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Morning Prayer in Jases Lalal: Two Syllables

From:John L. Leland <lelandconlang@...>
Date:Thursday, March 11, 2004, 1:55
Is there a reason that ~87% of your words (26/30) have two syllables? I know
you mentioned in an earlier post that phonology is not your main interest, but
at some level that has to play a part. I was just thinking of the audible
flow of the text, which to me comes of as strong-weak for [nearly] every word. To
my ears, that is too regular for prose, though not for poetry. (I tend to
prefer languages with a healthy mix of word lengths.)--James W.
The main reason that there are so many two-syllable words is that Jases Lalal
a language based on the Semitic concept of three-consonant roots, but created
by someone with very little knowledge of how that actually works in real
Semitic natlangs.
In my version, all nouns are CVCVC,  and the noun cases are indicated by
changes in the second V, so all singular nouns of whatever case are two syllables.
Plural nouns are all three syllables (CVCVCVh, with case indicated by the
vowel before the h). There are some words in which a plural-like sense has been
created by substituting an h for
the third C instead of adding the h as a fourth C, (e.g. kakah, "everything"
in this text.)
so these are also two syllables in the singular. Adjectives are formed from
nouns  by altering the letter order to CVCCV, so they are also two syllables (I
think comparative and superlative adjectives may be three syllables, but I
have not developed them yet). In the earlier form of the language I had some
monosyllabic adjectives, but they have been replaced. The root form of verbs is
formed from nouns by altering the form to CVCCy which is also two syllables,
though more complex verb forms can have more syllables.  It happens that many of
the verbs in this text are second person singular present tense, which is
only two syllables, but you may notice there are a few first person plural
present tense which are three syllables. Adpositions were originally borrowed from
Rihana-ye and were largely monosyllabic, but one of the recent reforms has been
to make them look more "native" by giving them the basic CVCVC form, e.g. ka
became kavav. Personally, as I have said before, I do not have the deep
objections to regularity that many conlangers seem to  have (perhaps as a reaction
against the heavy regularizing tendency of some auxlangs) . I do recognize that
most natlangs show more variation in syllable count, but there are
exceptions, e.g. Chinese. I also have a concultural excuse for the regularity in the
strong influence of the dominant priesthood.
"Malal" (the reformed language presently under construction) is in some sense
an artificial version of a less regular earlier language, and such
regularizing tendencies in languages influenced by dominant authorities are by no means
unknown. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but thank you for your
John Leland