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Tasratal: sketch: connectives (long)

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Sunday, October 21, 2001, 5:00
Tasratal has two "classes" of words, connectives (particles or function
words, I suppose) and substantives (everything else).  These categories
aren't linguistic-formal, they're for my own peace of mind.  Typologically
I suppose this is agglutinating.  Both connectives and substantives tend
to occur in "triads" or groups of three words clustered around an idea,
though substantives in particular will probably have variances in terms of

Tentatively default word-order is something like SOV (I'm feeling
unoriginal again), but I've done very little on syntax so far.

Conceptually I've organized each triad as

! (opposition or assertion)
? (uncertainty or moving-toward)
. (status quo or staying-at)

which probably makes little sense to anyone else, and I'm still trying to
figure out a way to name the categories usefully.  Here goes...

(See previous post for the phonology and romanization scheme.)

(existence)-demanded: txo
(existence)-uncertain: ga
(existence)-stated: nai

Possible examples:
"Yoon" txo ~= I *am* Yoon, dammit!
               Yoon *will* exist!
"Yoon" ga ~= Are you Yoon?
              Is there a Yoon?
"Yoon" nai ~= Yoon exists or is here.

Note that <txo> can be used in a fashion similar (?) to the Japanese yo,
<ga> in a fashion similar to Japanese ka.  (At least as I understand them.


location: at
bearing-quality: xi
identity: en
(With apologies to Payne's discussion of copulas in _Describing
Morphosyntax_ and _Conversational Japanese_.)

Possible examples:
"Yoon" "Stanford" at  (ACK!  That was *not* intentional...)
                      ~= Yoon is at Stanford.
"Yoon" "weird" xi ~= Yoon is weird.  (As if that were news.)
"Yoon" en. ~= (I'm) Yoon.


ownership: san
share-of-status: al (non-ownership "possessive"?)
dissociation: mei

Possible examples:
"Yoon" san "coat" ~= Yoon's coat (and it's mine, darnit!)
"Yoon" san "sister" ~= Yoon's sister (it's not like I own her)
"Yoon" san "Darth Vader" ~= Yoon has nothing to do with Darth Vader.
                             (the point is arguable, but...)


action-against: rau (opposing the object, i.e. "against its will")
action-with: to
action-toward: ge (toward the object, i.e. "with its consent")
(You might say that the agent/actor is "default," hence unmarked.)

Possible example:
"Yoon" "damage" kyx "Darth Vader" rau "lightsaber" to
      ~= Yoon hurt Darth Vader with a lightsaber.  (Don't she wish.)
"Luke Skywalker" "Force" to "Princess Leia" ge "safety" kyx
      ~= Luke Skywalker saved Princess Leia with the Force.
(I hope I'm not inadvertently offending any Star Wars fans on this list.)


unequal-harness: tsy
side-by-side: xun
apart: ken

Possible Examples:
"Han Solo" "Chewbacca" xun ~= Han Solo and Chewie (as equal partners)
"Obi Wan" "Luke" tsy ~= Obi Wan (primary) and Luke (secondary)
"Darth Vader" "Yoon" ken ~= Darth Vader and Yoon (totally separately and


cause-despite: tem
cause-casual: su
cause-intended: kyx

Notes: So far this is the grammatical workhorse of the language (until I
realize how many things I can't figure out how to formulate with this
pattern, anyway).  The language can be seen as essentially noun-based
X caused Y to Z.  (X = Z is certainly possible.)

Possible examples:
"Yoon" "milk" rau "spill" tem-tau ~= Yoon spilled the milk (despite
efforts not
"Yoon" "milk" rau "spill" su-tau ~= Yoon spilled the milk (in the course of
      doing something else; it was an incidental side-effect).
"Yoon" "milk" rau "spill" kyx-tau ~= Yoon spilled the milk (and she meant


denying-change: sepf (abbreviates to "sep" before another particle)
accepting-change: lau
untouched-by-change: ki

"Denying" and "accepting" are a bit deceptive in terms of meaning, but I
haven't figured out better terminology yet.

"Yoon" "Darth Vader" ki-rau "harm" kyx ~= Yoon (tries to) hurt Darth Vader
      is unaffected by her pathetic attempt and in fact doesn't even notice
"Yoon" "Darth Vader" sep-rau "harm" kyx ~= Yoon (tries to) hurt Darth Vader
      (who isn't going to stand for it, but gets nicked while evading).
"Darth Vader" "Yoon" lau-rau "harm" kyx ~= Darth Vader hurts Yoon (and by
      she does get hurt).


"Mood" (?):
event-in-progress: rei
event-hypothetical: mas
event-settled: tau

The nearest thing to tense.
<rei> refers to something that's ongoing with respect to whatever frame of
reference is being discussed.  Call it the progressive mood or aspect or

<mas> refers to something uncertain: a dream, a work of fiction, a plan
(past, present or future), a dubious historical "fact."

<tau> refers to something that (at least in the mind of the speaker) is a
certainty--a future plan, a past event, a current action.

Murkle.  I guess they're all mood/aspect, not tense at all...


decreasing/less: ru
increasing/more: ro
equilibrium/same: ffan

Yoon Ha Lee

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.--Paul Erdos


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