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Re: Introducing Dmēnna

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...>
Date:Saturday, September 15, 2007, 14:37
Joseph Fatula skrev:
> Hi, everyone! I’d like to introduce you to Dmēnna, a language I’ve > been working on for a little while now. It’s sort of a side project, so > it’s not as fleshed out as some of my other conlangs, but it has a > pretty good vocabulary at this point. > > Dmēnna is kind of an eclectic language, borrowing from many > different languages, including some Semitic ones. I’ve been rather > interested in Amharic for a few years, and you might see some of that in > this language. The consonant clusters can be a bit tricky for English > speakers, almost Caucasian at times, but I’ve actually managed to teach > a few people some of the basics (in an earlier version, as this one’s a > bit harder to work with). > > PHONOLOGY > ---------------------------------------------------------------- > Dmēnna has a fairly rich system of 10 vowels (18 including length > distinctions) and 22 consonants. For those of you familiar with > Sanskrit, you’ll probably notice the similarities between this sound > system and that of Sanskrit, which is what led me to use the orthography > I did.
I'm sorry, but apart from a = /@/ it doesn't seem very Sanskritesque to me. I guess the presence of short ĕ and ŏ /E/ and /O/ all ruins it for me.
> > VOWELS > Most vowels can change for length, so we’ll show the long vowel > first, then the short vowel. Length is shown with a macron, except in > the case of long ä, where a macron would generally be impractical, so > here I’m using â for long ä.
> ī /i:/ i /I/ > ē /e:/ e /E/ > â /aE/ ä /{/
Is [aE] one of those realizations of /&/ in lengthening environments which actually occur in American English? Unless there actually is an ANADEW for /&:/ = [aE] I'd rather expect [&@], [E@] or [&E]. I actually have [Ee] for /E:/ and [e3] for /e:/ in my own Swedish accent. If you can make the [a] [A] distinction â [a:] ä [&] ā [A] a [@] would seem natural to me
> ū /u:/ u /U/ > ō /o:/ o /O/ > ā /a:/ a /@/ > yā /ja/ ya /j@/ > ļ /l=/ > ŗ /r=/ > ņ /n=/ > > CONSONANTS > Most of the consonants have their IPA values. The ones that are > pronounced otherwise are |ť| /T/, |š| /S/, |ď| /D/, |ž| /Z/, and |y| /j/.
Using the same diacritic for palatalization in /S/ and /Z/ and for fricativization in /T/ and /D/ somehow rubs me the wrong way. \u0110 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER D WITH STROKE \u0111 LATIN SMALL LETTER D WITH STROKE \u0166 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER T WITH STROKE \u0167 LATIN SMALL LETTER T WITH STROKE always looked kind of cool to me, though I must say I'm partial to good ol' þ and ð.
> p t k > b d g > f ť s š h > v ď z ž > w r l y > m n ŋ
I notice the absence of /tS/ and /dZ/. Are c and j totally without a job in your transcription?
> Very often, voiceless fricatives (and sometimes stops) will become > voiced depending on their environment or grammatical function. For > example, the verbal prefix |s-| often assimilates to |z-|, or |fīg| > “sadness” changes to |vīg| “be sad”.
Have you come up with any historical explanation for the grammatical alternation?
> > MORPHOLOGY > ---------------------------------------------------------------- > Dmēnna morphology makes most of its changes with prefixes and > suffixes, though there is some very sporadic use of circumflexes,
Surely you mean "circumfixes"?
> infixes, and even stem alteration. > > NOUNS > Nouns are reasonably straightforward to work with. The most > important inflections are for possession and “intensity”. Most noun > inflections are suffixes. > > Possession > Let’s look at the various forms of the word |mōha| “house”: > mōhyām - 1st person singular possession (“my house”) > mōhrōy - 2nd sg. > mōhzih - 3rd sg. masc. > mōhŗh - 3rd sg. fem. > mōhrā - 1st pl. > mōhzyāgŗy - 2nd pl. > mōhreď - 3rd pl. > mōha - generic unpossessed > mōhaď - specific unpossessed > > There is an indirect possession form, where |nyāmva mōha| also > means “my house”, but it deemphasizes the relationship between the > possessor and the object possessed.
You could have some rule that some things are inalienably or inherently possessed and can't use the indirect construction.
> “Intensity” > I’m not entirely sure what to call this prefix, as it generally > “intensifies” or “upgrades” the meaning of a word. In a possessive > phrase, the possessor is intensified to indicate their role in the > phrase. Verbs can take this prefix as well, used when a non-participant > in the conversation is the agent. When a defined non-participant is the > possessor of something, the object possessed drops any possession > suffixes. Nouns that don’t use a counting word can use the prefix to > become plural, dropping any generic unpossessed suffix, which otherwise > would keep them “demoted”. The intensifying prefix is |s|, though it > assimilates to |z| before voiced phonemes.
'focalizer', 'topicalizer', or plain old 'emphasizer'? You could get to use 'emphatic' in a way which would confuse Semiticists! :-)
> Counting Words > Many nouns take counting words to refer to specific quantities of > them, and there are many more that can optionally take a counting word. > Some of the most common counting words are as follows: > nērga - for tiny, roundish things > pāržda - for small amounts of liquids > deha - for counting livestock > lūksa - for fish > a keda - for flat things > a tesa / a dāla / a stāl - generic counting words > a syalsa / vadrāp - for sections of things
Aren't these called 'quantifiers' when occurring in Asian langs?
> So if you’re going to refer to tree branches, for example, you > could talk about |īršta vadrāp|, or for an amount of grain, |īlrāba > nērga|, or for fish, |nimâsa lūksa|. > > VERBS > The verb system is rather complex (I usually like to focus my > efforts on verbs), and I haven’t worked it all out yet, but here’s some > of the important stuff. > > “Intensity” > In Dmēnna, discourse focuses on the relationships between the two > participants in the speech act, the speaker and the listener. It is > assumed that one of the two participants, or some larger group (which > may of course include one of the two), is always the agent of any verb. > To make a non-participant the agent, the verb takes the “intensity” > prefix.
That looks like a kind of inversion to me. /BP 8^)> -- Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ a shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot (Max Weinreich)


ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>Introducing DmÄnna
Joseph Fatula <joefatula@...>