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New Language - WIP

From:Jim Grossmann <jimg4732@...>
Date:Sunday, July 18, 2004, 3:25
Hi, Ian,

I think this could be the germ of an interesting conlang.   I wish I had
thought of your case system myself.

IMO, you need to flesh out the following details right off the bat.

CASES:  You've mentioned these cases so far:  dative, accusative,
nominative.  Do you have other cases as well?   What are they?

CASE NAMES:   I think you need new case names.  "Nominative," "accusative,"
and "dative" just don't fit your scheme, which, if I understand it
correctly, goes like this:

                                        "nominative"            "accusative"


monotransitive:                                                subject
direct object

ditransitive:                     subject                      direct object
indirect object

My suggestion:  rather than an endless search for arcane terms that a) end
in "-ive," and b) probably haven't been invented yet,
name the cases with initials that stand either for a) the grammatical roles
the NP in the case can play, or b) the types of clauses in which NP's in the
case can occur.

Your "nominative" could be "s-case"  (i.e. subject case) or "d-case" (i.e.
ditransitive-clause case).

Your "accusative" could be "sd-case" (i.e. subject & direct object case) or
"md-case" (monotransitive clause & ditransitive clause case).

Your "dative" could be "sdi-case" (i.e. subject & direct object & indirect
object case) or "imd-case" (i.e. case that occurs in all three clause

Alternatively, you could number the cases, according to how many grammatical
roles they can play.   So ....

"nominative" could be "case-1."    "accusative" could be "case-2."
"dative" could be "case-3."
INFLECTIONS:  How exactly do you inflect for case?  Do your case-endings
also convey, for example, gender or number?

AGGLUTINATION:  What grammatical affixes have to be piled onto prepositions
and adjectives?

TENSE:   How do you encode tense?

EXAMPLES:   I don't recall seeing case or tense morphemes identified in your

WORDS:    As for your prepositions and conjoined nouns--  Why are the former
prefixes?   Are conjoined noun phrases always single words?   What counts as
a single word in your language?   (In a language dominated by free
morphemes, like Chinese, a word consists of few morphemes, often only one;
the functional equivalents of "endings" used in many Eurpopean languages
stand as separate words in Chinese.   In a language dominated by bound
morphemes, like Eskimo, a single phonological word can contain within it all
the constituents of what we English speakers think of as "a sentence."
Think about what constitutes a single word in *your* language.)

DIACRITICS:   What are those diacritics for anyway?   Do they mark stress?
Do they mark phonemic tone?   Do they mark phonemic contrasts in length?
Or do they just allow you to transcribe eighteen different vowel sounds with
only six letters, "a," "e," "i," "o," "u," and "y"?

IN CLOSING:   You have many more details to flesh out.  How many depends on
the scope of your project.   Are you writing a grammatical sketch?   A
concise reference grammar?   A full-blown history of the language?   A
complete grammar, lexicon, history, and 500 page epic?

I wish you the best of luck, and look forward not only to your posts, but to
others' responses to them.

Jim G.

Ian wrote...

I've been fleshing out a conlang over the past few weeks, and I've got
a whole sentence down :) It's basically an inflecting/agglutinating
language, with case inflecting and prepositions/adjectives
agglutinating. So, the sample sentence I made:

Aemfyndúlú Aerúdae thúnägadan yndanae
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Aemfyndúlú consists of the preposition aem-, meaning "in" (referring
to time) and fyndúl-, meaning beginning.

Aerúdae = God.

thún is the noun stem of sky or heavens, followed by ä (and) and gadan,

yndanae is "created", third person singular, past tense.

So it has a pretty basic SOV structure, but the case of the nouns is
wierd: the subject is in the dative in an intransitive sentence,
accusative in a transitive sentence(with the direct object in the
dative), and nominative in a ditransitive(?) sentence(direct object,
accusative; indirect object, dative).

So, I would appreciate any C&C any of you might have; I'm pretty new
to this(I've tried in the past, multiple times, and this is as far as
i've gotten).




Ian Gowen <ian.gowen@...>
Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>