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New Language Sketch (was Re: Conlang Gender)

From:nicole perrin <nicole.eap@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 1, 1999, 2:10
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.
One of my less developed conlangs (I don't even think it has a name) has elaborate gender distinctions. And this thread has just inspired me to post a sketch of it. So here goes: (mind, this is soooo incomplete) Phonology: p t k f s S h r l w j n m all as in IPA (I'm way too lazy to try and do a table of them) a - /a/ e - /E/ i - /i/ y - /I/ u - /u/ o - /o/ Other stuff: OK, I am so unfamiliar with ergative and active systems, and I'm sure what I'm trying to do here has a name but since I don't know what I'm talking about I'll just describe it. I want to have cases to mark the following things: agent/instrument (a) patient/object (p) (the patient would be the subject in a passive sentence, of course) other (o) and genders as follows, in order of hierarchy: abstract concepts, men, women, children, animals, other living things, fantasy-type creatures/things, inanimate objects If, according to the hierarchy, a > p > o, there is no marking needed on these nouns, the role is assumed. So, if you have The man saw a unicorn. No marking is needed. But The unicorn saw a man. Marking is needed on both the man and the unicorn. Each gender has different case suffixes. Aspect, tense and mood are marked on a special auxiliary verb, which is ALWAYS used (it's always the same auxiliary, and the auxiliary has no real meaning in English) and the "real" verb is always used as an infinitive/dictionary form. so word order would be SVOA where A is the auxiliary. Comments? Especially about the case marking stuff, I really want to know what I was trying to do so I can clarify it in my own mind - these notes are pretty old and illegible. Nicole