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Re: ANNOUNCE: My new conlang S11

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Sunday, March 6, 2005, 22:47

"H. S. Teoh" <hsteoh@...> writes:
> > In Tyl Sjok, ... would be hard to > > understand, especially since 'noun noun' is a valid phrase and the > > language is pro-drop, so I decided to have serial verb constructions > > instead. > >... > It occurred to me, though, that with suitable noun marking, this might > not be that much of a problem. ...
Yeah, maybe, but I wanted a language with only one word class and *only* syntax rules as structure. I introduced some prosody rules later to make the tree-structure clear, but I'm not so sure whether I like that. It's marked preliminary.
> You could even use something really basic like have conditional > sandhi, that applies a mutation ...
Again, a design goal: no mutation in Tyl Sjok. Pure isolation.
>... > hausi fei sei -> hausi fisei ['hawsi fi,sej]
Ah, nice! I actually like mutation and sandhi, but not in Tyl Sjok. :-)
> > It reminded me of Ancient Chinese: the grammar rules seem vague and > > most of the time when you try to describe them, it's actually more > > like a very long interpretation instead of a concise description. > > :-) > > Even with modern Chinese, sometimes native speakers' attempt to > describe it leaves foreigners feeling like there really are no rules, > it's just a matter of interpretation. :-P
A misinterpretation, of course. :-) English and Germans and probably anyone might tell non-native speakers that there are no 'rule'. 'You can just say what you think.' Or something like that... That is, of course, not really helping. :-)
> > You arrive at *exactly* the same structure above (including word > > order!), and at least for the motion verbs, the translation is very > > similar. Fukhian does have verbs for 'to kick', though, (and uses > > them) so most sentences would have a much more literal sense: > [...] > > Cool. Another case of acadebism. :-)
b? You don't mean 'better', do you? I actually think that the Fukhian system, compared to your interpretation, is less elegant, since it has quite a restricted meaning, although the cases are used more generally with other verbs. Still, we *do* have similar ideals in conlangs. :-)
> Speaking of class distinctions... recently I'm beginning to notice > that in Tatari Faran, adjectives and verbs share a LOT of > similarities. If I'm not careful, the unification mob may show up at > my door demanding that adjectives become verbs and vice versa...
Hehe. :-) Speaking of discoveries: when translating the Fukhian grammar from German into English, I was surprised to see that by my current analysis, Fukhian does not have verbs. Just nouns and adjectives. Or better: nouns and verbs syntactically behave so similarly that, when not knowing the meaning, it is impossible to tell from a sentence whether a stem is a verb stem or a noun stem. That's because: a) the affixes implementing verbal categories are obviously clitics: they attach the first word in a clause, whatever that is. b) lexical 'verb' stems can be used as nouns without change. This was borrowed from German, which does not have a gerund ending, but simply uses the infinitive (like Latin in nominative). Only Fukhian even drops the infinitive ending, so the plain verb stem is the noun, so no indication of a verb stem is visible anymore. c) there are many nouns in the lexicon that are used as verbs by imply appending the verbal infinitive ending. When I discovered this, I was a bit surprised, but I found no trace of a violation of this discovery. Very interesting, since I did not notice when I worked on Fukhian grammar. I always thought it had a distinction, but in fact, lexically, it has not.
> > 'I am tired.' > > > > This is a state, so what concept moves? > > Ebisédian does not use verbs for states. ...
Ah! That's logical. :-)
> > eb3' dhaa~'i. > 1sp:MASC:CVY fatigue:LOC > [?E'b@\ 'Da~:?i] > "I am tired".
I see.
>... > forest(loc). Here, of course, the usage is very idiomatic: the literal > reading of this sentence is "I am inside fatigue".
Hmm, is the locative restricted to 'inside'? No, right? Just general location, I assume. Reading it like 'I am with fatigue' (with=accompanied by, near, located at, but not necessarily 'inside'), it makes perfect sense. Actually, Finnish expresses 'to have' with the normal 'essive' copula 'olla' + allative (one of the two locatives the language has), so 'I have fatigue' is perfect. Further, Russian uses a 'There is on me ...' construction for 'to have', which comes very close. And many German dialects use 'to have' for 'to be cold', which is also an expression of internal state.
> Like I said, this system, although it does somehow "make sense" in > its own way, is too ambiguous for my tastes, so I've abandoned it in > Tatari Faran.
Hmm, I still like it and find it very functional. Does Tatari Faran introduce verbs to handle this instead?
>... > This means that "what" in the English question "what happened" can > serve both as an interrogative noun and an interrogative verb. You > can answer with either a noun or a verb equally validly.
!! Impossible! I don't dare to say, but I still do: Fukhian's interrogative noun stem for 'which?'/'what?' can be used as a verb and means 'do to what?'. Thus there are questions like 'you whatted?' Just like in you lang! ~&->
> > Let's see the examples: > > > > 'what are you doing today' > > > > -> 'Do' probably means 'to undertake' here, so the basic structure > > would be something like: > > > > 'which INTERROG be-event you undertake this-day happen?' > > lit. 'Which event will you be undertaking happening today?' > > Another interesting observation here: this implies that the role > designated by "undertake" is generic, since in your answer you can > pair the noun referent "you" with any other verb.
Right. However, S11 is *very* young. I made these sample sentences just to show that translation isn't really a problem. Whether these sentence represent the final structure is not yet decided. (I must write a Lisp grammar first for experiments, otherwise I can't get a good picture of how clause composition feels -- I wouldn't want to compose sentences myself, would I? No! Too many sandhi rules!)
> > 'who did what' > > > > -> 'which INTERROG PAST-happen?' > > -> 'which INTERROG PAST-undertake which be-action?' > [...] > > Interesting. So you need a verbalizing verb to turn 'which' into a > verbal interrogative. :-)
Again, not necessarily the final structure. We'll see. **Henrik


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