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Aluric So Far

From:Jim Grossmann <jimg@...>
Date:Monday, February 8, 1999, 20:05
Hi, everybody,

        Steg put up a post asking for feedback on the Aluric page.

        Say, Tony, that's your project, isn't it?

        Overall, I'm very impressed.    On the web, I've seen lesser
descriptions of natural languages.   Like the breadth (language, culture,
texts, tutorials).    Generally, I confine my own projects to reference
grammars, but your effort to do more is commendable.

        Some comments on the reference grammar:

1.    Your sounds could be more succinctly with terms such as linguists a=
speech researchers use.      For example, "the rasping sound like ch in
Scottish loch or German Buch" is a voiceless velar fricative.   I'm not s=
exactly what the "hh" sound is, but would bet good money you're talking
about a voiceless uvular fricative.    Terms like "smooth" and "clipped" =
not clear for me.   Ditto with "modified" vowels.   Maybe it's just me, b=
you might want to think about such terms.

2.    Punctuation.

        "Pause is similar to Comma in English, but actually used to indic=
a pause either for effect or breath."

        This makes the comma more useful for the transcription of speech
than for thought originally set down in prose.   Is this what you want?

        "Open/Close quotation marks are used around spoken words."

        Words that have quotation marks around them are written, not spok=
Surely you mean "verbatim quotations" or "direct quotations."

3.    Noun gender:    If neuter denotes things with atomic structure, and
ideaic and spiritual genders denote non-physical entities, then what abou=
physical things that lack atomic structure?   e.g.   sub-atomic particles=
light, kinetic energy, space, time, etc.

Also, do you have any nouns that take more than one gender?    Does "doct=
always take neuter gender?   How about "baby?"

4.    Cases:   Love your case system.

5.    Personal Pronouns:   Also loved these.

6.    "General" pronouns:    These actually comprise a mixture of a numbe=
of kinds of pronouns (reciprocal, indefinite, interrogative, demonstrativ=
relative).   However, since you've only got a handful of them and can
describe them all on one table, may I suggest "miscellaneous pronouns"?

Also, you're going to have to prove that a "pronoun" that means "here" an=
"there" is actually a pronoun in your language.    Can it occupy the same
slots as other pronouns?   For example, in Aluric, can a someone give a
building or beauty to "here?"   After all, one can give a building to
someone, or give beauty to something.

Re:   "It should be noted that most of the general pronouns can also be u=

You need to list the adjectives.    For example, does adjectival "someone=
mean "some...or other" (said of a person) or  "personal"?    Does adjecti=
"one another" mean "mutually?"    Also, clarify adjectival "here" and
"there."    I assume you are referring to a way to form phrases equivalen=
to "the table here," or "the beer there," but I think you should spell it

7.    Verb Tenses:    How do you translate present tense?    Since Englis=
simple present is often used to indicate habitual action, you may want to
translate your present tense with English present progressive.

"is going" may not be the best way to translate a future tense.   When we
say "He is going to go," we are making a statement about a present state =
affairs, e.g. "He intends to go," "It is inevitable that he will go," etc.

The future in English is formed with "will," but where this auxiliary wil=
not fit into translations of Aluric verb paradigms, why not use an adverb=
like "in the future"?   e.g.   Future: kely=E1n=E2 - to do in the future

Similarly, for past perfect infinitives, why not adverbials like "before =
past event"?
kelyelsv=E2 - to have done (before a past event).

Your future perfect beautifully illustrates the fact that English "going =
isn't quite a true future tense.    kely=F9nsv=F9n - "to have been going =
to do
to" does not mean the same thing as "to have done so in the future."

As for your illustration of the verb forms (infinitives first), you might
want to mention that your discussion of finite forms will have to wait un=
you introduce your mood/person suffixes.

WHERE IS YOUR PRETERITE?    You've got a future tense and present tense, =
no way of marking occurrence once in the past;   no equivalent to "-ed."
If you're using, e.g. present perfect as an all-around past form, you nee=
to say so.

You'll need to clarify your participles.   Are they used as complements f=
auxiliaries, or are they always adjectival?   Could you illustrate the
adjectival use of "having done for oneself"  and all your othe participle

RE:   "Also, there exist "gerundive" forms, using -=F3zn=E1y=EBn or -=F3n=
=E1z=EBs as the
ending.  These are intended to be used when the infinitive needs to be in=
case other than the nominative within a sentence, but in practice they ar=
little used and the infinitive is simply considered indeclinable.  There =
no observable difference between the two forms, although the former seems=
be preferred."

I don't recall your illustrating the use of the infinitive as a gerund
(hence its ability to take a case marker).   Also, "there is no observabl=
difference between the two forms" does not make literal sense.    Do you
mean "the two forms are interchangeable?"

RE:   "Within each "time" there are three tenses, an indicative, a
conditional, and a continuous/imperative"

Indicative, conditional, and imperative are moods, not tenses.
"Continuous" is an aspect.

RE:     In the present time, it functions almost exclusively as an
imperative tense. In all other times, it is more of a continuous tense,
expressing what is covered by the Spanish or French imperfect tense,
implying continuousness in the action.

So how do you mark continuous action in the present?

LOVE your mood/person suffixes.

Your so-called "past" tense is present perfective.    Perfective aspect
doesn't always imply that the action has ceased in the present.    You ma=
need to come up with a new name for this aspect, unless some linguist on =
list already knows one.

Please keep us posted on further additions to the reference grammar.