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Terkunan: help with decision

From:The Benevolent Dictator <theiling@...>
Date:Monday, April 6, 2009, 15:28

Speaking (it my other post) of _rakun_ < ALIQU-UNU(M) 'someone' in

The usual indefinite article in Terkunan is _un_, before consonants
_u'_.  OTOH, some words that fused with VL UNU(M) end in _un_ without
variant, notably:

    rakun  'someone'
    nesun  'no-one'

I was thinking of making the relation with UNUM more vivid again by
deleting the final _n_, just like in the case of the article itself
(it would reappear before vowel).  Other Romance languages that like
to delete final -n, notably Catalan, indeed have 'algú'.

The small problem is: Terkunan's spelling cannot handle a stressed
open final syllable, which this would be (unless I shift stress, but
that would sound really strange).  I had this problem several times
and am not willing to change the spelling rules, nor introduce an
irregularity, because I like the system the way it is.  So we need
another solution.

Now, because the final _u(n)_ could be viewed as a separate word --
that's the whole point here -- I could write it with an apostrophe.
Phrasal stress is not marked, so the _u_ may be stressed.  The changes
would be:

   rakun      rak'u / rak'un
   nesun      nes'u / nes'un

French strikes again!

In contrast to the indefinite article, I'd not suffix an apostrophe
to _u'_ as in:

   Iuhan vis u' kan.      'John sees a dog.'

Instead, no suffixed apostrophe:

   Iuhan vis rak'u.       'John sees someone.'


   Spelling change only, same pronunciation:

     BEFORE:  Rakun av' arivat.
     AFTER:   Rak'un av' arivat.  'No one has come.'

   Pronunciation change:

     BEFORE:  No fik a rakun!
     AFTER:   No fik a rak'u!     'Don't do (it/this/that) to anyone!'

The problem(?) is that _rak_ and _nes_ are not Terkunan words.  A bad
thing?  Probably not, right?  It happens, e.g.  Catalan _c'an Pedro_,
where _c'an_ is a contraction of CASA + HOMINEM, but neither _c_ nor
_an_ are separate words today (and not even short forms of separate

Do you like such a change in Terkunan?



Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>