Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Conlang survey: Choba

From:Thomas Leigh <thomas@...>
Date:Sunday, October 27, 2002, 15:43
> Language name
Choba (formerly spelled Cho-ba)
> creator's name
Thomas Leigh
> realative date of > creation (just any old number will do)
1983 (not like I've worked on it steadily since then or anything; it's been an on-again/off-again project)
> country and > first language of creator
USA, English
> purpose of conlang > (auxlang, conlang, loglang, . . . ).
Conlang, mostly a priori with occasional random borrowings from various natlangs.
> Phonetics: number of consonants
> number of vowels
8. Well, actually 5, but the language treats 3 y-diphthongs (/aj/, /ej/, /oj/) as vowels, so if you asked a Choba speaker how many vowels his language had, he'd say 8.
> presence of nasalization
None. Choba has the nasal consonants /m/ and /n/ (with allophone /N/ [is that right for the velar nasal?] before /k/ and /g/), but no nasal vowels or anything like that.
> tone and how many
> where the > accent generally falls.
Most often on the penult, but it can fall elsewhere.
> Morphemes: presence of allomorphs
I don't know what that means.
> mutation
> assimilation
> prefixes, suffixes, infixes
Prefixes, suffixes, and a couple of circumfixes. No infixes.
> suprafixation, dicontinuation, exclusion, total > fusion, subtraction
I don't know what any of those mean.
> reduplication.
Not for any grammatical or syntactical purpose. Though it could conceivably come up in conversation for emphasis, as we might say "it was very, very good".
> Is the conlang > agglutinating, isolating or fusional?
Agglutinating (both prefixes and suffixes).
> Nouns and such: subclasses of nouns (common/proper, abstract, things > that may not be expressed explicitly in affixes)
Nothing explicitly expressed. Though as in many languages, proper nouns are written with initial capital letters.
> presence of cases and how many and what > kind
Three: nominative (no ending), accusative (-ra) and genitive (-to). Though the genitive case has become defunct and is now expressed with a particle, e.g. "the man's house" was formerly "o tevato tolë", now "o teva së tolë".
> kind of possession (alienable, inalienable, no > distinction, etc.)
No distinction.
> presence of gender
No grammatical gender.
> number
Yes. Articles, adjectives and nouns may all add the plural suffix (-ti), though in practice only the noun usually does.
> articles
Both indefinite and definite. In the singular, the indefinite article (chë) is used only with countable nouns, as in English. In the plural, the presence of the indefinite article is more or less equivalent to English "some", i.e. an indefinite number, whereas its absence indicates generality, those objects taken as a group or class. E.g. "Do chë tolëtira pishëga" = "I see [some] houses", but "Tolëti duara shiga" = "Houses [in general] are expensive". The definite article (o) is used more or less as in English.
> demostratives, adjectives
Yes to both.
> quantatives.
Not sure what that means.
> Are > comparatives expressed by affix, word order or both?
By suffix. Choba has both positive and negative comparison, as well as an equative form Bika: tall Bikaro: taller Bikaso: tallest Bikarö: less tall Bikasö: least tall Bikamed: as tall (as)
> Do pronouns express gender, number, declension?
Number and declension, yes. In the third person there are both gender-neutral and gender-specific pronouns. In addition, there are inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronouns.
> Are > there indefinite pronouns
There is an indefinite pronoun like Eng. "one", French "on", German "man".
> possessed pronouns?
I don't know what that means. There are possessive adjectives (my, your, etc.) formed from pronouns.
> Others?
There is a reflexive pronoun (myself, yourself, etc.) and a reciprocal pronoun (each other).
> Are prepositions bound, unbound?
I'm not sure what that means. Prepositions are separate words, though some of them combine with the definite article, e.g. "pa" (of) + o > "pë" (of the).
> How many > prepositons (approximate).
Oh heck, I never counted. 40 or 50, probably.
> Presence of clitics.
> Is > derivational morphology mostly by compounding words or > by affix or both?
> Verbs and such: > Are person, number, object expressed with the verb?
No, only tense, mood and voice. The subject and object must always be explicitly expressed.
> Are there static verbs (to be)?
I don't know what "static verbs" means, but there is a verb "to be", as well as other's which behave similarly ("to become", "to seem", etc.)
> Is the object > incorporated into the person marker (making a > phonetically different affix like in the Native > American languages)?
No such thing exists in Choba.
> Is transitivity marked for > transitive, intransitive, bitransitive or other?
Transitivity can be indicated when deriving verbs from other words (there are "transitive/causative" and "intransitive" verb creating suffixes along the lines of Esperanto -ig- and -igh-) but it is not indicated in simple verbal roots. This has actually been a recurring issue, how to decide if simple verbs such as "to open" should be inherently transitive or intransitive; or either, in which case I'd end up with one class of verbs (simple verbs such as "open", "close", "cook") which do not indicate transitivity, and another class (derived verbs such as "brighten", "darken", etc.) which do explicitly indicate it. I never solved the problem, which may be one reason why I don't do much with the language anymore!
> Is the person inclusive, exclusive, no distiction?
The distinction is made, as noted above, in the first persaon plural but is indicated in the pronoun.
> Kind > of gender.
No grammatical gender; as noted above, there are gender-specific (masculine/feminine) third person pronouns, but nothing indicated in the verb.
> Are past, present, future expressed?
> Recent, remote?
This can be expressed with adverbs, but not in the verb.
> Is mode express, what kind?
Infinitive, indicative, imperative, conditional (is that a mood?), optative.
> Is voice > expressed? What kind?
Yes, active and passive.
> Manner?
Not sure what this means.
> Aspect?
Not like in the Slavic languages or anything, but as noted above there are continuous tenses which can express aspect to some extent, I suppose.
> Please list > what kinds of manner and aspect the conlang expresses > in its verbs.
See above.
> Presence of adverbs, pro-drop.
There are plenty of adverbs, both simple and derived. I don't know what "pro-drop" means.
> Can > nouns, adjectives, adverbs be changed to verbs and > vice versa?
Yes, by means of derivational affixes.
> 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?
SOV. Within that there's some freedom, though, e.g. there's no rule regarding placement of adverbial clauses.
> Are > adjectives, adverbs and prepositions before or after > the modified word?
Adjectives normally precede their nouns, though there isn't a rule that says they have to. Prepositions precede (since otherwise they wouldn't be PRE-positions!) their phrase. Adverbs usually precede too, I think. I haven't actually thought about it very much.
> Is the word order changed in a > question?
Usually it stays the same, though again there's no rule that says it has to. Yes/no questions are indicated with a particle (ben) that follows the verb, e.g. "to kisa shiga" = "you are tired"; "to kisa shiga ben?" = "Are you tired?".
> How many (approximately) conjugations are > there?
One; all verbs conjugate the same way. (All nouns decline the same way too, for that matter.)
> Other: > What is the number base for the numeral system (10? > 12?)?
> Presence of idioms,
Only one so far; the phrase "the Choba language" is always "o Choba metaxa" though it should properly be "o metaxa Choba" or "o Chobani metaxa". If there were a community of Choba speakers in the world, I'm sure there would be plenty more.
> irregular forms of nouns > and verbs.
None. I wasn't clever enough to think of that when I first started making the language!
> Is the language syntax very predictable, > or are there many exceptions?
So far pretty predictable, I'd say. I haven't actually ever thought much about the syntax yet.
> How much literature has > been produced and what kind (I'm not talking about translations, but > stuff you wrote yourself).
Ooh, tough question, since I threw away pretty much everything I ever wrote in the language in the mid-90's, when I did one of my major lexicon revisions and it was all "no longer valid". Some of the things I worte in Choba were school class notes, journal/diary entries, some bad poetry and even worse pop song lyrics. Everyday sort of stuff. Since it's all gone now, I can't say exactly how much there was, though.
> Is there > a history and dictionary of the conlang?
No conhistory. The language does, of course, have a "real" history, but I've never written it down. I have a Choba-English vocab file on the computer of all extant words (pathetically few), so I guess that's as close to a dictionary is there currently is.
> Script invented?
No, Choba uses the Roman alphabet.
> Other conlangs produced by the creator of > this one.
Osë, Jafo, Tesawa, Rozhendi.
> If you could summarize your conlang in a sentence, > what would you write?
I have absolutely no idea! :) It's just a mostly a priori personal conlang that I created and used for fun. That's about it. Thomas