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

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

Post by Salmoneus »

This is called "transitivity", and is very common.

As well as the inherent transitivity of the event-type, grammatical transitivity can also take into account the agency of the agent (actions that are accidental or involuntary may sometimes be encoded as intransitive), the definiteness of the action (actions with generic and/or indefinite (including partitive) agents or patients may sometimes be encoded as intransitive), and the success or completion of the action (actions that are attempted unsuccessfully or that are begun but not fully completed may sometimes be encoded as intransitive), and probably some other things that I'm not immediately thinking of. Transitivity can be connected to systems like animacy hierarchies, voice, aspect/telicity and subjecthood.

English doesn't have compulsory transitivity marking, but it does have a lot of optional transitivity marking: intransitives are often marked by valency-reduction and the use of an oblique governed by a proposition, and sometimes an adverb. For instance, we have transitive "kick", and intransitive "kick at" and "kick out at". We have "speak" (a word, a poem, created by the action), but "speak of" (a thing, not affected by the action).

As in English, transitivity is often marked in part through valency, but this isn't obligatory: some languages have dedicated transitivity markings on the verb, for instance. And of course valency itself can be explicitly marked on the verb, or zero-marked.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

Davush wrote: 05 Feb 2021 09:53 I was thinking about Hakuan alignment, and was wondering if any natlang does anything similar.

Basically, if a 'patient' of a verb isn't directly affected/changed by the agent, it is placed in the oblique case. So for example:

to eat food (food would be in the unmarked 'case' as eating causes a direct change to the food)
to wear clothing (clothing would be in the 'oblique', e.g. English 'I am dressed in...')

This seems to have more to do with the semantics of the verb influencing what case the noun will take, and in some situations, both unmarked/oblique are probably acceptable depending on what the speaker wishes to convey. Some categories of verbs (e.g. verbs of perception/motion) might behave a bit idiosyncratically. E.g. 'I heard a sound' : the sound is not obviously 'changed/affected' by the agent, rather 'I' am affected by the sound, so according to the above, Hakuan might have something like 'sound hear me.OBL' or 'sound arrived me.OBL'.
"Alignment" as a language-level term means that the arguments in the basic transitive construction have some cases and the argument in the basic intransitive construction has some case. The transitive construction is used of the most semantically transitive verbs, like 'to kill', but it can be extended to other bivalent verbs, in English nearly all of them. It depends on language what verbs can be used in it.
So your idea is not about alignment but in what constructions (classes) of less semantically transitive verbs appear. It's fully normal to have other two-argument constructions beside the transitive construction.

Somebody linked https://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/conferenc ... Splits.pdf in the Resources thread. I presents the thing quite nicely and simply.
Last edited by Omzinesý on 05 Feb 2021 15:18, edited 1 time in total.
My meta-thread: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5760
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

For the first point, you might want to look differential object marking. Some languages mark their objects with the object case or an oblique case depending on properties of the object or the whole verb phrase.
Regarding verbs of motion and verbs of perceptio, both classes are known for special case patterns. In German for example, verbs of motion can occur with accusative or dative nouns. Dative (=~ onlique) case marks movement at a location whereas accusative marks movement to a location.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 »

I swear I've seen languages where the verb "governs" different cases for the direct object. Icelandic maybe (honestly haven't looked it in a while)? But doesn't seem too odd.

There must be some way to justify it historically, like, maybe an instance where a language with secundative alignment combined with a reflexive where the reflexive is eventually dropped? I don't think that covers enough verbs initially, though, so it could be that the resulting paradigm is interpreted differently and then applied more widely.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Omzinesý wrote: 05 Feb 2021 15:10 "Alignment" as a language-level term means that the arguments in the basic transitive construction have some cases and the argument in the basic intransitive construction has some case.
Not necessarily, no. And while transitivity isn't inherently an alignment issue, it can sometimes become an alignment issue!

On the first point: it's true that 'alignment' is most often used in talking about how the case assignment of bivalent verbs aligns with that of univalent verbs; but it can also be used of other alignments, and in particular when talking about how the case assignment of bivalent verbs aligns with that of trivalent verbs.

Transitivity can easily be an issue in both types of alignment. For primary (1/2) alignment: transitivity can cause an alignment split, with dyadic transitives aligning their agent case with univalent subject case (nom/acc), while dyadic intransitives align their patient case with univalent subject case (erg/abs). Such a split can be either lexicalised or non-lexicalised.

For secondary (2/3) alignment: another way to mark intransitivity, and the way Davush is considering, is to mark the patients of dyadic intransitives with an oblique case - but it's also common to mark one of the theme or the recipient of a triadic verb with the oblique, and the other with an accusative case (shared with the dyadic transitive patient). Whether it's the theme or the recipient (or neither, or both) that shares the case with the patients of bivalent verbs determines the secondary alignment. But if transitivity is market in this way, then again transitivity will cause split-alignment.

So, imagine a dative language:
"I threw the meat-ACC"
"I showed my paintings-ACC"
"I threw the dog-OBL the meat-ACC"
"I showed the inspector-OBL my paintings-ACC"

And then a secundative language:
"I threw the meat-ACC"
"I showed my paintings-ACC"
"I threw the dog-ACC the meat-OBL"
"I showed the inspector-ACC my paintings-OBL"

Easy enough. But now let's add differential transitivity marking on the patient, and look at the dative language:
"I threw the meat-ACC"
"I showed my paintings-OBL"
"I threw the dog-OBL the meat-ACC"
"I showed the inspector-OBL my paintings-ACC"

And secundative:
"I threw the meat-ACC"
"I showed my paintings-OBL"
"I threw the dog-ACC the meat-OBL"
"I showed the inspector-ACC my paintings-OBL"

In effect, keeping the same case alignments in trivalent verbs makes some verbs dative and others secundative. Kind of weird! Alternatively, we could also have a transitivity split in trivalent as well - most likely, by using dative (or secundative) constructions for transitive trivalents, but double-oblique constructions for intransitive trivalents.

Or is there a DOUBLE transitivity split in trivalents, and what does that mean for alignment? For instance:
"I threw the meat-ACC"
"I showed my paintings-OBL"
"I threw the dog-OBL the meat-SEC"
"I showed the inspector-OBL my paintings-OBL"
"we elected the man-ACC senator-SEC"

Anyway, these are all alignment-relevant questions...
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Davush »

Thanks everyone, that was all very interesting and helpful. I did have a feeling I was dealing with transitivity, I just wasn't sure if any natlangs systematically use the semantic aspect of how directly affected an object/patient is in encoding case.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguoFranco »

Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?

It's been awhile since I last researched the concept, but I recall it being so in Ancient Greek. Does the same apply to Japanese or Vedic Sanskrit?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by LinguistCat »

LinguoFranco wrote: 07 Feb 2021 20:49 Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?

It's been awhile since I last researched the concept, but I recall it being so in Ancient Greek. Does the same apply to Japanese or Vedic Sanskrit?
In Japanese, it's generally seen as dependent on morae, so to some extent, syllable weight affects pitch accent in that there are more morae in heavy syllables. Though <っ> little tsu and <ん> moraic n don't carry accent and if a pitch pattern would normal have the accent fall on that mora, it's moved forward one mora in most cases. So make of that what you will.

I know you were part of the Japanese Pitch Accent thread so I'm assuming that didn't help much.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore »

LinguoFranco wrote: 07 Feb 2021 20:49 Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?

It's been awhile since I last researched the concept, but I recall it being so in Ancient Greek. Does the same apply to Japanese or Vedic Sanskrit?
There’s a stastical correlation if i recall correctly. There’s no logical dependency as far as I know.
Syllables with glide tones (rises or falls) are not likely to be less heavy moraically than syllables with level tones.
Syllables with peaking (rise-fall) or dipping (fall-rise) tones are not likely to be less heavy moraically than syllables with glide tones.
Syllables with complex contour tones (peak-dips and dip-peaks) are not likely to be less heavy moraically than syllables with simpler contour tones, like peaking tones or dipping tones.

It seems that statistically speaking, the way to bet is what you’d expect.

....

I believe Classical Greek had a pitch-accent system in which some of the pitches were peaks or dips, some were rises and falls, and some were level tones? Or if I’m wrong about that, that describes some other dialect or phase of Greek?

....

What natlangs do you know of with pitch-accent in which some of the pitch-accents were peak-dip or dip-peak complex contours?
In that natlang (or those natlangs) did or do the syllables with those accents have to be at least tetramoraic (or do I mean quadrimoraic) ultraheavy? If not did or do they have to be at least trimoraic superheavy?
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Post by Creyeditor »

LinguoFranco wrote: 07 Feb 2021 20:49 Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?
Not necessarily, but possibly. Like the others already said.
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Post by Salmoneus »

eldin raigmore wrote: 07 Feb 2021 21:48 I believe Classical Greek had a pitch-accent system in which some of the pitches were peaks or dips, some were rises and falls, and some were level tones? Or if I’m wrong about that, that describes some other dialect or phase of Greek?
So far as I'm aware, Ancient Greek had a pure pitch-accent system - that is, one mora was accented, and that was that. Phonetically, this resulted in rising and falling tones on long vowels and diphthongs, but only as a result of the accent falling on either the first or the second mora of the bimoraic vowel sequence.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

LinguoFranco wrote: 07 Feb 2021 20:49 Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?
I'm not sure what you mean by this. What do you mean by "dependent upon"?
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sequor »

LinguoFranco wrote: 07 Feb 2021 20:49Is a pitch accent dependent upon syllable weight?

It's been awhile since I last researched the concept, but I recall it being so in Ancient Greek. Does the same apply to Japanese or Vedic Sanskrit?
For one good counter-example, the standard Swedish pitch accent is not determined by or influenced by syllable weight at all. It is sensitive to morphology though, and useful to distinguish e.g. the noun plural suffix -e from the suffix -e that derives nouns (words with the latter take accent #2, also known as the grave accent or double-falling tone).

Also, if by "dependent upon" you mean "determined by", I'd like to point out the ancient Greek pitch accent is only influenced by the weight of the last syllable, and in the end it's not predictable. There's quite a bit of memorization involved.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

In the ancestor lang before Vrkhazhian it pretty much only had /a a: i i: u u:/. Vrkhazhian at some point develops the phonemes /æ~e æ~e:/ from the fronting of /a a:/ as a result of the pharyngeal consonants /ʡ ħ/.

I need help thinking of an ancient gender system that can eventually produce this as an end result:

Code: Select all

        Masc  | Fem
NOM.SG: -e    | -a
OBL.SG: -i    | -u
NOM.PL: -en   | -an
OBL.PL: -in   | -un
Construct state endings:

Code: Select all

        Masc  | Fem
NOM.SG: -0    | -0
OBL.SG: -0    | -0
NOM.PL: -ē    | -ā
OBL.PL: -ī    | -ū
I basically have it where: the plural suffix in the base state is /n/, the plural suffix in the construct state is /:/, and the oblique case is the nominative case plus [+height]. The construct state is basically a disfix in the singular.

I've put myself in a paradox, I can't have a gender system without the front-back distinction in the non-high vowels but /æ~e/ doesn't exist until after the gender system and triconsonantal root system (of which the gender-case endings are crucial in its development) have been already established. On top of that, I don't really want the ancestor language having anything other than /a a: i i: u u:/.

I have made attempts to similarly merge the endings in either the oblique case or the nominative or between nominative masculine and oblique masculine but it just always felt dissatisfying. It either feels like a half step away from just abolishing gender altogether or a half step away from just abolishing case altogether, neither of which I want to do.

I am at a complete loss. I dunno, I'm just hoping someone else can come up with some kind of diachronic magic to make this all work together.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Creyeditor »

Could the pharyngeals be part of the ancestor lang paradigm (outside of any trilit-system) and then be irregulary deleted in suffixes? Marked consonants are sometimes simplified in inflectional suffixes, cf. English has < hath.
One disadvantage is that you would end up with system where nominative case is morphologically marked by more complex suffixes, but maybe that is okay for you.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by sangi39 »

I tried to give this some though while I was at work, and I could only come up with a basic idea:

1) The original paradigm had just nom.sing. -a, obl.sing. -i, and number was unmarked.

2) Some old demonstratives come along, possibly *ʡa (used with human male nouns), and *ta (used with human female nouns), and *na (used with human plural nouns), with inanimate/non-sex-having nouns unmarked, for now, which serve as a way of marking something like definiteness (but only in human nouns and maybe animates for now). That gives you the basis of the absolute state, and gender, with an unmarked indefinite state forming the basis for the construct state.

3) Some other demonstrative, let's say *ha forms the basis for marking the plural in a non-definite state.

That gives you:

Code: Select all

         |indef.  |     def.
---------+--------+-------+--------
         |        | m.    | f.
---------+--------+-------+--------
nom.sing.| -a     | -a-ʡa | -a-ta
obl.sing.| -u     | -u-ʡa | -u-ta
nom.pl.  | -a-ha  |     -a-na
obl.pl.  | -u-ha  |     -u-na
4) Let's just say that, for whatever reason, that final vowels drops out, yielding -0, -Vʡ, -Vt, Vh, -Vn.

5) The shift of /a/ > /e/ occurs before the laryngeals (and I'm throwing in /u/ > /y/ > /i/ as well, but that will likely mess with what you already have, so it is a bit of a pain).

6) The two final plosives are dropped, and the final -h causes the preceding vowel to length before dropping out. Giving:

Code: Select all

         |indef.  |     def.
---------+--------+-------+--------
         |        | m.    | f.
---------+--------+-------+--------
nom.sing.| -a     | -e    | -a
obl.sing.| -u     | -i    | -u
nom.pl.  | -a:    |      -an
obl.pl.  | -u:    |      -un
Around this time, all nouns in the absolute state take on what were originally definiteness suffixes as a marker of grammatical gender, making the presence of final -e and -i in one subset of nouns in the absolute state much more common, such that 7) these vowels expand through the rest of the paradigm as they are understood as the markers of the masculine gender.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

sangi39 wrote: 12 Feb 2021 23:13 I tried to give this some though while I was at work, and I could only come up with a basic idea:

1) The original paradigm had just nom.sing. -a, obl.sing. -i, and number was unmarked.

2) Some old demonstratives come along, possibly *ʡa (used with human male nouns), and *ta (used with human female nouns), and *na (used with human plural nouns), with inanimate/non-sex-having nouns unmarked, for now, which serve as a way of marking something like definiteness (but only in human nouns and maybe animates for now). That gives you the basis of the absolute state, and gender, with an unmarked indefinite state forming the basis for the construct state.

3) Some other demonstrative, let's say *ha forms the basis for marking the plural in a non-definite state.

That gives you:

Code: Select all

         |indef.  |     def.
---------+--------+-------+--------
         |        | m.    | f.
---------+--------+-------+--------
nom.sing.| -a     | -a-ʡa | -a-ta
obl.sing.| -u     | -u-ʡa | -u-ta
nom.pl.  | -a-ha  |     -a-na
obl.pl.  | -u-ha  |     -u-na
Determiners, they solve all problems.

Which not only solves the problem of explaining e as a suffix, but still manages to preserve the syllable weight of the root (as the suffixes are never supposed to be stressed). I think I could also use that play around with how the paradigms work in other languages.

And I can create the verb agreement suffixes from the possessive suffixes.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

I am once again asking for y'all's help to basically conlang for me because I've been wracking my head (because I overthink things) how to take my set of proto-pronouns and change them so the end result is a little more opaque as well making possessive suffixes and verbal agreement suffixes (which come from possessive suffixes). I'm wondering what other more diachronics-imaginative people could come up with.

Firstly I'm not even sure what the second and third persons are gonna look like, especially deriving plural forms from them. All I know is that the core consonants are basically:

Code: Select all

  S / P
1 n / d
2 m / ?
3 k / ?
I've cycled between matu, massu, maryu, mayu, maħu, etc. and whether the third persons would have the same shape or basically be derived from ku āyu(m) "that woman" and ki āwi(m) "that man":

Code: Select all

mu āyum "this woman" > māyum > māu > mū > -mu?
mi āwim "this man" > māwim > māi > mē > -mi?

ku āyum "that woman" > kāyum > kāu > kū > -ku?
ki āwim > "that man" kāwim > kāi > kē > -ki?
But this feels too formulaic

As for pluralizating the third and second persons, I'm torn between affixing a -n or lengthening the vowel like the plurals of nouns. Though I don't really want the verb endings to look the same as the noun endings in that way.

Nominative:
anu / adu
mVC(C)-u
mVC(C)-i
kVC(C)-u
kVC(C)-i

Accusative-Genitive (pronoun plus ku "at, on"):
ani ku / adi ku
mVC(C)-a ku
kVC(C)-a ku

Instrumental (pronoun plus sa "with"):
ani sa / adi sa
mVC(C)-a sa
kVC(C)-a sa

I am quite satisfied with what I've come up with for the first persons, it is mostly the second and third persons I'm not sure about:
enêk "me, mine"
edm-ū "I call for, I summon"
ḫakar-ni "my dog"
ḫakrê-ni "my dogs"

edêk "us, ours"
edm-ā "we call for, we summon"
ḫakar-ti "our dog"
ḫakrê-ti "our dogs"
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I find it hard to answer your question. Is it about diachronics or about aesthetics? Maybe I misunderstood.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ahzoh »

Creyeditor wrote: 24 Feb 2021 10:03 I find it hard to answer your question. Is it about diachronics or about aesthetics? Maybe I misunderstood.
It's unfortunately a little bit of both. An artist can be so frustrated with what they came up with that it requires a fresh perspective, to see what another might have come up with.

Although I have come to accept the suffixes I've come up with now it's more a matter of diachronically justifying some of them and determining the independent pronouns
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