Nifty Random Features

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Solarius
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Solarius »

Quileute uses prefixes to describe the listener. For example, s- is used when addressing a small man.
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Micamo
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Micamo »

Something I just found out while looking through my Tlingit dictionary: Tlingit has multiple verbs for "eat."

eat (in general)
eat with the fingers (as opposed to a utensil I guess)
eat berries directly off the bush
eat raw seafood picked directly off the beach
eat after removing an inedible or unpalatable part
eat with an oil, sauce, or other condiment
My pronouns are <xe> [ziː] / <xym> [zɪm] / <xys> [zɪz]

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thetha
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by thetha »

Similarly, !Xóõ has different roots for eating in general, eating dry food, wet food, undercooked food, and not enough food. Also, the word for food, ʻâã, can also mean sexual intercourse.
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Micamo
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Micamo »

Not all that surprising, actually. The body responds to anticipating food the same way it responds to anticipating sex. I always figured at least one language would equate them in some way.
My pronouns are <xe> [ziː] / <xym> [zɪm] / <xys> [zɪz]

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Visinoid
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Visinoid »

Spanish always treats human direct objects (human patients) as indirect objects.

Ex:
Do you see the boy? -> Do you see to the boy?
Yes, and I also see a girl. -> Yes, and I also see to a girl.

¿Ves al chico? ("al" is a contraction of "a" + "el")
Sí, y veo también a una chica.

Compared to:
Do you see the tree?
Yes, I also see a leaf.

¿Ves el árbol?
Sí, y veo también una hoja.

Doesn't mean the language is well known that this isn't nifty as hell. :)

Edit: Applaud me for my lack of originality in the examples. :3
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Micamo
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Micamo »

Today I read that Lushootseed doesn't allow full NPs as an ergative argument, only pronouns: If you need a full NP to take the ergative role in a clause, you need to use the passive voice.

So Lushootseed allows this:

"The dog barked."

And this:

"He stabbed the dog."

But not this:

"The dog bit the man."

Though this is an acceptable replacement:

"The man was bitten by the dog."
My pronouns are <xe> [ziː] / <xym> [zɪm] / <xys> [zɪz]

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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Micamo »

Indeed. I'm tempted to use this in Midhera... but that would require tossing out the already-awesome things that Navajo and Tlingit do with ergativity that the lang rips off currently... Maybe I'll have another dragonic tribe use the Lushootseed thing instead. I need to flesh those guys out a bit anyway...
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by eldin raigmore »

Maybe someone's demonic conlang will, instead of alienable and inalienable possession, have exorcisable and inexorcisable possession.

Some languages have (a) class(es) of nouns that cannot grammatically be possessed and (a) class(es) of nouns that can grammatically be possessed. For instance there's a Pacific or Oceanic or Insular SouthEast Asian or Papuan language, I think, in which "sun" and "sky" are non-possessible.

And some languages, Ojibwe among them, have (a) class(es) of nouns that must be possessed (dependent nouns) and (a) class(es) of nouns that nead not be possessed. (If one needs to speak of a dependent noun when one knows nothing about its possessor, this AIUI is one of the main uses in Ojibwe of the "indefinite person" and/or the "fifth person" or "further obviative"). (Ojibwe's other main noun-class distinction is between the animate and the inanimate.)

A demonic conlang might also profitably distinguish between animates that are non-possessible and animates that are possessible; n'est-ce pas?
Rainchild
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Rainchild »

My current favorite nifty natlang feature? Associative plurals, which refer to a) a being that the noun refers to explicitly and b) beings associated with said referents. In natlangs, it's proper names that take this number. So, in this nonce example, "Mary-associative.plural" would refer to Mary plus people closely associated with her, e.g. Mary and her family, Mary and the gang, Mary & Co., Mary and those accompanying her, etc.

See http://wals.info/chapter/36.

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eldin raigmore
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by eldin raigmore »

Rainchild wrote:.... Associative plurals .... In natlangs, it's proper names that take this number. .... See http://wals.info/chapter/36.
As I understand it, there are "ascending" associative plurals as well;
horse-AscAssPl "horse and rider" instead of you-DescAssPl "you and the horse you rode in on",
car-AscAssPl "car and driver", and so on.
Rainchild
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Rainchild »

Wow!

Thanks, Eldin,

Sincerely,

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Solarius
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Solarius »

Some central Khoisan languages have a "mixed" third person plural that refers to groups of two genders.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by eldin raigmore »

Solarius wrote:Some central Khoisan languages have a "mixed" third person plural that refers to groups of two genders.
Well, what are their main genders? (And how many do they have?)
For instance, if their main genders are Masculine and Feminine and Neuter, would this mean that they have a vestigial Epicene gender that applies only to third-person-plural pronouns?
And if so, what if there were a group that was a mix of all three genders? Would that "mixed 3pl pronoun" apply for any mixed-gender group, no matter how many genders it was a mix of?
Solarius
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Solarius »

eldin raigmore wrote:
Solarius wrote:Some central Khoisan languages have a "mixed" third person plural that refers to groups of two genders.
Well, what are their main genders? (And how many do they have?)
For instance, if their main genders are Masculine and Feminine and Neuter, would this mean that they have a vestigial Epicene gender that applies only to third-person-plural pronouns?
And if so, what if there were a group that was a mix of all three genders? Would that "mixed 3pl pronoun" apply for any mixed-gender group, no matter how many genders it was a mix of?
I don't know definitively, but I think that most Central Khoisan languages have just Masculine/Feminine.
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Ilargi »

eldin raigmore wrote:Maybe someone's demonic conlang will, instead of alienable and inalienable possession, have exorcisable and inexorcisable possession.
I was about to mention alienable/inalienable possession. :D This sounds brilliant.

Dual plurals always caught my eye, although it was a while before I found out they were anadew. I also like the "mother=aunt", "father=uncle", "cousin=sibling", etc in some languages.

Another cool feature is when you can distinguish who's family member a person is. (Separate words for "my mother", "your mother", and/or "someone else's mother".) Japanese does this to an extent, although there seems to be some mixing. (I've heard people call their own mothers "o-kaa-san", which is supposedly reserved for other's mothers.) I heard that Ndebele does this more consistently, although I haven't studied it myself.

Also, can someone please point me to a natlang that has a seperate 3p pronoun for a mix of (anatomical) genders? I've found plenty that have a separate form for all-female, but not for female+male.
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Xing »

Solarius wrote:Some central Khoisan languages have a "mixed" third person plural that refers to groups of two genders.
Which gave me the idea of having a mixed dual in a conlang - like a pronoun meaning "he and she". Possibly you could also have separate pronouns for "he and it" and "she and it", as well as other combinations depending on what genders there are.
Solarius
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Solarius »

Ilargi wrote: Also, can someone please point me to a natlang that has a seperate 3p pronoun for a mix of (anatomical) genders? I've found plenty that have a separate form for all-female, but not for female+male.
Check out Das grammatische Raritätenkabinett's feature 57.
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eldin raigmore
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by eldin raigmore »

Ilargi wrote:Another cool feature is when you can distinguish who's family member a person is. (Separate words for "my mother", "your mother", and/or "someone else's mother".) Japanese does this to an extent, although there seems to be some mixing. (I've heard people call their own mothers "o-kaa-san", which is supposedly reserved for other's mothers.) I heard that Ndebele does this more consistently, although I haven't studied it myself.
There are some (as I recall, Australian?) languages that have "triangular kinterms";
e.g. my-father-your-father, my-father-your-husband, my-husband-your-father, etc. are all different words.
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Re: Nifty Random Features

Post by Ilargi »

Solarius wrote:
Ilargi wrote: Also, can someone please point me to a natlang that has a seperate 3p pronoun for a mix of (anatomical) genders? I've found plenty that have a separate form for all-female, but not for female+male.
Check out Das grammatische Raritätenkabinett's feature 57.
Ah, thanks. [:)]
eldin raigmore wrote:
Ilargi wrote:Another cool feature is when you can distinguish who's family member a person is. (Separate words for "my mother", "your mother", and/or "someone else's mother".) Japanese does this to an extent, although there seems to be some mixing. (I've heard people call their own mothers "o-kaa-san", which is supposedly reserved for other's mothers.) I heard that Ndebele does this more consistently, although I haven't studied it myself.
There are some (as I recall, Australian?) languages that have "triangular kinterms";
e.g. my-father-your-father, my-father-your-husband, my-husband-your-father, etc. are all different words.
*drool*
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