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Post by Ahzoh »

jimydog000 wrote: 05 May 2021 14:34 What are some different excuses for having a word for person, and a word for human?
People in general or the ethnic group of the speakers? If the former, then the notion of humans having personhood is easy to make. If the latter, well people tend to be culture-centric so the default human will often be themselves. Like if they saw a stickman, they'd assume it was a representative of their ethnic group/race by default.

Is there some specific fancy name for this type of possession inversion? Like "attributive" or "emphatic" or?
"Normal" possession
arms(-CNS) sun-FEM(-GEN) many-MASC "many arms of the sun"
face(-CNS) earth-MASC(-GEN) "face of the earth"

"Marked" possession
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC "the sun her many arms"
earth-MASC face-3ms "the earth his face"
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Oh that's cool,
In Hebrew, apparently you can translate human as "son of Adam" בן אדם, although, it's more like the word "human being". While adam אדם can mean man, person and humankind.
Meanwhile in English we get human from an adjective form of man/person.
In Japanese, human comes from a Buddhist word for the world of mankind.

And then there was this grammar pdf of an African language I was reading, there was a word for man/person and a word for woman, but if you wanted to express the person was a man, you would say something like "male person"... Then in this hypothetical language I can imagine "male person" loses it's meaning and becomes person/man, while "person" becomes the word "human". Something like that with a lexical shift, I'm sure it's ANADEW somewhere.
Then there might be a scheme of "generic person" or "common man" or "person species" as "human", probably ANADEW too.
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Post by Salmoneus »

I think it would be necessary to be more clear what is meant by 'person' here, and indeed 'human'...
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Ahzoh wrote: 06 May 2021 23:43 Is there some specific fancy name for this type of possession inversion? Like "attributive" or "emphatic" or?
"Normal" possession
arms(-CNS) sun-FEM(-GEN) many-MASC "many arms of the sun"
face(-CNS) earth-MASC(-GEN) "face of the earth"

"Marked" possession
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC "the sun her many arms"
earth-MASC face-3ms "the earth his face"
CNS?
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jimydog000 wrote: 07 May 2021 16:00And then there was this grammar pdf of an African language I was reading, there was a word for man/person and a word for woman, but if you wanted to express the person was a man, you would say something like "male person"... Then in this hypothetical language I can imagine "male person" loses it's meaning and becomes person/man, while "person" becomes the word "human". Something like that with a lexical shift, I'm sure it's ANADEW somewhere.
Then there might be a scheme of "generic person" or "common man" or "person species" as "human", probably ANADEW too.
I really don't understand what you understood from that PDF there.

At any rate, whatever you meant to say there reminds me of Mandarin, which doesn't really have words for "man" and "woman", but rather adjectives that are used in the compounds "male person" (nánrén) and "female person" (nǔrén), or more colloquially, "a male one" (nán de) or "a female one" (nǔ de). This also means Mandarin rén alone is often used as a very semantically/pragmatically unmarked word for "person" (which is rather marked in usage), used where English would use words like "someone", "anyone", generic "you", etc. instead. Similar to English "people", but singular.

Incidentally, previously in ancient Chinese, nán and nǔ used to be nouns meaning 'man' and 'woman' though.
jimydog000 wrote: 07 May 2021 17:09CNS?
"Construct", i.e. possessed, when a noun is marked as possessed by another noun (or word). It's a term used famously in Semitic linguistics, sometimes used for other families and languages too (e.g. in Nahuatl grammar, where possessed nouns are also marked as such via suffixes).
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Ahzoh wrote: 06 May 2021 23:43 Is there some specific fancy name for this type of possession inversion? Like "attributive" or "emphatic" or?
"Normal" possession
arms(-CNS) sun-FEM(-GEN) many-MASC "many arms of the sun"
face(-CNS) earth-MASC(-GEN) "face of the earth"

"Marked" possession
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC "the sun her many arms"
earth-MASC face-3ms "the earth his face"
I think possessor inversion is a possible term. Maybe there is a more specific term, depending on the details. Does the 3fs/3ms correspond to 'her/him' in general? Does it refer to possessors only? In what contexts is the marked possession construction used?
A similar construction in Germanic languages has been called his-genitive. Maybe you could use the affix used for 3fs/3ms and derive a name?
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Creyeditor wrote: 08 May 2021 09:34 I think possessor inversion is a possible term. Maybe there is a more specific term, depending on the details. Does the 3fs/3ms correspond to 'her/him' in general? Does it refer to possessors only? In what contexts is the marked possession construction used?
A similar construction in Germanic languages has been called his-genitive. Maybe you could use the affix used for 3fs/3ms and derive a name?
They're possessive suffixes.

I use this inverted possession primarily to indicate such phrases as "the horned bull" or "the many-eyed seraphim". I think it maintains an emphasis on the possessing noun as if the possessed noun was merely an adjective.
It is perhaps also to show gender when it is necessary because obliques and constructs don't distinguish gender.

Yes, it does sound a lot like the Germanic his-genitive.
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Maybe you could just stay with possessor inversion. Or, if you want to go for a more meaning-oriented term, possessor focus. I wouldn't use attributive possession, because IMHO this sounds confusing. It could mean that the possessor is an attribute (i.e. my hat vs. I have a hat) and it could also mean that the possessor has some attribute/property (i.e. my wisdom vs. I am wise). Possessor focus has been reported in Modern Greek, IIRC. One further question: If you use such an NP in a sentence, what is the referent of the NP? For exaple, if you use the complex NP as a subject, e.g.
`sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC vanish', is it the sun or the arms that vanish? If it is the sun, then I would not call it possessor focus anymore. Instead you might want to translate this as `with' or maybe even comitative? If it is the arms that vanish, I think it*s fair to call it possessor inversion or possessor focus.


My variety of colloquial German has possessor inversion in NOM and ACC complex noun phrases. This mostly serves to mark the possessor as focused. And I think this has been called possessor inversion or PP inversion, since it is actually also possible with other prepositional phrases.

(1)
die Katze von Jan
the cat of John
`John's cat'

(2)
von Jan die Katze
of John the cat
`JOHN's cat'
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Creyeditor wrote: 08 May 2021 22:56 Maybe you could just stay with possessor inversion. Or, if you want to go for a more meaning-oriented term, possessor focus. I wouldn't use attributive possession, because IMHO this sounds confusing. It could mean that the possessor is an attribute (i.e. my hat vs. I have a hat) and it could also mean that the possessor has some attribute/property (i.e. my wisdom vs. I am wise). Possessor focus has been reported in Modern Greek, IIRC. One further question: If you use such an NP in a sentence, what is the referent of the NP? For exaple, if you use the complex NP as a subject, e.g.
`sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC vanish', is it the sun or the arms that vanish? If it is the sun, then I would not call it possessor focus anymore. Instead you might want to translate this as `with' or maybe even comitative? If it is the arms that vanish, I think it*s fair to call it possessor inversion or possessor focus.
it would be so:
a) Aḳālum uśśêkun âdī pariñtu
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC vanish-3fs
the many-armed sun vanished / the sun with many arms vanished

b) Uśśê Aḳālam âdī pariñti
arm-CNS sun-FEM many-MASC vanish-3ms
the many arms belonging to the sun vanished

It is a difference over whether the possessor is more salient or whether the possessed thing is more salient. I do not think it would be possessor inversion as that implies that the possessors themselves are being inverted, when the possessor (the sun) stays the same in all instances, it is only the order of possessor and possessed that changes.
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Ahzoh wrote: 08 May 2021 23:58 it would be so:
a) Aḳālum uśśêkun âdī pariñtu
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC vanish-3fs
the many-armed sun vanished / the sun with many arms vanished

b) Uśśê Aḳālam âdī pariñti
arm-CNS sun-FEM many-MASC vanish-3ms
the many arms belonging to the sun vanished

It is a difference over whether the possessor is more salient or whether the possessed thing is more salient.
But your translations don't match this. In your translation, the difference is that the actual roles are altered: in a), the sun is the subject, and in b) the arms are the subject (semantically, at least, though the change in gender marking on the verb seems to confirm that this is syntactic as well). That's nothing to do with salience!

Indeed, a) doesn't really look like a possessive construction, but a comitative of some kind. "The sun with her many arms vanished" (the preposition not being explicit; or you could say that the relative existential verb (the sun, her many arms existing, vanished) is missing, etc). Of course, there's a possessive inside this - 'her arms'. How would you say "her arms" in a different context? [it would seem odd to have a form of possession that's only used within a comitative (or relative) phrase.
I do not think it would be possessor inversion as that implies that the possessors themselves are being inverted, when the possessor (the sun) stays the same in all instances, it is only the order of possessor and possessed that changes.
Yes, when the order of two things changes, this is what is meant by "inversion".



EDIT: to be clear, I think that what your language is doing is not permitting marked possessors to be arguments of the verb. This is very common. Instead, the possessor is extracted, and a subordinate clause of some sort (which could be a relative clause, a participial clause, a prepositional phrase, etc) is used, co-referencing the possessor anaphorically. This is, again, perfectly ordinary, and indeed is what English does. "John's bleeding arm stains the carpet" > "John with his bleeding arm stains the cabbage" / "John who has a bleeding arm eats cabbage" / "John, arm bleeding, stains the carpet", etc.
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I guess I'd have to call it ornative possession, because it is very similar to how the ornative case works.
Salmoneus wrote: 09 May 2021 19:04 [it would seem odd to have a form of possession that's only used within a comitative (or relative) phrase.
The possessive suffixes are not only used in comitative expressions
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If it changes the head of the phrase, I would maybe go with comitative-possession. Ornative is also fine, just less common I think.
Based on Sal's idea, I think you could also make this about the possessor being somehow extracted from the possessive structure. I looked for terms and neither possessor extraction, nor possessor advancement or possessor raising seem to be unambiguous in use. Then I stumbled across the term 'external possession' and I think this could also fit. But in the ends it's more about explanation than about terminology and I think we already got some crucial information from you here. I must say that I really like this bit of conlang syntax.
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Creyeditor wrote: 09 May 2021 22:49 If it changes the head of the phrase, I would maybe go with comitative-possession.
Well, comitative implies acompanyment (John with Mary), while ornative expresses endownment (A door with green paint on it, a bull with horns)
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Well, comitative is the more general term, I would say and the ornative is more specific. The Wikipedia page on comitative case has examples like Finnish 'with their ships', Hungarian 'with my clothes and shoes', Chukchi 'with a gun'. These are at least not canonical cases of accompaniment. I don't know about body parts, but I would guess you could use the comitative case in these languages.

Also, can the construction in your conlang used for human company? Something like:

father-GENDER daughter-3.GENDER.s many-GENDER vanish-3GENDER.s
''The father with his many daughters vanished.'

Would that also work if you did not use kinship terms?
Sorry that I keep asking questions. I just think it is a really interesting idea [:)]
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Post by Davush »

Ahzoh wrote: 08 May 2021 23:58

it would be so:
a) Aḳālum uśśêkun âdī pariñtu
sun-FEM arms-3fs many-MASC vanish-3fs
the many-armed sun vanished / the sun with many arms vanished

b) Uśśê Aḳālam âdī pariñti
arm-CNS sun-FEM many-MASC vanish-3ms
the many arms belonging to the sun vanished

It is a difference over whether the possessor is more salient or whether the possessed thing is more salient. I do not think it would be possessor inversion as that implies that the possessors themselves are being inverted, when the possessor (the sun) stays the same in all instances, it is only the order of possessor and possessed that changes.
If salience does come into it, I would say that adding possessive marking does often increase the salience of the noun in question (opposite to what you suggest). Intuitively, since the language appears to already have a Semitic-like construct state, I would have read the possessive-suffix constructions as topicalising the possessor and making the possessive-suffixed-noun become the (now more salient) subject: "as for the sun, her many arms...".

If this is being used just/mostly in adjectival-type constructions, then I think Sal is right that they seem to have an elided preposition/relative clause, especially since the possessive-suffixed-noun does not become the verb's subject. Relatedly, the construct can be used in Semitic languages to make such phrases as those described by your "ornative":

qarqafaan mut3addid al-quruun 'many-horned qarqafaan' (type of plant)
qarqafaan-CNS many-CNS DEF-horn.PL
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Creyeditor wrote: 10 May 2021 08:32 Well, comitative is the more general term, I would say and the ornative is more specific. The Wikipedia page on comitative case has examples like Finnish 'with their ships', Hungarian 'with my clothes and shoes', Chukchi 'with a gun'. These are at least not canonical cases of accompaniment. I don't know about body parts, but I would guess you could use the comitative case in these languages.
I have comitative and instrumental postpositions to express these kinds of situations, whereas this construction I have devised is used more attributively. In fact, more often than not the construction is used with inalienable things. But it doesn't mark an alienability distinction.
father-GENDER daughter-3.GENDER.s many-GENDER vanish-3GENDER.s
''The father with his many daughters vanished.'
I feel like I would have three ways to say this:
"Father daughters-his many vanished" = "the father possessing/endowed with many daughters vanished"
"Father daughter-his many COM vanished" = "The father and his many daughters all vanished"
"Father daughter-his many INST vanished" = "With the help of his many daughters, he vanished (himself)"

Davush wrote: 10 May 2021 10:08 If this is being used just/mostly in adjectival-type constructions, then I think Sal is right that they seem to have an elided preposition/relative clause, especially since the possessive-suffixed-noun does not become the verb's subject. Relatedly, the construct can be used in Semitic languages to make such phrases as those described by your "ornative":

qarqafaan mut3addid al-quruun 'many-horned qarqafaan' (type of plant)
qarqafaan-CNS many-CNS DEF-horn.PL
Yea, my construct state is only used for direct possessing (and numerals), I don't use it for anything else.

I had derived this construction from this:
http://linguifex.com/wiki/User:Ashucky/ ... s#Genitive
So yes, maybe Sal is right about an elided adposition.

Given that, there might even be a possession hierarchy:
a) sheep-CNS owner-MASC = the sheep of the owner
b) owner-MASC sheep-3ms = the owner of the sheep
I dunno, does a construct state construction exemplify the possessed is of higher status or does the ornative one exemplify the possessed is of higher status.
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If you explicitly contrast it with a comitative construction, that's a good reason to call it ornative possession.
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Creyeditor wrote: 10 May 2021 23:14 If you explicitly contrast it with a comitative construction, that's a good reason to call it ornative possession.
Yea, but now I have another question. Now I think maybe I'll have a hierarchy of possessors but I'm not sure which of the two constructions would appropriately denote this.

Well, I feel there should be a possession hierarchy because "arm-CNS sun-FEM many-MASC" sounds fine to me but "sun-CNS arm-MASC many-MASC" does not, even though the latter would be a good means of turning the possessor into the subject of a verb. That is, of course, because English is somewhat that way. The part of a whole is not the possessor unless it is somehow more agentive.

EDIT:
Yes, I think I boiled it down to:
Ownership:
property-CNS owner
owner property-3cs (ORN)

Part-Whole Relations:
part-CNS whole
whole part-3cs (ORN)

Kinship Relations:
child-CNS parent
child parent-3cs (ORN)
parent-CNS child
parent child-3cs (ORN)
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I was just wondering what time travel would mean for diachronic language change. Would languages become more stable, due to transtemporal levelling? Less stable, die to transtemporal mass migrations? Would people become multilingual in several stages of one and the same language?
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Creyeditor wrote: 12 May 2021 15:59 I was just wondering what time travel would mean for diachronic language change. Would languages become more stable, due to transtemporal levelling? Less stable, die to transtemporal mass migrations? Would people become multilingual in several stages of one and the same language?
I think it would largely depend on what the fundamental rules of the universe are, how commonplace such travel is and what kinds of restrictions are in place.

Assuming the universe itself allows for easy transtemporal travel and history remains relatively stable regardless of how badly you screw with the timeline, the results will be really no different than what's been obtained with commonplace locational travel that we already experience.

This is because time travel is really no different than place travel. If the future is the Undiscovered Country, then the past is just the Isle of Wight.

If such travel is common enough, I see no reason why publishers wouldn't produce books like 1420s Burgundian in Twelve Easy Lessons or State Department Document XII.47: Introduction to Diplomatic Middle Han Dialects. Might even find cutting edge research along the lines of Cognitive Realia in Fourth Era Neanderthal Verbal Constructs: Contact, Reaction and Evolution in the Perspective of Interracial Marriage Practices. Do try to avoid making this a personal research project!
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