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Re: Particles and grammatical affixes

From:Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Date:Friday, March 21, 2003, 12:06
Quoting Harald Stoiber <hstoiber@...>:

> A bright hello to everybody on the list, :-) > > I am asking you the following to get an idea how other people handle > this issue with their conlangs. Maybe it will help me with my own > one. :-)) > > 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? > I think that they essentially constitute the sound of a language, > especially > when it comes to make rhymes in poetry.
I've never spent very much time on finding out the phonemic realizations of inflectional phonemes, at least not compared to how much I'll not infrequently agonize over the exact shape of a particular word root. Kalini Sapak's case markers were picked rather unimaginatively from Semitic (altho' ending up between, not after, the radicals), the Klaishic* langs' pl ending _-n_ was chosen on the ground that it occurs in Swedish, English, German and Quenya (ridiculous motivation for the form of an artlang-affix, I know), and most others I've simply conjured out of the blue; I've very rarely felt a need to change one. *Klaishic is my new designation for the languages derived from Classical Klaish, ie Tairezazh, Steienzh, Telenzh and Tsárizh.
> Furthermore, if a particular affix has (for example) been assigned to > an inflectional ending, then it may be of limited use for a regular > word > ending. Umlaut or ablaut can take over the function of a suffix that > can > not be appended - German is quite full of pertinent examples - but the > decision on grammatical morphology obviously has direct implications > for regular word-building itself.
I've never worried too much about if a derivational affix ends up looking exactly like an inflectional one. Eg Tairezazh _daks_ is simultaneously the accusative of _dák_ "sorrow" and the related adjective "sad". The same kind of things happen all the time in natlangs.
> So, how do you select these tiny but important parts of your > languages?
Pretty at random, as said. Some polysemy in endings never hurt either.
> Are there any combinations which especially "mix" well with adjacent > words?
/s/ and /z/ goes with anything. :-) Andreas
> 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 am looking forward to your answers. Thank you for taking the time! > :-))) > > Cheers, > Harald >