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

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

Post by Parlox »

Hey it's been a while since I've been on.. And I have a quick question.

So a conlang I've been working on has no adverbs or adjectives, instead it uses nouns for both of these categories. My question is: What might be a good way to handle pro-adverbs like where/how/therefore/etc?

I was thinking of just using nouns like typical, but "the reason you did it?" or "He did it in a unknown location." for "Why did you do it?" and "He did it somewhere." just doesn't sound right to me.
  • :con: Gondolan, the pride of the Gondolan empire.
  • :con: Tsodanian, a tri-cons language with heavy armenian influence.
  • :con: Yaponese, an isolated language in Japan.
  • :con: Mothaukan, crazy tonal language.

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

Post by Omzinesý »

Parlox wrote:
31 May 2020 18:55
Hey it's been a while since I've been on.. And I have a quick question.

So a conlang I've been working on has no adverbs or adjectives, instead it uses nouns for both of these categories. My question is: What might be a good way to handle pro-adverbs like where/how/therefore/etc?

I was thinking of just using nouns like typical, but "the reason you did it?" or "He did it in a unknown location." for "Why did you do it?" and "He did it somewhere." just doesn't sound right to me.
I don't think there are any languages without any adverbs.
You can easily replace productive adverbs like 'easily', 'happily' etc. but the grammatical ones are tricky.

If they are affixes or clitics, can you say there are no adverbs?
Some languages have question verbs. 'Some reason' words grammaticalize very easily to adverbs anyways.

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

Post by Parlox »

Omzinesý wrote:
31 May 2020 20:41
I don't think there are any languages without any adverbs.
You can easily replace productive adverbs like 'easily', 'happily' etc. but the grammatical ones are tricky.

If they are affixes or clitics, can you say there are no adverbs?
Some languages have question verbs. 'Some reason' words grammaticalize very easily to adverbs anyways.
I've just been using nouns with modifying particles and agreement with the "adverbs" verb to express adverbial stuff . Like the noun "speed" with an intensifier to indicate something that is quick, stuff like that. Here's an example:

Rös at dhän-syl pys-syl.
[3RD.MASC.ABS.SING INTENS speed-PAST.ACT cry-PAST.ACT]
He cried quickly. (Lit. He "very" speed cried.)

I thought this was relatively intuitive, if a bit cumbersome. But I can't find any examples of languages without adverbs. I know that Gondolan's (the conlang) descendants develop adverbs and adjectives by amalgamating these noun phrases.

So I guess my question here is (because I figured out how to represent pro-adverbs), should I just remove this system and use adverbs (even if with limitation)?


ps. I didn't know there were no languages without adverbs when I began making this language, I had jsut decided that I didn't want adjectives and kind of did the same with adverbs.
  • :con: Gondolan, the pride of the Gondolan empire.
  • :con: Tsodanian, a tri-cons language with heavy armenian influence.
  • :con: Yaponese, an isolated language in Japan.
  • :con: Mothaukan, crazy tonal language.

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

As you may know, I have a language that's, essentially, a fantasy version of Irish. Over the past few days, I've adapted it to be my Runepath setting's Elvish language through massive simplification, such as elimination of diphthongs. Currently, the vowel system is /ɑ e ɛ i ɪ ɔ œ ʊ ʏ/, all of which nasalize in conjunction with syllable final [mˠ, mʲ, ŋ, ɲ] and reduce to [ə] when outside the first syllable. Is either /œ, ʏ → ø, y/ without /ɔ, ʊ → o, u/ or the first syllable to retaining its full vowel after the loss of stress weird? The latter will happen anyways, while I'm unsure about the former.

Example word
Caensailiu: /ˈkɛŋ.ʂə.ʎʊ → ˈkɛ̃.ʂə.ʎʊ → kɛ̃.ʂə.ʎə/
Last edited by yangfiretiger121 on 31 May 2020 21:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

Parlox wrote:
31 May 2020 18:55
Hey it's been a while since I've been on.. And I have a quick question.

So a conlang I've been working on has no adverbs or adjectives, instead it uses nouns for both of these categories. My question is: What might be a good way to handle pro-adverbs like where/how/therefore/etc?

I was thinking of just using nouns like typical, but "the reason you did it?" or "He did it in a unknown location." for "Why did you do it?" and "He did it somewhere." just doesn't sound right to me.
In my main conlang, "Why (did you do it)?" would be Vulpis?, formed by attaching the open-ended question particle pis to the 2nd person past tense verb vul "you saw". Thus it is an idiom, similar to asking "what did you see?" (The literal "what did you see?" translation would be similar but the tense marker would be on the outside.)

This setup might seem awfully strange, but it works for me, and I think its more naturalistic to build the word for "why?" from an atomic root rather than using a noun that by itself already means "reason" and is unlikely to be atomic unless the language has many such nouns with complex meanings. Of course, you dont need to use the word for "to see", ... I just picked it because it is a single-consonant root in this language.

Arguably pis could be translated as "unknown", and therefore my translation for the second construction would be exactly identical to the one you're not interested in: Fulpis?, which could be translated as "He was in what"? This is formed from f- "to be inside", just as the previous sentence was formed from v- "to see".

Yes, its just one letter off from the previous translation, but this language has initial stress, so that one change is acoustically prominent. Again, that has no bearing on my advice .... you may want to use roots more than a single consonant long if you end up doing anything like what Im doing .... and I suspect your language is quite different grammatically from mine and would not be able to precisely use the same type of structure that Im using anyway.
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

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

Post by Parlox »

Pabappa wrote:
31 May 2020 21:19
In my main conlang, "Why (did you do it)?" would be Vulpis?, formed by attaching the open-ended question particle pis to the 2nd person past tense verb vul "you saw". Thus it is an idiom, similar to asking "what did you see?" (The literal "what did you see?" translation would be similar but the tense marker would be on the outside.)

This setup might seem awfully strange, but it works for me, and I think its more naturalistic to build the word for "why?" from an atomic root rather than using a noun that by itself already means "reason" and is unlikely to be atomic unless the language has many such nouns with complex meanings. Of course, you dont need to use the word for "to see", ... I just picked it because it is a single-consonant root in this language.

Arguably pis could be translated as "unknown", and therefore my translation for the second construction would be exactly identical to the one you're not interested in: Fulpis?, which could be translated as "He was in what"? This is formed from f- "to be inside", just as the previous sentence was formed from v- "to see".

Yes, its just one letter off from the previous translation, but this language has initial stress, so that one change is acoustically prominent. Again, that has no bearing on my advice .... you may want to use roots more than a single consonant long if you end up doing anything like what Im doing .... and I suspect your language is quite different grammatically from mine and would not be able to precisely use the same type of structure that Im using anyway.
Hey thanks for the reply!

I've decided that Gondolan will have a (very) small series of adverbs derived from nouns, mostly pro-adverbs and some things representing qualities (like fast, smart, etc). Otherwise nouns will be co-opted to express information typically expressed by pure adverbs.
  • :con: Gondolan, the pride of the Gondolan empire.
  • :con: Tsodanian, a tri-cons language with heavy armenian influence.
  • :con: Yaponese, an isolated language in Japan.
  • :con: Mothaukan, crazy tonal language.

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

Post by Salmoneus »

Parlox wrote:
31 May 2020 18:55
Hey it's been a while since I've been on.. And I have a quick question.

So a conlang I've been working on has no adverbs or adjectives, instead it uses nouns for both of these categories. My question is: What might be a good way to handle pro-adverbs like where/how/therefore/etc?

I was thinking of just using nouns like typical, but "the reason you did it?" or "He did it in a unknown location." for "Why did you do it?" and "He did it somewhere." just doesn't sound right to me.
Why does it sound odd to you to say "He did it somewhere", but not "he did it here"? Or "Because of what did you do it?" but not "he did it because of his hope to eat"? Are you sure you're not just being informed by English's idiosyncracies?

Regarding the example in your next post: surely, if "speed" is marked for tense and voice and modifies the verb, it IS an adverb? Or at least a verb? I don't see why it's a noun in your example?


[and yes, it seems much more likely to me to have a language with few adverbs than to have one with none. After all, saying "once" and "now" and "maybe" is SO much easier than saying "on one occasion", "during the current period of time" and "in some but not all possible worlds"...]


-----

Pabappa: why wouldn't "reason" be an atomic word? It's - particularly in this sense, of 'cause' or 'motive' - a very basic word conceptually. I know English has a loanword, but that shouldn't lead us to think that it's somehow a word that languages won't often have some very basic word for - after all, you can't have many conversations without it! [it is, however, in a semantic area that's prone to shifts, precisely because it's so basic and yet not concrete - so it's prone to a lot of idioms forming. Like words for 'stuff' and 'thing' (which can also mean 'reason' in many languages, of course), which similarly are prone to invention, despite it being an extremely basic concept.

[Irish, FWIW, has fáth, meaning simply cause or reason, and it has meant that as the primary meaning since Old Irish (in OI it could also apparently mean 'prophecy'...). "Why?" is simply Cén fáth/, literally "what reason?". And cén is from cé+an, so even more literally "who the reason?"; similarly, "how?" is simply "what (/who the) path?"]

But of course, 'why' is open to idiomatic alternatives. In English, for instance, we often ask "what were you thinking?"...

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

Post by Parlox »

Salmoneus wrote:
31 May 2020 22:52
Why does it sound odd to you to say "He did it somewhere", but not "he did it here"? Or "Because of what did you do it?" but not "he did it because of his hope to eat"? Are you sure you're not just being informed by English's idiosyncracies?

Regarding the example in your next post: surely, if "speed" is marked for tense and voice and modifies the verb, it IS an adverb? Or at least a verb? I don't see why it's a noun in your example?


[and yes, it seems much more likely to me to have a language with few adverbs than to have one with none. After all, saying "once" and "now" and "maybe" is SO much easier than saying "on one occasion", "during the current period of time" and "in some but not all possible worlds"...]
Well Gondolan doesn't really have any true stand-alone adjectives, it has nouns that can be used as them. And those examples just sound "odd" to me because they're more unwieldly.

It is essentially an adverb in this case, it's just that most "adverbs" are formed from nouns.
  • :con: Gondolan, the pride of the Gondolan empire.
  • :con: Tsodanian, a tri-cons language with heavy armenian influence.
  • :con: Yaponese, an isolated language in Japan.
  • :con: Mothaukan, crazy tonal language.

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

Post by Reyzadren »

Unless y'all are referring to "adverbs" in the meta-linguistic sense, fyi that other natlang that I speak as well as my conlang has no adverbs (as its own class/category), and they seem to work fine. If a language sees itself having no adverbs from its own perspective, I don't see what's the big deal, and I'm quite sure that you can have ways to handle such constructions in your conlang.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Parlox wrote:
31 May 2020 23:01
Salmoneus wrote:
31 May 2020 22:52
Why does it sound odd to you to say "He did it somewhere", but not "he did it here"? Or "Because of what did you do it?" but not "he did it because of his hope to eat"? Are you sure you're not just being informed by English's idiosyncracies?

Regarding the example in your next post: surely, if "speed" is marked for tense and voice and modifies the verb, it IS an adverb? Or at least a verb? I don't see why it's a noun in your example?


[and yes, it seems much more likely to me to have a language with few adverbs than to have one with none. After all, saying "once" and "now" and "maybe" is SO much easier than saying "on one occasion", "during the current period of time" and "in some but not all possible worlds"...]
Well Gondolan doesn't really have any true stand-alone adjectives, it has nouns that can be used as them.
Sorry, do you mean adverbs?
And those examples just sound "odd" to me because they're more unwieldly.
But my point is, there's nothing actually unwieldy about an expression like "he did it a place" or "what reason you do it?" (or "for what you do it?" for that matter). It's just not something English does, but that needn't limit what your conlang does!

I mean, just look how horrendously 'unwieldy' English can be! Compare:

conlang: a dan (su) la?
gloss: what cause (you) so

vs. English: why did you do it?

The conlang is unwieldy? The English has a pronominal adverb, the same dummy verb TWICE, once marked for tense and once in an infinitive, AND a dummy pronoun! Plus another pronoun that's obligatory despite it usually being entirely clear from context anyway. Or instead you could say "why is it you did it?", in which case you have two different dummy verbs, the same dummy pronoun twice (or you could replace the second 'it' with 'that', and have both a dummy personal pronoun AND a dummy demonstrative pronoun!), and an entire relative clause, the whole thing requiring two different tenses!
It is essentially an adverb in this case, it's just that most "adverbs" are formed from nouns.
This is perfectly reasonable, of course.

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

Post by Parlox »

Salmoneus wrote:
01 Jun 2020 01:36
But my point is, there's nothing actually unwieldy about an expression like "he did it a place" or "what reason you do it?" (or "for what you do it?" for that matter). It's just not something English does, but that needn't limit what your conlang does!

I mean, just look how horrendously 'unwieldy' English can be! Compare:

conlang: a dan (su) la?
gloss: what cause (you) so

vs. English: why did you do it?

The conlang is unwieldy? The English has a pronominal adverb, the same dummy verb TWICE, once marked for tense and once in an infinitive, AND a dummy pronoun! Plus another pronoun that's obligatory despite it usually being entirely clear from context anyway. Or instead you could say "why is it you did it?", in which case you have two different dummy verbs, the same dummy pronoun twice (or you could replace the second 'it' with 'that', and have both a dummy personal pronoun AND a dummy demonstrative pronoun!), and an entire relative clause, the whole thing requiring two different tenses!
I suppose you're right, I might go in this direction with my conlang. Really my only problem with it is that it's already a rather unwieldy conlang. I've been trying to condense the language some.
  • :con: Gondolan, the pride of the Gondolan empire.
  • :con: Tsodanian, a tri-cons language with heavy armenian influence.
  • :con: Yaponese, an isolated language in Japan.
  • :con: Mothaukan, crazy tonal language.

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

Is liaison an appropriate name for the process in my setting's Elvish language that causes the events below across word boundaries? If not, what's an appropriate name for it? For context, [ʃ, ʁ, ʎ] are the only sounds that remain word-finally.

1. Usually pronounced final consonant deleting before a would-be duplicate (paech [pʰɛʃ] vs. paech chomra [pʰɛ‿ʃɔ̃ʁ])
2. Usually silent final consonant before a vowel (yn [ỹ] vs. yn oelune [yŋ‿œʎũ])
3. Usually silent final consonant other than [ʕ̞] before [ʕ̞], deleting [ʕ̞] (het [ɥe] vs. het qoech [ɥetʰ‿œʃ])
Last edited by yangfiretiger121 on 02 Jun 2020 18:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 »

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
02 Jun 2020 18:32
Is liaison an appropriate name for the process in my setting's Elvish language that causes the events below across word boundaries?
"Liaison" is a French-specific term. The broader phenomenon of sound changes at word boundaries is called sandhi. What you're describing in your conlang is sandhi.

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Post by Creyeditor »

Dormouse559 wrote:
02 Jun 2020 18:42
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
02 Jun 2020 18:32
Is liaison an appropriate name for the process in my setting's Elvish language that causes the events below across word boundaries?
"Liaison" is a French-specific term. The broader phenomenon of sound changes at word boundaries is called sandhi. What you're describing in your conlang is sandhi.
On the other hand, sandhi is a very general term, that often refers to any process occuring at some morphosyntactic boundary. Also, the German Wikipedia claims that Liaison is also used for other languages and the German term for the IPA symbol Linking [ ‿ ] is apparently Liaisonbogen. So maybe Linking (Segments) would be an alternative.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Dormouse559 »

Creyeditor wrote:
02 Jun 2020 22:13
On the other hand, sandhi is a very general term, that often refers to any process occuring at some morphosyntactic boundary. Also, the German Wikipedia claims that Liaison is also used for other languages and the German term for the IPA symbol Linking [ ‿ ] is apparently Liaisonbogen. So maybe Linking (Segments) would be an alternative.
German and English don't necesssarily use "liaison" with the same meaning. To my Anglophone sensibilities, applying "liaison" to a language other than French (or a language closely related to it) feels liable to give the wrong impression, like describing metaphony as "umlaut". If it's very important to narrow the sandhi down immediately, it can be called "word-level sandhi".

To the point of the examples yangfiretiger provided, only one of them appears directly analogous to French liaison (No. 2). There are no liaison processes that resemble the other two, in no small part because French doesn't delete initial consonants.

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Post by Salmoneus »

And yet, umlaut is very widely used for languages outside of Germanic. Indeed, it's probably more common than 'metaphony' (or, indeed, 'vowel affection').

Similarly, I don't see why 'liaison' can't be used for non-French languages. We don't need to have a special unique vocabulary just for French!

Personally, I would see 'liaison' as appropriate specifically for narrower process than 'sandhi': simple word-boundary changes, epenthesis, and particularly where the added segment is derived lexically. This could even allow 'sandhi' to be used only for purely morphophonemic processes (though I'd probably call very widespread lexical sandhi "mutation" or "gradation", myself...)

I'd call 2 and 3 examples of liaison, while I'd call 1 an example of sandhi proper; but if those are really the only three sandhi processes, I'd be happy to call them all 'liaison'; it seems like it might be less misleading than to call it 'sandhi', even if in a wider sense these are all sandhi processes.

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Post by Ser »

I don't remember where it was that I recently read the observation that while Romance linguistics is fond of the term "metaphony", in linguistics as a whole you're more likely to come across "umlaut", or even (a very specialized and limited type of) "vowel harmony".

Naturally, specialized (morpho)phonological terms exist. Arabic has a term for the raising of historical [a a:] to [e e:] and occasionally [i i:], and it would be really funny to apply it to French for its own historical raise of [a:] > [æ:] > [e:] (cārum [ˈkaːɾu] > *[ˈkʲæːɾo] > chier [ˈtʃjeɾ]).
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

Salmoneus wrote:
03 Jun 2020 01:03
And yet, umlaut is very widely used for languages outside of Germanic. Indeed, it's probably more common than 'metaphony' (or, indeed, 'vowel affection').

Similarly, I don't see why 'liaison' can't be used for non-French languages. We don't need to have a special unique vocabulary just for French!

Personally, I would see 'liaison' as appropriate specifically for narrower process than 'sandhi': simple word-boundary changes, epenthesis, and particularly where the added segment is derived lexically. This could even allow 'sandhi' to be used only for purely morphophonemic processes (though I'd probably call very widespread lexical sandhi "mutation" or "gradation", myself...)

I'd call 2 and 3 examples of liaison, while I'd call 1 an example of sandhi proper; but if those are really the only three sandhi processes, I'd be happy to call them all 'liaison'; it seems like it might be less misleading than to call it 'sandhi', even if in a wider sense these are all sandhi processes.
The deletion of vowels from certain determiners before vowels happens as well, as in noe liagnt [ŋœ ʎi.ɑ̃t] vs. n’aeho [ŋ‿ɛɥ]. There might be more sandhi, but the local term for these four linking variations is Tlyakae's [tly.ɑkʰ] Law, after the linguist who "discovered"/codified them. On a related note, should law's with local names in them be referenced as [Insert-name]'s [insert-pron] Law (1) or [Insert-name]'s Law [insert-pron] (2) the first time I mention them? Currently, I use (1) for clarity.

Additionally, I'm just about positive Common will have all open syllables with prenasalized consonants rather than nasal vowels. Is that derivation pattern weird at all when both parents, Elvish (exclusively) and Phoenixtongue (in combination with closed syllables ending in nasals), have nasal vowels?
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Post by Omzinesý »

I'm thinking about diachronic conlanging.

If the proto-language has /o:/, what could condition that the/o:/ changes to /u:/ in some environments and /uo/ in some environments?

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Post by Salmoneus »

Omzinesý wrote:
03 Jun 2020 12:58
I'm thinking about diachronic conlanging.

If the proto-language has /o:/, what could condition that the/o:/ changes to /u:/ in some environments and /uo/ in some environments?
Well, it's best to think of this sort of thing not as a phoneme changing to either X or Y depending on environment, but as the product of two discrete changes, one of which was context-dependent.

So, there's really two possible questions for you to look at here: what would cause /o:/ > /u:/ (remaining /o:/ then breaks); or what would cause /o:/ to break (remaining /o:/ then raises).

I think the latter is more likely, probably. And why would /o:/ break? Well, the obvious culprits would be a following low vowel [ko:ta > koata > kuot] or less likely some sort of following coda consonant (ko:ht > ko@ht > /ku@ht > /kuoht/). You could also have /uo/ come from /oe/ - ie from a fronting or derounding (ko:ti > koeti > kueti > kuoti). And you could have breaking be due to a preceding raising element (jo:ta > juota)

With the plain raising of /u:/, the most likely thing would be an adjacent raised element (palatals, palatoalveolars, approximants, etc), before or after the segment (ones before could alternatively trigger breaking). However, /u:/ is usually also more rounded than /o:/, so it could be an adjacent rounding element. Or, of course, some sort of vowel affection or harmony (ko:tu > ku:tu).

Finally, in both cases, issues around stress and syllable weight may be relevant. Particularly if /o:/ > /u:/ is a merger, which could easily be more common in unstressed syllables. Breaking could happen only in stressed syllables (perhaps via an overlong allophone). It's less likely but conceivable it might only happen in unstressed syllables for syllable shape reasons (if long vowels are only allowed in stressed syllables, unstressed /o:/ could break into bisyllabic /o.o/, which could then remerge as /uo/).

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