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Laranao modals, aspects, etc.

From:Daniel Andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>
Date:Monday, December 20, 1999, 22:55
Hello all.

I've been working a little on the grammar of Laranao,
the language I'm creating for a friend of mine. (She'll
be playing an elf in a live RPG and wants an own
lang. I think I told you that IIRC).

Anyway. The grammar is very simple, so she will have
a chance of learning it quickly (she's no linguaholic
like the rest of us, though wanting to have a lang of
her own is promising... :)

It seems that Laranao has a whole bunch of particles
and I'd like some comments on them if you have any.

The Laranao quantifiers:

onga  * all, collective ('all')
ongai * all, distributive ('every,each')
ele   * any / hypothetical sg. ('any one',
        'he who...' 'any one who...')
elao  * any / hypothetical pl. ('any',
        'those who...')
eto   * some sg. ('someone,something')
etao  * some pl.
ero   * many

Did I miss any important quantifiers? Does this
look like a reasonable system?

The Laranao modals:

oma  * propositional                   should
ece  * permissive                      may,let,can
       'You *may* use my car.'
anoa * ability                         can,be able to
lua  * possibility/uncertainty         may
       'You *may* feel a bit sick when we take off.'
axa  * obligation                      must, have to, need to
       'You *must* eat your vegetables.'
as@  * conclusive                      must
       'You've travelled all day. You *must* be tired.'
pa   * imperative
gi   * hypothetical
ira  * subjunctive/conditional/desire  may,wish,will,want,desire
       '*May* you have a good life!'
       'I *want* to go by car!'

Is it 'natural' to have all these modals? At least
in English many of them go together (e.g. 'can' which
is both 'permissive' and 'ability'). Is it too logical?
I mean, you can't tell jokes based on the ambiguity
of such words. :)
And can I include 'imperative' and 'subjunctive' in
these 'modals'?

The Laranao aspects:

io   * negative     'not'
toa  * inceptive    'begin'
he@  * cessative    'stop'
area * ?name        'to be able to make in time'
if@  * habitual     'use to' 'to do regularly'
0    * perfective   'complete action'
mi   * imperfective 'incomplete action'

Is there a name for the 'make in time' aspect?
It's used like: 'Will you be able to bake all
those cookies in time for christmas?' =
'Will you _area_ bake all those cookies before christmas?'
Can I have 'negative' as an aspect?

The Laranao evidentials:

ate * perceptive/direct experience 'experienced with own
                                    senses: see,smell,hear...'
lu@ * quotative/hearsay

I think these two evidentials will be very optional
and not used very often, only when you really want to make
clear how you got the info in a subtle way.

So what do you think about all these particles? Myself,
I have a feeling that the borders between the modals,
aspects and evidentials are a bit blurred here and there,
but are there any real problems? Comments are as usual much

Daniel Andreasson | |

"Words don't correspond to things,
 they correspond to thoughts."
   - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1827