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An incomplete, but interesting, Conlang sketch

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 20:39
Right.  Let me begin.  This language is currently called
E1(temporarily).  It's not exactly naturalistic, but it's not, I think,
too unnaturalistic.

It has a bizarre system of categorising words.  Or rather, it has no
system of categorising words.  Each word carries a 'concept' more than
the sharp division between objects and actions that we have.  For instance:

carries a concept of movement.  Depending on context, may mean -
move, go, etc.
mover, transport, etc.
and other things.

carries a general liquidy concept -
to soak, put water on, etc.
to melt

Many  words are a combination of two roots.  Joining them is often an
infix, such as '-pa' which suggests that the second element is a
property of the first.  For example, 'qampapfring' means 'river, stream,

That is the first part of speech.  The other parts of speech are
particles.  The only ones I've detailed much are the time particles.
They come in pairs - a start particle and an end particle.  They are not
mandatory.  In speech, they will not be used much, and in writing, they
will not be used for instantaneous events.  They are the following:

jo - far past
xu - mid-past
le - near-past
lle - present
lyi - near-future
go - mid-future
sæ - far future

If only one is used, it is boundless in the direction that is missing.
The particles are usually applied in the order written, and if written
in the opposite order, they carry a connotation of imperfection -
'doing something back to front'.

Normal word order goes in the following manner:

time, agent, action, patient/location/destination, patient/instrument, time
time, subject, action, location, instrument, time

You may notice that I have two patient slots.  This is a result of one
of the more bizarre features of the language - the distinction between
'features' , 'objects' and animates.  This distinction only affects
transitive sentences.  Features can only appear in the first
patient-slot.  Objects only in the second.  Animates can appear either
in the agent-slot or the second patient-slot. A feature is a permanent
or semi-permanent part of a landscape or scene.  Objects are
impermanent, and easily affected.   Let me demonstrate how this functions:

kam  lot  lotpajang
I      eat   cake
I ate the cake

Here, 'cake' is an object. (Incidentally, any noun can *actually* go in
any of the slots.  But they mean something different in each one.)
However, let us add an instrumental - what we ate the cake with:

kam lot lotpajang jerr tlangk
I      eat cake       and knife

Now, since we add an instrumental, it actually inhabits the same slot as
the second patient.  So we must add a conjunction to show that the slot
is extended to house a knife as well.  Technically, it could mean 'I ate
the cake and a knife' or 'I ate the knife with a cake', but, using
common sense, these are somewhat unlikely.  Generally, if unusual
situations do occur, they are cleared up with a passive sentence later.

Now, let us add a feature - a table <jap> - which is semi-permenant.

kam lot jap lotpajang jerr tlangk
I      eat table cake    and  knife
I ate the cake on the table with a knife

You see?

Now, the passive construction I suggested earlier could be used.  If you
wanted to say 'the knife was eaten' you would use the prefix 'kri-':

tlangk krilot
knife   PAS-eat
the knife was eaten (not the cake)

Most people would say this in the same breath as the first sentence.

Sometimes, you will want the meaning of a feature but the function of an
object.  Let us take the word we first introduced - 'qampapfring'

kam pfring qampapfring
I      move  river
I went to the river

however, what if we want to move *using the river*(ie. swimming)

kam pfring sleqampapfring
I      move  OBJ.river
I swam in the river

There is a reverse prefix, as well - turning objects into features - 'kan-'.

That's all I've worked out so far.  But it seems pretty promising to me.


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>