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Re: Language Sketch: Gogido

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Monday, August 25, 2008, 22:49
On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 6:03 PM, Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...> wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 25, 2008 at 4:59 PM, Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...> wrote:
>> If you're going for an inventory pronouncable by the maximum >> range of people, maybe a three-vowel system (/a i u/) might >> be better. I had a sketch of a fauxlang once that had three >> basic vowels, then length distinctions and diphthongs
> How common are phonemic vowel length distinctions?
I'm not sure.
> Also, I wanted lots of distinct vowels to use as word-ending > part-of-speech markers (because final consonants are disallowed), but > that system is sort of up in the air at the moment. Primarily, I'm > wondering whether I should have the word endings be part of the root > morphemes which just happen to be standardized, or whether they should > be separable type-marking affixes which can be replaced during > derivation.
You might take a look at the way I did this in my engelang säb zjed'a , Root words are marked for the semantic category and *default* part of speech by the final consonant; an optional final vowel marks change of POS, (for nouns) case and (for verbs) transitivity. There's a systematic way for roots of each semantic class to derive words of each part of speech.
>> What do you do with experiencer-verb-focus or agent-verb-focus or >> force-verb-patient sentences, etc.? Is there any way for those >> arguments to have the preposition elided if they're in a default position relative to >> the verb, or do >> they always have to have a preposition marking them? > > There's no explicit verb focusing. Topicality / definiteness / > emphasis can be indicated by varying the phrase order. I toyed with
In this instance by "focus" I meant the typically object argument of sensory or thinking verbs whose subject is usually an experiencer, e.g. in "She sees him", or "She thinks about him", "she" would be experiencer and "him" the focus, according to theta role terminology as I understand it -- though "focus" is used to mean other things in other linguistic contexts. In gzb I call this kind of argument an object-of-attention, and I have another conlang where that role is marked by the "attentive case", but that's not standard terminology.
> the idea of having a default order for a larger number of theta-roles > that would allow for eliding prepositions, but I decided that made it > too complex. So, in the current system, only agent and patient can > have prepositions elided, and everything else *must* be marked with a > preposition. Parsing goes like this: > > 1. Check if there are any un-determined (unmarked) arguments. If so, > continue. If not, you're done. > 2. Check to see if there's already a determined agent. If so, then the > unmarked argument is determined to be the patient. If not, then the > first unmarked argument is determined to be the patient. Go back to > step one.
Is there a typo in paragraph #2, with "patient" substituted for "agent" one of the two times it appears (perhaps the second)? Because otherwise I don't get it. If I understand correctly, you could have any of VAP, AVP, or APV without needing to mark the agent and patient explicitly, since the nouns and verbs and modifiers are morphologically distinct (right?). Only if the patient precedes the agent, or if you have an experiencer instead of an agent or a focus instead of a patient or something would you need to have prepositions to mark them. Right? Given your parsing rule, I have to ask if you would explicitly mark the patient when there is no agent but a force instead, e.g. "The wind opened the door". It seems you would need to. E.g. force-PREP wind-NOUN open-VERB patient-PREP door-NOUN because otherwise "door" would be the first unmarked argument and would be parsed as agent. Do you mark objects of result distinctly from preexisting patients? I.e., in "Hikaru wrote a letter" would "letter" be unmarked if in default position or would it need a preposition to mark it no matter its position?
>> What about valency, evidentiality and mood? > > Valency is unmarked. You can apply any number or type of arguments to > any verb, although what that *means* may be rather opaque in many > cases.
You could have a default causative derivation for any normally intransitive verb which has no transitive counterpart defined in the lexicon, I guess; something like "agent or force causes patient to undergo the process denoted by the verb", or "experiencer undergoes the process denoted by the verb because of perceiving or thinking about the focus". Actually it seems to me that experiencer and patient are very closely related roles, which rarely if ever both occur in the same situation; I've combined them both into one case in a couple of sketchlangs. -- Jim Henry Conlang fluency survey -- there's still time to participate before I analyze the results and write the article


Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>