Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

Re: Terkunan: help with decision

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Monday, April 6, 2009, 16:20
On 06/04/09 17:28:50, The Benevolent Dictator wrote:
> 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: > > BEFORE AFTER > 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.'
Perhaps I've missed previous threads where you've justified this, but why not use the suffixed apostrophe? It could be viewed as a closing consonant, and thus "raku'" and "rakun" would have the same structure for stress purposes. (Or maybe your whole point is that an apostrophe can't count as a word-final consonant because that will screw up other words. I really really hope not, because much of my answer remains the same regardless. But another possibility might be "rak-un/rak-u'", with a hyphen, if you use them/aren't opposed to using them. Spellings like "co-conspirator" demonstrate that it can be used without a full word on both sides in at least one language, altho I wouldn't want to be caught suggesting you adopt orthographical ideas from English *shudder* ) It also seems to be the logical thing to do given you're trying to view the -'un/-'u part as being identical to (or at least, more closely related to) the "un/u'" word. The different behavior of the apostrophe tends to *obscure* that in my view. Also, it seems to me that nothing's being dropped out in "rak'u" to justify an apostrophe. It seems to be acting as a binder. Now in principle I have nothing against that --- in fact, for my own orthographies I usually use the apostrophe to do neither more nor less than separate the root from the inflexions/agglutinations.[1] But that doesn't seem to be the purpose of the apostrophe in Terkunan. You kinda address that in your last (main) paragraph, but I don't think this is really comparable to "c'an". What you're proposing, it seems to me, is to say the apostrophe *justifies* a different behavior for the actual word on the other side --- and then you observe after the fact that it's a different word, so you compare it to existing cases. You're making the comparison at the wrong stage. Introducing the odd apparent inconsistency, so when the orthography isn't fully transparent, even if there's an underlying consistency, I think this would tend to harm the language for its hypothetical native users, compared to a more fully consistent language. Once there's something that's hard to understand, when people want to spell new words, they'll do it according to their understanding, and these spellings would tend to fossilise. And then the system's gone. Plus if it's meant to be widely used by a very literate public with a huge amount of unedited text (i.e. the internet), you'll find variant spellings of the existing words --- so people will spell "rakun" and "raku'" alongside the correct forms, at least if the relationship to "un/u'" is as clear as you want it to be. [1]: Why? It lets me do morphophonetic orthographies that are honest about where they're morpho and where they're phonetic. I'm never sure what to do with irregular words that look like a stem+affix, tho. ...
> Do you like such a change in Terkunan?
Ultimately it's your language. You can do whatever you like and I can't stop you. Given that, normally I'm happy to ask why and suggest something *I* reckon's better, when someone asks a question about their conlang. Or even say nothing at all (I view conlanging as more of a private endeavor --- I rarely post about mine, but I have exercise books full of notes). But here, I think I actually really dislike the proposed change. -- Tristan.


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>