|From:||Dan Sulani <dan_sulani@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 13, 1999, 19:45|
My last course in theoretical linguistics was something like 25
(!!!) years ago. Since getting online and discovering this list, I've
been lurking a bit in order to update.
My conlang, rtemmu ("r" is a voiced alveolar trill), attempts to
describe the world in terms of ongoing processes instead of nouns and
verbs (although, if pressed, "nouns" can be considered as processes
too slow to be observed, while "verbs" have a noticeable rate of
The basic element of an utterance in rtemmu is a word for the
process under discussion preceded by a marker containing elements
which convey the following information:
1. how widely the process is or can be known
(by the speaker alone, by others, by all)
2. temporal information
3. whether the process is directly observed or thought
about (memory, in rtemmu, is treated grammatically as a type
4. the rate of change of the observer(s)/thinker(s)
5. the rate of change of the process itself
(For the sake of brevity, those elements which convey information
which is understood may be dropped.)
An example of a word-marker pair would be:
izuvzuv fam = the heat I am feeling
fam = heat
i = the speaker alone
zuv = observed change too slow to notice
(the first "zuv" relates to the observer(s); the second "zuv" relates
to the heat. With no other temporal modifications, the utterance is
assumed to be an ongoing process, i.e. present progressive tense)
One could also say:
inafis fam = the speaker is thinking about an observed
rapidly changing heat
na = "normal human" rate of thought
fis = rapid observed change
If a word and its marker follow another word-marker pair, the
second modifies the first.
inanu ydar na kago`g~gu = tasty grape (as a concept
or a memory)
ydar = grape
kago`g~gu = tasty
(o` = close-mid back rounded vowel
g~ = velar nasal)
nu = no noticeable rate of change in the concept
Since IMHO, a person must be able to use a language to count things
(QUESTION: Are there any langs, nat or con, in which counting is
impossible?), rtemmu uses numbers. They are treated as any other
modifier. For example:
ikehszuv ydar nuzuv vdik = three grapes
kehs = observed "normal human" rate of change
("eh" = open-mid front unrounded vowel)
vdik = three
"zuv" indicates that the observed number of grapes seems to be
unchanging. "nu" indicates that my thinking about three-ness isn't
If I were studying math, I might say:
"(ikehszuv ydar) nazuv vdik" with "na" saying that my understanding of
three-ness _is_ changing as I learn.
What, however, does one do with "nothing"?
In rtemmu there are separate words for zero and nothing:
puhg = zero ("uh" = open mid back unrounded vowel or
schwa, depending on the stress)
g~amshye = nothing ("sh" = voiceless postalveolar
Saying "ikehszuv puhg" could be understood when making a measurement
that at this time is zero, but can change. But what does "ikehszuv
Maybe that there is an observed lack of existence that doesn't seem to
change, but given time, something might? Sort of a pregnant pause?
But if something unique and irreplaceable were to be destroyed, one
could describe the destruction as a change, but how could one describe
the lack, since the phenomenon will never exist again, and thus the
lack is _unchanging_!
I'd appreciate any comments anybody might have.
likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a.
A word is an awesome thing.
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