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I'm back (was: Re: Leaving for three weeks...)

From:Julia "Schnecki" Simon <helicula@...>
Date:Thursday, August 25, 2005, 11:29

As you can see, I've returned from my holidays. :-)

I spent the entire first day just digging through a few hundred new
E-mails at work; then I started digging through my private mailbox
(mostly mails from this list -- I hope I'll eventually find some time
to make a belated contribution to some of this month's discussions).
In other words, I've been involved in all the typical "first week
after the holidays" activities. ;-)

It's been a nice three weeks -- I got to see my mother and some
friends whom I hadn't seen in months or even years; I got to eat
exotic German food (:-) ; and one of my German friends taught me how
to spin (wool, from actual sheep, on a spindle, can you imagine?). (I
should probably add that in colloquial German, the word _spinnen_ ("to
spin [wool]") is also used for "to be crazy". As a matter of fact, the
question _Spinnst du?_ usually means "are you out of your mind?" and
not "do you manufacture your own woollen yarn?".) And between all
that, I even found some time for linguistics (see below)...

On 7/29/05, Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...> wrote:
> On Fri, 29 Jul 2005 11:39:36 +0300, Julia "Schnecki" Simon > <helicula@...> wrote: > > > and all the > > Lyoner sausage I can eat... Or maybe that should be: I'm off now to > > the delicious Lyoner sausage, served among the hills etc. etc. ;-) > > I rather prefer Bierschinken on my bread, but Lyoner without bread is very nice.
Oh yes, it is. :-D (As for Bierschinken, it is more to my mother's taste than to mine, but even I must admit that it's a nice thing every once in a while.) Anyway... I've learned some interesting things during my trip: 1. It's totally possible for "warm, sunny" Germany to be colder than "almost-polar" Finland at the same time. I can't remember the last time I needed a duvet *and* a hot-water bottle for a European August night... :-P 2. Long train rides are very conductive to conlanging, especially if you've forgotten to bring your walkman or a book or, indeed, anything except pen and paper. (And you thought that I would just drone on and on without saying anything linguistic, didn't you? ;-) Really -- I should probably find some more friends who live a few hours away from me, so I can get myself some more quality conlanging-on-a-train time... After just one short trip to Frankfurt, I suddenly had a budding verbal inflection system. (There are four inflectional classes; I already have paradigms for intransitive verbs for a "neutral" tense -- I'll call it "present imperfective" for now -- for each class and now I'm thinking about what other tenses, aspects etc. I'd like to have, and whether a tenseless "aspect-only" system wouldn't be much nicer. I also need to figure out how to deal with object agreement, because that's something I definitely want to have.) I also ended up with a much more detailed phonology than before -- I'd thought up some example stems for my example paradigms, and phonotactics just started to happen. Now I'm looking into noun class systems. I'm envisioning a system with a handful of inflectional classes and a somewhat larger number of noun classes; each noun would be assigned to a certain inflectional class based on its phonetic structure, and to a certain noun class based on its meaning. I'm not sure yet whether the noun class will show up somewhere on the noun itself (like in the Bantu languages with their class prefixes) or not; in any case, I'm planning noun class agreement for 3rd-person verb affixes, pronouns, etc. My main problem at the moment is that there are so many fascinating noun classes/noun class systems out there that I have trouble deciding what *I* want for *my* (still unnamed, BTW) language. ;-) I've also started thinking about syntax (probably VSO, with questions derived from declarative sentence by adding a question particle to the sentence and putting an indefinite pronoun -- or a "pro-verb", as the case may be -- in the place of the part of the sentence that the question is asked about [umm, was that grammatical just now?]) and about number systems (I'm leaning towards something basically decimal with remnants of older duodecimal ["dozen" etc.] and vigesimal [think Danish -- "halfway-through-the-third-score" instead of "fifty", and the like] patterns). These two areas obviously still need a lot of fleshing out, though. And since one of the friends I met with in Germany just got her master's degree in phonetics, I decided to show her some of the (then) hazy areas of my phoneme system and phonotactics, so that she could tell me which (if any) of my ideas were even a little plausible. Apparently I remember much more about phonetics and phonology than I'd thought, since she said (and her professor confirmed later) that all the ideas I'd shown her were quite plausible. She added that, since it's *my* language and not, say, a scientific research project about an existing natlang, I should stop worrying and do whatever the heck I want (within reasonable boundaries, of course). ;-) Well, that's it for now. I'm still sorting my notes, trying to find places for all the things I brought back, and generally doing my best to recover from my relaxing holidays... :-} Regards, Julia -- Julia Simon (Schnecki) -- Sprachen-Freak vom Dienst _@" schnecki AT iki DOT fi / helicula AT gmail DOT com "@_ si hortum in bybliotheca habes, deerit nihil (M. Tullius Cicero)


Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>I'm back
Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>