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The Bay Area Conlang Conference

From:David Peterson <digitalscream@...>
Date:Sunday, April 14, 2002, 4:15
    Well, the First Bay Area Conlang Conference has come to an end.  Due to
complications, there were only three participants: Jonathan Lipp, Adam Parish
(former CONLANG subscriber), and myself.  Nevertheless, we had a grand ol'
time.  First Jonathan showed us a very handsomely presented grammar of his
language Enaselvai and we read through it and commented.  Then we went into a
classroom that wasn't being used and created an ad-hoc language sketch just
for the fun of it.  While we didn't come up with anything that can possibly
come across as natural, we did come up with a few interesting ideas.  Here's
a glimpse:

(Language doesn't have a name.  We were going to call it Vos, in honor of
it's VOS word order, but it didn't have a [v], so we scratched that.)

V's: i e a o M
Stops & Affricates: t k ts, b d, t' k' ts' (ejectives)
Fricatives: s x hl (I don't know the SAMPA for a lateral fricative; sorry :(
Nasals: m n N
Approximants: l j M_j (again, I don't know the SAMPA for a velar approximant)

bak' = father
mak' = mother
seN = brother
t'jem = sister
Nosi = cat
xod = house
tsMl = to hug
hlan = walk

Ergative: sx-
Absolutive: --
Genitive: hl-
Dative: dj-

    After this, we were trying to decide what kind of vowel to put in between
the prefix and the noun stem, when Jonathan suggested the idea of having the
vowels mean something, and we came up with the idea of assigning different
attitudes to the different vowels, such that you would know the opinion of
the speaker (or the writer) of the nouns which s/he was talking/writing
about.  So here they are:

Sarcastic: M- (so, imagine /sxMNosi/ would be something like, "Yeah, the
'cat' did it.  Sure, right.")
Affirmative: i- (indicates that the speaker approves of whatever has this
Pejorative: e- (indicates that the speaker does not approve of whatever has
this marker)
Reverential: a- (indicates that the speaker has great respect for whatever
has this marker)
Tentative: o- (indicates that the speaker isn't sure whether or not the thing
he is referring to is actually how he's referring to it.  So, if you see
something off in the distance, but you can't tell what it is, you'd say "I
think that's a /oNosi/", but I'm not sure...")

    Fooling around with the idea of making infixes for tenses, we somehow
(and I forget who it was, but I know it wasn't me) came up with the idea of
asigning a time to each of the five vowels (kind of suggested by what we did
with the cases).  So first we decided on the infixes /t-/ and /t'-/.  The
first would indicate the space of time from the present through to the
future, and the second would refer to the time just before the present until
ancient times.  Each of the five vowels (arranged by F2) indicates distance.
So, /i/ indicates the very recent past with /t'-/, or the present with /t-/.
Then /e/ is a little before/after that, and /a/ a little before/after that,
and /o/ a little before/after that, and /M/ indicates the very distant past
and very distant future.  We came up with the idea of combining the forms to
indicate all the various tenses and aspects.  Here's an example of a monster
we created:

tsMt'Moaeil Nosi sxibak'
"from the dawn of time until now"-hug   abs.-cat   erg.-affirm.-father

"Ever since the beginning of time up until right this very second, the father
(of whom I approve) has been hugging the cat."


"Ever since the beginning of time up until right this very second, the father
has been hugging the cat, and this, in my opinion, is a good thing."

    I thought it was rather cute.  :)
    Anyway, now that I'm looking at it, we might have avoided the five vowels
in a row but cutting out the middle three, so it was just /tsMt'Mil/...  Oh
    To sum up, a good time was had by all, and we hope to do it again--before
the end of the semester, if possible.  A good day to you all.


"fawiT, Gug&g, tSagZil-a-Gariz, waj min DidZejsat wazid..."
"Soft, driven, slow and mad, like some new language..."
                    -Jim Morrison


Jesse Raccio <jraja0722@...>