Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

World Pidgin Suffices

From:Oskar Gudlaugsson <hr_oskar@...>
Date:Friday, June 16, 2000, 3:44
This is a copy of something I posted on AUXLANG a few days ago, only to find
myself questioned on how exactly this was to be propagated.

This is part of the World Pidgin project that I just posted a little
phonological introduction on.

(note that in this message, as it was meant for an AUXLANG audience, there
are some very auxlangish ways of presenting materials. So just ignore the
political overtones in it ;)

Here is the original message:

I don't like extensive agglutinative sufficing a la E-o. I prefer to stick
to just a few likable, recognizable, light suffices, letting
word-compounding do the rest. There are four suffices that I consider now:

/er/, /es/, /en/, /jo/

The suffices are defined as follows:

   /er/  =   a person or personified item

This is the best, most useful, and most justifiable suffix-word; it is very
prolific in English ("teacher", "fiver"), as well as being almost universal
in Western IE (if not other IE-families), as for example "-er" in
Scandinavian, English and German, "-(d)or" in Spanish and Portuguese,
"-(t)eur" in French, "-ari" in Icelandic, etc etc etc. But we're even
luckier than that: It also happens to have a very similar meaning and
exactly the same form in Mandarin Chinese! Really just a coincidence, but
very fortunate. What's more, the "-er" suffix is _very common_ in Mandarin.
(The accurate, original meaning of "er" as a word is "child", but has for
 >1000 years been increasingly applied to nouns and grammatical items for
various purposes).

   /es/   =   adjectival/genitive/subordinative suffix

This suffix plays the same role as "de" in Mandarin, so it would be
structurally familiar to Chinese. It's blessed with considerable familiarity
to Westerners:

  As a marker of group-identity (essentially an adjective-mark), this is the
"-ish" of English, "-és" of Spanish and Portuguese, "-ais" of French,
"-isk" of Scandinavian, "-isch" of German, "-sk" of Russian (as in
"russki"), and many more (The Romance "-es" (from Lat. "-ense") doesn't have
the same origin as the Germanic/Slavic "-isk", as far as I know, but they
are similar enough today).
  As a genitive marker, it reminds us of the general Germanic genitive
marker "-s" (as in English "John's", "his", "yours").
  As an adjectival marker, it reminds us of "-ous" in English
("carnivorous", "glamorous"), French "-oux/-ouse" and "-eux/-euse", Spanish
"-oso/-osa", as well as the "-ish" again ("greenish"), though not in the
exact right meaning.

   /en/   =   "to be in a place" (Spanish "estar", Mandarin "zai"),
              thence also an imperfect aspect marker

  As a place marker (actually not just a suffix; an independent word used
mostly as a verb or preposition), reminds us pleasantly of
Spanish/French/Italian "en", English/German/Scandinavian "in", etc etc.
  As an imperfect aspect marker (apart from being a logical semantic
connection), also reminds us of English "-ing" (esp. in American
pronunciation), Spanish "-ando/-iendo", French "-ant/-ent",
German/Scandinavian "-ende", Icelandic "-andi", etc etc.

    /jo/   =   meaningless item marker, abstractive

  Not very much used or generally useful at all. More just to fit a number
of Latinate words into the language, such as /radjo/ and /vidjo/ ("radio"
and "video"). Perhaps we could make something of this suffix and make it
into a kind of noun-marker (I sort of get this from my native Icelandic,
where final /o/, previously non-existent, has become incredibly popular in
slang since 1950; e.g. "tyggja" = 'chew', "tyggjo" = 'chewing gum',
"sleikja" = 'lick', "sleikjo" = 'candy bar'). That would be sort of cool. As
you may have gathered, I like the language to have a very slang-like,
colloquial feel to it.

Comments are welcome :)


Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at