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# Re: ANNOUNCE: My new conlang S11

From: Henrik Theiling Thursday, March 3, 2005, 2:57
Hi!

Damian Yerrick <tepples@...> writes:
> "Henrik Theiling" <theiling@...> wrote:
>
> > Motivation:
> >    The main problem I was having with all conlangs so far
> >    was the question of assignment of arguments to predicates:
>
> Designers of APIs in computer programming have analogous problems.
Ah, good analogy -- that's right.  So I solve these problem every
day. :-)))  So when designing an API, the principles about argument
order are really case->role assignment principles like in a conlang...
:-)

> >    I found the questions very hard an unsatisfactory to solve each
> >    time and was searching for some grammar structure that ultimately
> >    solved these questions without arbitrary borderlines e.g. between
>
> That is, unless some limits for these borderlines are hardwired in UG.
Well, with limits, you still have to make a decision within those
limits.  For me, only 0, 1 and \infty are nice numbers, so maybe
that's why I was searching for a radical solution.

In the same way, my number system in Tyl Sjok, which I borrowed into
Qthyn|gai also uses this principle: there is no base word for
'hundred' or 'thousand' although the base is ten (by default).  It is
all constructed using only 10^1, not 10^2, not 10^3, not anything
else.  That's the same type of niceness. :-)

> >    - there are no adjuncts either, the whole structure is controlled
> >      by using a sequence of noun-verb pairs.
>
> Mmm... pairs.  Once I thought of making a language out of
> two-word clauses, as an attempt to model what the language of the
> Eloi of Wells's _The Time Machine_ would be like, ...
Funny! :-)

> But where do adjectives fit into this plan?  Or do you plan to handle
> them as relative clauses?  And whither adverbs?
Adjectives will either be verbs or nouns, depending on what they
denote.  I think as in my previous langs, entities and states will be
the same and thus nouns, and events will be verbs.  But I have to

Adverbs will be normal participants in the sentence, thus just another
noun-verb pair:

noun evidence   verb noun   verb

This is quite a prototypical serial verb construction, I think.
'polite' would have to be translated as 'politeness' and 'polite use'
would be 'with politeness' = 'politely'.

There will probably also be some derivational mechanisms to convert
between verbs and nouns.  My goal is not minimal complexity, but
minimal felt awkwardness. :-)

Further, attributive adjectives will be used in a relative clause, yes
(quite like Chinese), and denominalised first if necessary.

I have not yet thought thoroughly about which denominalisers I will
have, but an 'essive' prefix (= 'to be in the state of _') can be
expected, I think:

E.g. 'Polite John asks (a question).' =

john HEARSAY  be-polite  REL PERCEPTION ask.
noun evidence DENOM-noun REL evidence   verb.
\_verb___/

Something like that.

> >    there are simply two (or more) verbs for each role.  I think they
> >    will all be suppletives, and not derivationally related (or maybe
> >    related by some irregular, chaotic, non-productive process in some
> >    cases).
>
> Any reason why they should all be suppletives?
Yes: because I fear that any attempt to derive them regularly will
introduce a bias towards a nominative/accusative or ergative or
active/split-S or whatever system and thus a trace of a structure that
has more than one core argument to predicates.  E.g. I'd have to
define: to derive the verb that takes the patient, use the verb for
the agent and modify it this way: THE_WAY.  Suppletives and chaos
avoid this reference to roles.  A role is simply defined by its verb.
There is no generic agent, there is someone who asks.  There is no
generic patient, but only someone who is hit, etc.

> >    After the first noun in a pharse, there must be an evidence marker,
>
> Are these grammatical evidence markers just something you wanted
> to try, or is there some deep grammatical reason for them?
First of all, I love them. :-)  Second, they mark the start of a
sub-clause.

> The whole thing reminds me vaguely of serial verb constructions
> in some African languages.
Could you give some examples?  Sounds very interesting!

**Henrik