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finally, something besides phonology in Tech...

From:Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>
Date:Saturday, March 27, 2004, 13:19
Now that I've gotten to the next stage of development after being stuck on
phonology for 17 years, I'm moving on. I think I should throw a party for
myself. Or at least smile and have a Dr Pepper. But my Horns lost, so
there's not much cause to celebrate for me (if there are some Xavier fans
here, no offense). It was a bad day in Austin yesterday with that and an
early-morning accident that all but shut down I-35 in one direction.

So here's a brief summary of my goal for my one main project:

The grammar of Tech is intented to be as complicated and convoluted as its
ridiculous phonology. Its typology, using Sapir's terms, will be symbolic
(i.e. fusional with ablaut - found in Afro-Asiatic languages and
Chechen-Ingush, and to a lesser extent German) and polysynthetic (Inuktitut,
many North American languages; also Basque, French, Hungarian and Georgian
with pronouns). Word order is free but tends to be VSO or less commonly SVO,
where topic-marking is usually expressed by moving the word to the front of
the clause.

The word root of two to four or more consonants inflects with vowel changes,
using vertical ablaut @~a i~e u~o, so the "broken plurals" of Arabic will be
found (there will be four numbers in Tech: singular, dual, plural and
collective), along with Arabic's ten-plus verb classes, where a geminated
second consonant indicates causativity or intensivity and the reflexive is
indicated by a lenghtened first vowel.

Verbs can incorporate nouns: X\-m-b-n "to love like one loves a
son/daughter", from the roots X\-m "to love/praise/delight in" and b-n
"son". Another case: X\-m-?-l-h "to love like God loves", this time the root
?-l-h "God, Allah" is the rough equivalent of Greek _agapao:_ in
theological/philosophical usage.

Roots are built with a type of logic: X\-m "to love" is extended by at least
one consonant for more developed meanings: X\-m-d "to praise", etc. (Just
like Semitic.)

Tech will be split-ergative, like Georgian and some Indo-Iranian languages:
three cases will be required for actor-patient relationships. If the
transitive verb is perfective aspect, the subject is ergative and the direct
object is nominative. If the transitive verb is imperfective or any other
aspect, the subject is nominative and the direct object is accusative. An
"inverted" system like Georgian may also be found.

There will be many other noun cases as well: genitive, dative, instrumental,
ablative, vocative, sociative, terminal, vial, abessive, illative.... all
marked by prepositions (rather than postpositions as in Finnish and
Hungarian) and some form of Celtic-style initial consonant mutation.

Along with four numbers there will be three genders: masculine (no suffix),
feminine (-t) and neuter (-n). The plural, or paucal or "small/numbered
plural" more precisely, is marked with a suffix (long vowel and consonant,
usually) which varies, as is the dual; the collective or "great plural" has
its vowel configuration changed as in Arabic.

Finally, reduplication will be common, usually involving a repeated
two-consonant basic root to express an onomatopeic or intensive meaning:
tKw-t'-tKw-t' "to swear/curse angrily" from tKw-t' "to curse, swear, cast a
magic spell".

Sorry I don't have many actual examples, since I'm still at the stage of
theory and not yet have gotten to actual development of vocabulary,
grammatical paradigms, syntax etc.


Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>