Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Conlang Gender (was Re: Writing Systems and Biscriptal Children

From:Grandsire, C.A. <grandsir@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 1, 1999, 9:22
Hey! It's funny how I can find a parallel between your conlang and my
Chasma"o"cho about gender! As we say in French: "les grands esprits se
rencontrent !" :) .

Patrick Dunn wrote:
> > > nicole perrin wrote: > > > So, obligatory conlang reference: those of you who do have gender in > > > your language, is it masc/fem? > > I have an animate/inanimate gender distinction -- it works pretty well, > actually. It's much easier thinking in terms of animacy than in terms of > sex, sometimes. >
I think it's easier too. In languages that have only the masc./fem. distinction, the distinction is often pretty awckward and artificial. For instance in French: why is a chair feminine (une chaise) and an armchair masculine (un fauteuil)? Why is a republic feminine (une re'publique) and a kingdom masculine (un royaume)? Most of it seems artificial and can be only explained by etymology, which is not an explanation at all in this case! (indeed, why "thing" in Latin was feminine (res)?) Well, I'm not complaining about the artificiality of the masc./fem. distinction in French (I think on the contrary that it is a pretty net feature, esthetically speaking), but the animate vs. inanimate is often more consistent, even if there are exceptions or strange features.
> Gender determines how the optional plural is formed -- the prefix en- for > animate nouns, oa- for inanimate nouns. It also determines how the > construct state is formed -- animate nouns change their final -o to -a for > the construct state, while inanimate nouns add an -a to their final -e. > > sho = the man > sha Oa-oe = the man of the island of Oa-oe. > > satape = the weapon > satapea oso = the weapon of the mind. (this, incidently, is from my first > bit of shakespeare translated into Hatasoe, a piece of Macbeth) >
In Chasma"o"cho, gender determines which article is used with nouns (e for inanimate, o for animate) and agreement with the AR- adjectives that agree with the noun in gender (the -EUTH adjectives agree only in construction, and the nominal adjectives don't agree with the noun they complete). Chasma"o"cho nouns have also a construct state (another parallel), but it is formed the same in both genders (often irregularly), regularly by lowering the stressed vowel(s) (which often leads to a change o->a like in your conlang) or by adding an -e if the stressed vowel(s) is(are) already 'a'.
> Some words are irregular. Most body parts, for example, are animate, > except the eye, which is "hivie", inanimate. Most constructed objects are > inanimate, except for book, "uvoro", which is animate for no good reason > other than my whim. All gerunds are considered animate. >
I have aso irregular nouns, but body parts are regularly animate, as animate gender is defined by: "everything that is living -even plants or microbes- or that comes from living things without tranformation -flesh, organs, blood, wood, leaves are thus animate, while food is inanimate-". Feelings are also animate (like yan /j'an/: love), whereas sensations and most emotions are inanimate (an exception: tuupla /tupl'a/: fear is animate). Qualities can be inanimate or animate without any other reason than my preference (example: achuuna /adZ@wn'a/: health is animate, but ptas /pt'as/: strength is inanimate). The equivalents of gerunds (nominalised infinitives) are all inanimate.
> --Pat
-- Christophe Grandsire Philips Research Laboratories -- Building WB 145 Prof. Holstlaan 4 5656 AA Eindhoven The Netherlands Phone: +31-40-27-45006 E-mail: