Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Differences between "un" and "opposite"

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Monday, April 25, 2005, 18:58

Gregory Gadow <techbear@...> writes:
> I was tinkering with my conlang Glörsa last night, going over old notes > dealing with prefixes. I found out that, very long ago, I had started > using a prefix that meant "not", similar to English's "un-." Some time > latter, I introduced a prefix that meant "opposite", similar to > Esperanto's "mal-." I think they both can be kept, as a way to add some > subtlety, but I want to check with some of the examples I put together. >...
I'd keep it, it's nice! :-)
> The "un" prefix is "es(a)-" (EsA), the "opposite" prefix is "ül(i)-" (uli). > > Take the word "kalöfë" (kAlo'fe), "loyalty." The two prefixes would give me: > > esakalöfë (EsAkA'lofe) = dispassion (no loyalty; loyalty to nothing) > ülikalöfë (ulikA'lofe) = treason (the opposite of loyalty)
> With "achsöme" (AtSo'mE), "belief", I get: > > esachsöme (EsA'tSomE) = fear (no hope, hope in nothing)
Well 'fear' is more of the opposite of hope. No hope is simply no hope. Hopelessness. The opposite should have vaguely the same 'distance' to the neutral state, so 'fear' might fit for the opposite.
> ülachsöme (ulA'tSomE) = despair (the opposite of hope)
This is a strong version of hopelessness. I'd switch the prefixes here, possibly, if you have one, add an augment to the esachsöme 'no-hope' to get 'despair'. Summarizing: achsöme - hope esachsöme - hopelessness (lack of hope) AUGM-esachsöme - despair (very strong lack of hope) ülachsöme - ?fear (opposite of hope) Hmm, and 'fear' may stil be a little off. The opposite of 'fear' is 'confidence', I'd say. And the opposite of 'hope' ... I cannot come up with exactly the right word now.
> I like the distinctions being made, but I'm not sure if I am using them > correctly. Does anyone else have a conlang with both of these prefixes (or > suffixes, if your language swings that way?)
Yes, my Tyl Sjok has those two: te ... - not ... sjo ... - opposite of ... net - good te net - not good sje net - bad nok - bad te nok - not bad sje nok - good The two 'good's and 'bad's have a different bias towards the lexicon entry, however. Pragmatically, there *will* be a reason for using 'sje net' instead if 'nok'. However, some lexicon entries might use 'sje' as a means of derivation -- there is no dogma against it. I Qthyn|gai, there is: it also has this, but only for the sake of stylistic freedom: normally, lexical derivation does not use the opposite marker by construction of the language, since I want to have no bias wrt. lexical entries: if a concept allows opposites, Qthyn|gai will have two *unrelated* lexicon entries. The opposite marker still exists in case a speaker (especially a poet, maybe) wants to deliberately focus on the bias of one of the two lexicon entries. (Just like above in the Tyl Sjok example). Hmm, and maybe processes may carry the opposite markers to indicate reverse direction. **Henrik