Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

New language Thisbo

From:Terrence Donnelly <terrence.donnelly@...>
Date:Friday, January 19, 2007, 20:23

I was pretty active on the conlang list several years
Since then, I've mostly lurked, because I thought I
lost interest in making languages. Guess not!

I'm currently working on a language called Thisbo,
which is
one of the languages spoken on my alternative-universe
called Zyem. Originally, Thisbo was a very simple
nominative/accusative inflected language very similar
to Greek
or Russian, because at the time it was just background
to the
language Vogu that I was working on.  But my interest
in it
has recently revived.

What I'd like to do is convert Thisbo to an inflected
ergative/absolute language, which I'm finding very
hard to wrap my head around. Below is what I've got so
Can anyone see any obvious flaws in this plan?  Am I
painting myself in a corner here?

The Thisbo verb focuses on states and events, and has
as the
subject of the verb the entity in the sentence that
experiences the verb. There is no distinction between
transitive and intransitive verbs, since all verbs
only a subject.

Noun cases

Absolutive - for the subject of the verb; uses the
verbal stem, except in the plural.

Ergative - for the agent of the verb, what we would
the "subject" of a transitive verb; can only be used


Verb forms

The only forms I've got so far are the Active and
aspects. Thisbo will have at least present, future and
versions of each.  The verb also inflects for number

Some Sentences (I don't have any vocabulary, yet, so
will be in pseudo-Thisbo)

man-ABS go-PRES.ACT.3sg
The man goes

market-DAT man-ABS go-PRES.ACT.3sg
The man goes to the market.

man-ABS eat-PRES.ACT.3sg
The man eats/is eating

bread-GEN man-ABS eat-PRES.ACT.3sg
The man eats bread.

bread-GEN eat-PRES.ACT.1sg
I eat bread.

man-ABS seated-PRES.ACT.3rd
The man is seated

man-ABS seated-PRES.INC.3rd
The man sits.

bird-ABS red-PRES.ACT.3rd
The bird is red.

door-ABS opened-PRES.ACT.3rd
The door is open(ed).

door-ABS opened-PRES.INC.3rd
The door opens

man-ERG door-ABS opened-PRES.INC.3rd
The man opens the door.
(The "subject" is an animate agent)

wind-LOC door-ABS opened-PRES.INC.3rd
The wind opens the door.
(The "subject" is an impersonal force)

key-INS door-ABS opened-PRES.INC.3rd
The key opens the door.
(The "subject" is the means of accomplishing the

Verbs of state always describe the completed state.
When the Inchoative is used with verbs of quality or
state, it means "to become X".  When used with verbs
of action, it means "to begin to X".

Does this plan seem sustainable for a whole language?

-- Terry


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...>
Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>