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Language Sketch: Gogido

From:Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>
Date:Monday, August 25, 2008, 19:29
The basic idea behind this language is to make it as flexible as
possible, and as simple as possible. So, it has an enormous sound
inventory, but a fairly small number of phonemes with lots of
allophones. I had a side-goal of making it pronounceable by the widest
variety of people possible, but that occasionally takes a back seat to
my sense of aesthetics.

Phoneme inventory:

b- bilabial plosive
d- dental or alveolar plosive
g- vela or uvular plosive
v- bilabial or labiodental fricative
z- dental, alveolar, or post-alveolar fricative
r- approximant, tap, or trill
m- bilabial or labiodental nasal
n- any other nasal
'- null, glottal stop, or bilabial, dental, or alveolar plosive

Pure Vowels-
a- /a/, /A/, /{/
e- /e/, /E/, /I/
i- /i/
o- /o/
u- /u/

ai, ei, oi, ao

Syllable structure is CV(C), with no final consonants. The null
character (') is a bit of a cheat to allow two vowels in a row while
still keeping the CV structure- there's supposed to be some kind of
consonant there, but you can choose to fail to pronounce it without
changing the meaning of the word. The null character never appears at
the beginning of a word.

The name of the language, Gogido, derives from adapting the Latin
'cogito' to that phonological system.

The grammar is built up in stages- there's a very simple core system
that ought to be able to convey just about anything, but may do so
clumsily, and then more structures are layered on top to produce more
complex or more concise sentences.
There's no concept of subjects vs. objects. Rather, everything is
marked for it's theta role.*
There's a default order of Agent-Verb-Patient, in which case explicit
markings are elided (and it works basically like SVO word order), but
that can be broken by using prepositions to specify any particular
argument as the agent or patient, in addition to any other relevant
roles. It's sort of a trigger system, except that there is no trigger.
I'm a bit iffy on analyzing the agent/patient markers as prepositions
rather than a separate class of particles, but they do behave in the
same way as definitely-prepositional words which also assign theta
Perhaps it would be useful to make a distinction between adverbial
prepositional phrases and adjectival prepositional phrases (I'm not
doing that here, because Gogido has no distinction between adverbs and
adjectives, but it could be a neat feature for some other language).

There's no grammatical number, gender, or case, and tense is optional
(marked with tense/aspect particles).



*On the subject of theta-role marking, I had another idea for sentence
structure which I don't think I've seen before, and I wonder what
langs, if any, employ it. The idea is to have the theta-role
assignment order be integrated into the meaning of every verb. Or,
another way of putting it, syntax for each clause is defined by the
verb. So, theta-roles would be assigned to each argument of a verb
based on the order of the arguments, but the assignment order would
vary for every verb. Or, one could do a similar thing with
subject/object categories rather than just straight theta-roles, where
the subject/object order of each clause is determined by the meaning
of the verb.


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Logan Kearsley <chronosurfer@...>