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in case anyone is interested...

From:Rob H <magwich78@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 5:50
Hi all,

For a while now, I have been working on a language project called (for the time being) OurTongue.
The idea behind this project is to create a naturalistic language that could have actually
developed in real life.  To do this, I have used the linguistic data compiled by a Dr. Patrick
Ryan, including 90 monosyllables that he believes comprised the first human language (or, at
least, the one that gave rise to all that exist today).  The language will go through several
stages of development, with the trend being increasing affixation of originally independent
morphemes, and thus increasing inflection.  Progress has been good (I think) in the main grammar
aspects, but sorely lacking in vocabulary.  I am, admittedly, terrible in generating vocabulary --
I can never settle on the final word forms.  However, the point of this post is to show a summary
of the info for OurTongue to date, for anyone who may be interested:



p t k
b d g
ph th kh (aspirated stops)
bh dh gh (    "       "  )
l r
m n ng (but not phonemic)
s h
w y


i, a, u



Agglutinating morphology, ergative/absolutive system, SOV or VOS word-order


OurTongue cases develop transparently from original postpositions (particles following the words
they modify).  Here is a table of the cases.

Name             Function                          English Equivalent(s)

absolutive       obj. of transitive verb;          [object]/[suffix] **null morpheme**
                    subj. of intrans. verb
ergative         subj. of transitive verb          [subject]
genitive         possession                        of, 's/s'
comitative       accompaniment                     with
locative         location                          at, on, in
partitive        partition/separation              some (of)
allative         motion/action towards             to
ablative         motion/action away from           from, off (of)
inessive         inside                            in(side)
prolative        attribution of purpose            for
instrumental     adverbial function                by, with
essive           describes state of being          being
superessive      spatial relationship              over, on
subessive           "         "                    under
elative          motion/action outwards            out (of)
illative         motion/action inwards             into

No forms for cases/postpositions as of yet, but there are currently 3 possibilities for the
ergative particle/suffix: (-)a, (-)i, or (-)ma.

Nominal morphology:

Originally, nouns do not inflect.  Various particles following the noun determine number and case.
 Later on, these are bound to the nouns themselves.  There is one particle/suffix that can denote
either plural or collective amounts (which is used is determined semantically).  For now I have
this as immediately following the noun, but that may be subject to change.  There will also be
possessive suffixes consisting simply of pronominal stems attached to the nouns.


Most original adjectives are formed with the suffix -i, which originally denoted the genitive
case.  I also intend for them to have both positive and negative forms, the latter made by adding
an affix.  Adjectives precede the nouns they modify and do not inflect for case (once cases
arise), but do inflect for number.


Originally, verbs will not inflect for person or number; however, like with nouns, original
independent pronouns will become attached to the verb stems to form personal endings.  Verbs also
inflect for tense, aspect, and mood (including negation).  Verbal aspects will be more abundant
than in most Indo-European languages (i.e., more shades of meaning).


Currently, the pronouns are: 1st person *mi*, 2nd person *si*.



The "Proto-Language Monosyllables" derived by Patrick C. Ryan will be used to form the simplest
roots of the language.  These roots will result from the combination of two or more monosyllables,
and most will be in the form CVC-.  Derivations from single monosyllables will be almost entirely
particles and pronominal stems.  If anyone would like to see the Proto-Language Monosyllables,
they can be reached at:

That's all for right now.

- Rob

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Joseph Fatula <fatula3@...>
Danny Wier <dawier@...>