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A few questions about linguistics concerning my new project

From:Nick Scholten <nick.scholten@...>
Date:Monday, July 30, 2007, 19:56
Hi there,

For the past month or so I've slowly been progressing on one of my old
projects, which I then named 'Kitanic' or native: Kítanoele or Kítani. It
was once to be a proto-language out of which I would derive other languages,
but right now that seems to be way out of my league.

I have some issues I keep pondering over, namely:

1: The language is supposed to have ergative alignment:
I fully understand how it works in principle but the only thing that is
bothering me is antipassives. I don't understand how it works, how can one,
when trying to make a 'passive' construct (like: 'X is hit' , when you don't
know who or what was hitting X) you have to stress the agent in an
antipassive. If you don't know what the agent is how are you supposed to
specify it? Would you maybe say: 'Y is hit X' where the object X is
optional, Y is the agent which is specified with something other marked then
ergative case?

2: Inflectional systems:
I was making inflections that deal with the ergative and absolutive case,
articles and number (including paucal). I wonder both if this turns out to
be complex if I add more cases, and if it would also become too complex if I
used inflectional systems alongside suffixes.

3: Vowel system:
I don't worry to much about my consonant system, which is pretty basic
except for distinguishing 3 lateral alveolars (/l/, /K/, and /K\/). But I'm
much more unsure about my vowel system, which basically included /A E I O i
u/ before I added allophony. I somehow thought this as 'unbalanced' so I
created allophony where /A/ and /O/ are [a] and [o] in stressed sylliables.
I also created an array of diphthongs but I'm really not sure if they would
be fitting: /AE/, [ai] /Au/, [au] /OE/, [oi] /Eu/ /Ei/ /Iu/ (ones after
comma are allophones in stressed sylliables).

Hope one of you (or more of you) can give me some answers about this. To
someone only mildly into linguistics some of these problems just feel daunting.


Nick Scholten


David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Michael Poxon <mike@...>