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Re: ANNOUNCE: My new conlang S11

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Thursday, March 3, 2005, 2:21

"H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...> writes:
> On Tue, Mar 01, 2005 at 11:10:08PM +0100, Henrik Theiling wrote: > [...] > > Motivation: > > The main problem I was having with all conlangs so far > > was the question of assignment of arguments to predicates: > > > > - Which roles are direct arguments to verbs? > > I.e., how to handle verbs that naturally have > > three arguments like the prototype 'to give'? > > Do we want two or more core cases (a core dative > > case?) > > Interesting. This is what motivated me to devise Ebisédian's (and > Tatari Faran's) case system (along with my general dissatisfaction > with the passive voice).
Aha, someone with similar notions of 'nice structure'? :-)
> During my early attempts to solve this problem I decided that I > needed at least 3 core cases, so that trivalent verbs like 'to give' > can be expressed without adjuncts.
Only my first conlang Fukhian had three core arguments, and I think that was more a similarity I copied from langs I know than thinking about it. In the next two major projects Tyl Sjok and Qthyn|gai, I also started with three core cases, but instead of keeping them, I dropped them in order to keep the number of grammar rules and ordering constraints low. In Qthyn|gai, the number of valence infixes needed would have been enormous -- even with only two core cases, it has some 27 infixes or so. The alternative was an approach like Lojban, which makes the borderline between argument and adjunct depend on the verb -- but still, there is a decision to be taken -- I did not want this -- neither globally, nor for each verb. I personally find the Lojban argument system rather unsatisfactory. When finishing my grammar sketch, I wondered whether AllNoun's structure is comparable to S11, but I don't think so. Diving into the structure I found out that Tom Breton himself mentioned problems he encountered that I don't think I will face since my lang is not so simplistically motivated -- and verbs *are* different from nouns. And I think nouns like 'act-of-being-red' seem to be a bit awkward.
> The Ebisédian case system tries to handle this by 2 additional core > cases, on top of the 3 prototypical for 'to give'. In retrospect, this > did not work very well, which is why Tatari Faran reverts to 3 core > cases, and uses postpositions for adjuncts.
I had wondered about how you assign the roles to the Ebisedian cases, actually, because the cases are different from well-known natlang cases and I wondered whether free-running verbs will be nice enough to let you assign cases easily. But I never dived into your grammar too deeply, I must admit... And I really liked the structure of Tatari Faran that you presented here. I found the verb complements quite intuitive for some reason. :-) Maybe it felt like Afrikaans, which has these great negation complements which I copied into Da Mätz se Basa. :-))) Only for each verb, not for negation.
> originative, 'into' -> receptive, etc.. However, there were also many > postpositions which did not easily fit into this paradigm.
Ah, ok. I wondered.
> Eventually, I came upon a rather elegant solution (IMHO): since the 3 > core cases were marked by postclitics, which were already treated as > separate words, why not open up the class and treat postpositions the > same way as well? And so, I decided that Tatari Faran postpositions > govern the unmarked NP (without case marker). I.e., they appeared in > the same position as where the case markers would appear, and > essentially behaved like the case markers.
A bit like Finnish does it, I think, if you think of the adjunct, non-core cases. But Finnish has additional postpositions that look different. Some German dative objects that are not arguments also look like arguments syntactically. But again, the normal case is a prepositional phrase that looks different, yes.
> I even went so far as to equate postpositional clauses with NP's at > the syntactic level, in that the indicative word order was > subject-verb-arguments, and if one fronts a postpositional clause, > the order becomes PC-verb-subject-arguments. I.e., the PC has the > same status as a 'normal' NP.
Ah, ok. The word order rule resembles Germanic V2 (verb second) order then, where the topic phrase (either subject or object NP or adjunct PP) is just in front of the verb. Is the fronting due to topicality in Tatari Faran?
> > - there are no adjuncts either, the whole structure is controlled > > by using a sequence of noun-verb pairs. > > Nice! This sounds almost like a fleeting idea I posted to the list > once, while thinking about Ebisédian grammar.
Did you? When was that?
> receive'? Then "A gives B to C" could be expressed as "A-offer > B-transfer C-receive", which looks strikingly similar to what you > describe below. :-)
Yes. It's indeed the same idea. Maybe it's the *only* solution. :-)))
> Awesome! I think your solution is in many ways more elegant than mine. > :-)
Oh, thanks! That's a nice statement! I hope I get the phonology right so that the elegance remains in the final language...
> > 'John, who asks a question, is addressed.' = > > John JIT LU KHAN NI GUP JIT MAT. > > noun ev. verb noun verb rel. ev. verb > > John hearsay ask question posed who hearsay addressed
BTW, the evidence markers serves a second purpose in this lang: it marks the start of a sub-clause, otherwise some maybe bad ambiguity could arise. But with evidence as start marker and relative particle at the end, it's properly bracketed. **Henrik


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>