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Cwendaso vowel combinations (was: Re: Syllabic consonants (was: Re: Beek))

From:Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 2:59
> > I have considered what I can do with your recommendations. The first thing > > that I can do is to officially induct <uma> into my conlang as the verb "to > > die." (I think the stress will be on the first syllable, but I haven't > > finalized my decision just yet.) > >Glad to have made my contribution :).
I am very grateful that you have made the contribution. The language needs words and morphemes. It may possibly have increased in size by 40-50% yesterday. (I am honestly not kidding! You know that I've been saying that this language is embryonic. Unfortunately, I won't be able to develop its grammar much further until I read a good textbook on language typology to get an idea what sort of structural options are open to me. Does anyone have a good, all-purpose book on typology, with plenty of examples, to suggest? I read at a fairly high level; I have a B.A. in linguistics, but wasn't offered a typology class. English books only.)
> > >What would you recommend when making the verb <mta> into a pres. act. > part. > > >by suffixing -eis. There are too many vowels together in /mta-eis/. One > > >or more of them's got to go. (BTW, the <ei> is a diphthong.) Maybe > > ><mtais> would be reasonable? > > > > I've thought of another resonable alternative. /mta-eis/ could come out as > > either <mtais> or <mtayeis> (with the <y> being a jod.) Perhaps these two > > are variations between dialects? > >The dialectic difference is always nice. I'm somewhat partial to <mtais>, >myself.
I am also partial to <mtais>, so I think that I will make certain that the villiage that my protagonist ends up living in forms its present active participles according to that pattern :-) Okay, here I go doubling the current lexical inventory of the language in order to demonstrate (or rather, figuring out) a phonological phenomenon or two.... Let's form some present active participles by adding -eis to the infinitive. I am going to do this to words ending in each of the five vowels. (I will ignore, for the moment, what would happen if the infinitive ends in diphthong rather than a simple vowel. Maybe infinitives don't end in diphthongs? I don't yet know what diphthongs are legal in the language, actually -- besides [ai], [oi], and [ei].) <khedi> --> <khedyeis> /xedi-eis/ 'to wound' 'wounding' <pare> --> <pareis> /pare-eis/ 'to live' 'living' <mta> --> <mtais> /mta-eis/ ''to dwell' 'dwelling' <indumo> --> <indumois> /indumo-eis/ 'to speak' 'speaking' <bukhu> --> bukhweis> /buxu-eis/ 'to build' 'building' So when adding -eis to a vowel-final stem, if the final vowel is high, it becomes a glide and the diphthong [ei] is retained. If the final vowel is non-high, the [e] drops out of the suffix and the vowel forms a diphthong together with the [i]. Now let's try negating some verbs with the prefix emi-, one example of each of the five vowels, the possibility of diphthong-initial stems being ignored for the moment. <indumo> --> <emindumo> /emi-indumo/ 'to speak' 'not to speak' <edmta> --> <emyedmta> /emi-edmta/ 'to wear' 'not to wear' <awekh> --> <emyawekh> /emi-awex/ 'to jump' 'not to jump' <ontelaku> --> <emyotelaku> /emi-ontelaku/ 'to tear' 'not to tear' <uvtekhes> --> <emyutekes> /emi-uvtekes/ 'to hear' 'not to hear' So here, where [i] preceeds another vowel it turns to [j], unless it preceeds the vowel [i], in which case it is absorbed. Would it be better to have it form a jod even here and end up with <emyindumo>? Now, if I want to explore the interaction of different vowel combinations and vowel and diphthong combinations, I'll need to make up some new vocabulary and some new affixes. The 2nd person sing. present active suffix is -i (the unstressed one). Adding it to verbs ending in the five vowels gets us: <khedi> --> <khedi> 'to wound' 'you wound' <pare> --> <parei> 'to live' 'you live' <mta> --> <mtai> 'to give' 'you give' <indumo> --> <indumoi> 'to speak' 'you speak' <bukhu> --> <bukhwi> 'to build' 'you build' /i/ is absorbed because there are no phonemically long vowels in the language, /u/ becomes a glide in keeping with its behavior in the other examples of a sequence of two high vowels, non-high vowels become diphthongs. Adding the instrumental singular suffix -epti to nouns ending in the 5 different vowels get us: <ngati> --> <ngatyepti> 'head' 'with a head' <dovde> --> <dovdepti> 'fire' 'with fire' <pra> --> <praipti> 'pelt' 'with a pelt' <ldo> --> <ldoipti> 'smoke' 'with smoke' <tadhu> --> <tadhwepti> 'tear' 'with a tear' Again, high vowels become glides before another vowel and one of a pair of identical vowels is deleted. /e/ is being raised to [i] and forming a diphthong with the other two. To try out V+a sequences, I can add the nominative multal suffix that I made up yesterday, -ab. <ngati> --> <ngatyab> 'head' 'very many heads' <dovde> --> <dovdyab> 'fire' 'a great many fires' <pra> --> <prab> 'pelt' 'a great many pelts' <ldo> --> <ldwab> 'smoke' 'a great cloud of smoke' <tadhu> --> <tadhwab> 'tear' 'a multidude of tears' (as in crying, not ripping) High vowels have their usual behavior, and mid vowels are being raised to high then turned into glides. Doubled vowels are not pronounced. I'm starting to run out of suffixes here, and I need two more...ok, how about -osu for a...what? How about the present passive participle! (And now I can *finally* have the proper name of my protagonist in the original Cwendaso instead of in translation! I've been waiting *years* for this. Hooray! Ok, enough rejoicing, back to work.) <khedi> --> <khedyosu> 'to wound' 'being wounded' <pare> --> <paryosu> 'to live' 'being lived' <mta> --> <mtausu> 'to give' 'being given' <indumo> --> <indumosu> 'to speak' 'being spoken' <bukhu> --> <bukhwosu> 'to build' 'being built' Same behavior here, non-low vowels become glides (as long as you order this rule after the one that degeminates the vowels.) The mid-vowel /o/ also rises and forms a diphthong with the /a/ similar to the process that occurred earlier with the /e/. I think that this is starting to feel like a pretty consistent set of rules here. Last vowel here. I would like to buy a /u/. Perhaps I will by only a -u. Now I need to acquire a meaning for my -u. How about 1st pers. pres. act. indic.? <khedi> --> <khedyu> 'to wound' 'I wound' <pare> --> <paryu> 'to live' 'I live' <mta> --> <mtau> 'to dwell' 'I dwell' <indumo> --> <indumow> 'to speak' 'I speak' <bukhu> --> <bukhu> 'to build' 'I build' Does that look better spelled <indumow> or <indumou>? Similar things happening here, except that we see /o/ and /u/ forming a diphthong, which we haven't seen before, but I think it was predictable, knowing that /e/ and /i/ will form a diphthong. Does everything I've done so far feel reasonable and natural? So we now have 5 vowels and 4 diphthongs in the language. We've already looked at the behavior of /ei/ when preceeded by vowels. I am going to guess that /ou/ does the same thing. But I'll try to make up *yet another suffix* and find out. There is still /au/ and /oi/ to deal with, and I already know that /au/ is not so easy to handle. I am going to need some suggestions from some of you as to how /au/ should combine with the vowels, because it doesn't seem to want to do so as neatly as /ei/ did. For the purpose of this excercise, I have created the suffix -aug, used to form the past passive participle. <khedi> --> <kedyaug> <pare> --> <paryaug> <uma> --> <umaug> <indumo> --> <indumoug> <bukhu> --> <bukhwaug> <indumo> feels sort of funny. I almost feel that /indumo-aug/ should come out as [indumaug] instead of [indumowg]. I will now invent the suffix -owth (or -outh any opinions on which is a better spelling?) which is like -ly in English, it turns an adjective into a noun, thus forcing me to invent, on the spot, five new adjectives. (And when I am done, the language will have *infinitely* more adjectives than it had before I started, because up till now the only adjectives in the language were the participles.) <siri> --> <siryowth> 'quiet' 'quietly' <mgame> --> <mgamyowth> 'mean' 'meanly' <palna> --> <palnauth> 'quick' 'quickly' <dorvo> --> <dorvowth> 'good' 'well' <panlu> --> <panlwowth> 'beautiful' 'beautifully' Or should /panlu-owth/ be realized as [panlowth] instead of [panlwowth]? I will invent another suffix -ois (stressed), which is used to turn a noun into an adjective of the same meaning. e.g. in "bear claw", "bear" is actually an adjective modifying "claw." In English we get lucky a lot of the time and don't have to do a silly thing to the noun in order to use it as an adjective, but in Cwendaso, the noun must be adjectivized(?). (OTOH, Cwendaso has adjectival nouns i.e. any adjective may be used as a noun without altering its morphology. Among other things, this allows them to have even more fun with participles -- there's a past active participle, too, which you haven't seen. There may or may not be future participles.) In any case, -ios makes that type of adjective. (In the meantime, I think I just came up with the singular imperative, -oi) <ngati> --> <ngatyios> <dovde> --> <dovdyois> <pra> --> <prais> <ldo> --> <ldois> <tadhu> --> tadhwois> Should /pra-ois/ turn into [prois] instead of [prais]? Does all of this look reasonable and natural? All this vowel interaction is really making me appreciate a language like Latin where the parts of speech have to fulfill certain requirements as to what form they can take instead of them all looking like each other. Latin morho-phonemics are certainly much simpler than this. Not that I'm not having fun, but it's going to be a bear to remember to apply all these phonological rules when I assemble words.
> > Now, if someone will *please* double-check my semantics here...The language > > has a nominalizing suffix -m such that you have the pairs of words: <tovl> > > 'to instruct' and <tovlm> 'instruction' and <khange> 'to know' and > > <khangem> 'knowledge.' Am I within the right semantic range if I say that > > adding -m to the verb <uma> 'to die' should give a noun <umam> with the > > meaning of 'death'? > >If that's what you want. The semantics are certainly fine. In natlangs, >such derivational processes are generally somewhat flexible in the >meanings they assign to derivatives, so <umam> is a very plausible word >for "death".
Good to know that my semantic sense wasn't out of line here. (You know that I've been saying some strange things by accident here on the list lately.)
>"Death" is a common concept, though, so while it's often related to "die", >the etymology may be synchronically obscure--as with English. Romance >languages are similar.
Maybe I'll give the languge two words for death, the second one with a less obvious derivation, and with slightly different semantics. There are some reasons that I can think of for doing this. One of them is that this is my oral conculture with a separate dialect used for poetry and other ceremonial purposes, so they could easily maintain two words for the same concept. The other is that about 400-750 years ago, they were in contact with (and eventually in conflict with) a cuture whose primary deity was the Death-god. The Death-worshipping culture was a newcomer in the region and eventually drove the culture whose language we are dicussing here out into the region they now inhabit. Even before contact with the Death-worshippers, this culture had some important beliefs of its own about death, which it maintains to this day. Well, honestly, I think that I've done enough work (or is it play) for one day. It's taken me all afternoon and evening to write this post, but I think I have a lot to show for it besides the phonological stuff going on with vowels across morpheme boundaries. I have five new nouns, five new adjectives, and about as many new verbs. I can derive adverbs and adjectives. I have two more participles (and an important proper name that needs the pres. pass. part.), and I have a nice handful of other inflectional endings, none of which I had when I woke up this morning. I have more than doubled the number or lexical items in the language and done more than that for the bound morphemes. (Unfortunately, my conlang will still not be making appearances in the Weekly Vocab any time within the forseeable future.) Isidora linguist at play


JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>