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Re: A'stou part II: the Noun

From:Carlos Eugenio Thompson (EDC) <edccet@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 31, 2000, 13:51
Christophe Grandsire wrote:

> After an explanation of the phonology and phonological structure of the > language, here is a review of the structure of the Noun is A'stou, the > language of the disappeared people, the Dha'stem. > > The nouns in A'stou can be of one of three genders: > - masculine, > - feminine, > - neuter (which is also epicene for people). > They have also a singular and a plural, as well as a declination of four > cases, each gender having its own endings for the declination (sorry for > the names of the cases, but remember that it's a work of youth :) ): > - nominative-vocative (N-V): the case of the subject and the attribute, > also used to call people (vocative use), > - accusative-genitive (A-G): the case of the object and the complement of > a > noun, > - dative-ablative-locative (D-A-L): the case of the recipient (dative), > but > also the place and the origin, > - instrumental-ergative (I-E): the case of the instrument, also used for > the subject of a causative construction (hence the misused name > 'ergative'). > The root of a noun is found by taking out the ending of the I-E case, but > the N-V form of the noun is often different. Finally, the declination is > different when the noun is indefinite (alone) or definite (followed by the > definite article). >
Well, have you decide for a name for each case and then tell that can also be used in other situations. As saying Nominative case and then telling it is also used for calling people. I guess the first case name is enough, unless you really want your acronyms.
> THE ARTICLE: > > There is no indefinite article in A'stou, but there is a definite article, > put after the noun it completes and agreeing with it only in case. the > different forms of the article are: > N-V: bi /bi/ > A-G: be /be/ > D-A-L: e'bi /'ebi/ > I-E: a'bi /'abi/ > > THE DECLINATIONS: > > Each gender has different endings for the cases (the nominative is > different and uses often a different form of the noun). >
You mean that nominatives are often irregular?
> Those endings show > the cases as well as the number (singular or plural). they are all used > when the noun is indefinite. But when the noun is definite, the nominative > form (singular or plural) is used with the article at the chosen case, >
Then, there is not exactly case agreement between the noun and the article but the article bares the case mark, except for instrumental.
> except for the I-E case with which the noun and the article are put at the > I-E case. Three regular examples for the three genders will explain better > what I mean: > > THE MASCULINE DECLINATION: > ex.: so'lot (N-V), so'loai (I-E): man (as opposed to 'woman') (root: > so'lo-) > > indefinite declination: > singular plural > N-V so'lot /'sOlOt/ so'loam /' > A-G so'loi~n /' so'lome /'sOlOme/ > D-A-L so'loka /'sOlOka/ so'loamka /'sOlO.amka/ > I-E so'loai /'sOlO.E/ so'lomai /'sOlOmE/ > > NOTE: The dot in the transcriptions is here to show that the vowels don't > make diphtong. > > definite declination: > singular plural > N-V so'lot bi so'loam bi > A-G so'lot be so'loam be > D-A-L so'lot e'bi so'loam e'bi > I-E so'loai a'bi so'lomai a'bi > > THE FEMININE DECLINATION: > ex.: so'lis, so'loi: woman (root: so'l-) > > indefinite declination: > singular plural > N-V: so'lis /'sOlis/ so'lom /'sOlOm/ > A-G: so'len /'sOlen/ so'loe /'sOlO.e/ > D-A-L: so'lshka /'sOlSka/ so'lomka /'sOlOmka/ > I-E: so'loi /'sOlOj/ so'lmoi /'sOlmOj/ > > definite declination: > singular plural > N-V: so'lis bi so'lom bi > A-G: so'lis be so'lom be > D-A-L: so'lis e'bi so'lom e'bi > I-E: so'loi a'bi so'lmoi a'bi > > THE NEUTER DECLINATION: > ex.: so'lkhi, so'loei: man (as opposed to 'animal') (root: so'lo-) > > indefinite declination: > singular plural > N-V: so'lkhi /'sOlxi/ so'loem /'sOlO.em/ > A-G: so'lou~n /'sOlO.yn/ so'loeme /'sOlO.eme/ > D-A-L: so'lorka /'sOlOrka/ so'loemka /'sOlO.emka/ > I-E: so'loei /'sOlO.Ej/ so'lomei /'sOlOmEj/ > > definite declination: > singular plural > N-V: so'lkhi bi so'loem bi > A-G: so'lkhi be so'loem be > D-A-L: so'lkhi e'bi so'loem e'bi > I-E: so'loei a'bi so'lomei a'bi > > NOTE: I translated all those words by 'man' and 'woman', but they were > used > by the Dha'stem to refer only to themselves, to their subspecies. Other > humans were referred to as 'children' (but I don't remember the > corresponding A'stou word). > NOTE2: Names of people (like Dha'stem) are always in neuter case (Dha'stem > is simply the N-V plural of Dha'os). >
Is Dháos the instrumental (I-E) case? As I've see you given both nominative and instrumental in your examples.
> THE NOUN FUNCTIONS AND THE PREPOSITIONS: > > Four cases are far from enough to show all the possible functions of a > noun > in a sentence. Thus, with those cases A'stou made a large use of > prepositions (some of them are actually postpositions, as they appear > after > the noun, but they are rare). Those prepositions have to be used with a > certain case of the noun, but only the A-C and the D-A-L can accept > prepositions (some prepositions can accept both cases with slightly > different meanings). Among all the possible prepositions, the > one-consonnant prepositions (transcribed <b_>, <g_>, <d_>, <z_>, <bh_>, > <zh_> and pronounced with a schwa /@/ when in front of a consonnant) are > the most important. They render all the basic functions that are not > directly rendered by the cases: > - b_ followed by the D-A-L shows position, while it shows time when > followed by the A-G, > - g_ followed by the D-A-L shows the direction as well as the goal, while > it means 'after' when followed by the A-G, > - d_ followed by the D-A-L shows the origin (in all concrete and abstract > meanings), while it means 'before' when followed by the A-G, > - z_ followed by the D-A-L means 'through', while it means 'during, for' > when it is followed by the A-G, >
Acusative gives then a temporal feeling to the 'on', 'after', 'from' and 'theough' prepositions while shows the spacial concept... ;)
> - bh_ is a postposition, must complete a A-G and means 'without', while > zh_ > is a preposition followed by the A-G and meaning 'with' (accompaniment > only, the I-E case is used for the instrumental 'with'). > > I won't extend more on that, there are many more prepositions and adverbs > can also be used to modify their meanings! > > THE ADJECTIVE: > > In A'stou, the adjective behaves mostly like the noun, except that most > adjectives can be declined with all three genders. It agrees in number, > case, and generally gender with the noun it completes (whether they are > epithet or attribute). It also "agrees" in definition, that's to say the > adjective, like the noun it completes, will take the same form as the noun > when the noun is followed by the article. An adjective completing various > nouns is always in plural, and is in neuter if the different nouns are of > different genders. As for nouns, the nominative form of the adjective can > be different from the other forms, and can even be the same for all > genders. Sometimes though, there is one nominative form for each gender > (like e'spau /'espo/ (m), e'spou /'espu/ (f), e'speu /'esp9/ (n): > beautiful). the adjective is generally found in front of the noun but it > can appear after (but the article always follows the noun). > > Also, the adjective can be easily nominalised (it is generally followed by > the article then). When nominalised in masculine, feminine or neuter > plural, it generally refers to people. In neuter singular, it generally > refers to things, but sometimes to animals or even people. > > THE DEGREES OF THE ADJECTIVE: > The degrees of the adjective are formed by taking the root of the > adjective > (I-E minus its ending) and adding special suffixes. Unlike in most Western > languages, there are not two but three degrees: comparative, superlative > (be careful as there is a superlative of equality!) and hyperlative (I was > young :) ). > > THE COMPARATIVE: > The different suffixes for the comparative are: > - comparative of inferiority ('less'): suffix -id- followed by the case > edings (-au, -ou and -eu for the three N-V), > - comparative of equality ('as'): suffix -iz- followed by the case endings > (id.), > - comparative of superiority ('more'): suffix -izh- followed by the case > endings (id.). > > NOTE: The complement of the comparative is given by the preposition 'dhyo' > followed by the A-G (the preposition 'dhyo' generally means: as for, > concerning). > > THE SUPERLATIVE: > The different suffixes are: > - superlative of inferiority ('the least, very few, very little'): suffix > -enod- followed by the case endings (id.), > - superlative of equality ('just as, exactly like, in the average'): > suffix > -enoz- followed by the case endings (id.), > - superlative of superiority ('the most, very'): suffix -enozh- followed > by > the case endings (id.). > > NOTE: To differentiate the absolute superlatives ('very') from the > relative > superlatives ('the most'), the absolute superlatives are always followed > by > the article (the article follows the adjective, not the noun it > completes). > It can seem quite strangez but that's how it works :) . > > NOTE2: The complement of a relative superlative is given by the A-G case > (genitive function). > > THE HYPERLATIVE: > The suffixes function in the same way as for the other degrees and are: > - hyperlative of inferiority ('too little, too few, not enough'): -uhad-, > - hyperlative of equality ('enough'!): -uhaz-, > - hyperlative of superiority ('too'): -uhazh-. > > NOTE: it can sound strange to put 'enough' with 'too much', but the > suffixes correspond. >
Well, doesn't seam strange to me... ;)
> Well, I think this mail is now long enough for now. The next one will deal > with something very exotic in A'stou grammar: the verb (indeed, if the > noun > morphology looks quite Indo-European, it's absolutely not the case for the > verb morphology!). > > Christophe Grandsire > |Sela Jemufan Atlinan C.G. > > "Reality is just another point of view." > > homepage : > (ou :