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conlang survey ( Géarthnuns )

From:Douglas Koller, Latin & French <latinfrench@...>
Date:Friday, October 25, 2002, 20:09
>Language name,
>creator's name,
Douglas Koller
>relative date of creation,
Academic '76/'77.
>country and first language of creator,
US, English.
>purpose of conlang >(auxlang, conlang, loglang, . . . )
Conlang, artlang.
>Phonetics: number of consonants,
28: /b/, /d/, /g/, /z/, /D/, /dZ/, /v/, /p/, /t/, /k/, /s/, /T/, /S/, /w/, /Z/, /C<vcd>/, /f/, /C/,/N/, /m/, /n/, /l/, /*/, /R/ (/X/?), /tS/, /x/, /h/, /j/
>number of vowels,
10: /a/, /u/, /I/, /Y/, /E/, /O/, /y/, /i/, /o/, /e/ 4 diphthongs: /YI/, /aI/, /aU/, /oI/
>presence of nasalization,
Occurs in the environment [vowel] /n//s/, where it becomes /vowel~s/, but is not phonemic.
>tone and how many,
>where the accent generally falls
Inconsistent, like English. I don't know enough about accent to tease out patterns, except that when case endings are added to nouns, primary accent shifts to the penultimate; if primary accent was elsewhere originally, that syllable retains a secondary stress. Regularly formed adverbs are always stressed on the penultimate; irregular adverbs and polysyllabic postpositions are most often stressed on the ultimate. Beyond that it's pretty catch-as-catch-can, I think.
>Morphemes: presence of allomorphs, mutation, >assimilation,
If I understand the term correctly: limited assimilation with nasal syllables (eg: mbanökh, nzdanez, ngkafíkh) but it has nothing to do with morphemes.
>prefixes, suffixes, infixes,
More suffixes than prefixes; some infixes.
>suprafixation, dicontinuation, exclusion, total >fusion, subtraction,
Don't know these, sorry.
One conjugation uses reduplication à la grecque to form the hortative/jussive, but that's it.
> Is the conlang >agglutinating, isolating or fusional?
>Nouns and such: >presence of cases and how many and what >kind,
7: nominative, accusative, dative, instrumental, postpositional, genitive, locative
>kind of possession (alienable, inalienable, no distinction, etc.)
Different sentence structures occur, but it's not a hard and fast distinction; it's more about how the speaker feels about the possessed.
>presence of gender,
Used to exist, but, in theory at least, is no longer present in the modern idiom.
3: sing., dual, pl.
Definite and indefinite, agreeing with the noun in declension, number, and "polarity" (aff/neg) (making 42 forms of each).
Three-way distinction of the this-that-yon type.
Yes, following and agreeing with the noun in declension, number, polarity, and case.
Don't know what this is.
>Are comparatives expressed by affix, word order or both?
By adverbs and postpositions
>Do pronouns express gender, number, declension?
Qualified yes ('cause gender and declension is a gelatinous distinction).
>Are there indefinite pronouns,
Like "anyone"? These words operate like proper nouns in Géarthnuns.
>possessed pronouns?
Like "mine"? These words operate like common nouns in Géarthnuns.
>Are prepositions bound, unbound?
Bound. And Géarthnuns uses postpositions.
>How many prepositons (approximate).
No idea, but lots ('cause there are single words for concepts like "in case of" and "on behalf of", and distinctions between things like "par-dessus/au-dessus" and "-ból/-ban/-ba").
>Presence of clitics.
No. Well, maybe.
>Is derivational morphology mostly by compounding words or >by affix or both?
>Verbs and such: >Are person, number, object expressed with the verb?
>Are there static verbs (to be)?
>Is the object >incorporated into the person marker (making a >phonetically different affix like in the Native >American languages)?
>Is transitivity marked for >transitive, intransitive, bitransitive or other?
>Is >the person inclusive, exclusive, no distiction? Kind >of gender.
>Are past, present, future expressed?
>Recent, remote?
>Is mode express, what kind?
Indicative, interrogative, speculative, conclusive, imperative, discoursive, hortative.
> Is voice expressed? What kind?
Active, passive, dative passive, causative, causative passive, reflexive, impersonal.
>Manner? Aspect? Please list >what kinds of manner and aspect the conlang expresses >in its verbs.
If expressed at all, it would be through adverbs and verbs.
> Presence of adverbs
> Can >nouns, adjectives, adverbs be changed to verbs and >vice versa?
adj <--> n n <--> v adj --> adv
>Presence of adjective, adverbial clauses and relative >pronouns.
>Sentences: >Does the conlang have an ergative or accusative >system?
> Word order and is it free or strict?
Strictly verb final, noun elements are free to move around but it usually turns out SOV.
>Are >adjectives, adverbs and prepositions before or after >the modified word?
After, though adverbs that modify verbs are usually placed right before the final verb.
>Is the word order changed in a >question?
No. Final verb is in the interrogative mood. Information question words are placed where the answer would be expected to go.
>How many (approximately) conjugations are >there?
Native speakers identify seven. There is an eighth miniclass (mostly stative verbs), but natives consider these "irregulars".
>Other: >What is the number base for the numeral system (10? >12?)?
>Presence of idioms,
>irregular forms of nouns >and verbs. Is the language syntax very predictable, >or are there many exceptions?
No irregular nouns, and as stated above "irregular verb" depends on how you view "irregular". I'd say syntax is rather predictable, if baroque and byzantine.
>How much literature has >been produced and what kind (I'm not talking about >translations, but stuff you wrote yourself).
None, really. But a corpus of diverse translated stuff.
>Is there >a history and dictionary of the conlang?
>Script invented?
>Other conlangs produced by the creator of >this one.
None. (Well, I *have* toyed with a half-hearted, demi-project tonal language called Ösang, but I really can't face rearing a new lang from infancy when I've gotten Géarthnuns grown up and out of the house :) )
>If you could summarize your conlang in a sentence, >what would you write?
Well, it's a priori. When asked on this list a while back to describe my lang in terms of a foodstuff, I chose chutney, as it was a strange, exotic, sumptuous, pungent condiment which I like. Several of those who have had to deal with Géarthnuns for various list activities have said it has an Indoeuropean feel, and grammatically, I think that's probably right (making sense since Latin, German, Russian, and French were grammatical influences heavily drawn upon in the earliest stages (and perhaps some decisions about phonetics, too); but when looking at it or speaking it *now*, I feel definite nods to Hungarian, Japanese, Swedish, and a dab of Sanskrit as well). In terms of vocabulary, at least as far as the concepts and ideas engendered are concerned, there is also a distinct soupçon of Eastern flavor (also making sense as its creator lived in the East for thirteen years or most of his adult life). So, a language meant to be spoken by its creator and the genteel folk of the isle of Géarthtörs in the Sea of Japan; our world, our time, in the 'alternate, parallel' universe. Westerners with an Eastern overlay. Those faint of heart at initial consonant clusters need not apply :) Kou