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Masochistic Grammar - YANNC

From:Shreyas Sampat <nsampat@...>
Date:Monday, November 13, 2000, 22:08
Yet Another New Nameless Conlang.

I was reading one day, and a thought popped into my head: What would a
crossbreed of Arabic and Latin sound like, spoken by creatures with two mouths?
(and vocal tracts; I didn't want to bruise my mind with cross-mouth consonant
harmony.) Arabic-style morphology ideas kept running around and giving me
headaches, so I'm going to throw my ideas at the list.

Note that this is a flight of fantasy badness and is likely to change radically in the near future.

Phonology doesn't exist yet.
Roots consist of three or four 'consonants'. Some of these may in actuality have a
vowel attached, like the root er-m-n, 'sibling'. I haven't worked our
four-consonant forms yet; only those in three appear here.
Word order is VSO.

Nouns inflect for gender and number in the root, and case in the 'class'. The class
is a second root spoken simultaneously with the 'core'; it serves as a sort of
built-in descriptor that hangs in the limbo between gender and adjectives.
The three genders are person, living nonperson, and nonliving nonperson. The
numbers are singular, plural, and mass (used for uncountable items like water,
and large numbers of countable things, like herds of cattle.) The person gender
cannot have a number of mass.
Er-m-n inflecting as a noun:

           sing       plur       mass
person     eramana    eramaneh
life       eramene    eramenir   ermenon
nonlife    eraminu    eraminuur  erminuun

I should point out that er-m-n is rather a bad example; in the life gender it
talks of pets, and I'm not sure what it would be in the unlife gender. Dead
pets, maybe. The mass gender would describe something like my ant colony, I
suppose (though really that would use the root m-r-m, 'ant' and the class

The class inflects for gender and case, of which there are five: nominative,
accusative, oblique, focal, and genitive. The nominative is used for the
subjects of sentences; the accusative for direct objects. The focal case is
used for things that are unaffected by actions, and for the subjects of passive
sentences. In the sentences "I studied my food", "He watched the movie," and
"She was eaten by the monster", the monster, the movie, and the food are foci.
The oblique marks objects of prepositions and indirect objects. The genitive
marks the possessor of an item.

M-r-m inflecting as a class:
   nom  acc    obl    foc    gen
p  marm marmen maramu morami marmiya
l  merm mermen meramu moremi mermeya
n  mirm mirmen miremu morimi merimiya

I imagine that any unpronounceable clusters that appear will earn a schwa or
something; what is this process called? Native speakers will call this feature
irregularity. Most roots will evolve integral vowels to prevent this.

A verb's root inflects for person and number; its class, which for verbs
indicates mood or verb type, inflects for tense. The tenses are present, past
and future; subordinate clauses have tense relative to their ruling clauses.
This disposes of complex tenses.
The verb moods are indicative, subjunctive, negative, and imperative. The
indicative mood further marks for transitivity and such: intransitive,
transitive, ditransitive, focused, reflexive, and stative verbs all have their
own classes. Each indicative class is also a verb unto itself; generally one
that's a good example of the class.
The persons are first, proximative, and obviative. The proximative is used for
direct address or a third person in line of sight of either speaker; the
obviative for a subject neither speaker can see. For those who like to nitpick,
blind people use the proximative for direct address or anyone in earshot, and
the obviative for those out of it.

The verb la-b-r, 'work', inflecting: (the [e] of the third person overrides the
weak [a] in the root)
  sing    plur      mass
1 labaram labaramah labaramun
2 laberes laberesah laberesun
3 leberit leberitta leberittun

The moods/types and the tenses:
       pres   past      fut
subj   kasah  kashava   kashiha  <from k-s-h, asking>
neg    marad  mardava   mardiha  <from m-r-d, death>
imp    lusaf  lusafava  lusafiha <from lu-sa-f, falling>
intran kurex  kurexava  kurexiha <from ku-r-ex, running> ("x" is [S])
tran   hamas  hamsava   hamsiha  <from h-m-s, love>
ditran daanar daanrava  daanriha <from daa-n-r, giving>
foc    vidar  vidrava   vidriha  <from vi-d-r, sight>
ref    lavar  lavrava   lavriha  <from l-v-r, washing>
stat   samah  samhava   samhiha  <from s-m-h, existence>

Passive voice constructions have the past/present/future forms CaCaCayya, CaCCayaav, CaCCihhin.

With all this knowledge, we can make a simple sentence, like this one: The ant
queen <r-g-n> makes <ah-g-r> honey <m-y-l>(class k-v-s, food) for my pet fox

ahegerit ragene myiluun valepe
daanar   merm   kirsen  eremanu.

What fun.