel like you answer your own question. If you keep abandoning projects because you don't like the way they sound, then sound is obviously an important factor for you. I think the problem you're having can have many different reasons, so you'd have to elaborate on why you don't like the way your languages sound in order to get more specific feedback on that, if that is what you're looking for.

I also disagree with the dichotomy in your middle paragraph. There is no opposition between trying to design a language that sounds nice to you, while still realizing that you won't love the sound of every single word.
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