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I'm back (OurTongue)

From:Rob H <magwich78@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 18, 2003, 5:56
Hey Christophe,

Sorry for taking so long to reply yet again (much longer this time :( ).  Unfortunately, Yahoo
doesn't let me save sent e-mail, so I don't have my reply to your first reply.  If you still have
it, please post it to the Conlang list.  I'm sending this reply to the list so that everyone there
can have the benefit of reading it (if they so desire :) ).

> > Interesting. What are the p?, t? and k? ? Since the evolve into voiced > consonants, I'd expect them to be ejectives, like the glottalic PIE theory > proposes. Or are they simply clusters consonant+glottal stop? And what does > represent hh? >
Yes, they are glottalic consonants; that is, plosive + glottal stop combinations. According to Patrick C. Ryan, hh represents a "voiceless pharyngal fricative" (
> > So I was right in considering that the imperative was the outcome of a former > optative, or here a desiderative :)) . Yeah me! ;))) >
Haha, yes you were correct. However, I'm thinking about having the 2nd person singular imperative actually become identical to the 3rd person indicative, by the following means: Originally, 2sg imp was with -ka: hajaka 'go!' This inflection is one of the oldest, so the unstressed /a/ reduces to schwa, then to nothing: hajak 'go!' Final /k/s were rare even in Pre-/Proto-OT, and easily evolved into -h and then nothing: haja 'go!' Ironically, this is the situation with present-day Finnish, although the development is much more recent.
> > Emotions under your control?! Now that's extremely strange. I can't imagine a > culture seriously thinking that emotions are under your control. I can imagine > a culture which put emphasis on *gaining* control over your emotions, but it's > pretty universal that people consider emotions to be things that people cannot > normally control. >
Well, my dad would always tell me: "No one makes you feel any certain way; you make yourself feel that way." Since I agree with him, it follows that I believe that our emotions are (largely) under our control. The hypothetical speakers of OurTongue happen to have philosophical beliefs similar to mine, so they think the same way about emotions :-P .
> > > As for the distinction between "see"/"hear" and "watch"/"listen", that's > > a very good point you > > brought up. Although one sees automatically if his eyes are open > > (assuming he's not blind), one > > can choose what he looks at from what's available to see. > > But that's "looking", not "seeing" anymore then. >
Good point. Do you know of any natural languages that make no distinction between "looking" and "seeing"?
> So seeing > > would likely be considered a > > control activity. > > I can't imagine why? As soon as you put control on seeing, you're *looking*, > you're not *seeing* anymore. The only control you have on seeing is the ability > to close your eyes, i.e. to prevent yourself from seeing. But on seeing itself > you have absolutely no control. Once again, control it and it becomes "looking" > or "watching". But that's no seeing. >
Again, good point. A way to work around this argument is to actually have a category of non-control transitive verbs, with the "subject" (experiencer) in the absolutive > accusative and the "object" (source) in the genitive. Thus, an OT translation of "I see the dog" would be glossed as "me [dog]-is [see]-n" where "me" is the 1sg accusative pronoun, "-is" is the genitive suffix, and "-n" is the 1sg subjective verb suffix.
> Same with hearing, although that's even more > > ambiguous. > > Here it's even worse because unlike with your eyes, you have no possibility to > prevent sound from reaching your ears (putting your hands on them is only a > partial solution). >
Again, we can apply the solution mentioned above to hearing. An OT translation of "I hear the dog" would be "me [dog]-is [hear]-n." Let's make it even more complicated: "I hear the dog's barking" would be... "me [bark]-ma-s [dog]-is [hear]-n" where "-ma" is the masdar suffix and "-s" is the genitive suffix for vowel-stems (I don't know if the word for "dog" will be a vowel-stem or consonant-stem yet, so I give the full suffix). Do you think having both "barking" and "dog" in the genitive case will cause unnecessary ambiguity?
> > > Let me know what you think about all this. > > > > Well, I still think you should send your post to the list too. I'm sure plenty > of people would like to read it. I will then send my reply to the list too :)) . >
Well, here's some news :) . Lately I considered trying to implement a system that I felt was more elegant: instead of marking the plural with a consonant (-t), I'd like to mark it with -i instead. Furthermore, I'd have e disappear before i, so that I could still have a contrast between vowel-stems and consonant-stems, except that now the consonant-stems have a singular ergative > nominative in -e (which is just preservation of the original ergative suffix). However, I ran into a snag: I still wanted to use -i to mark the preterite tense, but that meant I had to find a new marker for the 3pl verb inflection. I couldn't figure out a satisfactory solution until today. What it calls for is a revamping of the pronominal system, which now looks like thus: ergative/nominative, absolutive/accusative mi, me "I" ti, te "you" si, se "he/she/it" meni, men "we" teni, ten "y'all" seni, sen "they" So, the verbal system now looks like this (with haja- 'go'): Old OurTongue: hajam 'I go' hajaim 'I went' hajat 'you go' hajait 'you went' haja(s) 'she goes' hajai(s) 'she went' hajamen 'we go' hajaimen 'we went' hajaten 'y'all go' hajaiten 'y'all went' hajasen 'they go' hajaisen 'they went' Classical OurTongue: hajan 'I go' hajain 'I went' hajat 'you go' hajait 'you went' haja 'she goes' hajai 'she went' hajame 'we go' hajaime 'we went' hajate 'y'all go' hajaite 'y'all went' hajasi 'they go' hajaisi 'they went' The Classical forms may end up being more conservative than they look right now. What do you think? Oh, and I've added a possible suffix for a conditional mood: -le. I know, it's the same suffix as the allative, but then again I'm using -i for both nominal plural and verbal preterite. What do you think? - Rob __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Platinum - Watch CBS' NCAA March Madness, live on your desktop!


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>