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Re: cases

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg.rhiemeier@...>
Date:Sunday, September 10, 2000, 22:50
Me govanen!

Jim Hopkins tetent:
> > Hello Mario, > > Like many others on the List I am not a trained linguist. As to the question > as to how many cases a language should have, I feel that it is entirely a > questions of taste. Among the worlds languages many use no cases at all and > others have many. My constructed languge "Druni" has nine cases. I > experimented with more but found that too ungainly and so retained only the > ones I liked.
Very true. It is always a question how many feel right in a particular project. Nur-ellen, my current chief conlang project, has two (which obviously as few as you can have unless you have no case system at all), wherein one (the agentive) only exists for animate nouns (and adjectives) while inanimate nouns are always in the other (the objective). Proto-Quendian, another conlang in my pipeline, the common ancestor of Nur-ellen, Makaronesian and several others, will probably have nine cases of which three will only exist for animate nouns and adjectives. (Makaronesian also lies in the future, and I haven't settled yet on the number of cases it will have.) Modern Vandalic will have three cases (nominative, genitive, accusative) not because it is my favourite number of cases, but because it seems right to me for a Germanic language heavily influenced by Arabic. I have no idea yet about the number of cases in (my version of) Pictish, though it ought to have quite a number.
> The same holds true with verb forms and the shapre and sounds of individual > words. I did what I found pleasing and just kept refining the language until > I was happy with the overall effect.
Very true. And one should not get hung up with lesser-weight universals one violates. Nur-ellen is (and Proto-Quendian and Makaronesian will be) an active language; it is stated that active languages never have case markings on nouns, but Nur-ellen has and Proto-Quendian and probably also Makaronesian will have. OK, you might wonder what all those conlangs are meant to be. OK, here it goes: Proto-Quendian: the proto-language of the *historical* Quendi, i.e. the Bell Beaker people. Nur-ellen: a Quendian language that survived in Britain into the present. Makaronesian: a Quendian language once spoken on the Canaries, Azores and Madeira. This Quendian family is related to Tolkien's Elvish languages; the assumption here is that Tolkien based his languages on fragments of historical Quendian languages he found. Pictish: the pre-Celtic, non-IE, non-Quendian language of the Picts. Ergative, agglutinative, VSO, initial consonant mutations, triconsonantal roots. Modern Vandalic: the language of Vandalland, the only Germanic language spoken predominantly by Muslims and written in Arabic script. Syld, Jörg.