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Re: Modifications to Lunatic Survey

From:Tim Smith <timsmith@...>
Date:Sunday, September 27, 1998, 22:21
At 12:04 PM 9/25/98 -0400, Sally Caves wrote:
>Thank you David... that was wonderful! I need to add a few questions >to the list... one of them is the important: what is the name of your >conlang and in a nutshell, what are its most important features?
As I said in my response to the original survey, I don't have just one conlang, but a lot of projects in various stages of development. Most of them don't even have names. But I'll list a few of the farther-along ones, not necessarily in order of priority: Naya Vandi ("Standard Language"): The lingua franca of an advanced interstellar civilization. It's a semi-conlang (an auxlang developed by standardizing and extending a natlang, sort of like Bahasa Indonesia); consequently it's somewhat more regular and "logical" than one would expect of a pure natlang. It has a bit of an Austronesian-like feel: a very simple phonology, with mostly CV syllables, a very isolating grammar with fairly strict SVO word order, and an almost "typologically pure" head-modifier syntax. Meitzanathein: the language of the Meitzanath ("People of the Disciplines"), a quasi-religious sect that left the Naya Vandi-speaking "Mainstream" culture to found a utopian community on a planet that's only marginally habitable. It, too, is a semi-conlang, but based on an ancient, extinct language (thus more analogous to Modern Israeli Hebrew than to Bahasa Indonesia). It's distantly related to Naya Vandi -- typologically very different but with some obviously related vocabulary, sort of like, say, English and Hindi. It's agglutinating, with a fairly free but predominantly SOV word order. Both its nominal case system and its verbal tense-aspect system are elaborate and typologically very unusual. (The case system is a pure tripartite system, with distinct ergative, accusative, and nominative/absolutive cases for all classes of noun phrases -- something which AFAIK doesn't exist in any natlang, but which doesn't appear to clearly violate any known language universals. Aspect marking on verbs, both in itself and in combination with case marking on nouns, is used to make distinctions that in most languages are made lexically rather than grammatically.) I'm working on a language now, tentatively called Akhmentai, that has head-modifier (VO) syntax and a grammar that's fully isolating with respect to open-class lexical items, with inflectional morphology confined to closed-class items. The word order is underlyingly verb-initial, but with topic-fronting in main clauses, giving a surface order of verb-second in main clauses, verb-first in subordinate clauses (inspired by Matt Pearson's Tokana). There are lots of proclitic pronouns, including subject pronouns that have merged with auxiliary verbs to form "tense-marked pronouns" sort of like those of Hausa. All case roles are marked by prepositions; there's also a focus-marking preposition, sort of analogous to the topic-marking postposition in Japanese. (In fact, this language started out as a sort of "inverse Japanese".) There's a language that I mentioned in a post a few months ago, that's related to Indo-European. Its protolanguage split off from Proto-Indo-European after the PIE case system was pretty fully developed but before the change from a two-gender (animate vs. inanimate) to a three-gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter) system. It has the same Tokana-like basic word order as Akhmentai, and some syntactic features that are reminiscent of Greek and/or Slavic. Basically, my intent here is to take what I like about the "classical" Indo-European languages, while finding historically plausible excuses for dispensing with what I don't like. Neo-Anglic is a future language descended from an English-based creole. The typical isolating creole grammar has evolved into something vaguely reminiscent of modern colloquial French, with clitic subject and object pronouns and auxiliary verbs merging with the lexical verb, becoming agreement-marking affixes and tense-marking affixes, and the order of noun phrases becoming increasingly free. A few weeks ago I posted something about a language in which verbs take the place of all adpositions. In fact, there are two variations of that, one VO and one OV. There are lots more floating around in my head, but I think I'd better quit now and get back to my life. ------------------------------------------------- Tim Smith "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939)