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Conlang Irregularities

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Sunday, March 7, 1999, 21:00
Here's a new question that I'm curious about,
and that I didn't ask on the Lunatic.:

I know that one of the difficult tasks of getting
a conlang up and running is to make the rules
of grammar.  How many of you established
conlangers, after having done that, deliberately
introduce irregularities and contradictions into
your conlang with an eye to giving it dimension
and realism?  Or maybe you don't do it so
deliberately... maybe it just happens and you
decide to leave it be?

In other words, how many exceptions to the rules
you' ve made will you tolerate?  One of the
criticisms leveled at invented languages is that
they are too regular.  Does that bother you?

I have the choice of modifying my volitional verbs
that end with an "n" and that have done so for twenty
years.  _Euan_, for instance, means "to go," volitionally..
But I've fairly recently made it a rule that non-volitional
verbs will end in "n" in their absolute form (retaining the
vestige of the gerundive suffix that marks them as
non-volitional:  -ned.)  So:  teprorem, y tepro,  "touch,"
"I touch"; but teproned, y tepron, "feel," "I feel."  Brilliant!
But what do I do with euanrem y euan, "go," "I go," denrem
y den, "tell, I tell," and uenrem, y uen, "take, I take"?
Except to make them exceptions to the rule?  These
are beloved words that I've had for decades and don't
want to mess with.  And yet I can predict how they might
change in subsequent usage: _euaned_ "go" but not with
volition, and a new vol. form,  euarem, y eua--which I'm not
crazy about.  And an epinthetic vowel inserted between
root and suffix for uenrem and denrem:  _uenarem, denarem_.
which are other verbs.  Yikes, what to do?

Sally Caves