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A return to CONLANG, a question, and some answers

From:Doug Ball <db001i@...>
Date:Monday, March 20, 2000, 22:13
Greetings all:
After three months off CONLANG, I join a collection of people who are making
their return.  I returned to Colorado for Christmas Break, and wanted to
take a vacation from e-mailing and the computer in general.  Nineteen hours
before I was scheduled to return for second semester (January 8), our family
car was broad-sided by an 18-wheeler.  The car was totaled, and each of my
mom, stepdad, and sister, and I had varying stays at the hospital (my
sister: several days; me: half-day; my parents;less than hour), but no one
has any awful, permanent injuries. But due to this accident I got back to
school a week late, and in order not to get behind I decided not to get back
on to CONLANG.  But now, I'm back, and enjoying seeing the conlanging
community busy at work again.
All this "excitement" has not diminished my conlanging fervor, although I
did almost lose some of my work, because I had my language notebook in the
car at the time of the accident (Thankfully, all the information was
intact).  Over  Christmas break, I re-did my pre-verbal particles (receiving
R.L. Trask's A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics helped), to
include a new non-past/past tense distinction, a prospective aspect, and a
revamped mood system (see below).  And earlier in the semester, I found the
perfect pluralization process: reduplication, which I borrowed from Greek
-mi verbs.  And the vocabulary is growing--last night I passed the 800 word
mark, and I hope to surpass 1000 before the semester is done.
A question:
I caught a snatch of the thread (on the list website) about the co-verbs,
directionals,and the like and felt since they were so prevalent
cross-linguistically (as Matt noted), that I should include them in Skerre.
I see the directionals functionally very closely to prepositions, so where
to draw the line?  Currently I see the directionals being more adverbial
than prepositions, but I tend to just relex to English (which I shouldn't
really do) and translate phrases like "come down to the ..." with a
directional and preposition, and translate phrases like "come to the ..."
with just a preposition.

Some answers (?):
> what are the purposes of the antipassive in an erg./abs. language? >
According to R.L. Trask in the above mentioned book, the antipassive "often, though not necessarily,...serve to indicate a direct object which is indefinite or partially affected." The example Trask gives for the latter distinction is "John struck at Bill (like antipassive) vs. John struck Bill." But to tell you the truth, I myself am still a little confused as to how the antipassive works, even though it is alive and well in Skerre. Regarding Bella Coola: There is a wonderful article which shows that there can be vowelless words and words with monster consonant clusters in Bella Coola. It is Bigamehl's "Syllable Structure in Bella Coola." We had to read it for my phonology class earlier this semester; unfortunately, I read a copy, so I don't know where one could obtain it "in print." It's quite technical, but the basic idea is that language reduplicates only the final CV, and disregards all the previous cluster of C's. (A pseudo-example would be: qtkn (with a syllabic n) would reduplicate as qtknkn), which suggests that those words do not include the "disregarded" consonants as part of the onset. As I recall, words that lack vowels don't reduplicate (but I could be mistaken on that), but could exist, because if there are "loose" consonants in vowel words, there could also be "loose" consonants without vowels. -Doug