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Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs

From:Irina Rempt-Drijfhout <ira@...>
Date:Friday, October 1, 1999, 15:17
On Fri, 1 Oct 1999, Sally Caves wrote:

> It's the other way around. "Irregular" words will succumb > by analogy to the regularities of other words. Which is > why we have "help helped helped" today instead of help, > holp, holpen." Which was perfectly good Old and Middle > English.
And perfectly good Dutch: helpen, hielp, geholpen. My four-year-olds are almost out of the over-regularizing stage (though even their five-year-old sister does it occasionally) and they use "gehelpt", "geholpt" and "geholpen" interchangeably. The simple past of strong verbs (they're not "irregular" as such, like suppletive verbs) seems to be the hardest to acquire: all three still say "helpte" for "hielp". Perhaps because the present perfect is used far more often in informal spoken Dutch.
> > Anyway. My two questions. What do you guys think > > of this? And do you do this in your conlangs? > > AFAIK, in most languages the copula verb is > > irregular, but most conlangs seem to be very regular.
Valdyan is zero-copula, ruling out one opportunity for irregularity. I don't consciously try to *make* irregular forms; there are some, though, mostly as a result of laziness (when I didn't want to look it up and just wrote the form that seemed most logical to me at the time), probably a good model of Valdyans using the intuitive form and creating irregularities in their own language. Then there are the occasions when something older (in my development of the language, not in its in-world history) still stands, because I don't change old texts on principle; that usually makes for syntactic irregularity. I can't find a perfect example at the moment, but the last line in each of the Four Invocations _az ani so chazay_ "be with us too" comes close. This is an older stage of the language both in my work, and in Valdyan linguistic history: _az ani_ is _aniez_ in the modern language. And, yes, the double stems - _lesne_ "child" with both <lesn> and <lesen>, and the whole of noun class II-III which has alternate forms for most cases. Irina Varsinen an laynynay, saraz no arlet rastynay. (myself) (English) (Nederlands)