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

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

Post by Ser »

jimydog000 wrote:
10 Jul 2020 13:04
Among others, I came up with this strategy (in English):

The man give book give woman.

Is this completely ANADEW? And I'd like to think the second give could get converb marking or something nice like that.
I don't know of a language that does this with ditransitives, but Mandarin does that with adverbial phrases sometimes.

我看書看得不多。wǒ kàn shū kàn de hěn duō
1SG read book read ADV very much
'I read quite a lot.'
(得 de, glossed as "ADV", simply marks the beginning of an adverbial phrase in this case.)

Note that while you can skip the first 看 kàn, skipping the second one creates an ungrammatical sentence. You can say "1SG book read ADV very much" with the same meaning, but you can't say *"1SG read book ADV very much".
hīc sunt linguificēs. hēr bēoþ tungemakeras.

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Post by Salmoneus »

While it seems possible, doing it with verbs seems a bit unlikely to me.

That's because you'd be using the same verb to mean two different (indeed almost opposite) things.

What does certainly happen is constructions like "The man take book give woman", and I imagine you can find things like "the man donate book benefit woman" - because the ditransitive effectively involves two events (what happens to the book and what happens to the woman), so you can use one verb for each.

But in your construction, you use an identical verb for both events, as though the events were equivalent.

To put it another way: for us, it's obvious that both the woman and the book can be an object of the verb 'give'. But if our verb 'give' were monotransitive, taking only one object, it's not clear that that would still be true. It's probably more likely that we'd use one verb for what you do to gifts, and another verb for what you do to the recipients of gifts.

As I say, it's certainly not impossible that some language uses an identical verb for both. In fact, if pressed, I'd probably bet that some language does do this. But I'd expect it to be much less common than serial verb constructions with two different verbs. I think?

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

The only diphthongs in my setting's Spirittongue language are [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]. While that's unremarkable in-and-of itself, I'm here to check on the proper name for their relationship with [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw]. Considering [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] (before consonants) and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] (before vowels) don't contrast, are [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] allophones of or in complementary distribution with [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]? Based to similarity to [ç, x] in German, I'm fairly sure the pairs are in complementary distribution.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar »

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 17:52
The only diphthongs in my setting's Spirittongue language are [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]. While that's unremarkable in-and-of itself, I'm here to check on the proper name for their relationship with [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw]. Considering [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] (before consonants) and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] (before vowels) don't contrast, are [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] allophones of or in complementary distribution with [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]? Based to similarity to [ç, x] in German, I'm fairly sure the pairs are in complementary distribution.
If I understand correctly that [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] only occur before consonants and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] only occur before vowels, then yes, it sounds like they're in complementary distribution with one another.

Does either pair occur word-finally, without a following consonant or vowel?

Edit: Wait, what do you mean by "allophones of or in complementary distribution with"?
Last edited by shimobaatar on 13 Jul 2020 18:12, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

shimobaatar wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:08
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 17:52
The only diphthongs in my setting's Spirittongue language are [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]. While that's unremarkable in-and-of itself, I'm here to check on the proper name for their relationship with [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw]. Considering [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] (before consonants) and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] (before vowels) don't contrast, are [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] allophones of or in complementary distribution with [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]? Based to similarity to [ç, x] in German, I'm fairly sure the pairs are in complementary distribution.
If I understand correctly that [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] only occur before consonants and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] only occur before vowels, then yes, it sounds like they're in complementary distribution with one another.

Does either pair occur word-finally, without a following consonant or vowel?
Yes, [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] occurs finally. An example is Ýy [ɛ̀ːˈwɛ́ú̯], the chaotic neutral-aligned afterlife.
Last edited by yangfiretiger121 on 13 Jul 2020 18:24, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by shimobaatar »

yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:11
shimobaatar wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:08
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 17:52
The only diphthongs in my setting's Spirittongue language are [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]. While that's unremarkable in-and-of itself, I'm here to check on the proper name for their relationship with [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw]. Considering [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] (before consonants) and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] (before vowels) don't contrast, are [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] allophones of or in complementary distribution with [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]? Based to similarity to [ç, x] in German, I'm fairly sure the pairs are in complementary distribution.
If I understand correctly that [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] only occur before consonants and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] only occur before vowels, then yes, it sounds like they're in complementary distribution with one another.

Does either pair occur word-finally, without a following consonant or vowel?
Yes, [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] occurs finally.
Thank you for the clarification.

I think I'd describe the situation like this: [ɛ́ú̯] and [ɛ́ːw] are both allophones of the phoneme /ɛ́ú̯/, with [ɛ́ːw] occurring before vowels and [ɛ́ú̯] occurring elsewhere (before consonants and word-finally). Likewise, [ɛ̀ù̯] and [ɛ̀ːw] are both allophones of the phoneme /ɛ̀ù̯/, with [ɛ̀ːw] occurring before vowels and [ɛ̀ù̯] occurring elsewhere (before consonants and word-finally).

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

Post by yangfiretiger121 »

shimobaatar wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:18
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:11
shimobaatar wrote:
13 Jul 2020 18:08
yangfiretiger121 wrote:
13 Jul 2020 17:52
The only diphthongs in my setting's Spirittongue language are [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]. While that's unremarkable in-and-of itself, I'm here to check on the proper name for their relationship with [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw]. Considering [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] (before consonants) and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] (before vowels) don't contrast, are [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] allophones of or in complementary distribution with [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯]? Based to similarity to [ç, x] in German, I'm fairly sure the pairs are in complementary distribution.
If I understand correctly that [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] only occur before consonants and [ɛ́ːw, ɛ̀ːw] only occur before vowels, then yes, it sounds like they're in complementary distribution with one another.

Does either pair occur word-finally, without a following consonant or vowel?
Yes, [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] occurs finally. An example is Ýy [ɛ̀ːˈwɛ́ú̯], the chaotic neutral-aligned afterlife.
Thank you for the clarification.

I think I'd describe the situation like this: [ɛ́ú̯] and [ɛ́ːw] are both allophones of the phoneme /ɛ́ú̯/, with [ɛ́ːw] occurring before vowels and [ɛ́ú̯] occurring elsewhere (before consonants and word-finally). Likewise, [ɛ̀ù̯] and [ɛ̀ːw] are both allophones of the phoneme /ɛ̀ù̯/, with [ɛ̀ːw] occurring before vowels and [ɛ̀ù̯] occurring elsewhere (before consonants and word-finally).
Okay. I went ahead and edited the example into your quote because you posted before me.

As to your question about my meaning, I typed it out as though [ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯] are the parent phones because I hadn't planned on including the analogy to Germon. Then, I forgot to edit it after putting the bit about German in. Had I edtited it in a timely fashion, I would've noted that /ɛ́ú̯, ɛ̀ù̯/ are the phonemes. Thus, your post-clarification response is what I meant.
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Post by littlesalmon »

In one of my conlangs (itota itiko specifically), all nouns end with a specific vowel, all verbs end with another, and most adjectives/adverbs (there is no distinction between the two) end with a third one.
To derive a word of a different part of speech from a word that has the appropriate vowel for its part of speech, that vowel changes so that the new word has the appropriate vowel too. If the original word's vowel is not the appropriate one, or if there's a need to convey some additional meaning, specific suffixes are added after the vowel that end with the appropriate one.
What type of morpheme are the vowels in question, if they are a separate one, and how can they be marked when glossed?
Edit: There was an edit: I mixed up the name of the conlang with another one
Last edited by littlesalmon on 16 Jul 2020 02:03, edited 2 times in total.
216 always explains everything. ilaki onito itota ti ji ji ti akina itota ma. 216 всегда всё объясняет.

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Post by Reyzadren »

^My conlang does something like that too (except that it uses step mechanisms instead of replacing it entirely, etc).
I just call them the verb class affix (though in my conlang, it also doubles as the active voice affix by default), and the adjective class affix (even when my conlang also doesn't distinguish between adjectives/adverbs).

I just gloss them as V and A (as well as N and EB for the additional affixes, source noun and empty box), because yes, I think that the Leipzig gloss is not adequate for languages like ours.
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Post by Pabappa »

littlesalmon wrote:
15 Jul 2020 22:34

What type of morpheme are the vowels in question, if they are a separate one, and how can they be marked when glossed?
I love your avatar.

What would each of these forms mean if they were used in bare form, assuming they can be? For example if your verbs end in /-a/, what would a hypothetical word like /itota/ mean? If it's the infinitive, I'd say -a is your infinitive marker. If something else, go with that. And likewise for nouns.

I'm assuming based on your sig that these words can be used in bare form, but if not ... I would just call them "noun marker" and "verb marker".
I'll take the theses, and you can have the thoses.

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Post by littlesalmon »

Thank you (and for the compliment too, I drew the avatar myself)! I'll probably go with N or NM (noun or noun marker), because, for example, NCM would be too unwieldy, since the vowel markers appear in almost every word. Though the words can't be used in bare form, but I think some affixes actually work like that in some natural languages (I don't quite know where I got that from). And I just call them vowel markers, though it can be mistaken for something else if not explained properly, but I just think the name sounds good.

By the way, the word /itota/, like most words that end with "a", is a noun, actually (and the vowel doesn't change neither for plural, since it's indicated with a separate word, nor for different cases, since there is only the nominative), while a verb with nothing but the root and the vowel markers like /akini/ would be in the default tense (past imperfect(?)), which doubles as infinitive.

The vowels at the end of words that don't correspond with their part of speech can probably just be analyzed as a part of the root, since they are never actually removed or replaced. I didn't think of that before, so that probably added some distracting clutter to the original question.
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Post by eldin raigmore »

Who is the default agent in verbs in your natlang(s) or conlang(s), or those ‘langs you know?
First person?
Second person?
Third person?

In English, the “correct” (i.e. normative) interpretation of an unmarked verb, is second-person imperative.
However in colloquial speech (or at least my idiolect of it), it is frequently first-person declarative; normally first-person-singular.

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Post by Pabappa »

there's no way to cite a verb in its bare form in Poswa .... nor is there an infinitive. Verb stems require person markers, period. But Ive often thought about using 1st person derived forms to give cute names to animals and even inanimate objects. e.g. the word for bed could be "you come back to me", and the word for poop could be "dont touch me". In the case of the second, this would not be the primary word, but just a slang word that could work in context but in other contexts could refer to sharp thorns on plants, etc. Basically like how English uses "forget me not" but much more widespread. The basic idea behind it is ... if this animal (or plant or other object) could talk, what would it say?

Now, to get these verbs to actually behave as nouns, I would need to add some sort of affix, perhaps /-p/, but because this is only an idea, Im not actually doing it yet and dont have a solution.
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Post by Reyzadren »

Not sure what the question is asking (like in terms of person evaluation or affixation markedness), but in my conlang, if a verb does not seem to have a subject, then it just refers to itself or an empty box word.
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Post by Ser »

eldin raigmore wrote:
24 Jul 2020 22:59
Who is the default agent in verbs in your natlang(s) or conlang(s), or those ‘langs you know?
First person?
Second person?
Third person?

In English, the “correct” (i.e. normative) interpretation of an unmarked verb, is second-person imperative.
However in colloquial speech (or at least my idiolect of it), it is frequently first-person declarative; normally first-person-singular.
For English, maybe it'd be more correct to say it's a form which doubles as an imperative and a "bare" infinitive (and also a subjunctive of sorts).

For most languages that have person agreement, I imagine the most unmarked form tends to be the 2SG imperative, or a basic present or past 3SG, or the infinitive, sometimes possibly the basic present 1SG as well.

In Latin it's definitely the 2SG imperative with its use of a bare thematic vowel at the end: amā, movē, cape, audī. (No dictionary uses that though, as the established convention is to use the basic present 1SG: amō, moveō, capiō, audiō.)

Verbs in modern Romance languages tend to be divided into a "weak", productive subcategory (which descends from Latin -āre, often as -i-āre, -t-āre) and a "strong" not very productive subcategory that also holds the bulk of irregular verbs (from Latin -ēre, -ere including -sc-ere, and -īre). If you agree to this, the 2SG imperative, often identical to the basic present 3SG form, would be the least unmarked form in many languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and Italian: canta, vive.

However, French is different due to having largely gotten rid of its inherited 2SG imperative, replacing it with the 2SG present, something still visible in the archaizing orthography. French is also different in that the two subcategories, weak and strong, are not as distinct as in other Romance languages, due to the heavy phonetic decay/change. The main differences are whether the infinitive ends in /e/ (weak) or /ʁ/ (strong, often as part of a longer /iʁ/ or /waʁ/ suffix), and whether the past participle ends in /e/ (weak) or a variety of endings such as /y i ɛ̃(t) i(z)/ (strong), the rest mostly involving memorizing irregular stems of certain TAM paradigms (which, again, are largely found among the strong verbs. So it's a question whether it's worth it to try to distinguish the weak and strong verbs, but if you want to, perhaps either the infinitive or the past participle themselves do an alright job: chanter sentir /ʃɑ̃te sɑ̃tiʁ/, or chanté senti /ʃɑ̃te sɑ̃ti/. Otherwise, the present 1SG/2SG/3SG (generally identical) would be the least marked: chante/chantes/chante /ʃɑ̃t/, sens/sens/sent /sɑ̃/.

In Romanian, the 2SG imperative kind of works, except for the verbs that descend from Latin -īre, which often but not always add an extra suffix -eșt- (from -e-sc-) before an ending -e grabbed from elsewhere in the strong paradigms: Lat. fer-ī > *fer-esc-e > Rom. ferește, but Lat. *ad-cooper(ī)-e > Rom. acopere. Better than this, Romanian provides an infinitive with the Latin -re suffix completely dropped, leaving a naked thematic vowel: cânta, cădea, pune, feri /kɨnˈta kaˈde̯a ˈpune feˈɾi/.

In Standard Arabic, the 3SG.MASC past-tense is very unmarked: CaCVCa, e.g. kataba 'he wrote' (other forms involve more segments or at least a long vowel). The other good candidate would be the 2SG.MASC imperative, VCCVC, e.g. uktub 'write! (you, man)'; the only problem it has is that it tends to really obscure roots beginning or ending with the /w/ and /j/ consonants. There is also the 1SG jussive ʔaCCVC, but it's bad as an unmarked form as it's not among the most statistically common, appearing mainly in some negated past-tense sentences. The notion of thematic subcategories does not apply in this language to guide us as previously done with Romance either.
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Re: (Conlangs) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

eldin raigmore wrote:
24 Jul 2020 22:59
Who is the default agent in verbs in your natlang(s) or conlang(s), or those ‘langs you know?
First person?
Second person?
Third person?

In English, the “correct” (i.e. normative) interpretation of an unmarked verb, is second-person imperative.
However in colloquial speech (or at least my idiolect of it), it is frequently first-person declarative; normally first-person-singular.
An unmarked verb in English can be any of the three persons (I eat, you eat, they eat).

If you mean that a verb appearing without any subject is by default interpreted as a first-person verb, I don't believe you. If someone says "eat!", you automatically assume that they mean that they are eating something? No you don't.


Anyway, Old Wenthish verbs have considerable ablaut and verb root alternation, so for many verbs 'unmarked' isn't something that makes sense - recai ("I rake") is neither more nor less 'default' than rici ("you/he/she/it rake(s)").

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Post by Dormouse559 »

Salmoneus wrote:
25 Jul 2020 03:01
An unmarked verb in English can be any of the three persons (I eat, you eat, they eat).

If you mean that a verb appearing without any subject is by default interpreted as a first-person verb, I don't believe you. If someone says "eat!", you automatically assume that they mean that they are eating something? No you don't.
Not in that specific example, but a subject-less verb can be interpreted as first-person. It's just colloquial, as eldin pointed out. For instance, you can tell someone "Love you" as a shortened form of "I love you." Maybe it's limited by dialect? Wouldn't know.

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Post by Creyeditor »

German has first-person singular, because the schwa-suffix is usually elided. Consider the following sentence:

Geh' jeden Morgen 'ne Zigarette rauchen auf'm Balkon.
geh-0 jed-en morgen n-e Zigarette rauch-en auf=m Balkon
go-1SG every-ACC.M.SG morning INDEF-ACC.F.SG cigarette smoke-INF on=DEF-DAT.SG balcony
`Every morning I go smoke a cigarette on the balcony.

In out-of-the-blue contexts this would probably be interpreted as an imperative, but as an answer to a question about what you usually do in the morning it would be interpreted as a first person verb. It could not be interpreted as any other person, because only the first person suffix is a simple schwa and can be elided (at least in the colloquial variant that I speak). I could also imagine such an interpretation if the sentence starts a story in (pseudo-)colloquial German.
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Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
25 Jul 2020 03:13
Salmoneus wrote:
25 Jul 2020 03:01
An unmarked verb in English can be any of the three persons (I eat, you eat, they eat).

If you mean that a verb appearing without any subject is by default interpreted as a first-person verb, I don't believe you. If someone says "eat!", you automatically assume that they mean that they are eating something? No you don't.
Not in that specific example, but a subject-less verb can be interpreted as first-person. It's just colloquial, as eldin pointed out. For instance, you can tell someone "Love you" as a shortened form of "I love you." Maybe it's limited by dialect? Wouldn't know.
But that interpretation is only possible in idiomatic constructions with a small number of verbs (and helped considerably by ruling out a second person interpretation by having a non-reflexive second person object).

If we use the third person instead (to give us a neutral choice of first or second person subject), and look at an array of verbs:

Throw it
Eat it
Measure it
Imagine it
Love it
Doubt it
Promise it
Marry it
Announce it
Fear it
Want it
Dislike it
Like it
Create it
Crush it
Avoid it
Say it


... I don't see how anyone can say that the 1st person indicative is the 'default' interpretation. For me, it's only the default with 'love', 'hate' and 'want' of those verbs, and only in a colloquial register; I could also imagine it with 'like', but that doesn't feel as natural. Even the closely-related 'dislike' isn't really legitimate for me, though it's not impossible. With all the other verbs, that interpretation is virtually impossible, and an imperative is the automatic interpretation. [another oddity is 'promise' - 'promise' by itself can mean 'I promise', but 'promise it' (or 'promise that', 'promise so', etc) have to be imperatives].

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Post by Pabappa »

surprised you added "doubt it" to the list, as i would call that a counterexample.

some other possible counterexamples show up in the past tense .... "loved it!" ... "got it!" ... "crushed it!" .... but only the doubt verb carries inherent 1st person in the present tense.
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