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Re: Ebisedian tutorial

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 20, 2002, 11:21
On Tue, Aug 20, 2002 at 07:00:17AM +0100, Jan van Steenbergen wrote:
> --- "H. S. Teoh" wrote: > > > Spurred by recent reactions to Ebisedian (by unfortunate victims of > > translation relays :-P), I've come to realize that pointing people at a > > reference grammar, or even attaching a crash-course grammar, is > > insufficient to explain how Ebisedian works, even at the most basic level. > > Well, your crash-course grammar was quite good as a matter of fact, though it > definitely left some questions unanswered. But those were usually solved by the > reference grammar. Anyway, I didn’t feel unfortunate at all, I rather enjoyed > crushing my teeth on Ebisedian.
Well, I was hoping to make the tooth-crushing a bit less painful. ;-) But I've had two people (in relay 6.5, in progress right now) work on the Ebisedian text, and both had trouble with it. I thought I should at least do my part and make it as accessible as possible. [snip]
> > Comments? suggestions? flames? fan-mail? ;-) > > It’s an excellent beginning. Clear, easy, and understandable, that’s the > primary aim of a tutorial, and I think you succeed very well in achieving it. > I like the examples as well, especially if there is a lot of them. Don't be > thrifty with them.
Good point. I think I should expand the section on locatives with lots more examples. And maybe I can even introduce nominator sentences right there. The good think about tutorials vs. reference grammars is that I don't have to cover every detail, and I don't need to completely exhaust one topic in one place, but I can do a little bit of nouns here, a bit of nouns there, and re-visit things later, etc..
> However, to be frank, it was not the case system that presented me with > problems. This part was, by the way, well-explained in your crash-course > grammar. Most difficulties I had with subordinate clauses. In some of those ni > ... di ... constructions the modifier has one case, the modified noun after the > clause a second case, and the particle itself a third case).
Really?? Hmm, that doesn't sound right. The particle _ni_ is supposed to agree in case and number with the noun being modified. If it doesn't, it's an error in the text! :-) (The main reason _ni_ is inflected is to "anticipate" the function of the modified noun, which would not be heard until the end of the relative clause. By putting the case and number on _ni_, the listener will at least know the function of the modified noun in the sentence while he hears the subordinate clause, and how it fits into the rest of the sentence.)
> I am really curious to see this part explained in a tuturial; will it > look that easy afterwards as well?
No guarantees, but I'll try! :-) It wasn't supposed to be *that* complicated, anyhow. The particle _di_ basically behaves like the English _who_, _which_, _whom_, etc., marking the case function of the modified noun in the subordinate clause. Except that the word order here is different, so it precedes the noun rather than follow it, etc..
> Anyway, keep up the good work.
Thanks :-)
> --- JS Bangs wrote: > > > I found this tutorial quite clear and easy to understand. In fact, > > explained this way, I fail to see how people could find these concepts > > difficult in the first place--but perhaps I'm prejudiced by the fact that > > I've sketched out conlangs with very similar systems. > > Well, as I wrote above, Ebisedian is much more than this. The concepts > described in the tutorial are unusual, indeed, but not particularly > complicated. Wait till you see the modifier part. Then the fun really begins.
No, no. The modifier part is quite straightforward once you're used to it, but it's the *pronouns* that will drive you nuts. I promise. :-P Just the fact that Ebisedian pronouns aren't classified into 2nd and 3rd person should be ring an alarm, already... :-P (You were fortunate, Jan, not to have to deal with pronouns in relay 6!)
> > Incidental remarks: I'd always disliked Ebisedan based on its unconsciably > > ugly ASCII representation scheme, but seeing it in the PDF as it was > > "supposed" to look, I found it quite pleasant. What a surprise! > > I agree. ASCII makes it look like a nasty alien language, while its > "real" look in the PDF makes it feel like velvet.
Hehe, thanks. Now, if only Unicode compliance were more widespread, and Unicode diacritics properly implemented, we might have seen a more pleasant Ebisedian on CONLANG...! :-)
> I’m eager to hear some Ebisedian as well. I assume the language must have a > pleasant sound and would fit well with music. Especially the glottal stop at > the beginning of a word (known to singers as "glotty-schlag") opens > perspectives.
[snip] I don't know about fitting well with music. I suspect it *won't* fit very well with music. But its pitch accent can have quaintly expressive modulations sometimes. (Check out the IPA with the article I submitted to the Conlang Journal, once Christophe gets it done. I've taken the pains to mark rising pitch, falling pitch, etc., in the IPA.) Now about hearing Ebisedian... I guess I can try to record it sometime. I just hope my roommate doesn't think I'm off my rocker for (literally!) speaking in tongues. :-P I don't promise my pronunciations will be "authentic", though... I'm still struggling with the difference between my voice as I hear it, and my voice as it sounds when it's recorded. T -- People walk. Computers run.