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Re: Nominal classes in Itakian. What do you think of it?

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, February 1, 2000, 16:28
At 10:51 01/02/00 -0500, you wrote:
>Something magnificient, and truly original! >
Thanks, I tried to do something really unusual.
>Some questions, as usual ;) : >
I was waiting for them :) .
>1) Do you use class markers as *the only* means of forming plurals? >
Yes, it is the only means to make *unmarked* plural, which is more in fact a derivational feature than a grammatical one. Real plural is more certainly marked with other things (maybe adjectives) like "some", "a few", "many" and the numerals, which will take the singular form of the noun.
>Some Bantu languages I read about have much more 'plural' classes, so >there is usually no uncertainty as for from which singular a given >plural is derived. Also, they sometimes superimpose class markers >(partly on the analogy with classes that have zero markers). >
In Itakian, adjectives of quantity (or equivalents) will be used if disambiguation is needed. Plural is not such an important feature in Itakian. "Derivational plural" is (the difference being that plural would lead to "father" -> "fathers", whereas derivational plural is more like "father" -> "parents"). And I like ambiguity :) .
>2) As, probably, Itakian nouns will rarely appear without a prefix, it >seems that the starting level of the root's initial tone will show up >very infrequently. This IMO will provide the basis for analogical >levellings, and may make the system of tonal alternations unstable. >
I see what you mean, and I partly agree with you. Yet, I'm thinking of using the same roots for nouns and other parts of speech (maybe verbs, maybe others) which can appear then without a prefix. Also, nouns will often appear without a class prefix, when this one is suffixed on a preposition, so the tone's starting level will tend to reappear, at least when it corresponds to the class marker suffix tone's ending level (depending on the class marker used). And finally, I may use this feature to add cool tonal differences between dialects ;) .
>It seems that some feature might be introduced to preserve the initial >tone from being lost altogether on the surface level. The reverse >direction of tonal assimilations for prefixes, or something. >
I was thinking of something like that first. But I like the idea that the prefix would modify the root, and not the contrary. It's a potential golden mine for reanalysations of words and creation of new roots, as well as dialectical variants. Still, I have to see how everything will work when the system is more built and used in actual sentences. Right now, it's too much at its beginning to see exactly what will work and what will die out. If a feature happens not to work well with the rest of the system, I will change it :) . Thanks for your remarks, I keep them: they help me improve my system (or my justification for that system :) ). Christophe Grandsire |Sela Jemufan Atlinan C.G. "Reality is just another point of view." homepage :