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New Language!

From:Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 21:36
I've started the first language in a long time that I'm happy with. :) I
start quite a lot but most of them strike me as unsatisfactory pretty
quickly, and I generally become bored or depressed trying to fix them,
but my latest is the first I've been remotely happy with in years. I've
nicked a few bits from basque (mainly some ideas from the basque verbal
system), from Hungarian, and a few things from other places...
 The reason I was asking about split ergative systems before is because
my new language has got one, and its slightly messy, and probably breaks
the universal about animacy and split ergative systems. Its split as

Verb Person (Accusative, but the verb agrees with both arguments if it
is transitive)
1st & 2nd: Accusative
3rd: Split: pronouns representing people (like he/she in english) are
accusative, pronouns representing other things (like it) are accusative
Proper nouns: neutral (no marking either way)
Definite People (ie nouns referring to people occuring with a definite
article eg the men, the boys, the women etc): Accusative
Everything else: Ergative

The main messiness is the lack of marking of proper nouns, which are
sandwiched between accusative systems (so the lack of marking doesn't
occur where the divide does) and also the fact that some 3rd person
pronouns are ergative even though things further down the scale from
them are accusative. Also, I'm not sure if any natural language changes
from  ergative to accusative because of a change of definiteness....
 The difference between Nom and Acc, and Erg and Abs is marked on the
article, but all other cases are marked with suffixes on the noun itself
(this is the reason proper nouns are neutral: they don't take articles),
and some of the affixes (mainly the plural affix) change form depending
on whether the noun they're attached to is taking ergative or accusative
style marking...
 Phonology wise it isn't amazingly interesting, apart from the fact it
has no bilabials or labiodentals whatsoever (no p, b, m, f, v, w...) but
it does have a set of dental fricatives (which I decided not to spell
using the handy unused letters f & v because that would be too easy).
 If anyone's interested I'll post some examples when I've made some good
ones... or maybe a babel text. :)


Rodlox <rodlox@...>