Re: THEORY: irregular conlangs
|From:||Christophe Grandsire <grandsir@...>|
|Date:||Friday, October 1, 1999, 6:49|
Thomas R. Wier wrote:
> > 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.
> Well, not all natural languages have a copula (Chinese
> doesn't). In those that do, there's nothing inherent in the
> system making it more likely to be irregular in the way
> I've described. Japanese, for instance, has two (2)
> irregular verbs (although whether one was a copula, and
> whether Japanese even has a copula, escapes me).
The two true irregular verbs of Japanese are 'suru': to do and 'kuru':
to come. There are also some other verbs that have few other
irregularities, but most of them are completely regular. Japanese indeed
has a copula: 'da', but it is not considered as a verb (dixit my
Japanese teacher) and it indeed behaves differently than verbs. But
that's a part of the Japanese grammar that is not easy to explain
(especially for a beginner like me).
> And, speaking of regularities in general, Quechua regularly
> applies the plural suffix -kuna to derive plural pronouns:
> they have none of this mincing about with grammaticalized
> "I" but "we", "he" but "they":
> qoqa 'I'
> qam 'you (singular)'
> pay 'he/she'
> qoqayku 'we (excl.)'
> qoqanchik 'we (incl.)'
> qamkuna 'you (plural)'
> paykuna 'they'
> (Thanks to Mark Rosenfelder, wherever he is, for his page
> on Quechua grammar.)
Just like Japanese which makes its plural pronouns regularly by
suffixing '-tachi' to some singular pronouns (this suffix means "... and
others" and can be used on names to mean "X and others"). For example:
watashi: me -> watashitachi: us
anata (familiar): you -> anatatachi (familiar): you (plural)
kanojo: her -> kanojotachi: them (feminine)
but kare: him -> karera: them (masculine and mixte)
But Japanese don't use them very often (seeing their length, that's not
a surprise :) ).
> > Am I right or wrong? I know many of you (as I once)
> > want an extremely logical language, one that you
> > have to invent because there aren't any logical
> > natlangs. But those of you who persue a natlangy
> > touch of your conlang, how far do you go in your
> > irregularities?
> The best way to make your language look really naturalistic is
> to layer regular systems over one another. This can be just like
> I described for English above, just within one category of words
> like verbs, or it could be for pit the semantic makeup of words
> against, say, their phonetic form. So, for example, my language
> Phaleran used to be completely regular with its morphology,
> until equally regular phonetic changes came along causing
> blurring of the original patterns:
That's exactly what I wanted to achieve with Moten. That's why I used
infixes for that language.
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