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Re: Jovian's Verbs From Hell

From:Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>
Date:Thursday, August 29, 2002, 19:15
--- In conlang@y..., JS Bangs <jaspax@U...> wrote:

> Latin is evil?
I only had two years of Latin, at which level it was manageable, since we hadn't looked at more than two or three verb tenses. Recently, I looked at the conjugation tables at the following link, which disclosed to me how truly evil the system was. So many tense/mood/ voice combinations! And all so similar-sounding! =P I realized most of those wouldn't survive the phonetic mangling of Jovian. Initially, I had planned to keep the perfect tense rather than the imperfect, but I realized the verb stems would become unrecognizable and ambiguous in Jovian's restrictive phonology. However, now that I've defined the past tense based on the Latin imperfect, I find myself disliking the length of those forms -- perfects would consequently shave off a syllable. Ah, well...
> > Irregular haever /"hajv@r/ "to have" > > > > Singular Plural > > 1.P hau /haw/ havime /h@"vi:m/ > > 2.P haese /hajs/ havise /h@"vi:s/ > > 3.P haefte /hEft/ haene /hajn/ > > > > Participle: haente, -is /hEnt/ > > I like this a lot! Irregulars are what make life interesting. I'm curious, > how did you get the glides in the 2sg and 3pl forms?
Well, the |ae| diphthong here derives from the dropped final-syllable |e| in |habes|, |habet| and |habent| flavoring the stressed vowel. It happens all the time in Jovian, e.g. machina -> maenca, dominus -> doemu etc. The reason why |ae| is pronounced /E/ in the 3.P and the participle is simply because it is in a closed syllable, and Jovian phonology consequently prevents superheavy syllables.
> I would hardly call this system evil--it looks pretty straightforward, and > doesn't have even the evilness of many of the modern Romlangs. Perhaps > there's more I haven't seen, though.
As I've said, it's less evil than certain other langs, and the main evilness was the headaches it caused me until I had finally settled on a system that was both fluid enough for Jovian and unambiguous enough (I don't want many important words to become identically- sounding monosyllables... I still have no idea how French or Irish can deal with it!). For example, many forms of the verb |ire| look and sound identical to the 3rd person pronoun. I accepted the ambiguity on the grounds that |ire| is always followed by an infinitive, but the 3rd person pronoun mostly isn't. -- Christian Thalmann


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
bnathyuw <bnathyuw@...>