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Nur-ellen (was: Re: Degrees of volition in active languages)

From:daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>
Date:Thursday, August 10, 2000, 11:50
Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:

> The solution I have found for this problem in Nur-ellen (an active case > marking language I am currently working on) is the following system of > degrees of volition:
I must say that Nur-ellen looks remarkably similar to Sindarin. :) So what are the differences, phonologically speaking (the grammatical differences seem to be bigger)? And what is the concultural background?
> P.S. If you think the examples above remind you at Sindarin, this is > because Nur-ellen, being a language of modern-day Elves, is largely > based on it.
Ah. Didn't see the PS at first. You're still welcome to explain the development from Sindarin to modern Elvish. And it also looks a lot like my own conlang Rinya. Phonologically Rinya is more like Quenya (nowadays), (though the words aren't the same, unlike Nur-ellen) but with mutations from Sindarin and Welsh, and umlauting from good ol' Old Icelandic.
> The unmarked form is the agentive (nominative), which is always used > if the action is voluntary. > > If the action is something the subject does in error or accidentally > without intending it, the dative preposition _na_ is used, as in:
Myself, I use the absolutive for this. Or rather patientive, or patient or P-function, or maybe even Pamela Munro's "II". Help! :)
> Na Turin dagnent Veleg mjeln. > DAT Turin kill-PAST OBJ.Beleg OBJ.friend
OBJ? So you have an objective case? How is that distinguished from agentive? Or isn't it? Hm. It looks like the object gets mutated, but the subject doesn't even when the subject's governed by the preposition 'na'. Is that right? Is that how they differ?
> With verbs of perception, dative distinguished cursory perception > from intentional observation, as in
Just like Tokana, iirc. (I'm just waiting for Matt Pearson to join this thread. :) ).
> Martin lastent linnel e Daeron. > Martin listened to the singing of Daeron. > > vs. > > Na Martin lastent dringel e neug. > Martin heard the hammering of the dwarves.
Just like Rinya does it for the moment. Although I will surely change it as soon as I'm done with my BA thesis on the subject. Hopefully, I will have an even cooler system worked out by then. Created by taking the best pieces from the active langs in my survey. Great how you can combine uni and conlanging, isn't it? :)
> The dative is also used with negated verbs to express failure of an > intended action, while the unmarked agentive expresses intentional > non-action.
Neat to have the agentive unmarked. It gives a feeling of an accusative system.
> Finally, there is the instrumental (_ni_ + objective case). > This is used to denote an inanimate "subject" (such as a stone that > hits a window), but also that someone does something involuntary, > against his will.
Very neat. Combining the dative and objective to form an instrumental. It seems to work a bit like a causative in the passive voice. Could you give an example?
> This is _not_ to be confused with comitative (same preposition, but > agentive case), which is also sometimes used as a degree of volition > which is not easy to explain in a few words, but grammaticalizes what in > modern motivational psychology is called a "state of flow".
You're welcome to explain it in more than a few words. :) 'Na' seems to be doing a _lot_ of work. Even more overused than Rinya's dative case. Though I also use it to denote possession. Do you do that too? :)
> The object of the sentence always remains in the same case in all these > versions, namely the objective.
I use the ablative for the 'object' of transitive involuntary perception verbs. Ex: I.ABS saw the bird.ABL.
> It ought to be noted that only animate nouns have an agentive case. > This also means that inanimate nouns have only one case, the objective;
Of course. Or is it possible to come up with a sentence featuring a stone having the semantic role of Agent? :)
> Nur-ellen has only these two cases, everything else is done with > prepositions, some of which govern the agentive, but most the > objective.
I must say that it's amazing that you have come up with almost the exact same language that I've been toying with for quite some time now. Sindarin or Quenya, but active. Though I have rather used case endings instead of like you, prepositions. But instead of doing that, I've done almost the same thing, but with new words and a slightly different phonology. The new Rinya phonology has a voiceless uvular fricative {qh} and a voiced velar fricative {gh} /G/. Show me all you've got on Nur-ellen. I'm very interested! Daniel