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R: An Unknown Conlang

From:Mangiat <mangiat@...>
Date:Thursday, July 6, 2000, 16:47
> Hi everyone,
Hi, Christophe! Just this evening I downloaded a great part of your site, obviously in French - never studied it, so I have to translate it - wow, learning a new language reading about a conlang!
> I was looking through all the papers that I accumulated in my apartment
> three years now (and if you saw my way of arranging things, you would > understand that it's quite an adventure :) ) when I found a bunch of > papers, pencil-written notes with my writing. It was a sketch of a
> Yet I have absolutely no memory of writing that! And absolutely no idea of > when I did it! I was so stunned that I decided to look at it more closely, > and despite my telegraphic style, I could understand what the language > looked like. I found it really interesting, but I really had the
> I discovered it! I really have no memory whatsoever of it! The language > looked so nice that I decided to copy the notes again, in a style that
> make it easier to read. And as I couldn't find the name of it in the
> I decided to call it O, reflecting thus the state of my memory concerning
it. This looks very much as the old story of the conlanger who 'discovers' his language. Is this discovery true or only a fictional expedient?
> The language itself has really nice features. It's an ergative language > with cases and two genders: animate and inanimate. The only difference > between the two genders (other than the fact that some pronouns are > specific to one gender) is that 5 cases out of the 19 cases are not > available for inanimates. For example, ergative is a purely animate case.
There was some linguist that explained the neuter Nom. and Acc. common endings in IE langs this way. Can't remember who (never been good with names).
> The inanimate subject of transitive verbs must be in the instrumental or > causative. Adjectives behave a little like Japanese: some are really
> others are really verbs. All subclauses are infinitive (i.e. the verb of > subclauses is in nominal form. When I think that one month ago I said that > it was a really nice feature and that I would like to have it in my > conlangs. Now it's the second language of mine that I discover having this > feature! :) ).
Nice! In my Vaiysi I deleted the infinitive, but in one of my next projects... : )
> But the most interesting feature concerns tense in sentences. There are > five tenses: aorist, current, accomplished, prospective and hypothetical, > as well as a mediaphoric mark. They are marked on the verb only if there
> no noun in the absolutive case in the sentence. If there is one, the mark > of tense (and the one of mediaphoric if needed) is put on this noun, not
> the verb! It is the mandatory construction for subclauses. Also,
> verbs take marks for the core participants only when those ones are not > present as nouns in the sentence.
This looks kinda artificial, but I like it.
> O oscillates between agglutinating and inflecting. It's mostly an > agglutinative language (for instance marks of case and number - > indefinite/singular definite/plural definite - are added together in front > of the noun) with some inflecting features (for instance, wherever they
> - on the verb or on the noun - the marks of absolutive and tense are fused > in one affix).
In this week I was thinking: what about a conlang with a Greek morphology and a Tagalog (BTW is it /'tagalog/ ir /ta'galog/?) syntax? I like languages with high difficulty degree - so I love inflecting features!
> If you want, I can give you a sketch of this language. Its phonology is > interesting too, containing the phonemes /y/ and /H/ (the French 'u' - or > German 'ü' - and its semivowel conterpart, the semivowel in French 'lui').
I'd really like to see it! Luca