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Terkunan revision (adding a lot of Rhodrese)

From:Benct Philip Jonsson <conlang@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 11:20
Chiming in late as usual. What can I say? Real Life!

Henrik Theiling skrev:
 > Hi!
 > Yesterday night, I worked through my TODO list of Terkunan
 > and revised it a bit. The reason for most of the changes
 > is to minimise the number of roots, while retaining a
 > typically Romance look and feel.
 >   a) I unified the demonstrative pronouns _kul_ 'this' and
 >      _kus_ 'that' into only one, _kul_ 'this; that'.
 >      Further adverbs may be used to clarify, if necessary
 >      (but due to limited lexicon, those do not yet
 >      exist...).

Assuming that these may be from HÎC and ILLÁC you might
end up with _kulí_ and _kulá_. I don't know what you think
of accent marks for Terkunan; I guess that since all primary
unaccented final vowels are either lost or become _e_ at
least _kula_ would be unambiguous /ku'la/, while your Cj# >
Ci# rule complicates things WRT /ku'li/. Or maybe since
'this' is spelled _kul-i_, _kul-la_ gets changed to _kul-a_
anyway! Maybe it's only me using [dn='E:r] _den här_ and
[dn='dE:r] _den där_ every bloody day. Allegro forms are
cool, but having gotten used to actually noting them *can*
mess up your sprachgefuehl!

 >      This helps my German brain when translating into
 >      Terkunan...

I guess _dieses_ has gone out of spontaneous usage, but hasn't
it been replaced by _das hier_ vs. _das da_ rather than just
merge into _das_?

 >   b) I unified the relative pronoun _ki_ and the
 >      interrogative _ke_ into _ke_.

I'd expect relative _ke_ and interrogative _ki_.

The Romance thing to do would be to have no distinction
between relative and interrogative, but have _ki_ for
animates/humans and _ke_ for inanimates/nonhumans. It took
me a while to realize that Italian actually makes this
distinction. If you need to mark out the relative you might
use _le ke/leke_.

Or pronominal _ki_ 'which/who' and conjunction _ke_
'dass/that'. That would seem to me an important and sensible
distinction to make. But then you have Spanish _aquí_ in
the mixer too, which may become Terkunan _ki_. Which means
that under (a) above you might get _kul-ki_ and _kul-la_ --
might this analogize to _kul-ka_ as if < ECCU'LLE ECCU HAC.
To practically have _kul_ + _a_ vs. _kul_ + k + i_ IMHO
calls for an analogic _kul-ka_! Cf. It. _qua_ 'dort' (Meyer-
Lübke #3965).

 >   c) I unified the definite article _le_ and the 3rd
 >      person pronoun _il_ because _il_ constantly triggered
 >      off problems (e.g. with its plural, with the way
 >      contractions work, etc.etc.). The resulting word is
 >      _le_ and the plural pronoun is _lez_ (there is no
 >      special plural article).

Have you considered putting the main onus of distinguishing
number on the article?, as modern French does and as I've
found Rhodrese to do to no small degree.[^1] You might have
a system like

| 			Indefinite     Definite
| 	Singular  un kan         le kan
| 	Plural    kan            li kan

Where thus only forms that got stressed on the ending like
ILLÉ, ILLÍ so to speak accidentally preserved a number
distinction. This would be somewhat in keeping with the
pidginness of Terkunan. You needn't even reinstate _no_ and
_vo_ as plural pronouns since you can have _li mi_ 'we', _li
tu_ 'you all'.

[^1]: Rhodrese to be sure *has* plural marking
through umlaut on both nouns and adjectives, but if they
already have _i_ /i/ or _eu_ /y/ in the singular like
_figl_ 'son(s)' -- also 'daughters' unless there has
developed a _figline_ with plural _figlí_, and why not
colloquially even _fiocel/fiocil?! < *FIL'CELLUS -- and
_celeur_ 'famous' no distinct plural can be formed, and
forms with _e_ may be either singulars with plurals in _i_
or plurals of words with singulars in _a/ia/ua_. That boils
down to quite a few words (_eu_ is especially frequent,
since all {i, e, E}{p, b, v} become _eu_) which must rely
on the article for number distinction, and in the third
declension also gender, so the rather full system of
articles becomes (leaving aside the forms of the definite
article before words beginning in vowels):

|              Masc.     Fem.      Plur.
|    Indef.    un        one       eun /yn/
|    Defin.    el        la        il

Old French and Old Spanish had forms like _uns_ and _unos_
meaning 'some, einige', and I thought it be a nice touch for
at least some Romconlang to develop plural indefinite
articles from them. It's no coincidence that Burgendish uses
_sums, sume_ 'some' as its indefinite article.

I'm a bit worried about _one_ as an indefinite article form,
as it must look silly to English speakers, but I can't make
myself believe a stress-change ÚNA > UNÁ and then > _na_
to be realistic. The U of UNA used to be long after all,
unlike the I of ILLA.

As for the gender syncretism in the plural: if German and
Russian can do it, so can Rhodrese. The corresponding
pronouns have a case distinction too:

| 			Masc.     Fem.      Plur.
| 	Nom.      el   	elle      il        (_ll_ /l\`/)
| 	Acc.      le        la        li
| 	Dat.      leu       lai       laur

This however begs the question how and when _-s_ was lost in
Rhodrese, which must have been earlier and cant have been
quite the same way as in French, since word-internal _sC_
clusters are unaffected. So I found out that the process
wasn't mainly phonetic at all, but also morphologic. Very
Old Rhodrese had a system of nominal inflections like:

|      		Sing. 	Plur.
|     Nom. 	el murs 	il/li   muir /myr/
|     Acc. 	el mur 	els/les murs

The form _murs_ was thus ambiguous between and, and what more the _-s_ marker disappeared whenever
the following word began in _r_ or _l_. The alternative marker _les_ didn't help much, as it was also the feminine article, so if anything it helped to merge
the genders in the plural. Anyhow people simply discarded
the ambiguous form _murs_, creating a simple _mur/meur_
distinction -- _eu_ /2y/ and _ui_ /y/ having merged into a
single _eu_ /y/.

However this doesn't help explaining why -S disappeared in
the second person singular of verbs, so I seemed to have to
go back to my previous explanation where most instances of
final, but not word-internal pre-consonantal -S became [h]
rather early and then zero, *except* in _-ts_, whether from
_-ce_ or _-tVs_, since AMATIS > _amiaç_. I'd end up with a
rather complicated pattern of sandhi for -S.

Then it occurred to me that since -E:S > *-IS and not *-ES
in pre-Rhodrese, perhaps *-IS was a special case, namely
[is] > [is\] > [iC] > [i]. (This may or may not be what
happened in OTL Italian and Rumanian, BTW!)

This would mean a third declension (Very) Old Rhodrese
paradigm like

| 			Sing.     	Plur.
| 	Nom.      el keans      il/li   ke(n)
| 	Acc.      el kea(n)     els/les ke(n)

N.B. that [kE] would rather be spelled _che_ in
      Rhodrese, but I'd not wan't to distract from what's
      important here.

And the seconds person singular verb forms would go

|    AMAS      DOLÊS     BIBIS     AUDÎS
|    *AMAS	*DUOLI    *BEVES    *AUDI
|    >         >         >         >
|    eames     duel      beus      eut
| modern
|    (y)em     duel      beu       eud

So the jobs that'd be left for _-s_ would be many but not
all masculine nominative singulars, *some* feminine
nominative singulars and some second person singulars of
verbs, while _-es_ would be some feminine accusative plurals
and some second person singulars of verbs. The analogical
pressure to get rid of _-(e)s_ altogether would be rather
strong IMHO. Verb forms like DICIS > *DICES > DIC'S > _ditzs
 > ditz_ and the few masculines like SENSU with stems in -S
would rather add to the confusion and speed the demise of
inflexional _-(e)s_. Second person plural _-tis_ would OTOH
have joined another phoneme /ts)/ and so be preserved as
_-tz_, later spelled _-ç_ and still later merging with

 >      Think colloquial German:
 >|        'Der Mann spinnt.' - 'The man is crazy.'
 >|		'Der spinnt.' - 'He is crazy.'

Even (western) Swedish: _Den e' inte klok_ with reference to
a person (usually male, reflecting the origin of _den_).

 >      Before this change, all pronouns could be prefixed to
 >      a noun for possessive meaning:
 >|		le kan - the dog
 >|		mi kan - my dog
 >|		tu kan - your dog
 >|		il kan - his/her dog
 >      The last one was particularly confusing I think. Now
 >      that _il_ has become _le_, it can obviously not be
 >      prefixed anymore because _le kan_ is already
 >      occupied. So there is now an exception that the 3rd
 >      persion pronoun cannot be prefixed and the normal
 >      suffixed possessive with _de_ must be used:
 >          kan de le - his/her dog
 >      Although an exception, is seems very reasonable to
 >      me.

Since you have _es/fu_ you are not totally averse to
suppletion, and the Romance thing to do would be to have _su
kan_ for 'his/her dog'. ILLIUS has been replaced by forms of
SUUS *everywhere* in Romance. Lest you get confusion with
SUB, the latter should become _so_, or even better 'below,
beneath' should be from SUBTUS -- cf. It. _sotto_, Fr.
_sous_ (or for that matter Rhodrese _saut_ :-) -- or since
Spanish has _de bajo_ whatever corresponds to that.

 >   d) I introduced an irregular verb form of _es_ 'to be',
 >      namely the perfect participle _fut_ instead of the
 >      regular _esat_.
 >      The reason for this is that I found _esat_ really
 >      ugly.

Really, and I guess you know that everyone will be thinking

 >      The verb _es_ is the only irregular verb and it has
 >      another irregular form, namely the past tense, which
 >      is _fu_ instead of _ava fut_ or even _av'esat_.
 > Please tell me what you think!
 > For more info:

I spotted a typo there, I think:

 > In Vulgar Latin, phonemic length was lost, but the quality
 > of the vowels was retained, with three mergers: /aː a/ >
 > /a/, /eː ɪ/ > /e/, and /oː ɔ/ > /ɔ/. The result is a
 > seven vowel system in Proto-Romance: /i e ɛ a u o ɔ/.

That should be /o: U/ > /o/ if I'm not wholly mistaken.

I have the various attested Proto-Romance vowel sytems are
tabularized at


BTW I've lost my source for the Corsican system. Any help to
come up with a citeable source will be greatly appreciated!

 > Some texts are at the very end.
 > Bye, Henrik
 > PS: Some features of the language that do not minimise the
 >     number of roots don't seem to strike me as a
 >     contradiction to my goals. Most notably, I have
 >     inclusive and exclusive 2rd person pronouns, a
 >     'representative' 2rd persion pronoun (check the web
 >     page) and also honorific 3rd person pronouns. The
 >     reason I think is that I just don't want to give up
 >     neither 'mi' nor 'noz' in the 3nd persion and neither
 >     'tu' nor 'voz', because they are so nicely Romance.

As outlined above, if you lose the plural marker in nominals
keeping _no_ _vo_ as simple plurals might become justified.
After all creoles often lose nominal number but keep
suppletive number in determiners and pronouns. Many English
pidgins and creoles have a reflex of 'all' both as
a pronoun and as a preposed plural marker.

/BP 8^)>
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
   "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
   à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
   ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
   c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>