Re: Plurals in Maggel (jara: New Survey: Celtic Conlangs)
|From:||Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 14:08|
En réponse à Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>:
> I like that feature!!
Thanks! It's a favourite of mine too ;))) . I got the idea when I decided that
the word for "ship" (|euoshabgi| [Ue'sCEI]) will be masculine and that the word
for "captain" will be derived from the expression "ship's wife" (which I cannot
translate yet since I didn't find a nice word for "wife" yet :(( ). I thought
it would be cool if the word, though probably more often applying to men than
to women, kept its original feminine gender ;)))) .
> Just curious: when you say that the number is known, do you mean that
> number is known to the speaker, or that it is known in general
Neither. It means that there is an indication of number somewhere in the
sentence (or before), even an unclear one. Like for gender, number marking is
purely grammatically decided and doesn't depend much on context. I should have
> If you say: "There are many people on the street", it is obvious that
> the exact
> number is unknown, and of no importance.
Except that in Maggel, "people" would there be in the plural definite, since
there is the word "many" added, which marks number (even if it's not a
perfectly known number, we already know that it's more than a few, and that's
enough for Maggel ;)))) ).
But in the sentence "The
> of the congress voted against the proposal" the exact number may be very
> known to the organization, but not to the speaker. In such case, do you
> use the
> plural definite or the plural indefinite?
It would depend only if the number of participants (or at least a gross
indication of number) has been given already in the text or not. If so, then it
would be in plural definite. If not, in plural indefinite. As I said, the
decision is purely grammatical and doesn't rely on context (there may be an
exception or two, of course. Maggel wouldn't be Maggel without exceptions ;)) ).
> And in cases where *all* occurences are included, no matter their
> quantity? Take a sentence like: "The difference between humans and
> animals is
> that they can think" (let's not discuss the truth or untruth of this
> statement). One might argue that *all* is a concrete number, too, and
> possibility of use a definite plural could IMO at least be considered.
> How does Maggel deal with that?
In this case it uses a collective form, which is often a suppletive root or a
not very productive derivation ;))) . I didn't work on it much yet because I
didn't do much on derivation. But it's true that it would have been a nice use
of the plural definite without former specification of number. It may be that
the use of the plural definite for this use is allowed too, besides the use of
> And one last question: are nouns in Maggel also divided into these
What do you mean? When it's about number, nouns in Maggel are divided into
three classes: countable, uncountable, and plural. Countable nouns are what
they are, countable ;))) . They thus can appear in any of the four numbers,
singular, dual, plural indefinite and plural definite. Uncountable nouns
describe things which can be measured, but not counted (sugar, salt, water,
etc...). In Maggel they are grammatically plural, and can appear only in the
plural indefinite and definite (used when a measurement has been done ;)) ).
Plurals are strange nouns, semantically countable but grammatically
uncountable. They thus exist only in the plural numbers, but have (unless they
are specifically counted, at least by a term meaning "various") a singular
meaning! (an example is |mesha| [mE'h*&]: house, semantically singular but
And of course, there's the peculiarity that the base form of feminine nouns is
plural indefinite rather than singular (the singular is derived from the plural
rather than otherwise ;)) ).
Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.