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Conlang Shadows

From:Dan Sulani <dansulani@...>
Date:Monday, March 1, 2004, 12:04
Hi all!
    I'm back after a rather prolonged sojourn in Real-Life, including
complications following a thorough computer upgrade (following a rather
thorough computer _breakdown_  :-P  )
    While I was away, I happened to read something on folklore where
the subject of "shadows"  was discussed, and the significance of a person
"casting" a shadow (as well as inanimate objects "casting" shadows).
    This got me to wondering, how would our various conlangs deal with
the following situation:
    A person is outside on a cloudy day. Suddenly the clouds part, the sun
and a shadow appears. What has happened? Obviously, if one uses the sun as
the subject of the sentence, one could say that it "caused, made, etc." the
But what if the _person_ were the subject of the sentence? What would the
verb be? (Assuming that one did not want to express the idea that the person
was "casting" the shadow like a fisherman "casts" his net.) Or maybe one
want to keep that association! Would there be differences between humans
and non-humans? Animate shadows versus inanimate shadows?
Other distinctions? Or maybe some grammatical structure other than
subject-verb? How would a logical lang such as lojban handle this?

    At any rate, rtemmu, my conlang would use a "passive-causative" as
(indefinite articles omitted in order to simplify the example):

"A person casts a shadow"

na  belshyempagihe  na  myaiikmnaik

(na  belshye-mpagi-he  na  m-yai-ik-mna-ik)

Analyzed as follows:

1st na = the speaker is subjectively considering belshyempagihe
              at a "normal" rate of change
belshye-  = passive-causative prefix (meaning that the existence of what
               follows the prefix
              (mpagi  in this case) is somehow passively involved in causing
              what is
               described by the next process-word. ( myaiikmnaik).
            belshye, itself, is derived from  bel (= tool-process), shye (=
mpagi = the process of being a person
-he = with respect to

2nd na =  the speaker is subjectively considereing  myaiikmnaik at
               a "normal" rate of change
 myaiikmnaik = shadow

(This last word has an interesting construction:

mikmik = energy
-yai-  infix meaning pertaining to vision
thus, myaiikmik = light

-mna- infix meaning "result of blocking"

thus:  myaiikmnaik means the result of blocking of light, ie shadow.)

Dan Sulani
likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a.

A word is an awesome thing.


Dan Sulani <dansulani@...>
M. Astrand <ysimiss@...>