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Nouns, they hate me!

From:Mia Soderquist <happycritter@...>
Date:Thursday, October 11, 2007, 1:26
Hello, good people of CONLANG!

Back in August, I hammered out a mostly workable grammar for Teliya
Nevashi and set about doing a Babel text translation as a test drive for
the language. I actually did it in two versions simultaneously, for the
sake of developing style. While I thought it worked over all, I was
unhappy with the way nouns actually looked in real sentences.
For instance:
3. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them
thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

a. Wa oeji tel, "Xu! Efa ano ya vecinam, wa efa pwen vonet shenai wa
fisas." Wa edi zo ya vecinam gida osalanat, wa ianasham an yedrat.

   And speak, "Come on! make the
bricks-acc., and burn them-acc. completely and well."
And use the bricks-acc. instead-of stones-dat., and
mud-acc. as mortar-dat.

b. Wa oeji tel em jen i jenat ila, "Xu! Efa ano vecinam, wa efa pwen
vonet shenai." Wa ebi def vecinam gida osalat, wa ianasham an yedrat.

And speak one person (to) person-dat. other, "Come
on! make bricks-acc., and burn
them-acc. completely."  And have bricks-acc.
instead-of stones-dat., and mud-acc. as mortar-dat.

(Note: Xu! is an interjection with a variety of meanings along the lines
of "Come on", "Let's go", "Look here", etc.)

I think _veci_ ("brick") > vecin ("bricks") > vecinam ("bricks-acc.") is
just hideous. I tried simply stripping out the case endings, but that
really wasn't a satisfying solution either. I am not happy with -n for
plurals either (though I am pleased with -l for the dual number), as it
seems a little typical and not particularly aesthetically pleasing.

Grah! Suggestions? (Not that I'll take them, but feel free to make them.)

My work on the language got sidetracked by a move. We've been in the new
place for a month, and now I am trying to get the language in working
order to do some more translations and compositions. I've lost a little
momentum, but I hope getting the nouns ironed out will help get me back
on track.

M.S. Soderquist


Jesse Bangs <jaspax@...>
David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>