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Re: Particles and grammatical affixes

From:Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>
Date:Friday, March 21, 2003, 0:57
--- In, Harald Stoiber <hstoiber@I...> wrote:
 > A bright hello to everybody on the list, :-)

Are you new to the list?  In the name of everybody, welcome.  =)

 > Once decisions have been made about the phonology and about the basic
 > layout of grammar, how do you assign the neccessary affixes and/or
 > particles? Since these tiny bits of language will be very prominent in
 > all kinds of sentences, they should be chosen carefully, shouldn't they?

Yes, I agree.  With my first conlang Obrenje, I had a bit of a crisis
when I realised how many of those essential little words I needed.
Furthermore, I wanted them to be as distinguished from each other as
possible to make avoid unnecessary ambiguity.

But it worked out fine.  Unless you have only a handful of phonemes,
there's plenty of catchy syllables for all these uses.  =)

 > I think that they essentially constitute the sound of a language,
 > when it comes to make rhymes in poetry.

That may be true of inflections, but usually not of particles,
prepositions and the like, which tend to be spread through the
insides of a line rather than wait patiently at its end.

As for inflections:  These will be important if you have lots of
them, but if you relieve them of some of their grammatical payload,
e.g. with auxiliary verbs, particles, quantifiers or prepositions
instead of verb inflections and cases, you end up with more naked
word stems and thus more possible syllables to end a line on.

The choice of stress placement is also an extremely important
point.  My Latin-based Jovian stresses the ultimate syllable if it's
closed, otherwise the penultimate.  Most inflected nouns are
stressed on the penultimate.  I've found that this makes rhyming
very difficult if your meter requires a stressed final syllable!  =P

In fact, I'm considering to evolve my current Jovian language a
step further and replace the noun inflections with inflections of
an article.  That oughta free up the ends of nouns.

For example, the sentence "They're going to give the old man a
fish" currently is:

   Ion dare pixen mari seini.  [in'da:r 'piS@m 'ma:ri'zejni]

...but might soon become:

   Ion dare un pix ei mare seine.  [in'da:r @m'biS e'va:r sejn]

If this decomposition of cases doesn't become the official Jovian
language of the present day (nudging the cases back a few centuries),
I'll keep it as a slang feature.

 > So, how do you select these tiny but important parts of your languages?
 > Are there any combinations which especially "mix" well with adjacent
 > words? For example, I thought about the Arabic article "al" and found
 > out that it goes unobtrusively with most of the words that I tried. Are
 > there some universals for basic grammatical affixes such as prefixes,
 > suffixes and short particles?

I don't know about universals, but vowels and nasals [n m N], [s] or
the aforementioned [l] make good compatible word endings.

-- Christian Thalmann